Finding the Key to My Family History

Carly McIntosh

Earlier this year I was sitting in my lazy mans chair and started searching for my great grandfather. At the very start all I had known about him was that he came from Oak Lake, Manitoba, and when he grew up to be a young man he had owned his own barber shop in Brandon, Manitoba. Only knowing three clues and the last clue being that his first name was Alfred, with only knowing those three clues, the first place I started searching was the Brandon University Archives. Going through the Brandon Archives I came across a newspaper I had never heard of before called The Sickle. Today the Brandon, Manitoba newspaper is called the Brandon Sun.

Searching through The Sickle newspaper for the year of 1949 I had spotted a tiny advertisement for a barber shop in the city of Brandon, Manitoba. What was to be seen on the advertisement was the name of the barber shop called "Alf The Barber". In 1949 Brandon was a small city, at that time they did not place their address on their advertisement, instead they placed a business where they were close to. On the small advertisement also read: near the M.M.T Bus Depot. The lettering of the Bus Depot stood for Manitoba Motor Transit Limited 1933-1969. In the centre of the advertisement he also wrote:

College Men: I appreciate your patronage. May the best of success attend the graduating class of 1949.

With finding my great grandfather's advertisement for his barber shop, it still didn't leave me very many clues. I still didn't know his full name or his address for his business. For about two months I just kept searching all barber shops placed in Brandon, Manitoba in the early nineteen hundreds, as well as searching for clues in The Sickle newspaper.

When I was not able to find another lead on my great grandfather, I headed to the Manitoba Legislative Library in Winnipeg. Walking into the Manitoba Legislative Library known as a historic building containing millions of historical documents and historical microfilms that I never knew existed. In the Manitoba Legislative Library I asked one researcher where it would be good to start a search on family history, and he pointed me in the direction of The Henderson Directory. The researchers had given me a tip into looking for barber shops through The Henderson Directory, and that is when I found the full name of my great grandfather known as Alfred George Tinnings, his wife Sarah Margaret and his daughter Pat. In The Henderson Directory also read the address of where the Tinning's had lived at the time in Brandon, Manitoba. At the moment of seeing the name of my great grandfather the smile on my face must have been a mile long.

Now in knowing the full name of my great grandfather it had opened so many doors.

I then went into a dark room to start looking at The Brandon Sun daily newspaper on microfilm, while the historic researchers were looking for the obituary of my great grandfather. I was looking through the microfilm for about an hour, when all of the sudden one of the researchers found the obituary of Alfred George Tinning's wife. Another historic researcher had also found articles as well as advertisements with my great grandfather's name placed in them. For the historians they were having a harder time finding Alfred George Tinning's obituary but they told me that they would keep looking and if they found anything they would contact me right away.

Once I got home in the late afternoon I opened the door and the phone started ringing. I had answered the phone and they had told me that they found my great grandfather's obituary, and that they would send it straight to my e-mail.

In the obituary of my great grandfather I had read that he had passed at the age of 61 in Brandon, Manitoba, and that he was born in Kamsack, Saskatchewan. Also in the email was attached a picture of Alfred and Sarah Tinning's grave stone, they were both born in the same year of 1903. As I read to know more on my great grandfather my heart grew stronger.

The next morning having known the full name of my great grandfather I had Googled him. Typing in the name of Alfred George Tinnings a 1911 Census of Canada had come up on screen. In the 1911 Census a name was highlighted as Mooso; Alfred Tinnings also saying he was a grandson and year of birth was 1903. Placed above Mooso; Alfred Tinnings was a female head of household with the name of Mooso; Osow-Keeseekook, Alfred George Tinning's Grandmother.

When my great grandfather was a young boy his full name was Alfred George Mooso, and around the age of eight he lived with his grandmother. Osow-Keeseekook Mooso is my great great great grandmother, and I could never be more proud. My great great great grandmother was born in the year of 1831.

Finding out that Mooso was my great grandfather's name when he was a young boy also lead me into a new direction. Next thing I knew I had to Google Mooso, and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada came up. I click in and there in front of me was my great great grandparents, George Fred & Margret Mooso.

In the government papers they had changed my great great grandfather's name to George Fred Moose, placing (Mooso) under it. My great great grandfather had lived in The Key First Nations which was placed in Saskatchewan, Canada. On The Key First Nations George Fred Moose was given the right by the Canadian Government to vote. Uncovering more information on George Fred Mooso, he was born in Norquay, Saskatchewan as a Cree. He had also served in WWII.

Going back to the start with now knowing Alfred George Tinnings, I found that I walked on the same land as my great grandfather and I hold that very close to my heart. One treasure is that I had even lived on the same street in Brandon, Manitoba as where his barber shop was placed. With never being able to meet my great grandfather, searching and finding all these secrets makes me feel that I have known my great grandfather for my whole life. Finding that I have aboriginal blood in my family history is very powerful and I will never let that go.

I traveled back to Brandon, Manitoba and gently set one red rose on my Great Grandfather's stone.

Born and raised in Manitoba, Canada and now residing in Calgary, Alberta. McIntosh recently found her ancestry. Her goal is to pursue a future with writing and hopes to open some closed eyes and minds.

You need to be logged in in order to post comments
Please use the log in option at the bottom of this page