On July 1, 1867 Canada became a country and started to celebrate Independence Day. Originally called Dominion Day. This is when the single Province of Ontario (called Canada) was divided into two provinces – Ontario and Quebec. This new political division was then combined into a new federal system of government with the British colonies of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The Constitution Act of 1867 (modern reference) thereby united these colonies/provinces into one country called Canada. Though the British Government kept some political control for more than a century.
The 1871 Census of Canada is the first for the new country. In District 34: Province of Ontario, Sub-District Division 2 – Garafraxa East Dwelling 33 dwelt Joseph Kerr (Age 28, Irish Origin) and Mary Jane (Woolner) Kerr (Age 25, English Origin). Joseph is identified as a Presbyterian and Mary Jane as Church of England.
The Joseph Kerr Family 1871 census enumeration detail crosses to a second page. On this second page are the Kerr children James and George. Also in the house is Mary Jane Woolner’s older brother George Woolner. Is this perhaps the old Woolner property?
At this point in time Mary Jane and George should have been the last children to leave their parents home (unless it was Mary Jane’s mother who left.) It is unclear where Ann/Bridget Woolner, a widow of 10 years, is now living. The 1871 Canadian Census (Sub-H, Div-2) has an Ann Woolner living in East Garafraxa, Wellington Centre, Ontario. It states Ann Woolner is 64 which is about 4 years younger than we might expect.
On the bottom of this second census image is a James Connor, age 66, widower, Irish, Church of England. Ann Woolner’s previous husband was a Connor. Even though Bridget’s 1st husband died, James Connor may still have a relationship with him. We have so few leads about Bridget Connor that every possible lead needs consideration.