Aunt Miriam’s notes suggested that Archie went to Glengarry County to visit before he headed to Minnesota. (See the post before this.) Unfortunately, it is not known where Keith’s grandfather was born or even if he was born in Glengarry County. There are many McDonald, Macdonell, MacDonald families who lived in that area and it is like looking for a needle in a haystack.
Miriam’s notes read “he grew up.” Does that mean he was born there in Glengarry County or does it mean he only lived there as a boy? Why did he leave and head up to Chichester, Pontiac Co., Quebec? Did he go with family or did he strike out on his own?
At this time, his great-granddaughter does not have enough information to determine the answers to these questions regarding Archie. Hopefully a trip to Ontario this Spring 2012 will open that door. (See trip page at the top of this blog).
A review of the Canadian Census and more for Archibald reveal the following:
1861 – born U.C. age 27 which means his birth year would be about 1834.
1871 – born Quebec, age 39 this means his birth year would be 1832.
1881 – born Ontario, age 45 this means his birth year would be 1836.
1891 – born Ontario, age 60 this means his birth year would be 1831
1901 has his birth date as October  1837 in Canada written over with Quebec.
On his death certificate for Minnesota his birth date is listed as 1829 and that Archie was born in Quebec, by his youngest son Alex.
So we have a mess. Then we throw in the spelling of McDonald, McDonell, Macdonell and it is means checking all forms of the name in research. With all the border changes in Canada that also adds a challenge as well as Glengarry County’s changes.
According to the St. Alphonse church records his parents were John and Sara McDonell. His daughter’s charts have the name “Roy” as his father? There was no mention in the record that they were deceased. See the posts dated June 30, 2011 “A Mystery – Roy Macdonnell?” and June 17, 2011 “Nellie’s Charts – Her Father Archie McDonell’s Family. “
His siblings’ names were: Ronald, John, Kitty, Angus, Duncan, and Sarah. He was the youngest. That side of the family has not been as easy to find as his wife, Mary’s which I discussed in past posts. Keith’s sister Eddie said that “Kitty was a weaver.”
He spoke Gaelic at one time but had forgotten it by the time he visited. All the above suggest he was born in Canada. There is no indication that he spoke French even though he lived in Chichester, Pontiac County, Quebec.
The visit to Glengarry took place about 1901 or 1902 and then Archie and Mary headed for Bemidji in Minnesota. It is not known if Mary went with him?
So many questions about the origins of Archibald McDonell who might have been Patrick Archibald McDonell.