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?


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: 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: Angus McDonell

January 29, 2011

Keith’s Uncle Angus appears in the baptismal records of the St. Alphonse Catholic Church.  Angus is under the name “Agnes,” as written by the parish priest. 

StAlphonse1864Agnes

Source:  St. Alphonse Church Records, Film#1029798.  These records are also at Ancestry.com under the Quebec Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), Chapeau, St. Alphonse, 1857 to 1876. 

Angus was born the 6th of August 1864 in Chichester, Pontiac Co., Quebec to Archibald and Mary McDonald.  Angus survived to live to the age of 66 years old. He married and had several children with descendants still living. 

Angus was somewhat of a mystery in family lore and in some ways still is, but his story is an interesting one.  He and his family will be featured in more detail in later posts.

You will not find Angus in the McDonell/McDonald family picture taken in Bemidji, Minnesota in the early 1900′s.   That photo was featured in the post dated March 20, 2010 and under “Angus McDonald” in the categories.

Another interesting fact about this baptismal record is that the father Archie is listed as Patrick Archibald McDonell.  Now I know where my friend found that first name.


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


Archie & Mary’s Children: John McDonald

January 8, 2011
After their marriage, Archibald and Mary McDonell proceeded to raise a family.  Their first child appears to be John McDonell born 10 December 1861 and baptized on 12 December 1861.

Source:  Baptism, Marriage and Burial Index of the St. Alphonsus Church, 1846-1920, 4 microfilms, Chapeau, Pontiac Co., Quebec. FHL#1029798, B101 John McDonell, baptismal record. Parents Archibald and Mary McDonell.  Sponsored by John Kennedy and Ann Doyle.   

John McDonell Baptism 1861

Apparently John did not survive because he does not appear with the family in the 1871 Canadian Census for Chichester which will be featured in a future post.  

A careful study of the St. Alphonsus Church graveyard records as compiled by Elaine Brown in her book on that cemetery in March 2000 does not reveal he was laid to rest in that cemetery.  You can order her book at the link below.

Source:  St. Alponsus of the Ligouri Chapeau, Allumette Island, Pontiac Co., Quebec, Cemetery Inscriptions and Burials, Compiled and Published by Elaine Brown of Kingston, Ontario. 

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

The study of the St. Alphonsus records was conducted back in about 2002 and at that time you used the Family History Library films which happened to be on permanent loan at a FHC near the writer of this blog.  As of now they are online at Ancestry.com under the “Quebec Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621 to 1967.” 

It is recommended that you study both the online search engine provided by Ancestry and then obtain the films and study them to be sure you do not miss anything.  On the right of this blog are Categories.  Click on the St. Alphonsus Catholic Church, for more information.


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