William John Irvine – 60 Years of Diaries

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.

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2 Responses to “William John Irvine – 60 Years of Diaries”

  1. Joan Irvine Anderson Says:

    Hello Joan,
    As you can see I too am a Joan, whose father was William Irvine whose grandfather Robert Irvine came to Canada from Rasharkin, Co. Antrim with his Irish wife Ann (Nancy) Kellock about 1819. He passed away in Quebec, as did some of his children, not sure how many, but two boys, John and Robert, lived to move to Perth, ON area with their mother. They each took up farming and raised large families there. I have since discovered Kellock families in the area, and am wondering if she moved there because of having relatives in that locale. Robert had a son John who moved to “New Ontario” (northwestern Ontario – Lake of the Woods area, in the most western corner of Ontario, next to Manitoba and Minnesota) to homestead and farm there. John married there and had his first son, my dad William 23 Sept. 1912. I have seen the entry in the original register in the Chapple Municipal office, and John (usually called Jack) was so proud he even had the time entered! (the only entry with that!)
    I am wondering if since your William came from Co. Antrim as well, if there is any relationship there. At this point, I still do not know Robert, the immigrant’s parents names, because I have not yet found a record of him in Ireland.
    My dad went out to Manitoba and Saskatchewan and worked on threshing crews for one summer the year before he got married to my Mum who is still alive and with it at 97 and going for daily walks. She was a Campbell – good strong Scottish background!

    Am eagerly anticipating hearing from you. A cousin of mine has done work on the Irvine descendants family tree which I can pass on to you, but we are more interested in going back at this point.


  2. admin Says:

    Hi Joan,
    Thanks for the comment! I bet they were related back in Antrim area. My uncle has researched that line most extensively. I haven’t done as much as I’d like. I checked our database and I have three Robert Irvines including my uncle. I can’t find any mention of Kellocks.

    Because of the Irish naming conventions, the same names keep appearing – Williams, Johns, etc.

    Let’s stay in touch as we may have connections although I can’t see one at the moment.

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