Touring Glengarry: The Nor’Westers and Loyalist Museum

June 26, 2012

The Nor’Westers & Loyalist Museum

The Nor’Westers and Loyalist Museum is in Williamstown.  I visited this museum on Tuesday June 5, 2012.  I had emailed them to make an appointment and they were gracious enough to give me an open time frame for that afternoon.  Please visit their website and enjoy the pictures.  You cannot take photos. 

Here is their website: http://www.norwestersandloyalistmuseum.ca/NWLM/Welcome.html

I knew where they were in Williamstown because I went looking for them after my visit to the Glengarry Archives.  They are located on Hwy #17 which crosses Hwy #19.  You go west along John St. almost to Bethune St. and they are on the corner of John and Bethune. 

A Plaque about the Northwest Company

I parked the car and was walking around to the front when I found two individuals, a woman and a man.  I introduced myself and the woman recognized me and told me that the young man would be leading my tour.  I gave her a printout of the descendancy of my family since I really don’t know if they were Loyalists. 

The young man started the tour with the Loyalist history of the area.  It is on the first floor.  He told me that Sir John Johnson landed in Cornwall near the Civic Center on Water’s Street.  So that is why I have been trying to find that plaque and I did.  See my post “An Overview: Dundas, Stormont and the city of Cornwall, Ontario.

They had the most amazing map showing the lots and names along the St. Lawrence.  I recorded the information on my cellphone’s voice recorder:  Map dated 1786 created by a Patrick McNiff

This website has a listing of the names on that map. http://my.tbaytel.net/bmartin/eastern.htm  Apparently this is a very popular map.  

The United Empire Loyalists Association of Canada:  http://www.uelac.org/

The docent lead me up the stairs to the 2nd floor were he began to talk about the Nor’Westers or the North West Company.  So far I have avoided digging into the fur trade but I just might have to.  So this was a good way to give me a shove.  Here are some links for more information:

http://www.canadahistory.com/sections/eras/britishamerica/northwest.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_West_Company

The fur trade is not new to me.  I live in Washington State and it was a big part of our history.  Fort Vancouver is a living history museum and it is really very well done.  It makes you open your mind to a different way of life.  At this museum the amount of fur pelts was not as much as was presented at Fort Vancouver.  http://www.nps.gov/fova/index.htm 

My tour was complete and I found a book in their gift shop for $20.00:  Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, A History 1784 to 1945,  by John G. Harkness, K.G.  Yup, it will weigh a ton to take home but I am pleased.

I enjoyed my special tour very much and the docent did a great job.  Go visit it is worth it.

A full front view of the Museum


Touring Glengarry: Glengarry Archives & the Sir John Johnson House

June 26, 2012

Ever since my Aunt Miriam wrote in her notes that Archibald McDonell, my great-grandfather, might have come from Glengarry, Ontario I have been fascinated.  So I have tried to learn as much as I can about the history and the area of Glengarry.   The information below implies that he grew up in Glengarry…hmmm?

Archibald & Glengarry, Ontario

I begin my tour with the Glengarry Archives which is housed in the Sir John Johnson House in Williamstown in what was Charlottenburgh Township and is now part of South Glengarry.  I had emailed and made an appointment at 10 am on Monday, June 4, 2012.  They are not open very many hours so it is wise to contact them before you go for a visit.   Here is their official website:  http://www.glengarryarchives.ca/

I began my tour from Brookdale Avenue in Cornwall.  There is a roundabout and then you have to watch closely or you might be on your way to New York and cross that big bridge.  I did good for my 1st time and made my way down 2nd Ave E. to Boundary Road (Hwy 44). Crossing Boundary Road, I was officially in Glengarry.  I turned right and came to Hwy 2 and drove along that amazing section of highway.

I think I fell in love with Hwy #2 in this area east of Cornwall. Do you think this is what caught the fancy of our ancestors?  This section of Hwy #2 is right along the St. Lawrence River?

The St. Lawrence and Hwy #2

I drove through Glen Walter and turned left at Summerstown heading north on Hwy #27.  The weather was a little stormy.  I turned onto Gore Road and immediately encountered a gravel road.  There were houses along this road.  There were fields stretching to my right and it was so green.  I could barely keep my eyes on the road because it was lovely.  The sky was dark and threatening and it was pouring rain.  I wanted to stop but I had an appointment to get too. I turned north on Kraft Road and it too was gravel.  It took me to Hwy #19.  I went to the right and came to Williamstown.

Williamstown welcomes you!

The book by Dorothy Drumbrille “Up and Down the Glens” truly came to mind.  I wish I had more time to absorb her stories and understand them. I obtained my copy at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.  So far I have not found a copy online that you can read.  They are for sale at various online book websites.

Ms. Dumbrille wrote affectionately and romantically about Glengarry County in 1954.  Her book was charming and nostalgic.  As I drove through Williamstown I can understand now.  It is quiet, lazy, sweet and gentle. It is old and steeped in history.  I was charmed and delighted.

Looking southwest from the Sir John Johnson Manor

I made my way to the Glengarry Archives.  I followed the signs.  I turned onto Williams St. which lead me to the Sir John Johnston house. You enter from the rear of the house and drive around to a parking lot.  You could drive up to the front of house but something told me not too.

Sir John Johnson’s Home

It was about 10 minutes to 10 am so I just enjoyed the beautiful setting and read the presentation boards:

The plaque outside the Sir John Johnson House

Next to it was another presentation board with additional information:

A little more about Sir John Johnson

They also provided a map of the area explaining how it use to be (click the photo and it will enlarge, click your back button to return to this blog):

The area today!

At exactly 10 am a car drove up to the front of the house.  It was Penny.  She is the person who you email when you wish to contact the Glengarry Archives.

As usual when you first enter an archive it is a little disorienting.  I spent most of the time talking to Penny and explaining my family history.  I gave her a copy of my McDonald booklet.  At one point she consulted the Internet and found this blog.  I was touched.

For some reason when you tell a person that you are researching McDonell/MacDonald/Macdonnell etc. they laugh.  After awhile Penny started to shake her head at all the McDonell’s in my family line.  I was relieved that even she would find it all frustrating and confusing just like I did.  I usually get a knot in my stomach.  Well it was obvious that I had more work ahead of me to try to figure out about Archibald McDonell and his wife Mary McDonell (yes she was a McDonell too).  Mary’s parents Alexander John and Ellen (McPherson) McDonell.

I had left a seed and hopefully it will germinate and grown. I really didn’t expect them to give me a full family history.  It is not going to be easy to find that one piece of information that will connect my family.

Sometimes amazing things happen.  There was a map on the wall in their book area and I was coveting it.  Penny had found it at a real estate office and just pulled it off the wall and gave it too me.  WOW!  I love maps and this was wonderful because it would help me to tour Glengarry.  I have that map and will treasure it.  It reads:  Compliments of Royal LePage, M. Jean Cameron Real Estate Broker.  What a great idea, I never thought of a real estate office having maps.

I am grateful to Penny and Alicia for their interest and help and I thank them for their time.

I couldn’t believe that I had been there a full two hours but it was time to go.

What you see when you exit the Sir John Johnson Manor


Cornwall Community Museum!

June 25, 2012

The Cornwall Community Museum is located in Lamoureux Park in Cornwall, Ontario. From the online articles it looks like they have a lot planned for this summer. 

http://cornwallcommunitymuseum.weebly.com/

The volunteer at the Cornwall Public Library told me were it was located and she explained that it has the holdings of the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Genealogical society which was defunct.  It was disbanded and no longer operating in the area.  This is the 2nd Genealogical Society that has shut down, the other being the Glengarry Genealogical Society.   

Map of the park

This You Tube video is about the park:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sR-p8cDoq4  It was done in 2008 but it is very good.  The museum is featured about 4:09 minutes into the video.  Since I did not take any photos, why I don’t know, probably tired.  I found parking in the Park about York Street. 

I entered the museum, signed a register and maybe paid a fee, and was taken through the big door at the back and down some very steep and long stairs into the basement of the museum.  It was a big room with a large table in the middle.  The air in the room was cool and refreshing.  I pretty much sat in the chair provided and relaxed. 

A lady was working diligently and the man was reading.  He consulted with the lady at the computer that was in the room. He said to that it was an index. 

I gave him a copy of my McDonald booklet and he accepted it and said something like he was afraid it would get lost. That was not encouraging. 

I went over to the stacks and found an assortment of books, histories, booklets and more.  There were at least two section about 6 feet of bookcases on both side. I do not know if they have a finding aid for their collection.  That would be nice. 

My suggestion is if you are diligent and willing you might give it a try.  I would contact a Lily who is apparently the past president and suggested by the volunteer at the Cornwall Library.  She might be able to describe the contents of this archive.  I also have the name and information of the volunteer that was at the table.  Contact me and I will provide their emails.  I have not asked permission and think this is the best idea.  This archive looks like it is only open in the afternoon on Wednesdays. 

I had left my booklet so I was content.  I returned to the outside and it was very sunny, beautiful and warm.  Someone was having fun on the river.

Zoom Zoom


A Gem in the United Counties of S.D.& G: La Généalogie et archives SAINT-LAURENT Inc.

June 24, 2012

La Généalogie et archives SAINT-LAURENT was a great find in the Cornwall area.  Do you ever do a genealogical happy dance.  Well I did! 

Here is their website and do spend some time:  ttp://genealogieetarchivessaintlaurent.ca/

They are located at 124 Anthony Street in Cornwall.  You need to be either on 2nd St. E. or Hwy 2 to find Anthony St. Let’s take it from 2nd St. E.  Go east from the Cornwall Public Library about 16 blocks to get to Anthony Street.  Turn right and go south on Anthony Street past 1st St. E., Walton St. and almost to Easton Ave. 

This genealogical society is in housed in a school building and it is big. 

The Genealogical society – The Sign out front of the building they are located in

You enter these doors go straight ahead to the hallway and and turn left. 

Through these doors to the genealogical society

Continue down the hall and turn right:

Enter the Saint-Laurent genealogical society

I almost didn’t go and visit.  The minute I walked into the room I knew I had arrived in genealogical heaven! A very large room to the right and another to the left filled with records!

More Records to the left!

Me among their collection.  Notice how happy I am!

Me and their collection

Rick greeted me and pulled some items from the shelf.  Thank you Rick.

Lillian arrived and he introduced me.  Lillian gave me a tour explaining what they had in their collection and took this photograph of me.  Thank you Lillian.   Note that the Ontario holdings are right behind me on the bookshelves to the left in the picture above.  The rest I believe is Quebec and maybe a few other locations.

Lillian said they focused on French Canadian research but accepted anything about the local area.  I gave them a copy of my McDonald booklet based on this blog and they were very excited.  It does cover Pontiac Co., Quebec.

We took a little time to see if we could find the marriage of my great-uncle John McDonnald to Julia LaCour in Pontiac County, Quebec.  I was explaining the problem we were having with too many names for Julia. I described that the name “Record/Ricard” was carved on her tombstone.  My cousin and I knew her maiden name as LaCour.  It was even more complicated by a 4th potential maiden name of Tebeau.  Lillian said the name LaCour in French.  The sound she made in French makes it very possible that the name was misinterpreted by the stone cutter or mispronounced.  She studied these big blue marriage books for LaCour and they were only showing LeCour.  No luck for John and Julia which is what I have been getting in my searches.  It was worth a try.

Unfortunately my stay was not long enough.  I could see that I needed more time to dig into their holdings.  People were milling about and coming and going.  It was a lively place.  One man and woman were having quite the discussion in  French across from me.   It was great!

Please be advised that the Glengarry Genealogical Society and the Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry Genealogical Societies are no longer operating in the area.  They are a things of the past.  This is not a good situation.  However,  this society is specifically geared toward genealogical research. There is hope.

ATTENTION:  If you have family whether English or French Canadian who settled in this eastern area of Ontario or Vaudrieull and Soulange, then I ask that you consider giving a copy of your family history to this genealogical society? To be sure they will accept it, call or email first and ask.  I did and I am glad I stopped by for a visit.  

Here is their address again: La Généalogie et archives SAINT-LAURENT: 124 Anthony St., Cornwall, Ontario K6H 5K1 Phone: 613-932-1320 and their email: saintlaurent@cogeco.net

I would like to thank them for their time, interest and help.  Frankly, this was one of only a few organizations that gave me a tour and made me feel welcome on my whole trip to Ontario and Quebec.  GOOD JOB!


The Cornwall Public Library’s Genealogical & History Collection

June 24, 2012

Cornwall, Ontario, is home to the Cornwall Public Library and the Cornwall Room.  The library is on the northwest corner of 2nd St. and Sydney St.  It is a very large building and not to hard to spot.  If you enter from the front you have to walk this very long hallway to get to the main part of the library. 

Cornwall Public Library in Cornwall, Ontario

You can turn right onto to Sydney St. from 2nd St. and left into the parking area behind the library.  You will have to pay for parking but it is reasonable.  Make sure you have quarters.  Follow the signs and road over to the parking lot which is to the west as you enter with a little manuevering through the parking lot below.  There are one way signs and parking restrictions, so watch out.

The backside of the Cornwall Public Library

The library entrance is through the doors in the back of the building to the left of the loading area.   Go through the door and you come to a hallway that enters another hallway and then you turn to your right to enter the library.  The References desks are straight ahead. 

I stopped there and asked where they kept their genealogical collection and was lead to an area to the far side of the main floor.  There were study desks and tables along that wall.  She took me to the stacks where some books for genealogy were shelved.  It is good to know that some items are outside the Cornwall Room.

I inquired about a history room and was told it was only open certain hours: Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 2 to 4 pm. Here is the library phone number if you have questions (613) 932-4796. 

It was Tuesday, June 5th!  So this meant I would have to rearrange my schedule and come back the next day.  The librarian was kind and wrote down the hours for me which I have shared with you.  These hours are not on the website. 

The CPL has a new website at:  http://library.cornwall.on.ca/  It is not working very well today.  To get to the CPL Archive area click on eResources and you will see Local Interest.  The only tab working at the moment is the SDG Online and the ones on top.  The CPL Archives and Surname List are giving me the page of death.  I actually had trouble with the older website when I first went to their webpage.  I have to admit the blog about Freddy the Bear is a riot and good for a laugh  http://cornwallyac.blogspot.ca/

I returned the next day, Wednesday and was early enough that I grabbed a book from the stacks in the Reference area shown to me the day before.  In the picture below they are the first two sections of the first bookcase.  There were some cemetery books, histories and more.

The Reference Section of the Cornwall Library, some possible genealogical titles

The book I removed was: “Bowering’s Guide to Eastern Ontario, A Cultural and Historical Companion.”  Whoa! This is a tour book and historical guide.  I made myself comfortable in some cushy chairs right in front of the Cornwall Room doors and began to review it.

The contents are:  The Perch Route, The Fur Trade Route, Glengarry Higlands Roads, Touring Cornwall, The Loyalist Front Route, The Lost Villages Adventure, the Apple-Cheddar Route, Armchair Traveling, Local Historical and Heritage Groups, Travel and Tourist Information Centers and an Index of Place Names.  By Quarry Press and published in 1992.  Certainly a lot closer to the present time than the “Up and Down the Glens” by Dorothy Dumbrille done in 1954.  I enjoyed her book and have a copy which I found at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.  I was overjoyed with this find and am in the process of ordering a copy to review in depth.  Too bad I didn’t have it before I visited Glengarry.  

The Cornwall Room, Cornwall Public Library

The Cornwall Room is at the front of the library in the corner.  You enter the library go up to the Reference desk turn left and head to the windows and you will find the Cornwall Room on the right in the corner.   

Much to my relief the volunteer arrived at exactly 2 pm and opened the doors.  I waited a few minutes to give her some time to settled in.  She was very nice and friendly.  I gave her a copy of my McDonald booklet to be added to the collection.   

Apparently you can enter the room, settle in at a table and pull books off the stacks and not have to wait for the attendant.  This I did happily.  The volunteer really should reshelve the books because one cemetery book was mislocated and it took her awhile to find it. 

She gave me a brochure: “Genealogy and Local History Material available at The Cornwall Public Library.  This brochure is a little out of date but it does have good information.

The brochure describes the collection in this manner:

  • CPL Computer Catalogue – all holdings are listed.
  • Cornwall Room:  has books, photographs, papers of a local or regional content and that require special protection. Access is restricted and requires the presences of an informed attendant during limited hours.
  • General Reference Materials are located in the Reference Collection area of the library and are open to use during library hours.
  • Microfilm and fiche readers and printers are availabe and it is best to make an appointment to use.  The limit is three hours per day per patron. 

Microfilm:

  • Census records from 1851 to 1901 for Stormont, Dundas and Glengary.
  • Paris registers from the S.D.&G region with differing dates.
  • Newspapers – Standard-Freeholder from 1883 to present and some of the Cornwall Observer and Reporter for dates about 1876. 

Microfiche:

  • Land Records from the Ontario Archives by family name and location of property dating from the mid 1700′s to the late 1800′s.

Books

  • Numerous holdings of compiled genealogies
  • Historical writings for S.D. & G. 
  • City statistics, documents etc. for municipal departments
  • Histories of local businesses, churches and organizations
  • City directories, telephone books and voter’s lists.

Vertical Files: 

  • Newspaper clippings about Cornwall and other areas of an historical nature.

Cemetery Listings/Obituaries

  • Recorded transcriptions of cemeteries in S.D. & G.
  • Copies of Obituary notices from local newspapers various dates

Local History Name Index

  • A partially completed indexing of un-indexed holdings in their collection.  Specifically related to the Local History and Cornwall Room Collections.  Listings are by family name with call number, page and book.

Example from one of my search: 

The Macdonell family in Canada – author Morice, A.G., Location: Cornwall Room, Publisher: Canadian Historical Review, Pub. Date 1929, Call Number LHCR929.2 MOR.

Then a list of names with pages:  G.M. Adam 18, Donald Aenas 27, etc.

Historical Maps

  • Several maps from the area from the late 1700′s into the late 1800′s.  Many show land owners and or occupants.

As you can see it is not real detailed yet it is a start.  The Stormont GenWeb site has this to say about the holdings at the Cornwall Public Library:  http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~onstormo/info-local-cornwallplib.html  Very close to the same information. 

So this means a thorough search of the CPU’s online catalogue on the subjects of your interest and with attention to the location of the item in the library.  This way you know what you can access at regular library hours and what you will have to plan to review when the Cornwall Room is open. 

I live in the Pacific Northwest of the USA so calling International long distance is something I shy away from.  I would probably default to their email: generalmail@library.cornwall.on.ca  write in the subject line:  Inquiry from CPL website.  You might have to try several times to get a response.  They never answered my inquiry. 

I have not given specific source references, like books and cemetery compilations because  that could get really complicated.  There are many for Glengarry as well as Stormont and Dundas, not to mention Prescott and Russell. 

You can start with these two website to get an idea of what is published and then study library and archive websites to see what they hold:

The City of Cornwall website is amazing:  http://www.cornwall.ca/en/webadmin/publiclibrary.asp

While I was studying the Cornwall Room collection a lady entered who seemed very knowledgeable about the area.  She and the volunteer seems to know each other and were discussing a cemetery reading project.  It sounded wonderful what was happening in identifying graves at a local church.  I was to learn that she was from the Saint Laurent Genealogical Society (it really should be written in French) located in Cornwall.  I had visited this society several days before and will write about them in the next post. 

This conversation between the two ladies tells me that a big missing part of my visit to Glengarry is the personal connections with the people who know the history and genealogy of the area.  There is hope, for I did meet some really nice, helpful people.  I just needed more time.


Lanark County: Smith Falls, Ontario

June 17, 2012

Leaving Ottawa, I took Elgin St. to Hwy 417 and was soon on my way west.  Do watch out for one way streets it can be a little confusing or signs that say “No Left.”

This time I was heading into the interior of Ontario.  Hwy 7 took me to Carleton Place where I stopped briefly to gas up the car and get my bearings.  I then turned down Hwy 15 (Dakers Rd) and made my way to Smith Falls.  I arrived very early and found the Comfort Inn on Centre Street right on the Rideau Canal and they kindly obliged me with a room at that early hour. 

Comfort Inn & the Rideau Canal

The room was a luxury from the Econo Lodge in Ottawa.  It had a table with chairs, a desk, nice comfy bed, coffee maker and it was roomy.  I didn’t feel the urge to start making home repairs.  It also had a lanai which was great, so I was able to go outside and gaze upon the Rideau Canal. 

Yup, right on the Rideau Canal

My goal was the Lanark County Genealogical Society which is housed in the Heritage House Museum.  They didn’t open till 10:30 am so I had plenty of time to relax and settle in.  http://www.smithsfalls.ca/museums.cfm

Heritage House Museum

To get to the museum you go southeast down Hwy 43 (main road in Smith Falls) and turn right at Old Slys Road, cross the bridge and turn into the parking lot which is a little beyond the museum and passed a group of trees  It is not the grassy area where the wooden fence is in front of the museum.  Trust me!

There was something going on.  Two ladies were moving chairs and things around over by the gazebo to the left.  I was to learn they were having a volunteer appreciation day barbecue.  So there was lots of activity.

There is a small  fee which was either $2 or $5 and they showed me where the genealogical collection was located.  Of course it was down a very steep staircase but you can go around to the left of the museum and come in the door at the basement. 

I set to work trying to stay out-of-the-way of their preparations.  A little later the Librarian, Shirley Somerville appeared and shook my hand.  She started pulling items from the stacks. 

The Lanark County Genealogical Society website:  http://www.globalgenealogy.com/LCGS/  I think they have a wonderful website so please check it out.  They have links and information about the Archives Lanark, a separate entity which I did not really have a reason to visit at this time since I did not know for sure if my family had been there or settled there? http://www.globalgenealogy.com/archiveslanark/  The website explains how to find them and more.

Don’t forget about the Smith Falls Public Library which also has some information at this link: http://www.smithsfallslibrary.ca/genealogy.html

I wanted to learn more about Alexander McDonell who settled at Sand Point in Renfrew County and new the Laird of McNab.  He was supposed to have settled in Perth first, then went to Glengarry and then up to Sand Point.  I did find a book:  “Renfrew County People and Places” by a Carol Bennet and D.W. McCuaig.  It has a whole section on McNab township which I will need to review.  You never know what you will find at each archive or library. 

The stacks of the Lanark County Genealogical Society, Smith Falls

This trip had been very difficult to plan and prepare for and I didn’t get to really learning about some areas of Ontario like Lanark County and the Scottish settlers who migrated there.  It was settled very early and I need to do more studying.  So I mostly collected interesting tidbits that had anything to do with McDonalds, McPhersons and Camerons.  I left a copy of my McDonald booklet with Shirley. 

Volunteer Appreciation Barbecue – Smith Falls Museum

The guests had arrived and the program had begun so Shirley headed out to get a seat and some food.  I probably could have asked if I could join them by offering some money but I decided I needed to get some rest and relax for the next day was going to be extremely busy and I had a lot of territory to cover. 

As I was working in my room, I started to hear rumblings.  I looked out and storm clouds were approaching.  It was not long after that the rain started coming down.  Yes, it was a downpour.  I had to close the lanai door because the rain was bouncing everywhere and threatening to come into the room.  You can see from this picture that it had rained, note the rooftop of the restaurant.

After the storm

Dinner time came and I kept it simple and headed for the restaurant next to the Comfort Inn.  I was able to get a booth by the window so I could look out on the Rideau Canal and enjoy the view.  My dinner was delicious a lovely salmon served by a pleasant tall and thin waiter.  It was the best dinner my whole trip!  The name of the restaurant Chuckles Jack.  I am not kidding!  http://www.chucklesjack.com/


Ottawa: Libraries and Archives Canada!

June 16, 2012

After arguing with myself over this, I took a stand and said “DO IT.”  Just go and visit and see what the Libraries and Archives Canada has for you. If you don’t you will regret it.  So I poured over the website and catalogue and finding aids. 

Monday, May 28, 2012 was to be my first visit to Libraries and Archives Canada (LAC).  I was both excited and intimated. 

Library and Archives Building

These types of archives  are what I call “white glove” and have a great deal of the material carefully stored and it has to be retrieved.  This can be difficult when you have limited time.  Fortunately, you can order items in advance at LAC and I took advantage of that obtaining my authorization number via their online link. 

Just about the time I was preparing for this trip to Ontario and Quebec, the news hit that changes were coming to this great archive.  So it was twice as important that I did go and visit. 

The changes are not pretty and it is looking like this once great institution is being stripped. I have never seen anything like it.  Yes, there are threats of budget cuts here in the States, but not like what is happening at the LAC. 

Article:  “The Wrecking of Canada’s Library and Archives:”  http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2012/06/07/LibraryCuts/

Save Library and Archives Canada:  http://www.savelibraryarchives.ca/

Canadian Council of Archives has a handout that I picked up asking for support to save LAC.  Here is a link to their Immediate Action which includes signing a petition:  http://www.cdncouncilarchives.ca/action2012.html  I signed the petition.  Won’t you take a minute to do the same?

ALERT!! LAC has a new website?

Much to my confusion it appears that they have a new website at LAC? Try this:  http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/Pages/home.aspx 

Their blog which I found very helpful is also going through changes: http://thediscoverblog.com/

My Visit:  I arrived via taxi.  The traffic was thick so it took awhile and was a bit expensive.  I could have walked but I really wanted to arrive with some energy to spare, so I decided to walk back at my leisure and do some sightseeing. 

The Entrance to Library and Archives on Wellington St.

There is a drop off area at the LAC so that makes it easy to get to the front door.  There was a sign about parking for the LAC, another change. There was no one at the large reception desk but I noticed that everyone was gathering at the Security desk to the left.  I joined the line up. When it became my turn they took my driver’s license and went back to the main desk and found my paperwork.  I signed this and that and received a locker key and a plastic bag. They weren’t kidding about this ugly plastic bag.  It made a lot of noise.  I was told I had to fill out a photograph release form at some point. 

I found the locker rooms to the left, down the hall and then right again.  I removed what I needed and put my stuff into the locker and carefully put my locker key away. I saw that others were being checked by one of the Security guards and got “busted” for putting items in their plastic bag that they were not supposed to.  I was approved!  I have experienced this type of restriction on what you can carry before and know to read the rules before I arrive.  It helps not to drag what you don’t need into the archive.  Sometimes the lockers are small and you can’t get your big briefcase into them.  So I use a smaller lighter weight bag that has a shoulder strap.  These lockers were a good size.

The elevators were nearby and easy to access.  The lobby area of the 3rd floor has a desk with an attendant who seems puzzled when you ask a question.  There where two large rooms on either end and I decided to try the Genealogy Room first and starting pulling information sheets from the racks and orienting myself. 

Ah HA! stacks…books to access from a shelf!  So I was happy to see that they did have books available for browsing.  I did locate the Glengarry section.  The bookcases circled the room with a section of several aisles with more books toward the back.  There were omputers stations in the middle, plenty of tables and light. 

Okay now that my breathing was returning to normal, I headed to the other side of the building and entered the big room where many people were seated at many long tables looking at documents from carts loaded to the brim. To the right and behind was a room with two desks, two individuals behind two big glass doors.  People were lined up to talk to these persons? To the left was a big bookcase with microfilm and other items piled with alphabet letters.  I found the M’s and there were my films.  There was no explanation about the Butler Papers I had ordered?  There was the Cornwall and Glengarry newspapers but the Pembroke films were missing?

I asked the group of individuals lined up to ask their questions of the two behind the glass doors,  “Where it the microfilm room?  They all pointed to the other end of the big room where there was a door.  So I walked down to the end and through a small room filled with microfilm filing cabinets noting that this was self-serve and into another room where all the microfilm readers were located. 

My goal had been to utilize their wonderful newspaper collection and search the Pembroke,  Cornwall and Glengarry newspapers to see if I could not find evidence of an article about my great-grandfather Archibald McDonell’s visit to Glengarry before he migrated to Minnesota about 1901-1902 and to see if any obituary notice was placed for him in 1912 and a marriage notice about his son John (Jack) to Sarah.  It looked like I could have pulled the newspaper films myself .  It still was nice to have them ready.  

They had sent me a follow-up email about my advanced order but somehow I missed it. When I was filling it out on-line the website glitched and it dumped part of my order.  I only discovered this when I printed it out.  I suggest if that happens make up another advanced order.   It was okay it was a newspaper that I was not sure would be of use  from VanKleek. 

The microfilm room had dim lighting so that was good.  The readers were set up in rows and a variety of them available to use.  I did have a bit of trouble with the readers, one was broken, another was the button to move the film was not working to well.  So I had to move around a little to find one that would function.  My quest was a longshot since Archie had not been living in Glengarry for 40 years. 

I had used the Lower and Upper Canadian Land Records index and found one possibility regarding a group petition covering Chichester, Sheen and Waltham in 1848.  You can search by location at the index pages.  I found the film and the petition and photographed it after signing the form I mentioned.  Apparently Lower Canada was big on group petitions.  This means they could be under another name? The chance of finding Archie’s land petition was growing less likely by the minute.  Sigh!

I found a bookcase in the middle of the big room on the wall and set down the microfilm that I had used. The big room was filled now with lots of people with cameras on tripods and large carts filled with boxes.  It was really busy. I would have taken photographs of the layout inside of LAC but they had cameras everywhere and I was concerned I would get into trouble. I tried Google images but it was not getting me the inside pictures that I wanted.

I returned to the Genealogy Room and had a chat with one of the librarians.  The Upper Canadian Land Petitions cut off at 1867 and the Lower Canadian land petitions cut off at 1841.  I had searched the indexes online e but was not having any luck finding Archibald McDonell my great-grandfather.  I was looking for his petition for the Land Grants he had received in 1868 and 1883.  Her response was that there had been a fire in Hull in 1900 and a lot of the Quebec’s record had been lost to that and more.  I did find the 1848 group petition and she agreed that the Lower Canada Land Petitions were usually a group effort.  She said that a rich individual would put up the money and they would sell the land to the settlers from the actual location.  There are three groupings of Quebec Land Records:  Seignorial, Township, Cadastral.  The township version started about 1840-41 in Quebec.  Apparently you have to know which time frame your ancestor was involved with to access the records. 

I offered my McDonald booklet but was told I needed to give them two.  One for the stacks and the other for the storage.  This meant that if I only gave them one it would not be easily accessed and that was all I had with me for I was traveling light and had brought only what I needed.  I have read that they are no longer accepting family histories.  I will let you decide? 

The line to the librarians behind the glass door was empty so I waited till I was beckoned in.  I asked about the  Butler papers that were missing from my order (Smy, William – The Butler Papers Amicus No. 32561962).  She did a search on her computer and found that they were at the Brock University in St. Catherine’s.  Apparently I missed that small piece of information.  St. Catherine’s is near Niagara.  

Why was I wanting to look at these Butler papers, well he was the man who was involved with the Wyoming Massacre that took place during the Revolution in Pennsylvania at Wilkes-Barre.  He held my 4th great-grandfather Solomon Goss prisoner in Forty-Fort and I was curious if I could find out more information.  Online they say his papers were probably destroyed in the War of 1812.  Still I am ever hopeful. Yeah, I am a dreamer. 

On my way to the Ottawa Public Library on Saturday, I passed by the Valiants Memorial near the War Memorial about Wellington and Elgin Streets and there was the many busts of military people who Canada holds in esteem. 

I found him easily, Lt. Colonel John Butler.  Yes, there is a bust of this man.  I could not help myself.  I had to have a picture taken with me in it.  We had a very nice chat. 

Me and Lt. Colonel John Butler of Butler’s Rangers, Ottawa

I have written about this encounter with John Butler on my blog: Solomon Goss of Fearing Twp. in Ohio.  It fits there more appropriately.  The interesting part is that Butler’s Rangers has a regiment headed by a McDonald.  Is it possible, my Dad’s old New England roots were tangling with his Canadian McDonald cousins?  I can only speculate because I have yet to figure out Archibald and Mary McDonell’s parents and their origins.  Yup, I do have fun!


Ottawa: The Ottawa Public Library, Main Branch

June 16, 2012

One advantage of the majority of libraries is that you can access the records, books and films easily.  There are usually no restrictions except that certain books and items stay in the library so you do have to visit. 

The Ottawa Public Library has the Ottawa Room on the 3rd floor of the library and 180 degree turn from the elevators.  This means it is hidden in the wall and you might not see it till you get near the Reference desks.

The collection is heavily geared toward Ottawa and covers government records, history, families histories, maps and books by Ottawa poets.  The Genealogy Collection is described here at this link and does extend to the surrounding counties including Glengarry:

http://biblioottawalibrary.ca/en/main/interest/learn/genealogy/resources/opl-collections.

Comment:  A libraries website can be hard to get around on, so be patient and search for the genealogy section, special collections and maybe it is under history.  Keep at it till you find what you need.  Also check out the links section that can be very useful.

The main library is located at 120 Metcalfe in Ottawa.  The hours are 10-9 Monday-Tuesday 10-9, Weds-Friday 10-5 and  Saturday is 10-12, 2-5.  So watch out they do close up on Saturday from 12 to 2 pm.   Closed Sunday.

Another reason to check out the local library is you might be able to access it on the weekend while other archives are closed.  Always check the websites or call to verify.

I walked to the library down Rideau St. going west past the business like the Rideau Bakery which I never made it to but they doing a brisk business, LCBO, Loblaws (groceries), Metro (groceries), Hudson’s Bay and various pubs and restaurants like the Highlander and an interesting used bookstore.  Yes, I did some sight-seeing along the way.

Ottawa’s Wellington Street

Fortunately the big marathon that was scheduled for this weekend did not close up the streets I needed to access and Wellington was free as was the downtown area.  I did find a website devoted to this marathon with route maps.  Later in the day there were people with the numbers on their persons walking around.  The whole weekend was devoted to this marathon.  So this was the reason I had trouble finding a room in Ottawa and why I was on the 2nd floor. http://www.runottawa.ca/races/register 

Make a note:  Check for major charity walks and sports events before going on a trip.  Try the city website for these events, not just restaurants and archive hours.

Canada’s Parliament Buildings

Wellington Avenue, Ottawa

I turned down Metcalfe and walked a couple of blocks and finally spied a building that looked very much like a library and sure enough it was the Ottawa Library. 

The Ottawa Public Library – Main Branch

I entered the library and it was vaguely familiar, reminded me of the temporary location of the Seattle Public when they were building the new library.  I take my time when I first enter a library to get oriented as to where things are and then I headed up to the 3rd floor and was not finding the Ottawa Room.  The reason is that it is a room off the main area tucked into the side of the building or at least it looks like it.  When I walked to the Reference Desk I spotted my destination. 

The Ottawa Room at the Main Branch

The librarian who cares for the Ottawa Room is very nice, friendly and helpful.  I left another McDonald booklet.  When I hand over my booklet I do give an explanation.  I assume they will forget but at least it gives a link to this blog. 

They had a copy of the Dictionary of Glengarry Biography by Royce MacGillivray so I took some time to look through it.  It is sponsored by the Glengarry Historical Society in Dunvegan.  It is not a cheap book but I have a signed copy by the author.  http://www.glengarrypioneermuseum.ca/gpm/  I will share my visit to this archive later in the posts. http://www.glengarryhistoricalsociety.com/GHS/Publications.html They are running out of copies and I believe I have one of four left?  By the way it is big and heavy. 

This is a PDF of the table of contents:  http://glengarryhistoricalsociety.com/GHS/Publications_files/DGB%20prelims2.pdf 

I am afraid that I only scratched the surface of the holdings at the Ottawa Room.  My focus was on Glengarry County, Ontario.  Here is a summary of the items I studied: 

1.  Surrogate Court Index of Ontario, Canada 1859-1900 Volume 7, Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry Counties.

2.  They also had the Upper Canada Land Records Volumes 1, 2, 3 and 4 and maybe more.

3.  They had the Canadian Catholic Church Directory 2011.  A nice reference to be aware of it you have Roman Catholic ancestors. 

4.  The Bytown Packet and the Ottawa Citizen (Newspaper Abstracts) 1846-1879, Three Volumes – Birth, Marriage and Death Notices.  I firmly believe that our ancestors moved around a lot so keep and open mind and check the biggest city close by for information. 

5.  Father John’s Diary  if Deaths 1819-1866 and the 1839 Census.  I had seen a version of this but decided to revisit it.

6.  The Diary of Deaths of Rev. John MacDonald (R.C.) 1838 to 1866 and more.  I have seen this but it is good to see that they also have a copy.

7.  French-Canadian Sources – A Guide for Genealogists, was recommended by a Althea Douglas MA. CG(C) a respected genealogist of Canada. She has written several books on how to research in various areas of Canada.  “Finding Your Ancestors in English Quebec,” Heritage Productsions Book HC02.

8.  The card catalog in the Ottawa Room, Vital Records Index, Ottawa Journal (Dec 21, 1885 to Jan 10, 1922) Marriages:  M-Me.  Was not going back far enough but worth noting that they have this resource.

9.  Petitions, Land Grants & Land Petitions for the Counties of Glengarry and Stormont.  I had seen this source before. 

10.  St. Alexander Parish – Lochiel Book 1: 1863-1901, Book 2 1901-1932.  Don’t forget to check the front part of the book for clues and history and information provided by the author.  Duncan Darby MacDonald died a while back but his books and research are still a source.

11.  Soldiers of the King, The Upper Canadian Militia 1812-1815.  This was recommended to me.

12. An Index of Land Claim Certificates of Upper Canada Militiamen who served in the War of 1812-1814

13.  Loyalist Lineages of Canada 1783-1983. I believe this is in several volumes.

14.  St. Raphael’s The First 50 years 1804-1854

15.  Comte De Stormont – Marriages.  I know they have more of these compilations.

So you can see that they do have a nice collection of a variety of references.  You can consult the catalog online.  I  did a study of Alex Frazer and Darby Duncan MacDonald titles and compared it to the library in Cornwall, Ontario.  If you are familiar with these two individuals work on church records and cemeteries in the Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry, Prescott and other areas then you will be happy to know that the Ottawa Library has a nice collection of their works. 

If they close up the Ottawa Room while you are there, grab some titles off the shelf to look at. The librarian will make a list of what you have removed.  There are tables outside the room and more books to look at in that area as well.  There are smaller bookcases filled with more references as well as tall stacks to search out. surrounding the tables in the center.  If you need something from the Ottawa Room, inquire at the Reference desk which is on the other side of the large pillar you see in the picture.   

The study area outside the Ottawa Room at the Main Library

The taller stacks outside the Ottawa Room


Arnprior, Renfrew County, Ontario: Archives

June 15, 2012

It was Friday, May 25, 2012 and my time in Renfrew County was coming to an end.  My last stop was Arnprior to visit the Arnprior & McNab/Braeside Archives.  There was a lot of construction around Arnprior and they had closed off Division Street and so I came into the downtown area via Daniels Street.

Arnprior’s Welcome

Driving down from Pembroke had not taken that long but I needed some food.  I learned that some Dairy Queens are just ice cream only with maybe a hot dog to offer.  If they are a restaurant they will say so on their sign.  It did take me across the bridge so I could see the Madawaska River a tributary of the Ottawa.

Arnprior’s downtown – Very charming!

Once my tummy was happy, I headed over to the museum which is a very big brick building with a tower.  You cannot miss it.  It is situated beside the Arnprior Public Library and shares a parking lot. 

The Clock and Museum of Arnprior

It took me a few minutes to figure out where the Arnprior Archives were located.  Yes, you guessed it.  In the basement of the public library. 

The Sign tells me were to go to find the Archives

Here is their website:  http://www.adarchives.org/ 

The Arnprior Public library is very nice and the lower flower was not what you would normally expect. 

Arnprior Public Library

The bottom floor was set up like a lounge and there was a Keira Coffee Machine waiting to be used.  There were stacks in the back area of books. A librarian sat at a desk apparently there to help.

The archives itself has two small rooms off this lounge area on the lower floor.  It was a little cramped.  I did manage to find a seat at a table.  They had the Index to the Upper Canadian Land Books so I reviewed them. These books are probably everywhere in Canada and consist of many volumes.  I was looking at volumes 5 and 6.

The archive has inherited the Renfrew County land records http://www.adarchives.org/apolrod.htm and I realized I would need a lot number in order to access them. 

The Index of Probated Wills in Renfrew County 1878 to 1969 was of interest.  Based on what I have learned our ancestors were very much on the move and had interests in one area and lived in another and even died like in Ottawa and Montreal and are buried there, so keep and open mind. 

They had cemetery records and I was very interested in the Albert Street Cemetery publication. 

I collected as much information as possible on Alexander MacDonnell the lumberman who settled at Sand Point.  I am very curious about his family origins and interested in his siblings. I have read there were six brothers and was told by someone else there might be eleven!  Several of his brothers received large land grants in the area, as well as on Calumet and Allumette Islands.  http://www.bytown.net/sandpoint.htm He first settled in Perth and then moved to Glengarry and then up to Sand Point.  He is said to have encouraged family to come and help him in his businesses.  Three of the brothers of this Alexander are said to have stayed in Glengarry and have descendants. 

I would like to thank the volunteers at this archive.  They were helpful, friendly and took good care of me.  I left a copy of my booklet based on this McDonald family blog for their library holdings. 

Next stop the Albert Street Cemetery and a close encounter with a ground-hog or was it a beaver?


Pembroke, Ontario: The Upper Ottawa Valley Genealogical Group & Library

June 15, 2012

It was Thursday, May 24, 2012 and the Upper Ottawa Valley Genealogical Library was open from 12-4 pm (also on Tuesdays 12-4 and the 3rd Saturday of the month).  I had been looking forward to visiting this archive having been a member of the online list for many years.  It would be a special day because I would be meeting a McDonald cousin who happened to be the librarian at the UOVGG library. 

There sign that is out in the back when open!

The UOVGG is located on the southwest corner of Dickson and Maple Street in Pembroke.  They are housed in the basement of the Masonic Lodge which a big building that dominates the corner.  You have to go into the parking lot and look at the back of the building to see the double doors to enter.

The entrance doors to UOVGG

 

The big Masonic Lodge

I went down some stairs and through some doors into this hallway and then I turned right into a large room with tables and was greeted by my cousin Diane Burnett, Librarian.  She said “You must be Bonnie.”  I said “Yes, I am.”

The main research area of the UOVGG

It was not to long before we were talking away and chatting about research.  She is the one who encouraged me to dig further into a John McDonell in Sheen. This is her family.  She had found this very blog and made a comment and that is the beginning of our getting to know each other. 

As a result of her comment on my blog, I did a census study using John and Julia’s daughter Teresa who married a Hugh Downey and went to Saskatchewan.  I traced back and ended up with John’s family.  John is the brother to my Archibald McDonald.  See my posted March 31, 2012 “A Discovery: Archie’s brother John McDonell, living next door in Sheen?”  I had visited the grave of John and Julia McDonell at the St. Paul the Hermit Cemetery in Sheen and posted about it just recently.  Diane is very generous and has given me a print out of her research which will be devoured when I get the chance.

The Upper Ottawa Valley Genealogical Group is awesome.  I was very happy there and realized I probably should have planned several days digging into their holdings but I would content myself with the hours available.  My the time I left I would have a better idea of what they had in their holdings, the knowledge of the volunteers and the visual experience. 

Here is their website which has a lot of information and is very helpful: http://www.uovgg.ca/

One of the volunteers is working diligently on rescuing the McDonald Burying Ground which is between Renfrew town and Cobden from Hwy 17.  It is to the west up the hill on Sutherland Road.  There are only a few stones left in this cemetery.  This website has photographs of the few remaining stones. 

http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~murrayp/renfrew/westmeat/mcdonal/index.htm 

At the UOVGG there is a bulletin board as you enter the main work area where they have placed articles and information and further research regarding the McDonald’s who are buried there.  This volunteer who is quite the character and was teasing me about east and west, has just received a grant that will allow him to place a commemorative monument at the site of this burying-ground and more.  I was interested in this Scottish McDonald family but learned they were Presbyterian and not Roman Catholic.  Which is a very important aspect of the research in this area. It will probably be a good six months before the dedication ceremony but I am sure you can contact UOVGG for further information. 

REQUEST:  If you have family that came from Renfrew and Pontiac County, please consider taking a few minutes to submit your family history to the Upper Ottawa Valley Genealogical Society either by mail or via email as an attachment.  Their holdings emphasize Renfrew County but they do have holdings for Pontiac County and other areas as well.  I submitted my family history booklet of the McDonald’s that is a condensed version of this blog, so why don’t you do the same?  

I was asking Diane one of my many questions.  “Why doesn’t Chichester have a history or book?”  She replied because it didn’t have a church.” 

Sheen as the “Crosses and Shamrocks” two-volume booklets about the St. Paul the Hermit and the St. Theresa of the Little Flower (Fort William) churches along with an appendix of family charts of the families of Sheen. 

The Appendix part of this two-volume publication

Allumette Island has the two volumes of the Family and Descendants of L’Isle-aux-Allumettes of which I copied some of the information.  

Book 2 of the Allumette publication

Well, my reply was “Humph!” 

Yes, the wheels are turning in my head.  That has already began to change because of this very blog you are reading.  The townships of Allumette, Chichester and Sheen are featured in these posts. 

I am now officially a member of UOVGG and took home my membership card.  I received a very fat packet of information.  They provided a description of where things are in the library: #1 Quebec Holdings, #2 Family Histories and Biographies, #3 Miscellaneous, #4 How to books, #5 BMD’s, #6 Cemeteries for Renfrew Co., #7 Oversized Books, #8 Census Transcriptions, #9 Renfrew Co. Towns, Townships, Villages, #10-11 Exchange Newsletters, #12 British Isles, #13-15 Ontario Cemetery Transcriptions, #16 Maps, #17 Current Exchange Letters, #18 Pedigree Charts, #19 Computer and databases, #20 & #23 Microfilms and fiche.  Please consult their website for more details.

I am very thankful for all the help and the friendly reception form the volunteers.  I believe I amused them with my USA perspective. HA!

It was quite a busy and crazy four hours at the UOVGG library.  People were coming and going.  I was asking Diane tons of questions and she was trying to find me answers.  As usual time flew by and it was all over before it began.  I am glad I visited.


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