Bill Irvine’s Sask Homestead Records

November 9th, 2010

William John Irvine Sask Homestead Records

We recently visited the Saskatchewan Archives and obtained a photographic copy of Bill Irvine’s Application for a Homestead.

I blogged about this finding over on my website.  Please go here to visit.

Immigrating to Canada & Homesteading in Saskatchewan

December 27th, 2009

160 Acres for $10

Bill Irvine was born April 4, 1892 in Crumlin County, Antrim, Ireland.  He left when he was 19 years old, landing at Halifax, Nova Scotia on April 21, 1911.  He proceeded to Duval, Saskatchewan and worked a year at Strasbourg.  He came from Ireland with a family named John McClughan* who lived near Duval.

Irvine Farm Yard - Saskatchewan

Irvine Farm - Saskatchewan, 1950s?

Bill travelled to Nokomis, Saskatchewan, to file on a 1/4 section (160 acres for $10) SW 1/4 15-30-28 W2 which is situated 20 miles southwest of Young in the McCranny municipality.  After three years of proving the land and building a shack, he and Mr. Ron Ronning, Sr. travelled to Humboldt to register the homestead.  Ron Ronning signed as a witness.  Bill’s shack was on the hill at the northwest corner of his homestead.  This was a very windy spot.  Sometime between 1915 and 1926, he used that shack for a granary and built a three room house on the southeast corner.  He planted a shelterbelt of trees.

[*Skip forward a couple of generations - John McClughan's grandson married Bill Irvine's granddaughter Ellen Kerr of Nokomis, not knowing of the past friendship until a short time before their wedding].

Source- writings of Isabel Irvine, wife of Bill Irvine.

William Irvine 1911 Census Antrim County Ireland

December 10th, 2009

The Early Years

What do we know about William Irvine in his early years?

The 1911 census puts in him at house #30 Dungonnell (Seacash, Antrim) at age 19, the son of John and Mary Irvine.  His parents were ages 50 and 45 and had been married 23 years.  They had 9 children.  John and William are listed as farmers and the religion is Church of Ireland.  We also know they are literate as they could read and write.

Residents of house number 30 in Dungonnell (Seacash, Antrim) *

click for a larger view


Irvine John 50 Male Head of Family Church of Ireland Co Antrim Farmer Read and write - Married - - - -
Irvine Mary 45 Female Wife Church of Ireland Co Antrim - Read and write - Married - 23 9 9
Irvine William 19 Male Son Church of Ireland Co Antrim Farmer Read and write - Single - - - -
Irvine Agnes 16 Female Daughter Church of Ireland Co Antrim - Read and write - Single - - - -
Irvine Robert 14 Male Son Church of Ireland Co Antrim Scholar Read and write - Single - - - -
Irvine Sarah 11 Female Daughter Church of Ireland Co Antrim Scholar Read and write - Single - - - -
Irvine Mabel 9 Female Daughter Church of Ireland Co Antrim Scholar Read and write - Single - - - -
Irvine James 6 Male Son Church of Ireland Co Antrim Scholar Read and write - Single - - - -
Irvine Samuel 1 Male Son Church of Ireland

William (Bill) had two older sisters Jennie (b. 1888) and Minnie (b. 1890) who had immigrated to California in 1909.  Jennie married Harry Gallatin about 1913.  She died in Oakland California 16 January 1967.   I believe Minnie married Louis Meyer (facts to be confirmed).  She died in 1962 in Grass Valley, California.

Reference for 1911 Census:


Included in the census are records about the buildings and the neighbours.

William John Irvine – 60 Years of Diaries

November 9th, 2009

What prompts a person to write in a diary for sixty years?

According to Wikipedi,

“A diary is a record (originally in written book format) with discreet entries arranged by date reporting on what has happened over the course of a day or other period.”

The word “journal” may be sometimes used for “diary,” but generally one writes daily in a diary, whereas journal-writing can be less frequent.

My grandfather did both.  For sixty years my grandfather William John Irvine documented his life as a young Irish immigrant and homesteader to Canada.

Why did he do this?  Perhaps he was lonely.  Perhaps he wanted a record to share with the folks back home.  For whatever reason he decided to faithfully record his life for so many years, his family is eternally grateful.

My name is Joan Miller and I am the eldest granddaughter of William John Irvine.   I’m one of two genealogists in this branch of our family.  The other one is my Uncle Bob, the eldest son of William Irvine. Bob has transcribed much of these diaries over the years.

On these pages we intend to share with you Grandpa Irvine’s remarkable story from his 60 years of diaries.