Sunday, January 20, 2008

Genealogist's Parade

Bill West at West in New England gave a challenge in his posting 49 Genealogy Uses for a Flutaphone on Parade,

It’s the Genealogist’s Parade and you have a float in it. It can be on anything or anyone in your family tree or it can reflect your heritage. It can be serious or humorous.

I don't think my relatives would be on a float; they would be marching with Grandpa as Bandmaster and he'd be playing the cornet.

Why would he be bandmaster?

William began playing cornet as a boy of 14 in England and he soon joined a Salvation Army Band. When he came to Canada, he reorganized the Salvation Army Band in Owen Sound. He was its leader for over 20 years. In the 6 August 1988 and 3 February 1990 issues of the War Cry (a Salvation Army newspaper), Lieutenant-Colonel Herbert Wood ( R ) shared his memories of William Iles as the band leader in 1914.

In World War I, William enlisted with the 76 battalion and went overseas in March 1916. He was a bandsman and a stretcher bearer. He arrived home on 24 April 1919. When he returned home at the train station, he was met by his friends and relatives and the Salvation Army Band. In 1924, he took over leadership of the Canadian Legion Band. The band was later taken over by the municipality and it became the Owen Sound City Band. He led it for many years and was later deputy bandmaster. He played until he was 76 years old.

Now who else would be in this band? Through the magic of time and space, I would not limit the band members to those of his generation. Of course, his brothers Emmanuel and Harold would be marching along playing their trombones. His six sons along with his nephews. grand-nephews, grandchildren and great-grandchildren along with a few in-laws who would be playing their chosen instrument -- a partial list would include, Wilf on sousaphone, Cliff on alto horns, Don on drums, Dave on mellaphone, Bob on alto saxophone, Bob and Merv and Harold on baritone saxophones, Greg, Don, Ray and Ken on trumpets, Heather on cornet, Dennis and Clarence on euphoniums, Frank and Jack on trombones, Corrine on flute, Christine on clarinet, with Ann on E flat alto horn.

Grandpa is on the right. Photograph of the City Band at the Victory Parade in 1945.


  1. We have quite a few connections, Janet! My parents were Salvation Army officers in Alaska, and I was involved in several Salvation Army band, songster, and timbrel groups. Also, my BARBER ancestors were in Owen Sound for a while (1860s or more).

  2. Janet,
    I wish I knew as much as you do about
    whether some of my ancestors on either side of the family had musical abilities.

    At this point, the West Family Band would consist of my later dad on harmonica, my kid brother on bass drum, my nephew on keyboards and my sister acoustic guitar. And my Mom trying to sing over the bass drum!

    If the parade isn't cancelled for lack of interest (you're the only response so far) your family's band is in the First Division!

  3. Miriam

    Yes we do share some connections. I have sent you an e-mail with a queston about your Barber family.

    This parade is fun. I look forward to reading all the entries in the parade.



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