Update on Janet McDonell and her life after Ronald

August 31, 2014

In the post about Janet and Ronald that I wrote on September 29, 2011, I didn’t mention Janet’s second marriage to Thomas Poupore.  I did an update to the post indicating that omission.

As a result, I could not help myself and decided to do some further research on what happened to Janet McDonell the widow of Ronald.

Janet remarried to Thomas Poupore on the 12th of February 1872 in the St. Alphonse and that record is in the 1859 to 1876 Register of the St. Alphonse Church at Chapeau, Ile Aux Allumettes, Marriage 11. The record covers two pages of the register.  This collection called the Drouin is available at Ancestry.com and Family Search and there is the Drouin Institute.

First page of the Marriage of Thomas Poupore and Janet McDonell

First page of the Marriage of Thomas Poupore and Janet McDonell

” The St. Alphonse Allumette Island, 12 Febry, 72. Whereas a dispensation of three of the Banns of Marriage has being granted by us in virtue of the power accorded to us by his Lordship the Right Rev. Doctor Guigues Bishop of Ottawa to Thomas Poupore of this mission son of age of John B. Poupore and Rosy Boyd now deceased of the one part and Janet McDonald widow of deceased Ronald McDonald on the other part no impediment having been discovered we the undersigned Priest of this mission have received their mutual consent to marriage and have given them the nuptuals benediction at St. Alphonses Allumette Island on the day and date aforesaid in presence of Denis Lynch and Annie Kell Kelly who have not signed.  E. Marcellin, Priest.”

This couple appears in the 1881 Canadian Census for Pontiac County, page 4, Dist. 98, Quebec,  on line 3 through 6.

14/14 Poupore, Thomas M, 50, 1, O, Catholic, French, Farmer, Married

Poupore, Janette, F, 49, 1, O, Catholic, Scotch, Married. 

Poupore, Rosa, F, 8, 1, Q, Catholic, French. 

Poupore, Thomas, M, 6, 1, Q, Catholic, French

The baptism of Rose Anne took placed on the 6th of July 1872.  It is recorded in the records of the St. Alphonse Church 1859 to 1876, Ille Aux Allumette, Chapeau, St. Alphonse, Pontiac, Q. B84.

St. Alphonse Allumette Island 6th July 1872 we the undersigned Priest of this mission baptized Rose Anne [Mary] 9th ultimo of the lawful marriage of Thos. Poupore and Janet McDonell the sponsors were Joseph Wheelan and Isabella Poupore who have not signed. Ed Marcella. 

Unfortunately, we find Thomas listed as a widow in the 1891 Canadian Census, Province Quebec, page 12, District # [170] Pontiac, Chichester Twp., enumerated 12 day of April, 1891 by H. Landon.

Line 1 thru 3, Poupore, Thomas, M, 64, W, Ont., French Canadian 1, POB Father Quebec, Mother Ontario, RC, Farmer, can read and write. Poupore, Rose, F, 18, S, born Quebec, FrCa, Father born Ont, mother Que, RC, can read and write. Poupore, Thomas, M, 16, S, born Que, FrCa, Father born Ont, mother Que, RC, can read and write.  

Janet died on the 19th day of November 1890.

St. Alphonse Church Records, 1890 to 1893 Ile Aux Allumettes Chapeau, St. Alphonse of Pontiac Quebec.  S.37 Jeannet McDonnell, page. 23.

On this nineteenth day of November one thousand eight hundred and ninety we the undersigned parish priest have interred in the R.C. Cemetery of this parish, the body of Jeannette McDonnell who died on the seventeeth instant aged about fifty eight years, wife of Thomas Poupore, of this parish. Were present, Eugene Bergeron, laborer, and William Holden, farmer of this parish who declared they could not sign.  D. Leduc, PP. 

Thomas appears in the 1901 Canadian Census with his son Thomas and in the 1911 census he is still with his son Thomas who has married to Ethel and they have Lawrence, Rayburn, Joseph E. and Thomas the Father who is now 86 years old. Below Thomas is Allan MacDonald a border who is 65 years old. Is it possible this is Janet’s brother?

St. Alphonse Church records 1897 Ile Des Alumettes, Paroisse St. Joseph, Pontiac, Registres Au Greffe Campbell’s Bay, # S6, On the Twenty-fifth day of February one thousand eight hundred and ninety-seven, we, the undersigned priest have interred in the RC Cemetery of this parish the body of Rose Mary, who died on the twenty third instant, aged twenty four years and eight months and half, daughter of Thomas Poupore and of late Jeannette McDonnell, of this parish. Were present Thomas Poupore and Thomas John Poupore, who signed with us. 

I believe that this Thomas Poupore died probably about 1914.  I have to do a little more studying of the records to be sure.  Here are the cemetery records.

A 56 Poupore and McDonald (1) in memory of Janet McDonald wife of Thomas Poupore, died Nov 17, 1890 aged 58 y’rs, rest in peace. and Rose Mary Poupore, Feb 23, 1897 aged 24 y’rs & 8 mo’s, rest in peace.

#1341 Jeannett McDonnell, 17 Nov. 1890, 19 Nov. 189, 586 w/o Thomas Poupore, Eugene Berjeron, William Holden. Note:  I had place a ? by Janet’s name.  The mystery is solved.

#1631, Poupore, Rose Mary 23 Feb 1897,, 25 Feb 1897 24 y 8 1/2 m. d/o Thomas Poupore & late Jeannette McDonnell, Thomas Poupore, Thomas John Poupore.

Here is an interesting entry in this book? McClellan or McLellan?

#1302 McClellan, Flora, died 06 Nov. 1881, buried 8 Nov. 1881, 76 yr wid/o John McDonnell, present William McDonell, Joseph Bergeron.  

From the Book:  St. Alphonsus of Ligouri, Chapeau, Allumette Island, Pontiac Co., Quebec,  Cemetery Inscriptions and Burial Records, by Elaine Brown, March 2000. 

Go here for some of the tombstones for this family.

http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~cangmg/quebec/pontiac/allumett/stalplig/l-to-z/page0004.htm

I think is is very interesting the different spellings of Janet’s name:  Jeanette, Janet, Jeanett and I have seen Genet and Jennette. I have had trouble placing the families when the spellings are so varied. Handwritting is also a challenge to decipher.  You have to collect the different versions and this is evident here.


John (Jack) Archibald McDonald & Sarah M. Burns

July 20, 2012

One of the goals I had on my trip to Ontario and Quebec, was to try to find any reference I could about the marriage of John (Jack) McDonald and Sarah Maria Burns.  Jack, as he was called, is a son of Archibald and Mary McDonell.  There are other John Archibald McDonell/McDonalds in the area so you do have to be careful to not confuse them.

They were still in Chichester in 1901 according to the Canadian Census that had an enumeration date of March 31, 1901.

In the 1901 Canadian census for Chichester, Pontiac County, Quebec we find Mary and Archie still living in the area along with their son John (Jack).

McDonald, Archie, farmer, 63 years old. Birth date is October [5,] 1837. Place of birth is Canada, which is written over with Quebec. Racial origin is given as Scottish, nationality is Canadian. Religion is Catholic. He can read, write and speaks English. His mother tongue is English. McDonald, Mary, birth date is March 13 , 1840, 60 years old. McDonald, John birth date is June 16, 1872, he is 28 years old. 

Source:  1901 Canadian Census, Chichester, Pontiac Co., Quebec CC Film #T6538, 1800 Pontiac, pg. 116.  

The marriage was 20 August 1901 as written in the St. Alphonsus Catholic Church Record.

John and Sarah’s Marriage

Source:  Ancestry.com, Quebec Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection) 1621-1967 database, Chapeau, Parish, St. Alphonse, Pontiac County, Quebec.  Registres Photographies  Aug Greffe De Campbell’s Bay, No. 17,  20 August 1901.

Another source is the Marriages Du Comte De Pontiac:

Source:  Marriages Du Comte De Pontiac 1836-1973: McDonald, Pub. No. 26, Editions Bergeron & Fils Engr’, Montreal, P.Q. FHL #971.4215 K29.

pg. 356 #6916 McDonald, John Archibald (Archibald McDonald & Mary McDonald) 8/20/1901 to Sarah Burns (Geo.Burns & Cath. McMahon).

I tried the Pembroke newspaper published abstracts for vital records, but didn’t find any article about this marriage.

Births, Marriages and Deaths from the Pembroke, Ontario Newspapers Vol I. 1900-1906, Compiled by Members of the Upper Ottawa Valley Genealogical Group, 2003.

Elaine (Burns) Brown writes that the wedding party probably…

“…celebrated at the home of Sarah’s cousin Ida Coghlan’s parents (Margaret) Ida Coghlan was the daughter of Ellen and James Coghlan.  Ellen was Catherine (McMahon) Burn’s sister.”  Ida is a witness to the marriage.

I was planning on looking at the actual Pembroke newspaper but didn’t have time to go to the Pembroke Public Library or at UVOGG.  I had made plans to visit Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa, and had requested the Pembroke newspapers.  When I arrived on Monday, May 28th they had the other newspaper films I had ordered but for some reason the Pembroke newspapers were missing.  Elaine reports that there was a break in the Pembroke newspaper from August 16, 1901 to January 3, 1902.  That is the critical time frame that I needed.  When reviewing the LAC information for the Pembroke newspaper I see that this break is there.  Still I did not get any Pembroke newspapers at the LAC.

Pembroke Observer.
NJ.FM.1018 F 1, 1867- 1898; 1900- Ag 16, 1901; Ja 3- Ag 22, 1902; 1906; 1913 AN 7158329 and AN 6945397

I also tried the Renfrew published newspaper abstracts for vital records but did not find anything of interest.  LAC has a nice listing of the volumes for the Mercury:  http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/journaux-chez-bac/035005-2209-e.html#ontario-renfrew-002

I did not study the Shawville newspapers at LAC because they didn’t have the timeframe I needed.  I did look at the McDonell/MacDonald/McDonald genealogical files at the Pontiac Archives in Shawville and didn’t find anything on the marriage.

At the Arnprior Archives I checked the newspaper abstracts for the Arnprior Watchman which are listed here:   http://www.adarchives.org/publications.htm

By doing this review of the local newspapers I learn the focus of that paper and eliminate possibilities.

The ultimate goal was to place the timeframe that Archibald, Mary, Jack and Sarah left Chichester for Minnesota.  Archie went back to Glengarry per Miriam’s notes so I would think he would do that before winter set in.  Did he go there after the wedding in August 1901?

The following picture is of Sarah, an unknown young girl, and Jack (John Archibald McDonell).  It was taken in International Falls about 1913.  This photograph was shared by Elaine (Burns) Brown.   On the right side panel of this blog under “Family History Websites of Interest” is the link a link to Elaine’s website:  Welcome:  Burns, Hughes, Somerville, Gentle.

UPDATE:  January 9, 2013 The unknown girl is found.  Please refer to the comments below on this post to learn the identify of this young girl.

Sarah, Unknown Girl, Jack McDonald


Kingston: Anglican Archive, Visit with a Friend & the OGS

June 21, 2012

Friday June 1, 2012 was going to be a very busy day. 

My first appointment was with the Anglican Diocese office in downtown Kingston.  This was regarding my Brown family research.  The Browns were Church of England and I was hoping to find out more about William Brown my 3rd great-grandfather.  I was in luck I did find his death and burial information.  See the blog: The Boardmans and Browns of Winnipeg. for more information about this trip.  http://boardmanbrown.wordpress.com/

Anglican Diocese Building, Kingston

After I finished up at the Diocese office I headed back to my B&B and waited impatiently for Elaine to arrive. 

Years ago I was reading an online mailing list for the Upper Ottawa Valley and this person by the name of Elaine Brown was sharing information about the various churches and church registers for the area.  I learned that she had compiled a book covering the deaths and burials at the cemetery in Chapeau for the St. Alphonsus Church.  I emailed her and bought a copy.  It was with me on this trip.  We have since shared information and information on McDonalds and Burns families in the area.  My great uncle John (Jack) McDonell married Sarah Burns and she was curious about there marriage.  I visited their daughter on several occasions in International Falls and put Elaine in touch with her.  Sadly Mary died several years ago about two months before I made my third trip to Minnesota. 

Elaine’s family history website:  http://www.personainternet.com/etbrown/burns.htm 

Elaine’s book:  http://www.personainternet.com/etbrown/alphonse.htm

Aunt Lucy’s in Kingston & Rain

Elaine and I were going to have lunch together and meet for the first time face-to-face.  The Briar Patch was no longer offering lunch so she took me to Aunt Lucy’s.  We were together from 12:30 to 4:30 pm or so.  It was a rainy day in Kingston (just like home) but we didn’t care for we were busy talking and sharing and having a great time.  I had so much fun I had dessert.  Elaine really knows a lot about genealogy in Canada and so I am very grateful to her for sharing and caring about a stranger from that country to the south.  HA!  Thanks for lunch Elaine, my treat next time. 

St. Lawrence College – Location of the OGS Conference 2012

The Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS) Conference started at 5 pm with a barbecue and so I parted with Elaine but was feeling very happy and content. 

The rain had moved the dinner inside so we were all gathering in the cafeteria of the St. Lawrence College for the OGS Conference “Borders and Bridges 2012,”  Several ladies came and sat at my table and we chatted about the conference, our research and where we were from.  As usual people are all surprised when they realize that I am from the other Washington located on the western side of the continent. http://www.ogs.on.ca/conference2012/

Registration was open so I stopped by to get my bag of goodies and a USB drive of the syllabus:

Registration OGS 2012

The opening ceremonies were done with pomp.  They had a fully costumed town crier which I understand is an award wining town crier.

The Opening of the Borders and Bridges, OGS Conference 2012

The next day the conference was in full swing starting about 8 am with the opening address.  I didn’t get there till later and cruised the vendors.  I was happy to see the Quebec Family History Society, Lambton County Genealogical Society and more.  I was very strong and didn’t buy too many books.  I had a nice chat with Coleen Fitzpatrick the author of the Forensic Genealogy.  She was telling me about autosonal testing for women opening up more possibilities.  I have been really considering DNA testing. I have a family member whom I would like to test but so far there is resistance.  I purchased her book:  DNA & Genealogy.  http://www.forensicgenealogy.info/

Vendors about to open Saturday June 2, 2012 OGS Conference

The lectures started about 11 am.  I attended several lectures about newspaper research and each lecture gave me more information about sources I had not tried.  John D. Reid gave “Your Family History in Canadian and British Newspapers. He was explaining the OCR and why it was not yet to a place where it could read all the letters efficiently.  He explained that some websites had better OCR technology than others.  He said to take your time and try different searched.   Meldon J. Wolfgang III gave “Extra! Hear All About it! Exploring Some New and Less Familiar Pathways in Newspaper Research.  He had some really interesting sources to use.  He is the man in the picture below.  Evelyn Kolish also gave an excellent lecture:  “Court Records Across the Border: How to Find Your Way Among Quebec’s Court Records.”  Slowly I am gaining confidence with researching in Quebec. 

Lecture on Newspaper sources

Everyone was wondering where the banquet would be held.  Well it was in the cafeteria and it was sort of amazing to see how they transferred it into a festive affair.  We were told that over 500 people were in attendance.  The banquet room was filled to capacity.  Susan de Groot of the Ontario Chapter of the Association for Professional Genealogists was attending the conference.  Susan and I have met several times at various conferences and she remembered me.  She kindly invited me to her table.  She is the owner of Windmill Genealogy Services.

Those seated at the table were John Reid of the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa was present.  He gave the one of the lectures on newspaper research that I mention above.  Lisa Louise Cooke of Genealogy Gems sat with us.  She had been busy with lectures all day. Lisa had come all the way from California to attend the conference.  David Obee was present.  I have one of his books that he co-wrote with Sherry Irvine on Canadian Research.  The conversation was lively and interesting. 

Oh, yes they toasted the Queen and I found that very sweet. 

Banquet settings

The lectures started early Sunday morning, June 3, 2012 with the one I was looking forward to.  It was on Quebec land records titled “Digging up Genealogy Gems:  Quebec Land Records,” by Sharon Callaghan who I believe is also active in the Quebec Family History Society in La Pointe, Quebec:  http://www.qfhs.ca/  Her lecture was excellent and I was pleased. 

I decided to take another turn about the vendors and see what other things I could discover.  It actually took me a good hour and half to review them.  So it was almost time for lunch and since I had a ticket I decided to wait and get my sandwich.  When they set out the sandwiches I decided to stay and eat my lunch and again had a lovely conversation with several conference goers who sat down at my table.  I had my Nook Color reader with me, so I gave them an overview. 

Lectures would continue and then they would have a closing address later on in the day but I had to move on.  It was time to head to Cornwall and visit the Glengarry area.


Touring the Upper Ottawa River: St. Alphonsus of Liguori

May 28, 2012

St. Alphonsus of Liguori, Chapeau

The St. Alphonsus of Liguori church is located in Chapeau.  You cannot miss it because the spire reaches to the sky and can be seen from a far. There is a plaque on the front of the church and it explains the different spellings of this church’s name in French and in English.

Plaque on the Church in Chapeau

According to the information in the tourist brochures you can go inside this church daily but it was closed up on Victoria Day and there was no one around.  It might be worth calling the office in advance to make sure that this is true. According to a 2005 Pontiac Tourist brochure it reads:

“The church has the famous Casavant organ, beautiful stained glass windows, elegant sculptures and a sculpted apostolic scene, imported from France, a replica of the one at the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris.  The church was built to be the cathedral to the new dioceses, but it never was.”

Me and the church in Chapeau

What a riot.  I didn’t realize I was wearing my United States T-Shirt in Canada.  HA!

The cemetery is behind the church to the right and it is very large.

Warning:  It was hot and muggy and certain creatures were trying to eat me.  I got bitten at least five times.  So let this be a warning. I have been attacked by bugs in a cemetery before but never like this. Later in the week I came back armed with bug spray and wore a long-sleeved knit sweater with a hoodie.  They still got me under my hair on the back of my neck where I had missed applying bug cream. The photo above is before I was attacked.  I was told they were black flies!  The wound spreads and got real red and itched like crazy on and off. I think that the cemetery is a little swampy because I heard squashing sounds as I drove the side road area.

I am told that there are no longer burials in this cemetery unless there is a family plot that is open. You can enter in your car by the school and drive through the cemetery and around to a shady spot on the south side.

Overview of St. Alphonsus Cemetery in Chapeau

From the back of the cemetery toward the church, the stones face east.

You can obtain the records for this church either through the Family History Library on film or on-line.  At Ancestry.com under the Drouin Collection or get a copy of the book published by Elaine Brown which covers the deaths and burials:  St. Alphonsus of Ligouri, Chapeau, Allumette Island, Pontiac County, Quebec, Cemetery Inscriptions & Burial Recordshttp://www.personainternet.com/etbrown/alphonse.htm based on church records and the microfilms.

The Quebec Gravemarker site is at: http://gravemarkers.ca/quebec/index.htm

When I return from this trip I will publish more of my photographs for this cemetery where many of my great McDonald/McDonell family are buried.

UPDATE 7/9/2012:  Here are the additional photographs of my two visits to this cemetery.  There are duplicate photographs in some instances.  Some are overview and some are specific tombstones or groupings of tombstones. I concentrated on my family – McD, Sauve, Burns, Poupore, Payne, Kennedy and a few others.  I did not identify all tombstones or get detailed, it is a very big cemetery.  As I have indicated above there are others who have documented this cemetery with photographs and in publications that compare the graves to the burial records of the St. Alphonsus church.   See above.

St. Alphonsus Church & Cemetery, Chapeau, Quebec

Touring the Upper Ottawa River: Pontiac County, Quebec – Allumette Island and Chapeau

May 27, 2012

My tour on Monday, May 21, 2012 continues.  I headed east back out of Pembroke turning onto Hwy 148 east of the town by the Esso gas station.

There are three bridges that take you to Allumette Island and cross over Cotnam and Morrison Islands. The first is under going repair so there is a stop light that monitors the traffic.  The second comes quickly and you are then greeted by a big blue sign welcoming you to Quebec.  If you decide to take photos of the bridge, be careful for the auto’s speed along and don’t wait for anyone and there is not much space along the highway to walk safely.  Each bridge gives you different views of the Ottawa River.

Welcome to Quebec

The Ottawa off the 2nd bridge to Allumette Island

The next bridge is the one that finally places you on Allumette Island but the sign reads instead:  L’Isle-aux-Allumettes (below on the map it reads lle des Allumettes – there is a ˆ over the l.)

The Big Sign

The small sign for Allumette Island

Just beyond the sign is a grocery store and other businesses including a gas station and restaurant. It was very busy at this store and it was open even on the holiday.  I found a map titled  Outaouais/Gatineau which gives more detail. They feature cities on the Quebec side but not the towns I am interested in.  The Renfrew County Ontario side is on the map but some it blotted out.  It goes all the way to Hawkesbury, Ontario but emphasizes the Quebec side.  It is very interesting to me that they only feature certain communities.  Apparently when you are too small you don’t get mentioned?

Get your supplies here!

Hwy 148 travels up the eastern side of the island to Waltham and another bridge.  I turned at Ch. de Pembroke and headed for Chapeau 12 kilometres on the north side of the island.  It curves around and you are pretty much in the center of the island. Farms and fields stretch out on both sides of the highway and it is flat. First is the Dejardinsville sign which you can turn left and go exploring but I continued on to Demers Centre which is four corners filled with mostly lovely homes and at least one business.  I guess they call them hamlets?

The next stop for me was the what is called the new St. Alphonse Cemetery on the right side of the road. easily to spot but you do have to turn quickly or you can miss the entrance.  You can pull in through the gate/sign and drive through part of the cemetery. It was well-kept.

St. Alphonsus Cemetery

New St. Alphonse Cemetery overview

UPDATE 7/09/2012:  Here are additional overview photographs of this cemetery.

 

St. Alphonsus Cemetery (new)

During my trip I will stop at various cemeteries and take overview pictures of them.  There are websites that you can go to and get photos and listings of the tombstones and those buried there, as well as publications.  When I return from this trip I will post more photos and information about each cemetery that I did visit.

The journey continued to Chapeau which was very exciting for me.  As you enter Chapeau you will see their fairgrounds to the right.

Chapeau Fair

Chapeau is actually two levels, so when you come from the south you come to the upper level where the municipal building is located on Notre-Dame street and the catholic church, St. Alphonse is situated on Ch. St. Jacques with the library behind the church.  If you continue on Ch. Pembroke you drop down to the lower area next to the river and can cross the bridge to Chichester Township.

My first stop was the St. Alphonse Catholic Church where I dallied a while taking pictures of the church and the cemetery which is behind the church and over a block.  The church is very difficult to photograph because there is limited room to back up (cliff) and the spire is so tall so that is why this photo looks slightly distorted.

St. Alphonse Catholic Church

There is a green park area next to the church and it has their war memorial.

Chapeau’s War Memorial

Crossing the bridge to Chichester is a little less scary than the crossing from Pembroke to the island.  I was able to stop and take pictures and not fear for my life.  The Chenal de la Culbute is part of the Ottawa River which splits and circles the island with the major portion of the river flowing along the west and southern part of the island, while the northern part is the Chenal de la Culbute.

The Chenal de la Culbute to the east

Chenal de la Culbute – looking west

This was very exciting for me because my great-grandfather Archibald McDonell was the locks master.  The locks were operated from about 1870 to 1891.  The history books and articles keep changing the date when it was abandoned.  Archibald is listed as the lockmaster in the Canadian census for 1891 so I tend to think he was still involved at that date.  It was made of wood so a lot has rottened away.  I tried to figure out its location but failed.  I was told by a volunteer at the Pontiac Archives in Shawville that you would have to go to the remains by boat.

So I put out a challenge to someone who knows where the remains of the locks are in the Chenal de la Culbute and would be willing to take pictures for me.  Just leave a comment if you wish to contact me to help?  I am wondering if they widened the Canal and was told that there were a lot of dams.  When I first started research back in 1999 the Culbute lock was not mentioned nor did anyone know about it but I am seeing more on-line.  I will revisit later with additional information.

When I was preparing for this trip, I tried to find auto tours.  I stumbled onto this website for the Outaouais Heritage WebMagazine that has some very interesting articles and auto tours click on the Outaouais Pontiac Heritage tour and then go to the page 3 for more choices for tours.   http://outaouais.quebecheritageweb.com/attractions-and-tours

On the Chichester side you can look back toward Chapeau and you will see the beautiful St. Alphonse Church rising above the trees.  Driving along the Ch. St. Jacques going west and then returning you can see the spire in the distance.

Looking back to Chapeau


Revisiting: Alexander John McDonell and Ellen McPherson

April 12, 2012

Alexander John McDonell and Ellen McPherson are my 2nd great grandparents and the parents of Mary McDonald my great-grandmother and Keith, my dad’s, grandparents.

I have tended to be focused on Archibald and Mary McDonell, their siblings and descendants.

My trip to Ontario and Quebec is in full planning stages and that means it is time to focus on great-grandmother Mary’s side of the family, specifically her parents.

In the post dated December 3, 2010 “McDonell and McDonell Marriage!” you will find the marriage record of Archibald and Mary McDonell as written in the records of the St. Alphonsus Catholic Church in Chapeau.  In that record Alexander John McDonell and Ellen McPherson are given as the parents of Mary.   In this marriage record the Bishop of Bytown Msgr. Guignes gave his approval.  Were Archibald and Mary cousins at some level?  I have seen these records with mention of consanguinity but this marriage record just states in general terms that it is all okay?  I believe approval is sought when the couple are above the level of 3rd cousins?  What kind of documentation is submitted?  Who keeps these types of records and do they survive?

Alexander John McDonell appears in the 1861 census with some of  his children but his wife Ellen is missing.   Let’s review that census:  1861 Canadian Census for Chichester Township, Pontiac Co., Quebec pg. 2.

Line 36 Chichester Twp. Rachel McDonell, born LC, Catholic, age 23, female. Line 37 Alex Jno McDonell, Farmer, born U.C., Catholic, age 66 male; line 38 Mary McDonell born U.C., Catholic, age 25, female; Line 39, Duncan McDonald, Laborer, born L.C., Catholic, age 19, male; Line 40, Finlay McDonell born L.C., Catholic, age 16, male.

If we subtract 66 years from 1861 we get back to 1795 for the birth of Alexander John and the census has U.C. for his birthplace.  Mary, my great-grandmother is 25 years old in this census so that means she was born about 1836.  Her death record from Minnesota states that she was born 13 Mar 1840.  Hmmm…?  This census also states that she was born in U.C.

If you study the census further you see that Rachel is born in LC, Duncan in LC and Finlay in LC.  Does this suggest that Alexander came to the area sometime after Mary’s birth

Unfortunately, I cannot find Alexander John McDonell in the 1851 census for Pontiac nor pin him down in any other location. Of course the 1851 Pontiac census has a lot of missing sections including Allumette and other parts of Canada.

I have studied the cemetery records in Pontiac and cannot find his burial nor Ellen’s burial location.  I can understand why Ellen’s stone might be missing if she died elsewhere or earlier than 1860 but the loss of Alexander Johns to me is a little puzzling?

My great Aunt Nellie was the informant on her mother Mary’s death certificate from Minnesota and she has Alex McDonald and Mary McPherson both born in Scotland as the parents, yet her charts indicate Alexander John and Ellen as the names?  I refer you to the post dated July 21, 2011 “Nellie’s Charts – Her Mother Mary McDonell’s Family!”

I did find a curious marriage record in the Drouin collection for St. Andrew’s West in Stormont. It has an Alexander McDonell marrying a Nellie McPherson in 1822.  My great Aunt Nellie was really Ellen Elizabeth formally.   I still need to do some more work on this find in order to confirm it is the couple I seek.

An Alexander John McDonell appears right under Archibald in the agricultural part of the 1861 census for Pontiac Co., Quebec.  I don’t believe it is online at Ancestry?  This part of the census was at the back of the film at the Family History Library (FHL).

Line 37 Alex. John McDonell

  • Concession or Range: 6
  • Lot or Part of Lot:  40, 41
  • Number of Acres – 150
  • Number of acres under cultivation:  36
  • Number of acres of land under crops in 1860: 36
  • Number of acres of land under wood or wild:  114
  • Column 10:  Cash Value of Farm:  320
  • Column 11:  Cash Value of Furnishings: 38
  • Column 12:  Fall wheat in acres:  2
  • Column 13: Fall wheat – produce in bushels: 40
  • Column 14.  Spring wheat produce in bushels: 3
  • Column 15. Spring Wheat bushels: 30
  • Column 18:  Rye acres 1
  • Column 19:  Rye in produce in bushels 18
  • Column 20: Peas – acre:  6
  • Column 21:  Peas in produce in bushels 100
  • Column 26: Indian corn in acres 3/4
  • Column 27:  Indian corn produce in bushels 110

The above list is done to the best of my ability.  My copy of the agricultural census is very dark and out of focus.

I move ahead to the 1871 Canadian Census and find no Alexander John McDonell living but I do find a A. H. W Donell on Allumette Island age 74 (born in 1797) in Ontario, widowed and living with descendants of my Alexander John McDonell specifically Jennette Catherine McDonald whose first husband was Angus John McDonald?  I featured her family in the post dated:   October 20, 2011 “Jennette Catherine McDonell & Her Two Marriages!”

My dad, Keith’s, great grandparents are definitely a puzzle yet to be unravelled.  Let’s hope I am successful in figuring this all out on my trip that is coming up soon!


The Family of Angus McDonell, Eldest Son!

February 16, 2012

Angus Lawrence McDonell was the oldest living son of Archibald and Mary McDonell.  According to his brother Jack, who stated in a direct and simple manner:  “Angus left home!” 

From what I can figure from the Canadian Census he left home after 1881 and headed probably to Wisconsin.  This is where his wife Louisa was born.  

Angus was born in Chichester on 6 August, 1864 and was baptized 13 August 1864 at the St. Alphonsus Catholic Church in Chapeau.  The priest wrote his name as Agnes in the records.  I believe it to be him because the date matches the date I have for his birth on his death certificate and from my Aunt Miriam’s notes.  I refer you to my past post dated January 29, 2011 “Archie & Mary’s children: Angus McDonell.”

Angus was one of my first attempts at genealogical research and it was so much fun that I got hooked.  Of course, one question answered lead to another and Angus was not easy and I still have big gaps in his research.

Keith, my dad, never mentioned or talked about Angus.  Angus was sort of  a legend to me as a child.  I always had this idea that Angus was in the woods somewhere sort of like “Paul Bunyan.”  I am not being mean, just a fancy of a child. 

Angus married Louisa Jane Hanson about 1891.  She was born 12 September 1866 in Scandinavia, Waupaca, Wisconsin.  I obtained this information from her death certificate and her obituary.  Her parents were Ole Hanson born in Norway and Lena who was born in Sweden.  She had at least two siblings:  Albert H. Hanson born about 1853 and Frank G. Hanson born about 1858.  This information is taken from U.S. Federal census. 

A Man and Woman - Angus & Louisa - Could this be them?

The photograph is a very big guess on my part.  I found it in my Aunt Vivian’s (older sister to Miriam and Keith) photo album.  I know that she visited her uncle in Seattle and that is where she met her husband Hilary McKanna.  I think it is Angus and that might be Louisa but she seems a bit older and that causes me to hesitate?  I tried to find the house but was not successful.  If I found the house I might be able to trace back to who owned it?  There was nothing written on the back or anything to indicate who these people are other than the context of the photographs and their position in the album. 

Here is the Collage showing the series of photographs!

Angus was not in the family portrait that was taken in Bemidji in 1904-1905. I have featured that photograph on this blog in the posted dated March 20, 2010 “Archibald and Mary McDonald’s Children.”

Angus and Louisa had at least 4 children:

1.  George William McDonald, born 16 December 1892 in Ironwood, Gogebic, Michigan.  He died  2 November 1857 in Seattle, King Co., Washington.  George served in WWI.  He died of tuberculosis in a home in Seattle.  The story is Keith, my father, visited him on occasion.  As far as I know George didn’t marry or have children.  

2.  Lorne Sandfield McDonald was born 19 January 1894 in Brainerd, Crow Wing Co., Minnesota.  He died of the influzena in WWI on 15 October 1918, at Camp Dodge, Polk Co., Iowa.  He never married. 

My Aunt Miriam talked about this family in her notes and spelled his name “Lauren.”  It is interesting that he had the middle name of Sandfield, like my grandfather Ronald.  Miriam said they were named after the first premier of Ontario:  John Sandfield MacDonald.  So far I have yet to find any family connection? I am keeping an open mind on this topic!

3.  Helena Mary McDonald, was born 19 August 1897 in Chichester, Pontiac Co., Quebec.  She died on 31 August 1979 in Silverton, Marion Co., Oregon.  She was married 3 times.  First to Claude Penglase probably before 1920, Jack, and then a Grant Standford Capps who may have died on 24 December 1985 in Tacoma, Pierce Co., Washington but this has yet to be verified.   This means that Angus did go back to his birth home and visit the family. 

Helena Mary name seems to get changed around a lot.  She was called either Helena or Mary depending on the record.  She was never buried in a cemetery instead her ashes were scattered over the Pacific Ocean near Portland according to the funeral home listed on her death record.

Helena Mary had at least one son by the name of George Robert Penglase born 8 November 1921 in Seattle, King Co., Washington and died 31 January 1958.  He was buried on 19 February 1969 in Portland, Multnomah Co., Oregon at the Williamette National Cemetery there.  He served in WWII and Korea and apparently his body was moved at some point.  This is why there is a different burial date.  George married a Lucy June Moen about 1940 in King County, Washington and that ended in divorce.  They had 3 children, 2 girls and 1 son who served in the military and past in 2005. There are living descendants of this family. 

4. Rachel McDonald was born in Brule, Douglas, Wisconsin 16 October 1899.  She died 3 March 1988 in Lynnwood, Snohomish Co., Washington.  Rachel married first to Otto Frances Berg born 17 January 1894 in Minnesota and died 21 February 1973 in Seattle, King Co., Washington.  They had one son Donald Frances Berg born 11 March 1924 in Astoria, Clatsop County, Oregon.  I had the honor to meet Donald and his family. He had suffered a terrible stroke and could only answer my questions with a nod of his head.  He did marry and have 4 children.  He died in 2005 and the funeral was a full military service with the gun salute.  I occasionally hear the sounds of guns and wondered what it meant.  Now I know! There are living descendants of this family in the area. 

Rachel remarried to a Gerald P. Jameson born 18 August 1899 and died 26 January 1986.  They were married about 1956. 

Donald, Rachel and Gerald are buried in the Holyrood Catholic cemetery in north Seattle, Washington just 5 minutes from my home.  

So you see when I did this research on Angus’ family I was total amazed that they were so close. I have a vague memory of my Dad and Mom talking about someone and I think it was George and maybe we did visit him? I was about 10 years old and kids hear things or events happen but it doesn’t always make sense?  

Why my family didn’t share all this or talk about this, well I have my theories? Aunt Miriam did give me notes but they were brief.  They did point the way. 

My advice is to encourage you to ask and ask now!  Be gentle and probe carefully but most of all be patient and maybe the family will open up.


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