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The Turnbulls of Nova Scotia

· Nova Scotia,Turnbulls,Genealogy,Fine Book Collecting,Immigration

We have and have had a number of Nova Scotian family histories in our inventory. Most often they are quite voluminous, lots of text with stories and some “trees” in the text block. We recently acquired a book in this vein that is laid out very differently.

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History of the Turnbull Family of Digby, Nova Scotia, by John F. Turnbull, The Book Society of Canada, Agincourt, Ontario, 1960. The dust jacket is only in good condition, but the book is in fine condition. The three family crests displayed on the front of the dust jacket, are included in the book, before the title page, with more commentary.

The book is quite thin, but with a larger page format than is usually found. The book has deckled pages and the paper stock is very high quality, as is the binding and all else about the volume. In fact, the layout looks as if it is one that is used as a template for genealogies. There is little information about the publisher on the internet, and while there a number of titles listed on Abebooks from this publisher, none of them appear to be genealogies. A rather eclectic assortment of books, mostly on Canadian subjects. Too bad, because the layout is very good and very interesting.

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The book contains a map of the old country, Roxburghshire, Scotland, SE of Edinburgh, where the Turnbulls came from, and a map of Digby/Annapolis Basin where they ended up settling. From the text in the book, it is surmised that the family made the decision to emigrate following the famines of the 1780’s. In 1786, William Turnbull, together with his wife and three sons, took passage on the brig “Lily” to Halifax, arriving on 11 th July, accompanied by Mrs. Turnbull’s sister, Helen Brown. This family were the first settlers of Bay View, four miles from Digby, on the west side of Digby Gut. The map’s legend shows where 23 of the Turnbull family eventually were located.

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The book has 6 fold-out sheets of the Turnbull genealogy. Well laid out, a large number of descendants and it would appear that the schedules are hand-written. Beautifully done.

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John F. Turnbull, author, resided on Bramshott Farm, R.R. # 3, Orillia, Ontario. He is the centre of what is called the “Ancestral Chart” depicted above. I have never seen anything like this chart before. This semi-circle emanates from a circle showing the author, and presumably his siblings, as the first generation. Their parents are shown in the next band of the chart, titled 2nd generation, the grandparents in the next band as 3rd generation, and so on until you get to the 8th generation, who is William Turnbull, who emigrated from Scotland. The generation numbers are reversed! How interesting.

I learn something new every week that I buy books. Makes it hard to stop.

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