Quebec Wanderings: The Quebec Family History Society

October 2, 2014

The Comfort Inn in Pointe-Claire or maybe it is Lake Heights, is right on a busy street called Blvd. St. Jean and there are many shops like Target and I think I see an IGA.  My window on the 2nd floor looked out on the street so I could watch the cars stream by and the night come on.  I was surprised it was as busy as it was for a Sunday.

My goal on Monday, September 22 was the Quebec Family History Society:  http://www.qfhs.ca/   I hope that the barricade is not going to cause me problems in getting to this society which opens at 10 am.

I headed south on Blvd. St. Jean till I got to Lakeview Blvd. and turned right.  I then turned right onto Waverly Rd. and left onto Salisbury Rd. and it brought me to Avenue Cartier.  It was a great relief to see that I had options for parking in the area.  It was limited by 2 hours but that was okay with me.  I could move the car to another part of the street if I needed.  I found a place on the street going north so I was on the same side of the road as the Society.

My preference is for the streets and country roads but you can take Hwy 40 and or Hwy 20 to Pointe-Claire and the QFHS.  It is closer to Hwy 20.  QFHS  is located on the western side of the Montreal Airport.

I have known about the Quebec Family History Society for years because I purchased from them two cemetery books for Pontiac County years ago.  They also had a table at the Ontario Genealogical Society Conference in Kingston which I had stopped by to visit.

I entered the building and found the door to the archive open so I went on in and a man was seated at a table.  I inquired if they were open because I was about 25 minutes early.  He said yes.  So I went back out to retrieve my computer bag and research.  It was within minutes another volunteer arrived. I signed in and paid my $10.00 research fee as a non-member.

Quebec Family History Society entrance

Quebec Family History Society entrance

Out front of the QFHS

Out front of the QFHS

QFHS Treasures

QFHS Treasures only one room of several…

I was greeted by Jacques and Barbara.  Jacques gave me some tips on the Drouin Collection and made copies of some possible church registers I could study for more clues from a big thick Drouin Book he had.

Source:  Inventaire des 2365 microfilms du Fonds Drouin, tome II, (Inventaire des registres d’estat civil catholiques et autres denomiations) Province de Quebec, partie descriptive (A-M) par Jean-Pierre-Yves Pepin, Les Editions historiques et genealogiques Pepin/Drouin collection Notre Patrimonie national no. 2.  (I did not add the accents). 

Barbara help orient me and I asked her about how the settlers came into Canada.  The St. Lawrence was open from Quebec City to Montreal so they could disembark at both locations. However, after Montreal there were rapids.  She mentioned Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue and that there were locks there. I had just driven through there the day before, darn!  The immigrants would have to take a smaller boat to use these locks to go up the Ottawa River.

http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/lhn-nhs/qc/annedebellevue/index.aspx

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue_Canal

To go further up the St. Lawrence River here is a link that talks about the system today:

http://www.greatlakes-seaway.com/en/seaway/locks/

I can see that this has opened up a whole new world of interesting research for me.  This PDF looks promising.  I need to get back further and into time periods to understand how they used the St. Lawrence to get to other parts of Canada.

http://www.lre.usace.army.mil/Portals/69/docs/GreatLakesInfo/docs/DischargeMeasurement/BlueBook/BlueBook-AppendixB/AppendixB-Part6-StLawrenceRiver.pdf

The reason I am interested in how the immigrants/settlers traveled in from 1780 to 1860 into Canada is because my ancestors must have taken these routes at some time or other.  I will investigate this topic and probably write about it for it is of great interest to me.

Meanwhile I had to focus and get some research done.  I asked Barbara about land records and she encouraged me to go to the Archives of Quebec (ANQ) in Montreal and that they would help. Her encouragement made me feel a whole lot better about visiting that archive.

Their Cemetery Stack

Their Cemetery Stack

The next was to search their cemetery records for Pontiac County, Quebec.  I wanted to look at Starks Corner’s cemeteries. They had two big large binders to go through.  I studied the Starks Corner Community Cemetery in Clarendon Twp., Pontiac Co., Quebec and I did not find any McD’s at all. Barbara was looking through another binder of Pontiac Cemeteries and found a lone monument article.

Source:  St.-Alexandre Des Cheanux Roman Catholic Cemetery (also known as Ste-Melanie de Clarendon Roman Catholic Cemetery) Lot 24 Range 1, Clarendon Twp. recorded 1992.

In 1840 Alexander McDonell donated an eight acre plot of land for a Roman Catholic Chapel and Cemetery to be built, the nearest being…. Calumet Island.  It became the burial place of Alexander McDonell 1842 and his wife Janet 1847.  Their son Ranald drowned and is buried there with them 1854 at age 68 yrs.”

There will be more on this burial in a future post.  I can’t believe I drove right by there at least four times on my trip to the area in 2012.  I was going into Shawville from Renfrew (town) to the Pontiac Archives for several days.  I have no memory of this memorial or cemetery, however, I was targeting the upper areas of the Pontiac and Renfrew County and not really taking a serious look at the lower townships like Clarendon.  Hmmm….I think I need to rethink that strategy.  This is very important news, of course at that time I probably would not have recognized who these people were. This has everything to do with Mr. MacDonald’s Charts in his Part IV book, the charts #13.

They are oriented towards the English-speaking settlers in Quebec but they are expanding their holdings to include the French Canadian research. They go beyond this to the British Isles as well.  You can read their About page for more information.

Barbara pulled as much of the Pontiac County items they had and I did a quick review. Again there holdings were heavy in cemeteries of the county with two big binders to study. I encourage anyone who has Pontiac County, Quebec roots to donate your family tree and your books to them. Here is their website link again, and I have found it to be easy to get around and find things:

http://www.qfhs.ca/about.php

I was having too much fun at the Quebec Family History Society but it was time to make the journey into Montreal.  I am very glad I visited this society.  I gave them a McDonald Booklet based on this blog.  Jacques saw it and mentioned that he had been to my website several times.  I was flattered.

A big thanks to Barbara and Jacques.  They were both very kind and it is a great place to do research. My four hours was not enough time. Sigh!


Archie and Mary McDonell say goodbye to Chichester and head for Bemidji!

January 5, 2012

Archie was about 63 years old in 1901 and Mary, his wife, was about 61.   The story in my father Keith’s family, as told by his sister Miriam, is the sons of Archie and Mary decided it was time for their parents to retire from the farm.  As I have discussed in a past post Archie’s position as lock master had ended in the middle 1890’s.  Remember Ronald and Alex had already made the move to Minnesota and their older brother Angus he was gone, although I believe he came back and his daughter Helena Mary was born there 19 August 1897?  John (Jack) was quoted in later years as saying to his daughter Mary:  ” We (Sarah and Jack) didn’t like all of the king and queen stuff still going on in Canada.”   So the decision to immigrate to Minnesota was made for whatever reason or reasons. 

When did the move take place?

In the 1901 Canadian census for Chichester, Pontiac County, Quebec we find Mary and Archie still living in the area along with their son John (Jack).  

McDonald, Archie, farmer, 63 years old. Birth date is October [5,] 1837. Place of birth is Canada, which is written over with Quebec. Racial origin is given as Scottish, nationality is Canadian. Religion is Catholic. He can read, write and speaks English. His mother tongue is English. McDonald, Mary, birth date is March 13 , 1840, 60 years old. McDonald, John birth date is June 16, 1872, he is 28 years old. 

Source:  1901 Canadian Census, Chichester, Pontiac Co., Quebec CC Film #T6538, 1800 Pontiac, pg. 116. 

Note:  The birth year of John is questionable in this census.  His baptismal record has 3 June 1869 as indicated in the St. Alphonsus Church Records. 

The other interesting fact is that Ellen (Nellie) their daughter is not in this census?  We see that Alexander is also missing along with Ronald and Angus.  I cannot find Ellen, Ronald nor Angus in either the Canadian or U.S. Census in 1901 or 1900.  I have looked everywhere and have given it several tries based on what I know of their lives at the time. 

John (Jack stayed) was highly motivated to stay a little longer because he was about to get married to Sarah Maria Burns.  The 1901 Canadian census was supposed to be enumerated on March 31, 1901 and completed within a month.  Their marriage took place in August of 1901.  I wonder if this event is in the newspaper there?

pg. 356 #6916 McDonald, John Archibald (Archibald McDonald & Mary McDonald) 8/20/1901 to Sarah Burns (Geo.Burns & Cath. McMahon).

Source:  Marriage Due Comte De Pontiac 1836 -1973, pg. 356 #6916, Pub. No. 26, Editions Bergerson & Fils Engr., Montreal, P.Q. FHL#971.4215.K29.  Other versions are on CD-Rom

Or the Drouin Collection at Ancestry.com

Source:  Ancestry.com, Quebec Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection) 1621-1967 database, Chapeau, Parish, St. Alphonse, Pontiac County, Quebec.  Registres Photographies  Aug Greffe De Campbell’s Bay, No. 17,  20 August 1901.

What this means is the family didn’t leave Chichester, Pontiac County, Quebec until after this marriage took place.  Again, I refer you to Keith’s sister Miriam’s notes about Archibald and Mary and the family which I have shared before in a past post on Archibald.  (Click on the image to make it bigger and remember to hit the back button to return to this post. 

Miriam's Notes on Archie and Mary

 
Archibald, as the notes reads, went to Glengarry, Ontario where he grew up to visit after 40 years and had forgotten his Gaelic.  He was the youngest of seven children – five boys and two girls.  Miriam goes onto to say that the sons made the decision to move their parents. 
 
In preparation for the arrival of Archibald and Mary in Bemidji, their son Ronald (R.S.) and Grace, his wife, (Keith’s parents and my grandparents) bought a house right next to Lake Bemidji.  I had the good fortune to view and tour the house that my family lived in when I visited Bemidji in 2001.  The owner at that time, a very nice lady kindly gave me a tour.  They were renovating the home at the time.  The house is north of the Lake Watch Bed and Breakfast (may not be there anymore) where I stayed in 2000 when we passed through the first time.  The address is 1101 Lakeside Blvd., Bemidji, Beltrami Co., Minnesota.   I do have a photo of the house and remember the inside well.  It was several stories with an enclosed porch and had these old steep stairs to the upper floor. 
 
Ronald and Grace purchased the house from a Wm. Dibble on 29 January 1901.  I found this deed at the Beltrami County Courthouse in Bemidji.  They would not let me see the originals, so I looked at the film using the machine they had in the Registrar of Deeds office.  I will go into further detail on this deed in another post.   Since I cannot find my grandparents in the 1900 U.S. census, this deed is significant in that is places my grandparents, Ronald and Grace in Bemidji in the early part of the 1900’s.

Beltrami Courthouse in Bemidji


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