Glengarry in Ontario, Canada – Origins of Archibald McDonell?

July 8, 2011

Keith’s sister Miriam writes that Archibald went back to his birth location before he migrated to Minnesota from Canada in 1901.  This information has been shared before but it is worth repeating here:

Archibald & Glengarry, Ontario

Unfortunately, Glengarry, Ontario changed in size over the years so Archibald’s birth location could be very difficult to pin down.  His death certificate from Minnesota didn’t reveal any names for his parents.  No obituary was found in the International Falls newspaper at his death in 1912. 

To find a John and Sara McDonell in the Glengarry area of Ontario or for that matter a Roy Macdonell,  is like finding a needle in a haystack because of all the John McDonell/Macdonell/McDonald etc. spellings.

Keith’s sister Miriam was guessing about our MacDonell heritage.  She did do some research and here are some of her thoughts as she tried to understand the Scottish clan system:

Re: MacDonell

Miriam writes more on the Clan System:

The Clan System and more...

Miriam references Prebble.  This is a book by John Prebble titled “The Highland Clearances,” published by Penquin Books in 1963 and again in 1969.  Her niece found copies in a Scottish store in Annapolis, Maryland on a little road trip years ago. They also had Prebble’s “Glencoe” published first in 1966 and again in 1969. 

The Michael Fullar book was a little harder to come by but a copy was secured as well.  It is really called:  “Your Scottish Clan Heritage.” This large book was published in 1973.  It is almost like a coffee table book with big pages and wonderful photographs and maps. 

Miriam didn’t stop there and continues with yet more Notes:

Notes - The First Use of MacDonell...

Again she refers back to Michael Fullar’s book and to John Prebble’s “The Highland Clearances.”  She even tries to identify Scottish words and their meanings.

Miriam did her best and for that the family is grateful.  The origins of Archibald McDonell are still unknown but then genealogical research is never done. 

There were many forces that sent the people of Scotland to North America and beyond.  Since Miriam did her research back in the 1970’s and 1980’s more books have been written on this subject of the Highland Clearances and immigration of the Scots to Canada and for that matter to the Colonies and later the United States.  It is a big subject and would take years to study.   

Here are a few titles that might be of value in learning about the settlement of Canada by the Scots:

“A History of Glengarry,” by Royce MacGillivray and Ewan Ross, Mika Publishing Co., Belleville, Ontario 1979.

“The People of Glengarry, Highlanders in Transition, 1745-1820,” by Marianne McLean, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1991.

“A Dance Called America, The Scottish Highlands the United States and Canada,” by James Hunter, Mainstream Publishing, 1994

“The Highland Scots of North Carolina, 1732-1776, by Duane Meyer, University of North Carolina, 1957 and again in 1961. 

I have found the books by Lucille Campey to be very informative.  Here are a few of her book titles:

“The Scottish Pioneers of Upper Canada 1785-1855, Glengarry & Beyond,” Lucille H. Campey, Natural Heritage Books, 2005

“Fast Sailing and Copper-Bottomed Boats, Aberdeen Sailing Ships and the Emigrant Scots They Carried to Canada 1774-1853, Lucille H. Campey, Natural Heritage Books, 2002

“An Unstoppable Force, The Scottish Exodus to Canada,” Lucille H. Campey, Natural Heritage Books, 2008. 

Ms. Campey has a website:  http://www.scotstocanada.com/ She also has her books listed in more detail at her website.  She has added some lists of ships that came to Canada. 

Miriam did not mention another event and that was the subject of Loyalists.  That is a whole other topic.  Just be advised that a great many Scots who lived in the Colonies were loyalists and ended up in Canada after the American Revolution.  They came from North Carolina, New York and other locations and settled in places like New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island and of course Glengarry in Ontario, Canada.

“Research Guide to Loyalist Ancestors, A Directory to Archives, Manuscripts, Published and Electronic Sources, by Paul J. Bunnell, F.A.C.G., U.E., Heritage Books, 2006.  Paul is a frequent vendor at major conferences like NGS, FGS and others.  Very nice man easy to talk to. 

Here are a couple of genealogical research strategy books for Canada:

“Finding Your Canadian Ancestors, A Beginner’s Guide,” by Sherry Irvine and Dave Obee.  Ancestry Publishing 2007.  I attended a lecture by Dave at a local genealogical society conference and Sherry is well known in APG which I am a member of.  Here is his website:  http://www.bunnellgenealogybooks.citymaker.com/page/page/994036.htm

“In Search of Your Canadian Roots, Tracing Your Family Tree in Canada, by Angus Baxter, 3rd Edition, Genealogical Publishing Co., 1999.  This is getting a little old but it was a classic in its time. Since 1999 the Internet has opened up a lot in Canadian research. 

Hint:  Click on Miriam’s notes above and they will get bigger, remember to use the back button to return to this post.


A Mystery – Roy Macdonnell?

June 30, 2011

In the last post Nellie and Miriam’s Archibald McDonald chart was featured but it raised questions about the parentage of Archibald. 

Miriam's version - Roy???

There are several possibilities regarding Archie’s father and his mother! 

Who is this Roy? Who is Alex Ban Cameron’s daughter?

1.  The first thought is the St. Alphonsus Church records are correct and John and Sarah McDonell are Archie’s parents.

Miriam's version - Roy???

2.  Another possibility is that Nellie didn’t really know and made a guess about her father’s parents.  She did not have the St. Alphonsus Church record of the marriage of Archibald and Mary McDonell.

3. If  John is Archie’s father, it could be John is his real name while “Roy” is a nickname or he is “John Roy” or “Roy John.”  Keith’s family used nicknames and middle names to identify family members.

4.  Since Nellie wrote out these charts in 1932 years after Archie’s death, she could not check with him to verifying information and we could be missing a generation and Roy is Archie’s grandfather and therefore Nellie’s great-grandfather.  John and Sara are her grandparents on her father’s side. 

One thing is clear finding Archie’s family in the Chichester area has been very difficult. 

A burial location for his parents in the area of Chapeau and Chichester has not been found but more research into the cemetery records of the area is needed. 

So far making a connection to even sisters and brothers has yielded little results.  The Canadian census microfilm for the area of Chapeau, Allumette and for that matter Pontiac County, Quebec  have been searched several times and nothing has been discovered to make a connection to Archie.

If the chart is correct and Archie is the youngest of the siblings in this family, then he probably would need to strike out on his own for the inheritance would have passed to his oldest brother?  The laws of inheritance for Canada in the early 1800’s follow the British rules for inheritance.    The lands in the Glengarry area of Ontario had already been divided up and settled by the time Archie reached manhood and even earlier. 

Here is a list of the children of Roy Macdonnell and Alex Ban Cameron’s daughter – see chart in the last post for reference and more details: 

1.  Ronald married a Williams.  He was a farmer.

2.  John married Julia (fr) Tebeau and was a shoemaker.  The chart lists descendants.

3.  Kitty was a spinster and a weaver.

4.  Angus was a blacksmith and married unknown and the chart lists descendants.

5.  Duncan a farmer and married unknown but has descendants.

6. Sarah married a Murphy and went to Denver, CO. 

7.  Archibald – the father of Ronald and grandfather of Keith and Miriam.

The St. Alphonsus Catholic church record states John and Sara McDonell are Archie’s parents.  See the post dated December 3, 2010 “McDonell and McDonell Marriage!”

Let us review Miriam’s notes:

MacDonalds

Miriam writes that she believes Roy Macdonell and Alexander John MacDonald arrived in Canada by 1800.  However when we review the 1861 Canadian Census in my post dated November 11, 2010 “Mary McDonell, Archie’s Future Bride – 1861!” In this post we find a Alexander John living in Chichester with Rachel, Mary and Duncan all living next to Archibald in the 1861 Census.  The census states that Alexander John was born in Upper Canada in 1795.  Upper Canada refers to Ontario not Quebec.   This means that at least one of the parents of Mary and Archie was born in Canada, not Scotland, and we go back even further in time looking for family in Canada.

Miriam goes on to write about her grandfather Archibald and that he grew up in Glengarry, Ontario (See the notes above and study the 2nd paragraph. Click to make it larger and use the back button to return).

Here is a link to the Glengarry GenWeb http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~onglenga/

All the census for Canada 1861 to 1901 show that Archie was born in Canada.  His birth date and location vary with different census, death, burial and other information as much as 5-10 years.  So progress on this side of the family has been slow.

Archibald’s wife Mary McDonell’s side of the chart, which will be featured in a future post, is a treasure filled with families that have lived in the Chichester, Chapeau area and can be traced down to the early 1900’s and further through the St. Alphonsus Church records and in census.


Nellie’s Charts – Her Father Archie McDonell’s Family

June 17, 2011
In a past post about Nellie (Ellen) McDonell, it was mentioned that there was a McDonell/McDonald descendants chart that Nellie created about 1932. This chart was in the possession of her niece Miriam, sister to Keith, until about 1967 when it was shared with Keith’s youngest daughter. This chart is actually a long piece of paper with both families written on it.  Archie’s family is on the left side and Mary’s on the right.  It was gently separated into two pages in order to scan it into the computer.(Click the chart to make it bigger and use the back button to return to the post).   
Archibald McDonell’s Family Chart by Nellie McDonald

Archibald died in 1912 about 20 years before Nellie created this chart which was about 1932.  This means she could not ask him for clarification.  Other documentation found indicate that the children of Archie really didn’t know as much about Archie’s side of the family as they did about their mother Mary’s. 

This chart seems less complete than the one for Mary which will be featured in a future post.  If you will remember Archie’s death certificate in 1912 (See posted dated September 8, 2010) showed that his youngest son Alexander didn’t know the names of Archie’s parents and therefore did not record them on the death record. 

A PUZZLE?  Who are Archie’s father and mother?  What happened to his siblings?

In the posted dated December 3, 2010 Archie and Mary were married in 1861 and it listed Archie’s parents as John and Sara McDonell.  Archie does appear in the 1861 Census and it was discussed in the posted dated October 20, 2010.   (To find these posts as reference see the right side archive section).

Take a close look at this chart by clicking it and you will see that the father’s name is “Roy Macdonell” not John?   Notice that the spelling of McDonald changes to Macdonell. 

Focusing in On Roy Macdonell

It reads “Roy Macdonell – Cameron (White Alex)??

We now add Miriam’s (Nellie’s niece) version of this chart:

Miriam's McDonald's version of Archie's Family

Let’s see what Miriam writes for Archie’s father:

Miriam's version - Roy???

Miriam writes “Roy Macdonell – Alex Ban Cameron’s daughter?”

If you study both charts you will see that there is very little difference between them.  Miriam’s handwriting is easy to recognize but it took awhile before it became clear that Nellie had done the original version. 

These charts have been in the possession of Keith’s youngest daughter since about 1967.  They have used as the foundation in building the McDonald family history.  

If you make a copy of these two charts, and use them in your research please give Nellie McDonald and Miriam McDonald credit for their work and in preserving them for future generations to use. 

Nellie McDonald at a picnic

Miriam visits her brother Keith - circa 1950's

So we are left with a mystery?

Who is this Roy Macdonell?  Who is Alex Ban Cameron’s daughter? 

Are John and Sara Archie’s parents as the St. Alphonsus records suggest? If so where did they live? 

The research into Archibald McDonell/McDonald’s past to find his family has been very slow going.  In the next post the origins of Archibald McDonell will be expanded on.  Miriam, his granddaughter suggests that Archie came from Glengarry, Ontario.

NOTE:  If you see any names or family groupings in this chart that are familiar and think you might be a cousin, please contact the writer of this post immediately by writing a comment or following the information in the Compiler page listed above next to home under the picture.  Love to hear from you!

The Children of Archie & Mary: Ronald S. McDonell

February 17, 2011

Keith’s father Ronald Sandfield McDonell was born in Chichester on 22 July 1866 and baptized at the St. Alphonsus Church in Chapeau on 26 July 1866. 

Ronald's Baptismal Record

Source:  Baptism, Marriage and Burial Index, St. Alphonsus Church, 1846-1920 FHL# B70, #1029797.  Also on Ancestry.com under the Drouin Collection. 

Keith had in his possession the actual Baptismal Certificate from the St. Alphonsus Church for Ronald, his father.  It reads:

Source:  St. Alphonsus Church, Chapeau, Quebec, Birth and Baptism Record: “On the Twenty sith of July one thousand eight hundred and sixty-one. We the undersigned baptized Ronald McDonald born on the twenty-second instant of the lawful marriage of Archibald McDonald and Mary McDonald of Allumette Island.  The sponsors were Edward Smith and Jeanette McDonald, Signed James C. Lynch, PO.  True copy Chapeau, Que. January 16, 1940, A. Me Renaud, PP.

We return to Miriam’s notes to review what she had to say about her father Ronald.  This was featured in an earlier post dated May 2, 2010.  I do point out that there probably wasn’t a business school in Grand Rapids because it was too small at the time.  It is more likely Ronald attended the school in Duluth. 

Miriam's Notes on her Father

The spelling of Ronald’s middle name as been done in a variety of ways:  Sandfield, Sanfield. 

John Sandfield Macdonald was the Premier of Ontario at the time Archibald was living in the Chapeau/Chichester area.  According to Miriam, Ronald was named after this man.   The interesting thing in Keith’s family is that his uncle Angus gave a son the name Loren Sandfield McDonald.  Family lore says that Ronald was frequently referred to with the nickname of “Sandy.”  His grandson also was nicknamed “Sandy” and some of the family have trouble thinking of him with his more formal name.  Apparently this man, John Sandfield Macdonald, was greatly esteemed.

To determine if we were related to this family a search for Mr. Macdonald’s origins and connections was conducted and it just doesn’t appear to be there.  However, you never know.  The internet is filled with information about Mr. Macdonald.  Wikipedia has a brief article about John Sandfield Macdonald:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Sandfield_Macdonald


R.S. McDonald Leaves International Falls!

October 5, 2010

Papa 1910

What made Keith’s father R. S. (Ronald) decide to leave International Falls is sort of a mystery?  He left International Falls for Grand Prairie, Alberta, Canada and opened a store.   

Life was never the same after Grace’s death 1911, so maybe R.S. just felt there was nothing in International Falls to keep him there.  In addition the loss of both his parents may have been another factor.  Archie passed in 1912 and then Mary in 1913.  Maybe he felt it was just too much for him.  His two brother’s John (Jack) and Alex still lived in International Falls and continued to do so until their deaths decades later.    

Nellie (Elizabeth Ellen), his sister, also lived in International Falls with the parents and her brother Alex.  Nellie was to play and important part in the lives of R.S.’s (Ronald’s) children.  It is unclear if she went with him to Grande Prairie or stayed behind in International Falls.  At some point she does join her older brother to help him raise the children.   

The house on Riverside drive and land had been purchased in 1907 and the family and lived there since.  Here is the description of that purchase:  

Purchased by deed lots eleven (11) and twelve (12) in block forty-six (46)  in Koochiching County from the Koochiching Company, based out of Iowa) on 1 st of April 1907 (except taxes of 1905 and 1906 if any) for $1500.00.  Witnesses present were Washington Gray and F.B. Parsons.  Representatives of the Koochiching Company were Wm. F. Brooks and C. J. Rockwood.  It was filed for record on the 22nd of April 1908, at 10 o’clock a.m. and signed by Frank. [S] Lang Register of Deeds by J.A. Crouse Deputy.  Page 24, Deed Record (E crossed out and replaced) G, Instrument #2431.  Frank E. Lang was the Registrar of Deeds and J.A. Crouse was the Deputy at the recording of the deed on 22nd of April, 1908.   

The sale:  

Deed of Sale Lots 11 and 12

 On December 31st of 1915 the same lots eleven (11) and twelve (12) of block forty-six (46) of International Falls, Minnesota were sold to a M.E. Withrow for Six thousand ($6000.00).  The witnesses were W. V. Kane and M. Frank.  It was signed by W. V. Kane as Notary.  Deed Record 28, Koochiching Co., Minnesota, Instrument #23431, pg. 6.  Frank E. Lang was again the Registrar of Deeds at the recording of the deed on 1 Jan, 1916.   

So from 1916 to approximately 1919 Ronald and family were probably living in Grande Prairie, Alberta until his partner gambled away the store and all was lost according to family lore.     

Below is a picture of the store:  McDonald Land and Trading Company, The Store of Quality – Hardware, Furniture, Groceries, Shoes, Clothing, Dry Goods and more…   

McDonald Store

R.S. (Ronald) apparently had partners:  E.E. Petersen, Papa and Henry Otto are written on the photograph below.  In very light writing is the words:  Smokey Point.   

The Three Partners

Keith and his siblings didn’t talk much about their experiences in Grand Prairie, Alberta.  The only piece of information comes from sister Miriam who comments briefly in her notes about her brother Gordon:   

Gordon was bright. Good in math.  Learned his geometry in grade 8 in Grande Prairie, Alta.    

Memorabilia in the form of a postcard appears in sister Eddie’s “Pile of Junk” book:   

Grand Prairie - Postcard

More research needs to be done on this period of time from 1916 to 1920 in deeds, mortgages, school records and newspapers in the Grand Prairie area to see if more information comes to light on this vague time in Keith’s siblings and father’s life.    

The next time we find R.S. (Ronald) he is in living in Cheney, Spokane Co., Washington in 1920.  The children are with him and his sister Nellie is there as well.    

Before we study that part of Keith’s family history let us go back further in time to learn about the origins of the McDonald’s and where they came from in Canada. 

Photo at beginning:  Ronald appears in a full length fur coat and the photo is dated 1910.  Although it is five years before he leaves International Falls, I think it is apparent that Ronald was not unprepared for heading north deeper into Canada. 

Brother Gordy!

July 9, 2010

Grace and Ronald welcomed their first son Gordon who was born on the 3rd of May, 1904 in Grand Rapids, Itasca Co., Minnesota.  He followed Vivian.    

His full formal name is:  Ronald Gordon George McDonald

Baby Gordon 1904

I always knew him as Uncle Gordy! Miriam, his sister, wrote about her brother… 

Gordon was bright. Good in math and learned his Geometry…Gordon had the same genius mechanical ability as other McDonalds and so did Keith.  We have pictures of him campaigning for his father….” 

As I remember him, Gordon was a quiet man but very intense.  He would visit his younger brother Keith in the years to follow and they would talk for hours in the basement of our house while my dad worked on his engines or fixed the car.    

Gordon & The Public School

I love this photo of my Uncle! The frown and the suspenders holding up his pants!  The location is International Falls and the building behind might be a school or the courthouse.  The Alexander Baker school was not built-in 1913 and this building is much earlier.  

I can just see Gordy running freely about International Falls.  I wish I had thought to ask him questions about the family but I was too young and shy.  I will talk about what I do know of my Uncle Gordy in future posts.  I have a few very interesting stories about him, unfortunately not enough.    

The photos of Gordon campaigning for Ronald, his father, have gone missing.  I am assuming the campaigning was for Ronald’s position as commissioner?  I suppose I could try the newspaper to see if I could find anything in International Falls but that would be slogging work!  It is a thought?


Grace Barclay McDonald

May 29, 2010
Keith’s mother Grace was busy raising a family while her husband Ronald (R.S.) was involved with the lumber business and politics in the town of International Falls. 

Grace about 1896

 

This photo is of Grace as a young girl and it is this young girl that my grandfather Ronald fell in love with and met somewhere in Minnesota.  Maybe it was when he visited her father in Pine River to talk about lumber? Maybe it was on the train to St. Paul/Minneapolis where she attended school?  Miriam her daughter didn’t seem to know the story of how they met or even the date of the marriage as was reflected in her notes that she sent me.  

Ronald and Grace were married in September of 1898 and eventually settled in International Falls with their family.  I wrote about the marriage in my post dated February 20, 2010.  

Grace Barclay

 

Keith’s cousin Mary McDonald Louiseau told me when I visited her in 2000, that Grace liked to read so the library at their home was filled with books.  There is no date on this oval photo of Grace.  

Grace in the Snow

 

Here Grace is sweeping the snow?  Not sure why, but I enjoy the look which reminds me of her daughter Eddie.  I like the contrast in the pictures of my father’s mother and my grandmother.  I have very little information about her.  I think these photos start to show a little of her personality.  In this snow photo she is in a rather shabby dress.  For some reason I think she was pregnant at this time? I do not know the year this snow photo was taken. 

Grace and her children Jan 1911

 

In this picture Grace looks lovely and happy.  Written on the photo is the year 1911.  Left to right:  in the back row is Vivian,  Gordon, and Grace.  In the front row is Miriam, Eddie, Jean and then baby Keith, main star of this blog.  Grace is holding Keith, my dad, close.  If you look closely you can see that Miriam and Eddie’s hair is cut like a boy’s hair cut.  I am wondering if there was a lice problem? 

I have had the good fortune to know all of these siblings of my father Keith.  They were very much a part of my life.  The only one I never knew was Grace for she died very young as you will see.  

I have another blog that I am writing that covers Grace Barclay McDonald’s parents and ancestors.  It is called the “Barclays of Pine River, The Lives of George and Amarilla Barclay.”  You will find it at: http://barclayspineriver.wordpress.com/  Grace’s ancestry goes back to the Mayflower through Grace’s grandparents Elizabeth Keller Spracklin and Daniel Dair/Dare Spracklin.  I will eventually talk more about Grace’s earlier years in that blog up till she meets Ronald (R.S.).


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