Laughton Family History




Following up on the work of Paul MacDonell Laughton ("Uncle Paul"), I have been collecting and publishing, for all the family to see, the history that has been found scattered throughout the clan in North America and Europe. Sadly, we all lost Uncle Paul in 2009 and so we must continue his project in earnest.

This is a call to all members of the clan, in all generations, to forward information that can be added to this site and to suggest sections of special interest.  Each page is marked as to the date of the last update.  For all update details, please click the UPDATE link here or on the left index.

This web site is one that is "in transition" as I know not really where I started and for sure I don't know where I will end up.  The web site version of this project started in 2004. For now, it is important to get the information collected and published in the best form possible so that we can find out "what we know" and "what we are missing".  During the last 10 years we have captured a great amount of information, which has been substantially updated in the 21st century by Laughton family members from around the globe. Information has been arriving from across Canada, the United States and now from mainland Scotland and the Orkney Isles. Thanks to all of you for your contributions!

As a brief summary, here is what you can find on this web site, which are noted as the key links on the left side of this page or in the table below. As you move through the pages, that main index moves to the top of the page and the new sub-pages appear on the left. At any time, click on HOME to come back to this page.

Page Summaries:

Main Category Link Information Provided at Link Page
Updates Here you will find a running story line of what has been added to this site from conception of the project in April 2004 to the most current date shown at the top of the list. Key links to pages with new information is provided.

At this page you may also "Sign Up" for an automatic notification whenever that page (or other page you choose) is updated. Entering your e-mail and pressing "OK" will mean that you receive and notice whenever the specific page you choose has been updated. Picking the UPDATE page as you page to monitor means you will be advised of major site updates, whereas picking a specific page (yours or your parents or grandparents) means you will be notified only when that page has been updated.  You can pick as many (or as few) pages you want and as well you can cancel to process at any time in the future. The program does not track who has requested updates or reveal e-mail addresses, it only reports "x Number of Updates Sent on y Date".

You may now also access all of the Laughton Ancestor Pages directly from the Laughton TelNic web site at:  


Genealogy The Genealogy Page is where the primary FAMILY TREE CHARTS are located that provide a quick reference to who is in the Laughton Family Tree and on what branch. This page starts with the original hand drawn tree prepared by Paul Laughton, which has now been converted to WORD and PDF format, with updates as they become available.  

As the tree has grown, there have been new or sub-charts added so that a main family line can be expanded.  The original project was just to follow the main line that led to my existence, but that has now changed considerably with new information arriving from Norman in Arizona, Lindy in Texas, Ivan in British Columbia, David in Alberta and Sue and Hamish in Scotland.  The project will keep growing as long as the information keeps flowing!


History The History Page was one of the very first pages added to the web site so there was a place to keep track of family facts.  As more and more information became available about individual branches and people, separate pages were started and the information was relocated. The history page thus became condensed as the new pages grew. 

The history page will change now, as we have a number of "History Documents" that have been submitted, penned by other members of the family.  It is on this page that you will find that information and links to history documents that are not specific to an individual or branch.


Registers There are a number of sources of information that is now available on-line that has been used to substantiate, correct and update the paper information that was in the historic Laughton files.  I would suspect that none of this information was available at the time the original Laughton Family History was assembled, as Canada has a "90 Year Rule" on the release of personal data.  To this date in time, the latest "complete" Canadian Census that is available is 1911 and 1916 is now starting to appear in limited format.  Also recently released was the 1891 Canadian Census in a very fine searchable format.

The other main on-line registers for detailed information is "Scotland's People" (a pay per view site) and the incredible web sites of the "Latter Day Saints" (LDS Family Search "Cursiter" and "Pilot Project"). Once you are at the main REGISTER page you can go to the details for each of these main search engines or date bases where you will find the information that has been discovered to date and to gain access to the sites if you wish to expand the search.


Cemeteries It had always been known that the Parkhill Cemetery contained the grave site of John Hugh Laughton (1829) and many of his direct family members. One of his sons, George Van Wyck Laughton, his wife and his son and daughter-in-law were buried in Exeter, Ontario. My first trek to the cemeteries to get the information first hand and to take photographs was after the death of Charles Van Wyck Laughton in August 2004. That resulted in the pages for the Parkhill and Exeter Cemeteries.

In the summer of 2008, with new information from Lindy Laughton (Texas) the two family plots at the Niagara Falls (Ontario) site were located.  There are two plots there, one for the family of John Laughton 1829 and a second for Edward Laughton 1876.  Considerable work was required to clean up this site and collect the information.  This was also the first time that GPS was used to map the site and burial locations. A new page was created for the Niagara Falls cemetery.

For some time one of the primary sites appeared to be WALKERTON as that is where Jerome Laughton 1834 was reported to have been buried. Recent information told us that Louise Estelle Laughton (nee Van Wyck) - wife of John Hugh Laughton was also buried in Walkerton, although he name is on the stone in Parkhill. We answered all of those questions in June 2009 with a long delayed visit to the Walkerton Cemetery. It was an interesting and rewarding day, all of which is now recorded on the Walkerton Cemetery Page. Louise was not there, but we did find Jerome, Lillian, and the original Van Wyck's.

In November 2009 we were able to add the cemetery in Nelson (British Columbia) thanks to the efforts of Gerry Rempel, a fellow WWI researcher. Gerry responded to my request for assistance and now we have information and photographs from the site.

A young John Laughton (son of John Hugh Laughton) is reported to be buried in St. Mary's and we know that Harry Van Wyck Laughton and his wife Mary are in a mausoleum in Bellville, Ontario. We have not yet addressed those questions.

So far we have no information for the cemeteries in the Orkney's or the United States.


Eras The main list of all of the known members of the Laughton Clan is provided in hierarchical format on the ERAS PAGE. Each branch is shown with all currently know information with the birth and death years (if known), plus a listing of the spouse and children. Where a separate page has been created for a family member, the name in the ERA page has a direct link to that person's page, so it is a quick way to look up a family member and move to their private page. The other alternative is to follow the links on the left side of each of the pages in the ERA section, which change as you move through each generation.

It may be in the future that the ERA page will grow too large to be "manageable" in a single list. In that case the page may be split.

In the fall of 2008 we also started to mark the names of Laughton's who have military service records in BOLD and to show their service number.  Most of those now so marked have their own Blog Site with all the details of their Military Service, even if they do not yet have their own page on the Family Tree Website.  In addition, the Attestation Papers for each soldier are available on-line.  Lastly, we have now ordered, scanned and uploaded all of the detailed Service Records for each Laughton that served in the Great War of 1914-1919.  

Some of the later records (i.e. WWII) have now been secured and these are now available on the family tree web site. To date we don't have any of this information for any of our "Laughton Soldiers" that lived or served outside of Canada. If you have access to that information - please contact us!


Orkney Roots Some of the most interesting details of the origins of the Laughton family from the Orkney Islands in Scotland, come from the people of Orkney themselves.

In 1960, John Ivan Laughton 1929 published an open letter in the newspaper in Orkney inquiring about the origins of the Laughton Family.

One of those that responded, the only one that I have a letter of from the John Ivan Archives, is from Archie Laughton. Although I do not have all the dates, I can tell you that Archie was the grandson of David Laughton 1841 who stayed in the Orkney's when others (John and Jerome) left for Canada.

We are hoping that we will find more details on this information, as our newest members in the Laughton Family Tree Project have arrived in the form of Sue Petrie and Hamish Crisp, both direct descendants of David Laughton 1841 and residents of Scotland. More importantly, both are direct descendants of "Willie 'o the Park" who is mentioned in these letters and other historical documents. Thanks also to Sue and Hamish for some excellent family photographs.


Questions? The original project was to document the direct line from Gilbert Laughton 1771 to my Grandfather (George Van Wyck Laughton 1897) and then on down the line to others that follow.

As time progressed, the hunt for the "Other Members" of the Laughton Clan became more interesting and certainly more intriguing than the simple search for my personal roots. As the project progressed and I started to hear from Norm, Lindy, John Ivan and Sue .... the interest grew exponentially. This has started to take me back into the documents I had, the documents that others are now providing, and the field trips to the cemeteries where Laughton Clan are to be found.  Perhaps one day it will event take me to the Isles of Orkney, should I be so lucky!

As we move through these new un-chartered waters we are finding missing links or contradictory documents. In order to ensure that everyone has a chance to check on these issues and to submit responses, a new page called QUESTIONS has been created.  Here you will not only find the "outstanding" issues but also those of significance that have been resolved by the clan working together on this project.

If you have a question, or know the answer ... or perhaps just want to comment, please send in your information.  You would not believe how much even the tiniest bit of information has been used to resolve questions to date.


Genomes In 2006 Richard Laughton 1952 and Jennifer Laughton 1980 opted to participate in the National Geographic "Genome Project" which is an ongoing scientific study to map the DNS of participants and use that to track the movement of mankind from its origins to its existing locations.  Although not directly related to the Family Tree Project, this information may be of interest to all other MALE LAUGHTON members, as we all carry the same Y-chromosome.  The females in the line carry the mothers mitochondrial DNA marker. It is important to note that the results only reveal the anthropological story of your direct maternal or paternal ancestors—where they lived and how they migrated around the world many thousands of years ago.  

The Genome Project is not a test for genealogical mapping, but that can be done as well. The female markers are related to the females in the line, so daughter to mother, to the mothers-mother and so on up the line. As such the female markers of my sisters would carry the markers of my mother (Maureen Laughton - nee Kennedy) and my grandmother (Essie Kennedy) and my daughters carry the markers of their mother (Olga Laughton - nee Ognoski) and their grandmother (Marina Ognoski - nee Kirshner).  All the male Laughton members would be able to follow their Y-chromosome marker all the way back to Gilbert Laughton of 1771 - if we have the correct line!



Most of the photographs on this site can be seen in larger scale by "clicking on the image" with your computer mouse.  If I have missed a hyperlink to do this on any photo, let me know and I will fix the link.  In the past you could also download all the images to your computer by going direct to the IMAGE DIRECTORY and retrieving any or all of the photos, however that capability has recently disappeared with the introduction of new and more secure web site servers at our end. I am looking for a solution to that problem - but in the meantime that option is gone.