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Scotland Nodwells PDF Print E-mail
The Family Nodwell
Written by Jennifer Nodwell   
Wednesday, 18 November 2009 20:35

I've been talking with Jim MacGregor about his Nodwells in Scotland. I feel certain that there is a connection in his tree to William's son William who remained in Ireland when the rest of the clan was emigrating to Canada. 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 November 2009 20:43
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Bruce Nodwell PDF Print E-mail
The Family Nodwell
Written by Jennifer Nodwell   
Wednesday, 28 January 2009 01:44

Bruce Nodwell an Inventor with Drive

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Bruce Nodwell had an unusual birth certificate: Province of Saskatchewan, Section 22, Township 36, Range 9, West of the 3rd. Born the son of a homesteader on May 12, 1914, he died in Calgary on January 20, 2006. During the intervening 91 years, Nodwell became the world's foremost inventor of industrial tracked vehicles.

His signature offroad machine, the Nodwell 110, sold more than 1,500 units, primarily to the North American oilpatch. Half a century later, its direct successor remains in production, albeit much improved and flanked by a fleet of other models.

Foremost Industries, founded by Nodwell and his son Jack in Calgary, has a market capitalization above $250 million, and operates in Russia, the United States and elsewhere. Yet success definitely did not come easily. "I've worn out three or four companies along the way, and quite a few customers, too," the self-educated pioneer once remarked.

His father Howard, raised in North Dakota, homesteaded 25 miles west of Saskatoon (population 500 in 1903) near the village of Asquith at age 16. Then as now, farming was unpredictable. When hail destroyed a grain crop just before harvest, Bruce Nodwell said his parents used the ice to make ice cream and to his recollection made no complaint about seeing a year's work wiped out.

His father became a grain buyer, moving frequently from town to town. Formal education, under the circumstances, was erratic. "I never learned a thing in school," Bruce Nodwell stated flatly in a private family memoir. In 1923, the Nodwells migrated from Carmangay in southern Alberta back to Asquith, where Howard bought an interest in a hardware store. Their 1918 Dodge Touring car, towing a buggy converted into a trailer, travelled on prairie trails used earlier by Red River carts. Colored strips painted sporadically on telephone poles marked the route; the only accommodation was a tent.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 28 January 2009 01:55
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Irish Roots PDF Print E-mail
The Family Nodwell
Written by Jennifer Nodwell   
Sunday, 25 January 2009 10:57

This story comes to us from R. Gordon Nodwell, descendant of William Nodwell. Though I do not know the original date of his writing, the copy which he sent to me is marked as revised in January, 1995. Gordon lived in Canada, and I met him through a genealogy forum around 2001. He is a most knowledgeable Nodwell researcher, without whose efforts I would have been stumped in the second generation back from my husband.

The Nodwells in Ireland and Canada

The earliest record of people with the name Nodwell in Ireland that I have been able to find is in the list of rents paid in the manor of Castledawson in the period after 1725. Matthew Nodwell and William Nodwell are reported as rent payers in those years (the rent seems to have been two pounds, but there is no clear indication as to the period which that covers). In a list of residents in the parish of Magherafelt (which apparently included the manor of Castledawson) in 1766, the same two names appear with the addition of a third -- William the younger. It is interesting to note that one entry lists part of the rent for William Nodwell as "work for Mr. Berkeley ... and to hewing shiags to ye Chapell."

How came these people to this place?

It is clear that they came to Ireland from England. baptismal and marriage records show people of this name in cornwall and Devon and in Londong and Hertfordshire. In the Cornwall and Devon area the predominant spelling of the name is Notwell, with variants, Nutwill or Nuttwell. (No doubt the clergy who recorded these events were not especially particular about spelling.) I have found records of 85 baptisms and 35 marriages between 1660 and 1872 in these two counties. The predominant names are John, Robert, Thomas and William, with a Christopher, Francis, Stephen and Nicholas thrown in. The females are named after their mothers and are therefore more varied.

In London and Hertford the spelling of the name is usually Nodwell with occasional variations of Nuttwell or Notwell. Common first names are Joh, Francis and Matthew, with one Robert, one James, a George and an Edmund. I have found records of 44 baptisms and 14 marriages between 1597 and 1790.

Last Updated on Friday, 20 August 2010 19:10
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