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 originally 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.


Alexander John McDonell & Ellen McPherson’s Family

August 5, 2011

Alexander John McDonell and Ellen McPherson are the great great grandparents of Keith.  They are his grandmother Mary’s father and mother.

Alexander John has been discussed in past posts.  He appears in the 1861 Canadian Census for Pontiac County, Quebec with several of his children: Mary, Rachel, Duncan and Finley.  In this census it states that he was born in Upper Canada (Ontario) and that he was 66 years old which means he was born about 1795.  This census also implies that Ellen, his wife, died before 1861 for she is not listed with the family?

The burial location of Alexander John McDonell and his wife Ellen McPherson is not known at this time.  They do not seem to appear in the St. Alphonsus church records.

Based on Nellie’s and Miriam’s charts featured in past post, they had the following children:

1.  Alexander McDonell was a hotel keeper and was born before 1825.  He married Margaret (Maggie) MacDonald and they had three children:  John, Winnifred and Duncan.  He does not seem to appear in the St. Alphonsus Church Records and the Canadian census for1851 and 1861 does not list him or Maggie for the Pontiac County area??

2.  Ronald McDonell was born about 1825 and died 15 Sep 1862 in the St. Alphonsus Church Cemetery and is buried in the church cemetery.  He married 28 June 1852 (St. Alphonsus Church records) Janet who was born about 1833 in Upper Canada.  They had 6 children.  In a future post this couple will be further discussed.

3.  John McDonell born about 1825 and died 22 January 1860 and is buried in the St. Alphonsus Church cemetery. He married Christiana on 7 October 1848 in Chapeau.   John and Christiana (Christy) didn’t have any children recorded in the St. Alphonsus Church records even though they were married 12 years before his death.  Marriage Source:  Quebec Baptisms, Marriages and Burial Index, St. Alphonsus Church Records, #M10, FHL#1029797 and also at Ancestry.com under the Drouin Collection.  A search of the 1851 and 1861 census does not reveal a John or Christiana in the Pontiac area?

4.  Hugh McDonell was born about 1834 in Upper Canada but his death is unknown.  He married 24 May 1858 (St. Alphonsus Church Records) to Ellen.  Ellen was born about 1835 in Lower Canada and died 20 June 1920 and is buried in the St. Alponsus Church Cemetery.  They had 5 children.  This couple will be featured in a later post.

5.  Catherine (Kitty) McDonell  was born about 1835.  She married a John Fraser 7 October 1855 (St. Alphonsus Church Records)  and they had three children:  William, Ella and Lincoln.  Ella married a Fred Fielder.  Again Canadian census information does not give much information on this family.  John’s parents were John Frazer and Mary Kennedy.  Marriage Source:  Quebec Baptisms, Marriages and Burial Index, St. Alphonsus Church Records, #M7, FHL#1029797 and also at Ancestry.com under the Drouin Collection.

6.  Jennette (Jennie) Catherine McDonell was born about 1836 and died 2 September 1916 buried on the 4th of September in the St. Alphonsus Church Cemetery.  Jennette’s story is very interesting.  She first married Angus John McDonald (Big Angus) and after his death she remarried to Thomas Payne.  Jennette will be discussed further in a future post.

7.  Rachel McDonell was born about 1838 in Lower Canada and died 8 January 1881.  She is buried in the St. Alphonsus Church Cemetery.  Rachel was listed in the 1861 census with her sister Mary and father Alexander.  Apparently Rachel did not marry.  Burial Source:  Quebec Baptisms, Marriages and Burial Index, St. Alphonsus Church Records, #1328, FHL#1029797 and also at Ancestry.com under the Drouin Collection.

8.  Mary Elizabeth McDonell, Keith’s grandmother.  Mary and Archibald are featured in many posts of this blog.

9.  Duncan McDonell was born about 1842 in Lower Canada (Quebec) and died 6 May 1910 and is buried in the St. Alphonsus Church Cemetery.  He married Elizabeth Sauve the 27th of February 1865 according to the St. Alphonsus Church records.  They had maybe 15 children?  Duncan and his family will be further discussed in a future post.

10.  Finlay McDonell was born about 1845 in Lower Canada (Quebec).  Nothing more is know about him.  It is possible he migrated further south into Ontario.  Note:  If the census was dated 1861 and he was born 1845 that means that the mother Ellen may have died between these dates?

The Canadian 1861 Census for Rachel states that she was born in Lower Canada.  Duncan and Finlay are indicated as being born in Lower Canada.  Mary McDonell (Keith’s grandmother) gives Upper Canada as her birthplace.  The information I have places her year of birth at 1840.  Her sister Rachel’s birth year is suspect?  Still this implies that the family moved or migrated about 1840 to the Chapeau, Chichester area?

In summary the sources are

More research needs to be done and more sources checked for each of these families such as a land, probate, newspapers, histories and more.  Maybe a trip to Canada is in the future!!!

Clarification:  I refer to Wikipedia’s articles on Upper Canada and Lower Canada to explain these political divisions and the time they were in existence in Canada. So there might be some confusion about birth location such as Duncan and Finlay because it then becomes Canada West and Canada East.  (See link to Upper Canada) Also understand the settlement pattern was very different then and not as expanded and developed as today.  “Upper Canada existed from 26 December 1791 to 10 February 1841 and generally comprised present-day Southern Ontario.”


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.


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