02 September 2015

Wednesday's Child: Grace Darling Pinheiro

No matter how much you think you know about a family, always be prepared to discover more. And also be prepared for that knowledge to come after you've spent several hours making a tribute video, which is not easily edited.

In my last post, I shared a video I created about the Charles Pinheiro/Lester Ince families of Halifax, Nova Scotia. After entering into contact with the Genealogical Association of Nova Scotia and the city of Halifax, I now have to make substantial edits to that video.

Why? Because Charles and Rose Pinheiro had another child I knew nothing about.

Camp Hill Cemetery, 1879

Their daughter's name is Grace Darling Pinheiro. She was 5 years, 3 months old when she died. She doesn't appear in the vital statistics records from the city of Halifax. She doesn't appear on any of the census records with her family. The only place I've been able to find her so far is in the burial records of Camp Hill Cemetery. Apart from the certainty that she was born and raised in Halifax city, I knew next to nothing about her.

Or did I?

Sometimes what you don't see is it's own clue!

Closer inspection of the birth and death registers of Nova Scotia reveals the problem. From 1877 to 1908, there was a lapse in birth and death registration in Nova Scotia. Halifax city deaths are the only exception, having kept their registers from 1890 to 1908.

I pulled out an index card and drew out the ranges. I had a feeling I could figure this out.

First, I drew out the window of conception for Grace's mother, Rose: beginning in 1882 with her marriage to about 1897. Then, I drew brackets around the time it was possible for Grace to have been born within that window of time, and not show up on the 1891 census. Two ranges of possible birth years emerged: 1882-1886, and 1891-1896. I didn't exclude 1886 as a birth year, even though that was the year her sister Ethel was born, in the event that they might have been twins.

Using her age at death, I created two possible death year ranges: 1886-1891, and 1896-1901. Because the death registers are intact for Halifax city from 1890 onward, and Grace is not recorded therein, we may logically presume that she did not die in or after 1890. The second range and the latter part of the first range therefore becomes unlikely. If she died no later than 1890, she could be be born no later than 1885. This eliminates the likelihood of her having been a twin sister to Ethel.

Calculating in the earliest possible birth for marital conception, Grace was likely born some time between 1883 and 1884, and died between 1888 and 1889. She was buried in a segregated part of Camp Hill Cemetery. Her parents, sister, and nephew would later join her in that same plot.

I've submitted the plot information to FindaGrave.com--Division 1, C-S plot 43--and still have hopes that the photo request will be answered. I confirmed with Halifax city that there is a grave stone.

It may not be in the best condition. It may not even be legible anymore. But knowing it was a tribute, purchased by Charles to honor and remember three generations of his family makes it incredibly special to me. That alone makes me eager to see it someday.

25 August 2015

Charles Pinheiro and the Caribbean Diaspora

A diaspora is a spreading of an entire generation or population from its home into foreign lands. Many nations throughout history have experienced diaspora, including many of the Caribbean islands throughout the mid-to-late 1800s. In the generations following the fall of slavery, many African-Caribbean freedmen left the islands, in search of a new home.

Cities throughout Canada became attractive places for men and women alike from the Caribbean. Two of my ancestors, Charles Henry Pinheiro and Lester Edgar Ince, decided to settle in Halifax, Nova Scotia between 1875 and 1900. From what I can tell, neither of them ever returned to Barbados--but both of them surely left family members behind.

I made this video to honor them, to tell their stories. But I'm also hoping to connect with their relatives and descendants in Barbados, if any exist. 

Fun fact: I just realized that Lester Ince lived to see the day in 1966 when Barbados created this flag!

Pinheiro is a rare name to find in Barbados because it's a Portuguese name, likely dating back to the European Jews of that name who kept slaves. I'd be interested in connecting with anyone in Barbados, black or white, with that surname.

Lester Edgar Ince was born 5 August 1881 to Frederick and Mary Ince in Saint Peter, Barbados. He lived an incredibly long life in Canada, dying on 15 January 1974 in Montreal at the age of 92. If he had any siblings and they lived anywhere near that long, someone somewhere might remember him or his family. 

I would love to connect with anyone in Barbados with information about either of these two families. If you're in Barbados and interested in helping me find members of my family, please reach out and let me know!

09 August 2015


One of many toys I convinced my parents that my demise would be imminent if I continued living without it. I believe I had one in these exact shades of fuchsia and seafoam green.

Sky Dancers fly just for me!
With one overaggressive yank on a five-year old's equivalent of a lawnmower cord, I would send this thing flying with reckless abandon through the air. With every bit of childhood fantasy I could muster, it was not a doll, but ME flying higher and higher into the clouds. Reality, good sense, and my accountability to God were completely suspended until the exact moment she flew into the power lines, the neighbor's yard, or on top of the house. As far as I was concerned, no calamity on the world stage was more dire than my imperative need for her immediate rescue. I specifically remember my father climbing onto the roof to retrieve a Skydancer which had become a victim to my desire for vicarious flight, and my refusal to confront the consequences of my actions.

How many times did I endanger myself and those around me for the joy of playing with this one toy? I couldn't begin to tell you, and the five-year old in me continues not to care. But it required every ounce of adulthood I possess not to take this thing outside, from a junk shop in the mountains of Idaho, and send it on one last flight--beyond not only the grasp of human reach and reason, but of time.