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Children Who Perished in the Orphanage During the Halifax Explosion - The Abrahams Children

Updated: Jan 1, 2021

I am starting this post off with the most pertinent research questions we need to find out about the ABRAHAM children who were killed at the orphanage during the Halifax Explosion. As you can see my research left me with more questions than answers. Please read the entire post to see the full explanation of where these questions came from:

- Is Agnes Abraham who was killed at age 8 actually Mary Jeannette Abrahams who would have been only 5 years old

-Is Agnes Abraham listed as 8 year old female killed in the explosion actually William Abrahams, a male born in 1909 and listed as the eldest son of William and Mary in the 1911 census? If so, why is he listed as Agnes. Is his first or middle name Angus maybe?

-I could not find Mary Jeannette ABRAHAMS on the 1921 census. If someone could find her we can see what children are listed to help us figure this all out.

-The names William, Mary Jeannette and Morris William ABRAHAMS come from the online searchable database but maybe these family members are incorrect. If so, I have not yet found any information at all about Agnes and Ivy B ABRAHAM killed at orphanage on December 6, 1917.

Here is the information I started with in search of more information of the Abraham sisters:

  • The sisters were listed in the Halifax Explosion Death Registration Book:

Victim Number 1155 on page 192

ABRAHAM, AGNES Female, age 8, Protestant Orphanage Halifax, remains not found

Victim Number 1154, page 192

ABRAHAM, IVY B Female, age 6, Protestant Orphanage Halifax, remains not found

  • From the same database the family members were listed as:

Father William Abraham died 1913; mother May J. Abraham, 32; Maurice "Morris" William Abraham, 5

So with just the names of the sisters killed in the Halifax Explosion, Agnes and Ivy B ABRAHAM, I cannot find too much information. I cannot even find the existence of an 8 year old girl names Agnes ABRAHAM (means she would have been born in 1909). I also cannot find an Ivy B ABRAHAM, only an Ivy May ABRAHAMS.

In hopes of finding out some more information I used the names of family members listed in the searchable online database Father William Abraham died 1913; mother May J. Abraham, 32; Maurice "Morris" William Abraham, 5.

Using Nova Scotia Genealogy I discovered that a William H ABRAHAMS married a Mary J LOCKE on June 12, 1910 in Halifax. William was a 26 year old soldier, son of William and Fanny, born in Bedminster, England. His residence at the time of his marriage was listed as the Citadel. This would mean William was born about 1884.

Mary J LOCKE was the 25 year old daughter of James and Margaret, born in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island about 1885, but living in Halifax at the time of her marriage to William.

Following this trail I found that William and Mary had 3 children together, all born in Halifax:

IVY MAY ABRAHAMS was born on December 15, 1910, her father is listed as William Herbert ABRAHAMS and her mother as Mary Jeannette LOCKE. If Ivy May is the Ivy B listed as killed in the explosion at the orphanage, her birthdate fits with records that say she was 6/7 years old at the time she was killed. With a birthdate of December 15, 1910 she would have been 6 years, 11 months and 22 days old on December 6, 1917.

MARY JEANNETTE ABRAHAMS was born on September 12, 1912. Her dad is listed as William Herbert ABRAHAMS and her mother as Mary Jeannette LOCKE. Is it possible that because she had the exact same name as her mother, the family called her Agnes instead of Mary or Jeannette and that little Mary Jeannette is the second Abrahams sister to have been killed in the explosion? If so, Agnes was listed as 8 years old when she was killed on December 6, 1917 but if so she would have only been 5 years, 2 months and 25 days old at the time.

MORRIS WILLIAM ABRAHAMS was born on November 26, 1913. His parents are listed as WIlliam Herbert ABRAHAMS and Mary Jeannette LOCKE. From the searchable database we can see that his father died in 1913. Looking further into this I found that a William ABRAHAM died at 28 years of age with his residence listed as Citadel Barracks on September 12, 1913 - Mary Jeannette's first birthday and 2 months and 2 weeks before Morris was born.

In hopes to find an Agnes ABRAHAMS I researched on a few geneology sites to no avail until I stumbled across the 1911 Canadian Census which was started on June 1, 1911. Unfortunately I still found no existence of an Agnes ABRAHAMS and only added to the mystery of this family. What I found on the 1911 census was a William ABRAHAMS born in January 1884 in England, who arrived in Canada in 1907. This supports his birthplace and birth year. His wife is listed as Mary ABRAHAMS born November 1885 in Prince Edward Island which supports her birthplace and birth year. What are the chances we have a different William ABRAHAMS born in England and a Mary born in PEI who are the right ages who happen to have settled in Halifax together? To further support it is the William and Mary I am looking for, a daughter Ivy ABRAHAMS is listed as being born in January 1911, 4 months old. According to the birthdate I found of Ivy, December 15, 1910, she would be 5 months old on June 15, 1911. I also found another child listed as a son - a child older than Ivy who according to the Nova Scotia birth register is the oldest child of the couple. In the 1911 Canadian Census a 2 year old son named William, born in Nova Scotia in April 1909 is listed! Is it possible that William's birth was never registered as he would have been born out of wedlock, which at that time most people tried to keep a secret? Was William's first or middle name Angus and it is really he who perished at the orphanage at the age of 8 and not a female named Agnes?

Nova Scotia Genealogy has the records of the marriage between William Herbert ABRAHAMS and Mary Jeannette LOCKE, the death registration of William Herbert ABRAHAMS and the births of Ivy May ABRAHAMS, Mary Jeannette ABRAHAMS and Morris William ABRAHAMS.

Agnes and Ivy were laid to rest in the plots belonging to the Halifax Protestant Orphanage in Saint John's Cemetery in Halifax with the 22 other children who perished in the Halifax Explosion.


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