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.


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.


The Pontiac Archives, Shawville, Quebec – One more Time!

June 14, 2012

Another view of the water tower – Timmy’s is everywhere

I began my day driving through Renfrew for it was time to head up to Pembroke after I finished up with the Pontiac Archives.  I wanted to explore the Quebec side of the Ottawa River on my way up north.

Renfrew’s Clock Tower – City Hall

I was now familiar with Bruce Road which stops at the light right by the Rocky Mountain House in downtown Renfrew.  I decided to end my stay in Renfrew by having breakfast there.  I had dinner the night of my tour of Allumette Island, Chichester and Sheen.  It has all knotty wood paneling inside.  Someone had placed figurines on the chandelier in the middle of the dining room area. I thought that was funny.  It was very homey and the food was good:  http://www.therockymountainhouse.com/ 

Storyland Road was not to hard to find and I was at the Portage Du Fort bridge:

More of the bridge to Portage Du Fort

The dam and power structures – Portage Du Fort

The drive to Shawville is lovely. 

One of many farms near Shawville

I was back at the Pontiac Archives and dug into the genealogies, this time focusing on collateral lines:  Poupore, LaCour/LeCour/Tebeau/Record/Ricard, Williams, Moor/Moore, Perrault, Leahy, Downey, Malone, Murphy, Burns, McPherson, Welch/Walsh, Frazer, Kennedy, Butler, Ryan, Ferguson, Sauvé and others.  These are the families that married into my great-grandparents Archie and Mary McDonell’s siblings families.  There was not as much information as I had hoped and not as far back in time that I had wanted.  I was looking at 1850 to 1901.

The Pontiac Archives is in Shawville which locates it further south in Pontiac and I have noticed that there is a concentration of documentation, histories and more from Fort Coulonge to Gatineau.  For some reason the upper Pontiac is less emphasized.  Why is that?

A REQUEST:  If you have ancestors who settled in Pontiac Counties please take a few minutes and print off or create a file that you can attached and send to the Pontiac Archives via their email or by mail.  Here again is their link:  http://www.pontiacarchives.org/  Don’t think that the Internet is the only way to spread the news about your family.  People are so impacted with information and lack of time they don’t always have that choice to be on the internet all the time or they don’t have that kind of access due to money concerns. 

Please send and or give them your family histories, I did!

I finished up at the Pontiac Archives and said my thanks you and goodbyes!  I was glad I had visited.

There was another restaurant and pub to the left of the library as you exit the front door that had a deck. It was on Rue Main.  I decided to try that for a different experience and it was great. Entering it through their door was a little odd. I cannot remember the name and I can’t find it online.  It had comfort food as well as a bar in the middle of the very long room.  I had worried about food but I can guarantee you will be able to get a good meal in Shawville. 

Here are a few more photographs of Shawville for your enjoyment.

Hotel de Ville – Shawville

After quieting my tummy, I headed up Hwy 148 (301).  This highway is wonderful.  It is a two lane road but it is in great condition.  I had no problems with driving along it.  Now that I know this, I can advise that if you want to stay somewhere other than Renfrew and drive to Shawville to do research at the Pontiac Archives you can do so without a problem.  The distance and weather might be a factor but the road is great.  Crossing the Ottawa can be done at Waltham, Portage Du Fort and at Qyugon you can take a ferry, otherwise you do have to come from Gatineau northwest or south from Waltham.  Hwy 148 follows the Ottawa River and if I had more time I would have done the whole tour.  Hwy 148 seems to end when it meets Hwy 40 near Pembroke after crossing Allumette Island.

Try this link for a very interesting information about road trips for the Outaouais area – the Quebec side.  You will have to do a little digging to find the various specific road trips for Outaouais:  http://outaouais.quebecheritageweb.com/attractions-and-tours  They are an online magazine of articles formation about the history of the towns, sites and more along the Ottawa (Outaouais) River and some photos.  I was very happy to find this website. 

Because of the time constraints I headed up to Campbell’s Bay to go to the Palais de Justice for Pontiac County (County courthouse).  It was open in the morning 9-12 and afternoon from 1-4 pm M-F and I had to get there quickly.  I figured I could double back to tour a little of Calumet Island after my visit to the Palais.  This website has the information about Quebec’s courts:  http://www.justice.gouv.qc.ca/francais/joindre/palais/cartes/campb-carte.htm

Palais de Justice, Campbell’s Bay – Rue John

My goal was to obtain printouts of the land lots that I had identified for several of my ancestors:  Archie, John his brother, and others that I suspected of being related. 

It was a little confusing to figure out which room to go to because I was finally hit with French as the only language. As you enter the building on your left there is sign that has the word “Ligne” in it and that is where I went to get these printouts.

The location board in the Palais de Justice Campbell’s Bay

The office were you obtain the land lot histories

The clerk was very nice and of course she started speaking in French till she realized I did not.  I had taken the time to write everything down so that she could just use my list.  We settled on the price of $4.00 for each printout and I asked for several.  She headed out instructing me to wait in the lobby and disappeared for about 15 minutes.  She came back with a stack and told me the last one didn’t exist.  My lousy handwriting made it look like another number so I corrected that and she kindly obtained the copy for me and didn’t charge me. 

Sigh!  This is where I made a big mistake.  I did not review the papers at that time.  I paid my money and asked her about accessing these documents and she said that I could do so online because that was were all the land records were.  It was not till much later that I studied them only to find out that they went back and stopped at early 1900.  I had thought I would get the lot history all the way back to the beginning circa 1850.  So they were all 1900 and to the present and only one showed me anything of value.  I was very disappointed and mostly frustrated.  I was hoping it would give me some information about Archibald’s early years. 

DO NOT DO WHAT I DID!  CHECK THE PRINTOUTS before you leave.  I am told that there was a fire in Hull in 1900 and that destroyed things?  I do not know how this affected the records for Pontiac County?  The online source for the land records may not go back far enough.  I don’t know?  I am still trying to figure out Quebec land records.  More on this topic in a later post. 

I did learn and confirm that the land records printouts are at this location or  all are online at the link given below.  I can access them even though I am a USA citizen.  She told me that they charge like a $1.00 so you do have to use a credit card to sign up to use the online system, but it is only for verification.  That was encouraging.  I knew about this website but hesitated to sign up.  I think I will take the plunge when I get home and see what I find.

I have tried to type this exactly as it was written on the summary sheet she gave to me. 

Pour toute information supplémentair, communiquez avec:

Service d’assistance â la clientéle de Foncier Québec: lundi, mardi, jeudi et vendredi, de 8h30 à 16h30 (mercredi de 10h à 16h30)  Téléphone: (418) 643-3582 Région de la Capital-Nationale 1-866-226-0977 Sans frais au Québec, en Ontario et au Nouveau-Brunswick.  Couriel: assistance.clientele@mrnf.foncierquebec.gouv.qc.ca

The clerk also gave me this url to go to. 

https://www.registrefoncier.gouv.qc.ca/Sirf/Script/14_06_01-02/pf_14_06_01_reglr.asp

The area along Rue Front in Campbell’s Bay has a parking lot right on the Ottawa River.  Actually I think that was what was distracting me and I was becoming very tired.  I love rivers and the Ottawa is as fascinating as others I have seen and especially because it was a big part of my great parents Archie and Mary McDonell’s lives and my grandfather Ronald’s, he grew up along its shores. 

I pulled my car into this parking area on Rue Front  and dallied enjoying the view. 

The Ottawa (Outaouais) River looking north

The Ottawa River (Outaouais) looking toward Calumet Island

There was a church across the street on Rue Front:

A Church in Campbell’s Bay – Rue Front Street


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


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