John (Jack) Archibald McDonald & Sarah M. Burns

One of the goals I had on my trip to Ontario and Quebec, was to try to find any reference I could about the marriage of John (Jack) McDonald and Sarah Maria Burns.  Jack, as he was called, is a son of Archibald and Mary McDonell.  There are other John Archibald McDonell/McDonalds in the area so you do have to be careful to not confuse them.

They were still in Chichester in 1901 according to the Canadian Census that had an enumeration date of March 31, 1901.

In the 1901 Canadian census for Chichester, Pontiac County, Quebec we find Mary and Archie still living in the area along with their son John (Jack).

McDonald, Archie, farmer, 63 years old. Birth date is October [5,] 1837. Place of birth is Canada, which is written over with Quebec. Racial origin is given as Scottish, nationality is Canadian. Religion is Catholic. He can read, write and speaks English. His mother tongue is English. McDonald, Mary, birth date is March 13 , 1840, 60 years old. McDonald, John birth date is June 16, 1872, he is 28 years old. 

Source:  1901 Canadian Census, Chichester, Pontiac Co., Quebec CC Film #T6538, 1800 Pontiac, pg. 116.  

The marriage was 20 August 1901 as written in the St. Alphonsus Catholic Church Record.

John and Sarah’s Marriage

Source:  Ancestry.com, Quebec Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection) 1621-1967 database, Chapeau, Parish, St. Alphonse, Pontiac County, Quebec.  Registres Photographies  Aug Greffe De Campbell’s Bay, No. 17,  20 August 1901.

Another source is the Marriages Du Comte De Pontiac:

Source:  Marriages Du Comte De Pontiac 1836-1973: McDonald, Pub. No. 26, Editions Bergeron & Fils Engr’, Montreal, P.Q. FHL #971.4215 K29.

pg. 356 #6916 McDonald, John Archibald (Archibald McDonald & Mary McDonald) 8/20/1901 to Sarah Burns (Geo.Burns & Cath. McMahon).

I tried the Pembroke newspaper published abstracts for vital records, but didn’t find any article about this marriage.

Births, Marriages and Deaths from the Pembroke, Ontario Newspapers Vol I. 1900-1906, Compiled by Members of the Upper Ottawa Valley Genealogical Group, 2003.

Elaine (Burns) Brown writes that the wedding party probably…

“…celebrated at the home of Sarah’s cousin Ida Coghlan’s parents (Margaret) Ida Coghlan was the daughter of Ellen and James Coghlan.  Ellen was Catherine (McMahon) Burn’s sister.”  Ida is a witness to the marriage.

I was planning on looking at the actual Pembroke newspaper but didn’t have time to go to the Pembroke Public Library or at UVOGG.  I had made plans to visit Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa, and had requested the Pembroke newspapers.  When I arrived on Monday, May 28th they had the other newspaper films I had ordered but for some reason the Pembroke newspapers were missing.  Elaine reports that there was a break in the Pembroke newspaper from August 16, 1901 to January 3, 1902.  That is the critical time frame that I needed.  When reviewing the LAC information for the Pembroke newspaper I see that this break is there.  Still I did not get any Pembroke newspapers at the LAC.

Pembroke Observer.
NJ.FM.1018 F 1, 1867- 1898; 1900- Ag 16, 1901; Ja 3- Ag 22, 1902; 1906; 1913 AN 7158329 and AN 6945397

I also tried the Renfrew published newspaper abstracts for vital records but did not find anything of interest.  LAC has a nice listing of the volumes for the Mercury:  http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/journaux-chez-bac/035005-2209-e.html#ontario-renfrew-002

I did not study the Shawville newspapers at LAC because they didn’t have the timeframe I needed.  I did look at the McDonell/MacDonald/McDonald genealogical files at the Pontiac Archives in Shawville and didn’t find anything on the marriage.

At the Arnprior Archives I checked the newspaper abstracts for the Arnprior Watchman which are listed here:   http://www.adarchives.org/publications.htm

By doing this review of the local newspapers I learn the focus of that paper and eliminate possibilities.

The ultimate goal was to place the timeframe that Archibald, Mary, Jack and Sarah left Chichester for Minnesota.  Archie went back to Glengarry per Miriam’s notes so I would think he would do that before winter set in.  Did he go there after the wedding in August 1901?

The following picture is of Sarah, an unknown young girl, and Jack (John Archibald McDonell).  It was taken in International Falls about 1913.  This photograph was shared by Elaine (Burns) Brown.   On the right side panel of this blog under “Family History Websites of Interest” is the link a link to Elaine’s website:  Welcome:  Burns, Hughes, Somerville, Gentle.

UPDATE:  January 9, 2013 The unknown girl is found.  Please refer to the comments below on this post to learn the identify of this young girl.

Sarah, Unknown Girl, Jack McDonald

5 Responses to John (Jack) Archibald McDonald & Sarah M. Burns

  1. Elaine says:

    I was on the page that has two photos of Sara/Sarah one with the young girl & one with the baby but my comment has been bounced over here. The reason I believe that the young girl was Katherine ‘Kay’ Burns and not her younger sister Rita who has been named as a possibility is because I think Kay who was born 22 Feb 1900 and therefore 13 at the time of the birth of Mary Catherine Genevieve born 03 Jan 1913 was sent as a helper for Sara. There are later photos on Facebook of Kay who became a nurse and went to New York City in 1928. She died of cancer in 1943 in Ottawa and is buried at Notre Dame Cemetery without a marker. The baby in the photo is Mary Catherine Genevieve McDonald as far as I know.

    • bonmac says:

      I was wondering why this girl was with Sarah and Jack but that makes sense that she was helping out. I believe Sarah had difficulties with pregnancies and they lost several babies. Sarah and Jack where in International Falls by that time. This means Kay came down from Chichester in Pontiac Co., Quebec and stayed with them. Good job cousin. I love this when a mystery is solved.

      • Elaine says:

        You’re welcome. I’ll be digging out more photos & fixing up my Facebook Burns album so stay posted lol.

  2. Elaine says:

    I was told that the girl is Katherine ‘Kay’ Burns born in February 1900 daughter of Thomas Burns, Sara’s brother, and Frances Gregg.

    • bonmac says:

      Elaine: Thank so much for the information and update. It is always nice to find out who all the people are in the photograph. Good luck on organizing all your 20 years of genealogy. Bonnie

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