My plane touched down at about 4:20 pm Ottawa time. There was the usual events that unfold when you depart an airplane such as baggage claim. This time there would be a slightly different twist, because I had customs to go through.
The Ottawa Airport is southwest of the city of Ottawa. It is about the size of the Columbus, Ohio airport and that surprised me. It was easy to get around, not like Chicago which takes forever.
It was sunny and muggy. The car rentals were across the departure and arrival avenue and it is always fun to pull all my luggage with me through heavy doors. Of course, Hertz was almost the furthest down the long hallway of rental car booths. They gave me a Dodge Cavalier – hatchback in black. I was soon off and onto the highway called Hunts Club toward Hwy 416 that meshed into Hwy 417. In Ontario you think east to west, not like at home which is usually north to south.
My goal was the town of Renfrew which placed me in the about the centre of Renfrew County for the next few days. Now I do not yet know if I have family links in Renfrew County, Ontario which is on the western side of the Ottawa River. My family settled in Pontiac County, Quebec which is on the eastern side of the Ottawa River but they are very interrelated so you need to study both counties.
An introduction to Ottawa Valley genealogy can be found here: “My Ottawa Valley Ancestors” http://ottawagenealogy.com/ The author has Kennedy’s on this website and some married McDonalds, but I cannot see a connection to my family, still it has a lot of good family names and information.
An interesting history of Renfrew Co.: http://www.ottawariver.org/pdf/31-ch5-3.pdf
You might want to study this website for the history of the Ottawa River: http://www.ottawariver.org/html/intro/intro_e.html
Renfrew County GenWeb: http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~onrenfre/index.html
Renfrew County Gravemarker Gallery http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~murrayp/renfrew/index.htm
Renfrew County Government: http://www.countyofrenfrew.on.ca/
Renfrew Public Library: http://www.town.renfrew.on.ca/library/index.php
Heritage Renfrew is the local custodian for historic documents and more. You need to make an appointment on Monday or Wednesday between 10 am to 1 pm. They are located at 770 Gibbons Road, Renfrew, Ontario. They don’t appear to have a website.
The next day was Victoria Day in Canada and so it was a three-day weekend which means that many stores, government agencies and more were closed. So I decided to use that day to tour both Renfrew County and Pontiac County. I would then head for Allumette Island and Chichester and Sheen Townships and visit the sights and cemeteries in those areas.
Renfrew town is spread out and had 3 exits. I spent most of my time on O’Brien Street till I learned about the northern exit on Bruce Street which goes right by the St. Xavier Catholic Cemetery. If you spot a red picket fence going north you are almost there. It is on the left with two stone columns and a long drive. I did not have time to investigate.