Mary McDonell, Archie’s Future Bride – 1861!

Mary McDonell was living with her family in the township of Chichester in 1861 before her marriage to Archibald McDonell.

I was curious when the 1861 Canadian Census was enumerated and this explanation was given by

“In Canada East and West the census recorded the names of every person whose abode in the house on the night of Sunday, January the 13th, 1861. This included both residents and transient passengers. Individuals who were absent the night of the 13th were to be enumerated in the place in which they were usually resident.”

Source:  1861 Canada East Census, Chichester, Pontiac Co., Quebec, Dist. 415 through 430E, FH Microfilm #0517406, Image 127,  Ancestry has cleaner copies than the ones on the Family History film which were dark and difficult to read.

Line 36 Chichester Twp. Rachel McDonell, born L.C., Catholic, age 23, female. Line 37 Alex Jno McDonell, Farmer, born U.C., Catholic, age 66 male; line 38 Mary McDonell born U.C., Catholic, age 25, female; Line 39, Duncan McDonell, Laborer, born L.C., Catholic, age 19, male; Line 40, Finlay McDonell born L.C., Catholic, age 16, male.

I believe this to be Keith’s grandmother Mary McDonell in bold letters.  The age given is a little older than my documentation on Mary but the names of her father and siblings are the same as indicated on the charts Keith’s Aunt Nellie (sister to Ronald his father) created.  I will share those charts in future posts.  The older man Alex Jno. McDonell, age 66, is very likely Mary’s father and Archibald’s future father-in-law. 

If I calculate correctly Alex Jno. McDonell was born in 1795 in Upper Canada.  We may have found Keith’s great grandfather on his grandmother’s side. This will have an interesting impact on Keith’s sister Miriam’s family notes. 

If you look closely you see that one of the siblings Rachel is born L.C. age 23 and other siblings are also L.C. (Quebec), but Mary is U.C. (Ontario) and age 25 and so is Alex Jn.  This indicates the family moved about 1836, but from where and where is the mother and wife of Alex Jno. There is no mention of her in this census.

About BJ MacDonald

Interested in travel, really into genealogy and researching my family history, classic novels and movies, fantasy and science fiction, photography, history and more... Here is a tip. Make sure you are commenting on the blog you were visiting and the post you were interested in. My blogs are listed by hovering over my pictures and clicking. Clicking one of them will take you back to the correct blog. You can try me here:
This entry was posted in Alexander John McDonell and wife Ellen McPherson - Mary's family, ARCHIE & MARY MCDONELL's FAMILY, CANADA, Chichester, Duncan & Elizabeth (Sauve) McDonell, Finlay McDonell, MCDONALD/MACDONALD etc., Pontiac County, Quebec, Rachel McDonell and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Mary McDonell, Archie’s Future Bride – 1861!

  1. Linda says:

    Rachel and Mary were sisters. Their brother was Angus McDonell who was born in 1829, married Janet (Jenette) McDonald in 1851 and was killed by a bull on the farm in 1866. According to our records their father was not Alex John McDonald but Angus (and?) Jeanette McDonell. Thanks to your records I was able to give the year Rachel and Mary were born. As for the lack of the wife’s name for Alex John McDonald our records show it was Ellen McPherson and she passed away July 10, 1855. This explains why she was not recorded in the 1861 census. Alex’s only daughter, Janet was already married in 1851 and the girls Rachel and Mary were possibly cooking and cleaning at the residence while the younger boys Duncan and Findlay worked on the farm. According to our records Alex J. McDonald and his wife, Ellen had seven children, six sons and one daughter. My great grandparents were Daniel James Kennedy and Jane Wilhelmina McDonell.

    My great great great grandparents were Alex John McDonald and Ellen McPherson. The variation on the name spellings is very confusing which is how I found my way to your blog. Thank you for your information and patient research. My Dad was finally able to find out what became of his Uncle Archie.


    • BJ MacDonald says:

      Linda: I am aware that some sources like Duncan Darby MacDonald’s chart have this relationship but after studying all the records and pouring over them I feel that it it might not be correct? My cousin J. Gallagher had this relationship of the Angus and Janet but, I am disputing it based on my Aunt Nellie’s chart. If you have a source for Ellen’s death I would like to know what that is. I am guessing her death. That makes sense that she died before. I have tried to find her burial and Alexander’s as well. If you have that information, please share. I really want documentation or sources and I will take chart’s. Let me contact you via email and we can discuss. Have you read my Alexander & Ellen Lineage vs. the Angus and Janet Lineage, post dated Nov 6, 2014. You can go to the top of the blog or side panel and find my pages that are table of contents for posts I have written on various surnames and topics. Blogs are not easy to get around in.


      • Linda says:

        I agree with you Bonnie. Rachel and Mary were both daughters of Alex John McDonald (McDonnell) and Ellen McPherson. As for my source, it is only a chart my father handed me and it was the work of a cousin who received his information from an aunt (Montgomery) still living on Allumette Island with her sister. Apparently she has loads of information.

        As for Duncan Darby MacDonald’s chart, I couldn’t verify the data when cross referencing it with Elaine Brown’s book, “St. Alphonsus of Ligouri Chapeau, Allumette Island . . . Cemetery Inscriptions and Burial Records.”

        Now to why I think Ellen McPherson died young. The date of her marriage with Alexander John McDonnell is July 10, 1855. (This date came from my father’s chart.) It hardly makes sense given that their children were all born between 1825-1847. Nevertheless, on the “assumption” that she did die young I scoured the burial records of St. Alphonsus and found not an Ellen but a Helene McPherson who died at forty-five years of age, April 30, 1850. A French speaking person could easily mistake the name Ellen for the French name, Helene. Alex John McDonnell, her husband was born about 1795-87 so her birth in the year 1805 sounds plausible. Furthermore, in the church records this Alex McDonnell seems to be recorded several times as John McDonnell which leads one to ask if he was called by his second name, John, and not the first name, Alex. There are so many McDonnell’s called Alex I was wondering if the Scots traditionally gave this name as a first name but used the middle name. French Canadians had a tradition of christening their sons all Joseph but used their second names to distinguish them. An American customs guard had a car load of my cousins at the border and he couldn’t believe the seven of them were all called Joseph.

        As for J. Gallagher, your cousin we had a wonderful visit with him and his wife last summer. He is our cousin too. We all seem to be scratching our heads over the same conundrums.


      • BJ MacDonald says:

        Linda: In the front of Duncan Darby’s books he says that one should contact if they find errors etc. He died several years ago. I tried to talk with him via email back in 2000 or about then and he just growled at me. Apparently he was a crusty guy. HA! Anyway I found Chart #13 which I will get you a copy of when a visitor to this blog helped me out. You just might have something here with the Helene McPherson, I will have to check it out. She died before 1861 because it has Alexander John McDonell in 1861 listed as a widow. He is Alexander John on my Aunt Nellie’s charts which I shared on the blog. You can search for her and they will come up. Alexander and Ellen married in 1821 and I have a marriage record that has a nellie McPherson but I think it is write and I wrote about that on the blog. 1855 is a mistake. They mess up his name quite a lot. My family used their nicknames alot which is confusing or their middle name. So you know J. Gallagher that is good hopefully he has shared his stories with you. We had a nice dinner in Ottawa.


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