Monthly Archives: April 2010

Last Will and Testament of John Leavy

John Leavy1 was born in Co. Longford about 1801, possibly (this is undocumented) the son of Patrick Leavy and Mary Bambrick. Around 1830, he married Jane Byrne, who was born in Ireland (presumably Longford) about 1811. The couple had nine known children, with the first three — Patrick (1831-1886), Mary (1832-1907), and James (1833-1909) — born in Ireland; and the next six — Thomas (1835-1916), John (1837-1926), Ellen (1841-1930), Michael (1843-?), Jane (1846-1934), and Elizabeth (1850-1921) — born in Pakenham township, Lanark Co., Ontario. The children’s birth dates (the dates are approximate for the Irish-born children) indicate that the family emigrated to Canada in 1833 or 1834.

The Leavys farmed at Concession 11, Lot 22 and/or Lot 23,2 Pakenham township, Lanark Co., Ontario.

John Leavy died 8 April 1881; an Ontario civil death record lists the cause of death as “Asthma.” He was buried 11 April 1881 at St. Peter Celestine RC Cemetery (aka Indian Hill Cemetery) in Pakenham; a headstone describes him as “Native of Longford Ireland.” His will, which he signed (or rather, marked with an X) on 3 March 1877, was filed 4 June 1881, at which point his personal estate was valued at one thousand three hundred dollars. I have not yet found a burial record for his wife Jane Byrne, who apparently survived him but who probably died before 1891.

Last Will and Testament of John Leavy3

I John Leavy of the Township Pakenham, County of Lanark, and Province of Ontario, Yeoman, being in a sound and disposing State of Mind do make the following distribution of the property owned by me in this my last Will and Testament
After paying my just and lawful debts and burial expenses
leavy_john_byrne_jane_3.jpg
1st I Will and bequeath to my beloved wife Jane Leavy One hundred dollars per annum during the term of her natural life; the payment of said Annuity to be due and payable at the expiration of One Year after my decease; and each Succeeding Annuity to be due and payable with same order as to time, during the term of my wife’s Natural life

2nd I Will and bequeath to my daughter Mrs Morin [Mary Leavy, who married Alexander Michael Moran] one hundred dollars

3rd Having given my daughter Mrs Gormerly [Ellen Leavy, who married Patrick Gormley] one hundred dollars, I leave her nothing

4th I Will and Bequeath to my daughter Mrs Mcgunnigal [Jane Leavy, who married Patrick McGonigal] One hundred dollars

5th I Will and bequeath to my daughter Mrs McGary [Elizabeth Leavy, who married Henry McGarry] One hundred dollars

6th I Will and bequeath to my son Patrick Leavy One hundred dollars

7th I Will and bequeath to my son Thomas Leavy One dollar

8th I Will and bequeath to my granddaughter Cathrine Alice Leavy daughter of my son James Leavy [and his second wife Alice Farry], One hundred dollars, to be paid to her when she arrives at the age of eighteen, or when she gets married

9th With a view to carry out my intentions, as set forth in My last Will and Testament, I hereby nominate and appoint my son James Leavy, Alexander Moren [his son-in-law Alexander Michael Moran, husband of Mary Leavy], and Robert Dickson executors to this my last Will and Testament

10th In the event of there being a surplus of funds in the hands of my Executors, at the time of the death of my wife, after paying the foregoing bequests, I will and bequeath to my son Michael Leavy said Surplus

John X Leavy his mark [his X mark on the paper]

We the undersigned were present and saw John Leavy, Senior signe, or make his name to the above as his Last Will and Testament on the 23rd day of March in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and Seventy-Seven

James Levy [his signature] Robert Dickson [his signature]

  1.  Numerous variant surname spellings include Leavey, Levy, Levi, Levie, Levey, Lavey and Lavie.
  2.  In the Census of 1851, Canada West (Ontario), Lanark (county), Pakenham township, Schedule B (agricultural census), John Leavy is found at Concession 11, Lot 23 (200 acres). Later documents place his son James at Concession 11, Lot 22.
  3.  Will of John Leavy, filed 4 Jun 1881, Lanark County Surrogate Court estate files, file #524: microfilm reel 439, Archives of Ontario, Toronto.

Middle Name ‘Loretto’/’Loreto’

In my family tree, I’ve noticed the name Loreto/Loretto as a girl’s middle name from about 1860. It seems to peak around 1900 or so (though there are a couple of examples which occur a generation or two later).

So, for example, my great-grandmother, daughter of Patrick Killeen and Bridget Galligan, was baptized Bridget Loreto Killeen on 11 Jun 1861. Her first cousin, daughter of John Killeen and Margaret Fahey, was baptized Celestina Loreto Killeen on 28 Mar 1871. Her second cousin, daughter of Thomas Daniel Galligan and Catherine Brady, was baptized Helen Loreto Galligan on 20 Apr 1896. Her husband John James Lahey’s second cousin, daughter of Thomas Armstrong and Henrietta Charlebois, was baptized Bridget Loretto Armstrong on 29 May 1898 (this Bridget Loretto is also connected to my father’s family through at least one other branch).
I had initially assumed that the name referred to the Marian shrine in Italy. However, given that the above were all Canadian Catholics of Irish origin, it seems at least as likely that the name was chosen with reference to the Loretto Sisters who first arrived in Canada in 1847.