S04EP04: ‘The Correspondent’ with Janice Nickerson

In this fourth episode of Series Four, host Andrew meets Canadian professional genealogist and author, Janice Nickerson. He’ll be finding out how she got started in genealogy, as well as her love for researching Upper Canada, the value of court records, challenges with researching her First Nations ancestors, and her ideas on how to get non-genealogists, including children, interested in your research.

Life Story – Emma Bell Chant

Janice has chosen to tell the life story of her Great Grandmother, Emma Bell Chant (née Aylesworth), who was born in Newburgh, Ontario in 1873.

Whilst Janice had heard that Emma was quite a formidable and stern woman, when an aunt loaned Janice a box of consecutive letters from Emma to one of her sons spanning the period of 1918 to 1924, she discovered a whole new side to her – one of warmth, humour, and motherly advice.

Suddenly she was able to see her Great Grandmother in a different light, and get an insight into her character and daily life in an historical context.

Janice has shared some of her letters online at her Emma’s Letters website.

The Brick Wall – John George Carter

It’s a period in the life of Janice’s Grandfather that is causing her a brick wall headache.

Her Grandfather, John George Carter was born in 1900 in Canada, and he is said to have become a semi-professional hockey player. After being injured during a match in the USA, John went missing for a few weeks, turning up a long way away (perhaps Florida) with some sort of amnesia or concussion – not knowing where he had been. His hockey career ended after this, with an ultimatum of ‘it’s hockey or me’ from his girlfriend, who subsequently became his wife and Janice’s Grandmother.

What’s unclear, is evidence of this hockey career, and the fact that he went missing for weeks.

To complicate the matter, John was also known as Jack, but a long way into Janice’s research she discovered that within his hockey circles, John/Jack was known as ‘Nick Carter’.

He can be found entering the USA on 1st September 1924, heading to Minneapolis, Minnesota with his job in the bank – with no mention of hockey. He is back in Toronto, Canada by 1928 where he marries his girlfriend (Janice’s grandmother).

  • Where was John/Jack/Nick Carter between 1924 and 1928?
  • Where is the evidence of his injury and missing period with amnesia?
  • Where is the evidence for his semi-professional hockey career?

If you think you can help Janice with a clue or a research idea, then you can contact her via the email address she gives in the episode, or via her Upper Canada Genealogy Facebook page or alternatively use our contact form and we’ll pass the message on to her.

In the meantime, Janice is keen to accept Andrew’s help but has some questions first. Will everything work as planned?


Episode Credits:
Series Four, Episode Four

Andrew Martin – Host and Producer
Janice Nickerson – Guest

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