The Pontiac Archives, Shawville, Quebec – One more Time!

June 14, 2012

Another view of the water tower – Timmy’s is everywhere

I began my day driving through Renfrew for it was time to head up to Pembroke after I finished up with the Pontiac Archives.  I wanted to explore the Quebec side of the Ottawa River on my way up north.

Renfrew’s Clock Tower – City Hall

I was now familiar with Bruce Road which stops at the light right by the Rocky Mountain House in downtown Renfrew.  I decided to end my stay in Renfrew by having breakfast there.  I had dinner the night of my tour of Allumette Island, Chichester and Sheen.  It has all knotty wood paneling inside.  Someone had placed figurines on the chandelier in the middle of the dining room area. I thought that was funny.  It was very homey and the food was good:  http://www.therockymountainhouse.com/ 

Storyland Road was not to hard to find and I was at the Portage Du Fort bridge:

More of the bridge to Portage Du Fort

The dam and power structures – Portage Du Fort

The drive to Shawville is lovely. 

One of many farms near Shawville

I was back at the Pontiac Archives and dug into the genealogies, this time focusing on collateral lines:  Poupore, LaCour/LeCour/Tebeau/Record/Ricard, Williams, Moor/Moore, Perrault, Leahy, Downey, Malone, Murphy, Burns, McPherson, Welch/Walsh, Frazer, Kennedy, Butler, Ryan, Ferguson, Sauvé and others.  These are the families that married into my great-grandparents Archie and Mary McDonell’s siblings families.  There was not as much information as I had hoped and not as far back in time that I had wanted.  I was looking at 1850 to 1901.

The Pontiac Archives is in Shawville which locates it further south in Pontiac and I have noticed that there is a concentration of documentation, histories and more from Fort Coulonge to Gatineau.  For some reason the upper Pontiac is less emphasized.  Why is that?

A REQUEST:  If you have ancestors who settled in Pontiac Counties please take a few minutes and print off or create a file that you can attached and send to the Pontiac Archives via their email or by mail.  Here again is their link:  http://www.pontiacarchives.org/  Don’t think that the Internet is the only way to spread the news about your family.  People are so impacted with information and lack of time they don’t always have that choice to be on the internet all the time or they don’t have that kind of access due to money concerns. 

Please send and or give them your family histories, I did!

I finished up at the Pontiac Archives and said my thanks you and goodbyes!  I was glad I had visited.

There was another restaurant and pub to the left of the library as you exit the front door that had a deck. It was on Rue Main.  I decided to try that for a different experience and it was great. Entering it through their door was a little odd. I cannot remember the name and I can’t find it online.  It had comfort food as well as a bar in the middle of the very long room.  I had worried about food but I can guarantee you will be able to get a good meal in Shawville. 

Here are a few more photographs of Shawville for your enjoyment.

Hotel de Ville – Shawville

After quieting my tummy, I headed up Hwy 148 (301).  This highway is wonderful.  It is a two lane road but it is in great condition.  I had no problems with driving along it.  Now that I know this, I can advise that if you want to stay somewhere other than Renfrew and drive to Shawville to do research at the Pontiac Archives you can do so without a problem.  The distance and weather might be a factor but the road is great.  Crossing the Ottawa can be done at Waltham, Portage Du Fort and at Qyugon you can take a ferry, otherwise you do have to come from Gatineau northwest or south from Waltham.  Hwy 148 follows the Ottawa River and if I had more time I would have done the whole tour.  Hwy 148 seems to end when it meets Hwy 40 near Pembroke after crossing Allumette Island.

Try this link for a very interesting information about road trips for the Outaouais area – the Quebec side.  You will have to do a little digging to find the various specific road trips for Outaouais:  http://outaouais.quebecheritageweb.com/attractions-and-tours  They are an online magazine of articles formation about the history of the towns, sites and more along the Ottawa (Outaouais) River and some photos.  I was very happy to find this website. 

Because of the time constraints I headed up to Campbell’s Bay to go to the Palais de Justice for Pontiac County (County courthouse).  It was open in the morning 9-12 and afternoon from 1-4 pm M-F and I had to get there quickly.  I figured I could double back to tour a little of Calumet Island after my visit to the Palais.  This website has the information about Quebec’s courts:  http://www.justice.gouv.qc.ca/francais/joindre/palais/cartes/campb-carte.htm

Palais de Justice, Campbell’s Bay – Rue John

My goal was to obtain printouts of the land lots that I had identified for several of my ancestors:  Archie, John his brother, and others that I suspected of being related. 

It was a little confusing to figure out which room to go to because I was finally hit with French as the only language. As you enter the building on your left there is sign that has the word “Ligne” in it and that is where I went to get these printouts.

The location board in the Palais de Justice Campbell’s Bay

The office were you obtain the land lot histories

The clerk was very nice and of course she started speaking in French till she realized I did not.  I had taken the time to write everything down so that she could just use my list.  We settled on the price of $4.00 for each printout and I asked for several.  She headed out instructing me to wait in the lobby and disappeared for about 15 minutes.  She came back with a stack and told me the last one didn’t exist.  My lousy handwriting made it look like another number so I corrected that and she kindly obtained the copy for me and didn’t charge me. 

Sigh!  This is where I made a big mistake.  I did not review the papers at that time.  I paid my money and asked her about accessing these documents and she said that I could do so online because that was were all the land records were.  It was not till much later that I studied them only to find out that they went back and stopped at early 1900.  I had thought I would get the lot history all the way back to the beginning circa 1850.  So they were all 1900 and to the present and only one showed me anything of value.  I was very disappointed and mostly frustrated.  I was hoping it would give me some information about Archibald’s early years. 

DO NOT DO WHAT I DID!  CHECK THE PRINTOUTS before you leave.  I am told that there was a fire in Hull in 1900 and that destroyed things?  I do not know how this affected the records for Pontiac County?  The online source for the land records may not go back far enough.  I don’t know?  I am still trying to figure out Quebec land records.  More on this topic in a later post. 

I did learn and confirm that the land records printouts are at this location or  all are online at the link given below.  I can access them even though I am a USA citizen.  She told me that they charge like a $1.00 so you do have to use a credit card to sign up to use the online system, but it is only for verification.  That was encouraging.  I knew about this website but hesitated to sign up.  I think I will take the plunge when I get home and see what I find.

I have tried to type this exactly as it was written on the summary sheet she gave to me. 

Pour toute information supplémentair, communiquez avec:

Service d’assistance â la clientéle de Foncier Québec: lundi, mardi, jeudi et vendredi, de 8h30 à 16h30 (mercredi de 10h à 16h30)  Téléphone: (418) 643-3582 Région de la Capital-Nationale 1-866-226-0977 Sans frais au Québec, en Ontario et au Nouveau-Brunswick.  Couriel: assistance.clientele@mrnf.foncierquebec.gouv.qc.ca

The clerk also gave me this url to go to. 

https://www.registrefoncier.gouv.qc.ca/Sirf/Script/14_06_01-02/pf_14_06_01_reglr.asp

The area along Rue Front in Campbell’s Bay has a parking lot right on the Ottawa River.  Actually I think that was what was distracting me and I was becoming very tired.  I love rivers and the Ottawa is as fascinating as others I have seen and especially because it was a big part of my great parents Archie and Mary McDonell’s lives and my grandfather Ronald’s, he grew up along its shores. 

I pulled my car into this parking area on Rue Front  and dallied enjoying the view. 

The Ottawa (Outaouais) River looking north

The Ottawa River (Outaouais) looking toward Calumet Island

There was a church across the street on Rue Front:

A Church in Campbell’s Bay – Rue Front Street


The Pontiac Archives, Shawville, Quebec

June 13, 2012

It was Tuesday, May 22, 2012 and this was the day I had looked forward to for a long time.  I have been wanting to  visit the Pontiac Archives in Shawville since I knew of their existence.  I was driving from Renfrew to Shawville via Portage Du Fort.  So I would be exploring the area on both sides of the Ottawa river and also learning about the treasures in this archive.

The Best Western was not offering a free breakfast like advertised on the website. I was a little unhappy about that for I had booked with them for this very reason?  So I went into Renfrew on O’Brien Road and came to the Flamingo Restaurant at about 8th.  They had an easy access and big parking lot.  Apparently they have not been rated well online, yet, I had a friendly waitress and a lovely breakfast that day.  I think I was amused by the name and the pink color of the building.  When I travel I like sit down restaurants where I am served or I can get my meal without too much of a hassle. 

Flamingo Restaurant, O’Brien Road

On the way up to Pembroke the day before, I had noticed Storyland Road and knew that was where I needed to turn to take the highway across the bridges to Portage Du Fort.  You can also go via Hwy 653 the Chenaux Road which Storyland meets up with.  When I did come to Hwy 653 I turned right and follow it to Hwy 301.

I had passed Storyland which was not yet opened for the season.  It is tucked into the forest on the left. It is a family theme park.  Here is there brochure:  

http://storyland.ca/photos/photo-archive/StorylandBrochure10.pdf 

There are some very nice views of the area from this road especially where you come to Riverside Road.  You can see across to the Quebec side.  Trying to find an elevated spot from which to view the Ottawa River is not an easy task.  If anyone has some suggestions that would be very nice for others. 

Looking east towards Quebec

The bridge to Portage Du Fort is very different from the one to Allumette Island.  The cars drive considerably slower and you get to enjoy the view.  You are driving across a dam or a series of dams and it gets a little tight in a few places for it is a two lane highway.   There are all these interesting green power structures in various configurations.  My husband who loves electricity would have been in heaven.  

Looking north toward the Ottawa

  

One of the dams across the Ottawa, Portage Du Fort

Once across these dams you come to Portage Du Fort.  You make your way passed the church and turn left onto Hwy 303 and head up past the St. James the Great Roman Catholic Cemetery.  It is  just as you climb a little hill and go almost around the corner and all of a sudden it is there so keep an eye out.

The Welcome Sign – Portage Du Fort

Portage Du Fort – A Church? on the Rue De L’Eglise N.

Here are some overview pictures of the cemetery:

St. James RC Cemetery? I hope?

More of the cemetery in Portage Du Fort

At first I thought the fields stretching out before me as I was driving along were lovely white flowers like clover, but when I looked closer I saw that they were hundreds of Dandelions gone to seed spreading out before me.  It was very pretty as long as you didn’t think about all those spores being introduced into the air.  My husband would have gone crazy! 

You travel along Hwy 303 till you come to Hwy 148 and turn right and Shawville is only about 2 kilometres to the south of this turn.  Here is a video by Duffy about a Trip to Shawville:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sxuBCkO6HM  It is very close to what I did up until he leaves Portage Du Fort.  There are some videos on YouTube about Shawville just make sure you choose Shawville, Quebec.  I found that accessing Google Images was a great way to get some pictures of an area and to orient myself before I went on this trip. 

I followed the lead of the car before and was soon on Rue Centre in Shawville.  It was not easy to spot the turn into the town of Shawville.  It was between some buildings in this shopping area along the highway. 

I found the Pontiac Archives in the Library building.  It was down from the main intersection on the south side of Rue Main in the library or more appropriately, bibliotheque.  I parked on the northern side of Rue Main and walked back to the archive.

Shawville Library, The Pontiac Archives are in this building in the basement

The Pontiac Archives is the repository for all things about Pontiac County, Quebec such as town records, genealogies, local history books, newspapers, maps, church and cemetery records, tax valuations back to 1857, and more. This is their website:  http://www.pontiacarchives.org/

This archive is cared for by a friendly group of volunteers: Elsie, Dorcas, Venetia, Margaret, Gwen and more.  They were very helpful and set about trying to find me information.  I gave them a booklet that was a condensed version of this blog about my McDonald family and the areas that were specific to Pontiac County and also Glengarry County where I think they came from.  It was enough to show where the family migrated to.  It will become part of their current collection.  Blogs are living breathing entities so more information will be added as time goes by but I think what I submitted to them will be good for quite a while and I did reference the blog url.

The main work area of the Pontiac Archives

Café 439 was across the street and it was delightful very nicely decorated. http://www.cafe349.com/en/home.html I had an egg salad sandwich and tea.  The waitresses would take orders in either English or French switching between the two languages with ease.  I live on the west coast of the USA so we do not hear French that often.  This was my first introduction to the real presence of the French language, besides the Quebec road signs.  I know… just indulge me please.  

Cafe 349

The rest of the afternoon I continued to study the Pontiac Archives holdings. Visitors were coming in and out throughout the day.  They do have a finding aid for their holdings that is placed on a small table in the middle of the main work room.  In the back is the microfilm and computer area in another small room.  They have a lunch room toward the front of the area.  So they are nicely set up.  The stairs are little steep but I think there is another access in the back of the area where the washrooms are located. 

More treasures of the Pontiac Archives in thru the door. That room has restrictions on access, just ask!

Venetia Crawford is a local historian, author and impersonator.  She is a volunteer at the archives.  She told me that she had tried view the remains of the Culbute Canal but the trail had lots of nettles and she decided that you would have to get a boat to go to the location of those parts that are still visiable.  My great-grandfather Archibald McDonell was the lockmaster for the Culbute Canal.  I have posted about his involvement with the Culbute Canal in the past on this blog.  This canal is in the channel between Allumette Island and Chichester Township (municipality).  It was abandoned in 1891 which was the last year that Archie had written he was lockmaster on the Canadian Census.  I was reading that there might have been a fire that caused some destruction in 1889. 

Venetia also pulled the municipal township maps which showed all the lots and number for Sheen, Chichester and Allumette.  This made it easy to identify where the lots for Archibald and John are located and hopefully more as I dig in deeper on the land records of the area.

I spent most of my time searching their files for genealogies and obituaries to see if I could find that one piece of information that would link my family to another and point back to Glengarry County.  I may not have been successful but I feel I learned a lot about what was available and what was not.  Of course, I have to review all my findings from this trip and you never know what I may have discovered. 

There had local histories and I studied the ones for Allumette Island and Sheen, mostly.  When they publish a book in this part of Quebec they have to write paragraphs or sections in French and then repeat them in English.  That was very helpful.  That is not always the case for some books are in French only. 

My day at the Pontiac Archives was coming to a close and I was ready to head back to Renfrew.  So I returned the way I came north on Hwy 148 to 303 and through Portage Du Fort.  I stopped at the park where there is a war memorial and a little lake.  There is a restaurant across the street if you are inclined. 

Portage Du Fort honors its military

A big beautiful house in Portage Du Fort

I decided to return to Renfrew.  I had discovered that I could exit into Renfrew by using Bruce Street which is north of the city and winds its way into town passing the St. Francis Xavier Cemetery where Father Joseph E. Et. Arthur Gravelle had been the priest for a number of years.  His fonds s are at the National Archives of Canada and here is a link to a finding aid: MG25-G 271, Finding Aid No. 1180.  He was an avid genealogist and kept records about the pioneers and families in the area of Renfrew and beyond, so you might want to check the contents at the link I provided. 

Time to get ready for the second day of research at the Pontiac Archives.

Portage Du Forts – Palais du Justice (City Hall)


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