Vivian’s Baby Book!

June 16, 2010

The Baby Book that Grace authored covers a short period of time in the family life of Ronald and Grace.  It takes place in the 1900’s and covers the events revolving around the life of their first child Leola Vivian.  

You might not think that a Baby Book would be of value genealogically but if you don’t have personal information like this then all you have are facts and that can be a little stiff.  Fortunately, this book does give some wonderful information and tidbits.  

I tried to make a PDF and upload it in total but it was too big and caused problems.  So I will feature a page and give a summary of some of the highlights.  

This Baby Book was published as a book with forms designed to be filled out and on the 1st page it gives the name of the author as Maud Humphrey published by the Frederick A. Stokes Company, New York, 1898. 

  • Baby’s Name and parents – see page to right

    Name: Leola Vivian


  • First Outing date and with Incidents

Baby Vivian had her first buggy ride on the 23rd of May when she was baptized .  Her godparents Miss Mary Clemmins and Alex T. McDonald attending with her mother and father she went to sleep.  She had her first ride in her buggy or cab when she was six weeks old.  Grandma Barclay and her Mama wheeled her and Mamma wheeled her cab off the side-walk and the wind blew the covers away.   

  • Weight at various years
  • First Gifts and who gave them, also interesting information 

Received from Grandma Barclay on the 18th of May a pair of knitted booties.  Received from Mrs.John R. Donahue a little kimono jacket and on the 3rd of July 1902 from Grandma & ____ McDonald a little knitted jacket. From Aunt Nellie McDonald two pairs of stockings. From Aunt Sarah McDonald a pair of shoes and from Mrs. Geo. McCrea silver baby spoons.  From Grandma Barclay ___day of June three dollars in gold.  From her god-mother Oct. 6th a pair of little white shoes and stockings. 

  • First Tooth
  • First Laugh

Baby’s first laugh was heard by Mamma and Grandma Barclay on the sixth day of August in the year 1902 when Baby was two months and twenty-four old.  It sounded like she was choking but the second attempt was more successful 

  • First Creeping
  • First Step – gives dates and age of Vivian, Witnesses
  • First Short Clothes which again talks about Grandma Barclay

Baby was dressed in short clothes for the first time on the sixth day of September in the year 1902, at the age of three months and twenty-four days.  Mama made her little dress and trimmed it with lace made by Grandma Barclay some eight years before.  She wore little crocheted booties also made by Grandma Barclay. 

  • First Shoes which has an outline of the shoes and description
  • First Christmas, date and Gifts given and Incidents

Baby’s first Christmas was December 25, 1903. She received from Grandma Barclay a gold nice chain, a doll, three large marbles a rubber ball from Mama and Papa a box of blocks, a little book and a new coat from Grandma and Grandpa McDonald, a pair of shoes.  Two cashimen dresses. Aunt Sarah a cup. 

  • First Word – mentions saying Papa and Mamma

Baby’s first word was “Papa.”  It was spoken on the twenty-fifth day of December in the year 1903 when Baby was 6 months and seventeen days old and in the hearing of Mama and Grandma Barclay.  Her Papa was away and after she had called “da-a” number of times she said “Papa” three time and them tried to say Mama. 

  • First Birthday, date and gifts given
  • First Appearance at Table with date and incidents
  • A letter from Grandma Dawes (Formerly Grandma Barclay, she remarried at this time).
  • First Lock of Hair – with a sample well-preserved
  • First Valentine, given by Grandma Barclay
  • Height for 5 years
  • Baby’s first Photograph – see previous post at the top.
  • First Day of Worship – St. Joseph’s Catholic Church with incidents
  • Important Events which has a lot of great information on the family and goes on for several pages giving names, dates and locations they visited.  Vivian started to talk and say more things like “poor baby,” when she was sick and cut a tooth.  Ronald left them for a month and Vivian didn’t recognize him when her returned. 
  • More Important Events and her the last baby’s name is written on the last page.  The last page reads:  Gone but not forgotten, Grace A. McDonald Beloved wife of R.S. McDonald, Born April 10, 1882, Died Dec. 22, 1911.

The original of this Baby Book is in the possession of my cousin.  I have scanned the pages in black and white and transcribed it into Word to preserve it for the future.   Now if I could only figure out who Aunt Sarah McDonald may be?

Grace Barclay McDonald

May 29, 2010
Keith’s mother Grace was busy raising a family while her husband Ronald (R.S.) was involved with the lumber business and politics in the town of International Falls. 

Grace about 1896


This photo is of Grace as a young girl and it is this young girl that my grandfather Ronald fell in love with and met somewhere in Minnesota.  Maybe it was when he visited her father in Pine River to talk about lumber? Maybe it was on the train to St. Paul/Minneapolis where she attended school?  Miriam her daughter didn’t seem to know the story of how they met or even the date of the marriage as was reflected in her notes that she sent me.  

Ronald and Grace were married in September of 1898 and eventually settled in International Falls with their family.  I wrote about the marriage in my post dated February 20, 2010.  

Grace Barclay


Keith’s cousin Mary McDonald Louiseau told me when I visited her in 2000, that Grace liked to read so the library at their home was filled with books.  There is no date on this oval photo of Grace.  

Grace in the Snow


Here Grace is sweeping the snow?  Not sure why, but I enjoy the look which reminds me of her daughter Eddie.  I like the contrast in the pictures of my father’s mother and my grandmother.  I have very little information about her.  I think these photos start to show a little of her personality.  In this snow photo she is in a rather shabby dress.  For some reason I think she was pregnant at this time? I do not know the year this snow photo was taken. 

Grace and her children Jan 1911


In this picture Grace looks lovely and happy.  Written on the photo is the year 1911.  Left to right:  in the back row is Vivian,  Gordon, and Grace.  In the front row is Miriam, Eddie, Jean and then baby Keith, main star of this blog.  Grace is holding Keith, my dad, close.  If you look closely you can see that Miriam and Eddie’s hair is cut like a boy’s hair cut.  I am wondering if there was a lice problem? 

I have had the good fortune to know all of these siblings of my father Keith.  They were very much a part of my life.  The only one I never knew was Grace for she died very young as you will see.  

I have another blog that I am writing that covers Grace Barclay McDonald’s parents and ancestors.  It is called the “Barclays of Pine River, The Lives of George and Amarilla Barclay.”  You will find it at:  Grace’s ancestry goes back to the Mayflower through Grace’s grandparents Elizabeth Keller Spracklin and Daniel Dair/Dare Spracklin.  I will eventually talk more about Grace’s earlier years in that blog up till she meets Ronald (R.S.).

Keith’s Sister: A Tribute to Miriam

February 19, 2010

Miriam Summer in Selah, WA


In writing this MacDonell blog I will mention my Aunt Miriam frequently, especially regarding the McDonald’s and the Barclay’s.  She wrote and prepared about 6-9 pages of notes on the family that I have in my possession.  She wrote them and probably did the research back before 1980 and maybe even earlier.  She was kind enough to send me copies of these notes in 1986 when I asked her about our family.  Along with the notes she sent other charts and pictures which I will share.  I wrote back and asked questions and she responded with more pages.    

It will make more sense for me to share bits and pieces of Miriam’s Notes and Family information as I progress through this blog.  In the post dated February 8, 2010 “Clan Donald.” I have a small part of a section of her notes included “The MacDonalds.” I think Miriam did a great job.  There are some minor mistakes.  There are vague statements she has written that have made it difficult to determine what she was talking about.  Those statements have made it a little frustrating because I can’t ask her questions.  I also wonder what lead her to focus on a particular piece of information.  She references books which I have managed to find and add to the family history library.     

Working with Miriam’s notes and charts, I have learned that when you do genealogy you have to be careful and explain why you used a certain source, or where you got that information.  If you are speculating or throwing out theories then you let the person know that it is a theory and this is why?  When you use a quote from a book.  You need to reference that quote carefully so if the person wants to go back to the source and review the information they can.  It is also wise to make sure you carefully craft a quotation.  Never add to a quotation or alter it at all.    

My Aunt Miriam was about 5 feet 2 inches tall.  She was a school teacher.  She never married.  She taught ninth grade English at the Franklin Junior High School in Yakima, Washington from about 1945 to her retirement in 1973.  She moved to Yakima about 1935 looking for work.  Later in life she traveled the world visiting Scotland, Ireland, England, Europe, Israel, Tahiti, New Zealand, Australia, Mexico, Guatemala, Hawaii, and Alaska.  She visited the Orient which included China, Singapore, Bali, Bangkok, Japan and walked the Great Wall of China.  She travel to Russia with my mother in 1972.  I will probably share some of those photographs which are not of the greatest quality.  I recently compiled a booklet of her travels along with burning several CD’s of her photographs.  I published it and gave it to the family for Christmas.  Miriam was deeply Catholic.  I have her rosary beads.  She traveled twice on what was called the “Holy Land Tour.”  She went with her sister Vivian  in 1973 and later her sister Jean in 1977.  This tour took them to Rome, Israel and Greece.      

I never sat down with her to talk about the family.  I was not ready in 1986.  It was not until 1998 that I finally plunged in and took off with the family genealogy.  Unfortunately Miriam died in 1997. She was 91 years old.  Her last years were not great, she suffered from dementia. Yes, I missed out again on asking questions.  Still, if I had not asked for the information back in 1986 I would have struggled.  She gave me a starting point.   I wonder what she would have thought about all the information I have gathered? She often said we were “dour Scottish people.”   Thank you Miriam your niece is very grateful that you pointed the way.


January 30, 2010

My dad, Keith Barclay John MacDonald, loved airplanes.  You could argue that it was the engines he loved for he learned to become a mechanic and work on all types of engines.  It was during his military career that he really learned about airplane engines, bodies and more.  So, I think he loved the whole airplane. 

I do not know when this obsession with airplanes began? My Dad never talked about his life only in little comments he made here and there. I did not realize till later that I was not asking questions and the right questions and stopping to take the time to listen.  I hope that you will not make that mistake.  My advice is to ask your family now!  Here is a link to a PDF suggesting ideas for questions to ask your relatives: 

Interview Questions by Tracy Carrington Converse

I have learned that there was a major air show in Spokane back in September 1927 called the Spokane’s National Air Derby and Air Races. It was held at Felts Field which is right  in Spokane, Washington. My dad might have known about airplanes before this show, but he may have really decided that this was what he wanted to do when he attended and I know my dad would have attended, he was a very curious person.  The HistoryLink website has many articles on Washington State History, their Essay #7924 covers the National Air Derby and Air Races that occurred on September 21, 1927  At the time of this air show my dad was attending high school at Gonzaga in Spokane and he was enrolled in the mechanics course.  He was interested in learning about engines at that time and I am sure the school knew about this air show.  So by high school he was heading in the direction of becoming a mechanic.

This blog will cover:

1. My Dad’s life.  His life spanned from 1910 to 1970. 

2. Dad’s ancestry back to the Revolution and the Mayflower.  He told me one day in passing that there was Mayflower but he didn’t know the lineage at that time. He was a patriot and loved this country.

3. His parents Ronald S. McDonald and Grace Ammarilla Barclay.

His mother Grace’s family is huge and has surnames like Spracklin, Goss, Cooley, White, Haywood, Wolcott, Delano, Keller and much more.  These lines lead to the Revolution and the Mayflower.

3. This blog will cover grandparents Archibald and Mary McDonell and George Angus Barclay and Ammarilla Spracklin Barclay and their other children.

His father Ronald was a lumberman. The McDonald’s came from Canada.  The Upper Ottawa River covers an area that includes the towns of Chapeau and Chichester.  These towns are located in Quebec.  Across the river on the Ontario side is the town of Pembroke.   My father’s Barclay side came from Pine River, Cass County, Minnesota.  McDonald and Barclay families are of Scottish origins and I will share what I know of those families, although I have not yet made the leap to Scotland.  I have dabbled a little.

4.  We will cover my father’s siblings and their lives for he was very devoted to them. He was the youngest of 6 siblings, two had died.  The first baby and the last after my dad.

As for descendants of the McDonald’s there were only two in my father’s family that had children.  My father of course had three children.   My brother had two daughters and they have children.  My sister and I do not have any children unless you include cats in that description.

The other to have descendants is my father’s sister Jean.  She had a daughter named Katherine/Katy or Kate.  Katy had four children from her first marriage and one daughter from her second.  They are all grown with children of their own and grandchildren.

Because of privacy issues I will not talk to much of these living descendants unless I feel it will help with the explanation and then carefully.

5. There will be information on my mother Marjorie Boardman MacDonald

My mother’s ancestry covers surnames like Boardman, MacMurray/McMurray, Brown and Ward.  These families have roots in Canada and more specifically in New Brunswick, Ontario, Manitoba and British Columbia.  Her grandfather Edmund Boardman may have come from Lancashire, England.  The MacMurrays may be Scottish.  My mother had 2 other siblings.  Her brother Robert better known as Uncle Boardie had a daughter who is living.  Mom’s older sister Hazel Aileen or Aunt Aileen married but she did not have children of her own.  She did gained step grandchildren. 

Be patient with me, I am learning WordPress and it might take a while for me to get up to speed. 

Let’s get started.


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