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The Cruickshanks come to Canada

Frank (Francis John) Cruickshank was born March 22, 1883, in or near New Pitsligo, Scotland. Frank was raised on a small farm where his parents were tenant farmers. The farm was part of Bucklaus, New Deer, Aberdeen, and called "Grecie Hill." It was located just outside of New Pitsligo (1), Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

Frank was a framing carpenter. This is called “joiner” in Scotland.

Frank married Georgina (nee Norrie) and they lived in Georgina's town of New Pitsligo. Frank and Georgina were my Grandad and Granny. I recall my Granny talking about sweeping the dirt floor of her home in Scotland. This seemed strange to us kids born in Canada, as a dirt floor would only get dirty again. A short distance from home they “cut the peats” (cut peat moss) to burn for fuel. I believe they kept a small garden for their own use and were not very well off. Like many people, they did not own the land. By contrast, in Canada it was relatively easy to own land, start a business, and provide a future for your family.

New Pitsligo


The small village of New Pitsligo was planned and built as a new settlement by Sir William Forbes of Pitsligo in the 18th century (1700’s). Its rows of cottages, straight streets and long strips of cultivated plots are evidence of the village's planned origins. (Reference New Pitsligo Through the Ages). Grandad and Granny would have been aware of Pitsligo Castle , constructed in the 1400’s. It is about 20 miles north east of New Pitsligo, toward the North Sea. The area around New Pitsligo is rich with archeology dating back to Pictish times (Late Iron Age to Early Medieval, say approximately 300 AD to 1066 AD).


Growing up Grandad and Granny both attended the same church in New Pitsligo,  Parish of New Pitsligo, Presbytery of Buchan.  I believe it could be the New Pitsligo Church of Scotland kirk shown on Wiki, on Google Maps, and also shown as the New Pitsligo Parish Church here. Apparently Grandad “found religion” after moving to Canada. I remember hearing that Grandad was a lay preacher in Winnipeg. Apparently he read his Bible regularly and preached often.


In the days of Grandad, and in northeast Scotland, common people did not travel much. They usually were born, lived, and died in the same town, village, or farm as their family ancestors. They were comfortable with familiar surroundings and well aware of their local history going back hundreds of years.

This channel is coming soon!



Frank came to Canada on the Ionian in 1910. This ship of the Allan Line Steamship Company sailed from Glasgow on April 23, 1910 and arrived in Quebec City on May 3, 1910, then on to Montreal. Frank's destination is listed as Winnipeg, Manitoba. The ship's manifest asks "Have you ever been to Canada before" with the replies "Yes" and "in 1909". The trip from Quebec to Winnipeg would be by train.

According to the Winnipeg census of 1911, Frank Cruickshank's year of immigration to Canada is 1907, so the referenced trip in 1909 might not have been his first trip to Canada. The manifest for a ship, the Athenia, does list Frank Cruickshank, aged 23, born in Aberdeen, Scotland, with occupation Farm Labourer. The Athenia departed Glasgow on March 9, 1907, and arrived at St John, New Brunswick, on March 16, 1907. The Athenia was of the Donaldson Line.

Frank is shown in this 1911 Winnipeg census as a lodger living at 734 Beverley Street. His wife and children are not yet with him. This census indicates his occupation is a Carpenter-works at house building. Winnipeg censuses were normally taken in June.


By 1911 Frank was married to Georgina (nee Norrie), and had 2 children; a son named Frank (born in 1905) and a daughter named Hilda (born in 1906). Travel was difficult in those days requiring seven to eleven days across the Atlantic Ocean. The trip was considered to be a huge undertaking, and very expensive. To understand the times we can remember that the Titanic headed for New York in April, 1912.

The 1911 census for New Pitsligo, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, lists Georgina and her daughter Hilda as one household living at 60 Low Street. Another household also living at 60 Low Street is Georgina's father George Norrie and mother Ann, Georgina's sister Lizzie and Georgina's son Frank G.N. Cruickshank (5 years old). So from this census we see that young Frank Cruickshank was already being considered as part of his grandparent's household, not his mother's household. This census was taken Sunday, April 2, 1911.

Frank's wife, Georgina and daughter Hilda are listed on the ship's manifest of the Hesperian in 1911, which sailed from Glasgow to Quebec City. This ship left Glasgow on July 8, 1911, and arrived in Quebec City on July 15, 1911, then on to Montreal. The manifest records that Georgina (age 25) and Hilda (age 4) are carrying $20.00 cash. Their onboard accommodation was a second class cabin. Georgina lists her husband as a Joiner, and it appears he is not on this ship. They state they have never been to Canada before, and their destination is Winnipeg, Manitoba. Georgina gives her occupation as Housewife and their religion as Presbyterian.

(The Winnipeg census dates for immigration are questionable as they do not line up with the ships' manifests. Specifically, one censuses indicates Frank arrived in Winnipeg in 1906, which is not supported by any passenger list. The 1911 Winnipeg census lists Frank's year of immigration as 1907, which seems right. The 1916 census indicates that Georgina and Hilda immigrated to Canada in 1907, which is wrong. The 1921 census gives Frank's immigration year as 1907 (right); but Georgina and Hilda's immigration year as 1910 instead of the correct 1911.) 

In the 1916 Winnipeg census we see, Frank, Georgina, daughter Hilda (9 years old) and son Charlie (9 months old) were living on Garfield Street in Winnipeg. This census lists Frank as a Carpenter-buildings.

Frank and Georgina left their son Frank (born 1905) behind in Scotland. There are 3 stories to explain that including: grandparent influence, the childrens’ recovery from scarlet fever, and Georgina’s reluctance to immigrate. Frank was left with his maternal grandparents (the George and Ann Norrie family in New Pitsligo); Frank and Georgina expecting to have their son come to Canada after they got settled. After, when they were ready for Frank to come to Canada, his grandparents did not want to let him go. Frank stayed in Scotland, growing up with his grandparents in New Pitsligo, Aberdeenshire. There are no census records available in Scotland after 1911, but in 1935 the grandmother, Ann Norrie, died while living on Low Street in New Pitsligo.


In Winnipeg

Frank and Georgina settled into the 1 ½ storey house that Frank built at 1040 Garfield Street, in Winnipeg, and appear there in the 1921 Winnipeg census (listed as 1020 Garfield in the census and concurrent Henderson's Directories). This census shows Frank as an employee with the occupation Carpenter, and work location given as "School". The children's ages are Charles (5 years old), Hugh Robert (2 years old), Alexander J. (3 weeks old), and Hilda Mary (14 years old), a student.


This little house at 1040 Garfield was at the west end of the city of Winnipeg; and further west was just natural prairie. Georgina continued to have a garden and kept chickens in the back yard for food. In that house, small by today's standards, Frank and Georgina raised daughter Hilda, and the 3 boys: Charlie (Charles born August 23, 1915), Hughie (Hugh, born July 19, 1918), and Alex (Alexander, born 1921). My Dad (Charlie) told me that he, his brothers, and his sister slept upstairs, in the upper half-storey. My Dad also told me that he and his brothers used to hunt rabbits in the prairie, almost just out the back door.


Frank started and ran a business building houses, and apparently built several in the west end of Winnipeg. House building was difficult in those days before machinery. The basements were excavated using horses to pull excavators with a man behind, similar to ploughing with horses. Frank sub-contacted out the excavation to the man with the horses. It was slow going by today’s standards. Of course construction season was in the Summer, and excavation could only occur after the ground was thawed. Winnipeg would have Summer temperatures of 30 degrees Celcius and more. We are told that Frank wore long underwear even in the Summer and claimed it kept him cooler.


There was time for enjoyment, too. Frank and Georgina would play music at Scottish gatherings. Georgina played piano and Frank played fiddle. It was said that Georgina was expecting son Charlie and still playing at their dances so Charlie was a musician before he was born. Georgina said that after Charlie was born, she took him to the Scottish dances and put him in a basket behind the piano. She said she didn’t do that with Hughie and Alex and that is why Charlie was the most musical of the 3 boys.


At some time (or sometimes, such as school summer holidays) Charlie, Hughie, and Alex worked for Frank on house construction. To put a year on it Charlie was born on August 28, 1915 and he was helping to build a house when he was 6. That would bring us to 1921. He quit school for a full time job around 1930, but may have continued helping Frank off and on. Charlie's daughter Rhonda was born in June 1939, when Charlie was turning 24 years old. By that time he had a full time job, and was not working for Frank full time. So the time of Charlie working for Frank would have mostly been between 1921 and 1939.


Frank’s sons in Canada all grew up knowing how to work with wood, and Hughie became a full-time, self-employed carpenter, in Vancouver. I think they felt their dad was pretty strict with them and didn’t much like working for him; especially when their friends were playing during summer holidays.


During the depression years, Frank built houses for people who could not afford to pay. He ended up accepting barter as payment. His sons often said how their dad came home with a chicken or something else when he went to collect payment from his customers. They said he was not a very good businessman. The family remained not-so-well-off.


In 1941, Frank built a house for his son Charlie, his wife Isabelle, and daughter Rhonda in Winnipeg, 2 blocks west of 1040 Garfield. The address was 1156 Downing Street. Charlie and his brothers helped with the building of it. Frank used horses to excavate the basement and looked at his watch for break times and mealtimes. It was completed in September, 1941.


Frank, now known as Grandad, passed away on August 25, 1950. Frank and Georgina were still living at 1040 Garfield. Their son Hugh Robert Cruickshank owned a home at 1087 Garfield. That Spring (1950) brought a huge flood (2) which wreaked havoc in Winnipeg. My sister, Rhonda, was 11 years old in June; I was not yet born (Ray Cruickshank). Grandad never did see his son, Frank, nor his grandson Frank (both in Scotland), after 1910 or 1911.

As mentioned, Frank and Georgina's son, Frank, grew up with his grandparents (Norrie family) in Scotland and had a son named Frank, who is my first cousin. My cousin Frank had daughters in Scotland. The next in line, my Auntie Hilda married Stan Rhodes and had 2 children, a son named Frank (Rhodes) and a daughter named Dorothy. Frank Rhodes had 4 daughters. Then the third child in line was my Dad (Charlie). Not surprisingly, I suppose, my Uncle Hughie absent mindedly often called me “Frank”. It just seems to be a family name.




In 1925 a nephew of Frank John Cruickshank ( my Grandad) came to Winnipeg. The nephew was William James Cruickshank, a son of Frank's brother Alexander Watt Cruickshank.


William was married to Margaret McKay on February 26, 1921, in the Adelphi Hotel in Aberdeen. William was a master baker and Margaret was a laundry maid. Margaret's parents were her father, John McKay (telegraph line inspector), and her mother, Jessie McKay (nee Fraser). Williams parents were Alexander Watt Cruickshank (coal merchant), and Jeannie Cruickshank (nee McRae). William's younger brother Hugh Alexander Cruickshank signed as a witness.

William boarded the ship "Saturnia" which sailed from Glasgow on March 13, 1925, and arrived at Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada on March 22, 1925. He was 29 years old.

The immigration form (line 5) states the following about William:

  • place of birth:  Fraserburgh.

  • never been to Canada before

  • paid for his own passage

  • occupation in Scotland: "Baker"

  • intended occupation in Canada: "Dairy Farmer Agriculturist"

  • destination: "YMCA, Montreal, Quebec" is crossed out and replaced with "Uncle Frank Cruickshank, 1072 Garfield Street, Winnipeg."

  • names and ages of wife to follow you to Canada: "Wife, Mrs. Margt. Cruickshank, 3 Farquhar Place, Aberdeen."

  • passport: Nil

  • money in posession: $50

  • action taken: Landed Immigrant

From the 1926 Henderson Directory, we find William living at the home of his uncle Frank John Cruickshank at 1020 Garfield Street in Winnipeg. He is occupied as a Baker at the Matt Thompson Co. Frank is occupied as a Carpenter.


Also, in 1926, on July 10, a Margaret Cruickshank (age 26) boarded the ship "Montrose" in Greenock, with her daughter Margaret (age 5 years) and they arrived in Quebec City on July 17, 1926. The immigration form states they are going to meet their husband (and father) Wm. Cruickshank in Winnipeg. Their nearest relative in Scotland is their sister (and aunt) Mrs Petrie in Uddingston, Scotland. These could be the wife and daughter of William James Cruickshank.

In 1927 William is living at 611 Elgin. He is still a Baker at Matt Thompson. In this year William's younger brother, Hugh Alexander Cruickshank sailed to Canada. Hugh Alexander boarded the ship "Montrose" which sailed from Greenock, Scotland on September 3, 1927, and arrived at Quebec, Canada on September 10, 1927. He was 30 years old.

The immigration form (line 15) states the following about Hugh:

  • marital status: Single

  • country of birth: Scotland, Bodden

  • never been to Canada before

  • paid for his own passage

  • occupation in Scotland: "Coal Merchant"

  • intended occupation in Canada: "Labourer"

  • destination: "Brother:- Mr. Wm. Cruickshank. 341 Ellice Av. Winnipeg" The address is fuzzy so might not be correct but 'Winnipeg' is very clear.

  • name, relationship and address of your nearest relative in Scotland: "Father:- Mr. A. Cruickshank. Beekley. Bldgs. Bodden." The word 'Beekley' is fuzzy.

  • passport: Left blank

  • traveling inland on: CPR

  • action taken: Landed Immigrant

In 1928 we find William living at 941 William Avenue in Winnipeg. He is still an employee at Matt Thompson. Hugh did not get listed in 1928.

In 1929 William has moved to 27 St. Andrews Rd. He is still an employee at Matt Thompson. Hugh appears at William's old address, 941 William Avenue. At this time, Hugh was employed at Vulcan Iron.

Some time after 1956, William moved out of Winnipeg, and this could be when he went to Toronto. I have not yet been able to pick up the thread of William James Cruickshank, in Ontario.

Hugh Alexander Cruickshank passed away July 14, 1962. His obituary, carried in the Winnipeg Free Press on July 16, 1962, says he was living at 572 1/2 Tremblay Street in Winnipeg, and had been employed by the Norwood School Board for 14 years. He had served oversees with the Scottish Horse. His survivors are listed as his wife Williamina, brother W. J. Cruickshank of Toronto but formerly of Winnipeg, another brother A. G. Cruickshank in New Zealand, and Mrs. E. Allan, Peterhead Scotland. Of these last 3 people, his brother W. J. is William James Cruickshank; A. G. is Allan George Cruickshank (b Sept 26, 1891- d 1970 in New Zealand); and Mrs. E. Allan is likely his sister Lizzie (Elizabeth) (b Dec 13, 1903 - d 1970). It would seem that Hugh and Williamina had no children.

In 1965 Willliamina was living in Apartment 26, Legion Crest Apartments, 819 Grant Avenue, Winnipeg. She passed away in 1977 and is buried next to Hugh in the St. Vital Cemetery, Winnipeg.


Space reserved for more about William and Hugh, coming soon.


Cruickshank is a sept of a Stewart Clan. That Stewart clan is the Stewarts of Atholl. The tartan you see at the top of this page, and again on the left, is the one which has been assigned to the Stewarts of Atholl. In fact more than one tartan has been assigned to the Atholl Stewarts. The one above is called "Ancient"  Stewart of Atholl tartan.

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