In Search of Samuel Iserhoff – Part I


This is a genealogy story. The story starts back in the day, just after my completion of film school. Well, actually prior to that because the name “Iserhoff” was bantered around our household whenever my Mother was asked of our heritage on her side of the family. However, you see in the early days when my siblings and I were still kids, little of the our Iserhoff/ Russian connection was known, because my Mom was orphaned at a very young age. Thereafter, she was raised at Macintosh Residential School near Kenora, Ontario where she lost the connection to her Iserhoff family connection. So, this is an abbreviated story of my genealogical sleuthing for, “In Search of Samuel Iserhoff”, with a few of the pieces of the puzzle missing. That being said, it could very well serve as a basis as a documentary as I continue to piece together and find the missing pieces. To date it’s been very compelling and for a good part the final answers may be found in this picture. A picture that I found in the archives that identifies the man furthest right as Samuel Iserhoff.

Aside from the aforementioned rumblings in my youth of my Mother’s Russian heritage, my course was further solidified in the years that followed my completion of Film School. A journey that had more windings, twists and tributaries than both the Albany and Moose River where much of this story takes place.


Film School to Moose Factory – The Search Begins

I finished film school in Vancouver in 1991 and thus began my career in the Canadian Film and Television industry. Luckily, I was employed directly out of Film School and went on to work with National Film Board of Canada as they commenced to document the proceeding on the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. The proceedings took me throughout Canada and into many of the small reserves that dot this great expanse that we call home. In short, it was a great experience that would served to inform me of the history and plight of various Aboriginal communities. In short, when all was said and done, the experience served to shape me as to the kind of documentary filmmaker I wanted to be. Why is this important? I think it’s important to mention, because this infused me to better know my own history and that set me upon my journey to sleuth out my own heritage. As the old adage goes ” You can’t know your future, unless you know your history.” or words to that effect. With that, little did I suspect that fate would intervene and immerse me into a portion of Canadian history that is little known and certainly was never taught in the history books I learned from. Please accompany me as I explore.

Off To The Great White North

Well, after my gig with the NFB, I returned to Toronto. To be honest, I felt I really didn’t want to be there after having already lived there for seven years while working and attending Ryerson. In fact, I was still reeling from the stories I heard on the road with RCAP and was itching to do something pertinent to history of the Canadian Aboriginal experience! In part, that was satisfied by having opportunity to work with some documentary filmmakers who were of the same mind, but I wanted more. It was about this time, the jobs ran out and my saving were also dwindling fast. Moreover, the Christmas season was upon me and I was in desperate need of work…and fast! That’s when the call came through. A former colleague from NFC, informed me he was leaving his employment in Moose Factory and asked if I was interested in stepping up to bat. My initial thought was thinking if I could handle that isolation. My second thought was I needed the money. The latter ruled over. Like I said, I needed cash. My only consolation, is thinking this could be an opportunity to explore my heritage. Also, it may be important to note, that I knew of an Iserhoff that worked there back in the day as catechist for the Anglican church. Canon Samuel Iserhoff. The name I so often heard of as a kid. ” I’ll try it for a few months until they find someone permanent. Sign me up!” And with that I was off to Moose Factory. Canada’s No.1 Reserve by the way. A Hudson Bay Company post on near the shores where the Moose River flows into James Bay.

Arrival at Moose Factory and First Glimpse of Samuel Iserhoff

So off I went. With my stuff now in storage in Toronto, I ventured off to Moose Factory. I had my flights booked from Toronto via Timmins to Moosonee/ Moose Factory. It was early December and to be honest, I knew absolutely nothing about my destination with the exception that some of my history lie there. So off I flew. After about 4 hours of flying I arrived to greet a brisk Moosonee morning when I stepped off the AirCreebec Dash-8 onto the tarmac. From here I was on my own. I mean I had the address to my new employers, but that was about it.


So, I thought would I do what any urbanized Indian would do. I would simply collect up my belongings and go outside to “arrivals” and flag down a Cab. Yep, that’s what I’d do and all my problems would be solved! WRONG! Well, as it turns out, I stepped outside of the airport and looked about for a Cab. Not a single one to be found. Nothing! Nobody, just a Raven perched on a nearby tree cawing at me, and seemingly taunting me. With that, I went back inside and inquired to the ticket agent who informed be I needed to call for one. It wasn’t until about 20 minutes later that my ride arrived. There I was now. Off to the races! Once on my way, I engaged in pleasant talk with my driver about my big city life and how this was all new to me. He must have been totally enthralled, because he didn’t say much until we began to seen a hint of the Moosonee suburbs. I wasn’t until then that he asked were I was going. I told him the employer’s name and address. Things suddenly went silent and then he turned his head to me in the back seat – cause that’s where Urban Indians sit eh – and told me he couldn’t complete the trip. As you can imagine I was taken aback a little. My first thought was whether I had insulted him in some way. ” I got money.” I proclaimed. ” That’s not the problem Chum. It’s Freeze Up!” he replied. “Freeze up?’ I inquired “What’s that?” He went on to explain “Freeze up” referred to few weeks the Moose River takes to form ice in the river around Moose Factory. Thereafter, he explained it would safe to drive over to Moose Factory with vehicle via a winter road.
” So, what you’re implying is Moose Factory is an island?” I jested “Yep! you got it!” he teased. Dumbfounded, I asserted “Well I really need to get to work for my new job. Can you tell me how I might go about that?” His answered ” You know where I picked you up?’ “Uhuh.’ I acknowledged “Well you get on a helicopter right near there!” Excited by the prospect of my first ever helicopter, I instructed him to take me there ASAP! Upon arrival at the landing pad, he dropped me at a small makeshift shack that served as the ticket office for the company that provided the helicopter excursions. I paid the man and stepped inside the shed where a handful of people were waiting. One Elder First Nation gentleman must have detected I was and outsider by the what must have been evident by my confusion “Over there!” he pursed his lips, pointing to a guy behind a counter “Get your ticket.” With ticket in hand, it wasn’t too long thereafter that the helicopter arrived. It was a six-seater Ranger I was informed. Knowing it was my first ‘copter ride, ’cause I was sure to announce it, the locals let me take the copilot’s seat. Happily I climbed in as the rest of the patrons strapped themselves in the backseat. I can assure you, there is nothing as exciting as your first helicopter ride as being a “co-pilot” no matter what your age. Though the ride only lasted about five minutes, I can see we were headed directly to Moose Factory. However, something curiously went wrong. The community got bigger as we approached it, and then got smaller again as we flew passed it.


However, it wasn’t too long until we scooted on past a church nearby where we hovered above and landed where a small collection of cars that had gathered near the shores of the Moose River. Four cars to be exact. “Wait!” I thought and made a quick calculation whilst thinking to myself. “K, the pilot isn’t getting off. There’s four people in the back. Uhm…that means…” Before I had a chance to further contemplate, we landed. Within moments the four in the un-strapped, gathered their belongings and went to their respective vehicles. The helicopter pilot motioned for me to un-strap and be careful stepping down into the mud. With the door near slapping my ass on the way out, I felt my feet slosh in the mud as I made my way to higher ground. The helicopter lifted off. The cars departed and there I was! Abandoned, clueless and alone. “Whaa just happened here?” I stood sloshing about in runners, sorely under-dressed in what amounted to little more than a mere windbreaker. I peered about looking out onto the Moose River. Cold bleak nothingness was all I saw! I turned toward the road the cars departed. There I could see above the tree-tops was a steeple of a church. I gathered up my belongings and amble on down the road toward that church. A church, I was later to learn, would hold many clues as to who the real Samuel Iserhoff was!


To be continued…

In Part II we meet Samuel Iserhoff, but like I mentioned at the outset of this story, it has many twists and turns


Another Clue! – Excerpt from the book Land of the Moosoneek


Things start to get real peculiar in Part II. Thanks for the visit. Hope you enjoyed the journey so far….


Explore posts in the same categories: Documentary Related, Other Musings

88 Comments on “In Search of Samuel Iserhoff – Part I”

  1. Charlene Says:

    I am Samuel Iserhoff’s great grand-daughter. Are you related to him?

    • cyoungblood Says:

      Hello Charlene, If you are referring to the Samuel Iserhoff who was the Factor at Marten Falls, then the answer is yes. In my research I found at least 3 Samuel Iserhoffs. My mother was the daughter of Samuel Iserhoff from Pagwa River. He died at young as did his wife Maggie. That left my Mom an orphan at very young age and was far removed from the family thereafter. However, she would like to know more info if you can be helpful with that. Hence the purpose of this blog. Have more to write from stuff I found in the archives and census of that time. Though she has now connected with some relatives, she has yet to find any pictures of her father Samuel Iserhoff of Pagwa River circa 1930s 1940s. Any info would be appreciated. Thanks for making contact with me. Hope to write more soon. BTW, we have located my Mom’s father’s grave near Hilabury Ontario. Part II coming soon. Good to meet your acquaitance here on wordpress!


      • Irene Linklater Says:

        the late Rev. Cannon Samuel Iserhoff is my grandfather Philip Iserhoff’s brother. Rev. Cannon Iserhoff resided in Moose Factory for many years.

        So I don’t know if I am related to the above.


      • cyoungblood Says:

        Hello Irene. Sorry in so long in getting back to you. Yes I do know Cannon Samuel Iserhoff. He was the first Sam I learned of when I spent time in Moose Factory 93-96. However, it turns out this was not the Samuel I was seeking, but was a relative to the Sam I was seeking out. My Mom hails from Pagwa River. My Mom was orphaned at the age of 6 and was raised at MacIntosh Residential School near Kenora ON. Her father went my the name Samueal also. He rests somewhere near Colbalt. Her mother, I believe was named Maggie and we don’t know her final resting place. BTW, my Mom is now 79 and has never seen a picture of her folks. Here relatives were Peter, David and George, two of which see met, but not successful of locating pics. Would be interested if pics are out there somewhere. Thanks for the contact and info.

  2. Samuel R Iserhoff born in Wasnanipi Quebec would be my great great grand father, His son David Iserhoff born Pagwa River Ontario would be my great grand father. His daughter Helen Iserhoff, born Pagwa River Ontario is my Grand mother, who is still alive living in Longlac Ontario, and I have spent a lot of time in Pagwa River with her. My mother would be Charlene the person who commented above. This Samuel Iserhoff Is the one we are talking about, he didn’t die young, he died old in thunder bay ontario.

  3. Kurtis Says:

    The Samual Iserhoff Charlene is refering to died of old age in Thunder Bay Ontario (Port Arthur). He was my Great great Grand father. His son David Iserhoff born in Pagwa River Ontario is my great grand father, charlenes Grand father. My grandma Helen Iserhoff Davids daughter was also born in Pagwa River. I have many relatives that still spend summers in Pagwa, and I myself have spent many days there. I don’t think we are talking about the same Samuel. What was your mothers name?

    • cyoungblood Says:

      Hello Kurtis. Thanks for that info. No we are not talking about the same Samuel. My Mom at a late age did met David, her uncle. There was also a Peter and a Paul from Pagwa River. My Mom was orphaned at the age of 6 and was raised at MacIntosh Residential School near Kenora ON. Her father went my the name Samueal also. He rests somewhere near Colbalt. Her mother, I believe was named Maggie and we don’t know her final resting place. BTW, my Mom is now 79 and has never seen a picture of her folks. Would be interested if pics are out there somewhere. Thanks for the contact and info.

    • Barbara Bisschop Says:

      Samuel Iserhoff was also my great-grandfather. His daughter, Annie Caroline Iserhoff (McLeod) was my mother’s mother. Annie’s brothers were Peter, George & David. One sister, Josephine (Baxter) and two half-sisters I believe…Minnie & Vadney. My mother Alice moved to Toronto as a teenager & married Eric John Ambrose (my father). Interesting!

  4. Tina Says:

    My grandmother is Jane Cheechoo (Iseroff), who I think is the daughter of Canon Samuel Iseroff. Do you know if this is the same Canon Samuel Iseroff

  5. david Says:

    Hi im david the grandson of David Iserhoff.His wife was minnie second wife.His brothers are peter and george.David was born in 1899 an ibelive his father was named sam.

  6. Sheila Macauley Says:

    Clarence, I emailed you with some Iserhoff Info in 2011. I have been researching the Iserhoff genealogy for 20 years. I am sure that your mother’s father was Samuel Joseph Iserhoff, born 24 Apr 1903 at Martins Falls, ONT. As far as I know, he died in the early 1940s. He had a brother David, Peter,John George, Robert and other sisters. They were all children of Samuel Robet Iserhoff who was married to Hannah Noashet. She died about 1905 in Martins Falls and Samuel then married Sophie Winfrack. I have no other info on their son Samuel Joseph but if you send me an email, I will send you a report on the family. Sheila Macauley

  7. Ken Frost Says:

    My Grandfather Peter Iserhoff was the son of Samuel Iserhoff. A Mrs Shiela Macauley has the entire Geneology of the Iserhoff Family. I see that she has contacted you. Please send me an email. Thanxs. Ken

    • cyoungblood Says:

      Hello Ken. Thanks for your comments here. I am looking to research further. I will be proceeding time permitting. In any event, this is for benefit of my Mother who found her Iserhoff connection late in life. She lost both folks by the age of 7 and was raised by the Sister at MacIntosh Residentail School near Kenora. We did meet Peter and Dave in the 80s I believe. We know the whereabouts of her father’s grave in Hilibury and only heard of the whereabouts of her mother’s grave in Pagwa River. Hoping to maybe do a geneology type documentar. I think it would be and interesting project researching and presenting it as a documentary. Given the number of visits to this blog, it’s obvious the curiousity is there. I’ll let you known how I intend to proceed. I’m on facebook or email direct to Thanks for your comments and interest.

    • Barbara Bisschop Says:

      Are you the son of Harvey & Josephine Frost; brother to Connie?

      • Ken Frost Says:

        Well Hello Barbara, It,s been a long time 1955 I believe.and yes I am the son of and brother to. I tried to get in contact with you and Earl over the years but not successful. Anyway to quickly catch up on my life, I spent 30 years in the
        Army retired in 1992 and went to work for Immigration as an Investigator for another 12 years years, travelled the world extensively and finally retired to Armstrong BC, just north of Vernon bout 20 Kms. Sorry for the late reply, just ran across your msg this evening.

  8. Holly Danyluk Says:

    The picture you posted of Canon Samuel Iserhoff and Sarah are my great grand parents. Their daughter (one of many) my late grandmother Margaret Iserhoff died in the 1960s and had only one child, my father Earl (Iserhoff) Danyluk Sr.

    • cyoungblood Says:

      Hello Holly. Thanks for informing me of the persons in this picture. I was wondering. Can you identify them by placement in picture. Also, do you know the date of this picture. I know I found it in the Ottawa National Archives, but forgot the date. Incidentally, my great-grandfather, who’s name was also Samuel spent time as Factor for Martin Falls for the HBC. So, are we talking of the same one? I seen in the census that a Samuel Iserhoff may have had two wives. My Mom’s dad – my grandfather – was also name Samuel Iserhoff and is buried in Halibury. Gonna have to research and talk further with others here. Thanks. Hope to talk soon!

  9. Gary innes Says:

    good evening.. Samuel Iserhoff is our great grandfather, and yes we are related to several people on this page, its nice to see..thanks for posting.. and Ken, wayne says Hi..
    My family is from that area on my fathers side Eric Innes, My Mother is Clara Innes from moosecree both deceased.. again thanks for the posting and look forward to part II..

  10. Debrah Innes Says:

    Hello Barbara Bisschop:

    Samuel and Hannah are my great grandparents from my Dad (Eric Innes). My dad’s parents were George Innes and Minnie Iserhoff.

    • Barbara Bisschop Says:

      Hi Debrah: I remember your Dad well; also your grandparents spent time at my parents home in Toronto. We also visited them in Lowbush River in 1953. Do you live in Moose Factory? Your grandmother, Minnie was my grandmother Annie’s sister or half-sister. Their father was Sam Iserhoff. Eric was my Mom’s cousin.

  11. Debrah Innes Says:

    Sheila Macauley:

    I would appreciate it very much if u can send me the entire Geneology of the Iserhoff family.

  12. Donald MacDougall Says:

    Obituary published in the Fort William Daily Times-Journal 24 Feb 1951 p.3

    S. R. Iserhoff died in Port Arthur hospital yesterday afternoon after a long illness. A daughter, Mrs. G. Innes, of Ogahala, Ont., has been notified of the death. The body rests at the Everest funeral chapel pending funeral arrangements.

    Robert Samuel Iserhoff was interred in Riverside Cemetery on 27 Feb 1951

    The name and date correspond to the Iserhoff, Samuel R. ‘A’ (1866–1951) (fl. 1881–1925) of the HBC Biographical Sheets . See:

  13. Donald MacDougall Says:

    Clarence, does anyone have information on the Samuel Iserhoff who was a tuberculosis patient at St. Mary’s on the Lake Sanatorium in Haileybury. Info on past patients can be obtained from the

    Ontario Ministry of Government Services
    Patient Files – St. Mary’s on the Lake Sanatorium, 1933-1957 (RG10-95)

    Legal Authority
    Archives Act, R.S.O. 1990, c.A.27.
    Info Maintained
    Name and medical data on tuberculosis patients.
    Resea rchers.
    Individuals in Bank
    Tuberculosis patient of St. Mary’s on the Lake Sanatorium, Haileybury.
    Retention Period

    • cyoungblood Says:

      Hello Donald. This would have been my Grandfather on my Mom’s side. We know where his grave is , hoever that is about all. Still seking out any info that would lead us locating a picture of him. This is good info though. Thanks!

  14. Says:


  15. Lynne Says:

    Does anyone know of Caroline Iserhoff who was married to James Luke? His son David married Margaret Fletcher in Missanabi, Ontario; she was a member of the Moose Cree First Nation.


    • Donald MacDougall Says:

      David Luke born abt 1902 in Waswanipi, Quebec to James Luke and Caroline Iserhoff married Margaret Fletcher, born abt 1904 in Missanabie, Algoma Dist., Ontario to James Fletcher and Beatrice Wilson, on 14 Dec 1928 in Missanabie, Algoma Dist. According to their marriage license, David was a bachelor and Margaret was a spinster.

      • Lynne Says:

        Thank you, I am the great grand daughter of Pastor James Luke and Caroline Iserhoff. I was looking for more information on Caroline. Does anyone know when she immigrated or her family to Canada. I assume she became a status indian when she married James. David Luke, my grandfather, apparently started work with the CPR when he was 13 years old and married Margaret. I heard he had a step brother named Charlie? Does anyone know how and if Caroline is related to Samuel Iserhoff?

        Thank you, Lynne

    • Angels Fletcher Says:

      Margaret Fletcher was my grandmother she was married to George Fletcher. I was born and raised in Missanabie Ontario.

  16. Kurtis Wilson Says:

    Hello you’re talking to kurtis Wilson of longlac Ontario. My great great grand father is Samuel iserhoff. My grandmother is Helen Desrochers daughter of David iserhoff. Some how the iserhoff name as last to first generation names from the reserver in longlac. In northern Ontario iserhoff has lasted to my second cousins of Scotty. His daughter is an iserhoff. Born 2011. Iserhoff lives on! Kurtis Wilson iserhoff 2013!

    • Barbara Bisschop Says:

      Hi Kurtis: I am a great-granddaughter of Samuel Iserhoff. His daughter, Annie Caroline (McLeod) was my grandmother on my mother’s side.

      • Donald MacDougall Says:


        Your grandmother Annie Caroline Iserhoff and grandfather Fred McLeod, both passed away in Moose Factory in 1963, correct me if I am wrong. The only child I know of was Alice Margaret McLeod who married Eric John Ambrose. Eric passed away in 1973 in Richmond Hill and Alice Margaret in 2005 in Port Perry.

        I am distantly related to the Iserhoffs through my great grandmother and am compiling a tree on all HBC employees and their descendants.

        Funny thing today, I was at a church BBQ in Geraldton and in conversation with the pastor, whom I just met, is a grandson of Canon Samuel Robert Iserhoff.

  17. martyn macleod Says:

    Hi: My grand mother on my father’s side was named father said her maiden name was Iserhoff . She was married to my grandfather Fred McLeod who worked for the Hudson’s Bay Company all over the place but ended up in Moosonee supervising the boat dock.He passed away in 1963,my grandma Annie in 1973 I think.

  18. Sheila Macauley Says:

    I have a database on the Iserhoff family. I have been researching this family for over 20 years.
    Here is what I have on the family of Fred McLeod and Ann Caroline Iserhoff, daughter of Samuel Robert Iserhoff and Hannah Noashet
    First Generation

    1. Fred McLeod. He was born in Scotland. Fred died in Moose Factory, Ontario, aft 1947.

    Annie and Fred lived in Albany. Fred McLeod was the manager of Waswanipi Post and had a brother Emmet.

    He married Ann Caroline Iserhoff, daughter of Samuel Robert Iserhoff (12 Mar 1865-23 Feb 1951) & Hannah Noashet/Naashet (1876-1905), abt 1912 in Moose Factory, Ontario. She was born in Rupert’s House, Quebec, on 14 Oct 1894. Ann Caroline died in South Porcupine, Ontario, on 16 Apr 1972.

    Ann Caroline’s parents are listed as Samuel and Hannah in her birth record of 14 Oct 1894 which was received from Matthew Iserhoff. Samuel is listed as a labourer. Possibly this date is a baptismal date.

    They had the following children:
    2 i. Earnest (-WWII)
    ii. Dorothy7. She was born in Rupert’s House, Quebec, on 16 Apr 1916.
    Dorothy died when she was 5 or 6 years old.

    3 iii. Alice Margaret (13 Mar 1913-Jan 2005)
    4 iv. Minnie Christina
    v. George Samuel. He was born in Mistassini, Quebec, Canada, on 5 Mar 1922. He was baptized in Mistassini, Quebec, Canada, on 2 Jul 1922.
    vi. Florence Sarah. She was born in Mistassini, Quebec, Canada, on 12 Jun 1924. She was baptized on 15 Jul 1924.
    vii. John
    5 viii. Leona Olive (20 Sep 1928-)
    ix. William Donald Douglas7. He was born on 8 Jan 1931
    x. Jacqueline Helen7. She was born on 14 Jan 1933
    xi. Annie7. She was born in 1938.7 Annie died in 1938

    No date is listed in the marriage record of Fred McLeod and Annie Iserhoff. They are both listed as age 18 in their marriage record, suggesting a marriage year of about 1912, as Annie Iserhoff was born in 1894.

    Second Generation
    Family of Fred McLeod (1) & Ann Caroline Iserhoff

    2. Earnest McLeod (Fred1). Earnest died in Dieppe, France.

    According to Samuel R. Iserhoff’s manuscript, Earnest McLeod died in the invasion of France, known by the name Dieppe, in World War II.

    He married Emily Unknown

    They had one known child:
    i. Bobby

    3. Alice Margaret McLeod (Fred1). She was born in Moose Factory, Ontario, on 13 Mar 1913. Alice Margaret died in Jan 2005.

    She married Eric John Ambrose. He was born in England. Eric John died in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada, in 1974.
    They had one known child:
    i. Barbara

    4. Minnie Christina McLeod (Fred1). She was born in Albany Factory.

    She married Sydney Ambrose

    They had one known child:
    i. Stan

    5. Leona Olive McLeod (Fred1). She was born on 20 Sep 1928

    Living in 1998 according to Shannon Johnston, a descendant.

    She married Howard James Hame on 15 Aug 1951. Howard James died on 16 Feb 1973.

    They had the following children:
    i. Sheila Lillian (6 Apr 1953-)
    ii. Jean
    iii. Russell
    iv. Dorothy
    v. Howard

    • martyn macleod Says:

      My grandfather Fred McLeod had 2 brothers in North Bay Ken and Sid they both worked for the railway. I remember my father George Samuel Macleod talking about his uncle Emmet whom he called ” two gun” why I don’t know. My father also told me about his brother John (Boydie) who died of meningitis at age 13 or 14 I think in Cochrane.
      Minnie Christina McLeod children Donald (Donnie) Stan, June (Junie) and David.
      My grand-parent passed in Toronto..Fred McLeod in 1963 ..
      Alice Margaret McLeod children Earl, Barbara,Beverly and Gordon.

      • Barbara Bisschop Says:

        Hi Martyn: It’s been many years since we saw you. I live in Port Perry, Ontario…married to Jacob Bisschop for 52 yrs.; 4 children & 15 grandkids. How is life treating you? Where do you live now.? Aunt Min (Ambrose) is still living, age 93.

      • Martyn MacLeod Says:

        Hi Barb.. I remember you taking me and Gordy and maybe Beverly and Junie to the Ex one time. We were going to tame the Wild Mouse but I don’t think it happened. That ride is still scary after all these years.I think Jake had a gravel hauling business and Gordie crashed one of his trucks,so I think after that he became a country dj. My youngest son went to school in Kingston and my dad told me Gordie lived there. I tried looking up Ambroses in the phone book but didn’t get by all the initials. I live in Sarnia., been here for 35 years worked at Suncor. Hard to realize how much time has gone by and how quickly. I remember going to get ice cream at Joey Barge’s store (or his mom’s) Gordy’s drooly dog Buddy and going to Aunt Min’s to watch cartoons even though Junie wanted to watch Bandstand.

    • Jennifer Ambrose Says:

      Minnie was born on June 19, 1920 – she’s alive and well – she’ll be celebrating her 95th this year. She had 4 children, Donald, Stanley, June and David. Also all alive and well. 🙂

    • Jennifer Ambrose Says:

      Hi Sheila, as a note of interest, Ernest (Ernie McLeod) married an Emily Iserhoff from Pagwa. They had to have been 2nd cousins? Or maybe 1st?

      • selenem Says:

        Hi. I don’t know why I haven’t looked this up before now.

        Martyn was my uncle. Unfortunately, he passed away last October. My mother, Lorraine, pre-deceased him in 2013.

  19. martyn macleod Says:

    I remember going to North Bay with my parents to visit “little grannie” who was my grandfather Fred McLeod’s mother I believe. She lived with her two sons Ken and Sid both McLeod as far as I know and they worked for the ONR or whatever railway was in North Bay .I never knew “little grannie’s” name but the whole town of North Bay celebrated her 95th birthday. She wanted to get her letter from the queen but I think she passed at 97…I always remember her having warm milk with whisky before she went to bed.

    • Sheila Says:

      Fred McLeod’s father was George McLeod and George was married to Isabella MacBean who was born 11 Apr 1869, suggesting a death of about 1964/1965. The source for this info was Shannon Johnston who gave it to me many years ago.

      • Jennifer Ambrose Says:

        Hi Clarence,

        I’ve been poking around a bit in the family history. I have a great uncle who still lives in Moose Factory. He may have pictures of your grandfather. He would be your mother’s cousin. As would be my grandmother who, at the ripe young age of 94, remembers her Uncle Sam but wasn’t aware that he had a daughter. She apparently didn’t have a lot of contact with her mother’s (Annie Iseroff) side of the family. Anyway, my ‘Gramma’ will speak with her brother and let me know. I’ll keep you posted.

      • cyoungblood Says:

        Thanks Jennifer. The fact that there may be a picture of my Mother’s Father would be the most welcome news ever! We are looking to go to the gravesite in Hailebury this summer. To put a face to the gravestone would be of great significant to our family. I would be sure to video and share here. Also, in a perfect world, it is the end of the documentary as I had imagined it. Thanks so much in advance for making the effort. Yes, Annie is my Mother’s mother. My Mother is Elsie Annie Michon and resides in Geraldton. She is 84 as is my Dad. Thanks again! 🙂

      • Jennifer Ambrose Says:

        Okay, my grandmother is getting together with her brother tomorrow morning. Crossing my fingers that he’ll have more info and some family pics. I’ll keep you posted.

      • cyoungblood Says:

        Hello Jennifer. Thanks for the effort and the update. I will be seeing my Mother at Easter in Geraldton. Keeping fingers crossed too! Going to see if there is anything in Temiskaming archives. Long shot, but worth a look. Thanks again!

      • Jennifer Ambrose Says:

        Hi again Clarence,

        So my grandmother’s brother Doug (Macleod) is going to look through the family photos and also ask around within the Moose Factory community. He didn’t know your grandfather personally but knew of him. Will let you know if he’s able to find some photos.

        Best, Jennifer

  20. Brandon Iserhoff Says:

    This is amazing, finding out this history I’ve never heard of.

  21. Hello I’m Fred. I was raised by my grand parents Annie and Fred in Moose Factory Ontario, this from 1953 to 63. My great grandfather Samuel and his children whom I remember were David, George, Peter, Minnie and Grandma Annie.

    • cyoungblood Says:

      Hello Frederick. Sorry in getting back to you so late. However, I believe the top pic is of David, George, Peter and Minnie w/ Grandma Annie and Samuel. This Samuel would be my Great Grandfather also. I am not sure, but I do believed he married twice and my Mother may be a descendant. Her name is Elsie Annie [nee] Iserhoff, but also went by Elsie Scott after her adopted family. She lost both parents, Samuel and ? by the time she was 6 and was raised by the Nuns at MacIntosh Residential School. She married my Dad, Lloyd Michon and now resides in Thunder Bay, My quest was to find a picture of her parents who were living in Pagwa River. We found the grave of her father Sam in New Liskerd. If you have any further info or photos to help, it would be much appreciated. Elsie is now 83 btw. Thanks for commenting here. Look forward to any further correspondence!

  22. nicolas izeroff Says:

    my grandmonther is philomème Iserhoff

    • Sheila Says:

      Nicolas, I do not think that you grandmother Philomème is related to this Iserhoff family of Quebec and Ontario. I think that your Izeroff family is originally from Germany and is probably related to the Iserhoff family of Quebec if you go way back to Germany, probably in the early 1700s. The Iserhoff family of Quebec all descend from the children of Gustave Iserhoff who was a surgeon in the British military and fought against the Americans in the Revolutionary war. He remained in Canada in Quebec at the end of the war and married a French woman. His son Jean Baptiste Leopold Iserhoff is the ancestor of all the Cree Iserhoffs of Canada. It is quite probable that your ancestor descends from the same Iserhoff family from Germany but you would have to do some research to prove it and connect the 2 families.

    • Sheila Says:

      Nicolas, Although I wrote yesterday that your Izeroff family is most likely not connected to the Iserhoff family of Quebec and Canada, I could have made a mistake. Last night I began thinking about Philomène Izerhoff and knew I had seen the name Philomène somewhere. Can you tell me who her parents were and where she was born? I might have some information for you. Was she considered to be a Cree or Atikamekw Indian?

  23. Cyndi Bisschop Says:

    This has been an amazing read! I am Cyndi Bisschop, daughter of Barb Ambrose & Jake Bisschop, granddaughter of Alice McLeod & Eric Ambrose, great gd of Annie Iserhoff & Fred McLeod. I want to know so much more about our family’s history in Canada.One of my biggest regrets is not getting all of my Gramma’s stories on paper before she passed. I still miss her everyday and would love to write a book about our bloodline to honour her memory.

  24. Louise Jefferys Finlayson Says:

    Very interesting. My mother was an Iserhoff( Annie) daughter of William Joseph Iserhoff. I am 79 yrs old and I still remember Samuel Iserhoff when he was at Woswonaby. My Dad was the HBC Post manager at Woswonaby who married my mother at Mistassini & later transferred to Woswonaby. I had one brother who died of diphtheria in 1943.

    • Sheila Says:

      Louise, I have been researching the Iserhoff family for over 20 years. My aunt descends from Elizabeth Iserhoff who was the daughter of Jean Baptiste Leopold Iserhoff, who was a clerk for the North West Company and took as a wife, Shabookway, a Cree maiden. All Iserhoffs in Canada descend from this couple. I first contacted Matthew Iserhoff, your first cousin, in the early 1990s. He gave me your address and I wrote you a letter in 1992. Not sure if you remember my letter. The following is what I wrote in my database that you told me in the letter:
      “I received the address of Louise Jefferies Finlayson from Matthew Iserhoff, his first cousin. I wrote her in 1992 and received a reply shortly afterwards in May. Louise stated in her letter that her family was led to believe that the first Iserhoff who was ship wrecked lived with an Indian woman and had three sons, two dark and one fair haired. He eventually left, taking with him his faired haired son. From the other two boys came the enormous Iserhoff family of Northern Quebec. She stated that one of her uncles had sixteen children and another had ten.” (Letter from Louise Jefferys Finlayson, Dorval, Quebec, 9 May 1992.)

    • Jennifer Ambrose Says:

      Hi Louise, I just found you in my great grandfather’s Woswonaby Post Journal. Your family arrived at the post by plane on Friday, September 13, 1940. Your father took over for my great grandfather (Fred MacLeod) who had been the post manager for 15 years. There are a number of references to your grandfather WJ Iserhoff in this journal as well. As a note of interest, Fred MacLeod was also married to an Annie Iserhoff (daughter of Samuel Joseph). They sure weren’t very creative with names back then. 🙂

  25. Jennifer Ambrose Says:

    Have you read the on line info regarding Gustav Iserhoff (of German descent)?

    • cyoungblood Says:

      I’ve heard the name before. I started the blog to see how far reaching it would go and have had a lot of success. However, I’ve yet to locate a picture of my Mother’s father though we did locate his grave site. Gustav is mentioned here in this blog under the heading 1810. Thanks for the comments!

      • Sheila Says:

        Hi Clarence, I have no photos of your mother’s father although I have much info on the entire Iserhoff family. Hopefully I will eventually write a book on the family. I already have written one book, unpublished, on the family, which I gave to very few people. I find that the problem with passing on information from my database to some people is that then they pass it on to others and never include the sources of their information which I always include in my research. A family genealogy is a fairy tale if you do not have sources to back up your information. I looked at the site you mentioned in your comments above this reply and the problem with the research this person has done, is that there are no sources and most of his information is incorrect. I hope that family members are careful of what they copy from sites like his as the information and genealogy could all be incorrect.

  26. cyoungblood Says:

    Thanks for the link. Yes there seems to be some confusion as to who Jean Baptiste Leopold Iserhoff. Was he in fact Gustav the doctor or was he the shipwrecked sailor in James Bay OR one in the same? I would have to do further research but in the book Land of the Moosoneek, it suggests the shipwrecked sailor was the father of the four boys including the original Samuel Iserhoff, but not the Anglican priest Samuel. It is very confusing. I had it near figured out at one point. Perhaps this is why I should make the documentary. Very interesting history. Keep you posted here. I hope to visit my Grandfather’s grave this summer with my Mother who is 84. My Grandfather, Samuel Iserhoff is buried in Hailubury. He was at Pagwa River in the early 30 and went to work in the Silver Mine where he got some sort of lung disease. My Mom lost him at age 6 and her Mother was deceased about the same time. She was then sent to MacIntosh Residential School and raised by the Nuns until she was 18 and met and married my Dad thereafter. An interesting history indeed!

    • Sheila Says:

      Yes, this family is confusing! In order to figure out the ancestors and descendants in this family, one has to do primary research. You have to begin with Gustav Iserhoff as I did. He is the first to cone to Canada and was a surgeon in the British military during the American Revolution. If you look up records in the Canadian Archives you will find info on him. You will also find his marriage in Montreal and the births of his children in Berthier at Ste. Genevieve de Berthier. The church records are primary records and you can usually believe what is written in these records. You cannot believe what is written in the books that were written in the late 1880s and early 1900s by people who knew the Iserhoffs or heard about them because they did not do research in primary records. They are only repeating stories they heard or information that was passed down in families. Many of these early books claim that the first Iserhoff to Canada was a shipwrecked Russian sailor. This is not true. It is a fairy tale! The first Iserhoff to Canada was Gustave Iserhoff. If you look at the birth records for his children, you will find the birth of Jean Baptiste Leopold Iserhoff. He is the one who worked for the North West Company and took as a country wife a Cree woman. We cannot say that he married her because no marriage record has been found! How do I know that he worked as a clerk for the Northwest company? It is because I ordered films from the Hudson Bay Company and looked for information on him in these records. I also ordered records from the Canadian archives on other things to do with the Iserhoff family and that is how I compiled my information and all of it I have footnoted. If you find something on the Internet and there is no source or footnote, do not believe it. Usually it has been copied from someplace else and mistakes are made when things are copied. I have shared much of my information with Iserhoff descendants and find it all over the Internet but with no sources or credit to me. I have the children of Jean Bte Iserhoff and it took me several years to figure out who they were and their descendants because they used the same names, mostly John and Joseph, and they also frequently married their cousins. Of course, I can always make mistakes, but so far most of what I have figured out for this family has proven to be true. More Later.

  27. Jennifer Ambrose Says:

    Yep, ‘Canon Samuel’ had me perplexed too. I’m not sure where he fits in to all of this but presumably he does. He was born about 20 years after the first Samuel Iserhoff, who’s grandfather is Jean Baptiste Leopold Iserhoff. I’d guess that the 2nd Samuel is Jean Baptiste Leopold’s great grandson.

    Gustav Iserhoff came to Canada with the British militia during the American Revolution in 1776. 10 years before Jean Baptiste Leopold was born. He is recorded in the 1831 Cdn. census as ‘Gus’ Iserhoff (with a family of 5) and given that he stayed on in the region following the Revolution, it would stand to reason that he is Jean Baptiste Leopold’s father. While Gustav lived in Germany up until joining the Brunswick regiment, it is possible (and likely) that he was actually Russian. Certainly any official records pertaining to Jean Baptiste Leopold indicate that the family is of Russian decent.

    As for the shipwreck… who knows. Maybe that was a word of mouth story handed down from one generation to the next that got muddled along the way. There were certainly lots of shipwrecks in Hudson Bay including ships owned by the Hudson Bay Company. Perhaps Gustav was involved in a shipping accident while in the military or maybe Jean Baptiste was involved in one while working for the HBC.

    Yes, do make the documentary. It’s a great story – except for the part where your poor mother loses her parents. How tragic. And at such a young age. Heartbreaking.

    • Sheila Says:

      The 2 Samuel Iserhoffs are confusing. The first Samuel Iserhoff that was born in the Iserhoff family was Samuel R. Iserhoff who was born in 1865 and was the grandson of Jean Bpt. Iserhoff who was a clerk for the North West Fur Company. He was always known as Samuel R. Iserhoff. The other Samuel Iserhoff was Canon Samuel Iserhoff, who was born in 1885, 20 years after his uncle Samuel R. Iserhoff. Canon Samuel Iserhoff was the greatgrandson of Jean Bpt. Iserhoff. Canon Samuel Iserhoff was NEVER called Canon Samuel R. Iserhoff. People have confused these 2 men and added the middle initial R. to Canon Samuel’s name. These 2 men were the first Iserhoff men to have been named Samuel. There were 4 other men born later that also had the name Samuel as a first or middle name.

      • Jennifer Ambrose Says:

        Hi Sheila, Thank you for your comments. I’d love to see the family tree you have compiled. You’ve clearly done a ton of research. Wow! I am a great grand daughter of Annie Iserhoff (Samuel R.’s daughter). 🙂

  28. Jennifer Ambrose Says:

    Actually I’m wrong. Canon Samuel R. Iserhoff is Jean Baptiste’s great great grandson. His father was John C. Iserhoff (1859-1926), his grandfather was Joseph Iserhoff (b.1828), and his great grandfather was also a Joseph Iserhoff (b.1812). Jean Baptiste Leopold Iserhoff had 3 children: Elizabeth, born in 1811, Joseph in 1812 and John Jack in 1820.

    • Janie Pachano Says:

      Hi Jennifer,
      My name is Janie Pachano, a Cree Indian from Chisasibi, Quebec, James Bay. I am a “step-descendant” of the Iserhoffs. In 1942, when I was still a toddler, my mother married Johnny Samuel Iserhoff, the son of Rev. Canon Samuel Iserhoff and Sarah Hester and I, too, have spent many, many years researching the Iserhoff family unaware that there were other people out there doing the same thing. In fact I have spent over 20 years researching the family trees for all Cree families in Chisasibi & I am on the verge of publishing a book on the history of my community, which will include the Iserhoff family tree going back to Gustav Iserhoff. My sources for these family trees are church records, census lists (1901, 1911, 1917, 1921), personal interviews with Elders, residential school records, Indian Affairs membership lists, HBC records of all the James Bay posts on both sides of bay – I learned long ago not to trust the public family trees posted on the internet or references in anthropologists/historians/non-native researchers’ papers or published books. Even some of the HBC biographical sheets appear to be wrong.

      Anyway, just read your comments on J.B.L. Iserhoff’s 3 children. Actually it appears that he had 4: Elizabeth born in 1811, Joseph born around 1810, Jean Baptiste Leopold Jr. born in 1814 but baptized in 1820 and who died in November of 1835, and John “Jack”, who appears to have been born around the time of his father’s death and for whom no baptismal record was found. John, however, is mentioned all over the place in the HBC Post journals and was often referred to as the “brother” of Joseph.

      It is interesting to read all these comments about the Iserhoffs who I known my whole life.

      • Jennifer Says:

        Hi Janie, Thank you for your note. Would love to read your book when it’s published so please post a note when (and where) it’s available. 🙂 If you’d like any additional information on Sam R. Iserhoff’s side of the family, I’m happy to share with you what I know. Do you happen to know where Emily Iserhoff fits in to the family tree? Possibly born to Emily & George Iserhoff. She married Ernie MacLeod in the late 30’s. Presumably they met in Waswanipi. Ernie lived there from 1925 to around 1938. They had one child together. Robert Charles MacLeod. Ernie died in the 2nd world war.

  29. Evelyn Baxter Says:

    Hello! I am the grand daughter of Gilbert Baxter. His parents were George and Josephine Baxter (nee Iserhoff). I believe Josephine was Samuel’s daughter. I am very interested in learning more about my genealogy, and I found your information to be very interesting.

  30. Donald MacDougall Says:

    Information requested and received from the City of Temiskaming Shores:

    Samuel Iserhoff is interred at the following in Mt. Pleasant Cemetery:


    ISERHOFF SAMUEL N4′ E1/2 247 D TB victim

    The sections are indicated at the cemetery. If the caretaker is on site when they are visiting, he can definitely take them to the location of the grave.

    I hope this helps!
    Tammy Borgen-Flood
    Administrative Assistant
    City of Temiskaming Shores

    • cyoungblood Says:

      Thanks so much Donald! Hoping to make the pilgrimage there this summer with my Mom. My cousin Bob Michon has this info too and a pic of the site, so it is in fact real. Thanks for the coordinates though. We did not have that specific information. I’m hoping to include the visit as part of this documentary that I am working on. Look forward to visiting at Easter. We will have to meet for coffee and discuss. See you then!

  31. Valerie Bergman Says:

    My grandmother is Pearl Bergman (Baxter), daughter of George & Josephine Baxter (Iserhoff), daughter of Samuel Iserhoff. Still discovering a lot about this branch of the family tree, nice to see all these comments.

  32. Jennifer Ambrose Says:

    Hi Clarence, have you seen this? McIntosh Residential School – 1938 – possibly a photo of your mom?

    • cyoungblood Says:

      Thanks for the link. I don’t think that is her, but we do have many pics of my Mom at McIntosh as she was raised there by the Nuns. I will include them in the documentary. btw, I will see my folks over the Easter Weekend. Thanks again for you efforts and someone I know out there has pic of her Dad at Pagwa. We have the Uncles Peter, Paul and I forget the last fellows name? It wasn’t Mary. Haha. Thanks for your coorespondence!

      • Jennifer Ambrose Says:

        There was a Peter Iserhoff but I’m not sure about Paul. There was also a David, Robert and John (and possibly a George) in addition to the sisters: Louise, Josephine, Annie, Minnie and Vadny… big family! Many of the Iserhoff descendants (the Mcleod clan) are getting together for a family reunion next summer (2016) and we’re currently putting together a photo album. Hopefully some pics of the Iserhoff’s will surface in the process but the folks in Moose Factory are looking in the meantime.

  33. Nicolas eignoff Says:

    My old grandpa is otto eignoff german soldiers

  34. Ruth K. Baxter Says:

    My name is Ruth K. Baxter, daughter of Gilbert and Barbara (nee Ritch) Baxter. As my daughter, Evelyn Baxter, has stated, my father’s parents were/are George and Josephine (Iserhoff) Baxter.
    As I understand, my grandmother, Josephine Iserhoff was the daughter of
    Samuel Iserhoff who was employed by the HBC. He was based at Marten Falls. There is quite abit of information about him in the HBC archives in Winnipeg. I have seen those documents. I, also, have done some research on all our family trees.

  35. Gary Still Says:

    I have begun a series of Family Pages regarding the ISERHOFF descendants at this link:
    GUSTAVE ISERHOFF (1751-1838)

    I am currently working on a Page for Jean Baptiste ISERHOFF (1786-1835) which will probably be posted in the next day of so.
    Look forward to comments and queries on my Forum.
    Regards, Gary Still

    • Gary Still Says:

      Please notify me of new comments also

      • Sheila Macauley Says:

        Email me at I have seen your pages on the Red River Families and the Iserhoff information. I have a correction that I think you would like to have. I could not find any email address for you on your site. I have written an unpublished book about the Iserhoff family. A few places have copies of the manuscript but not many. I hate to see incorrect information on line as it keeps getting copied and passed on to others. Sheila Macauley

      • Gary Still Says:

        Please post comments and queries to the various Forum Topics on my Website (you will need to register first).
        I don’t discuss genealogy by private Emails. It defeats the purpose of the website which is to share info with others.
        Link to ISERHOFF Discussion Topic: FORUM DISCUSSING SAMUEL ISERFHOFF (1866-1951)

  36. Gary Still Says:

    I have added another instalments about the ISERHOFF families on my Red River Ancestry Website as follows:
    JOHN ISERHOFF (1820-1865)
    I look forward to further comments and queries on my website.
    Regards, Gary Still

  37. Gary Still Says:

    New Link on RedRiverAncestry:

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