Alexander Jeffrey CAMBIE and Elizabeth POSTON
Ireland to Quebec City to Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

April 23, 2006:

Hi Al Lewis

I can't tell you how pleased I was to find your website today.  

My maternal great-grandfather, Alexander Jeffrey Cambie, was born in Ireland about 1835.  
He emigrated to Quebec (date unknown) and married Elizabeth Poston there on June 05, 1866.  
According to census information, he was in the civil service, and later on, chief clerk 
and patent clerk with the Department of Agriculture. Through part of your website,, I discover their 1866 marriage announcement in the 
Ottawa Times.  This was so moving to me as their history has been predictably 
not personal at all.  

I know very little about this part of my family and would love to learn more.  Please 
advise on how to do this via your website.


Here is the Alexander Cambie family in the 1881 Census:

1881 Census Place:	Wellington Ward, Ottawa, Carleton, Ontario, Canada
	Source:	FHL Film 1375865  NAC C-13229  Dist 105  SubDist A  Div 2  Page 126  Family 605
			Sex	Marr	Age	Origin	Birthplace	Occ		Religion
Alexander J. CAMBIE	M	M	46	Irish	Ireland		Civil Service	Church of England	
Elizabeth CAMBIE	F	M	36	English	Quebec				Church of England	
Henry W. CAMBIE		M		13	Irish	Ontario				Church of England	
Charles CAMBIE		M		10	Irish	Quebec				Church of England	
Sussan CAMBIE		F		8	Irish	Ontario				Church of England	
David CAMBIE		M		7	Irish	Ontario				Church of England	
Sarah A. CAMBIE		F		5	Irish	Ontario				Church of England	
Alexander J. CAMBIE	M		3	Irish	Ontario				Church of England	
Eilean CAMBIE		F		1	Irish	Quebec				Church of England	
George R. MAYOR		M		25	Irish	Ontario		Civil Service	Church of England	
Jane WRIGHT		F		35	English	Ontario		Servant		Church of England

April 26, 2006: Hi Al Thank you very much for setting up the Cambie webpage on your website. I have some more secondary sources for Cambie and thought perhaps the website should have them so no one else has to search for these ones in particular, or at least knows where to go to look. As far as I can see, Alexander J. Cambie worked in Ottawa although I notice a few of his children were born in Quebec. I wonder about this; did he clerk both in Ontario and Quebec? Was he a clerk who contracted himself out, so to speak? Was this the system back then? I haven't been able to find anything about his death but his wife (maybe a widow at the move to BC, certainly later in BC) and some of their grown-up children moved out to Vancouver, BC., including my maternal grandfather, David Cambie. 1) From The Ottawa Times, 1860's and 1870's... MARRIAGES - APRIL TO JUNE INCLUSIVE, 1866. Quebec, June 6, Alex J. Cambie, Patent Clerk, Dept of Agriculture, to Lizzie, eldest daughter of William Poston, Quebec. 2) Cambie, Alexander J. Event : Living Year : 1871 Place : Ottawa Province of record source : Ontario County of record source : Carleton Comments : Chief clerk & patent clerk. Source : Lovell's Canadian Dominion Directory for 1871. Publisher : John Lovell Publication place : Montreal Volume/Page(s) : 586 3) 1901 Census BC 39 63 Cambie Elizabeth F Head W Feb 1845 66 1901 40 63 Cambie Alexander M Son S Oct 1877 34 1901 41 63 Cambie George M Son S Aug 1891 30 1901 42 63 Hong Chang M Domestic S Apr 1902 9 1901 4) Cambie, Mrs. A. J. Event : Living Year : 1901 Place : Vancouver Province of record source : British Columbia County of record source : City of Vancouver Comments : Widow. Source : Henderson's British Columbia Gazetteer and Directory and Mining Companies for 1900-1901. Volume/Page(s) : 777 5) Mountain View Cemetery, Vancouver, BC Community Services Elizabeth J. Cambie d. May 25, 1928 ... Janet ________________________ At the time of Confederation in 1867, some Civil Servants from the provincial capitals were transferred to Ottawa to work on federal matters. This is probably the case with Alexander Cambie. ... Al
New June 30, 2009: Hello, I am the secretary of Civil Service Masonic Lodge in Ottawa and I have been researching our membership. R.W.Bro. Alexander Jeffrey Cambie, Past Grand Junior Warden, was a member of Rehoboam Lodge No. 65 and a founding member of Civil Service Lodge No. 148. Born in Ireland, he emigrated to Quebec City, and obtained a position in the civil service, becoming chief patent clerk with the Department of Agriculture. Between 1860 and 1870, Rehoboam Lodge, No. 65 GRC, Toronto, was not in active operation because most of its members were associated with the Government of Canada whose seat alternated every four years between Toronto and Quebec City but which, in 1859, had moved permanently to Quebec. In 1861, M.W.Bro. Thomas D. Harington (Roll No. 36) issued dispensation which authorized Civil Service Lodge to operate .... as in the nature of a Military Lodge; that is, a travelling lodge. R.W.Bro. Cambie joined our lodge on the night of our institution, May 14, 1861 and became our first Inner Guard. He served as Worshipful Master in 1871 and again in 1872. In 1865, Queen Victoria chose Ottawa as the permanent capital of Canada, and by necessity the lodge moved with the government to Ottawa. The is why your sources show both Quebec City and Ottawa as his residence. The Lodge minutes of October 10, 1865 note that "in consequence of the removal of the seat of government from Quebec to Ottawa at the above mentioned date and the impossibility of securing the requisite number of officers and brethren of the Lodge at either city, no regular communication was held on the evening of that date". The first meeting of Civil Service Lodge in Ottawa was held on November 14, 1865. Originally, all members of our lodge were required to be civil servants, thus the origin of our name. Below is a scanned copy of his signature, taken from our original bylaws. Signature of Alexander Jeffrey Cambie I hope this is useful information. I have added a bio to our website at under Lodge History/Renowned Members. Sincerely, Ron Dixon Secretary Civil Service Lodge No. 148 AF&AM __________________________________ Hi Al, I have been in communication with Janet Ker and I have located information on 2 more of our members - Alexander Jeffrey Cambie & Henry John Cambie. The latter was involved in the CPR and was present at the Last Spike. I have prepared a photo for our website and thought you might like a copy. Ms Ker was kind enough to provide a photo of A.J. Cambie. I have now identified 63 members of our lodge who made significant contributions including 3 fathers of confederation. Thanks again for your help. Ron Dixon (Note: I'll post the picture of the Last Spike tomorrow ... Al)
E-mail Janet Ker, Ron Dixon and Al Lewis
Back to Bytown or Bust - History and Genealogy in the Ottawa, Canada area -- Civil Service in the 1800's