Where did my great-grandparents meet?

Here is my great-grandmother Anna (“Annie”) Maria Benton in the Ottawa city directory of 1895-6:1

Annie Benton

Miss Annie Benton, dressmaker, lodger at 103 Cambridge St.

And here is my great-grandfather Alexander Michael Moran in the same directory:

Alexander Moran

Alexander Moran, driver for W.C. Gibson & Son, lodger at 127 Slater St.

In 1895, the two did not live all that close to one another (from 127 Slater to 103 Cambridge was about seven blocks west and another three blocks south), but close enough that they would have belonged to the same parish: St. Patrick’s, Ottawa, where they married on 15 February 1897.

But the Ottawa city directory provides another important clue as to how they met.

The directory includes not only an alphabetical list of names, but also an alphabetical street directory. And at 103 Cambridge St., where Annie Benton lodges, I see a name that I immediately recognize:

103 Cambridge St.

Michael H. Fagan

Michael Henry Fagan (1863-1928), letter carrier, was the husband of Mary (“Minnie”) Eugenie Gertrude Moran (1868-1953), and Minnie Moran was an older sister of Alexander Michael. So when my great-grandmother Annie Benton first moved to Ottawa (from Arnprior, Renfrew Co.), she lodged with a Mrs. Fagan whose younger brother she would go on to marry:

Marriage of Alexander Michael Moran and Anna Maria Benton, 15 February 18972

Do not overlook city directories as a source of genealogical information. A directory can not only supply information about an ancestor’s address and occupation, but can also provide important clues about the web of connections within which an ancestor lived and worked.

  1. The Ottawa city Directory, 1895-6: embracing an alphabetical list of all business firms and private citizens, a classified business directory and a miscellaneous directory, containing a large amount of valuable information : also a complete street guide, to which is added an alphabetical and street directory of Hull, Que., . (Might Directory Co. of Toronto: 1895), online at archive.org
  2. Ottawa (St. Patrick, Carleton Co., Ontario), Register of Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1883-1904, M. 1 (1897), Alex M. Moran and Anna M. Benton, p. 164, image 92 of 260, Ancestry.ca (http://ancestry.ca/: accessed 5 December 2012), Ontario, Canada, Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1747-1967.

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