Geoffrey & Charles (Canadian) Gowlland correspondence.


Letters of 1952 between Geoffrey Gowlland (b. 1903) and Charles Robert Gowlland, son of Richard Gowlland (b. 1852).


Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, Ottawa, Canada to Geoff  -  30th May 1947


Dear Sir

We have been endeavouring for some time to locate one Charles Gowlland to pay him the endowment proceeds payable on insurance policy reference 55.685-A3. Our efforts to date have been unsuccessful, but we have been advised by Miss Gladys Gowlland, 3406 Northcliffe Avenue, Montreal, Quebec, that our insured might be a relative of yours and that you might be in a position to furnish information which might enable us to locate him.

Our records indicate that the insured was born in Nanaimo, British Columbia, in March 1897 and at the time this policy was issued in 1927 he was employed as an inspector with the Gutta Percha Rire [Sic – was “Tire” intended?] and Rubber Company.  We have no record of the name of the insured’s father but are aware that he died in 1920 at the age of 72 years.  At the time of issue of this policy, the insured had one brother and two sisters living and one brother and one sister deceased.

We are anxious to meet our obligation and dispose of the maturity proceeds of this policy, and any information you might be in a position to furnish would be greatly appreciated.

Yours truly . .


Geoff to The Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, Ottawa, Canada - 18th June 1947


Dear Sirs

I was most interested in your letter of the 30th May, because for five or six years I have been collecting together the names and addresses and particulars of all the Gowllands I could find, having now somewhere near hundred and fifty names.

During the last eighty years or so there are very few gaps, but about a hundred years ago there are a number of loose ends which probably would connect up with your insured.  Unfortunately I can trace no males at all with sons born in 1848 in my records.

As it happened, a cutting was passed on to me from a newspaper which contained a list of the Canadian Army wounded in1917.  Amongst them was an R. A. Gowlland of Nanaimo.  No doubt this was one of your Charles Gowlland’s brothers.

If you could find out the father’s name, it might help; particularly as at that time the family were strong Non-Conformists.  Most birth records, therefore, were registered at little local offices, and not regularly through the churches.  In addition, the church records in three different churches, which might possibly cover the period in which you are interested were destroyed in various air-raids.

There is a Charles Gowlland alive to-day, an uncle of mine, who lives at 46 Elgin Road, Bournemouth [this is a reference to Charles Septimus Gowlland, the younger brother of Geoff's father] .  His children are three girls, and he was born about 1878.

I am, therefore, very sorry to explain that I cannot give the information you need, beyond adding that the Gowllands are a very compact family and, unquestionably, are all inter-related.  The particular spelling [with two “L’s”] originated in about 1760, and distinguishes this family from others of a similar name.

It will be very interesting for me if you could afford any additional information at any time: I am not clear from your letter whether the insured is alive or not.

My cousin, Gladys Gowlland, is probably the nearest Gowlland to you; and, if no other outlet occurs, perhaps you could pay whatever sums have accrued, to her.


Yours faithfully  . . . .


Geoff to Charles (Canadian) Gowlland  -  17th November 1952


Dear Sir

A friend noticed your name in a Canadian directory and kindly passed it on to me.

For a number of years I have been preparing a “Tree” of all the Gowllands I can find, and I would very much appreciate if you could advise me who were your father and grandfather.

I have an un-traced R. A. Gowlland who was in the Canadian Army (mentioned in a Wounded List in 1917) and lived in Nanaimo.  Furthermore, there was a Norman James Gowlland, born on the 9th May 1881, who, I believe, went to Canada about 1912.  Are either of these relatives of yours?

In 1947 the Metropolitan Life Assurance Company of Ottawa wrote [to] us asking whether we could give them any information regarding a Charles Gowlland, as there were some proceeds payable on an insurance policy. The Department is the Ordinary Conservation Div. 55-685/A3.  It is possible that the Gowlland this Insurance Company is trying to trace is yourself and perhaps you would like to get in touch with them.  It is possible that they may have some money for you!

I am enclosing an International Reply Paid Coupon, and I would very much appreciate your kindness in letting me have a little additional information which I can add on to my tree of the family.

Yours faithfully   . . .


Charles (Canadian) Gowlland to Geoff  -  1st December 1952


Dear Sirs

I have your favour of the 17th ulto. and am pleased to give you the following information:

My father was Richard Gowlland born January 1st 1852 at Highgate Park, Bow Bells, London.

I have no knowledge of name [This is curious  -  it is very uncommon for a person not to know their grandfather's name - possibly there was something unusual in his descent, or there had been a family quarrel  -  by no means unprecedented in the Gowlland family history!] or place of birth of my grandfather

I am a son of Richard Gowlland, and my place of residence is at 2622 Commercial Drive, Vancouver,B.C.,Canada.

Richard Archie Gowlland also is a son, and formerly resided at Nanaimo, B.C. now lives at 40 Burleith Road, Northampton, England.

I have no knowledge of Norman James Gowlland.

I was traced by the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company some time back, and have have received the proceeds due under their policy

Trusting the foregoing may prove of assistance to you, and with my best wishes for the approaching Festive Season.

I remain   . . . .   Yours faithfully   ….


Geoff to Charles (Canadian) Gowlland  -  6th December 1952


Dear Sir

I thank you very much for your very kind letter of the 1st December.  I am extremely grateful to you for taking the trouble.

The name of Richard has appeared on the senior branch of the family at least once or twice in each generation for nearly two hundred years, and I am interested and surprised that your father was a Richard Gowlland, who does not in fact appear on my tree at all.

I am very interested to have information about Richard Archie Gowlland: he was noted amongst the Canadian Army personnel in 1917, but I cannot fit him in either.

A friend told me that a Richard Gowlland has just appeared on the British Navy List as a sub-lieutenant: perhaps this is a nephew of yours?

I am glad that the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company traced you successfully: I thought perhaps I was doing you a good turn, but apparently I was too late.

Here at the moment we have weather which is almost Canadian: it has been below freezing point for several days, and we have thick fog, and it does seem like the traditional Christmas weather; and is a most appropriate time for us to reciprocate your good wishes for Christmas and the New Year.


Yours faithfully   . . . . . .



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