...... is a surname with roots in Scotland. The primary focus of this site, however, are instances of the surname in the Province of Ulster, now in Northern Ireland. Featured is an ongoing study of the family history of descendants and other relations of Samuel JOHNSTON and his wife Isabella BURNS. Samuel and Isabella were married at the Townsend Street Presbyterian Church in Belfast, Ireland, in 1838.

The Family of

William Thomas Alexander Johnston

and his wife

Annie Louisa Jeune


- Residents of Toronto, Ontario, Canada -


William Thomas Alexander JOHNSTON, often known popularly as 'William T A',  was born in Belfast, Ireland, on 18 March 1867. He was the second child, and first son, of John & Elizabeth [nee ORR] JOHNSTON. The family emigrated to Canada in about 1870, living initially in Montreal, Quebec, then in Cornwall, Ontario, and later in Ottawa. His mother died of consumption in Ottawa in 1889. A short while later William was in Toronto, and there in 1891 he married Annie Louisa JEUNE, the daughter of Edwin & Martha Jane [nee ALLEN] JEUNE.

johnston william thomas alexander with 2 unidentified women, toronto


This photograph, taken at the Dame Studio at 330½ Yonge Street in Toronto, shows William Thomas Alexander Johnston with 2 unidentified women (who were more than likely sisters, but just which ones is not presently known).1

At least five children were born in Toronto before Annie Louisa died there in 1905:

  • Minnie Louise, 1892;
  • William Aubrey Arthur, 1895;
  • Thomas Stewart, 1899;
  • Martha Gladys Helena, 1901; and
  • John James 'Jack', in 1905.


Only 2 photographs are known which show likenesses of Annie Louisa [nee Jeune] Johnston. They were most likely taken in late 1895 and late 1899. Read about them here.


More than one 'personal family tree' found on <> suggest that there was a sixth child - a girl named Hazel Selina Johnston, who was born in 'about October' of 1903. While there is a gap in births between Martha Gladys Helena's in 1901, and John James's in 1905, no convincing evidence of the birth or death of such a child has been found! There are both a 1903 Ontario civil birth and a 1903 death registration record for a girl whose surname was Johnston, but for whom no first name was recorded [Birth Registration No. 005486-1903; Death Registration No. 004335-1903]. The birth registration shows that this child was stillborn at 341 Queen St East, on the 20th of November 1903. When this child's stillbirth was reported for birth registration purposes on the 23rd of November, the child's father identified himself as Frederick Johnston & the mother as [his wife] Margaret Miller. Frederick Johnston reported that he worked as a 'marble worker', and he reported that the attending physician had been one Dr Shiell. The stillbirth death registration was initiated on the 25th of November by Dr R. Telfer SHIELL, of 173 Carlton Street. Dr. Shiell reported that the child's father was a 'mech[anic]'. William T A Johnston was not what one would commonly think of as being a 'mechanic', which in the period usually referred to one who worked with his hands as something more than simply a labourer, something like a bricklayer or a similar trades related craft, something like a 'marble worker'. In this period, William T A Johnston was identified as being employed as an 'expressman'. The Might's Directories for the City of Toronto for 1902 (Page 636; Wm T Johnston) and 1903 (Page 555) show that William and Annie Louise were living at 674 Parliament Street, from which address he also apparently ran his express delivery service. Clearly this Johnston child was not a daughter of William T A and Annie Louisa [nee Jeune] Johnston's. However, no Ontario civil birth or death registration record appears to exist for a child named Hazel or Selina Johnson or Johnston in the 1902-1904 period. No child named Hazel or Selina appears to have been identified, to the best of the author's knowledge, at any time in any 'family tree' details compiled within the Johnston family before online family tree building capacity was developed at <>. There certainly was no child so named listed as a member of William's household according to a 1911 Census of Canada schedule (by which time William had been married for about one and a half years to his second wife - Naomi Ruth GRAHAM). No Directory entry suggests a residence for William T A Johnston on Queen Street East. Nor does any Directory entry suggest that William and Louisa might have consulted a physician who lived on Carlton Street, outside the area of what would have been their normal sphere of residences, as far as can be discerned presently. None of the entries found on 'personal family trees' at <> for this child named Hazel Selina Johnston (or sometimes just Selina Johnston) have any documents cited for the facts. Rather, the source identified for each of the entries is consistently 'Ancestry Family Trees'. This looks very suspiciously, then, like one of those 'bulk copy entries', and very much like a spurious entry, entered first on one tree either inadvertently, hopefully, or mistakenly, and duplicated across myriad other trees afterward. If anyone can show any different or otherwise supporting facts, we're very keen to learn of them!

John James 'Jack' Johnston was born, and his mother Annie Louisa [nee Jeune] Johnston died, on 30 April 1905. The photograph below was taken very soon after. We see Minnie Louise seated on a settee, with young Jack on her lap; William Aubrey Arthur standing to her left (the viewer's right); Thomas Stewart sitting at Minnie's right; and 3 ½  year old Martha Gladys Helena standing on the settee just behind Minnie, on her right side. There's no trace of a female child born about 1903 here.


johnston children circa 1905 reprint 100dpi 4x6


For two photographs which depict all members of this family in late 1895 and late 1899, see here.


  1. William Hazelton Dame was born in Prince Edward County, Ontario, in about 1842. In 1893 he was the Toronto agent for the New York Life Insurance Company. By 1894 he was working for another photographer in Toronto - A. Westrop. William Dame opperated his own studio at 330 1/2 Yonge Street in Toronto, from about 1895 until his death at the end of May, 1913, 4 days after suffering a Hemiplagic stroke. In 1900, he advertised "2 photos" for 10 cents, and "cabinets" for $1.00. The photograph shown here could have been taken any time between 1895 and 1913, but it seems more plausible that it dates from some time before 1898.

Contact Bruce D. Murduck   concerning any matter at all.

 Are you aware of any [other ?] photographs which show images of

William T A Johnston, or particularly his wife Annie Louisa Jeune?

Maybe one or more of their children, or other descendants?

What about stories about any of these people?

We would love to learn about them, and add them to this collection. Thank you for your help! 

The Family of

John & Elizabeth [nee Orr] Johnston


From Belfast, Ireland,

to Montreal, Cornwall & Ottawa, Canada

and on to Toronto


John JOHNSTON and Elizabeth ORR were married in Belfast, Ireland, in 1864 (read about her parents' family here). By 1871 they had migrated to Canada, living initially in Montreal, Quebec, then in Cornwall, Ontario. The famly was in Ottawa, Ontario by the spring of 1889 - Elizabeth died there of tuberculosis on 11 June 1889. At least one child subsequently moved to the Toronto, Ontario, area by 1891, and the rest of the family had followed by about 1894.


John Johnston, born Belfast 1842 - died Toronto 1916


The above photo shows John Johnston as he probably appeared in the 1890-1894 period. Facts found at suggest that the photographers James Arthur and [first name unknown] Philbric had a studio at 159 Summit Street in Toledo, Ohio, between 1890 and 1894. John's older brother Robert lived in Toledo in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, so it would seem plausible that John might have visited for a while after his wife died. No photograph has yet been found which portrays Elizabeth [nee Orr] Johnston.

John Johnston himself died on 19 Nov 1916, while residing in the Toronto Free Hospital for Consumptives in Weston, Ontario, just west of the then City of Toronto, and east of Weston. The death registration (Office of the Registrar General for Ontario: York County, No 039664; Volume 1916-31, Page 657; Archives of Ontario MS 935 Reel 227) compiled in his name was completed by N A CRAIG of 1255 Queen St West. Disappointingly, Craig did not apparently know John's father's name, and reported only that his mother's maiden surname sas 'Burns'. Craig correctly reported that John was 'Widowed', and that he was a 74 year old native of Ireland. The Might's Directory for the City of Toronto that was published in 1916 (Streets section, Page 366)  shows that Norman A Craig was an undertaker whose premises were located at 1255 Queen St. West, so it's not surprising that he knew very little about John's origins. 

An interment register from Toronto's Prospect Cemetery (located in the west end) shows that John Johnston's remains were interred there on the 21st of Nov 1916 (see No 16905, Folio 82, Volume 2 (1914-1921). Edward Albert Johnston (John's second son) owned the plot in which John was buried - a single grave in Section 17, Lot 4437. But, a short time later, on 22 May 1920, John's remains were moved to Section 17, Lot 273. The interment register contains no remarks as to why the remains might have been moved, unfortunately.

Contact Bruce D. Murduck   concerning any matter at all.


Are you aware of any [other ?] photographs which show images of

John Johnston, or particularly his wife Elizabeth Orr,

or any of their children or descendants?

What about stories about any of these people?

We would love to learn about them, and add them to this collection. Thank you for your help!

The Family of

Samuel & Isabella [nee Burns] Johnston


Of Northern Ireland


Samuel JOHNSTON and Isabella BURNS were married in the Townsend Street Presbyterian Church in Belfast, Ireland, on 5 May 1838. Samuel was said at that time to be 'of Carrickfergus', while Isabella was said to be 'of Ballynahinch'. Two men from Belfast stood as witnesses to the ceremony - Arthur Johnston and John Johnston. Their relationship with Samuel is not presently known.

Seven children are known from the marriage, all of whom are known to have survived to adulthood. Samuel worked as a gardener in Ireland, as did his son Robert, before he moved to the United States in the late 1870s. Isabella died in Belfast on 27 July 1878. Samuel moved to the United States - Toledo, Ohio, probably late in 1900 or early 1901. It's believed that he lived there within his oldest son Robert's household. Samuel died in Toledo in 1901.

Their known children were:

  • Robert Johnston, b. 06 Apr  [1839-1840 ?], Ireland; d. 05 Oct 1925, Toledo, Ohio, USA.
  • John Johnston, b. 1842, Belfast, Ireland; m. Elizabeth ORR, Belfast, 1864; d. 08 Nov 1916, Toronto, Canada. Discover more about John & Elizabeth's family here.
  • Maria Johnston, b. 1845.
  • Isabella Johnston, b. 1849; d. 1942.
  • Anie Johnston, b. 1850; d. 1944; m. John PETTIGREW,  b. 1850; d. 1931.
  • Martha Johnston, b. 1853; d. 1926; m. Albert OSBORNE.
  • Samuel Johnston, b. 1855; d. 25 Jan 1950, Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Nothing is known about the origins or parents of either Samuel Johnston or Isabella Burns, although speculation suggests that Isabella's father was named Robert.

See collections of photographs which show a likeness of Samuel Johnston and some of his descendants, and Isabella's grave site and memorial stone in Belfast.

Contact Bruce D. Murduck   concerning any matter at all.


Are you aware of any photographs which show images of

Samuel Johnston, or particularly his wife Isabella Burns,

or any of their children or descendants?

What about stories or facts, even speculative ones, about any of these people?

We would love to learn about them, and add them to this collection. Thank you for your help!

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