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.


Touring the Upper Ottawa Valley: St. Joseph on Allumette Island, Quebec

June 12, 2012

May 21, 2012  was Victoria Day in Canada and because many businesses would be closed, I used that day for touring the area of Pembroke, Allumette Island, Chichester and Sheen Townships.  It would allow me to just sightsee and tour land where my great grandfather Archibald and his brother John McDonell (McDonnald) had settled. 

I made my way past Waltham and across the bridge to Allumette Island following Hwy 148 south. I was heading back to Renfrew the town where I had lodging.  I did not stop in Waltham and explore.  There are some cemeteries in this area like the Ivy Hill Cemetery and Our Lady of Perpetual Help R.C. Again the Upper Ottawa Valley Genealogical Group has publications for these cemeteries

http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~onrenfre/Cem_Pont.html

The Gravemaker Gallery is at this link: http://www.gravemarkers.ca/quebec/pontiac/index.htm

The photographs of the tombstones is great, but not complete, so you do need to look at a transcription publication to get as many of the burials as possible and then look at the local church records if they exist for that area.  If funeral home records are available that can also add more information.  Take time to note the date of the transcribing of the cemetery, the older the better.  Make a note of the date of the  establishment of the church and cemetery and that will help you target the time period for your ancestor.  The earlier the burial the harder it will be if you find it, if at all.  If the person had money they might have moved to a bigger city like Ottawa and Montreal and died check around.  They may have migrated to another location like Archibald and Mary McDonell who died in International Falls, Minnesota.

The OCFA (Ontario Cemetery Finding Aid) is also helpful: http://ocfa.islandnet.com/

This is also a useful cemetery cite:  http://canadianheadstones.com/

As you cross the bridge fromWaltham there is an area that was once the location of the first church on Allumette Island.  It was neglected and then the bridge was built and that destroyed it completely.  It was thoroughly searched several years ago and nothing was found of significance. 

As I was heading south I spotted the spire of the St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church.  I turned left onto the road by the church sign – Rue St. Joseph and pulled in front of the church.  There was no cemetery in sight? Hmmm….? 

St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church, Allumette Island, Quebec

I drove east a little further and saw the road sign for Chemin du Cimetière.  It was a gravel road that proceeded east in a straight line.  Well, why not give it a try?  So I drove along going slowly looking on both sides and spied what looked like a black iron fence in the distance.  It turned out to be a black chain link fence and there was the St. Joseph Graveyard nestled among some trees.  As you can see from the picture below it was a little ways down the road.

Looking west, the road to the cemetery

St. Joseph Graveyard, Allumette Island, Quebec

St. Joseph’s Cemetery – Overview

My day tour of the area was completed and it was time to get back to Renfrew and get some dinner and rest.  The next two days would be a visit to the Pontiac Archives in Shawville and more exploring on the Quebec side.

I will post more photos of the cemeteries I have visited as soon as I can get it done.  Use the links above to find more information about a cemetery in Pontiac County, Quebec.

UPDATE 7/8/2012:  Here is a complete set of the photographs for this cemetery.  These are overview photographs so you can get an idea about the location, size and care of the cemetery. 

St. Joseph RC Church & Cemetery

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 29 other followers

%d bloggers like this: