by Isabel Hogarth Neeb

The search for my grandfather’s past began on this site in September 2009.  Since then, almost everything I thought I knew has been proven wrong.  Now, with much help, I have found the correct family line.

Certificates obtained from the GRO have confirmed people and dates.,, FreeBMD and have also been valuable resources.


From Cumberland, England, to Ontario, Canada

John Gate HOGGARTH was born to Mary HOGGARTH, a domestic servant, on November 2, 1878 in Ireby Low Village, Cumberland.  His birth certificate shows no father’s name.  Mary, his mother, was born in Ainstable, Cumberland, on June 6, 1842 to John (b.1797) and Ann HOGGARTH (née HILTON, b.1801).  Mary was one of nine children: William (b.1819); Thomas (b.1823); John (b.1824); Bridget (b.1826); Ann (b.1828); Jane (b.1831); Hamilton (b.1835); Isaac (b.1839); Mary ( b.1842).

In the 1881 census, John Gate HOGGARTH is listed with his mother, Mary, a grocer, in Orton, Cumberland.  Jane Ann HOGGARTH, age 15, a dressmaker, is a visitor.

In the 1891 census, John is a scholar, and Mary is still a grocer in Orton, Cumberland.  On January 9, 1895, Mary died from phthisis (tuberculosis), at the home of her sister, Ann Mingins, at Scarrow-hill, Brampton, Cumberland. Ann had two sons before she married John MINGINS in December 1871.  The sons, John (b.1848) and William (b.1856) are living with their HOGGARTH grandmother in the 1861 census.

In the 1901 census, John is a carter on the farm of Mary Fell, at Whitrigg House, Cumberland.  On August 13, 1905, John arrived in Montreal, Canada, from Liverpool, on the S.S.Ionian, with his friend, Joseph GATE.  Both worked on farms in the Grand Valley, Ontario area.  (I had known that John came to Canada with Joseph.  For some reason their friendship ceased a few years later.  I have found and corresponded with a member of the GATE family here in Canada who thought that my grandfather had returned to England.  I thought the same about his great grandfather.)

In the 1911, Ontario, Canada census, John has married my grandmother, Sarah ROBSON on April 19 of that year and moved to a rented farm about 25 km from Grand Valley.  In 1921 they bought their own farm, at Lot 17, Concession 1, West Garafraxa in Wellington County, about five miles from Fergus.  From my mother’s notes:

"They were a frugal pair. In the ten years from the time they were married, they had saved $5000 as a down payment on their $9000 farm of one hundred acres. They sold cream, fresh butter, geese at Christmas time, and goose feathers."

In the first years, they had seven children, of whom only four reached adulthood: Susan (b.1912); Alice (b.1913) and Mary (b.1918).  Mary died in 1937 from strep throat, as penicillin was not yet available.  The fourth survivor was my father, John Douglas HOGARTH, who was born in 1915.  He married Helen Rowe (1918-2004) and they had four daughters, Mary, Isabel (myself), Sharen, and Agnes.  Their only son, John Douglas, was born in 1955.  Sadly he passed away in 2001, leaving two daughters and a son.

Because GATE is the middle name on John’s birth certificate, I had YDNA tests done by both my only HOGARTH nephew and by a great grandson of Joseph GATE.  The results did not match, disproving the idea that we were related to the GATE family.

My next search was for the sister of John HOGARTH, whom I understand had come to visit my grandparents about 1915, when, after a disagreement with John, left, and they never saw each other again.  The sister was the visitor, Jane Ann HOGARTH, listed in the 1881 census with Mary and John.  Jane Ann was born on June 7, 1865 in Longdales, Ainstable.  She is also in the 1871 census living with her grandmother, Ann HOGARTH.  (No father is named on Jane Ann’s birth certificate, so I am assuming that she was John’s half-sister).  Jane Ann arrived in Canada on the S.S.Virginian, in October, 1909 with Albert George and Rebecca WEIGHT and was their domestic servant.  They settled in Forest, Ontario, in Lambton County which is about 120 km west of Fergus.  Jane Ann returned to England for six months in 1923, where she visited her cousin, Annie HOGARTH GIBSON, in Carlisle.  Upon her return to Canada, she lived with the WEIGHT family until her death in 1932.  This summer I was able to visit her tombstone which is in the WEIGHT plot.

John had a photo of a cottage at Wreay, near Carlisle in Cumberland, that he called "home" and kept on a side-table his entire life.  Two gentlemen from Wreay helped me locate the house.  Today it has been beautifully refurbished and I am fortunate enough to have also been given photos of the interior.  However, just why John called it "home" remains a mystery.

In the 1901 census, a Mrs. Margaret BRISCOE is living there with a visitor, Mary E GATE.  Mary was born in 1885 and is not the sister of the Joseph GATE who came to Canada with John.  I have found no relation to Mrs BRISCOE in researching her past.  It has been suggested that it might have been "home" because it was perhaps the landscape and the nearest photo John had from where he had lived.

When John came to Canada he brought a large tin tea-caddy, silver chain and an Accordion which is now an exhibit at the Wellington County Museum, near Fergus, Ontario where John and Sarah spent their life together.  John died suddenly on 16-Apr-1954.  Sarah passed away in 1952 and John was living with my family.  Perhaps that is the reason that I have been so determined to find out who he really was.  He never discussed his past.  I am truly sorry that my father did not know the truth about his own father’s life in England.  I think he would have been proud of John who progressed from humble beginnings to become a successful and respected person in his community.

John & Sarah on the occasion of their 40th Anniversary in 1951


Throughout the research, both one and two 'g's are used in the HOGARTH surname.

The birth date on John’s tombstone in Belsyde Cemetery in Fergus is wrong.  It should actually read "1878".

I have several more pictures, some from photographers in the Carlisle and Wigton areas, that were found hidden in a box after John’s death and only recently revealed to me by a cousin.  The GATE family identified one of them as being Ada, a sister to Joseph GATE, but the others have yet to be identified.  If you wish to view these 'mystery' photos and maybe help identify the people in them, there's a link at the foot of this page.

In closing, I will continue to search for more family ties, but would be remiss if I did not thank Bryan HOGGARTH, and Rod HOGARTH from this site, who have helped me immensely on this journey.


   Isabel Hogarth Neeb ~ September 2011

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  Click here to view the mystery pics