John (Jack) Archibald McDonald & Sarah M. Burns

July 20, 2012

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


Arnprior, Renfrew County, Ontario: Archives

June 15, 2012

It was Friday, May 25, 2012 and my time in Renfrew County was coming to an end.  My last stop was Arnprior to visit the Arnprior & McNab/Braeside Archives.  There was a lot of construction around Arnprior and they had closed off Division Street and so I came into the downtown area via Daniels Street.

Arnprior’s Welcome

Driving down from Pembroke had not taken that long but I needed some food.  I learned that some Dairy Queens are just ice cream only with maybe a hot dog to offer.  If they are a restaurant they will say so on their sign.  It did take me across the bridge so I could see the Madawaska River a tributary of the Ottawa.

Arnprior’s downtown – Very charming!

Once my tummy was happy, I headed over to the museum which is a very big brick building with a tower.  You cannot miss it.  It is situated beside the Arnprior Public Library and shares a parking lot. 

The Clock and Museum of Arnprior

It took me a few minutes to figure out where the Arnprior Archives were located.  Yes, you guessed it.  In the basement of the public library. 

The Sign tells me were to go to find the Archives

Here is their website:  http://www.adarchives.org/ 

The Arnprior Public library is very nice and the lower flower was not what you would normally expect. 

Arnprior Public Library

The bottom floor was set up like a lounge and there was a Keira Coffee Machine waiting to be used.  There were stacks in the back area of books. A librarian sat at a desk apparently there to help.

The archives itself has two small rooms off this lounge area on the lower floor.  It was a little cramped.  I did manage to find a seat at a table.  They had the Index to the Upper Canadian Land Books so I reviewed them. These books are probably everywhere in Canada and consist of many volumes.  I was looking at volumes 5 and 6.

The archive has inherited the Renfrew County land records http://www.adarchives.org/apolrod.htm and I realized I would need a lot number in order to access them. 

The Index of Probated Wills in Renfrew County 1878 to 1969 was of interest.  Based on what I have learned our ancestors were very much on the move and had interests in one area and lived in another and even died like in Ottawa and Montreal and are buried there, so keep and open mind. 

They had cemetery records and I was very interested in the Albert Street Cemetery publication. 

I collected as much information as possible on Alexander MacDonnell the lumberman who settled at Sand Point.  I am very curious about his family origins and interested in his siblings. I have read there were six brothers and was told by someone else there might be eleven!  Several of his brothers received large land grants in the area, as well as on Calumet and Allumette Islands.  http://www.bytown.net/sandpoint.htm He first settled in Perth and then moved to Glengarry and then up to Sand Point.  He is said to have encouraged family to come and help him in his businesses.  Three of the brothers of this Alexander are said to have stayed in Glengarry and have descendants. 

I would like to thank the volunteers at this archive.  They were helpful, friendly and took good care of me.  I left a copy of my booklet based on this McDonald family blog for their library holdings. 

Next stop the Albert Street Cemetery and a close encounter with a ground-hog or was it a beaver?


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