Saturday, February 14, 2015

My Canadian Branches ~ Two Beck Sisters Become My 4th and 5th Great Grandmothers

Sisters Hannah Veckle Beck and Sophia Beck were two of six children of Martin Beck of Hillsborough, New Brunswick. Both of them figure prominently in my family tree, not only in their relationship to me, but also because of whom they married.

Hannah Veckle Beck was born around 1754 in Fort Lawrence, in Cumberland County, Nova Scotia. Around 1783, she married Robert Smith, the son of Yorkshire, England, immigrants Nathaniel Smith and Elizabeth Duck. Settling in River Glade, in Westmorland County, New Brunswick, Robert and Hannah Smith had a large family of between 10 and 12 children.

In 1835, Hannah's husband died, and is buried in the Burnt Hill Cemetery, in Salisbury, Westmorland County. This cemetery is also known as the Thaney Smith Burial Ground, and is located on land originally settled by Robert Smith, and later by their son Nathaniel. It is the earliest burial ground to be established on the Pollet River, and many pioneers were laid to rest there. It is likely that Hannah lies there as well.

My branch from Hannah Veckle Beck

Hannah Veckle Beck + Robert Smith
> George Alfred Smith + Caroline Steeves
> James Henry Smith + Robina Elizabeth Steeves
> Wylie Herbert Smith + Bertha McCain
> Harriet Cheney Smith + Suther Ross Bustin
> my mother + my dad
> me.


Hannah's sister Sophia Beck was born around 1768, also in Cumberland County. In her late teens, she married Matthias Steeves, the youngest son of Heinrich Stieff and Rachel Stalleger, German immigrants from Pennsylvania.

Sophia died on August 25, 1844, and is buried with her husband, Matthias, in the First Hillsborough United Baptist Church, in Hillsborough, New Brunswick.

My branch from Sophia Beck

Sophia Beck + Matthias Steeves
> Jacob Steeves + Eleanor Bleakney
> William Bleakney Steeves + Charlotte Ann Steeves
> John Henry Smith + Robina Elizabeth Steeves
> Wylie Herbert Smith + Bertha McCain
> Harriet Cheney Smith + Suther Ross Bustin
> my mother + my dad
> me.

Note 1:
A particular functionality in my genealogy software operates such that, because of the shorter bloodline from Hannah to me, she is calculated as my 4th great grandmother, while Sophia is calculated as my 4th great grand aunt, married to my 5th great grandfather. I consider Sophia my 5th great grandmother, however.

Note 2:
There was much intermarriage between the Steeves and Smith families. As my Brewer, Maine, "cousin" Michele LaBree Daniels says:

 "Only the brave do Steeves genealogy!"

Photo Credit:

Gravestone for Mathias and Sophia Steeves, First Hillsborough United Baptist Church, Albert County, New Brunswick, Canada. Digital image.


Bowser, Les, The search for Heinrich Stief : a genealogist on the loose. (Halifax : Nimbus Publishing, 2001)

Brides, Philip and Joan (Smith) Brides, Descendants of Nathaniel and Elizabeth Smith ( 2000).

Daniels, Michele LaBree, One Big Circle Website, (

Hempel, Rainer L., New voices on the shores: early Pennsylvania German settlements in New Brunswick (Toronto, German-Canadian Historical Association, 2000).

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