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.


Ottawa: Libraries and Archives Canada!

June 16, 2012

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

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

Library and Archives Building

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

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

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

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

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

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

ALERT!! LAC has a new website?

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

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

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

The Entrance to Library and Archives on Wellington St.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Pembroke, Ontario: The Upper Ottawa Valley Genealogical Group & Library

June 15, 2012

It was Thursday, May 24, 2012 and the Upper Ottawa Valley Genealogical Library was open from 12-4 pm (also on Tuesdays 12-4 and the 3rd Saturday of the month).  I had been looking forward to visiting this archive having been a member of the online list for many years.  It would be a special day because I would be meeting a McDonald cousin who happened to be the librarian at the UOVGG library. 

There sign that is out in the back when open!

The UOVGG is located on the southwest corner of Dickson and Maple Street in Pembroke.  They are housed in the basement of the Masonic Lodge which a big building that dominates the corner.  You have to go into the parking lot and look at the back of the building to see the double doors to enter.

The entrance doors to UOVGG

 

The big Masonic Lodge

I went down some stairs and through some doors into this hallway and then I turned right into a large room with tables and was greeted by my cousin Diane Burnett, Librarian.  She said “You must be Bonnie.”  I said “Yes, I am.”

The main research area of the UOVGG

It was not to long before we were talking away and chatting about research.  She is the one who encouraged me to dig further into a John McDonell in Sheen. This is her family.  She had found this very blog and made a comment and that is the beginning of our getting to know each other. 

As a result of her comment on my blog, I did a census study using John and Julia’s daughter Teresa who married a Hugh Downey and went to Saskatchewan.  I traced back and ended up with John’s family.  John is the brother to my Archibald McDonald.  See my posted March 31, 2012 “A Discovery: Archie’s brother John McDonell, living next door in Sheen?”  I had visited the grave of John and Julia McDonell at the St. Paul the Hermit Cemetery in Sheen and posted about it just recently.  Diane is very generous and has given me a print out of her research which will be devoured when I get the chance.

The Upper Ottawa Valley Genealogical Group is awesome.  I was very happy there and realized I probably should have planned several days digging into their holdings but I would content myself with the hours available.  My the time I left I would have a better idea of what they had in their holdings, the knowledge of the volunteers and the visual experience. 

Here is their website which has a lot of information and is very helpful: http://www.uovgg.ca/

One of the volunteers is working diligently on rescuing the McDonald Burying Ground which is between Renfrew town and Cobden from Hwy 17.  It is to the west up the hill on Sutherland Road.  There are only a few stones left in this cemetery.  This website has photographs of the few remaining stones. 

http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~murrayp/renfrew/westmeat/mcdonal/index.htm 

At the UOVGG there is a bulletin board as you enter the main work area where they have placed articles and information and further research regarding the McDonald’s who are buried there.  This volunteer who is quite the character and was teasing me about east and west, has just received a grant that will allow him to place a commemorative monument at the site of this burying-ground and more.  I was interested in this Scottish McDonald family but learned they were Presbyterian and not Roman Catholic.  Which is a very important aspect of the research in this area. It will probably be a good six months before the dedication ceremony but I am sure you can contact UOVGG for further information. 

REQUEST:  If you have family that came from Renfrew and Pontiac County, please consider taking a few minutes to submit your family history to the Upper Ottawa Valley Genealogical Society either by mail or via email as an attachment.  Their holdings emphasize Renfrew County but they do have holdings for Pontiac County and other areas as well.  I submitted my family history booklet of the McDonald’s that is a condensed version of this blog, so why don’t you do the same?  

I was asking Diane one of my many questions.  “Why doesn’t Chichester have a history or book?”  She replied because it didn’t have a church.” 

Sheen as the “Crosses and Shamrocks” two-volume booklets about the St. Paul the Hermit and the St. Theresa of the Little Flower (Fort William) churches along with an appendix of family charts of the families of Sheen. 

The Appendix part of this two-volume publication

Allumette Island has the two volumes of the Family and Descendants of L’Isle-aux-Allumettes of which I copied some of the information.  

Book 2 of the Allumette publication

Well, my reply was “Humph!” 

Yes, the wheels are turning in my head.  That has already began to change because of this very blog you are reading.  The townships of Allumette, Chichester and Sheen are featured in these posts. 

I am now officially a member of UOVGG and took home my membership card.  I received a very fat packet of information.  They provided a description of where things are in the library: #1 Quebec Holdings, #2 Family Histories and Biographies, #3 Miscellaneous, #4 How to books, #5 BMD’s, #6 Cemeteries for Renfrew Co., #7 Oversized Books, #8 Census Transcriptions, #9 Renfrew Co. Towns, Townships, Villages, #10-11 Exchange Newsletters, #12 British Isles, #13-15 Ontario Cemetery Transcriptions, #16 Maps, #17 Current Exchange Letters, #18 Pedigree Charts, #19 Computer and databases, #20 & #23 Microfilms and fiche.  Please consult their website for more details.

I am very thankful for all the help and the friendly reception form the volunteers.  I believe I amused them with my USA perspective. HA!

It was quite a busy and crazy four hours at the UOVGG library.  People were coming and going.  I was asking Diane tons of questions and she was trying to find me answers.  As usual time flew by and it was all over before it began.  I am glad I visited.


Pembroke, Renfrew County, Ontario

June 15, 2012

The sign greeted me as I crossed back into Ontario and headed to Hwy. 40 or Pembroke St. E. 

Back to Ontario

I had visited Pembroke briefly a couple of days ago so I sort of knew where things were including the Econo-Lodge where I had chosen to stay.

Entering Pembroke, Ontario

It was not to hard to find on the left.  Once settled in my room it was now time to get a good hardy dinner.  I had a few ideas but discovered a Boston Pizza in the shopping center just a little ways from the Econo-Lodge.  I had been in one in Kelowna when I visited my cousin there just a few weeks before this trip.  He is a Brown descendant and that is my mother’s family.  My reason for being in Pembroke was my father’s father’s family. 

I was going to be in Pembroke for a couple of days so what follows are some of my experiences.

There was a Walmart and several other businesses in this shopping mall but no wine anywhere to be found.  I learned later that Ontario has the LCBO stores where you get everything.  They also have Beer stores for beer only.  Most of the time you can get just about any type of alcohol in a restaurant, pub or bar.  I do like a nice glass of wine.  At least they didn’t call it a “package store” like they do in Massachusetts. You have to take a look at the LCBO’s website.  They have recipes for drinks, a store locator.  http://www.lcbo.com/main/en.shtml?promo=3

As a result of my search for the wine store I became acquainted with the Santa Fe Restaurant that was on Nelson St. the following evening.  You cannot miss it because there is a big water tower next to it with a mural painted on it. http://www.santafepembroke.ca/menu

Santa Fe Restaurant, dinner the next evening

The view from the Santa Fe at Dinner one evening

Pembroke is a city that is mixing the old and the new.  It curves itself around the south side of the Ottawa river and is quite long.  I was in search of souvenir T-Shirts and went from where I was on the east side of the city to the west side where Zeller’s was located.  This took me through the downtown area of Pembroke.

Downtown Pembroke

I found where the Pembroke Library was located but I did not have the time to go in and check out its holdings.  I had studied its catalog and they had some items that might have been interesting and newspapers.  I had been a bit concerned because a lot of the library websites in Ontario talk about membership and fees to use their services.  So I emailed the Pembroke Library and they explained the policy.  Since I was not going to do anything other than cruise the stacks or maybe use a microfilm I did not have to pay this fee.  http://www.pembrokelibrary.ca/

Pembroke Library

The Champlain Trail Museum and Pioneer Village was not far from the Econo-Lodge and so I stopped and wandered around among the buildings.  It was closed by that time but that was okay with me. http://www.champlaintrailmuseum.com/

Champlain Trail Museum and water wheel

The Pioneer Village part of the Champlain Trail Museum

I felt comfortable in Pembroke and soon got into the flow of the traffic along the main street.  Tomorrow was a big day for I would be visiting the Upper Ottawa Valley Genealogical Group Library. 

I was liking this Econo-Lodge that I had checked into but I was to learn they are not all created equal.


Monday, May 21, 2012: A Tour of The Upper Ottawa, First Pembroke’s Marina

May 27, 2012

The time had come for me to visit the locations and towns that I had been first introduced to by my Aunt Miriam’s notes back in about 1986.  It was not until 1999 that I finally started the search for my family history.  I started with the McDonald’s in all its various spellings.

The goal for May 21st was to tour Renfrew County, Ontario and Pontiac County, Quebec.  It was Victoria Day in Canada so a lot of places would be closed.  It was sunny and muggy.

These two counties share the Ottawa River.  Renfrew is on the western side and Pontiac is on the eastern.  Here are the tourism websites for these two counties and they are very different in approach and information.  You are going to have to dig to find what you want on these websites.

http://www.bonjourquebec.com/qc-en/outaouais0.html

http://www.ottawavalley.travel/

I headed up Hwy 17 and took a detour onto to Sutherland Road.  I was curious about the McDonald Burying Grounds.  There is not much there according to online sources, probably about 4 stones left.  I didn’t find it.  Well I was to learn it was on the western side of Hwy 17 up Sutherland road to the hill so don’t turn right if you are heading toward Pembroke.

One of the volunteers at the Upper Ottawa Valley Genealogical Group is working to clean it up of the poison ivy and to get a memorial plaque and stone placed there.  There is a McDonald family buried there but they are Presbyterian not Roman Catholic something to keep in mind when you are researching.  They are Scottish not Irish origin another factor. In preparing for this trip I learned that a great many Irish came to this area and that includes Irish McDonnells. If you want to learn more about this cemetery contact the Upper Ottawa Valley Genealogical Group for information. (See side bar link to the right under Ontario links.

I was not going to dither in Pembroke long because I had a lot of ground to cover.  I would be back later in the week. I took the Greenwood Road into Pembroke so I could get a feel for the city.

The Ottawa River & Allumette Island in the distance

Albert Street is in the heart of the town and I turned right toward the river.  They have a park and a marina at this location.  It was my first introduction to the Ottawa River.  I had only caught glimpses of it as I drove up Hwy 17.

Off in the distance was Allumette Island.  According to my Aunt Miriam, Ronald her father and my grandfather grew up there.  So this was going to be great to finally see this island.

Pembroke’s Marina end of Albert Street

The Marina’s rock jetty and Allumette Island

Looking back towards Pembroke


Sunday May 20, 2012: Renfrew County, Ontario

May 26, 2012

My plane touched down at about 4:20 pm Ottawa time.  There was the usual events that unfold when you depart an airplane such as baggage claim.  This time there would be a slightly different twist, because I had customs to go through.

The Ottawa Airport is southwest of the city of Ottawa.  It is about the size of the Columbus, Ohio airport and that surprised me.  It was easy to get around, not like Chicago which takes forever.

It was sunny and muggy.  The car rentals were across the departure and arrival avenue and it is always fun to pull all my luggage with me through heavy doors.  Of course, Hertz was almost the furthest down the long hallway of rental car booths.  They gave me a Dodge Cavalier – hatchback in black.  I was soon off and onto the highway called Hunts Club toward Hwy 416 that meshed into Hwy 417.  In Ontario you think east to west, not like at home which is usually north to south.

My goal was the town of Renfrew which placed me in the about the centre of Renfrew County for the next few days.  Now I do not yet know if I have family links in Renfrew County, Ontario which is on the western side of the Ottawa River.  My family settled in Pontiac County, Quebec which is on the eastern side of the Ottawa River but they are very interrelated so you need to study both counties.

Renfrew’s Water Tower is very friendly

An introduction to Ottawa Valley genealogy can be found here: “My Ottawa Valley Ancestors” http://ottawagenealogy.com/  The author has Kennedy’s on this website and some married McDonalds, but I cannot see a connection to my family, still it has a lot of good family names and information.

An interesting history of Renfrew Co.: http://www.ottawariver.org/pdf/31-ch5-3.pdf

You might want to study this website for the history of the Ottawa River: http://www.ottawariver.org/html/intro/intro_e.html

Renfrew County GenWeb:  http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~onrenfre/index.html

Renfrew County Gravemarker Gallery http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~murrayp/renfrew/index.htm

Renfrew County Government: http://www.countyofrenfrew.on.ca/

Renfrew Public Library:  http://www.town.renfrew.on.ca/library/index.php

Heritage Renfrew is the local custodian for historic documents and more.  You need to make an appointment on Monday or Wednesday between 10 am to 1 pm.  They are located at 770 Gibbons Road, Renfrew, Ontario.  They don’t appear to have a website.

The next day was Victoria Day in Canada and so it was a three-day weekend which means that many stores, government agencies and more were closed.  So I decided to use that day to tour both Renfrew County and Pontiac County.  I would then head for Allumette Island and Chichester and Sheen Townships and visit the sights and cemeteries in those areas.

Renfrew town is spread out and had 3 exits.  I spent most of my time on O’Brien Street till I learned about the northern exit on Bruce Street which goes right by the St. Xavier Catholic Cemetery.  If you spot a red picket fence going north you are almost there.  It is on the left with two stone columns and a long drive.  I did not have time to investigate.

Renfrew’s Clock


Archibald and Mary McDonald’s Children

March 20, 2010

McDonald Family 1905

This picture shows Keith’s grandparents and his aunt, uncles and father, Archibald and Mary McDonald’s family.  Starting on the left we have Nellie, Mary (seated), Jack, Archibald (seated), Ronald and Alex (seated).  Keith’s father is Ronald the one standing on the right next and behind Archibald. There is one person missing from this photo.  The oldest son Angus. 

Mary and Archibald actually had eight (8) children.  Five (5) children survived and lived to have full lives.  Two had descendants.  Jack had a daughter and Ronald and Grace had the 8 children listed in a previous post dated February 27, 2010. 

Their children were born in Chichester, Pontiac Co., Quebec.  Their births and baptisms are recorded in the St. Alphonsus Catholic Church registers in Chapeau, Pontiac Co., Quebec. 

The Children of Archibald and Mary McDonald are as follows.

1.  John McDonald born 10 December 1861, baptized 12 December 1861.  This baby must have died before 1871 for he is not listed on the 1871 Canadian census.  A death record nor burial location has been found at this time.

2.  John Alexander McDonald born 18 April 1863, baptized 26 April 1863 and died probably before 1871 for he is also not listed on the 1871 Canadian census.  This child’s death record and burial location has also not been found at this time.

3.  Angus Lawrence McDonald born 6 August 1864, baptized 13 August 1864.  He died 2 May 1931 in Seattle, King County, Washington of pneumonia, He is buried in the Calvary Cemetery in Seattle with other family members. Angus is listed as “Agnes” in the records.

4.  Ronald Sandfield McDonald born 22 July 1866, baptized the 26 July 1866. Keith’s father died on the 24 of July 1947 in Yakima, Yakima County, Washington of old age. He is buried in the Calvary Cemetery in Yakima, Washington with other members of the family.

5.  John Archibald McDonald (Jack) was born 3 June 1869, baptized 14 June 1869.  He died on 11 December 1949 in Moose Lake, Koochiching County, Minnesota of old age.  He is buried in the St. Thomas Cemetery (Forest Hill) in International Falls, Koochiching County, Minnesota with other family members.

6.  Ellen Elizabeth McDonald (Nellie) was born 26 November 1870, baptized the 26 November 1870.  She died on the 8th of May, 1947 in Yakima, Yakima County, Washington of old age.  She is buried next to her brother Ronald in the Calvary Cemetery in Yakima and with other family members. 

7.  Alexander Thomas McDonald was born 2 December 1872 and baptized the 17 December 1872.  He died the 3rd of November 1955 in International Falls, Koochiching Co., Minnesota.  He is buried next to his brother Jack in the St. Thomas Cemetery (Forest Hill) in International Falls, Minnesota. 

8.  George James McDonald was born 22 July 1878, baptized 27 July 1878 and must have died before the 1881 Canadian census for he does not appear with the rest of the family.  A death record and burial location have not yet been found. 

I will give more details about the records of the St. Alphonsus Catholic Church in another post.  This church is located in Chapeau, Pontiac Co., Quebec.  It is across the Ottawa River from Pembroke which is in Ontario. 

Here is information on the Catholic Diocese of Pembroke: http://pembrokediocese.com/web/english/directory/index.shtml


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