The Author of this Blog

The Mayflower House in Plymouth, MA

The Mayflower House in Plymouth, MA

This blog covers my father Keith’s life and his ancestors on the MacDonald/McDonald side.

He, Keith, was your average kinda guy, a little hokey because he grew up at the tail end of Vaudeville through the 1920’s, 1930’s and 1940’s and he liked silly stuff.  He loved airplanes and worked all his life among them. Anything with an airplane engine in it was on his list of things to go see or do, any engine was a good thing.  He was also a very curious fellow and I think I got that from him.

One day he mentioned to me that there was Mayflower in his family line and he was correct.  His sister Miriam also mentioned it in her notes that she sent to me about the family.  I started studying the family seriously back in 1998 and it has exploded ever since.  In the Overview (January 2010) post published on this blog, I gave a listing of the things we will cover in this blog.

Here is a list of surnames that are part of Keith and Marjorie’s ancestry, my parents.

  • MacDonald/McDonald/McDonell/Macdonell/Macdonnell/Mcdonnald
  • Barclay, Barkley, Barckley, Bartley
  • Boardman, Bordman
  • Brown
  • Ward
  • Spracklin, Spracklen and all other strange spellings
  • Goss – They liked to do a long “S” that looks like and “f.”
  • Keller
  • Delano
  • Cooley
  • Wolcott
  • Hayward
  • Bliss
  • Vassall
  • Hopkins
  • Prescott
  • White
  • Andrews
  • Scott
  • Kendall
  • Richardson – this might not be correct

Locations include Washington State, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Iowa, England, Ireland, Scotland and beyond.

I have several blogs because the family history is so big, but they all relate to each other in some way. Besides this blog that is about my Dad’s McDonald/MacDonald side there are the following. You can access them from the links on the right side of this blog.

This blog below covers the lives of his grandparents on his maternal side:

The Barclays of Pine River, The Lives of George and Amarilla Barclay

The blog below goes back into the older history of my dad’s maternal side through his mother Grace and her mother Amarilla.

Solomon Goss of Fearing Township in Ohio. 

Back in 2008, I headed for Pennsylvania to attend the FGS conference in Philadelphia.  I decided to do a travelogue blog:  Pennsylvania Wanderings.  This blog was about my Goss ancestors who migrated to Pennsylvania in 1769 and settled there.  I wanted to visit the family history sites.

The Massachusetts Meanderings and more travel blog continued the story of the Goss Family by going back further into the Goss history

Eventually these two travel blogs mentioned above, will be incorporated into the Solomon Goss Blog and give the posts more meaning on that blog.  So they will go away at some point. So if you really want anything from either one I suggest you print it out now.

The following blog covers my mother’s side of the family which is all Canadian.

The Boardmans and Browns of Winnipeg, A Canadian Story:

In my travels I have collected tombstone photographs and I really felt it necessary to share them at BJM’s Cemetery Discoveries! See the pages on my blogs about this Blog which will be removed from the internet.  I am now on Find A Grave and have been uploading photos to that website.

To get a hold of me you can leave a comment at the end of a post but be careful and make sure you are on the correct post or it will end up on one that you might not want it to be on.  The other option is to  email me by cutting and pasting this email into your email

Happy hunting Bonnie, updated April 14, 2016


14 Responses to The Author of this Blog

  1. Anne-Marie Harrington says:

    Bonnie: I am enjoying exploring your blog. I was attracted to the McDonell lumber barons and the connection to Fitzroy Harbour. My ancestor Elihu Joseph McDonald was married to Mary Ann Moore in 1856 and lived in Fitzroy Harbour. I am exploring who Elihu worked for over the years 1850ish to when he immigrated to Mason County Michigan with his family in 1872. Elihu’s parents were Donald McDonald and Elizabeth Cass. Elihu was born in 1825 in L’Orignal Prescott. His father Donald came to Glengarry in 1786 from Knoydart Invernesshire Scotland. Donald’s father was Angus Macdonald and he settled in Charlottenburgh Glengarry. Donald’s grandparents were Donald Macdonald and Catherine Macgillis. They were all from a farm called Seanachaida near Inverie Knoydart. I am thinking that if our two families are not related, they may have known each other from the Glengarry area. Do you know if records survived of the people who worked out of the Carlton County, Hastings County and Renfrew Counties connected to your ancestors lumbering ventures. Elihu is on the 1851 Census in L’Orignal but it says he is living in a Shanty so I think he is elsewhere. Then I found him getting married in Fitzroy Harbour in 1856. Next he is listed on the 1861 Census as being at Nipissing in Algoma. I am thinking he may be working in the winter in lumbering and farming in the summer. I think his wife and children are on land near Purdy in Hastings County. Elihu is given the deed to this land in Purdy in 1866. However, in 1871 they are on the Census in Brudenell Twp Renfrew County. I am not sure why they are moving around… Most of their children were born in Purdy. I am looking for family connections in these areas or work opportunities. I think they are living in the town of Renfrew or close by. It is possible that Elihue worked as a cook in a lumber camp. Do you know if your ancestors had such operations?
    I love Seattle. My husband loves long distance bicycling and cycled north of Seattle and through parts of the Cascades in June this year. I have a sister who lives on Mercer Island.
    Thanks for sharing this blog. I have been enjoying your comments and info. Ann from Australia


    • BJ MacDonald says:

      Anne-Marie: All the way from Australia. I have dreamed of traveling there, maybe I will make it soon. Unfortunately I did not make my net wider when I traveled to Ontario and Quebec. You sometime learn things after you have been somewhere and then think you should return. Wow, you have done a lot in putting your family together. You mention so many places, you must realize they did not stay in one place, they really did move around a lot, much more than we realize. Some would make their fortune in the area and then retire in Ottawa or Montreal. Others would go west. I agree they either knew each other or were related in some manner. You are fortunate to know the date they came to Canada. I don’t have that yet. Purdy is not coming up on Google unless it is a cemetery. I was all over Hastings Co. for my mother’s side. So where is that in Hastings? Shanty–I have seen that before in the census. I think it means leaving in a tent or some other structure…definitely not a family situation. You are going to have to try the Archives of Ontario, and the Main archive in Ottawa and try searching them but don’t forget universities sometimes they have collections. Then there is of course Quebec genealogy…you just have to hold your breath and try. Montreal is still an undiscovered country for me. I should probably go back. Thanks for the tip about Knoydart, I will check that farm out. Well I am sorry I can’t help much more. Thanks for stopping by and I do wish you luck.


  2. Ron cCrowley says:

    Enfin! I’ve spent three hours this afternoon on Ancestry with only Pittances” unearthed. I happend onto this message board. My g.g.granfather was John Crowley marrid to Bridget Walsh. Their farm was in Chichester, down near the Dunn and Vanasse farms. I got my genealogical start in the 1980 in corrspondence with the impressive Elaine Brown and her books, and research. I think I can relay some Burns stories, as my Dad, John gerald 1916) soaked up the stories of his Grampa, Patrick Edward Crowley who died at age 105 in 1929. Hope I can help. I live between Lindsay and Bobcaygeon. Ronald Gerald Francis Crowley:)


    • bonmac says:

      Ron: Sometimes Ancestry can be frustrating and not help much but at least you have eliminated those possibilities. Unfortunately, I don’t have Crowley’s in my database. I have a few Walsh. I have Ellen MacDonald who married James Walsh. Her father was Ronald McDonell and her mother was Janet McDonell. James and Ellen had Frank and Mary Catherine Walsh who married George Burns, Elaine’s family. I am afraid I get mixed up so you need to talk to her. I can get you in touch with her if you like. That is very impressive to live to 105 years old. Thanks for stopping by.


  3. Linda Inch says:

    Hi Bonnie: My name is Linda. I left a comment/answer assuming Your name was Mary Mcdonald and (Archie) and I am going back to Sheenboro this Friday as the entire St Paul de Hermit and I mean it is all related through marriages. I beleive there is a photo of you standing in front of a tombstone of John mcDonald and Julia Ricard. My ancestor is Rose Ricard Thibeau. The St Alphonsus cemetary was split in two . I don’t know if you know where the other part is. Some of the Land from the church was sold to the city in order to build the Wilbert Keon School. So part of the other cemetary is a little further in the boonies. While I was there in 2011 for my second : Bones and Stones tour as I call it. My cousin and I took photos of the two Cemetaries so we have all the recent one. That took us two days. I love your website, you did wonderful in it. The St Paul de Hermit cemetary is the next one to be photographed as that cemetary is mostly the Brennan/Meehan, McParland, Downeys, Sullivans, etc that’s us. I also took photos that would be pleased to send to you. The road to Trout Lake apparently has roadside graves from people who came from Quebec to Trout Lake where some of the families died along the way. My Cousin Bill had a memorial for Trout lake put there and the Crosses and Shamrocks book has Billy and everyone in it. I hope to hear from you soon and if you are on facebook, I would be pleased to add you on as a friend. Who knows”? You may find more photos. My Brennans married into the Downeys also so I am quite famiiar with Hughie downey. My great great Grandma (Probably missed a couple of greats), is a Maggie Downey and the husband was James Brennan. Downey was also spelled Doughney


    • bonmac says:

      Hello again Linda: I did a little editing of your two emails removing your email from the content. One time is enough. Wow! I see that we will have to talk via email because I have a ton of questions. I think maybe you are correct in that I only did the St. Alphonsus Cemetery south of Chapeau and the older one off to the right and back by the school. I have more photos and will be uploading soon. So you are suggesting that there is another older one that I missed. Hmmm…?? I also did mostly overview photos of St. Paul de Hermit because I just didn’t have the time. I did not make Trout Lake, I believe that is up farther? I would be most interested in what you are doing in photographing these cemeteries. I would love to know more about Hughie Downey who is parents are? We will have to connect off line and via email. I will contact you shortly, today is July 4th, 2012 and we are celebrating our independence day, so I am relaxing a little. I saw that it was Canada Day the other day and was too slow to add it to the blog with links. Thank so much for the compliments. I really try hard to be accurate but it can happen. We will talk soon. Bonnie


      • Linda Inch says:

        I don’t blame you for taking some time to relax, my god you did such extensive work. I will be going back to Sheenboro on Friday with another relative. Hopefully I will have a chance to do St Paul de Hermit. At the moment the poor priest from chapeau is conducting masses once a week I beleive at the St Joseph’s Church, once in Sheenboro and the rest of the masses are at St AlpHonsus parish. I am also on Ancestry under the name Bobsyouruncleeh30. (Under the Brennan family) In that website, I posted a few photos of Sheenboro also. Anytime you wish, please use the email that you have to contact me anytime or if you do have ancestry, please feel free to help yourself to any photos you like.


      • bonmac says:

        Linda: The 4th of July is over, thank goodness, they were sounding off till well into the night and it was scarry. I am preparing an email and I am afraid I am too excited and over did it. HA! Have fun in Sheenboro it is very lovely there and peaceful. Bonnie


  4. Jane Burns Fitzthum says:


    Your work in genealogy is wonderfully impressive! Such dedication, quality and volume is admirable and inspiring. How am I connected to you? Very loosely if at all. My introduction to you came from Elaine Burns Brown. She and I have common Great-great Grandparents. Myrtaugh Burns & Sarah Greir who’s family settled in Pontiac Township, Quebec. When I first started seriously into researching my Burns/Wagner families I discovered Elaine. She is a delight, I hope you are able to meet her in person on your June trip.

    My Grandfather Wilfred/William George James Burns is the character that has inspired my research. He was a real character in life and in death. He left a fantastic scrapbook that contains a good share of his adult life. Also in my possession are hundreds of postcards written by “Professor Wilfred Burns” to his wife, Mary Elodia, (my Grandmother), as well as postcards to and from other family and friends. The scrapbook and postcards are some of my most treasured belongings.

    Both Grandma Elodia Wagner Burns and Grandpa Wilfred Burns were interesting people. . .a bit out of the norm in their time. Grandpa Wil was orphaned at a tender age, sent to live with family. Grandma Elodia’s Mother, Julia Duby Wagner, died when Grandma was about six. Her father remarried subsequently she was sent to live with her Duby/Dubois Grandparents. (Charles Duby/Mary Watson). Much to my family’s surprise I have found that Grandma Elodia was married prior to being married to my Grandpa Burns. She was married at age 14 to John Cary/Carey 1892 divorced by 1900 then married to my Grandpa Wil Burns in July 1900. She went on to divorce him using a FEMALE attorney! Her next two husbands died but her FIFTH outlived her by many years. A couple of mysteries there. In the 1900 Census she lists herself as divorced, having three children born, none living. We know with some confidence where she lived while married to John Carey but can not find any children living or dead by them. No divorce papers either. Still researching.

    Grandpa Wil? What a life he lead! After his parents (Bernard Burns and Mary Richardson) passed within a year of each other he was sent to live with an Aunt and Uncle along with his brother. There were two or three sisters who also were living with family. Grandpa and his brother were sent to a “School” to learn a “trade” but in reality they were sent to a working orphanage. Grandpa ran away a couple of times, I don’t know about the brother. The Aunt and Uncle would send him back. By the age of fourteen he ran away to the US. . . .He was very athletic, although small 5’4″ 144 pounds when an adult, and soon learned that he could earn his way using his talent. He taught ice skating for a time. He went on to learn acrobatics, ended up in late 1880’s in Hawaii! Eventually he and a Mr. Price joined to form the Price-Burns Pacific Circus. . .so much more. . .He also did hot air balloon assent-ions. Rising above the crowd doing trapeze work and then drifting down in a parachute! He traveled all over the world during his lifetime.

    Professor Wilfred Burns’ love of performing and wanderlust cost him his family. His Allumette Family, his inheritance from there, his wife and two sons. The newspaper clipping from when Grandma divorced him is humorous in our modern verbiage but I am sure it held no humor for her. She stated that he refused to quit his life style (then traveling with Ringling and also the Vaudeville circuits) as he had promised before and after they married. He refused stay home to take care of his responsibilities. I believe the divorce was in 1914. He resumed his world traveling at that time, Australia, New Zealand, India, Dutch East Indies, (Malaysia) Africa. . .

    In 1916 he was in Penang Dutch East Indies doing balloon ascensions when his parachute failed to open. He fell through the thatched roof of an apothecary seriously injuring himself . It was not the first fall he had experienced. However, it was the last. He did not die from the fall but from dysentery that he developed while in the hospital.

    You may have noticed that Mary Richardson was my Great Grandmother. I do not know if this is part of the Richardson family that you have listed as a branch of family that you are researching. I am a neophyte at genealogy, no training, just an interest in family and in writing. You may easily be able to say if Mary is connected to your Richardsons.

    A short note on Grandpa Will. . .All aeronauts/balloonists were referred to as Professor.

    If it is true that in each of us is a story, in each of us a book, I think my Grandparents are an epic example of such. It is my intention to bring them to life again in story. I only hope that I will be given the talent and perseverance to do them proud. AND not embarrass my living family!

    This summer I will be through Seattle three times on my way to visit the Olympic Peninsula where I was, for the most part, raised. Perhaps we can arrange to meet on one of those trips. I can share my maternal genealogy which traces back to the Standish and Alden’s of the Mayflower. A daughter and son of that union married starting the line that traces down the descendents to me. I live in Spokane but my heart knows I am home when I cross the Hood Canal bridge!

    Best wishes for a grandly successful trip to Ontario/Quebec. How I would love to go with you!!

    Jane Burns Fitzthum
    (Kilmer~Howe~Allen~Rasler a few of the ancestral names)


    • bonmac says:

      Hello Jane: How nice of you to stop by. Yes, I will get a chance to meet Elaine for the first time in person on my trip. I am very excited for she helped me a lot when I was trying to find Archibald and Mary McDonell.

      What an amazing family you have. I am familiar with Elaine’s website and did do some inputing of the familiy of Burns into my Legacy database but alas I did not do much on Bernard and Mary Richardson except for their children but not the grandchildren. So I do not have your lineage at this time. So thank you for sharing. I have done some research for a project for my PS-APG (professional chapter) on some cards that featured the circus and it was a lot of fun searching the information out and learning about the connections and the circus people and life. These were the fancy cards they used in the 1870’s like we use business cards today. Some are very colorful. So the life of someone in the circus is pretty amazing. You are very fortunate to have the scrapbook.

      If you are coming to this, Seattle and the Olympic Penninsula, area at some time I would be happy to meet with you. The Olympic Pennisula holds a great many memories of my Dad and Mom. We went there to camp, explore and I am sure I have been to almost all the nooks and crannies except for the top of the mountains, HA! I do not remember how many times I have been to Hurricane Ridge? In September the WSGS Genealogical Society will have their conference on the 7th and 8th. I will be there in Port Angeles. So I seem to end up going back to it on occasion.

      I am off at the crack of dawn tomorrow to Ottawa and I am getting a little nervous, but that always happens when I head off into unfamiliar territory. I will make a note and contact you upon my return and in the meantime you can follow my travels on this blog.

      The Richardson Family I refer to is very old, New England 1600’s. I doubt there is a connection to Mary Richardson wife of Bernard because she is Irish but you never know. I will be getting to that in my other blog titled Solomon Goss of Fearing Twp. You can reach it by scrolling down the right side of this blog to the Blogs I like section. It is my Dad’s very old side through his grandmother Amarilla.

      Thank you for the compliments. They are appreciated.

      Thank you so much for sharing. Bonnie


  5. Love the site Bonnie. You are an amazing Genealogist.

    I am also a Kennedy/McDonell/McDonald descendant through Catherine Amelia Kennedy. Catherine Kennedy, illegitimate daughter of Alexander Kennedy & Mary Doolan/Dolan, married Edward Fitzpatrick, son of William & Ellen (Philips) Fitzpatrick on January 7, 1875 in Chapeau. Ed & Kate promptly left their life long hometown, Allumette Island, the next day for Ohio to start a lumber company. Two years and two children later, the family moved to Michigan and had six more children. Edward was in lumber industry his entire life and did extremely well.

    I spent months researching and indexing the birth, marriage, and deaths records, first by hand, of the Kennedy families of Pontiac County including their parents & godparents. Then I located most, if not all, of the families mentioned in the records. I assumed for the last few years that Catherine was Daniel Kennedy’s half sister (different mothers on their marriage records). After reading an post about Alexander Kennedy having two children but only one survived, you could have knocked me over with a feather. Shortly after, I received an email from Jim, validating my theory.

    By any chance, do you have any information on Mary Doolan/Dolan of Allumette Island. Jim, a wonderful family historian, said that Mary cared for Alexander, who eventually died of consumption 13 months after Catherine was born. I have an inkling that Mary died of TB and died shortly after. Catherine is listed in the 1961 Census with Daniel and her half-grandparents/godparents. From other research, I read that pregnancy aggravates TB. Any leads would be appreciated.

    Hope to chat soon.

    Deidre Erin


    • bonmac says:

      Deidre: Thank you for stopping by. Thank you for the kind comments. It does take several days to put a post together. The McD’s were my first so there is some housekeeping to do, HA! I am afraid I am not up on the Kennedy’s at all. Trying to track the McD’s has been a challenge. I love stories like this makes it all so interesting. I am not sure of the connection from what you present. I have a Daniel James Kennedy married to my cousin Jane Wilhelmina McDonell daughter of Angus John and Jennette Catherine McDonell who is the sister of my great grandmother Mary. Daniel and Jane had an Alexander Ernest Kennedy, is this whom we are talking about or am I all jumbled up??? Can you give me a little more detail as to who belongs to whom? You know the Kennedy’s better than me and I am afraid I am a little lost! What you see is pretty much what I have at this time. Lately I have been preparing for a trip to the area. Yes, I will be in Chapeau at the end of May. I will be going to Ottawa and traveling around visiting the archives/repositories and genealogical societies digging deeply into the history. I will post about my trip when I get there so you will want to follow along. I am sorry but I do not have anything on the Doolan/Dolan family. However, I would be happy to check for you when I do visit the UOVGG library and the Pontiac Archives, unless you have exhausted them already. I will be leaving some of my research with them. I hope you have contributed?? This is exciting to meet you and Jim both. Recently I have had a breakthrough and found a brother of my great grandfather Archibald McDonell, Mary’s husband. So I am very excited I did not think he had family in the area. Thank goodness for the Internet. When I first started this back in 1999 Canada was really not in good shape. They have changed so much. So what you see in the posts is pretty much what I have and it still needs more census and other work. Thanks so much for contacting me. Bonnie Jean


  6. Jim Gallagher says:

    Hello Bonnie

    I came across your site today. I am the son of the person you name as Mary Catherine Genette Poupore. She is still living and will be 96 on December 20, 2011. She married my father Ed (Edmund) Gallagher in 1945. They lived at Douglas, Ontario, where my father was a cattleman. He died in 2004 at 97 (almost). My mother’s third name was actually Janet, as opposed to Genette. Douglas is about 40 miles from Chapeau. My mother still lives there, on her own.

    What first caught my eye about your site was the page about Jennette McDonell, married to Angus and then to Thomas Payne. Jennette was my mother’s great-grandmother. Jennette’s daughter Jane married Daniel J. (James) Kennedy, as you have shown. Margaret Ethel Kennedy is my grandmother, married to Thomas Poupore.

    The reason I was sleuthing the Internet today is that I am researching the Kennedy family, which my mother is descended from. The Kennedys originated in Scotland, came to New York State in 1773, to Glengarry in 1784 and then to Allumette Island around 1830 or so. I am writing a book and hope to finish it early in 2012. I am including some information about Jennette and her life. After her marriage to Thomas Payne, she became known as Grandma Payne to everyone. She raised her own children and a bunch of her grandchildren.

    We can communicate sometime.


    Jim Gallagher


    • bonmac says:

      Jim: It is so nice to meet you! You are the reason that I am doing this blog, so that we can share. I see that he is Edmund not Edward. Thanks for clarifying her third name. This is so amazing. I am planning to visit the area – Chapeau and Chichester next year in May or June 2012. How wonderful that you know about the Kennedy’s. I am still trying to figure out where Archibald and the others came from. I am not surprised they were in NY. These blogs are my version of a book. I am impressed. Well apparently I didn’t get things too messed up. Please keep in touch. Bonnie


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