Everyone has some very interesting stories in their family tree – but most people haven’t discovered them yet.
These are true family stories that Richard Jordan has found and investigated. Told with humour and compassion, they show how much – or how little – things have changed over the years.
Murder in the Family Tree
When Richard Jordan began exploring his family tree, the last thing he expected to find was murder. But he actually found two unrelated violent deaths in rural Ontario in the 1870s. How does a modern day historian go about investigating a long-forgotten murder using only the tools of a genealogist? And what family secrets might he uncover?
The attached photo shows Henry Falkingham surrounded by his wife and children in Kansas. Although he appears to be every inch a respectable farmer, at the time he was in fact an accused murderer on the run from Canadian authorities. Richard Jordan actually tracked down and talked with his great-great granddaughter.
The Woman Who Reinvented Herself
This is the true story of Lizzie Farrow, a distant cousin who Richard Jordan found in his family tree. As a teenager in rural Ontario in 1890, Lizzie rebelled against her widowed father by marrying a man twice her age … but things didn’t work out for the mismatched couple. They separated and Lizzie found herself another man, named James Bradley, running off with him to homestead in Alberta and to find a better life. When James later died, Lizzie was remarried – bigamously – to a man 22 years her junior!
The photo shows Lizzie Farrow with her new partner, James Bradley, in Alberta. At the time she was still the wife of an Ontario man, but their marriage had broken down. This story is a look at the role of women more than 100 years ago and how the rules could sometimes be bent a little on the prairie frontier.