Our Sparks Family History
Sparks family genealogy of Carleton and surrounding counties in Ontario and Quebec
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Credits and Acknowledgements

Sparks Family Researcher and Site Author

 Deb and Wayne

This website is authored and researched by K. Wayne Lester, and largely developed with inputs from many people. The author is sincerely grateful and wishes to thank the following family historians for their contributions.

On his mother's side, Wayne is a descendent of George Sparks of Bells Corners, Nepean, a brother of Nicholas Sparks of Bytown. As well, he is a 4x great step-grandson of Nicholas Sparks of Bytown through his 4x great grandmother Sarah Olmstead. Wayne is also a direct descendent of Philemon Wright on his father's side. Wayne was born in Ottawa, Ontario and currently lives in Kanata, Ontario, Canada with his wonderfully patient wife Deborah.

Family history has been Wayne’s life-long interest spurred on by family claims of connections to the Bytown "first" families of Nicholas Sparks and Philemon Wright. A career spanning 45 years in engineering management, researching and authoring Corporate strategies and plans in Telecommunications and Information Technolgy, inspired his pursuit in family history study and publication. When he’s not yelling at hockey players or sipping martinis from a cruise-liner deck-chair, retirement now allows Wayne to devote more time and resources to exploring and compiling his Canadian and British Isles ancestral connections. Wayne’s current research pursues the Sparks ancestry in England.

Sparks Family Historians

 Doris Hope Doris Grierson Hope is a descendent of George Sparks of Bells Corners, Nepean, a brother of Nicholas Sparks of Bytown, and was born in Goulbourn Township in Carleton County. Doris answered her country's calling in World War 2 serving as a Wireless operator in Moncton, New Brunswick, tracking German U-Boat activities. For her contribution, she was awarded the Bletchley Park pin by the Prime Minister of Great Britain. After the war, Doris worked as legal stenographer and later applied her academic interests through teaching at the Collegiate Institute of Ottawa and Algonquin College in Ottawa, and all while attending after-hour study towards obtaining a Bachelor of Commerce and Master of Arts in Religion. In 1954, she married Mervin Hope and raised a daughter Melodie in Ottawa, Ontario where she and her daughter's family currently live.

Doris's interest in family history was driven by her father's pursuit of forefather Captain Grierson, who served with General Wolfe at the Battle of Plains of Abraham, and who was later granted land in Torbolton for his services. "A trip to the Dominion Government Archives was the start of my interest searching family history." An unbridled passion for the intrigue of a good game of bridge is her other interest.

As a noted historian and author of several local publications, Doris's research and recount of the Torbolton Township history "Torbolton Township: Its Earliest History" was acknowledged as a major contribution towards preserving Carleton County history.

Doris has spent more than 35 years pursuing the ancestors and descendents of George Sparks of Bells Corners, patiently and diligently wading through archive records without the use of today’s Internet. Many hundreds of names, dates, stories and relationships have been collected. Over the more recent years, Doris has been researching the Sparks ancestors in Wexford, Ireland. In 2010, Doris passed her collection to the website author for continued research and publication. A good portion of this website is based on Doris's family connections to George Sparks of Bells Corners, and to our Sparks Irish roots in Wexford, Ireland.

 Naomi Slater Muriel Naomi Slater Heydon (1909 -1995) is a direct descendent of Bytown’s Nicholas Sparks, a prominent Ottawa founding family. Naomi was born in Ottawa and educated there and in Toronto. Early in WWII when working at the newly opened Australian Embassy she met and married Peter Heydon, an Australian diplomat. Over the next sixteen years the Heydons had postings in Moscow, Canberra, London (England), Rio de Janeiro, Wellington and New Delhi. A period of 13 years in Canberra followed until Peter’s sudden death at the age of 57. Their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren now all live in Australia - in Canberra and Sydney.

Naomi’s tertiary education included modern languages, French and Spanish, and after years as a diplomatic spouse she could also speak, to some extent, Russian, Portuguese and Hindi. Naomi was a North American Ice-skating champion before her marriage and she played golf both then and in India, New Zealand and Australia. Her leadership qualities were considerable and she applied these in charitable organisations, especially the YWCA, and the golf clubs Royal Ottawa, Delhi and Royal Canberra. Bridge was a hobby that gave pleasure in her later years.

With more time available when she was widowed and spurred by a question from her son about the family tree, Naomi became an avid researcher. This first period of about seven years culminated in the publication of “Looking Back…Pioneers of Bytown and March, Nicholas Sparks and Hamnett Kirkes Pinhey”, which chronicled the pioneers who laid the foundation of Ottawa. Inevitably the by-product of this book was a substantial amount of material about other family members and a second volume “Sparks and More Sparks” was close to finished when Naomi suffered a debilitating stroke in 1986. While she lived for nearly 10 years after that, her genealogical work could not continue. Her papers have been stored by her daughter Julia waiting for the time to bring them to light. This work is now underway.

 Julia Hoffman Julia Lynne Hoffman is a direct descendent of Bytown’s Nicholas Sparks, and the daughter of Naomi Slater Heydon. Julia lives in Canberra, Australia with her husband David Leon Hoffman; their two children Brendan David and Jody Anne, and their families, live in Sydney, Australia. In her tertiary studies Julia majored in pharmacology and in her professional life she was involved in various aspects of pharmacy regulation. Julia’s recreations also include golf and competition bridge; at times she has shown excessive levels of commitment to these interests.

 Donald Sparks Donald Sparks is a direct descendent of George Sparks of Bells Corners, Nepean, a brother of Nicholas Sparks of Bytown, and was born in Ottawa, currently living in Renfrew, Ontario. Donald grew-up on the Sparks farm in Hazeldean, Ontario and attended Waterloo Lutheran University obtaining a Bachelor of Arts. Donald worked for Air Canada in Ottawa, Miami and Montreal, and is proficient in learning languages, being fluent in French, Brazilian Portuguese, Spanish, and can understand and speak some Italian, German, Dutch and Papiamento. He has been around the world twice living in Brazil learning Portuguese. Donald's cousin Doris Grierson Hope got him interested in family history where he has journeyed to Ireland combing Irish archives for Sparks family history.