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.


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!

Archibald McDonell as Culbute Lock Master

June 9, 2011

Miriam, Archie’s granddaughter, wrote the following in her notes:

Archie the Lock Master

As you can see Miriam misspelled the name of the locks and that caused a bit of a problem.  Still she was on the right track.  It is spelled formally: Chenal de la Culbute.

Unfortunately the Archives in Ottawa did not know anything about these locks which are in the Ottawa River a little north of the Island of Allumette. 

Apparently the locks were built about 1870  and were in service in the area from that time to around 1894.  There appears to be some confusion as to when they were actually abandoned.  

The exciting news is that Keith’s grandfather Archibald is featured in a book as the Lock Master:

Source:  The Upper Ottawa Valley, by Clyde C. Kennedy, Renfrew County Council, Pembroke, Ontario, pg. 137-139, 1970 FHL Book#971.38 H2 (This is a book at the FHL and is not on microfilm.)

Culbute Locks:  “Dredging the shoals along the channel was completed in 1883, but in 1886 Archibald McDonell, Lock Tender, was writing in his report; “Last fall after water got low it was almost impossible to open them (the gates) then it took about half a day to get them opened.”  The inevitable decay and distortion of the timber structures had become serious and the end was in sight for the Culbute Canal.  The steam railways had extended into the Ottawa Valley and the steamboats were losing their importance, except for sight-seeing excursions (the tourist business began years earlier) and for towing booms along the great widenings of the Ottawa where the current was imperceptible.  Archibald McDonell reported for 1885 only 20 passages of the canal by steamers, six by scows and six by row boats.  The structures “…are rapidly becoming so completely decayed as to render some wholesale substitution for them inevitable,” wrote D. Stark, Superintending Engineer, Ottawa River Canals, Ottawa, in 1888.  “The expense of keeping them (the locks) in repair is annually becoming greater, and if they are to be maintained in existence at all, their replacement by structures of stone becomes the only practical mode of dealing with them.  The Culbute Locks were abandoned to the forces of the river and Nature’s wood-rotting agents in the fall of 1889 and only the excavations and relatively small portions of the timbers remain to indicate the changes that were made to the highway of the voyageurs.”

There appears to be more information on the Internet these days about the different locks that were constructed and used during this time frame including the Culbute Locks.

If anyone has additional information about the Culbute Locks and photographs I would be most grateful if they would be willing to share?


McDonell Family in 1881!

June 1, 2011

The year is 1881 and Archibald McDonell’s family is still prospering. 

Archie, Mary, Angus, Ronald, John, Ellen and Alexander are all alive and living in the Chichester area.  Unfortunately, no baby George is mentioned in this census.

Source:  1881 Canadian Census, Chichester, Pontiac Co., Quebec. Dist. 98 (Chapeau Village) Canadian Film #T13226, pg. 23.

Line 3 to 9: 82/85 McDonell, Archibald, Male, age 45, born Ontario, Catholic, Scotch, Lock Master, Married.  McDonell, Mary, female, age 42, born in O, Catholic, Scotch, Married. McDonald, Angus, male, age 16, born Quebec, Catholic, Scotch.  McDonell, Ronald, male, age 14, born Quebec, Catholic, Scotch.  McDonell, John, male, age 11, born Quebec, Catholic, Scotch.  McDonald, Ellen, female, age 9, born Quebec, Catholic, Scotch. McDonell, Alexander, male, age 7, born Quebec, Catholic, Scotch.  All children going to school.

This is the only time that all of the family are listed together as a whole in the Canadian census, after this the children begin leaving home.

There is an interesting piece of information on this census.  Archie is listed as the Lock Master.  There will be more on that topic in the next post.


Archie & Mary McDonell in 1871

May 23, 2011

We back up a little and return to 1871 and the Canadian Census which features the family of Archibald and Mary McDonell, the great grandparents of Keith.  

As you can see John and John Alexander are missing.  These are the first two sons born to Archie and Mary.  We can only assume that they did not survive.  There is a possibility that they are buried in Sheensboro.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheenboro,_Quebec

Source:  1871 Canadian Census, Chichester, Pontiac Co., Quebec #C10025, page 23 and 24 Dist #91 or FHL#0493443.

Line 16-20 pg. 23 Dwelling 19 Family 19 – McDonell, Archbld, male, age 39, Born Quebec, R. Catholic, Scotch, Farmer, Married, unable to read. McDonald, Mary, female, age 36, born Quebec, R. Catholic, Scotch, married, unable to write. McDonald, Angus, male, age 7, born Quebec, R. Catholic, Scotch, going to school. McDonald, Ronald, Male, age 4, born Quebec, R. Catholic, Scotch. Next page # 24 line 1 and 2: McDonald, John Archy, male, [ ] born Quebec, R. Catholic, Scotch. McDonell, Ellen, female, 3/12, Dec, born Quebec, R. Catholic, Scotch.

Here is an interesting link to a website that gives cemetery information for a wide variety of locations including Quebec.

http://www3.sympatico.ca/bkinnon/cemeteries.htm#on

So the Canadian Census of 1871 supports the theory that John and John Alexander did not survive because they are not listed; however, more research is needed to see if their burials can be found.


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


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