Moynahan Surnames

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

52 Ancestors: Week 8: Heirloom

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks was created by Amy Johnson Crow and is a series of weekly blogging prompts to inspire genealogists and family historians to write about an ancestor and then share it online. The theme for Week 8 is "Heirloom".

Model ship built by James Henry Allan Annal (1849-1930)
The heirloom that I have chosen to write about is a model ship built by my 2nd great-grandfather  James Henry Allan Annal (1849-1930) who was a sailor all of his life and "as a boy was on a whaling expedition for three years in the Arctic."

James Henry Allan Annal 's obituary said that he "sailed every windjammer on the Great lakes a hardy and fearless sailor, and very expert in the construction of ship models."

My 2nd great-grandparents Mary (Hess) and James Henry Allan Annal celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1922

My great-great grandparents lived in Wallaceburg, Ontario near the St. Clair River:  
"During the heyday of water transportation along the St. Clair River, from 1840 to approximately 1931, thousands of schooners, ferries, steamers and flat-bottomed freighters known as scows congested the waterway, hauling goods and passengers up and down the strait, making the river one of the most important arteries in the Great Lakes." (Source: Wallaceburg Courier)
 My 2nd great-grandfather John Henry Allan Annal sailed until he was seventy-three years old!

James Henry Allan Annal had emigrated from his birthplace in the Orkney Islands in 1870 sailing to New York with his sister and the Sutherland family on the steam ship Columbia that left Glasgow, Scotland on November 5, 1870 and arrived in New York on November 5, 1870.

The details of this voyage can be read at

This Currier and Ives print is available for sale at

Model Ship Building 

There is a very long tradition of sailors and merchant seaman crafting model ships to pass the time on long voyages. (See PBS Antique Road Show )

The boat that my grandfather crafted had three masts and it is encased in glass and, based on the handy chart below, I believe it to be a schooner.

Screen capture from Ancestry magazine July/August 2005

We have heard many cousins speak of  model ships built by our great-great grandfather (and his son John Annal) that they remember seeing in their youth but this is the only one that I know of that is still in existence. This treasured family heirloom is in the care of my brother for safekeeping.


  1. Wonderful model ship! This is truly a family heirloom with so much history.

    1. Thanks Marion,

      I realized that this photo isn’t that great so when I visit my brother in March, I’m going to take better photos. I would love to identify the ship.
      Thanks for stopping by my blog and taking the time to comment.

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