Keith’s grandparents, Archibald McDonell and Mary McDonell probably met in the Chichester area of Quebec in Pontiac County. This town is across the Ottawa River in Quebec and north of Allumette Island.
On April 9, 1861 Mary and Archibald were married at the St. Alphonsus Catholic Church in Chapeau. Their marriage record is found in the records of that church. Information on the films for these church records is found at the Family History Library. I featured them in my post dated March 23, 2010 or find the category to the right under “St. Alphonsus Catholic Church.”
As you can see by this marriage record both Archibald and Mary were “McDonells.” This brings forward the question: Were they cousins? I do not know for sure. There were many “McDonells” who settled in Canada. It was spelled in many different ways: McDonell, McDonell, McDonald, MacDonald and older versions were Macdonell. The Catholic priests of the St. Alphonsus church would spell it McDonell and McDonnell etc.
Here is the transcription of this document, as best I can make out:
“St. Alphonse Allumette Island 9 April 1861 after the banns of marriage have beene once published at the [prone] for mass in this mission between Archibald McDonell of this mission son of age of John McDonell and of Sara McDonell on the one part and Mary McDonell of this mission daughter of age of Alexander John McDonell and Ellen McPherson on the other part – a dispensation of two of the banns of marriage have been granted by us in virtue of a power accorded to us by his Lordship the Right Revd Doctor [Guignon] Bishop of Bytown and wherein no impediment have been discovered be the undersigned Priest of this mission have received their mutual consent to marriage and have giving them the mutual benediction at Saint Alphonse Allumette Island on this date aforesaids and on the presence of John McDonell and Rachael McDonell who have not signed.” [ ]Lynch, Priest.
The witnesses are Rachel and we know that name from the 1861 census as a possible sibling of Mary’s. The other witness is John McDonell and I believe he is Mary’s other sibling but maybe even Archie’s sibling? For now I will place John with Mary’s family.
I became curious as to the name of the Right Rev’d and found an “Archdiocese of Ottawa” website that has the history of the archdiocese at this link: http://www.catholic-hierarchy.org/diocese/dotta.html I cannot find any name at this website that clarifies the name written in the marriage record for the Right Doctor _____ Bishop of Bytown. So it must be a mispelling?
This marriage record tells me the names of the parents of Archibald and Mary. Archibald’s parents are named as John and Sara McDonell, while Mary’s parents are given as Alexander John McDonell and Ellen McPherson.
You may be aware or not but “Bytown” is the old name for the city of Ottawa. This is important when doing searches in the Canadian Census for the earlier years.
Here is an interesting website “Bytown or Bust:” http://www.bytown.net/
An there is also a museum at this link about Bytown: http://www.bytownmuseum.com/EN/main.html (this site can be read in French).
This Bytown chronology looks interesting: http://www.bytown.net/chronologicalbytown.htm
And of course Wikipedia has something to say: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bytown