Monthly Archives: February 2013

Cause of Death for James Hourigan?

A couple of family connections have told me that James Hourigan, son of Thomas Hourigan and Julia Moran, died in the Great Fire of 1870. Their source of information was apparently Alec Lunney’s “My Maternal Ancestors,” which I posted here.1

But looking closely at Alec Lunney’s “My Maternal Ancestors,” I can’t help but notice that he doesn’t actually say that James Hourigan died in the Great Fire of 1870. Rather, he refers to James Hourigan as “James who died as a youth of 18 in the year of the Great Fire of 1870.” Well, details, details…but so much of genealogical research has to do with the details; and there is a difference, after all, between dying as a direct result of a catastrophe, and dying of some other cause altogether around about the time that the catastrophe occurred.

James Hourigan baptism.

Baptism of James Hourigan, son of Thomas Hourigan and Julia Moran, 12 Dec 1852. Basilique Notre Dame d’Ottawa (Ottawa, Ontario), Register of Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1852-1855, image 35 of 244, B. 271, James Hurrigan [Hourigan], database, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca/: accessed 19 February 2013), Ontario, Canada, Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1747-1967.

I have not (yet) found a church burial record for James Hourigan, though I do have his baptismal record (see above). Nor have I discovered an Ontario civil death registration, and this document I do not really expect to find: for the province of Ontario, the registration of deaths only began on 1 July 1869, and for the first decade or so after its inception, the record-keeping was quite spotty.
  1. From Alec Lunney’s  “A Collection of Family and Ottawa Area Information.”

1842 Upper Canada Census Online

Via John Reid’s Anglo-Celtic Connections, the 1842 Upper Canada Census (or some [most?] of what survives, at any rate) is now online (and free of charge!) at FamilySearch.org.

Not that I’m complaining, because online access (and free of charge, at that) is obviously quite wonderful, but: I suspect the indexing of names1 for this database has some glitches.2 For example, my search of this database for “James Moran” turned up nothing. And when I then tried “James Morin,” I also got nothing. Well, then, how about “Jas. Moran”? Nope, nothing. And “Jas. Morin”? Er, sorry, no, but still nothing.

I knew that James Moran could be found in this census, because I have the published transcription (published by the Ottawa Branch, Ontario Genealogical Society: 2000) of the 1842 census, Canada West, Carleton County (ed. J. M. Robinson).

  1. And note that it is only the (mostly male) heads of households who were identified by name in the 1842 Upper Canada census.
  2. These glitches are no doubt related to: illegible handwriting; unexpected name abbreviations; and strange surname variations.