Sources to use for Untangling McDonell, MacDonald, MacDonell & McDonald families….

September 2, 2014
St. Raphael's the 1st 50 years.

St. Raphael’s the 1st 50 years.

Mr. Duncan Darby MacDonald of the MacDonald Research centre in Brockville was the author of many books on Glengarry, Stormont and other counties in the Eastern area of Ontario.

Around 1999 and 2000, I emailed the MacDonald Research Centre about my family surname of MacDonald/McDonald/Macdonell and told Mr. MacDonald about the family and the births of my grandparents and their children in Chichester and Allumette area of the Upper Ottawa River.  I do not have a copy of the email anymore.  He growled at me, if you can growl in an email.  I tried several times to communicate but failed and backed off. I was very new back then to genealogy and that is not the case now.  I know a lot more about my family.

Mr. MacDonald passed away about 2006 and I have learned from an obituary notice that he was known as “Old Crusty.”  It is a very nice obituary for him at the Loyalist website:  http://www.uelac.org/Loyalist-Trails/2006/Loyalist-Trails-2006.php?issue=200647 You will have to scroll to the bottom.

You really cannot do any research on Glengarry County, Ontario without running into Mr. MacDonald’s works. I have seen them under Duncan Darby MacDonald, Darby MacDonald, William Harold MacDonald and other variations. He is probably better known for his church registers which you can find just about everywhere.

Here are two possible options using “Duncan MacDonald”

http://globalgenealogy.com/cgi-bin/htsearch  This gave me 50 hits.  Now Global Genealogy has taken over his estate where his publications are concerned so they can sell them.

With the use of “Darby MacDonald” or “Duncan Darby MacDonald”  in their search engine you get 25 hits.

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

Here is a list at the Family History Library there are 4 under Duncan Darby MacDonald and 56 under MacDonald, Duncan W. (Duncan William Harold) 1933.

The Toronto Public Library you get 137 hits on Duncan MacDonald, and 86 on Darby MacDonald.  http://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/search.jsp?Ntt=Duncan+MacDonald  Most of these titles are at the North York Branch in their Canadiana room on the 6th floor.

The Cornwall Public Library in Cornwall, Ont.  – Cornwall Room and I get 16 hits on Duncan MacDonald and 11 on his full name.  The Cornwall Room hours are limited so you need to check with the librarian about the days and times.

The Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry County Library has 32 of his titles and they can be in different branches so you need to check their website.

The Ottawa Public Library has 27 of Mr. MacDonald’s titles.  They have their history room with restricted hours so check before you go.

Why am I telling you all this?  I am telling you this so if you need to find a copy to consult you have an idea of where to look and how to look for his titles.  I probably will be revisiting his books on my next trip to Ontario and Quebec this Fall.  Now these books are not the originals and you really need to go to the church records if you can and seek sources to support the charts.

Now he is not the only one, Alex Fraser is another who has compiled and written a lot of books you may want to consult:  http://www.glengarrycounty.com/awfrrbks.html

You can do the same with Alex’s titles and name as I did with Mr. MacDonald.  I believe the Lancaster Library in Lancaster, Ontario has a nice collection.

I actually used both Mr. MacDonald and Mr. Fraser’s books to design my visits to the various cemeteries on my Touring Glengarry posts on this blog.  I was pretty thorough but missed a few of the very small cemeteries.

In this post I want to concentrate on the genealogical charts Mr. MacDonald created. Truly they are a labor of love and dedication on his part.  I have tried to decipher them and have not been very successful.  Here is a summary of what I know.

There are several Volumes to the genealogical charts: They all have at the top this beginning:  Scotland’s Migrations to North America. Early Settlers to Upper Canada (Eastern Ontario) Stormont & Glengarry, by Duncan Darby MacDonald.  They all have a table of contents.

Part IV Genealogical Charts.

Part IV Genealogical Charts.

These were found at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City:

1.  A collection of genealogical charts, part I – covered only the MacDonell Families of “Leek,” “Cullachie,” and Abercalder,” as well as “Greenfield.”  Long out of print and updated in 3rd edition of Part – IV, see below.  FHL#929.271 M145m pt 1.  On 3 Fiche FHL#6049681  It is under the title of: The MacDonalds or MacDonells of Glengarry: and other genealogies in the Family Search Catalog and it says a digital version is available but it is not letting me view it.  I don’t have sufficient rights?

2. A collection of genealogical charts, part II, 1991 covers families in an around Cornwall, and St. Andrews (Stormont County), and a large section on MacDonell/MacDonald family. FHL#971.376 D2 Book form only.

3.  A collection of genealogical charts, part III, 1992 – Genealogies of families primarily from the counties of Stormont and Glengarry, Ontario.  FHL#971.37 D2m.  Additional descriptive information indicates this covers the families of Newington, Osnbruck and Cornwall with very few Scottish connections.  Also on FHL#1697932 Item 2.

4.  **A collection of genealogical charts  Part-IV, 3rd Edition, ISBN O-921133-39-1.  Much of the earlier work done by Daniel F. McDonald of Bristol, Conn and other members of his family at Bridgend (Stone Villa) Lancaster.  A second edition was published in 1988 and the 3rd in 1993.  FHL#971.37 D2, book only.  

5.  A collection of genealogical charts, part V was updated in a 2nd edition in 1989 and covers the families of MacMillan.   It is under The MacMillan’s: and other genealogies, FHL#929.271 M228  This one also says a digital version is available but when I click I get, not sufficient rights?  Also on microfilm FHL# 169771 Item 17.

Neil McGillis suggested I look at Duncan’s chart No. 13 page 724 sheet 3 we have the Lundie MacDonells. So I consulted my collection of Mr. MacDonald’s charts and found I did not have this chart #13, which turns out to be about 15 pages of charts starting on page 721 and going through to 735.  You will find these charts in Part -IV.

I shared about this specific chart in the post I wrote on August 26, 2014 titled: Revisiting:  Ronald (Ranald) and Janet McDonell – The Lundie Family Connection.  

The Janet who married Ronald is part of the Lundie Family through her father and mother John and Flora McDonell.  They appear on the chart.

I took it a step further and I found a copy of this book Part IV at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City in October 0f 2013 and there on Chart 13, sheet 5, page 73A are the names of my great grandparents Archibald and Mary McDonell, who I have posted about a great deal in this blog. Sigh…all these years and there it was…

I had wondered why my Kennedy cousin who gave me a copy of his chart when we had dinner on their outside street porch at D’Arcy Mcgee’s in Ottawa was so odd.  Well, as I gazed on this chart by Mr. MacDonald, I saw it was similar.

The 14 pages I copied have a lot more in them and it is pretty amazing. I am so glad I traveled both sides of the Upper Ottawa River back in 2012.  As I study Mr. MacDonald’s pages I have plenty to share in future posts.

Unfortunately, my grand Aunt Nellie’s chart on her mother Mary’s side does not agree with Mr. MacDonald’s and he has Mary’s parents as Angus and Janet rather than Alexander John MacDonell and Ellen McPherson.

Mr. MacDonald writes in his books comments like he placed in his Part IV, 3rd Edition at the beginning.

 “There will be errors and omissions and we look to other researchers and family members to bring these to my attention so that the records we leave for future generations will be correct.”

Apparently it was not meant to be for Duncan and me to connect.  However, I have met other researchers like Mr. McGillis and am so grateful to you all for going before me.  Thanks.  It is not easy to untangle McD’s heritage in Ontario, Canada.


Revisiting: Ronald (Ranald) and Janet McDonell – The Lundie Family Connection!

August 26, 2014

Today, I am revisiting one of the children of Alexander John McDonell and Rachel McPherson.  This child is Ronald McDonell (Ranald) who married Janet McDonell. According to Neil McGillis who found this blog, Janet, is a member of the Lundie McDonells.  It is a great day when you find connections.

I wrote about this couple in a past post dated September 29, 2011 and it was titled:

The Ronald McDonell & Janet McDonell Family.”

http://macdonellfamily.wordpress.com/2011/09/

Neil has kindly consented to my sharing the family chart he sent to me.  I  removed the last line of individuals below Catherine and Ed Gallagher because they are still living.

McDonell of Lundie Chart

McDonell of Lundie Chart

Janet was a child of John McDonell who married Flora McKinnon and also Flora W. McLellan (dau of Donald McLellan and Isabella McGillis).* The marriage to Flora took place about  January 1827 in Beckwith Twp.

Where is Beckwith Twp., it is in Lanark County, Ontario:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beckwith,_Ontario

This link is to the township site where they have some brochures and a book:

http://www.twp.beckwith.on.ca/history.aro

Beckwith: Irish and Scottish Identities in a Canadian Community. Looks like you can read some of this book here:  http://www.ourroots.ca/e/toc.aspx?id=6013 

To think I drove through the area in 2012 and stopped for gas in Carleton Place on my way to Hastings Co. I guess I should have dallied more in Lanark County, although I did enjoy Smith Falls and visited the Lanark County Genealogical Society. http://macdonellfamily.wordpress.com/2012/06/17/lanark-county-smith-falls-ontario/  I knew there was more there because of the references to Alexander MacDonald who lived in Sandpoint along the Ottawa river having been there in Lanark and then in Glengarry County and then up to the Arnprior area.  I just did not know how he fit in.  I will share more about that in a later post.

John McDonell then migrated to Horton Twp. which is in Renfrew County, Ontario and onto Chichester which is in Pontiac County, Quebec and he died in Sheenboro Twp. on 13 February 1861.  I visited this area in 2012 and wrote many posts about my adventure on this blog under the title of the Touring the Upper Ottawa….I was in Renfrew County quite a bit on my trip in 2012 and also in Sheenboro.

John is not listed on the tombstones at the Gravemarker gallery  nor in the written online transcript as being buried in the St. Paul De Hermit Roman Catholic Cemetery graveyard.  I have visited this cemetery in person in Sheenboro, Pontiac Co., Quebec and there are lots of empty spaces even though it is well-tended.

http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~klf69/sheenboro/index.htm

In reviewing the above chart, and the family pages I list below,  we see that  John and Flora McLellan had the following children:

1.  Donald b. 1827

2.  Angus b. 1829.  He married Ellen Kennedy, 8 January 1867.

3. ** Janet b. 1831.  She married first Ranald (Ronald) McDonald 1827 to 1862 and her 2nd marriage was to Thomas Poupore [Sr.]

4.  Alexander 1833 to 1885.  He married Johanna Walsh.  After his death she remarried to a Peter Langan.  He died about 1896. She died about 1913.

5.  Duncan married Isabella.

6.  Allan b. 1835 a deaf-mute

7. Betsy b. 1840, she married Francis Walsh in 1867.

8. Louisa b. 1843 married Donald McGillis

JohnMcDonell&Flora McLellan

If the chart is to confusing try this:  Janet&Ronald  Please be advised that charts and outlines are subject to change at any time.

Neil gave me a link to a family website and I have tried comparing the chart above with a family tree online at Rootsweb titled:   French, Scottish, Irish, German and English families of James and Deborah McDonald,* by James Allan McDonald compiler.  He has information on this line of McDonells/Macdonells and takes Janet’s lineage way back.

Here is the link to John McDonell on this tree and you can see that he is named John Mor MacDonell. Just click on his name and it will bring you to his individual page.

http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=REG&db=ranaldthecalf&id=I19362

I am still trying to read through this family tree and absorb it.  I am impressed with it but I am also a little wary of some of the sources. As I always say please verify the information yourself.

The above website at Rootsweb does not go into any detail about Flora McLellan.  You have to go back to the chart I have displayed above. It does list the children from John’s first marriage.

My information has Janet’s birth to be about 1833 so it makes sense that John married the second time to Flora McLellan before 1827.  If there is a record of that marriage, I would be glad to receive it.

John Mor MacDonell was born about 1781 in Scotland and lived in Glengarry Co., on the 6th Concession, Lochiel Twp. at about the date of 12 Jan. 1841. Unfortunately, there is no mention of the lot number but there is one listed for his brother Archibald as Lot 4 the north end of the sixth Concession in Lochiel Twp. for about 1845.  John died 7 February 1861 in Sheen Twp., Pontiac Co., Quebec.

The website does give children for John and the 1st Flora as follows:  Mary 1811, Nancy 1810 in Scotland, Penelope 1813 in Scotland, Christine 1817,  and Donald 1826.  They may be other children – see my chart just click to open which is not necessarily in birth order.

JohnMcDonell & Flora MacKinnon

 

The website goes on to give the parents of John Mor MacDonell

–Alexander (Lundi) MacDonell b. Abt 1754 in Knoydart, Scotland and he married Janet (Barrisdale) MacDonell b. 1763 in Knoydart, Scotland.  He died on 1 Jan. 1842 in the snows near Allumette Island.   Janet was born about 1763 in Knoydart and died 14 Jan. 1847 in Stark’s Corners, Clarendon Twp., Pontiac Co., Quebec.

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knoydart

Neil mentioned a 1815 list of enrollees to which you will find a transcription of those that came on the ships the Dorothy, Baltic Merchant, and Atlas:   http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/passengerlists/edinburghindex.shtml  Alexander is featured in the list for the Baltic Merchant. Lucille H. Campey in her book: The Scottish Pioneers to Upper Canada, 1784 to 1855 Glengarry and Beyond, has a combined ship summary of this list on page. 191, Appendix 1, “General List of Settlers, Enrolled for Canada under the Government Regulations at Edinburgh, 1815,” [PRO CO 385/2 ff 3-26].   PRO stands for Public Records Office and CO is Colonial office.   I guess it means I have to go to England to see the list. HA!

Alexander’s father was:

– Roderick (Rauri) MacDonell U.E. and he married Mary Cameron and they had:

1.  Alexander – John’s father

2. Ronald MacDonell b. about 1768

3. Roderick (Rory Og) MacDonell

4. Angus Mor MacDoneld b. in Scotland

–Roderick’s father is Angus (Lundie) MacDonell U.E.L.  and he died in 1783 enroute to Glengary Co. from the Mohawk Valley of New York State.  There is more but you can enjoy the links I have given and do your own investigating.

There is still more digging and studying to do.  Did you notice mention of the Mohawk Valley in NY, well, I am absolutely fascinated by the history of that area. A surprise to come if all goes well on my trip.  The other is the initials of U.E. and U.E.L. I guess it is time to start studying Loyalists records and not just dabble.  Of course the references to Sheenboro and Allumette just make me happy!

Neil took it one more step further and referred me to Chart #13, page 724 of the work of Duncan Darby MacDonald of the MacDonald Research Centre in Brockville, Ontario.  I have mentioned Mr. MacDonald in past posts.  He has written many books on Glengarry history, church records and charts.  Unfortunately, he passed away several years ago.  However, you cannot do research in Glengarry or areas nearby without coming across his works.  It is now time to dig in to the charts and there are about 5 volumes of charts.

Fortunately, the book below is the book we can target.  It is very thick and a copy is at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.  I think it is very rare book and not many copies were published,  because I have not been able to purchase a copy for myself.  I do now that most of the estate went to Global Genealogy. They never did add more to this initial list of the titles.  http://globalgenealogy.com/globalgazette/gazed/gazed139.htm

Source;  Scotland’s Migratons to North America. Early Settlers to Upper Canada (Eastern Ontario) Stormont & Glengarry, a collection of genealogical charts by Duncan (Darby) MacDonald, Part-IV, 3rd Edition, 1993, ISBN O-921133-39-1.   

This book has many charts in it of many prominent families and Lundie MacDonells start on page 721 to 735, with mention of other charts to consult written on some of the pages.

Now when you search for Mr. MacDonald, he will be either Darby MacDonald, Duncan Darby MacDonald, William Harold and other variations of his name.

 


Some Sheenboro Families that migrated to Saskatchewan…

August 1, 2014

When I was traveling in the Upper Ottawa Valley on both the Ontario (Renfrew) and Quebec (Pontiac) sides in 2012,  a nice lady found and commented on this blog.  She was very enthusiastic and was involved with the Sheenboro history.  Unfortunately, I had already returned to my home and did not get a chance to meet her.  We have since them communicated via email and more.

She said she was related to everyone in Sheenboro, Pontiac Co., Quebec and she is very interested in the families, genealogy and the history of the people of the Upper Ottawa River including Sheenboro, Chichester and Chapeau on Allumette Island.  She had also visited many of the cemeteries and taken photos of them calling it her Stones and Bones tour.

Her name is Linda Berube Inch and she is on Facebook and Ancestry and is also the administrator of the Facebook group titled:  The League to Preserve Timmins Heritage.  Apparently a lot of people from the Sheenboro and Chichester area migrated to Timmins. If you are like me, Timmins is north of Sudbury, Ontario which is north of Toronto.  Linda has many photographs and interesting documents and information on this page so you might want to check it out.

She has graciously given me permission to share this photo which she presented on her Facebook page.

Sheenboro Families

Sheenboro Families

Unfortunately the photo is very difficult to read so with help from Linda this is what we came up with:

“Sheenboro natives who left Sheenboro (in order to) establish a new colony called Sennetville. The families that followed him (?) (were..) T.J. McGuire, James Devine, Thomas Burke, and Hugh Downey. Individuals (included) Simon Sullivan, Michael Hayes, Harold Hayes, Bridget Masterson, Angus MacDonald ( Ida Perreault) married Angus MacDonald and later returned to Sheenboro (Ida was born January 27 1883 and returned on July 12 1904. Jenny and M– Slattery became nuns out west. Margaret Meehan became a nurse in the west. The M Slattery could be Mary.”

I am particularly interested in Hugh Downey and his wife Theresa McDonell who was the daughter of John McDonell and Julia Elizabeth Lacour (Ricard/Tebeau/Thibault).  The Angus MacDonald mentioned married Ida Perrault and was a son of John and Julia.

John looks very promising as the brother of my great-grandfather Archibald McDonell who lived in Chichester and was the Culbute Lockmaster.

I have been trying to find more of Archibald’s siblings but have not been as successful as I have with his wife my great-grandmother Mary McDonell.  Yes she was a McDonell as well. This whole blog is about these families and the ones connected to them.

You will find past posts on this blog about Hugh Downey and Theresa and the others I have mentioned.  Here are several posts you may want to study. I am still trying to make sure the lineage is correct so if you have information please comment.  Just go to the side bar on this blog and you can search for them either in the Archives or in the Categories.

 The Migrations of the Downeys and MacDonalds, dated June 5, 2014

A Discovery:  Archie’s brother John McDonell, living next door in Sheen?, dated March 31, 2012.

 My curiosity being what it is, I tried to find information about this Sennetville Colony mentioned above but cannot bring up anything of significance online. The Archives of Saskatchewan has a very nice website devoted to settlement but no mention of this group of settlers at Sennetville:   http://www.saskarchives.com/sasksettlement/

UPDATE 8/1/2014 at 10:03 am – From the Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan we find the Irish Colony called Sinnett after the Fr John Sinnett :   http://esask.uregina.ca/entry/irish_settlements.html  Try Fr. Sinnett in Saskatchewan, Irish Settlements etc. in Google.  Very interesting. 

If you have any information about any of these families and their migrations, please contact us by leaving a comment on this blog, both Linda and I would  love to hear from you.

NOTE:  I have learned about the nature of Canadian research and after traveling in Ontario and Quebec that you need to increase your search area (geographically) for your ancestors.  They were a lot more mobile then we think and you just might find them in Ottawa or Montreal, or further out West or even into the USA like my family did in 1901.  Remember that the area of Sheenboro, Chichester, Waltham, Chapeau (Allumette Island) and Pembroke was a thriving mining, lumbering area when our ancestors were there but by 1900 it changed and now it is a sleepy neighborhood community. I know, I traveled it and you can read about my travels in the posts titled Tour/Touring of the Upper Ottawa Valley which includes Renfrew and Pontiac Counties.

UPDATES 8/3/2014: a book to check into:  The way things were…LeRoy and District Saskatchewan Centennial 1905-2005, Vol. #2 under Loyola School District #1910. The History of Loyola, it was the school in the hamlet of Sinnett. 


A 1848 Group Land Petition from Waltham, Sheen, Mansfield & Chichester

July 10, 2014

In 2012, when I traveled to Canada, I visited the Libraries and Archives in Ottawa for one day. Before I went, I of course studied the land petition indexes online at the Libraries and Archives website, and found a very interesting piece of documentation.

Upper Canada Land Petitions 1763-1865 Index:

  • Name:  Inhabitants of Waltham, Sheen, Mansfield & Chichester
  • Place:  Waltham, Sheen, Mansfield, Chichester
  • Year:   1848
  • Volume: 540A
  • Bundle: W4
  • Petition: 172
  • Microfilm: C-2964
  • Reference: RG 1 L3

From this information I pulled the microfilm while in the research room and took a look and photos.

Apparently the inhabitants of the whole community at that time in 1848, banded together and signed a petition for a land patent.  I share this because I am trying to get back as far as possible in the Chichester, Chapeau, Sheen area with the inhabitants.

Unfortunately, the microfilm is dark, fuzzy and difficult to read and interpret.  It looks like there were two letters submitted and a decision by the council for 3 shilllings.

Here as at least one of them with the list of the petitioners and again I did my best:

Inhabitants petition 1848

Inhabitants petition 1848 – a portion of one of the letters written in the file

To his Excellency the Right and Honorable ___ Everts of Elgin and _____Governor General of the British North America……

In Council.  The petition of the undersigned settlers of the Township of Sheen county of Ottawa Canada East Hunbley Heweth. 

That your petitioners generally, recently migrated from Great Britain and Ireland, that from the great depression in the Lumber trade, the partial and in many cases total failure of the potatoe crop, has plaud your petitioners with their large, and helpless families, into circumstances from which, many years of prosperity will not essace from their recollection.

That the land we now occupy has been surveyed during the past winter – the ___ discription of  soil in which it has pleased Providence to cast our lot, and the peculiar circumstances of our situation, in this remote section of the Province, combined with the fact that all the merchandable timber has, from time to time, been taken away, by lumbermen, and others, under our possessing of little value.  

That our petitioners would therefore suggest, and pray for a reduction in the price of land, your petitioners are of the opinion  3 k p acre is the utmost value of that which they ___and under the  made favorably circumstances, the utmost they will be able to pay.  And as in duly bound, your petitioners will even pray. 

I transcribed these names to the best of my ability but I could be incorrect.  Some names might be French and I am not familiar with them and the person who transcribed the names didn’t spell well. I am particularly interested in the Ronald Roy McDonald.

  • 1. James W. Juston
  • 2. Daniel Ferguson
  • 3. Patrick [   ] Flinn
  • 4. John Murray
  • 5. Alex McGilverey
  • 6. Jonathan Perrault
  • 7.  Thomas Maher
  • 8.  Edward Rennick
  • 9.  __________________
  • 10. Ronald Roy McDonald
  • 11.  Tim Crinaw
  • 12. H….S. __________
  • 13. David Ferguson
  • 14. ________
  • 15. John Ferguson
  • 16. John Downee
  • 17. Richard Hayes
  • 18. _____ Levine
  • 19. Thomas Harington
  • 20. Ra___Oatchern
  • 21. John Ferguson
  • 22. John McCormick
  • 23.  David Ferguson
  • 24. John Sturis
  • 25. Charles Hutchison
  • 26. John Wall or Sewll
  • 27. Mathe Ryng
  • 28. Peter Costille
  • 29. Gory ____
  • 30. Ritchard Mackey
  • 31. John Walch____
  • 32. James ____
  • 33. Patrick Kelly
  • 34. Richard O’Brien
  • 35. _______
  • 36. George Mc___
  • 37. Edward Kelly
  • 38. Rutt Bray
  • 39. William ____________
  • 40. Patrick Matheson
  • 41. Michl Michelson
  • 42. James Walker
  • 43. Samuel Hutchinson
  • 44. Patrick Kelly
  • 45. Thomas Kelly

If you would like a copy of this file, leave a comment and we can make arrangements for me to send you one.  It will be difficult to read.  On the other hand, if you know of this petition and have a better transcription I would be very interested.  Thanks.


Alexander Thomas McDonald passes in 1955

November 22, 2012

I never met my great Uncle Alex.  He died with I was 7 years old and we did live quite a distance from each other.

Photo:  The following photograph is of Alexander visiting with his nephews, Keith is on the left and Gordon is in the middle.  This photo below is an interesting contrast between the photo of Keith as a little boy sitting on Alex’s knee for the Fireman’s conference in the post dated:  August 7, 2010 “Alexander Thomas McDonald, Fireman.”  Photo is probably circa 1930’s.  Keith was about 5 feet 5 inches so we can see that Alex was probably just a tad taller and solidly built.  The men may have been short but they were stocky in build.

Uncle Alex with Keith and Gordon

When I visited my cousin Mary, Alex’s niece, in 2000 and 2001 and she told me stories about Alexander.

Alex never married but he did have on occasion ladies he was fond of.  He used to go down to the Boston Cafe at the same time every day.  He was fond of Sadie Rule who worked there.  He also had fancy cars and use to take his girl Jean for drives. Jean was a nice lady. 

Sarah, her mother, used to have Alex over for Sunday dinners every week.  Alex lived with Mary for a time towards the end of his life when he started getting sick but he was too regimented a person and did not understand what life was like for a family.  Alex visited her in the hospital when she had her 2nd child and while he was sitting there he had a stroke (1952).  He died of pneumonia in 1955 with complications (throat cancer).”

In an article in the Fireman’s Centennial Book, International Falls, 1982 this appears:

“Gil” Louiseau retires 1982….Gil Louiseau retired from the International Falls fire department September 15, 1983 after serving 26 years…Gil’s wife Mary, is the former Mary McDonald, whose father Jack and Uncle Alex were early day fireman with the International Falls Fire Department. Uncle Alex served as relief driver and caretaker of the team of horses which were the only ‘horsepower’ the early day department had to haul the water wagon to fire locations within the city…”

Alex is mentioned on page 3 in the Volunteer Fireman listings of 1900-1992. On page 12 there is a photo of the horse team and both Alex and Jack are listed. On page 21 there is a picture of the firehouse were Alex was stationed.  

Falls Firemen 1917

Obituary found in the Daily Journal, International Falls, MN on November 4, 1955. This newspaper obituary notice was in the files of the Koochiching Public Library.

Alex McDonald, Falls Resident since 1904, Dies. Alex T. McDonald, 80, pioneer resident of International Falls, died late Thursday night at the Falls Nursing home, where he has made his home for several years. He had been confined to his bed for about a week. Born in Chichester, Que., November 25, 1874, he moved to Duluth in 1897. From there he came to International Falls in 1904 and has lived here since that time, except for a brief period spent in Western Canada. McDonald operated a dray line in the Falls for 11 years, and was city weighmaster from 1919 to 1947, a period of 28 years. He never married. A niece, Mrs. Gilbert Louiseau of the Falls, survives. Rosary service will be conducted at Green Mortuary Sunday evening at 8 o’clock. Requiem high mass at St. Thomas Catholic church is scheduled for 8:15 a.m. Monday. Interment will be in the family plot of St. Thomas cemetery. Funeral arrangements were made by Green Mortuary.

Alex’s death certificate states the following:

Alexander died at the County Nursing Home, 2 miles south of International Falls, Koochiching Co., Minnesota. Died Nov. 3, 1955, Male, white, never married, date of birth Nov. 25, 1874, age 80 years. City Weighmaster, ret’d, city employee. Born in Chichester, Quebec, Canada. Citizen of the USA. Father was Archibald McDonald and Mother was Mary McDonald. He did not serve in the US Armed forces, no SS#, informant was Mary C. Louiseau of Inter’l Falls. Died of pneumonia lober, 1.5 days. C. B. Will, M.D. Filed Nov. 22, 1955 by Registrar. Green Mortuary handled the arrangements.  Source:  Alexander T. McDonald, Certificate of Death #7718, Nov. 3, 1955 FHL#2139432.

Weighmaster definition: http://www.wisegeek.com/what-does-a-weighmaster-do.htm

Overview of the McDonald plot in St. Thomas Cemetery International Falls

Alex is buried with his father, mother, brother Jack and others in the family plot in the St. Thomas Cemetery in International Falls.  This cemetery is part of three cemeteries located east and south in the town of International Falls.  You will find a link on the right side of this blog to the Forest Hill Cemetery in International Falls where you will find a listing of burials for all three cemeteries.

Alex’s tombstone in St. Thomas Cemetery

NOTE:  Much to my frustration Alex’s birth is inconsistent and different dates are given on his tombstone, his death certificate, obit and from the St. Alphonsus Church records.  This is not unusual.  The question is which one is more reliable.  I think I lean toward the St. Alphonsus church records because the parents were alive at that time and knew the priest. The priest is still not directly involved in the actual birth but closer to the actual event. The parents are the ones who know the actual dates of birth but over time even they can forget.

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It is now time to behind International Falls and refocus on  R.S. (Ronald), my grandfather and his movements.  Remember that Ronald (R.S. ) left International Falls about 1915 and headed up to Grand Prairie, Alberta where he  established a store but lost it because a partner gambled it away.  The loss of the store was not the end of my grandfather’s troubles.  He was involved in a court case regarding about land in Koochiching County and I will share that in the next post.


Alex McDonald – 58 years in Minnesota!

November 11, 2012

Alexander Thomas McDonald spent 58 years of  his life living in Minnesota. He came down before his parents, Archie and Mary,  in 1897 and  lived in Duluth, Minnesota for a while.  I found an Alex McDonald in the city directories in Duluth, but it is difficult to know if that really was him?

Alex McDonald

I shared about Alexander Thomas McDonald the youngest son of Archibald and Mary McDonald in several previous posts:

1.  Archibald and Mary McDonald’s Children, dated March 20, 2011.  This post has the wonderful family photograph of the McDonald’s except for Angus the oldest brother.

2.  Alexander Thomas McDonald, Fireman, dated August 7, 2010.  There are several photos in this post showing Alex in his fireman’s uniform.  The 2nd photograph has Keith sitting on his knee.

3.  Archie & Mary’s Children:  Alexander Thomas McDonald, dated March 31, 2010 in which I share the birth of Alex and his record from the St. Alphonsus Church records.

Alex apparently decided to become Naturalized and applied for his Certificate of Intention #175 on 30 January 1905:

State of Minnesota, County of Itasca, Alex T. McDonald, appeared in the District Court of the 15th Judicial District for the State of Minnesota.  He was born in Canada about the year 1872 and emigrated to the United States an landed at the Port of Sault Ste. Marie on or about the month of November 1897.  It is Bona fide his intention to become a Citizen of the United States and renounce forever all fidelity to the Queen of Great Britain..whereof he is a subject, signed Alex T. McDonald, 21 November, 1898, I.D. Rassmussan, Clerk.  This is a true copy signed January 30, 1905, I.D. Rasmussan, Clerk.

Certificate of Intention

Source:  Declaration of Intention of Alex. T. McDonald, #175, County of Itasca, State of Minnesota, copy given to the compiler by his nephew.

Certificate of Citizenship, United States of America, District Court Co. of Itasca, State of Minnesota, Naturalization of Alex T. McDonald, 23rd day of Feb, 1905, Seal of the said Court on the 23rd day of Feb 1905, I.D. Rassmussen Clerk.

Source:  Certificate of Citizenship, Alex T. McDonald, Itasca County, Minnesota.  copy given to the compiler by his nephew.

Koochiching had not yet been established as a county and was part of Itasca County things were slowly developing in northern Minnesota at this time and it was difficult to get around until the train came.

The Minnesota State Census indicates that Alex was living in International Falls in 1905. If the information is correct Alex migrated to International Falls by 1899:

Line 8, McDonald, A. T., male, age 31, white, born in Canada, both parents born in Canada, 8 years in Minnesota, 6 yrs in the enumeration district, laborer.

Minnesota census

Source:  1905 Minnesota State Census, Village of International Falls, Twp. of Koochiching, County of Itasca, State of Minnesota, line 8, Sht #2, enumerated on June 1-20, 1905 by Harvey Gale, Minnesota Historical Society in St. Paul.

Note: Minnesota State Census went online at Ancestry.com a couple of years after I had done my research at the FHL and the Minnesota Historical Society in St. Paul in the census.

The U. S. Federal Census for 1910 is very interesting because Alex was listed as the head of the household. I was expecting Archibald to be head based on family stories.

12/14 – McDonald, Alex, head X, male, white, 34 years old single, born in Canada and also his parents were born in Canada.  Lived in this country 12 years, naturalized.  Speaks English, is a teamster and operates a dray line.  Nellie, sister, female, white, 38 years old single, born in Canada and parents too, 10 years in this country and not naturalized, no occupation given.  Archie, father, male, white, 80 years old, married, 49 years, born in Canada, parents born in Scotland, in this country 8 years, naturalized, speaks English, no occupation.  Mary, mother, female, white, 76 years old, married 49 years, 5 children of which 4 are living, born in Canada, parents born in Scotland, in this country 8 years, speaks English, no occupation.  All can read and write.

Source:  1910 U.S. Federal Census, Alex McDonald & Others, International Falls, Koochiching Co., Minnesota, SD#8, ED#92, enumerated April 15, 1910, National Archives, Pacific NW Region, Seattle, WA.

Jack and brother Alex in International Falls

Here Alex is buying lots 9 and 10 in block 53 in International Falls.  At this point I have no way to verify if this is the house that the family said was built by Archie?

Deed Record G pg. 38, The Koochiching Co. and Alexander T. McDonald on the 17th day of Sept. 1908 at 1 p.m.  Frank S. Spang, Register of Deeds.  On the 15th of April 1907 Alexander paid $500 for lots 9 and 10 in block 53 of International Falls.  Instrument no. C 327.

Source:  Deed Record Book G, pg. 38, Alexander T. McDonald, #C327, Koochiching County, Minnesota, from the Koochiching County Courthouse Call #38 C No. 327, September 14, 1908, 1 pm.

Alex later sold the lots on March 8, 1920 at 9 am to John McGivney for $2600.00, #25889, No. 39, pg. 121.

In the 1920 U.S. Federal Census Alex is rooming with another person:

Line 95, 4th and Second St., X/60/91, McDonald, Alex, Head, renting, male, white, age 46, single, years of immigration and naturalization unclear, not in school as of 1919, able to read and write, born in Canada, parents both born in Canada, native tongue English, able to speak English, occupation Driver, Fire Barn, working.  Line 96 at same address as Alex. Thomas, Arthur, boarder, male, mulatto, age 50, single, not in school as of 1919, able to read and write, born in Kansas, parents both in Kentucky, janitor, bank, working.

Source:  1920 U.S. Federal Census, City of International Falls, Co. of Koochiching, Minnesota, SD#8, ED#52, Ward #3, Vol. 41, pg. 4, Ancestry.com.

In review, things had changed greatly for Alex.  His sister Nellie was with Ronald (R.S.) helping with raising the six children in Cheney, Washington.  Archibald and Mary and both passed 8-9 years earlier.  John (Jack) his brother had a family and daughter to raise even though they were in the same city and lived not far from each other.

R.S. and brother Alex in Cheney 1924

During the 1920’s Alex headed west and visited his brother R.S. and sister Nellie.  He attended the wedding of his niece Vivian to Hilary McKanna in 1924.  Year’s later Vivian would ask her uncle to sign and affidavit to help her establish her birth date and location so she could obtain social security.  These two events will be covered in future posts.

The 1930 U.S. Census reveals that Alex is still in International Falls

Line 46, Alexander T. McDonald at City Hall #356, 460 under head lodger, Rents, personal property $20.00, he does not live on a farm, Male, White, 56 years old, Single, parents are Canadian-English and so is he. He immigrated to the U.S. in 1897 and is naturalized. His occupation is fireman at the City Fire Dept.. He is not a veteran. Alexander has listed under his name Bert Budde and Henry LeBlanc. I am familiar with these names and they are also listed as fireman with the City Fire Dept.

Source:  1930 U.S. Federal Census, International Falls, Koochiching Twp., and County, Dist #20, ED#36-20, SD #2, Sht #21A #139, dated April 16, 1930, Ancestry.com.


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.


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