The Frood family and the 100th Anniversary of World War I

As the commemorations of World War I approach, I think about the family members who lost their lives in the Great War. Many, many of my ancestors were among the 690,000 soldiers of the Canadian Expeditionary Forces (CEF); a number were among the 67,000 killed and 173,000 wounded — almost 39% of those mobilised.

I was particularly touched by the story of Peter Frood (1865-1934), his wife Naomi McEwen (1857-1950), and their family. Peter was my great grandmother Barbara Watt Frood’s brother, my great grand uncle.

Even before the War, they had seen tragedy. In 1912, their daughter Iva Ray, a school teacher, had committed suicide.

cbfroodIt is hard to fathom their sorrow when, in 1915, they learned that their son Lorne Vine Frood, of H Company, CEF, died in the trenches somewhere near St. Julien, France. It was soon to be compounded, when news reached them in 1916 of the death, at age 19, of (Clarence) Boyd Frood, 8th Canadian Mounted Rifles, CEF, near Mount Sorrel, France.

Their bodies were never recovered, but they are remembered in the ceremony that takes place daily at 8pm, at the Memorial at the Menin Gate, Ypres, Belgium, where their names are inscribed. Sons of Renfrew, their names are also inscribed on the cenotaph outside town hall in Renfrew.

One of the plans to commemorate those who died in the Great War is to nightly project the names onto the War Memorials in Ottawa and several other cities across Canada.

In the run up to the celebrations of the 100th anniversary, many are reflecting on the meaning of the Great War. I find it hard to think about 10 million soldiers’ and 6 million civilian deaths.

Seeing it one family at a time begins to give some sense of the devastation that took place on both sides of the Atlantic.


The Froods of Carmichael, Scotland

Tracking the Frood family line was both simple and complicated. My grandmother, Mayburne Cadieux, was the daughter of Barbara Watt Frood and David Cadieux. “Granny Frood” traced her family tree from the Renfrew, ON Froods back to Scotland .. to what I learned was “Carmichael, Lanarkshire, Scotland.”

At various times, I came across information about the Froods buried in the church yard at “Carmichael.” It all seemed just a bit fuzzy. Sometimes the references read “Carmichael Churchyard.” Other times, just “Carmichael.” On a map it looked like a fairly large area.

Alexander Frood was married to Marion Symington, and they were parents of Andrew, whose son Hugh (who married Barbara Watt, my great grandmother’s name sake) emigrated to Canada and was one of the founding families of Renfrew ON at the turn of the 20th century. It seemed the facts were clear, but where this “Carmichael” was located, that was a bit more complicated.

More than a year later, in a quite random internet search, I happened to click on the “images” category for the search results … and came across a picture of a tombstone for Alexander and Marion. It was labelled “Carmichael, Cairngryffe Parish, Carmichael Churchyard, South Lanarkshire, Scotland.”

It led me to Cairngryffe Parish in Carmichael. The pictures of the parish grounds on the parish website indicated that there were indeed gravestones in the church yard! But I had no luck finding out who had taken the picture. I couldn’t verify the location. Was it indeed in this church yard?

Then, the kindness of a stranger. Jack Meikle, session clerk of the parish in Scotland, verified the presence of the stone for me. He even offered to clean it up a bit and take a better picture so that the inscription would be more readable! Thank you Jack!

What a find! There is a special kind of joy that comes with the discovery of the places where your ancestors lived and died. And a distinct appreciation for the generosity of those who help you along the road to such discoveries!