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/

UPDATE: August 5, 2014 – THEY ARE MOVING to the Cornwall Public Library basement and it is in progress, maybe by September 2014???  I am so excited for them. 

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


Brockville: A quick Visit!

June 22, 2012

Brockville is a town along the St. Lawrence that is quite charming.  The 1000 Island Parkway ends a little to the west of Brockville and if you aren’t careful you will end up on the major highway 401.

http://www.brockvilletourism.com/

I took Brockmere Cliff Drive just in time before I came to 401.  It is a right turn after E. Townline Rd. I almost missed it.  This road meets up with Hwy 2 and that takes you into Brockville. 

Entering Brockville

I found the Brockville Museum and parked my car and was surprised to find it open.  I didn’t dally because I had to keep moving.  My plan was to have dinner at the Upper Canada Village which closed at 5 pm and time was slipping by.  http://www.brockvillemuseum.com/museum/

The Brockville Museum

Next to the museum was the marina and a nice little park where I could watch the boats out on the St. Lawrence River.   Storm clouds are collecting!

Brockville Marina

Boats out on the river.

Boats out on the St. Lawrence

Geese were also enjoying the water.

The St. Lawrence next to the Brockville Marina

Downtown Brockville’s main square and I wish I had more time to explore!

The Main Square in Brockville, Ontario

Brockville was the home of Duncan Darby Macdonald and the MacDonald Research Centre.  Duncan did a great many books on Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry and lots of charts and compilation of various families including McDonalds.  He died awhile back but his collection is with Global Genealogy.  A great many of his works are with the Family History Library and many other archives, libraries and genealogical societies.  They spell his name in a variety of ways and it can get confusing.

http://globalgenealogy.com/globalgazette/gazed/gazed139.htm

 

 

 


Kingston and the Cataraqui Cemetery – A Special Visit

June 22, 2012

Kingston’s Water Tower

Before I left Kingston, I had to make a visit and pay my respects.  Since I don’t know what McDonald family I am related in Ontario, I do have to make sure I acknowledge all McD’s in all is various spellings.

My goal was to visit Sir John A. MacDonald at the Cataraqui Cemetery in Kingston.  There are many websites that describe this man but I think I will send you here.  The Canadians call him Sir Johnny:  http://www.canadahistory.com/sections/politics/pm/johnmacdonald.htm

I entered the Cataraqui Cemetery from the side off of Sydenham Road.  I had a map of the cemetery from a newspaper handout I found at the OGS Conference – “Special Advertising Feature – Cataraqui Cemetery Celebrating 162 years as Kingston’s Historic Garden Cemetery.”  I passed Christ Church and followed the signs to his gravesite.  There is a sign on the opposite side of Oak Ave. pointing to the gravesite.  The map in the flyer had grave site as #9 and that helped.  It is a very large cemetery. 

Suggestion:  I came up Princess Street and went up Sydenham Road and entered the side of the cemetery.  I suggest you turn from Princess onto John Counter Blvd. then a quick left onto Purdy’s Ct. then right onto Purdy’s Mill Rd.  Then you enter from the front gate where the big stone Pillar’s are.  Follow Maple Ave and turn to the right onto East Ave and around to Oak Avenue.  The grave site is almost to West Ave.  Look for the sign below, remember I came from the opposite direction so it would be on your right if you come in the front gate.

The Entrance Sign to Cataraqui Cemetery, Kingston

This is the sign pointing to the opposite side of the road toward his grave.

Sign pointing to the grave Sir John A. Macdonald, Cataraqui Cemetery

This is what you see as you approach:

Looking toward the grave site area – Sir John A. Macdonald

Sir John Alexander Macdonald’s tombstone which is surrounded by a black wrought iron fence.  I did not see where I could open the gate to get closer.  I suppose for many people could eventually cause damage. 

Sir John A. Macdonald’s Tombstone

Sir John A. Macdonald and me!

I will add more photos later and provide a link to them showing more of his gravesite when I get my posting done for this trip.  I am almost there.  I have to admit that I am and was affected.  I am not Canadian by birth but my parents especially my mother’s side came from Canada and on my father’s are his father’s family. 

An Overview of Cataraqui Cemetery, Kingston

Earlier I had been in the downtown area of Kingston and had seen a historical plaque of another very well-known MacDonell.  The Bishop Alexander MacDonell 1762-1840.  Roman Catholic Bishop of the diocese of Kingston. The plaque was next to the house he lived in while in Kingston.  I did not stand back and take a photo for I was in a hurry to get to Anglican Diocese office for my appointment and still in my car.  This link below will explain the plaque better.

http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WMEJVM_BISHOP_ALEXANDER_MACDONELL_1762_1840_Kingston

Plaque for Bishop Alexander MacDonell

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Macdonell_(bishop) I will be visiting other plaques and will come back to share more about this amazing man. 

The clock was ticking and it was time for me to head for Cornwall to the east.  I headed down the main street – Princess and through downtown Kingston.  

Princess Street, Kingston, Ontario

I crossed over the bridge taking Hwy 2 east.  The bridge is called the Lasalle Causeway Bridge and it crosses the Cataraqui River which is the southern part of the Rideau Canal:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Salle_Causeway 

I was soon driving through and under arches that were part of the Canadian Forces Base.  This was my first notice of anything military in Canada, although in Petawawa there is another Canadian Forces Base.  I did not venture from Pembroke up to Petawawa to investigate.   I think I saw Royal Canadian Airforce Signs.  My dad would have loved that, remember the title of this blog:  The Man Who Lived Airplanes.  Very impressive. 

My next milestone was the town of Garanoque where I would leave Hwy 2 for the 1000 Island Parkway.  It was time to become just a tourist.

UPDATE:  July 7, 2012:  Here is a link to more photos that I have taken of Cataraqui Cemetery in Kingston.

Cataraqui Cemetery

Arriving in Kingston, Ontario

June 20, 2012

It was about 6 pm when I rolled into Kingston on Thursday, May 31, 2012.  I was there to attend the Ontario Genealogical Society Conference:  Borders and Bridge 1812-2012.  It was being held at the St. Lawrence College campus.

I had been touring in Hastings County to the west, visiting Mamora, Stirling, Trenton and Belleville and learning about their libraries and archives for research.  This was regarding my Brown family origins on my mother’s side.  I was not yet done because I wanted to visit the Anglican Diocese in Kingston for the Brown research.  I have described that experience and visit in my other blog: 

The Boardmans and Browns of Winnipeg:  http://boardmanbrown.wordpress.com/

My lodging was in a bed and breakfast called the Briar Patch.  Finding it was a little bit of trouble.  I left Belleville taking Hwy 2 to Tyendinaga, Napanese, Odessa, Westbrook and into Kingston itself. I was a little disappointed because I had hoped to see more of the Bay of Quinte on Hwy 2.  I guess you need to know where to go to see it?

I turned right and headed down Gardiner’s Road (Hwy 6) passed shopping centers.  I came to Bath Rd (Hwy 33) and turned left.  Then I got into trouble.  Bath is a very busy road. 

Hello Kingston

When I am tired it can get interesting.  I pulled into another shopping center and studied my maps.  I found Portsmouth which was to the west of this shopping center I had taken a break in.  I got back onto Bath and headed west past Portsmouth and just as I went past I saw the three numbers for the Briar Patch and pulled in.  It was shrouded in trees.  It was on the north side of Bath St. and there were islands in the middle of the road so it was not an easy place to get to.  They had a nice parking lot so I had plenty of room to situate my Caliber. 

My room was like a suite.  I had a foyer, a full bathroom, a sitting area and the biggest bed I have ever seen.  It took a little bit of climbing to get into it.  Sigh, no desk.  It did have a washer and dryer. Yippee, clean clothes! It was decorated with care and all the artwork and crafts you expect in a B&B.  There was an old door with a big flower wreath across from the bed.  http://www.bbcanada.com/8965.html?showpage=1 

I was greeted by Mark first and the Mary Jo gave me the tour.  She also helped me to figure out where to get some dinner and I chose the Red Lobster down the road to the west.  They accepted credit cards which was good.  Some do not and I didn’t need complication. 

I settled in for the night.  The next day I was to get a full breakfast and great conversation.  This is why I like B&B’s.

The Briar Patch


Ottawa: The Ottawa Public Library, Main Branch

June 16, 2012

One advantage of the majority of libraries is that you can access the records, books and films easily.  There are usually no restrictions except that certain books and items stay in the library so you do have to visit. 

The Ottawa Public Library has the Ottawa Room on the 3rd floor of the library and 180 degree turn from the elevators.  This means it is hidden in the wall and you might not see it till you get near the Reference desks.

The collection is heavily geared toward Ottawa and covers government records, history, families histories, maps and books by Ottawa poets.  The Genealogy Collection is described here at this link and does extend to the surrounding counties including Glengarry:

http://biblioottawalibrary.ca/en/main/interest/learn/genealogy/resources/opl-collections.

Comment:  A libraries website can be hard to get around on, so be patient and search for the genealogy section, special collections and maybe it is under history.  Keep at it till you find what you need.  Also check out the links section that can be very useful.

The main library is located at 120 Metcalfe in Ottawa.  The hours are 10-9 Monday-Tuesday 10-9, Weds-Friday 10-5 and  Saturday is 10-12, 2-5.  So watch out they do close up on Saturday from 12 to 2 pm.   Closed Sunday.

Another reason to check out the local library is you might be able to access it on the weekend while other archives are closed.  Always check the websites or call to verify.

I walked to the library down Rideau St. going west past the business like the Rideau Bakery which I never made it to but they doing a brisk business, LCBO, Loblaws (groceries), Metro (groceries), Hudson’s Bay and various pubs and restaurants like the Highlander and an interesting used bookstore.  Yes, I did some sight-seeing along the way.

Ottawa’s Wellington Street

Fortunately the big marathon that was scheduled for this weekend did not close up the streets I needed to access and Wellington was free as was the downtown area.  I did find a website devoted to this marathon with route maps.  Later in the day there were people with the numbers on their persons walking around.  The whole weekend was devoted to this marathon.  So this was the reason I had trouble finding a room in Ottawa and why I was on the 2nd floor. http://www.runottawa.ca/races/register 

Make a note:  Check for major charity walks and sports events before going on a trip.  Try the city website for these events, not just restaurants and archive hours.

Canada’s Parliament Buildings

Wellington Avenue, Ottawa

I turned down Metcalfe and walked a couple of blocks and finally spied a building that looked very much like a library and sure enough it was the Ottawa Library. 

The Ottawa Public Library – Main Branch

I entered the library and it was vaguely familiar, reminded me of the temporary location of the Seattle Public when they were building the new library.  I take my time when I first enter a library to get oriented as to where things are and then I headed up to the 3rd floor and was not finding the Ottawa Room.  The reason is that it is a room off the main area tucked into the side of the building or at least it looks like it.  When I walked to the Reference Desk I spotted my destination. 

The Ottawa Room at the Main Branch

The librarian who cares for the Ottawa Room is very nice, friendly and helpful.  I left another McDonald booklet.  When I hand over my booklet I do give an explanation.  I assume they will forget but at least it gives a link to this blog. 

They had a copy of the Dictionary of Glengarry Biography by Royce MacGillivray so I took some time to look through it.  It is sponsored by the Glengarry Historical Society in Dunvegan.  It is not a cheap book but I have a signed copy by the author.  http://www.glengarrypioneermuseum.ca/gpm/  I will share my visit to this archive later in the posts. http://www.glengarryhistoricalsociety.com/GHS/Publications.html They are running out of copies and I believe I have one of four left?  By the way it is big and heavy. 

This is a PDF of the table of contents:  http://glengarryhistoricalsociety.com/GHS/Publications_files/DGB%20prelims2.pdf 

I am afraid that I only scratched the surface of the holdings at the Ottawa Room.  My focus was on Glengarry County, Ontario.  Here is a summary of the items I studied: 

1.  Surrogate Court Index of Ontario, Canada 1859-1900 Volume 7, Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry Counties.

2.  They also had the Upper Canada Land Records Volumes 1, 2, 3 and 4 and maybe more.

3.  They had the Canadian Catholic Church Directory 2011.  A nice reference to be aware of it you have Roman Catholic ancestors. 

4.  The Bytown Packet and the Ottawa Citizen (Newspaper Abstracts) 1846-1879, Three Volumes – Birth, Marriage and Death Notices.  I firmly believe that our ancestors moved around a lot so keep and open mind and check the biggest city close by for information. 

5.  Father John’s Diary  if Deaths 1819-1866 and the 1839 Census.  I had seen a version of this but decided to revisit it.

6.  The Diary of Deaths of Rev. John MacDonald (R.C.) 1838 to 1866 and more.  I have seen this but it is good to see that they also have a copy.

7.  French-Canadian Sources – A Guide for Genealogists, was recommended by a Althea Douglas MA. CG(C) a respected genealogist of Canada. She has written several books on how to research in various areas of Canada.  “Finding Your Ancestors in English Quebec,” Heritage Productsions Book HC02.

8.  The card catalog in the Ottawa Room, Vital Records Index, Ottawa Journal (Dec 21, 1885 to Jan 10, 1922) Marriages:  M-Me.  Was not going back far enough but worth noting that they have this resource.

9.  Petitions, Land Grants & Land Petitions for the Counties of Glengarry and Stormont.  I had seen this source before. 

10.  St. Alexander Parish – Lochiel Book 1: 1863-1901, Book 2 1901-1932.  Don’t forget to check the front part of the book for clues and history and information provided by the author.  Duncan Darby MacDonald died a while back but his books and research are still a source.

11.  Soldiers of the King, The Upper Canadian Militia 1812-1815.  This was recommended to me.

12. An Index of Land Claim Certificates of Upper Canada Militiamen who served in the War of 1812-1814

13.  Loyalist Lineages of Canada 1783-1983. I believe this is in several volumes.

14.  St. Raphael’s The First 50 years 1804-1854

15.  Comte De Stormont – Marriages.  I know they have more of these compilations.

So you can see that they do have a nice collection of a variety of references.  You can consult the catalog online.  I  did a study of Alex Frazer and Darby Duncan MacDonald titles and compared it to the library in Cornwall, Ontario.  If you are familiar with these two individuals work on church records and cemeteries in the Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry, Prescott and other areas then you will be happy to know that the Ottawa Library has a nice collection of their works. 

If they close up the Ottawa Room while you are there, grab some titles off the shelf to look at. The librarian will make a list of what you have removed.  There are tables outside the room and more books to look at in that area as well.  There are smaller bookcases filled with more references as well as tall stacks to search out. surrounding the tables in the center.  If you need something from the Ottawa Room, inquire at the Reference desk which is on the other side of the large pillar you see in the picture.   

The study area outside the Ottawa Room at the Main Library

The taller stacks outside the Ottawa Room


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