The Ronald McDonell & Janet McDonell Family

September 29, 2011

My trip to Ohio was successful and is now completed. See the blog:  Solomon Goss of Fearing Township in Ohio for a discussion about the Goss family and the  trip.

http://sgossfamily.wordpress.com/

I return now to discuss the children of Alexander John and Ellen (McPherson) McDonell who were the parents of Ronald McDonell born approximately 1825 in Upper Canada and died 15 September 1862.  He is buried in the St. Alphonsus Catholic Church Cemetery in Chapeau, Pontiac County, Quebec.

Ronald married Janet McDonald daughter of John McDonald and Flora W. McLellan.  They were married the 28th of June 1852 in the St. Alphonsus Church in Chapeau.  Family History film #1029797, #17.

Below is the burial information for Ronald.

Source:  Baptism, Marriage and Burial Index, St. Alphonsus Church #M17, FHL#1029797, Page 90, #1347, Burial Registrations.  The book “St. Alphonsus of Ligouri, Chapeau, Allumette Island, Pontiac County, Quebec, Cemetery Inscriptions and Burial Records,” by Elaine Brown features this transcription of the tombstone(s).

http://www.personainternet.com/etbrown/alphonse.htm

“B84, pg. 24 – My home is above/sacred/to the memory of/Rol. MCDONALD/died/Sep 13, 1862/AE 37 yrs/also/his children/John R./died/Sep 9, 1862/AE 7 yrs/3 mos/ John A./died/AE 2 yrs & 3 mos. and /Donald J./died/Sept 5, 1862/AE 9 mos. ”

I have not found Ronald, nor Janet in the 1861 Canadian Census, but then there are a lot of Ronald McDonell’s and he may have been out working in the woods and enumerated separately or missed?

Ronald and Janet had the following children:

  • Ellen McDonell born about 1853.  Ellen married a James Welch.  They had 2 children that we know about: Frank and Mary Catherine was born 20 July 1876 in Pontiac Co., Quebec, christened baptized 27 July 1876 at the St. Alphonsus Church and died 29 July 1913 in Pembrook, Renfrew Co., Ontario.  Mary Catherine Welch was the wife of George Burns.  I refer you to my friend Elaine Brown’s website about the Burns family for more information on this family.

http://www.personainternet.com/etbrown/burns.htm

  • John Ronald McDonell born 1855 and died 1862 (See above burial information) was born 6 July 1855, christened baptized 12 July 1855, died 10 September 1862 and was buried on September 11, 1862.  All recorded at the St. Alphonsus Church.
  • Alexander McDonell was born 19 January 1857 and christened baptized the 25 of January 1857 at the St. Alphonsus Church.  He was living in 1871 with his mother.
  • John Archibald McDonell was born April 1861, christened baptized 15 Apr 1860, died the 3rd of September 1862 and was buried the following day on 4 September 1862.  All recorded at the St. Alphonsus Church.  The name “John Archibald” is the same as the name given to Archibald and Mary’s son John who was usually called “Jack?” brother to Ronald my grandfather.
  • Donald James McDonell was born about 1862 and died on 5 September 1862 and was buried on 6 September 1862. Recorded at the St. Alphonsus Church.
  • Janet McDonell no information.

Some illness hit this family and apparently Ellen and Alexander were the only ones that survived of the children of Ronald and Janet.  Ronald died and his widow Janet continued to reside and live in the Chapeau/Chichester area.  I have no death date for Janet but I did find her living in the 1871 Canadian Census.

1871 Canadian Census for Quebec, Pontiac County, Chichester pg. 16, 51 and 52, Jenet McDonell age 38 born Quebec, R. Catholic, Scotish, labourer, widowed.  Ellen, F, age 17, Alexander, M, age 14. 

If you are a descendant of Janet/Jenet and Ronald McDonell, I would love to talk with you.  Leave a message by clicking on the comment button or contact me through the above Compiler tab.

UPDATE:  As of June 24, 2013 I have realized with a little help from a visitor to this blog that Janet married again after Ronald’s death.  I did not share that piece of information when I original wrote this post.  She remarried about 1870 or 1871 to Thomas Poupore Sr.  This piece of information came to me from a manuscript about Ronald’s sister Jennette written by another cousin who is a Kennedy descendant.  I met him on my trip last Spring 2012.  Thomas Poupore Sr. son with Janet in 1874 was Thomas John Poupore who married Margaret Ethel Kennedy daughter of Daniel James Kennedy and Jan Wilhelmina McDonnell a daughter of Jennette Catherine McDonald and Angus John McDonald, another sister of Ronald and my great grandmother Mary McDonell.


Nellie’s Charts – Her Mother Mary McDonell’s Family!

July 21, 2011

Ronald’s sister Nellie prepared the family genealogy in 1932 almost 20 years after the death of her parents Archibald and Mary McDonell.  Nellie (Ellen Elizabeth) had not been to Canada since 1901 when she immigrated with her parents and brother John (Jack) to Minnesota.  So when you see these charts you will be amazed for her grand-niece thinks she did a wonderful job and the family is truly indebted to her for her efforts.

Nellie prepared a long piece of paper with the family descendants for both Archie’s family on the left and Mary’s on the right.  This piece of paper was too big to store without creasing it so it was scanned into the computer in 3 sections and gently separated into two. 

Some time after Nellie had prepared this chart her niece Miriam rewrote it creating two charts one for Archie’s side and one for Mary’s side of the family.  There are minor differences between the charts. 

So we started with Keith’s grandfather Archie’s side of the family presenting the chart by featuring it in the post dated June 17, 2011 and titled Nellie’s Charts: Her Father Archie McDonell’s Family.   In the following posts dated June 30, 2011 A Mystery - Roy Macdonnell and July 8, 2011 Glengarry in Ontario etc. there was a discussion about Archibald’s origins and family.

Now we will feature Keith’s grandmother Mary McDonell’s side of the family. 

Click on the chart below and it should open up larger for you to read.  Remember to hit the back arow to return to this post. 

If you are a descendant of Alexander John McDonald and Ellen McPherson please copy and enjoy but remember credit goes to Nellie McDonell (first chart) and Miriam her niece (second chart). 

Alex. Ban McDonell Family Chart

Miriam's Version of Alex Ban Chart

The research on the McDonell family has been based on these charts and so far on Mary’s side of the family the names listed and families can be traced in the Canadian census well into the 1900′s and probably beyond.   The challenge is the spelling of the name McDonell/McDonald which can vary greatly.

The focus of the research has been on tracing Keith’s grandparents Archibald and Mary and their life journey.  In future posts the siblings of Mary will be discussed as best we can.

Archie and Mary left the area of Chichester and Chapeau in 1901 and migrated to Bemidji, Beltrami Co., Minnesota, to be with their children.  The family story is that the children of Archie and Mary felt they were getting to old and convinced them to migrate to the United States.

The St. Alphonsus Church has many of these families listed in their records of marriages, deaths and baptisms.  There are films at the Family History Library for this church and the registers are on Ancestry.com.   See the post dated March 23, 2010 Records of the St. Alphonsus Church for more information.

The book compiled by Elaine Brown on the St. Alphonsus cemetery located at this church also lists many of these individuals.  http://www.personainternet.com/etbrown/alphonse.htm

If you are descended from any one of these families by all means say at least “hello” by leaving a comment or contacting me through the compiler page listed at the top of this blog.


A Mystery – Roy Macdonnell?

June 30, 2011

In the last post Nellie and Miriam’s Archibald McDonald chart was featured but it raised questions about the parentage of Archibald. 

Miriam's version - Roy???

There are several possibilities regarding Archie’s father and his mother! 

Who is this Roy? Who is Alex Ban Cameron’s daughter?

1.  The first thought is the St. Alphonsus Church records are correct and John and Sarah McDonell are Archie’s parents.

Miriam's version - Roy???

2.  Another possibility is that Nellie didn’t really know and made a guess about her father’s parents.  She did not have the St. Alphonsus Church record of the marriage of Archibald and Mary McDonell.

3. If  John is Archie’s father, it could be John is his real name while “Roy” is a nickname or he is “John Roy” or “Roy John.”  Keith’s family used nicknames and middle names to identify family members.

4.  Since Nellie wrote out these charts in 1932 years after Archie’s death, she could not check with him to verifying information and we could be missing a generation and Roy is Archie’s grandfather and therefore Nellie’s great-grandfather.  John and Sara are her grandparents on her father’s side. 

One thing is clear finding Archie’s family in the Chichester area has been very difficult. 

A burial location for his parents in the area of Chapeau and Chichester has not been found but more research into the cemetery records of the area is needed. 

So far making a connection to even sisters and brothers has yielded little results.  The Canadian census microfilm for the area of Chapeau, Allumette and for that matter Pontiac County, Quebec  have been searched several times and nothing has been discovered to make a connection to Archie.

If the chart is correct and Archie is the youngest of the siblings in this family, then he probably would need to strike out on his own for the inheritance would have passed to his oldest brother?  The laws of inheritance for Canada in the early 1800′s follow the British rules for inheritance.    The lands in the Glengarry area of Ontario had already been divided up and settled by the time Archie reached manhood and even earlier. 

Here is a list of the children of Roy Macdonnell and Alex Ban Cameron’s daughter – see chart in the last post for reference and more details: 

1.  Ronald married a Williams.  He was a farmer.

2.  John married Julia (fr) Tebeau and was a shoemaker.  The chart lists descendants.

3.  Kitty was a spinster and a weaver.

4.  Angus was a blacksmith and married unknown and the chart lists descendants.

5.  Duncan a farmer and married unknown but has descendants.

6. Sarah married a Murphy and went to Denver, CO. 

7.  Archibald – the father of Ronald and grandfather of Keith and Miriam.

The St. Alphonsus Catholic church record states John and Sara McDonell are Archie’s parents.  See the post dated December 3, 2010 “McDonell and McDonell Marriage!”

Let us review Miriam’s notes:

MacDonalds

Miriam writes that she believes Roy Macdonell and Alexander John MacDonald arrived in Canada by 1800.  However when we review the 1861 Canadian Census in my post dated November 11, 2010 “Mary McDonell, Archie’s Future Bride – 1861!” In this post we find a Alexander John living in Chichester with Rachel, Mary and Duncan all living next to Archibald in the 1861 Census.  The census states that Alexander John was born in Upper Canada in 1795.  Upper Canada refers to Ontario not Quebec.   This means that at least one of the parents of Mary and Archie was born in Canada, not Scotland, and we go back even further in time looking for family in Canada.

Miriam goes on to write about her grandfather Archibald and that he grew up in Glengarry, Ontario (See the notes above and study the 2nd paragraph. Click to make it larger and use the back button to return).

Here is a link to the Glengarry GenWeb http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~onglenga/

All the census for Canada 1861 to 1901 show that Archie was born in Canada.  His birth date and location vary with different census, death, burial and other information as much as 5-10 years.  So progress on this side of the family has been slow.

Archibald’s wife Mary McDonell’s side of the chart, which will be featured in a future post, is a treasure filled with families that have lived in the Chichester, Chapeau area and can be traced down to the early 1900′s and further through the St. Alphonsus Church records and in census.


Nellie’s Charts – Her Father Archie McDonell’s Family

June 17, 2011
In a past post about Nellie (Ellen) McDonell, it was mentioned that there was a McDonell/McDonald descendants chart that Nellie created about 1932. This chart was in the possession of her niece Miriam, sister to Keith, until about 1967 when it was shared with Keith’s youngest daughter. This chart is actually a long piece of paper with both families written on it.  Archie’s family is on the left side and Mary’s on the right.  It was gently separated into two pages in order to scan it into the computer.(Click the chart to make it bigger and use the back button to return to the post).   
Archibald McDonell’s Family Chart by Nellie McDonald

Archibald died in 1912 about 20 years before Nellie created this chart which was about 1932.  This means she could not ask him for clarification.  Other documentation found indicate that the children of Archie really didn’t know as much about Archie’s side of the family as they did about their mother Mary’s. 

This chart seems less complete than the one for Mary which will be featured in a future post.  If you will remember Archie’s death certificate in 1912 (See posted dated September 8, 2010) showed that his youngest son Alexander didn’t know the names of Archie’s parents and therefore did not record them on the death record. 

A PUZZLE?  Who are Archie’s father and mother?  What happened to his siblings?

In the posted dated December 3, 2010 Archie and Mary were married in 1861 and it listed Archie’s parents as John and Sara McDonell.  Archie does appear in the 1861 Census and it was discussed in the posted dated October 20, 2010.   (To find these posts as reference see the right side archive section).

Take a close look at this chart by clicking it and you will see that the father’s name is “Roy Macdonell” not John?   Notice that the spelling of McDonald changes to Macdonell. 

Focusing in On Roy Macdonell

It reads “Roy Macdonell – Cameron (White Alex)??

We now add Miriam’s (Nellie’s niece) version of this chart:

Miriam's McDonald's version of Archie's Family

Let’s see what Miriam writes for Archie’s father:

Miriam's version - Roy???

Miriam writes “Roy Macdonell - Alex Ban Cameron’s daughter?”

If you study both charts you will see that there is very little difference between them.  Miriam’s handwriting is easy to recognize but it took awhile before it became clear that Nellie had done the original version. 

These charts have been in the possession of Keith’s youngest daughter since about 1967.  They have used as the foundation in building the McDonald family history.  

If you make a copy of these two charts, and use them in your research please give Nellie McDonald and Miriam McDonald credit for their work and in preserving them for future generations to use. 

Nellie McDonald at a picnic

Miriam visits her brother Keith - circa 1950's

So we are left with a mystery?

Who is this Roy Macdonell?  Who is Alex Ban Cameron’s daughter? 

Are John and Sara Archie’s parents as the St. Alphonsus records suggest? If so where did they live? 

The research into Archibald McDonell/McDonald’s past to find his family has been very slow going.  In the next post the origins of Archibald McDonell will be expanded on.  Miriam, his granddaughter suggests that Archie came from Glengarry, Ontario.

NOTE:  If you see any names or family groupings in this chart that are familiar and think you might be a cousin, please contact the writer of this post immediately by writing a comment or following the information in the Compiler page listed above next to home under the picture.  Love to hear from you!

Archie & Mary’s Children: George James McDonell

May 11, 2011

George James McDonell was born to Archie and Mary 22 July, 1878 but he is missing from the enumeration of the family in the Census of 1881.  So far no burial information has been found for George James but more research needs to be done in this area.  The gap between Alex and his baby brother is 6 years so the possibility is there that there might have been other children or miscarriages?  It is interesting to speculate. 

Source:  Baptism, Marriage and Burial Index, St. Alphonsus Church, 1846-1920 FHL# B60, #1029797.  

Archie's Locations

I have tried the Drouin Collection at Ancestry but cann’t find George James McDonell.  He is in the index for baptisms for Volume 11 Folio 379.  These I copied from the microfilm index.  I have had trouble finding family with this online collection. 

Jack, George’s older brother, named a child of his “George Archibald. ”  This child didn’t survive. Uncle Gordy, Keith’s older brother and a son of Ronald and Grace, was given the baptismal name of “George.”  Apparently little George’s death affected his family greatly.

This concludes the births of the children of Archie and Mary.  In summary there were 8 children born to Keith’s grandparents:  John, John Alexander, Angus, Ronald (R.S.) , John Archibald (Jack), Ellen Elizabeth (Nellie), Alexander Thomas, and last George James.  Three out of eight children apparently did not survive and burial information was not found in the St. Alphonsus Catholic Church records.  I am very interested in the middle names of “Thomas” and “James” and wonder if these are Archie’s family names?

There will be additional future posts on Angus, Jack, Nellie and Alex and of course Keith’s father Ronald.


Archie & Mary’s Children: Alexander Thomas McDonald

March 31, 2011

Archie and Mary McDonell welcomed their seventh child Alexander Thomas McDonell. 

He was born 2nd December 1872 in Chichester and baptized the 17th of December 1872 at the St. Alphonsus Church in Chapeau. 

Alexander's Birth Record

Source:  Baptism, Marriage and Burial Index, St. Alphonsus Church, 1846-1920 FHL# B131, #1029798.  Also on Ancestry.com under the Drouin Collection. 

Alexander, or better known as “Alex,” lived a long life passing away at 82 years old in International Falls and he is buried next to his older brother John (Jack) and his parents.  Alex never married but family lore states that he had several girlfriends, liked fancy cars and smoked big cigars.

Uncle Alex

Alex is featured with his nephew Keith in his fireman uniform in the posted dated:  August 7, 2010.


Archie & Mary’s children: Ellen Elizabeth McDonald

March 10, 2011

Ellen was her formal name but she was always called “Nellie.”  She was Keith’s aunt by family structure but probably more like the “only” mother he knew for he was 18 months old when his mother Grace died.  Nellie is somewhat of a mystery to me, her grand niece, but she did love cats so we do have something in common! 

Nellie and a Cat!

Born on th 26th of November 1870 in Chichester, she was baptized the same day.  She was the only girl out of 7 boys born to Archie and Mary.

Nellie's Baptismal Record

Source:  Baptism, Marriage and Burial Index, St. Alphonsus Church, 1846-1920 FHL# B11b, #1029797.  Also on Ancestry.com under the Drouin Collection. 

Nellie lived to the age of 76 and is buried next to her brother Ronald in the Calvary Cemetery in Yakima, Washington. 

Nellie never married instead she took on the task of helping raise Ronald’s six children after the death of his wife Grace in 1911.  Exactly when she joined Ronald to take on this task is not clear. Miriam implies it was right after Grace’s death but that might not be exactly true? 

Her niece Miriam held her in high esteem (click on the photo and it will get bigger for easier reading):

Nellie's Story by Miriam

Nellie also provided descendant charts of both of her parents Archie and Mary that Miriam passed on to her niece.  These charts will be featured in later posts.  These charts are the basis of the McDonell/McDonald research.


Archie & Mary’s Children: John Archibald McDonald

March 3, 2011

Keith’s Uncle John Archibald McDonell was born 3rd of June 1869 in Chichester and baptized on 14 June 1869 at the St. Alphonsus Church in Chapeau. 

John's Baptismal Record pg 1

John's Baptismal Record pg2

Source:  Baptism, Marriage and Burial Index, St. Alphonsus Church, 1846-1920 FHL# B11, #1029797.  Also on Ancestry.com under the Drouin Collection. 

John was better known as “Jack” by his many friends and family.  He lived till the age of 80 years old and is buried in the St. Thomas Cemetery (part of the Forest Hill Cemetery group)  in International Falls, Minnesota next to his wife Sarah Maria Burns a local girl from the area of Chichester and Chapeau.  Sarah came from a very large family featured at this website by Elaine Brown – Murtagh Byrns and Sarah Grier Descendants:

http://www.personainternet.com/etbrown/burns.htm

Jack and Sarah had a rough time building their family.  I have only been able to find three names of children born to them but apparently there were more, maybe 5 that did not survive.  Keith had the pleasure of knowing one child that survived to adulthood.  Her name was Mary.

Jack (John) A. McDonell


The Children of Archie & Mary: Ronald S. McDonell

February 17, 2011

Keith’s father Ronald Sandfield McDonell was born in Chichester on 22 July 1866 and baptized at the St. Alphonsus Church in Chapeau on 26 July 1866. 

Ronald's Baptismal Record

Source:  Baptism, Marriage and Burial Index, St. Alphonsus Church, 1846-1920 FHL# B70, #1029797.  Also on Ancestry.com under the Drouin Collection. 

Keith had in his possession the actual Baptismal Certificate from the St. Alphonsus Church for Ronald, his father.  It reads:

Source:  St. Alphonsus Church, Chapeau, Quebec, Birth and Baptism Record: “On the Twenty sith of July one thousand eight hundred and sixty-one. We the undersigned baptized Ronald McDonald born on the twenty-second instant of the lawful marriage of Archibald McDonald and Mary McDonald of Allumette Island.  The sponsors were Edward Smith and Jeanette McDonald, Signed James C. Lynch, PO.  True copy Chapeau, Que. January 16, 1940, A. Me Renaud, PP.

We return to Miriam’s notes to review what she had to say about her father Ronald.  This was featured in an earlier post dated May 2, 2010.  I do point out that there probably wasn’t a business school in Grand Rapids because it was too small at the time.  It is more likely Ronald attended the school in Duluth. 

Miriam's Notes on her Father

The spelling of Ronald’s middle name as been done in a variety of ways:  Sandfield, Sanfield. 

John Sandfield Macdonald was the Premier of Ontario at the time Archibald was living in the Chapeau/Chichester area.  According to Miriam, Ronald was named after this man.   The interesting thing in Keith’s family is that his uncle Angus gave a son the name Loren Sandfield McDonald.  Family lore says that Ronald was frequently referred to with the nickname of “Sandy.”  His grandson also was nicknamed “Sandy” and some of the family have trouble thinking of him with his more formal name.  Apparently this man, John Sandfield Macdonald, was greatly esteemed.

To determine if we were related to this family a search for Mr. Macdonald’s origins and connections was conducted and it just doesn’t appear to be there.  However, you never know.  The internet is filled with information about Mr. Macdonald.  Wikipedia has a brief article about John Sandfield Macdonald:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Sandfield_Macdonald


Archie & Mary’s Children: John Alexander McDonell

January 16, 2011

It must be terribly sad to lose two babies so quickly in a marriage.  This is what appears to have happened to Archibald and Mary.  A record for a second son was found in the church records and the child was named:  John Alexander McDonell.

The St. Alphonsus Church records show that he was born the 18th of April 1863 and baptized on the 26 of April 1863.  His burial location and death date are not known. 

Source:  Baptism, Marriage and Burial Index of the St. Alphonsus Church, 1846-1920, Chapeau, Pontiac Co., Quebec. FHL#1029798, B31, John Alexander McDonell, St. Bridget’s Sheen, baptismal record.  

St. Bridgets Sheen, April 26, 1863. We the undersigned priest of this mission have baptized John Alexander born the 18th……of the lawful marriage of Archibald McDonell and Mary McDonell. The sponsors were John McDonell and Rachel McDonell who have not signed………..can’t read the name of the priest.

The witnesses of this birth are Rachel who is probably Mary’s sister.  John McDonell could be a brother to either Mary or Archibald?

Apparently the original church in Sheenboro burned down in 1918 and was replaced?  Here are links to the Archdiocese of Pembroke for possibly more information:

http://pembrokediocese.com/web/parish/alphonsus/

http://pembrokediocese.com/web/english/news/index


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