Great Grandparents – Finnies

My mother (Mary Ward Morgan Darling)’s maternal grandparents, (my great grandparents) are:

Elizabeth Bell Finnie (1868-1942) and William Walker Finnie (1864-1909) (oil worker on ships). They were married June 4, 1886 in the Parish of Uphall in Scotland just west of Edinburg.  (George McKenzie and Annie Bell witnesses). Siblings: George (oldest), Elizabeth, Alex (see separate posting to come), Mary (see separate posting to come) and Bill (youngest).  Elizabeth was married to Jim and attended Mary Ward’s wedding to Alfred in 1949.

Elizabeth Bell born Jan 4, 1868. Died July 1942.  Daughter of Alexander Bell, Retortman (operated a large oven in which coal was baked to produce coal gas) and Elizabeth Thomson at Hall Bathgate in the District of Bathgate, County Linlithgow, Scotland, just a little west of Uphall.  Owns Mount Royal Cemetery plot 55F since June 10, 1909. 

Here is a history of the MacMillan (Bell) Tartan someone wrote out with no date given:

William Walker Finnie born June 8, 1864 at Carnwath, Parish of Carnwath, County Lunwith Scotland, about 20 km south of Uphall.  Son of George Finnie, Carter (worked with horse and cart on farms or in towns) and Elizabeth Walker.

William came to Canada in 1905/06 by himself.  Mom said he got a job at Vickers (but Vickers did not come to Canada until 1911?) and sent money back to the family in Scotland.  When George and Alex arrived in Montreal, William was not there to meet them.  They had the day mixed up.  They took the streetcar to the west end of the line (wrong way) and William was not there.  Then they went to the east end of the line.  There William was at 2 pm sound asleep on a bench.  George and Alex found work for $1/day but had to pay car fair of 10 cents.  The three of them saved so that Elizabeth and the three remaining children could come over.  When they did, they all moved to Verdun. Sadly, William died one year later of typhoid fever in 1909.  The church gave them half a ton of coal to get through that first winter.

On file is Certificate no. 4901 from Mount Royal Cemetery Company issued to Elizabeth Finnie nee Bell, stating she had purchased grave No. 55f in Section N.  The date is June 10, 1909 and the fee was $17.50.  She paid $4.00 as a digging fee for William’s burial.  On July 10, 1942, daughter Mary Ward paid $25.00 in burial fees in plot 55-f for her mother Elizabeth.

George Finnie apparently married a Roman Catholic woman according to Aunt Joan Ward.  One day the Priest came over for a visit and George kicked him down the stairs! He became a builder (we think) and lived out on the lakeshore west of Montreal. The Finnies were a little mysterious and we only saw them rarely according to Aunt Joan Ward.  In a 1974 letter I found to mom from Uncle Alex Finnie, he mentions a Willie Finnie that lived in St. Lambert, QC.  This must be a son of George unless another Finnie man also emigrated from Scotland.  Willie and his unnamed wife had a son named Gary who in turn had a son born May 2, 1974.  Gary was manager of Xerox in Montreal according to Uncle Alex.

Nana’s address book has a W. J. Finnie (Bill?) living at 8 Roanoke Road, Don Mills, ON, and at 4 Wonderland Dr, Scarborough, ON (crossed out); A. B Finnie (Alex) living at first 72 Seymour, Halifax (crossed out) and then 636 Dallas Rd. Victoria, B.C.; Bill Finnie living at 5343 Vincent Ave, then 5433 Mt Helena Ave, LA, CA and finally 711 Elwyn Street, Nelson, B.C.; and a Jean Finnie at 18 Bell St, Renfrew, Scotland (crossed out).  Strange that there is no mention of George.  I wonder if they had a falling out??

I don’t have many pics yet but here are some:

I believe this is Elizabeth Bell Finnie (Granda Finnie) circa 1900, she would have been 32 then
Else it could be Aunt Lizzie the lady below around 1920 when she was 25??

I believe this is Elizabeth Finnie (Aunt Lizzie, Grandma Finnie’s daughter, Nana’s sister) about 1950 judging by the late 1940s style of the cars.  She would have been about 55 then.

Bill Finnie with Douglas, Helen and Edwin

Looks like Alex, George, Bill Finnie and ? (1935 marked on back)

Bill and Edna Finnie

Helen Finnie 1947

If you have additional photos or can fill in some of the information gaps, let me know.

Here is a mystery photo of a school boy that is old.  He looks more Finnie than Ward.  Hence I am thinking it could be George, Alex or Bill as a boy.  Or, it could be William Finnie as a boy?

No inscription but a very old photograph with a pin hole at top, so someone had it on the wall.  Could it be Charles (C.K.) Ward with his school scroll circa 1928-29?

Finally we have an image of the beautiful Clan MacMillan Tartan that Claudia was able to find.  Thanks Claudia.


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4 responses to “Great Grandparents – Finnies

  1. Our bright gold & scarlet tartan recalls Robert the Bruce's Royal Standard, and the strong support given to him by Clan MacMillan at the Battle of Bannockburn


  2. Anonymous

    Our bright gold & scarlet tartan recalls Robert the Bruce's Royal Standard, and the strong support given to him by Clan MacMillan at the Battle of Bannockburn


  3. JLF

    Hi there. William Finnie is my great-great grandfather, his son George is my great grandfather. My paternal grandmother is Florence Finnie, George’s daughter.


    • Interesting. I am descended through Florence Finnie’s brother William Walker born in Carnath, Scotland n 1864 iand died in 1909 in Montreal. So we are cousins of sorts. Do you know when and where Florence was born and died?


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