Genealogy is a never-ending pursuit

1905 Tillsonburg junior hockey team. Standing, from left, Tuffy Oatman, Jimmie Russell, Gord Rodding, Slip Weatherwax, Blackie Crossett, Eddie Oatman. Sitting, from left, Frank Burke, Billy Law, Charlie Killman. Photo supplied by genealogist Vicki Burke. (Submitted) jpg, TN

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In January I wrote on the Burke Family who settled in the Tillsonburg area with a tinsmith shop and several of the families that married into it.

To learn the history of our town we need to know the people who made it and helping Vicki Burke from Detroit with her family tree has expanded Tillsonburg’s history with wonderful information and photographs.

Vicki has been back in touch with some detective work that Tillsonburgers can help her with. She struck the motherlode of photos but alas, too many have no names! Here’s the scoop from her.

“Genealogy is a never-ending, life-long pursuit and I’m always searching for the ‘missing pieces’ of my family history. My latest quest is to try and identify a collection of photos that have been passed down to me.

“Recently I’ve been able to positively identify my 2x great-grandfather, George Edward Burke of Tillsonburg and his first wife Ellen, and three children, Ethel, Maud Delphine, and Richard Henry. This was a huge breakthrough made possible by a distant Buckberrough relative.

“I’ve also been able to identify a couple photos by contacting members that have some of my family names in their trees, for example, Edward Stover Hadcock who married Mary Louisa Burke (Tillsonburg). I’ve identified photos of his parents, children, brother and brother’s wife. It was so exciting.

“I also just recently, because of DNA to my father, discovered a descendant of a sister to my 3x great grandmother, Lucy A. Nobles Burke (Tillsonburg), named Mary Ann Nobles Shepard from Hamilton.  This person had photographs as well, so it was another exciting find. As I continue to pursue identifying more photographs, I am finding so many people have old photos tucked away in boxes, basements, and attics that they ignore because they didn’t know who the people are, much like my collection. In order to get my photos ‘out there’ I put them together on a Flickr album ( where “I share them on Facebook groups, emails and news articles in hopes of recognition. People can go to the link and scroll through my photos. I know most of them have to be Burkes, Nobles, Buckberroughs, Hadcocks, Herrick, Couldridge, maybe Follicks, from Tillsonburg or St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada.

“If any of these pictures look familiar or you have any information or similar names in your family tree, feel free to email me at I’d love to correspond, share information, and see if we have a connection. Happy hunting!”

The Burke family lived at 47 Brock St. W. built in 1873, a beautiful home complete with three stories of bay windows in the corner tower and ornate interior staircase.  It was torn down (about the 1990s) for a parking lot for what is today Dr. Patenaude’s dental office. Does anyone have photos or information on the house, inside or out?

To thank everyone for helping, Vicki also sent along a 1905 Tillsonburg Junior hockey team photo, with last names of the boys being Oatman, Russell, Rodding, Weatherwax, Crossett, Burke, Law and Killman.

Once again, I beg all readers to go through your old family albums and write the names on them before they are thrown away because no one remembers who they were or what they did. If you grew up in Tillsonburg, you and your family are part of our town’s history. Think of the museum if you have old named photos of people, events, streets, homes etc.