Truth or Lore in Eyvel Family History

Truth or Lore in Eyvel Family History

Mr. George Eyvel, President of the Canadian Shorthand Writers Association[1], was a reporter for the Hansard News (see information below), who after covering Parliamentary goings-on, was assulted, “…knocked down by Foot Pads [padfoots] at night and lay insensible on the street.”[2] while walking home in the early hours of the morning, on or about the 25 of March, 1888.”

The Temperature that night could have been -2c or close to that. Mr. George Eyvel, whilst laying in the street insensible, also very nearly froze to death.


Information unreported in the news, and according to his now-a-days cousin was that when the police found him, they thought he was drunk and just needed to sleep things off. They carried him to the station and locked him up. Later, much later, as he lay near death in his cell, the Police discovered he was really a victim of a padfoot. They then got him some medical attention. After his death Parliament passed a resolution and most everyone present signed a book of condolences for his wife and raised $1000.00 for his wife and kids.

The information that jives.

He did receive medical attention. He had nearly frozen to death and had fingers amputated, developed blood poisoning


and ultimately died about a month after sustaining his original injuries from the padfoots (I am pretty sure this has nothing to do with Harry Potter but more to do with an English term, “one of many names for ghostly black dogs reported across the United Kingdom.”[1] I hope these black ghost dogs have not spread to Ottawa in the past 130 years).

Family Lore or Truth


From the story above we see that the press reported he awoke himself and smashed a window in a house near where he fell, or was attacked, and given immediate medical attention. So if the press is correct he was not found and mistaken as a drunk in the street.

Do we believe the press of the day or do we believe the family lore?

More Truth

As mentioned in the article above, “the press gallery met to pass resolutions of condolences.” There is indeed a book of autographs from many of the pressmen and parliamentarians of the time. Was it a Parliamentary Resolution? More research is needed to verify this.

Geroge Evels Condolence Books and letter.

As a note of interest, Included in the autographs is the then Prime Minister of Canada, Sir John A. McDonald’s signature.


The Hansard Press

The Hansard Press “…In 1878 a subsidy was granted to the Hansard press and at that point reporters were employed.[1] Despite hiring contract reporters there were still widespread complaints about the accuracy of the debates.” This press was an attempt to publicly report debates and happenings in the Parliament. At points this style of press was more a commentary on the happenings rather than a true to the facts kind of reporting. Parliamentarians were even allowed to edit what had been written and correct it before their words were sent to press. Parliamentary debates had been in the realm of privacy prior to 1809.[2]

The question then, is the story about a man who worked for a news organization with questionable accuracy…? Who is to be believed, the Family of George Eyvel or the press of the time?


  1. The Ottawa Journal, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Thursday, April 21, 1887 – Page 1,
  2. Manitoba Free Press, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, Tuesday, February 28, 1888 – Page 1,
  • “Ontario Marriages, 1869-1927,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 10 April 2015), George Eyvel and Ella Maria James, 22 Nov 1877; citing registration , Napanee, Lennox And Addington, Ontario, Canada, Archives of Ontario, Toronto; FHL microfilm 1,863,649.
  • “Ontario, Toronto Trust Cemeteries, 1826-1989,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 28 November 2014), George Eyvel, ; citing Toronto, Ontario, Canada, section and lot , line 12201, volume Volume 07, 1883-1891, Toronto Trust Cemeteris, Toronto; FHL microfilm 1,617,041.
  • Archives of Ontario; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Series: MS935; Reel: 53, Ontario, Canada, Deaths, 1869-1938, 1943, and Deaths Overseas, 1939-1947 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010.
  • The Ottawa Journal, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Saturday, February 25, 1888 – Page 4,
  • The Ottawa Journal, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Monday, February 27, 1888 – Page 1,
  • The Ottawa Journal, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Thursday, February 23, 1888 – Page 1,
  • Manitoba Free Press, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, Tuesday, February 28, 1888 – Page 1,
  • The Ottawa Journal, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Thursday, April 21, 1887 – Page 1,

Swab-A-Thon a Success ‘Thanks Ottawa!’ says Grandma’s Genes

Grandma’s Genes held Ottawa’s first (World’s First) genetic genealogy Swab-A-Thon.    The event, held at Bowman’s Bar and Grill on Saturday August 27th, brought a diverse crowd.  People came with questions about their origins, asking what they could learn from DNA testing?  Genetic genealogist, and Grandma’s Genes co-founder, Marc Snelling opened the event.  He spoke about the discoveries that can be made through DNA.

Marc spoke about how to learn more about your ethnic background. About how and where we fit into the human family tree.  He also spoke about breaking a brick-wall in records, such as adoptions where no records are available, or finding unknown grandparent. Other reasons for DNA testing he covered included; leaving a legacy for your children and grandchildren, making new discoveries, and connecting with living cousins.

Participants in Ottawa's first genetic genealogy Swab-A-Thon put on by Grandma's Genes, Family Tree DNA, and
Participants in Ottawa’s first genetic genealogy Swab-A-Thon put on by Grandma’s Genes, Family Tree DNA, and

Grandma’s Genes co-founder Mags Gaulden spoke about DNA tests currently available to consumers.   Autosomal tests  (chromosomes 1-22, and X),  are a test offered by ‘the Big 3’ testing companies, 23andMe, AncestryDNA and Family Tree DNA.  23andMe includes testing for DNA health markers, and idetifies paternal and maternal haplogroups, currently priced at $249 (CA). She also spoke about mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) a test of your direct maternal line and it’s associated halpogroup, and Y-DNA a test of the direct paternal lines. (tests offered by Family Tree DNA).  She also spoke about The Genographic Project, a science-focused DNA project to document the human family tree and it’s haplogroups.

Mags Gaulden, Marc Snelling of Grandma's Genes at Swab-A-Thon
Grandma’s Genes co-founders Mags Gaulden and Marc Snelling answer attendees DNA questions at the Swab-A-Thon.

Mags and Marc spoke with Swab-A-Thon particpants about the value-added services Grandma’s Genes provides to customers who have purchased a DNA test from one of ‘The Big 3’.  Some of the services offered by Grandma’s Genes include;

  • In-depth ethnic analysis, beyond simple percentages with results across multiple DNA testers,
  • Searching for birth families of adoptees, and uncovering the identity of unknown ancestors,
  • DNA mapping – identifying common ancestors shared with DNA cousins, through triangulation of DNA and genealogy across all company’s databases and public records, 
  • Preparing genealogical reports for First Nations or American Indian Nations, and other lineage societies such as United Empire Loyalists, Daughters / Sons of the American Revolution.

Lesley Anderson from spoke to the crowd about the Ancestry database, over 2 million samples. The size of the DNA database together with millions of user-created family trees creates discoveries through Ancestry DNA Circles. Ancestry DNA Circles are an automated tool that discovers common ancestors shared between DNA matches.

Everyone who came had a different reason for being there.  One adoptee sought to learn more about his birth parents.  Two others wanted to learn more about what their DNA will tell them about their deep roots in their home countries, France and Algeria.  Another wanted to know more about his maternal granparent. An ancestor the family says was in England while other lines were in Eastern Europe. Several others purchased tests as gifts for their relatives.

Free kits won by three!

Three free DNA kits were awarded.  One from Grandma’s Genes., one by Family Tree DNA, and a third from Geraldine won the FTDNA Family Finder kit offered by Grandma’s Genes.  Vanessa won the Family Finder kit offered by Family Tree DNA.  Lyle won the free AncestryDNA kit.  Those who won prizes all purchased additional kits for testing themselves at both Family Tree DNA and AncestryDNA. They also purchased kits for other family members.

Another Swab-A-Thon?

Thanks to everyone who came out and helped create Ottawa’s first genetic genealogy Swab-A-Thon.  Several participants were hopeful another Swab-A-Thon will be held.  An event  to bring their cousins and family members to, to learn more about DNA testing.  Grandma’s Genes hopes to bring another Swab-A-Thon to the area in the future.

I know I am the only one who does this.

I know I am the only one who does this.

I am the only genealogist who has a sense of family, who feels an ancestor’s pain when I type a date into my Genealogy program of choice (WikiTree). I am the only one who, when reading about some horrific event in an ancestors life, feel it in the pit of my stomach. I am the only one who feels pride when I read that someone was mentioned in the hallowed halls of Congress upon her death.

I know I am the only one. Continue reading “I know I am the only one who does this.”