Searching for relatives of my grandmother’s friends to share her photos

On the day my father’s obituary was published in the Montreal Gazette almost 20 years ago, an old friend of his in Calgary called my mother to talk. Although he and my father hadn’t kept in touch since the 1940s, he had good memories to share.

He also wanted to share a photo, taken in 1943, of the two of them in their cadet uniforms. We were thrilled to see the photo.

Since receiving that photo, I’ve often thought of the photos I own of the friends of my parents and grandparents and wondered if their descendants be interested in seeing the photos.

Two weeks ago, I decided to try to track down relatives of some of my grandmother’s friends, hoping they’d enjoy seeing a photo or two.

My paternal grandmother, Lucie Dever (née Haire), took many photos and appeared in many photos in the early part of the 20th century — before she married and had ten children. Fortunately, she captioned almost all of them. While almost all of her photos are of relatives, some are of her colleagues at the United Shoe Machinery Company in Montreal and her friends in the neighbourhood.

For my “detective work,” I researched records on Ancestry, articles and obituaries on and MyHeritage, and online family trees. So far, family trees have proven to be the most useful

At the bottom of the photo, Lucie Haire wrote, “Jim Lanctot and Herbie Swindells. ‘Shoe’ firescape –17.”
Montreal, Quebec, 1917.

I first looked for Herbie Swindells and found him on several online trees. I reached out to one of his distant cousins in England, who is an active family historian, and she has now added the photo to her tree, giving a face to Herbie.

Jim Lanctot, who appears in the photo with Herbie, remains a mystery. I’ve yet to find any trace of him in Montreal. My next step is to branch further out in my research.

Lucie Haire was 19 when she posed for a photo with Albert Gallagher at the United Shoe Machinery Company in Montreal, Quebec, July 1917.

Albert Gallagher, a young man with a great head of hair who worked at the Shoe, appears in a few photos. If my grandmother was sweet on this good-looking young man, I wouldn’t be surprised. Unlike Herbie Swindells, his whereabouts after 1917 remains a mystery. If I could find a baptism record with his parents’ names, that would help.

Lucie’s father, William John Haire, and her brother, Mervyn Haire, also worked at the Shoe. So did a young fellow, known as Doo. I’ve drawn a blank with who he was. Unfortunately, my grandmother didn’t write a last name for Doo, and I’ve been unable to find him in records.

Albert Gallagher, Mervyn Haire, and Doo all worked at the Montreal Shoe Machinery Company in Montreal, Quebec in July 1917.

I was successful finding brothers Jim and Harry Barrie on an online tree, and I sent their photo to a relative who promptly added it to her online tree. Now there is a face for each brother’s name where once there was just a name. I assume they were neighbourhood friends

My grandmother’s friend, Anne Heaney, who appears in two photos, remains a mystery.

(Left to right) Jim Barrie, Lucie Haire, Harry Barrie, Anne Heaney, Montreal, Quebec, 1914.

If you are related to Anne Heaney, Albert Gallagher, or Doo, or know someone who is, please let me know. It would be a shame not to share these photos with their relatives.

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