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


Ottawa and Gatineau Archives!

June 30, 2012

It was Thursday June 7,  2012 and I arrived in Ottawa around 5 pm.  My goal was the Albert House Inn on Albert Street just before Bronson. At the red light I managed to sneak this photo as I entered Wellington Avenue next to Elgin.  I have proof that this second visit was a beautiful sunny day and not a loud thunderstorm like on my first visit.

Wellington Street at Elgin

Getting to the Albert House Inn was not too hard till I got on Albert Street.  It is almost to Bronson and right before the Travelodge.  There is a little parking space at the front. I had to go around the block and when I came back I got my first and only honk from a local in Ontario or Quebec. HA!

Albert House Inn

Turning into their driveway is a little tricky for there is a big tree and it is narrow.  The parking is in the back and it is tight.  Fortunately a guest was just leaving so I got the best spot in the corner by the fence. 

The first floor

There is no entrance in the back to the inn.  You go to the front and up the very steep stairs through the front door.  Once inside the reception desk is to the right.  The attendant was very helpful and I was checked in quickly. She took me to my room on the 4th floor.  There is no elevator.  The staircases get shorter as you go higher.  She offered to help me bring my luggage in.  I took her up on it.  I also reduced the amount of luggage leaving my big piece in the car.  She carried the smaller one and put it in my room for me. 

My room was lovely with a big bed, a desk and a separate room for the toilet from the shower (tiny) and sink.  There was this very big screen TV in the room perhaps a little too big for the size of the room? They had one of the ductless heating and air-conditioners and I had to adjust it a little so it would not blow on me.  I had one window that was normal size and the other was 18 x 18 inches.  It had the best view.

My little window from my room on the 4th floor

Once I was settled in I headed out for dinner.  The Bay Street Bistro was just down the block on the other side of the street. I sat outside because it was a lovely warm day in Ottawa.  The next day it would be raining. While I was sitting there a large group of teenagers came to the entrance.  They had to send them through and by my table into the restaurant.  I think there were at least 30 of them.  My dinner was delicious and probably the 2nd best dinner on my trip. 

The Bay Street Bistro Al fresco

As I sat at the Bay Street Bistro, I noticed this cloud reflected in the building across from me.  

Reflections in glass

Breakfast was service in the basement of the Albert House Inn 5 levels down.  It is included in the room price. The first day Friday, the room was a little too crowded so I decided to get a cup of coffee and return to my room.  I did have breakfast later and it was delicious.  They do offer an assortment of food choices which is nice and they will cook you breakfast like pancakes or eggs.  Saturday the room was much better and I had a lovely chat with a man who was from British Columbia. 

Friday morning came and I had a decision to make. 

What archive would I visit?  There are more possibilities like cemeteries and church archives than the list below offers but it was what I was considering including a little sightseeing. 

1.  Library and Archives which was just a couple blocks away this time. I had been there for one day my first visit.  I could spend time in their Upper and Lower Canada land records microfilm which I believe is self-serve:  http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/index-e.html/

2.  The Ottawa Chapter of the Ontario Genealogical Society:  http://ogsottawa.on.ca/  They are at 100 Tallwood (near Baseline and Woodroffe). 

3.  The British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa:   http://www.bifhsgo.ca/ I have yet to jump the pond (Atlantic Ocean) but this might give me ideas. Also at 100 Tallwood. 

4.  The Ottawa Archives for the city of Ottawa are also at 100 Tallwood in Ottawa.  http://www.ottawa.ca/en/rec_culture/museum_heritage/archives/index.html

100 Tallwood, Ottawa

5.  The Ottawa Public Library, Cornwall Room http://biblioottawalibrary.ca/en/main/overview I could have studied their city directories for the other side of the family in search of Brown descendants.

6.  The Sir Carleton Branch of the UEL Association of Canada at 1547 Merivale Rd., Nepeau, Ontario. 

 7.  The Outaouais Regional Centre http://www.craoutaouais.ca/of the Bibliothèque et Archive Nationales Due Québec or as it is written on their website: Centre Régional D’Archives De L’Outaouais (CRAO) I have found that if I Google:  Outaouais Centre BAnQ it takes me to the main Bibliothéque et Archives Nationales Du Quebec website. 

8.  Société de généalogie de l’Outaouais (SGO):  http://www.genealogieoutaouais.com/

I decided to go to the Centre Régional D’Archives De L’Outaouais  in Gatineau and the Société de généalogie de l’Outaouais. Fortunately these two entities are at the same location and in the same room. 
 
It was not too hard to drive over to Gatineau.  I found my way by going around the block and north on Bay Street to Wellington to the Portage Bridge. Construction made it a little confusing as to the lane I was supposed to use. Once across the bridge you go under this very large building which I think is the government offices and proceeded north along the Blvd. Maisonneuve which turned into Blvd. Fournier and a little later on it became Gréber.  There was a blockage of construction and  I was forced to turn right onto Blvd. Maloney and Blvd. de la Gappe was one street over to the north. I believe I turned on Blvd. de “l’Hópital and right onto Blvd. de la Gappe.  I went east on de la Gappe till it ran out and turned left.  There are sign posts pointing the way. 
 
According to one website the building is called the Maison de la Culture de Gatineau. 

I had a little trouble online trying to find this archive but I can guarantee it is at this location.  If I recall there were several addresses for it and that is why it was confusing because I believe it moved.  The address: 855 boulevard de la Gappe, Gatineau (Québec) J8T 8H9, 819-568-8798 or 1 -800-363-9028.  Email: archives.gatineau@banq.qc.ca.   Time:  8 to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday.

The Centre and Society

The Centre Régional D’Archives De L’Outaouais (CRAO) is in the last building on Blvd. de la Cité to the left.  In other words, you go around the building to the north side.

There is a parking lot but you do have to park in certain rows (in the center) and obtain a permit if longer than 90 minutes (signs).  The SGO website has the form so you could download and fill it out to be ready. 

The building for the Outaouais Archive and more. From the parking lot looking toward Ottawa

When you enter the building do not go straight ahead or you will come to the public library for Gatineau-Bowater. 

The Archive is upstairs on the 2nd floor.  So go through the doors from the parking lot and turn left.  Proceed up the staircase or take the elevator to the 2nd floor.  Once on the 2nd floor go right and then left down the hallway.  Look for the two big yellow doors with the Room 211 sign.  There is a sign on the wall in the hallway but it is a bit confusing.  Go right.  The reader board in the lobby is confusing, go to the 2nd floor.

The Outaouais Archive of Quebec

This is when you need to make a decision.  To talk to the volunteer of the Société de généalogie de l’Outaouais or not.  It depends on whether you have French Canadian lineage or have English ancestors who settled in Quebec. My interests were anything to do with Pontiac County, Quebec.  

Apparently the man behind the large counter area did not speak English and he did have a sort of frightened look on his face when the lady who was helping me from the administrative offices took me to the Room 211.  I was confused as to where to go. She was very nice but also spoke little English. 

I was introduced to a volunteer for the genealogical society who had been seated at the desk in front of the big counter area.  

He started by telling me he did his “genealogy online and why was I there?” When I mentioned obtaining deeds he said “why?” I tried to talk to him but he just would not listen.  He didn’t realize that my McDonald booklet was for the archive so he left it on the desk.  When I approached the 2nd volunteer who had taken over later in the day.  I discovered this miscommunication and explained it was for the archive, he assured me it would be given to their president.  This means it was given to the society not the actual archive.  Since they share the space I am hopeful it will be available for access by all who use the facility?

How to use this facility to the best of my ability.

1.  Go here first.  It gives and overview description of what is at this archive and their partner the SGO: http://www.banq.qc.ca/collections/genealogie/ressources_documentaires_salle/centre_archive/centre_outaouais.html?language_id=1

2.  Study the database Pistard at BAnQ for what is at the Outaouais centre.  I do not know if the SGO’s collection is on this database.  http://pistard.banq.qc.ca/unite_chercheurs/recherche_simple

3.  Study the website links for CRAO and SGO which I gave above.

4.  Get your parking permit and make sure your car is parked correctly if you will be there longer than 90 minutes.

5.  Get a locker because you can’t take your computer case into the research room.  The lockers are in a small room outside the two big yellow doors of Room 211.   Do not loose your locker key.

6.  As them to give you a tour of the centre.  I didn’t do this and regret it.

7.  There are finding aids in the facility and they are located on the top of cabinets. 

8.  There are BAnQ brochures and I took even the French versions because they didn’t have any English out.  Again I should have asked if they had English versions somewhere. 

  • Guide du chercheur:  A square-shaped brochure has the facilities map in back.
  • Le guide de l’abonnement
  • Les services à distance
  • Bibliothéque et Archives Nationales du Québec
  • Les collections partimoniales et les fonds d’archives
  • This one was in English:  Guide to subscriptions

What follows is a map of the Outaouais Facility that is a little out of date but close to what was there. 

A map of the centre

You can only access the centre through the two big yellow doors at the bottom left of the map which is blue.  The locker room is labeled M.  It is outside in the hallway. 

Everything else is inside this centre – the blue area. Bathrooms in the hallway outside of the centre.

  • F is the audiovisual.  The door to the right is a hallway door to other offices?
  • E is the periodicals and magazines
  • A is slightly different and more circular now and has computers as well. 
  • This maps does not show the desk for the SGO.  It is right before the black strip in the corner beyond A on the bottom of the map.
  • C is the stacks of books. SGO’s collection is there and then the Archives is too but apparently they are in different locations in these stacks.  I was not clear about that.
  • D is where the family histories are.  The first row facing into the center of the room.  Also if memory serves they house the cemetery books?
  • B is the computers and desks.  I don’t remember the two tables between B and K.
  • Tables to sit at are over by the windows at the top a good 7 big tables.
  • G is a conference room
  • H is  Cabinets de Travail??
  • I Table lumineuse??
  • K is the maps and plans and table for consulting them
  • L is where the one and only copier is located.  Have change.  I don’t remember a copy card function.
  • J is the big microfilm and microfiche room with cabinets holding newspapers and more.
  • The big lime green area behind a big counter which is represented by the black strip in an L shape. In that is where the individual sits.  I believe he is the archivist or an assistant?  The other desks in the back I do not know what they are about. 

The SGO 2nd volunteer was very nice and pleasant.  He tried to help me find notary records on the stacks but he was not able to.  So that meant I had to wait for the archivist who had left and didn’t return for a very long time.  

When he did I asked him about notaries.  He did not speak English very well but I had written down what I wanted.  I figured he could read English.  He read my notes and was off to his desk to obtained a copy of an index of Notaries. It was a copy of a very large index book but only looked like it was the pages for this area. I will talk about this in a future post.

As I was copying a researcher was stacking books by the copier.  She spoke to me in French and I said I was almost done and she immediately apologized and said she didn’t realize I didn’t speak it.  She was very nice and I was tempted to ask her about the centre.

I studied their family histories in the D area and didn’t find anything on McDonald or is various spellings.

My visit was not the best but at least I had a visual idea of the archive and I could go from there.  I was tired and my level of patience was gone.  However, I do think that this centre needs to work on their customer service.

I headed back the way I came and found a McDonald’s on Maisonnneuve.  I ordered my lunch and the young lady who served me said something to me in French that I interpreted as “enjoy.”  It was not Bon Appetit.  I read the Ottawa paper in English while I listened to French radio and TV.  I was happy.

I targeted  the Parc Jacques-Cartier on Rue Laurier to see if I couldn’t get a picture of Ottawa from that side of the river.  I was right I could see Ottawa from their parking lot.

Ottawa from the parc in Gatineau

Another view a little more to the east.  The weather had improved.

Looks like a fortress

I returned to the Albert Street Inn, parked the car and headed to my room on the 4th floor. HA!  I was back out on the street in no time to go for a walk and find some dinner.  I really needed a good glass of wine. The Bay Bistro was a possibility but it was still a little damp from the day’s rain and I wanted to explore Ottawa one more time.  I headed for Slater Street part of which is a mall area.  I featured it in one of my posts of Ottawa.

I had not intended to go all the way to D’Arcy McGee’s but I did. So I decided to have my last dinner in Ottawa at this establishment and hoped that the rain would not send us scrambling. At first it was very cold and I thought I should go inside but all of a sudden the wind stopped and I was fine.

A threatening cloud over D’Arcy McGees

On the way back I went over to Wellington and walked along enjoying the Parliament buildings. This following picture is taken at that time.

The cloud was still making things very dark over the capital building.

This picture was taken several weeks ago when I visited Ottawa the first time.  The building on the right has scaffolding.  By the time I returned to Ottawa it was all the way to the top.  See the photo from D’Arcy McGees above.

The capital building the first visit to Ottawa

Saturday June 9, 2012 was my last day in Canada for now.  It was time to checkout, pack up and head to the airport.  

I did try to go to the Ottawa Chapter of the OGS but the building was closed for regular maintenance.  Well, I had changed my plans so you can expect this type of problem.  I was not that disappointed.  See the picture above for 100 Tallwood.

So I spent most of my time at Digby’s Restaurant on Bank St. below Heron waiting, relaxing and reading my NookColor.  The waitress was okay with my dithering and around 1:30 pm I paid my bill and headed to the Ottawa Airport via the Airport Parkway and started remembering leaving the airport my first day. 

I followed the signs to the car rental return.  They don’t have those gates with the big teeth on the ground.  I turned in the Dodge Caliber at Hertz and was told I had done 2117 miles.  This was a record. No wonder I was tired. HA!

At ticketing I had to adjust the weight of my large luggage bag it was 57 lbs. and she refused to accept it.  So I put some things in the smaller one and adjusted it and I made it but it meant I had to carry some items with me and that was going to be tiring.  Usually I ship things back home saving me this problem but I was a little afraid it was going to cost a lot. 

The next hurdle was customs.  No problem I was through in a snap.  I had made a list of the things I had purchased so I had something to work with.  Security was also easy and I was soon at the gate.  It is not that far to the gates at the Ottawa Airport. 

Ottawa Airport Gate area

The plane was not full from Ottawa to Chicago.  As we took off I said “Good Bye” to Ontario and looked forward to getting home to my kitties.  In Chicago they changed the gate 4 times and once from C to B for my flight to Seattle.  My sister picked me up at the airport and I walked in the door at 12 midnight.

Home Sweet Home!  I think I was homesick this trip!


Ottawa: Libraries and Archives Canada!

June 16, 2012

After arguing with myself over this, I took a stand and said “DO IT.”  Just go and visit and see what the Libraries and Archives Canada has for you. If you don’t you will regret it.  So I poured over the website and catalogue and finding aids. 

Monday, May 28, 2012 was to be my first visit to Libraries and Archives Canada (LAC).  I was both excited and intimated. 

Library and Archives Building

These types of archives  are what I call “white glove” and have a great deal of the material carefully stored and it has to be retrieved.  This can be difficult when you have limited time.  Fortunately, you can order items in advance at LAC and I took advantage of that obtaining my authorization number via their online link. 

Just about the time I was preparing for this trip to Ontario and Quebec, the news hit that changes were coming to this great archive.  So it was twice as important that I did go and visit. 

The changes are not pretty and it is looking like this once great institution is being stripped. I have never seen anything like it.  Yes, there are threats of budget cuts here in the States, but not like what is happening at the LAC. 

Article:  “The Wrecking of Canada’s Library and Archives:”  http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2012/06/07/LibraryCuts/

Save Library and Archives Canada:  http://www.savelibraryarchives.ca/

Canadian Council of Archives has a handout that I picked up asking for support to save LAC.  Here is a link to their Immediate Action which includes signing a petition:  http://www.cdncouncilarchives.ca/action2012.html  I signed the petition.  Won’t you take a minute to do the same?

ALERT!! LAC has a new website?

Much to my confusion it appears that they have a new website at LAC? Try this:  http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/Pages/home.aspx 

Their blog which I found very helpful is also going through changes: http://thediscoverblog.com/

My Visit:  I arrived via taxi.  The traffic was thick so it took awhile and was a bit expensive.  I could have walked but I really wanted to arrive with some energy to spare, so I decided to walk back at my leisure and do some sightseeing. 

The Entrance to Library and Archives on Wellington St.

There is a drop off area at the LAC so that makes it easy to get to the front door.  There was a sign about parking for the LAC, another change. There was no one at the large reception desk but I noticed that everyone was gathering at the Security desk to the left.  I joined the line up. When it became my turn they took my driver’s license and went back to the main desk and found my paperwork.  I signed this and that and received a locker key and a plastic bag. They weren’t kidding about this ugly plastic bag.  It made a lot of noise.  I was told I had to fill out a photograph release form at some point. 

I found the locker rooms to the left, down the hall and then right again.  I removed what I needed and put my stuff into the locker and carefully put my locker key away. I saw that others were being checked by one of the Security guards and got “busted” for putting items in their plastic bag that they were not supposed to.  I was approved!  I have experienced this type of restriction on what you can carry before and know to read the rules before I arrive.  It helps not to drag what you don’t need into the archive.  Sometimes the lockers are small and you can’t get your big briefcase into them.  So I use a smaller lighter weight bag that has a shoulder strap.  These lockers were a good size.

The elevators were nearby and easy to access.  The lobby area of the 3rd floor has a desk with an attendant who seems puzzled when you ask a question.  There where two large rooms on either end and I decided to try the Genealogy Room first and starting pulling information sheets from the racks and orienting myself. 

Ah HA! stacks…books to access from a shelf!  So I was happy to see that they did have books available for browsing.  I did locate the Glengarry section.  The bookcases circled the room with a section of several aisles with more books toward the back.  There were omputers stations in the middle, plenty of tables and light. 

Okay now that my breathing was returning to normal, I headed to the other side of the building and entered the big room where many people were seated at many long tables looking at documents from carts loaded to the brim. To the right and behind was a room with two desks, two individuals behind two big glass doors.  People were lined up to talk to these persons? To the left was a big bookcase with microfilm and other items piled with alphabet letters.  I found the M’s and there were my films.  There was no explanation about the Butler Papers I had ordered?  There was the Cornwall and Glengarry newspapers but the Pembroke films were missing?

I asked the group of individuals lined up to ask their questions of the two behind the glass doors,  “Where it the microfilm room?  They all pointed to the other end of the big room where there was a door.  So I walked down to the end and through a small room filled with microfilm filing cabinets noting that this was self-serve and into another room where all the microfilm readers were located. 

My goal had been to utilize their wonderful newspaper collection and search the Pembroke,  Cornwall and Glengarry newspapers to see if I could not find evidence of an article about my great-grandfather Archibald McDonell’s visit to Glengarry before he migrated to Minnesota about 1901-1902 and to see if any obituary notice was placed for him in 1912 and a marriage notice about his son John (Jack) to Sarah.  It looked like I could have pulled the newspaper films myself .  It still was nice to have them ready.  

They had sent me a follow-up email about my advanced order but somehow I missed it. When I was filling it out on-line the website glitched and it dumped part of my order.  I only discovered this when I printed it out.  I suggest if that happens make up another advanced order.   It was okay it was a newspaper that I was not sure would be of use  from VanKleek. 

The microfilm room had dim lighting so that was good.  The readers were set up in rows and a variety of them available to use.  I did have a bit of trouble with the readers, one was broken, another was the button to move the film was not working to well.  So I had to move around a little to find one that would function.  My quest was a longshot since Archie had not been living in Glengarry for 40 years. 

I had used the Lower and Upper Canadian Land Records index and found one possibility regarding a group petition covering Chichester, Sheen and Waltham in 1848.  You can search by location at the index pages.  I found the film and the petition and photographed it after signing the form I mentioned.  Apparently Lower Canada was big on group petitions.  This means they could be under another name? The chance of finding Archie’s land petition was growing less likely by the minute.  Sigh!

I found a bookcase in the middle of the big room on the wall and set down the microfilm that I had used. The big room was filled now with lots of people with cameras on tripods and large carts filled with boxes.  It was really busy. I would have taken photographs of the layout inside of LAC but they had cameras everywhere and I was concerned I would get into trouble. I tried Google images but it was not getting me the inside pictures that I wanted.

I returned to the Genealogy Room and had a chat with one of the librarians.  The Upper Canadian Land Petitions cut off at 1867 and the Lower Canadian land petitions cut off at 1841.  I had searched the indexes online e but was not having any luck finding Archibald McDonell my great-grandfather.  I was looking for his petition for the Land Grants he had received in 1868 and 1883.  Her response was that there had been a fire in Hull in 1900 and a lot of the Quebec’s record had been lost to that and more.  I did find the 1848 group petition and she agreed that the Lower Canada Land Petitions were usually a group effort.  She said that a rich individual would put up the money and they would sell the land to the settlers from the actual location.  There are three groupings of Quebec Land Records:  Seignorial, Township, Cadastral.  The township version started about 1840-41 in Quebec.  Apparently you have to know which time frame your ancestor was involved with to access the records. 

I offered my McDonald booklet but was told I needed to give them two.  One for the stacks and the other for the storage.  This meant that if I only gave them one it would not be easily accessed and that was all I had with me for I was traveling light and had brought only what I needed.  I have read that they are no longer accepting family histories.  I will let you decide? 

The line to the librarians behind the glass door was empty so I waited till I was beckoned in.  I asked about the  Butler papers that were missing from my order (Smy, William – The Butler Papers Amicus No. 32561962).  She did a search on her computer and found that they were at the Brock University in St. Catherine’s.  Apparently I missed that small piece of information.  St. Catherine’s is near Niagara.  

Why was I wanting to look at these Butler papers, well he was the man who was involved with the Wyoming Massacre that took place during the Revolution in Pennsylvania at Wilkes-Barre.  He held my 4th great-grandfather Solomon Goss prisoner in Forty-Fort and I was curious if I could find out more information.  Online they say his papers were probably destroyed in the War of 1812.  Still I am ever hopeful. Yeah, I am a dreamer. 

On my way to the Ottawa Public Library on Saturday, I passed by the Valiants Memorial near the War Memorial about Wellington and Elgin Streets and there was the many busts of military people who Canada holds in esteem. 

I found him easily, Lt. Colonel John Butler.  Yes, there is a bust of this man.  I could not help myself.  I had to have a picture taken with me in it.  We had a very nice chat. 

Me and Lt. Colonel John Butler of Butler’s Rangers, Ottawa

I have written about this encounter with John Butler on my blog: Solomon Goss of Fearing Twp. in Ohio.  It fits there more appropriately.  The interesting part is that Butler’s Rangers has a regiment headed by a McDonald.  Is it possible, my Dad’s old New England roots were tangling with his Canadian McDonald cousins?  I can only speculate because I have yet to figure out Archibald and Mary McDonell’s parents and their origins.  Yup, I do have fun!


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