Glengarry in Ontario, Canada – Origins of Archibald McDonell?

July 8, 2011

Keith’s sister Miriam writes that Archibald went back to his birth location before he migrated to Minnesota from Canada in 1901.  This information has been shared before but it is worth repeating here:

Archibald & Glengarry, Ontario

Unfortunately, Glengarry, Ontario changed in size over the years so Archibald’s birth location could be very difficult to pin down.  His death certificate from Minnesota didn’t reveal any names for his parents.  No obituary was found in the International Falls newspaper at his death in 1912. 

To find a John and Sara McDonell in the Glengarry area of Ontario or for that matter a Roy Macdonell,  is like finding a needle in a haystack because of all the John McDonell/Macdonell/McDonald etc. spellings.

Keith’s sister Miriam was guessing about our MacDonell heritage.  She did do some research and here are some of her thoughts as she tried to understand the Scottish clan system:

Re: MacDonell

Miriam writes more on the Clan System:

The Clan System and more...

Miriam references Prebble.  This is a book by John Prebble titled “The Highland Clearances,” published by Penquin Books in 1963 and again in 1969.  Her niece found copies in a Scottish store in Annapolis, Maryland on a little road trip years ago. They also had Prebble’s “Glencoe” published first in 1966 and again in 1969. 

The Michael Fullar book was a little harder to come by but a copy was secured as well.  It is really called:  “Your Scottish Clan Heritage.” This large book was published in 1973.  It is almost like a coffee table book with big pages and wonderful photographs and maps. 

Miriam didn’t stop there and continues with yet more Notes:

Notes - The First Use of MacDonell...

Again she refers back to Michael Fullar’s book and to John Prebble’s “The Highland Clearances.”  She even tries to identify Scottish words and their meanings.

Miriam did her best and for that the family is grateful.  The origins of Archibald McDonell are still unknown but then genealogical research is never done. 

There were many forces that sent the people of Scotland to North America and beyond.  Since Miriam did her research back in the 1970′s and 1980′s more books have been written on this subject of the Highland Clearances and immigration of the Scots to Canada and for that matter to the Colonies and later the United States.  It is a big subject and would take years to study.   

Here are a few titles that might be of value in learning about the settlement of Canada by the Scots:

“A History of Glengarry,” by Royce MacGillivray and Ewan Ross, Mika Publishing Co., Belleville, Ontario 1979.

“The People of Glengarry, Highlanders in Transition, 1745-1820,” by Marianne McLean, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1991.

“A Dance Called America, The Scottish Highlands the United States and Canada,” by James Hunter, Mainstream Publishing, 1994

“The Highland Scots of North Carolina, 1732-1776, by Duane Meyer, University of North Carolina, 1957 and again in 1961. 

I have found the books by Lucille Campey to be very informative.  Here are a few of her book titles:

“The Scottish Pioneers of Upper Canada 1785-1855, Glengarry & Beyond,” Lucille H. Campey, Natural Heritage Books, 2005

“Fast Sailing and Copper-Bottomed Boats, Aberdeen Sailing Ships and the Emigrant Scots They Carried to Canada 1774-1853, Lucille H. Campey, Natural Heritage Books, 2002

“An Unstoppable Force, The Scottish Exodus to Canada,” Lucille H. Campey, Natural Heritage Books, 2008. 

Ms. Campey has a website:  http://www.scotstocanada.com/ She also has her books listed in more detail at her website.  She has added some lists of ships that came to Canada. 

Miriam did not mention another event and that was the subject of Loyalists.  That is a whole other topic.  Just be advised that a great many Scots who lived in the Colonies were loyalists and ended up in Canada after the American Revolution.  They came from North Carolina, New York and other locations and settled in places like New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island and of course Glengarry in Ontario, Canada.

“Research Guide to Loyalist Ancestors, A Directory to Archives, Manuscripts, Published and Electronic Sources, by Paul J. Bunnell, F.A.C.G., U.E., Heritage Books, 2006.  Paul is a frequent vendor at major conferences like NGS, FGS and others.  Very nice man easy to talk to. 

Here are a couple of genealogical research strategy books for Canada:

“Finding Your Canadian Ancestors, A Beginner’s Guide,” by Sherry Irvine and Dave Obee.  Ancestry Publishing 2007.  I attended a lecture by Dave at a local genealogical society conference and Sherry is well known in APG which I am a member of.  Here is his website:  http://www.bunnellgenealogybooks.citymaker.com/page/page/994036.htm

“In Search of Your Canadian Roots, Tracing Your Family Tree in Canada, by Angus Baxter, 3rd Edition, Genealogical Publishing Co., 1999.  This is getting a little old but it was a classic in its time. Since 1999 the Internet has opened up a lot in Canadian research. 

Hint:  Click on Miriam’s notes above and they will get bigger, remember to use the back button to return to this post.


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