Ancestry.ca looks back through the records in honour of Molson Breweries' 225th anniversary
TORONTO, Jan. 17 /CNW/ - Ancestry.ca, Canada's leading family history resource1, is raising a glass in honour of the 225th anniversary of Molson Brewery, the oldest brewery in North America and
the second oldest company in Canada.
Founded in 1786 by English immigrant John Molson in Montreal on the
banks of the St. Lawrence River, the Molson name has become synonymous
with beer in this country. But beyond the libation for which they are
most celebrated, the Molson family has a rich and colourful heritage,
according to Ancestry.ca
John Molson himself was a successful entrepreneur who also built the
first entirely Canadian-made steamboat and opened Canada's first
industrial grain-distillery. John and his and wife, Sarah Insley
Vaughan, had three sons, John, Thomas and William.
Harry Markland Molson, son of William, inherited the brewery from his
uncle John Henry Robinson Molson. Harry's life was cut tragically short
as a passenger aboard the Titanic, and he was last seen removing his
shoes with intentions to swim to a nearby ship. Unfortunately, Harry
did not make it aboard the ship and his body was never recovered. His
death notice is listed in newspaper clippings from the Syracuse Herald
and The Indianapolis Star, which can be found on Ancestry.ca.
Percival Talbot Molson, born in 1880, was a great-grandson of John
Molson. Percival, a former McGill University sports star who donated
money to build a stadium on campus, died while serving in World War I.
Completed in 1915, the stadium was renamed to Percival Talbot Molson,
in his honour. Percival's WWI enlistment paper, dated April 26, 1915,
provides details about his life, including his next-of-kin (his
mother), his marital status (he was single), his willingness to be
vaccinated (he was), and even his signature. Percival also served in
the war with his brother Herbert Molson and his cousin Francis Stuart
Molson; all three can be found in Ancestry.ca's Canadian Soldiers of
the First World War Collection.
When it comes to famous brewing families, the Molsons did not have a
monopoly on intriguing stories. The second longest prominent family of
Canadian brewers, Labatt Breweries, has been around since 1847 and was
founded in London, Ontario by John Kinder Labatt.
John Labatt Jr. became involved in the brewery at a young age and did an
apprenticeship in West Virginia before taking over the family business
in 1866 when his father passed away. John and his wife Sophie were
married, resided and died in London, Ontario. Mysteriously, Sophie's
1906 death record indicates that she was accidentally poisoned.
The records also show that in 1934, John and Sophie's son John S. Labatt
was kidnapped by gangsters in London, Ontario, held for a week and then
released unharmed at Toronto's Royal York Hotel. Various newspapers
clippings on the kidnapping can be found on Ancestry.ca, including
front page coverage from The Lethbridge Herald. The Ironwood Daily
Globe features an article on the kidnapper, Russell Knowles, going on a
hunger strike while being held at the Kingston penitentiary.
Lesley Anderson, Genealogist with Ancestry.ca comments:"You never know what you will discover in your family tree. Family tree
documents can reveal unique and sometimes mysterious findings,
revealing a life or experience you may never have known your ancestors
To highlight these historic Canadian families, Ancestry.ca is hosting a
digital exhibition with the family trees and historical records of the
Molson and Labatt families. Visit www.ancestry.ca/brewers.
Canada's leading family history website, Ancestry.ca has 128 million
Canadian records in such collections as the complete Historical
Canadian Censuses from 1851 to 1916, Ontario and British Columbia vital
records from as early as 1813, Quebec Vital Records (The Drouin
Collection), Canadian Passenger Lists and U.S. / Canada Border
Ancestry.ca was launched in January 2006 and belongs to the global
network of Ancestry websites (wholly owned by Ancestry.com Operations Inc.), which contains six billion records. To date more than 20 million
family trees have been created and 2 billion names and 45 million
photographs and stories uploaded. (Figures current as of 28 October
The Ancestry global network of family history websites - www.ancestry.ca in Canada, www.ancestry.com in the US, www.ancestry.co.uk in the UK, www.ancestry.com.au in Australia, www.ancestry.de in Germany, www.ancestry.it in Italy, www.ancestry.fr in France, www.ancestry.se in Sweden and www.jiapu.com in China.
1 comScore, 2010, based on genealogy related websites selected from the
Family and Parenting sub-category under the Community category
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