A Life Begins in International Falls!

March 6, 2010

Birth Record Jacket


 Keith Barclay John McDonald, was born in International Falls, Koochiching County, Minnesota on March 13, 1910. On occasion his birthday would fall on Friday and his children would tease him about Friday the 13th. He took it in stride.   

It was his custom to always take a day off from work on his birthday.  I thought it was a great idea.  So in honor of this tradition, I took a day off work for my birthday.  He believed in celebrating the events in his life especially birthdays.    

His birth certificate was dated — issued April 3, 1941.  I found it among his papers.  Many people at this time sought out their birth records so they could apply for Social Security.  It was not always an easy task to obtain a birth record.  His older sister Vivian had letters and affidavits to determine her birthdate and was eventually successful.  

Here is the front jacket and nothing is written on it.  Inside it reads as follows:  

  • For his name “—— McDonald (unnamed in return)” 
  • Birthdate is Mar. 13, 1910. 
  • He is listed as male, 7th in order of birth, 7th child of the mother. 
  • Father is given as Ronald Sanfield McDonald, age 43, W., birthplace Canada, occupation – Business
  • Mother is Grace A. Barclay age 27, W., born Minnesota, occupation – Housewife. 
  • Physician was Mary C. Ghostley residing in International Falls
  • Date of the report was March 13, 1910.
  • The Registrar was a G. F. Swinnerton, International Falls, Date of filing March 20, 1910.  It was signed the State of Minnesota, County of Koochiching, in District Court – Fifteenth Judicial District. 
  • J. H. Drummond was the Clerk of the District Court etc. etc.etc.  

This is what I viewed personally as written in the birth registers at the Koochiching County Courthouse in International Falls when I visited there in 2000.  I know this unnamed baby to be my father, Keith.  

Koochiching County Courthouse


 Wikipedia gives some very interesting information on Friday the 13th and its impact on our culture.  I was just teasing him about his birthday being on Friday, but maybe I shouldn’t have???  Oh dear did I just admit to being the culprit?

Ronald and Grace’s Children

February 27, 2010

Evergreen Cemetery


Keith was the youngest son of Ronald and Grace McDonald.  There were eight children born to Ronald and Grace.  Keith was the 7th child.  

The first child born did not survive and even the sex and name are unknown.  It is buried in an unmarked grave at the Evergreen Cemetery  in Brainerd, Crow Wing Co., Minnesota under the name “R.S McDonald’s child.” The baby shares the space with it’s grandfather George A. Barclay, grandmother Ammarilla Spracklin and their son George Alexander, brother to Grace. I discovered this child when I obtained burial records from the Evergreen Cemetery.  They have a directory of the dead which was not online years ago.  The photo above is the cemetery and specifically the Barclay grave area.      

McDonald Children about 1915


According to the writing on the back of this photo of the McDonald children, Keith is responsible for using a pin to poke out the eyes on his face! In order from left to right:  Keith, Jean, Eddie, Miriam, Gordon and Vivian. The birth order is reversed in this photo.  Vivian was the oldest and Keith the youngest.  

The Children of Grace and Ronald S. McDonald:    

1. Infant McDonald born and died on the same day of 29 August 1899.   

2. Leola Vivian.  Vivian was born on 12 May, 1902 in Grand Rapids, Itasca Co., Minnesota.   

3. Gordy was their first-born son.  His formal name was Ronald Gordon and he is sometimes confused with his father. Gordon was born on the 3 of May, 1904 also in Grand Rapids, Itasca Co., Minnesota.   

Sometime after Gordy’s birth, Ronald and Grace moved to International Falls, Minnesota.   I have not been able to pin down the actual location where they lived in Grand Rapids, Itasca Co., Minnesota. Grace and Ronald do appear in the 1905 Minnesota State Census in International Falls, so the move was made by then.  Itasca was a very large county and Koochiching was carved out of it about 1906.     

 McDonald Children born in International Falls:     

 4. Miriam Audrey followed on 15 January, 1906 and was born in International Falls, Koochiching County, Minnesota.  Miriam was the one who planted the seed that started me on the family genealogy.   

 5. Eddie was next. Her formal name was Edna Lorraine and she was born 28 March 1907. 

 6. Laurie Jean was born 30 June,1908.     

 7. Next was Keith Barclay John the youngest and 2nd son born 13 March, 1910.  This man is the one that this blog is dedicated to. 

  8. The last child was Grace Elizabeth born Dec 1911 who died the day before her mother and is buried with her in the cemetery in International Falls, Koochiching Co., Minnesota. 

Death Certificate Grace Elizabeth


The sources are a variety of documents like newspaper announcements, letters, a baby book, my Aunt Miriam’s notes, death certificates for some of them, on-line death indexes, etc.


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