Monthly Archives: January 2012

What was her ‘real’ name? (Lillian Doyle)

Nowadays we tend to think of someone as having a ‘real’ name, with nicknames and diminutives as informal variations on that one official and authentic version of the name. A person’s ‘real’ name is what appears on the birth certificate, of course (and also in the baptismal record, if relevant), and in all subsequent official documents (driver’s licenses, marriage certificates, deeds to property, and so on). Nicknames and diminuitives are for casual, informal use only.

It was different in the nineteenth century, however, when people were much more flexible about name variations (and also about surname spellings, which point is admittedly a bit of a hobbyhorse of mine).

Take, for example, Lillian Doyle. And I call her “Lillian Doyle” because that is the name that I remember her by. Not that I ever met her: she died before I was born. But I recall my father and his sister talking about her, and hers is one of those names that has always stuck in my mind. Dominic Stanton. Evelyn Sullivan.  Tommy Burke. Danny O’Neill. Lillian Doyle. A whole cast of colourful characters  whom I only “know” by hearsay, or only posthumously, so to speak, but who have always seemed to play an interesting part in the drama (or perhaps comedy?) of my father’s family history.

Irish Catholic Ancestors: How Far Back Can You Go?

You already know, of course, that you can’t really trace your ancestry back to Niall of the Nine Hostages, or to anyone grand and legendary like that. And you probably also suspect, if your family tree looks anything like mine, that traditional family lore along the lines of ‘We were once the kings and queens of Ireland!’ rests on dubious and shaky grounds at best; and turns out to be, upon further investigation, something more like, ‘We were once the agrarian underclass of the counties of Cork and Tipperary!’

So: how far back can you really, and realistically, go?

John McGlade and Bridget Dunne: same parish of origin?

I’ve long since known that my 2x-great-grandparents John McGlade and Bridget Dunn/Dunne came from the same Irish county (Armagh). I’ve sometimes wondered whether they also came from the same parish too?

Marriage of John McGlade and Bridget Dunn, St. Edward's, Westport, Leeds Co., Ontario.

According to their marriage record (now available online and free of charge through FamilySearch), they did. From the register of St. Edward’s, Westport (Leeds Co., Ontario), here is the marriage record for “John McGleade [McGlade], son of Michael McGleade and Elizabeth Kennelly of the the Parish of Parish [sic] of lower Killevy Co Armagh on the [one] Part, to Bridget Dunn, daughter of Owen Dunn and Anne Rock of the Parish of lower Killevy Co Armagh on the other part.” I currently have John McGlade as a native of the neighbouring parish of Forkhill, but this document suggests I need to dig deeper into the available records for my McGlade ancestors.

The above from a new online database at FamilySearch: Ontario, Roman Catholic Church Records, 1760-1923. For those researching Catholic ancestors in Ontario, this is a pretty huge development. While these records have long been available on microfilm through LDS Family History Centers, it’s pretty amazing to now have online access (and that online access free of charge). Some of the parishes are already available online through ancestry.ca’s Ontario, Canada, Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1747-1967 dababase (which requires a subscription). But many of the parishes in the new FamilySearch database (from the Ontario counties of Leeds, Lanark, and York, to name just a few examples) are not, because they’re not part of the Drouin collection.1

FamilySearch’s Ontario, Roman Catholic Church Records, 1760-1923 database is not indexed at all, which means you’ll have to search the records the “old-fashioned” way (page by page, I mean), though in a “new-fashioned” manner (at home, on your own computer screen, say).

  1. Ancestry.ca’s Ontario Drouin database represents a digitisation of the parish registers that were microfilmed by the Drouin Institute/Institut Généalogique Drouin in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. Since the Drouin Institute’s purpose was to preserve records pertaining to French Canadians, their Ontario records represent areas with significant French-speaking populations. So: Ottawa area parishes, but not Toronto, for example.

Bishop Guigues on John Lahey’s Donation

As a followup to my post on John Lahey the Elder, here is Bishop Guigue’s account of John Lahey’s donation of two acres to the mission of March (later the parish of St. Isidore, Kanata). The following (which I discovered through google books) is taken from Alexis de Barbezieux, Histoire de la province ecclésiastique d’Ottawa et de la colonisation de la vallée de l’Ottawa (Ottawa, 1897), which cites Guigue’s notes on his visit to March township in September 1848: