Eddie’s “Collection of Junk!”

April 25, 2013

My Aunt Eddie, Keith’s sister, had a journal book filled with memorabilia that was titled:

A Collection of Junk!

A Collection of Junk

A Collection of Junk

In the post dated January 3, 2013, Ronald’s Story Continues! Revisiting Grand Prairie, Alberta and mention of Albany, Oregon, I shared a little from the collection in that post about those locations.  I was surprised to find that they were in Albany, Oregon before heading for Cheney.  At some point I will have to find additional records to show that the McDonald family was there.

The journal/ scrapbook is now 92+ years old.  It smelled musty, the pages had discolored, items were missing leaving blank spaces, things had fallen out and been stuffed back inside.  The scrapbook was filled with mementos of school, places, friendship, club activities, high school parties, graduations, and political leanings.  It was just a scrapbook using a cash journal for its home.

The journal's outside

The journal’s outside

Apparently this “Collection” was first owned by her sister Jean whose name was written in the back of the book, but most of the stuff in the book was about Eddie’s life experiences.

Jean claims ownership in the back of the journal

Jean claims ownership in the back of the journal

Eddie claimed ownership on page 67:

Eddie's claim to ownership in the front of the book

Eddie’s claim to ownership in the front of the book

Here is a picture of Eddie probably sometime around about 1918 give or take a few years.

Eddie at a young age

Eddie at a young age

This is an example of what the pages looked like in her journal scrapbook:

A example of a page of the journal.

An example of a page of the journal.

As I studied the items I began to see more categories or rather groupings of the information.  Eddie wrote notes describing the item but some items were missing or miss filed so I was not able to identify all.  Eddie didn’t necessarily put the memorabilia in date order and she mixed them up.

These are some of the groupings I came up with:

        • Basketball
        • Cooking Class or rather domestic science
        • Friendship
        • Gift from Grandma
        • Gordon
        • Grade School
        • Grammar book
        • Grand Prairie
        • Halloween
        • Holidays
        • Keith
        • Letters from Other Schools
        • Miriam
        • Movies & News
        • Newspaper Editor
        • Nurses School
        • Oddities and Missing things
        • Plays & Things
        • Politics and News
        • Pretty Things
        • Religion
        • School Memories
        • Stories Written
        • The Tea Room
        • Vivian

The journal covers several locations like Grand Prairie, Alberta, Albany, Oregon; Spokane, Washington; Cheney, Washington, and even a little of Seattle.

In the posts that follow, reference to Eddie’s “Collection of Junk” will appear on occasion or when it adds to the information that I already have about that topic or person.  We will start with her older sister Vivian.


School Census for Cheney, Washington

March 28, 2013

I know that Vivian, Gordon, Miriam, Eddie and Jean all went to Cheney High School but not my father Keith, he went to Gonzaga which was a combination college and high school located in Spokane.

HistoryLink.org has a short article about the Normal School

http://www.historylink.org/index.cfm?DisplayPage=output.cfm&file_id=8246

In 2002 when I went to Spokane to do research on my Dad and his family, I went to the Spokane Public Library and tried to find city directories for Cheney among the collection of the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society.  City directories usually cover a large city.  As the city grows more areas are listed in what are called suburban directories.  I was unable to located any city directories that covered Cheney from 1920 to 1925.  I did find Spokane directories and thoroughly studied them. I was trying to find the address for the house they lived in Cheney but was unsuccessful.

A visit to the Washington State Archives on the Eastern Washington University campus opened the door to the use of School census.  My genealogy buddy had told me about them and found some good information for her search elsewhere in the state.

Census of Children, Spokane County, WA 1922

Portion of Census of Children, Spokane County, WA 1922

SOURCE:  Census of Children between 4/5 & 21 years, residing in School District #20, Spokane Co., Washington, May 1920-1926, Washington State Archives, Eastern Branch, Eastern Washington University, Cheney, WA.

1920: Vivian McDonald is listed as parent and signs:
Children listed: Vivian McDonald, Birth: May 12, 1902, Female, 32 wks at school, PO Address: Cheney, WA.
Gordon McDonald, May 3, 1904, male, 32 wks, Cheney, WA
Miriam McDonald, Jan. 15, 1906, female, 32 wks., Cheney, WA
Edna McDonald, Mar 28, 1907, female, 32 wks., Cheney, WA
Jean McDonald, June 30, 1909, female, 32 wks, Cheney, WA
Keith McDonald, Mar 28, 1910, male, 32 wks, Cheney, WA (date is wrong)

1922: R.S. McDonald is parent, Nellie signs
Vivian, Gordon, Miriam, Edna same as above

1923: Nellie is parent and signs as well. Vivian is not listed as doing any weeks at school, Gordon and Miriam did 36 while Edna, Jean and Keith did  35 weeks at school. The rest of the information is the same.

1924: Nellie is parent and signs
Vivian is not listed. Gordon, Miriam, Edna, Jean and Keith are listed with the same birth dates. Gordon is teaching at Big Timber, MT. with no weeks at school. Miriam and the rest did 36 weeks. Miriam is at “Normal.” Edna and Jean are in the 11th grade and Keith is in the 7th.

1925: Nellie is parent and signs
Both Vivian and Gordon are not listed. Mariam is at Normal, Edna and Jean are in 12th grade and Keith is in the 8th. All have done 36 weeks.

1926: R.S. McDonald is parent and signs
Vivian and Gordon are not listed. Miriam is listed as teaching, Edna has no school but is in Spokane. Jean is at Cheney with 36 weeks and Keith is in Spokane with 36 weeks.

These school census really shows the progression of Dad’s siblings lives during a short period of time from 1920 to 1926.  It gives the birth dates and that is good if you don’t have that information.  However, be careful they can be incorrect.

What is on these school census:  Names of Parents or Guardians, Names of the children, Date of birth, sex, no. of weeks at school, Address, signature.

Unfortunately, it does not give an address where they lived while they were in Cheney, WA.  So I have not been successful with the city directories nor the school census to find an address but I have learned a little about the movements of the McDonald children.

Cheney High School 1912

Cheney High School 1912

There was a society in Cheney that I visited called the Tillicum Society and I talked with a nice lady who told me that a great many of the houses in Cheney had been torn down.  This was disappointing news.  She also told me that the Cheney High School yearbooks also didn’t survive which would have been so wonderful to see if the McDonald children were in them.

I was given a handwritten name list of the Cheney High 1920-1925 graduates from the principal who was not identified. It was eight pages long.  I get the feeling this was from his memory.  It is missing Vivian.  Keith didn’t go to Cheney High School, he went to Gonzaga.  I was not given permission to publish but I am sure they would be helpful if you called them.  See link below.

1920:  no one listed from my family

1921:  Listed Gordon McDonald

1922:  Listed Marian McDonald

1923:  no one was listed from my family

1924:  no one was listed from my family

1925:  McDonald Edna, McDonald Jean

By the way I believe the Tillicum Society is now the Cheney Historical Museum:  http://www.cheneymuseum.org/index.html

Note:  The Photo of the Cheney High School was on a notecard given to me by the lady who helped me at the society.  Please go to their website if you had family in Cheney and  support them.

My Aunt Eddie, Keith’s older sister, is going to help us learn a little about what life was like for the McDonald children during Cheney High School years and a little more.  She had a journal book she filled with memorabilia from about 1915 to 1925.  She called it a “Collection of Junk.”


A Scandal in Koochiching County circa 1918!

January 19, 2013

Koochiching County, Minnesota’s north boundary touches the Canadian border.

Koochiching broke off from Itasca County and became its own county in 1906.  Keith’s father, Ronald (R.S.) was there to help plat the town of International Falls and at one point he was acounty commissioner.

Here are past posts about R.S. McDonald and his involvement with International Falls.  You can go to the archive box on the right of this blog and search for May 2010.

  • May 15, 2010 “Commissioner R.S. McDonald
  • May 10, 2010 “Ronald S. McDonald – A Dam is Built!”
  • May 2, 2010 “Ronald S. McDonald or known as just R.S.”

My hubby and I have visited International Falls on several occasions in 2000 and 2001 enjoying the sights and doing genealogical research.

My cousin was born and lived there but passed in 2007, at the age of 94.  I met her when she was 87.  She was one of the reasons I went there to visit.  She was the daughter of John (Jack) and Sarah McDonald, Ronald’s brother and sister-in-law. She was my father, Keith’s, cousin.  I have shared in this blog several of Mary’s stories about her father and mother.  She didn’t have any stories to tell me about my family because she was about 3-4 years old when Ronald left International Falls and was too young to know them.

The first time we went to International Falls (2000)we flew from Minneapolis in an airplane with propellers and 3 seats – 1 on one side and two on the other.  I remember thinking as we flew over the wild landscape below:  “This is your fault Dad.”  Remember, my father, Keith was born in International Falls.  See the post dated March 13, 2010 “A Baptism In International Falls!”

If memory serves the plane landed in Grand Rapids, MN and then continued it journey to International Falls.  I spent the flight looking out the window and studying the landscape as we flew over and was fascinated by it.  The plane’s altitude was not the usual 32,000 feet.  It seemed we were very close to the ground.  I mostly saw trees, water and some open land.  It looked very wild to me.

The airport in International Falls was very small.  We exited the plane by walking down the steep stairs and across the field to the terminal.  It was interesting to see my hubby try to make car rental arrangements.

At the Falls International Airport there is a photograph of the airport with the airplane on the ground.  It is just like I remember:  http://www.internationalfallsairport.com/the-airport/  After visiting International Falls we headed south to Bemidji, Pine River and Brainerd and end the trip in Minneapolis.

The second time we visited in 2001,  we drove up to International Falls from Minneapolis.  Our route took us to Brainerd, to Pine River, through Walker, to Bemidji, passed Blackduck and then onto International Falls.  From International Falls we drove to Grand Rapids down Highway 71 and then we went east on Hwy 2.  From Grand Rapids, we headed over to the eastern side of Minnesota through Cloquet and Willow River and back to Minneapolis.  These were places that Ronald (R.S.) and Grace knew and lived.

Black Duck Park

Black Duck Park

On both occasions we have driven Highway 71.  The road is very very straight and there are no changes in altitude.  The two books I refer to below, written by Drache, were being read at the time and I know I read one of them as we drove along.

International Falls is a cool city.  I enjoyed my visits there.  Everything is easy to find and get too.  The second time were were there a big storm was brewing and someone was mentioning twisters.  I thought it was great but my hubby was not too excited and kept rushing me to the motel, as if that would help if one came.

You can go across the border over the bridge between the two big lumber companies and visit Fort Francis which is in Canada.  How much of International Falls my Dad, Keith, remembered is hard to say for he was born in March 1910 and left there when he was about 5 or 6 years old.

So, I do have some idea of what the county of Koochiching is like and some familiarity with International Falls.  The idea that my grandfather got caught up in a court case about land fraud seems amazing to me.  I am not saying he was innocent just very interesting and I wish I had more information about the events.  I have tried to piece together as much as possible but have not yet looked at court records.  So I have more do to on this subject.

Here is what I have found out so far:

If you want to learn about the region of Koochiching you need to read this book:  “Koochiching, Pioneering, Along the Rainy River Frontier,” by Hiram M. Drache, The Interstate Printers and Publishers Inc., 1983.  It has photographs which are very interesting.  I particularly like the Falls before and after the dam was built.  I also like pictures of the logging activities.  Mr. Drache wrote a very detailed book.

If you want to know more about the land issues in the area, you might want to read this booklet about the peat or muskeg swamps in the area.  At the time R.S. was there they were trying to do “ditching.” The idea was to drain the land for farming.  This booklet is at Google Books.

Bulletin Volumes 16-17 Minnesota Geological Survey, Bulletin No. 16 The Peat Deposits of Minnesota,” by E.K. Soper, United States Geological Survey, United State Bureau of Mines, University of Minnesota, 1919. page 172 “Koochiching County.”

There are approximately one million acres of wet or swamp lands in Koochiching County, and most of this area is covered with from 2 to 20 feet of peat.  The average depth of the peat in the county is about 7 feet, and there are at least 750,000 acres of muskeg swamps over which the peat will average 7 feet thick. 

There are several types of peat bogs in the county, but by far the commonest is a typical muskeg swamp, forested with tamarack, or spruce, or both.  

So why am I interesting in peat and muskeg swamps, well read on…

The second book is:  “Taming the Wilderness, The Northern Border Country 1910-1939,” by Hiram M. Drache, Interstate Publishers, Inc., 1992.  Mr. Drache writes:

“Chapter IX The Unyielding Wilderness – Much of the Northern Border Country was not attractive to settlers who were interested in farming.  Except for those who cut the trees and left, the homesteaders soon realized the futility of their efforts.  The tree-covered muskeg virtually prohibited farming and travel in the area.  To overcome the obstacles and provide the proper environment for agriculture, it was necessary to drain the land to provide roads. 

Mr. Drache goes on and on for pages about the ditching problems in the area.

“These problems were compounded as land was abandoned once the timber was gone and were intensified by corruption among those involved in ditching, road construction, and financing on the local level. Illegal activity in 1916 involving as much as $200,000 in public funds caused Governor J.A.A. Burnquist to suspend County Auditor L.H. Slocum and three county commissioners – R.S. McDonald, William Harrigan, and Harold Royem…The Rev. Thomas Howard headed a group of over 100 citizens who held a mass meeting before the commissioners, asking them to explain what they had done to bring about the suspension of county officials.  The group approved the governor’s action and passed a resolution condemning the actions of the Northwestern Construction Company, which had received funds improperly for work on State Highway No. 5, 9, 20, and 24 and had abandoned the jobs prior to completion…Commissioners McDonald, Harrigan and Royem stood trial for knowingly letting county bonds be sold at a 5 percent discount.  The investigation produced 13 indictments against Slocum; 5 against G.A. Elder, a broker; and 2 against R.S. McDonald.  The case against Slocum was dismissed for lack of evidence.  This undermined the county’s chance of a major recovery, because it was believed that this was the strongest case it had against any of the accused.  The verdicts totaled $64,744.22 of which slightly over $15,000.00 eventually was paid.  There was little hope of collecting any additional amounts, because most of the individuals being sued were not financially “responsible.”  pg. 247.

The Footnotes at the end of the chapter are also interesting, pg. 262:

…transcript of testimony on Case #21,492, January 19, 1917 County of Koochiching vs. George A. Elder, et. al.

Note:  The case number did not show up at the Minnesota Historical Society in 2007 but I believe they do have these cases now?

This reference in the Bibliography might be interesting to see:

 Bibliography pg. 349:  County of Koochiching vs. George A. Elder, Commercial Investment Co., John Nuveen & Co., R.S. McDonald, William Durrin, Harold Royem, and L. H. Slocum, Defendants.  Transcript of Testimony of Trial at Brainerd, District Court, 15th Judicial District, commenced January 17, 1919.  

The International Falls Press and Border Budget report on Thursday June 13, 1918 several articles about the county investigation (Vol. 12, No. 17). In the article on the left “Fake Reports on Cost and Result of Investigation,” my grandfather’s name appears four times.

Land Troubles in Koochiching 1918

Land Troubles in Koochiching 1918

Here is the continuation of the front page county investigation which overlaps some of the first photograph:

Land problems Koochiching lower page

Land problems Koochiching lower page

I found this online just recently:  The Bemidji Daily Pioneer, 1904-1972, Sept. 9, 1916 page 8, Image 8, Library of Congress, Chronicling America. Provided by the Minnesota Historical Society.  Has an article “Governor Promises Full Inquiry into Koochiching Affairs – More Officials of Koochiching County Removed by Gov. Burnquist.”  The article is on the front page last column and page 8 not page 4 as it says at the bottom.

I also found this tip at Google books referring to State cases?

The Executive Documents of the State of Minnesota for the Year, Forty-Seventh Annual Report of the Commissioner of Insurance of the State of Minnesota to his Excellency the Governor, Part I 1918, Syndicate Printing Co., Attorney General, pg. 21, District Courts of Minnesota, Criminal Cases:

915 State vs. Slocum.  Auditing and allowing a fraudulent claim against Koochiching County. Found guilty. Paid $2,000.00 fine.

920 State vs. George A. Elder. Auditing and allowing fraudulent bills to be paid out of county funds.  Found guilty. Fine $5,000.00

917 State vs. R.S.  McDonald, Indicted. Auditing and allowing fraudulent bills to be paid out of county funds.  Koochiching county.  Party left country.  Extradition requested. 

Again, I have a lot more research to do on these court cases.  It would be interesting to see what they reveal about R.S. and his involvement and the final outcome for Keith’s dad.


Alexander Thomas McDonald passes in 1955

November 22, 2012

I never met my great Uncle Alex.  He died with I was 7 years old and we did live quite a distance from each other.

Photo:  The following photograph is of Alexander visiting with his nephews, Keith is on the left and Gordon is in the middle.  This photo below is an interesting contrast between the photo of Keith as a little boy sitting on Alex’s knee for the Fireman’s conference in the post dated:  August 7, 2010 “Alexander Thomas McDonald, Fireman.”  Photo is probably circa 1930′s.  Keith was about 5 feet 5 inches so we can see that Alex was probably just a tad taller and solidly built.  The men may have been short but they were stocky in build.

Uncle Alex with Keith and Gordon

When I visited my cousin Mary, Alex’s niece, in 2000 and 2001 and she told me stories about Alexander.

Alex never married but he did have on occasion ladies he was fond of.  He used to go down to the Boston Cafe at the same time every day.  He was fond of Sadie Rule who worked there.  He also had fancy cars and use to take his girl Jean for drives. Jean was a nice lady. 

Sarah, her mother, used to have Alex over for Sunday dinners every week.  Alex lived with Mary for a time towards the end of his life when he started getting sick but he was too regimented a person and did not understand what life was like for a family.  Alex visited her in the hospital when she had her 2nd child and while he was sitting there he had a stroke (1952).  He died of pneumonia in 1955 with complications (throat cancer).”

In an article in the Fireman’s Centennial Book, International Falls, 1982 this appears:

“Gil” Louiseau retires 1982….Gil Louiseau retired from the International Falls fire department September 15, 1983 after serving 26 years…Gil’s wife Mary, is the former Mary McDonald, whose father Jack and Uncle Alex were early day fireman with the International Falls Fire Department. Uncle Alex served as relief driver and caretaker of the team of horses which were the only ‘horsepower’ the early day department had to haul the water wagon to fire locations within the city…”

Alex is mentioned on page 3 in the Volunteer Fireman listings of 1900-1992. On page 12 there is a photo of the horse team and both Alex and Jack are listed. On page 21 there is a picture of the firehouse were Alex was stationed.  

Falls Firemen 1917

Obituary found in the Daily Journal, International Falls, MN on November 4, 1955. This newspaper obituary notice was in the files of the Koochiching Public Library.

Alex McDonald, Falls Resident since 1904, Dies. Alex T. McDonald, 80, pioneer resident of International Falls, died late Thursday night at the Falls Nursing home, where he has made his home for several years. He had been confined to his bed for about a week. Born in Chichester, Que., November 25, 1874, he moved to Duluth in 1897. From there he came to International Falls in 1904 and has lived here since that time, except for a brief period spent in Western Canada. McDonald operated a dray line in the Falls for 11 years, and was city weighmaster from 1919 to 1947, a period of 28 years. He never married. A niece, Mrs. Gilbert Louiseau of the Falls, survives. Rosary service will be conducted at Green Mortuary Sunday evening at 8 o’clock. Requiem high mass at St. Thomas Catholic church is scheduled for 8:15 a.m. Monday. Interment will be in the family plot of St. Thomas cemetery. Funeral arrangements were made by Green Mortuary.

Alex’s death certificate states the following:

Alexander died at the County Nursing Home, 2 miles south of International Falls, Koochiching Co., Minnesota. Died Nov. 3, 1955, Male, white, never married, date of birth Nov. 25, 1874, age 80 years. City Weighmaster, ret’d, city employee. Born in Chichester, Quebec, Canada. Citizen of the USA. Father was Archibald McDonald and Mother was Mary McDonald. He did not serve in the US Armed forces, no SS#, informant was Mary C. Louiseau of Inter’l Falls. Died of pneumonia lober, 1.5 days. C. B. Will, M.D. Filed Nov. 22, 1955 by Registrar. Green Mortuary handled the arrangements.  Source:  Alexander T. McDonald, Certificate of Death #7718, Nov. 3, 1955 FHL#2139432.

Weighmaster definition: http://www.wisegeek.com/what-does-a-weighmaster-do.htm

Overview of the McDonald plot in St. Thomas Cemetery International Falls

Alex is buried with his father, mother, brother Jack and others in the family plot in the St. Thomas Cemetery in International Falls.  This cemetery is part of three cemeteries located east and south in the town of International Falls.  You will find a link on the right side of this blog to the Forest Hill Cemetery in International Falls where you will find a listing of burials for all three cemeteries.

Alex’s tombstone in St. Thomas Cemetery

NOTE:  Much to my frustration Alex’s birth is inconsistent and different dates are given on his tombstone, his death certificate, obit and from the St. Alphonsus Church records.  This is not unusual.  The question is which one is more reliable.  I think I lean toward the St. Alphonsus church records because the parents were alive at that time and knew the priest. The priest is still not directly involved in the actual birth but closer to the actual event. The parents are the ones who know the actual dates of birth but over time even they can forget.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

It is now time to behind International Falls and refocus on  R.S. (Ronald), my grandfather and his movements.  Remember that Ronald (R.S. ) left International Falls about 1915 and headed up to Grand Prairie, Alberta where he  established a store but lost it because a partner gambled it away.  The loss of the store was not the end of my grandfather’s troubles.  He was involved in a court case regarding about land in Koochiching County and I will share that in the next post.


Sarah M. (Burns) McDonald passes!

October 25, 2012

Sarah’s Tombstone

Jack had died in December of 1949 and Sarah, his wife, followed just shy of two years.  They are both buried in the St. Thomas Cemetery in International Falls.  This cemetery is part of the Forest Lawn Cemetery and there is a link to it under Minnesota Links on the right side of this blog.  They have the burials online.

Jack and Sarah appear in the 1930 U.S. Census living in International Falls, Koochiching County,  Minnesota with their daughter Mary C. McDonald.  It was Mary who cared for both of them at the end of their lives.

John and Sarah McDonald 1930 Census

Sixth Street, line 6, 903, 247, 271, McDonald, John A. Head, 0, $3000., M, W, 60, M. 32, no, yes, Canada English, Father and Mother Canada-English, English, 00, 43, 1901, NA, yes, Janitor, Public School, 6×44, w, yes, no. McDonald, Sarah, wife – H, F, W, 56, M, 28, no, yes, Canada-English, Father Northern Ireland, Mother Irish Free State, English, 00, 43, 1901, NA, yes, none. McDonald, Mary C., daughter, F, W, 17, S, yes, yes, Minnesota, Parents Canada-English, 64, 43 0, yes, none.

Source:  John McDonald Family, 1930 U.S. Federal Census, International Falls, Koochiching Co., Minnesota, Third (Part of) Block No. 56  lines 1-5, Block no. 55 lines 6 to 50. RD#36-21, SD#2, Sht #13A (154), enumerated April 11, 1930, Carl. V. Linsten.

Ten years later they are still a family of three:

Sixth Street, Line 56, 903, 49, 0, 2500, no, McDonald, John A., Head, M, W, 71, M, no, 4, Canada-English, NA, same house, blank for parents, yes – - – -, 60, Janitor, Public High School, GW, 52, 1800, no. McDonald, Sarah, wife, F, W, 65, M, no, 5, Canada-English, NA same house, blank for parents, no, no, no, no. H, o , o, no. McDonald, Mary, daughter, F, W, 27, S, no, H-4, Minnesota, same house, blank for parents, yes – - -, Bookkeeper, County Treasurer’s office, GW, 52, 932, no.

Source:  John A. McDonald Family, 1940 U.S. Federal Census, International Falls, Koochiching Co., Minnesota, Ward #3, SD# 12, ED# 36-198, Sht# 2B, enumerated on April 4, 1940, Dorothy P. Barkovic.

Here is the Death certificate for Sarah.

Sarah’s Death Certificate

Sarah was a resident for 50 years in International Falls, MN, died at the Falls Memorial Hospital, lived at 903 6th St., died Oct 25, 1951, female, white, widowed, date of birth Feb 18, 1874, age 77 yrs., housekeeper, owns own home, born in Canada, citizen of the USA. Father George Burns, mother Katherine Burns, spouse John A. McDonald #4201. Did not serve in armed forces, no SS#, informant was the Memorial Hospital in International Falls. Died of congestive heart failure and coronary sclerosis, no autopsy. Burial on Oct 27, 1951 at St. Thomas Cemetery in International Falls, MN, filed Oct. 27, 1951. Handled by Green Mortuary, International Falls, MN.

Source:  Sarah McDonald, Certificate of Death #7429, Oct. 25, 1951, Minnesota Department of Health, Division of Vital Statistics, FHL#2139363. 

Appearing in The Daily Journal, International Falls, Friday, October 26, 1951 is an article about Sarah.

Sarah Burns McDonald “Mrs. McDonald”

Sarah McDonald, City Resident Since 1904, Dies. Mrs. Sarah MacDonald, a resident of International Falls since 1904, died late Thursday in Memorial hospital following a year of illness. She was 77. Death was attributed to heart ailment. The deceased was the widow of J.A. (Jack) McDonald, one-time mayor of the Falls. One daughter,  Mrs. Gilbert (Mary) Louiseau —-Sixth St. survives. Funeral services are set for 8 am Saturday in St. Thomas church with Fr. Edward Lamontagne officiating. Interment will be in St. Thomas cemetery. The Rosary will be recited at 8 pm today in the Green Mortuary chapel. Mrs. McDonald, the former Sarah Burns, was born Feb. 18, 1874 in eastern Canada and moved to the United States immediately following her marriage in 1901. The couple lived in Bemidji before moving to the Border City. The late husband of the deceased served as mayor of International Falls from 1922-24 and was long active in municipal and fire department affairs. He was employed as engineer-custodian of Alexander Baker school for 32 years. Mr. McDonald died Dec. 11, 1949.

This is what Sarah’s daughter said about her mother when I visited her in 2000:

Her mother came from Pembroke, Ontario, Canada. She remembers going back to visit her grandmother Catherine who lived in a big brick house in Pembroke with her son whom Mary called “Uncle George.” Mary said that George was wealthy. Sarah was very social and she kept a good home and always had help around the house. Sarah was known as Mrs. McDonald, probably a gesture of respect. Her mother would cook and set a nice table. Jack and Sarah’s home was a social place for the town, people were always coming over and stopping by.

The spelling of Sarah’s middle name was shown as “Mariah” in the Koochiching County Courthouse records.

Sarah was a member of a very well-known and large family in the Pembroke,  Renfrew County, Ontario and Chichester, Chapeau areas of Pontiac County in Quebec.  They were the Burns family and my friend and almost cousin Elaine Burns Brown has featured them on her website at:  http://www.personainternet.com/etbrown/  I also have this under my links specifically:  Family History Websites of Interest on the right side of this blog.  I highly recommend that you go there and study her website it covers Burns, Hughes, Somerville, Gentle and also McDonald and more.


In Reflection: My Trip to Ontario and Quebec!

June 30, 2012

Well, my trip was completed on June 9, 2012 and it has taken me three weeks to post all that I wanted to post about this trip to Ontario and Quebec. I can’t believe I did 2117 miles. 

It was a good trip, hard, complicated and very satisfying.  As always I can think of things I should have done and didn’t, photographs I wish I had taken and more.  I have learned a lot and saw many amazing places. 

I would like to thank all my followers for their support, it is greatly appreciated.  A big thank you to all the wonderful people I met along the way and their help and support. 

As usual I put my binder together of this trip with my collection of maps and pamphlets and sources.  

My next goal is to get the links to archives and more up on my side panel. 

Uploading more of the cemetery photos I took might take a little while because I need to identify get them ready.

UPDATE 7/19/2012:  I have uploaded the additional cemetery photos to the appropriate cemetery posting.  Go to the side bar of this blog and look at Categories and seek out the CEMETERIES and pick one you would like to look at.  The link is either in the middle or at the bottom to my Picasa Web Albums. 

Of course, I need to review my research and the sources I studied.  I will let you know if there is anything really great that I found. 

I need to post on my other blogs.  So this blog is back on schedule where I post about every two weeks. 

St. Lawrence River – 1000 Island Drive

Here are some AH Moments during the trip:

1.  Walking into the Pontiac Archive in Shawville.

2.  Seeing Allumette Island from Pembroke’s marina for the first time.

3.  Looking out across land in Chichester Township at Auberge Norfolk in Nicabeau.

4.  Standing before the St. Alphonsus church in Chapeau and looking back from the bridge to Chichester and seeing the spire in the distance.

5.  The Ottawa River and its many moods especially the Culbute Channel and from Calumet Island.

6.  St. Andrews Church in St. Andrews West for the first time.

7.  St. Raphael’s Ruins.

8.  Kirkhill and the two spires of the two churches in the distance.

8.  The Rideau Canal in the early morning in Smith Falls.

10.  The 1000 Island Drive along the St. Lawrence

11.  The St. Lawrence in the morning next to the Monte Carlo Motel in Cornwall.

I could go on but I think that is a nice list.


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!


A Gem in the United Counties of S.D.& G: La Généalogie et archives SAINT-LAURENT Inc.

June 24, 2012

La Généalogie et archives SAINT-LAURENT was a great find in the Cornwall area.  Do you ever do a genealogical happy dance.  Well I did! 

Here is their website and do spend some time:  ttp://genealogieetarchivessaintlaurent.ca/

They are located at 124 Anthony Street in Cornwall.  You need to be either on 2nd St. E. or Hwy 2 to find Anthony St. Let’s take it from 2nd St. E.  Go east from the Cornwall Public Library about 16 blocks to get to Anthony Street.  Turn right and go south on Anthony Street past 1st St. E., Walton St. and almost to Easton Ave. 

This genealogical society is in housed in a school building and it is big. 

The Genealogical society – The Sign out front of the building they are located in

You enter these doors go straight ahead to the hallway and and turn left. 

Through these doors to the genealogical society

Continue down the hall and turn right:

Enter the Saint-Laurent genealogical society

I almost didn’t go and visit.  The minute I walked into the room I knew I had arrived in genealogical heaven! A very large room to the right and another to the left filled with records!

More Records to the left!

Me among their collection.  Notice how happy I am!

Me and their collection

Rick greeted me and pulled some items from the shelf.  Thank you Rick.

Lillian arrived and he introduced me.  Lillian gave me a tour explaining what they had in their collection and took this photograph of me.  Thank you Lillian.   Note that the Ontario holdings are right behind me on the bookshelves to the left in the picture above.  The rest I believe is Quebec and maybe a few other locations.

Lillian said they focused on French Canadian research but accepted anything about the local area.  I gave them a copy of my McDonald booklet based on this blog and they were very excited.  It does cover Pontiac Co., Quebec.

We took a little time to see if we could find the marriage of my great-uncle John McDonnald to Julia LaCour in Pontiac County, Quebec.  I was explaining the problem we were having with too many names for Julia. I described that the name “Record/Ricard” was carved on her tombstone.  My cousin and I knew her maiden name as LaCour.  It was even more complicated by a 4th potential maiden name of Tebeau.  Lillian said the name LaCour in French.  The sound she made in French makes it very possible that the name was misinterpreted by the stone cutter or mispronounced.  She studied these big blue marriage books for LaCour and they were only showing LeCour.  No luck for John and Julia which is what I have been getting in my searches.  It was worth a try.

Unfortunately my stay was not long enough.  I could see that I needed more time to dig into their holdings.  People were milling about and coming and going.  It was a lively place.  One man and woman were having quite the discussion in  French across from me.   It was great!

Please be advised that the Glengarry Genealogical Society and the Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry Genealogical Societies are no longer operating in the area.  They are a things of the past.  This is not a good situation.  However,  this society is specifically geared toward genealogical research. There is hope.

ATTENTION:  If you have family whether English or French Canadian who settled in this eastern area of Ontario or Vaudrieull and Soulange, then I ask that you consider giving a copy of your family history to this genealogical society? To be sure they will accept it, call or email first and ask.  I did and I am glad I stopped by for a visit.  

Here is their address again: La Généalogie et archives SAINT-LAURENT: 124 Anthony St., Cornwall, Ontario K6H 5K1 Phone: 613-932-1320 and their email: saintlaurent@cogeco.net

I would like to thank them for their time, interest and help.  Frankly, this was one of only a few organizations that gave me a tour and made me feel welcome on my whole trip to Ontario and Quebec.  GOOD JOB!


The Cornwall Public Library’s Genealogical & History Collection

June 24, 2012

Cornwall, Ontario, is home to the Cornwall Public Library and the Cornwall Room.  The library is on the northwest corner of 2nd St. and Sydney St.  It is a very large building and not to hard to spot.  If you enter from the front you have to walk this very long hallway to get to the main part of the library. 

Cornwall Public Library in Cornwall, Ontario

You can turn right onto to Sydney St. from 2nd St. and left into the parking area behind the library.  You will have to pay for parking but it is reasonable.  Make sure you have quarters.  Follow the signs and road over to the parking lot which is to the west as you enter with a little manuevering through the parking lot below.  There are one way signs and parking restrictions, so watch out.

The backside of the Cornwall Public Library

The library entrance is through the doors in the back of the building to the left of the loading area.   Go through the door and you come to a hallway that enters another hallway and then you turn to your right to enter the library.  The References desks are straight ahead. 

I stopped there and asked where they kept their genealogical collection and was lead to an area to the far side of the main floor.  There were study desks and tables along that wall.  She took me to the stacks where some books for genealogy were shelved.  It is good to know that some items are outside the Cornwall Room.

I inquired about a history room and was told it was only open certain hours: Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 2 to 4 pm. Here is the library phone number if you have questions (613) 932-4796. 

It was Tuesday, June 5th!  So this meant I would have to rearrange my schedule and come back the next day.  The librarian was kind and wrote down the hours for me which I have shared with you.  These hours are not on the website. 

The CPL has a new website at:  http://library.cornwall.on.ca/  It is not working very well today.  To get to the CPL Archive area click on eResources and you will see Local Interest.  The only tab working at the moment is the SDG Online and the ones on top.  The CPL Archives and Surname List are giving me the page of death.  I actually had trouble with the older website when I first went to their webpage.  I have to admit the blog about Freddy the Bear is a riot and good for a laugh  http://cornwallyac.blogspot.ca/

I returned the next day, Wednesday and was early enough that I grabbed a book from the stacks in the Reference area shown to me the day before.  In the picture below they are the first two sections of the first bookcase.  There were some cemetery books, histories and more.

The Reference Section of the Cornwall Library, some possible genealogical titles

The book I removed was: “Bowering’s Guide to Eastern Ontario, A Cultural and Historical Companion.”  Whoa! This is a tour book and historical guide.  I made myself comfortable in some cushy chairs right in front of the Cornwall Room doors and began to review it.

The contents are:  The Perch Route, The Fur Trade Route, Glengarry Higlands Roads, Touring Cornwall, The Loyalist Front Route, The Lost Villages Adventure, the Apple-Cheddar Route, Armchair Traveling, Local Historical and Heritage Groups, Travel and Tourist Information Centers and an Index of Place Names.  By Quarry Press and published in 1992.  Certainly a lot closer to the present time than the “Up and Down the Glens” by Dorothy Dumbrille done in 1954.  I enjoyed her book and have a copy which I found at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.  I was overjoyed with this find and am in the process of ordering a copy to review in depth.  Too bad I didn’t have it before I visited Glengarry.  

The Cornwall Room, Cornwall Public Library

The Cornwall Room is at the front of the library in the corner.  You enter the library go up to the Reference desk turn left and head to the windows and you will find the Cornwall Room on the right in the corner.   

Much to my relief the volunteer arrived at exactly 2 pm and opened the doors.  I waited a few minutes to give her some time to settled in.  She was very nice and friendly.  I gave her a copy of my McDonald booklet to be added to the collection.   

Apparently you can enter the room, settle in at a table and pull books off the stacks and not have to wait for the attendant.  This I did happily.  The volunteer really should reshelve the books because one cemetery book was mislocated and it took her awhile to find it. 

She gave me a brochure: “Genealogy and Local History Material available at The Cornwall Public Library.  This brochure is a little out of date but it does have good information.

The brochure describes the collection in this manner:

  • CPL Computer Catalogue – all holdings are listed.
  • Cornwall Room:  has books, photographs, papers of a local or regional content and that require special protection. Access is restricted and requires the presences of an informed attendant during limited hours.
  • General Reference Materials are located in the Reference Collection area of the library and are open to use during library hours.
  • Microfilm and fiche readers and printers are availabe and it is best to make an appointment to use.  The limit is three hours per day per patron. 

Microfilm:

  • Census records from 1851 to 1901 for Stormont, Dundas and Glengary.
  • Paris registers from the S.D.&G region with differing dates.
  • Newspapers – Standard-Freeholder from 1883 to present and some of the Cornwall Observer and Reporter for dates about 1876. 

Microfiche:

  • Land Records from the Ontario Archives by family name and location of property dating from the mid 1700′s to the late 1800′s.

Books

  • Numerous holdings of compiled genealogies
  • Historical writings for S.D. & G. 
  • City statistics, documents etc. for municipal departments
  • Histories of local businesses, churches and organizations
  • City directories, telephone books and voter’s lists.

Vertical Files: 

  • Newspaper clippings about Cornwall and other areas of an historical nature.

Cemetery Listings/Obituaries

  • Recorded transcriptions of cemeteries in S.D. & G.
  • Copies of Obituary notices from local newspapers various dates

Local History Name Index

  • A partially completed indexing of un-indexed holdings in their collection.  Specifically related to the Local History and Cornwall Room Collections.  Listings are by family name with call number, page and book.

Example from one of my search: 

The Macdonell family in Canada – author Morice, A.G., Location: Cornwall Room, Publisher: Canadian Historical Review, Pub. Date 1929, Call Number LHCR929.2 MOR.

Then a list of names with pages:  G.M. Adam 18, Donald Aenas 27, etc.

Historical Maps

  • Several maps from the area from the late 1700′s into the late 1800′s.  Many show land owners and or occupants.

As you can see it is not real detailed yet it is a start.  The Stormont GenWeb site has this to say about the holdings at the Cornwall Public Library:  http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~onstormo/info-local-cornwallplib.html  Very close to the same information. 

So this means a thorough search of the CPU’s online catalogue on the subjects of your interest and with attention to the location of the item in the library.  This way you know what you can access at regular library hours and what you will have to plan to review when the Cornwall Room is open. 

I live in the Pacific Northwest of the USA so calling International long distance is something I shy away from.  I would probably default to their email: generalmail@library.cornwall.on.ca  write in the subject line:  Inquiry from CPL website.  You might have to try several times to get a response.  They never answered my inquiry. 

I have not given specific source references, like books and cemetery compilations because  that could get really complicated.  There are many for Glengarry as well as Stormont and Dundas, not to mention Prescott and Russell. 

You can start with these two website to get an idea of what is published and then study library and archive websites to see what they hold:

The City of Cornwall website is amazing:  http://www.cornwall.ca/en/webadmin/publiclibrary.asp

While I was studying the Cornwall Room collection a lady entered who seemed very knowledgeable about the area.  She and the volunteer seems to know each other and were discussing a cemetery reading project.  It sounded wonderful what was happening in identifying graves at a local church.  I was to learn that she was from the Saint Laurent Genealogical Society (it really should be written in French) located in Cornwall.  I had visited this society several days before and will write about them in the next post. 

This conversation between the two ladies tells me that a big missing part of my visit to Glengarry is the personal connections with the people who know the history and genealogy of the area.  There is hope, for I did meet some really nice, helpful people.  I just needed more time.


An Overview: Dundas, Stormont and the city of Cornwall, Ontario

June 24, 2012

When the sign for Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry appeared, I knew I was at the first part of the united counties and that was Dundas.  I was heading east so next would be Stormont and then Glengarry, then Quebec.  The sign on the left reads:  Marine Coast Station Road.  So we have at least an idea were the sign is located on Hwy #2.

Welcome to Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry

This timeline is courtesy of the Stormont GenWeb Page:

  • 1788 to  October of 1792:  The area was the District of Lunenburg
  • In 1792 it became the Eastern District and included the future counties of Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry, Prescott, Russell, Leeds, Grenville and Carleton.
  • 1800 the Counties of Leeds, Grenville and Carleton were separated and became the Johnstown District.
  • 1816 Prescott and Russell became the Ottawa District.
  • 1850 the districts were abolished that is when it became the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry up to the present.

    1885 Map of the United Counties

Trying to compare this map with a current maps is rather interesting.  The Ontario locater website might help.  It can tell you what cities and towns are in what areas:  http://www.geneofun.on.ca/ontariolocator/index.html

My fascination with the St. Lawrence River kept me on Hwy #2 and it took me through Iroquois, Morrisburg, and past the Upper Canada Village and just at the eastern boundary of that is the beginning of Stormont.  I only crossed through the southern area of Dundas and Stormont on my way to Cornwall.   I did not venture into the interior. 

Here is a link to the Dundas County Genweb site for more information, history, maps and sources.   http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~ondundas/  Dundas was made up of townships.  Starting on the western side there is Mountain above Matilda which borders the St. Lawrence.  To the east is Winchester above Williamsburg which borders the St. Lawrence. 

The Dundas GenWeb site needs a host.  I am tempted but it would mean I would have to buff up on the area and I am lagging behind.  How about you, can you help by volunteering to host the Dundas GenWeb Site?  We all need to rally and preserve the history of our ancestors for there are forces working against that at this time.   

From there I traveled through the lower part of Stormont passing through the towns of Ingleside, Long Sault and on into Cornwall.  There is an interesting drive around Long Sault that might be fun, sigh!  Here is a link to the Stormont Genweb site for more information including history, maps and many sources: http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~onstormo/index.html 

The former townships of Stormont on the western side are Osnabruck next to the St. Lawrence and Finch northwest of it.  They are followed by Cornwall which touches the St. Lawrence River and Roxborough northwest of it.  This means I traveled along the southern parts of Osnabruck and Cornwall townships.

Be advised that all these former counties have had changes to their governmental structures in the past few years so if you are looking for these townships on a new map you might not find them.  It is now north and south Dundas, Stormont and Glengarry. 

The city of Cornwall would be used as my base of operations.  It was located on the border right next to my real target, the former Glengarry County.   http://www.visit.cornwall.on.ca/  I am still trying to learn more about the origins of my great-grandfather Archibald McDonell, his wife Mary and her father and mother Alexander John and Ellen McPherson McDonell.  My Aunt Miriam, my dad’s sister, believed Archie came from the Glengarry area of Ontario.  So I was in the area to learn what I could about the records and research. 

This is a major website for the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry and it takes you to the municipal pages and more:  http://www.sdg.on.ca/

As I traveled along the St. Lawrence there were several bridges across to New York.  Cornwall has its own very amazing bridge called the Sea Way International Bridge.  It is very impressive and if you are not careful when driving on Brookdale Avenue in Cornwall you can end up on it rather than on the streets of Cornwall that head to the downtown area.  The picture below is the beginning of the bridge and it is massive.

The Bridge to New York, in Cornwall looking north on Brookdale

I stopped by the Tourism center (Pitt and Water St. northside of the street) (613) 938-4748 or 1-800-937-4748 and it is right next door to the Cornwall Jail which was also the old Lunenburg District Courthouse.  Here is a better picture of the plaque than my photo can reveal:   http://www.flickr.com/photos/auvet/2594296840/  This is just across the street from the big beautiful park.  The ladies in the Tourism center were very helpful. 

I got more maps of Cornwall:

  • Cornwall and the Seaway Valley Map 2012 Edition. 
  • United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry map which has maps of each of the towns in the area except Cornwall.  Love this one.
  • Cornwall and Seaway Valley Tourism map.  This map is helpful but thin in information. It is one of those that you tear off a pad. 
The Tourist Centre (left) and the Jail

The Lamoureux Park on the waterfront in Cornwall is very lovely but a little hard to figure out where to go and park your car.  http://www.cornwall.ca/en/recreation/LamoureuxPark.asp  

There are traffic lights along Water St. and left turn lanes if you are going west. I think it was York St. where I turned left into the parking lot for the Cornwall Community Museum.  Find the Clock Tower and go west till you see the museum and turn in.  You can also park in the Civic Centre area.  Just read the signs to be sure you are not in a restricted zone.  There is a map of the park on a board somewhere in the park giving the pathways and more.  I wish I had more time to explore it was very pretty.  This link gives some idea of how it is designed:  http://www.waterfronttrail.org/maps/wt-7_06.pdf 

The Park and the Bridge in Cornwall

Somewhere in this area near the Civic Centre,  Sir John Johnson and the Loyalists were supposed to have landed and proceeded to settle in the area, but so far I have not been able to pin that down.  Anyone have an idea?

UPDATE:  Try this site Plaque #21 – Location:  In L’ameurieux Park at the foot of Augustus Street, Cornwall “The Founding of Cornwall.”  You will have to scroll down:  http://www.cornwall-lacac.on.ca/

Cornwall’s Clock Tower on Water Street

In the next post I will describe my visits to several of the genealogical repositories of Cornwall. After that, I will write about my tour of the former Glengarry County. 

The St. Lawrence River from the park in Cornwall looking across to the reservation island


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