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Event Series Event Series: Society Meeting

Society Meeting

April 10 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm MDT

Topic: The Other 50% – The Women in Your Tree presented by Diane Duncan.

This meeting will be held at Bow Cliff Seniors Centre and via Zoom. We welcome guests! If you are in Calgary, please just drop in at the meeting location. If you wish to join us by Zoom, register here.

Description: Diane will go through a check list of her research activities while researching her book, Janet’s Legacy. She will then illustrate how, by using newspapers, one can make the “data” come alive. Obituary, wedding, business and other newspaper articles reveal some of the life and times of the individuals one has documented. This avoids a lot of speculation that occurs when one is developing a story about the individual based solely on data.

Janet was one of her brick walls until she was discovered accidentally while researching her uncle! She married and moved to a locality where no other family members lived during the pre-1850 era when few records exist. Diane had previously identified her marriage by reading a diary of a neighbour in the community where she settled!
Information about Diane’s book, Janet’s Legacy: 
Janet Millar(er) Callander Brownlee, 1812-1895
A child settler to Dalhousie Township, Lanark County who arrived from Scotland in 1820 with the Anderston & Rutherglen Immigration Society 
by Diane Miller Duncan

Janet Burns Millar(ar) travelled from Scotland to the forests of 19th-century Upper Canada as an eight-year old. Her family were members of the first wave of settlers to Dalhousie Township, Lanark County. Her father, William Millar, was forced to wait in the military settlement, later to be known as the town of Perth, while surveyors completed their work before he could move his family to their new home north of the village of Lanark.

Among the settlers who became neighbours was a young man, a childhood friend and future husband, known as John or Jock Callander (1807-1850). Son of Alexander, Callander, a blacksmith from Glasgow, and Agness Sterling, he married Janet on the 16th of July 1830. Shortly after the birth of their first child, Alexander Callander, they moved with other members of the Callander family to North Gower, Carleton County, Ontario.

John and Janet Callander had a family of seven children before tragedy struck. Two sons, James and David, died within a week of each other in September 1850. John and his father Alexander died a few weeks later on October 13th.

Janet was left a widow at the age of 38 and had young children to care for. In December 1853, she married James Brownlee, an Irish immigrant and a widower whose wife Mary Jane Elizabeth Rutledge had died the year before.

The sons of Alexander Callander would no doubt have been well versed in animal health issues as the early blacksmiths were also the “veterinarians” of the time. It is no surprise that several of the sons and grandsons went on to train as veterinarians and became well known for their skill. Later generations, who spread from coast to coast in both Canada and the United States, contributed to society as doctors, bankers, real estate developers, farmers and insurance brokers, among other occupations.

No attempt has been made to “write the full story of each individual although part 2 provides a glimpse into many of their lives. An indexed summary of the “family tree” has been provided for quick reference.

In part 2, the story of Janet Millar(er) and John Callander’s descendants has been told through descriptions of weddings, obituaries, family contributions to community history books, newspaper stories and other publicly available resources. This section is indexed by both name and location and provides ample information for future family historians to build our knowledge of this family.

Janet’s Legacy was published in June 1921 on https://www.blurb.ca. Individual copies can be purchased through through this bookstore on this website and discounts are available for bulk orders. Please contact the author for information about purchase to be made for resale by museums, archives, genealogical societies and libraries.

About the Author: Diane Miller Duncan

Calgary, Alberta, Canada  dianeduncan01@gmail.com

Janet’s Legacy is the second book that Diane Miller Duncan has published. Diane has been drawn to the untold stories of the females in various lines of her family tree and especially to Janet Millar(er) whom she sought for many years. Janet was first identified as a family member in the 1970s while talking with elders at the annual Miller family picnic. No one seemed to know where to locate Janet at that time, although the name Brownlee was mentioned in passign. It was not until 2014 that “Janet” was identified as Janet Callander of North Gower, and the search for her descendants began. DNA matches added another dimension to the search, and distant cousins became more than just a name on the tree.

Diane Miller’s childhood was spent in the village of Glen Tay near Perth, Ontario, Canada. After her marriage, she moved to “the other end” of the county of Lanark. Her research expanded in scope as she researched her husband’s family connections. In recent years, Don joined her in her pursuit of information about Lanark County families, and between them they have tracked a network of family relationships encompassing many of the founding families of the county.

Diane’s first book was Tayside Memories: The Story of a Lanark County Lad, based on her father’s memoirs and the Miller family photograph collection. Many of the photos of Glen Tay in the early 1900s have not been previously published.

Diane graduated from Perth and District Collegiate Institute and later from Carleton University, with an Honours B.A., in Canadian Studies. She taught in Carleton Place and Almonte schools and served as Museum Project Coordinator during the years preceding the opening of the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum in Almonte. Diane has been a regular contributor to recent books published by the Lanark County Genealogical Society. Diane is a member of Alberta Family Histories Society and leads a Special Interest Group (SIG)  for members using Legacy Family Tree software to record their research. 


April 10
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm MDT
Event Category:




Bow Cliff Seniors Centre & via Zoom
3375 Spruce Drive SW
Calgary, Alberta T3C 3A3 Canada