M.C. Moran

Best general guide to Scottish genealogy? to English genealogy?

If I had to name just one reference guide to Irish genealogy, I would not hesitate to say John Grenham’s Tracing Your Irish Ancestors. As a general, all-purpose guide, there’s no question that this is the book: it is very well-written and very well-organized; both comprehensive and comprehensible; and also just smart and insightful, which makes it a pleasure to use.

Is there a comparable ‘the best general guide’ to Scottish genealogy? to English genealogy? and I suppose I should also add, to Welsh genealogy? (and why is Wales so frequently overlooked?)

A marriage certificate (John Delaney and Emma Dean)

As noted in the previous entry, John Delaney and Emma Dean were married at Salford, England on 16 January 1886; a year and a half later, their Protestant marriage was blessed by a Catholic priest at Notre Dame de Grâce, Hull (Ottawa County, Québec, Canada).

From the GRO (General Register Office), here is a copy of the civil registration of their marriage, which was solemnized at an Anglican church: St. Bartholomew’s, Salford:

Marriage of John Delaney and Sarah Emma Dean, 16 Jan 1886

Obituary for (Michael) John Delaney, Ottawa Citizen, 22 December 1931

Note that John Delaney’s address is given as “Salford Barracks,” and his occupation as “Musician 80th Foot.” This is the same regiment (80th Foot) in which his father Michael Delaney had served, though Michael Delaney was an army pensioner by 1881, and by 1883 he and his wife Mary Ashbury had emigrated to Canada (John Delaney, with his wife Emma Dean, would follow his parents to Canada by the summer of 1887).

John Delaney’s military career began at a (by today’s standards) shockingly early age. His obituary (Ottawa Citizen, 22 Dec 1931) records that he was a drummer in the [Anglo-]Zulu War. He would have been about 13 years old at the time1: a drummer boy. He appears to have fudged his birth year by a couple of years for his Salford marriage (where he is listed as age 21, when he was in fact 19 years of age: perhaps he had already added a couple of years to his age in order to serve in the 80th Foot Regiment in 1880? he should have been 14 years old in 1880 in order to serve, but given his birth date, he clearly wasn’t), but in August 1887 Rev. Father M.E. Harnois of Notre Dame de Grâce accurately listed John Delaney as fils mineur (minor son, i.e., not yet 21 years of age) of Michael Delaney and Mary Ashberry [Ashbury].

It is highly unusual to have a civil registration of an Anglican marriage in England followed by a Catholic blessing of said marriage in the province of Quebec, Canada. My guess (pure speculation here, admittedly) is that John Delaney’s Irish Catholic parents (and probably especially his mother) were in fits that their son had placed his immortal soul in peril, and somebody (again, probably his mother) had lobbied the local parish priest to fix things, to put the fix in.

  1. John (Michael John) Delaney was born 12 August 1867 at Port Louis, Mauritius; the Anglo-Zulu War began 22 January 1879. According to his obituary, John Delaney served as a drummer in 1880.

A marriage blessing (John Delaney and Emma Dean)

Hull (Paroisse Notre Dame de Grâce, Ottawa Co., Quebec), Register of Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1886-1900, M. 54 (1887), John Delaney and Emma Dean; image 197 of 2423, Ancestry.ca (http://ancestry.ca/: accessed 20 April 2012), Quebec Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-967.

From the parish register for Notre Dame de Grâce, Hull (Ottawa County, Quebec), here is an interesting (and highly unusual) marriage record. As I read it, it is not a record of the performance of a marriage act at Notre Dame de Grâce. Rather, it is a record of a Catholic blessing bestowed upon a marriage that had already taken place — in a Protestant ceremony in Salford, Greater Manchester, England, a year and a half earlier.

The record [my transcription, with my translation] reads as follows:

Le sept Aout mil huit cent quatre vingt sept par devant nous prêtre, dûment autorisé par Monseigneur Joseph Thomas Duhamel Archevêque d’Ottawa, soussigné se sont présentés John Delany fils mineur de Michel Dolany et de Mary Ashberry de cette paroisse d’un part, et Emma Dean fille mineure de Herbert Dean et de Mary Davis de Salford, Manchester Angleterre d’autre part, lesquels ont déjà contracté ensemble mariage le seize Janvier mil huit cent quatre ving six a Salford, Manchester Angleterre, devant un ministre protestant: n’ayant découvert aucun empechement, nous prêtre soussigné avons bene [bené] leur mariage en présence de Michael Delany et de Francis Delany soussignés. ME Harnois, ptre.

[The seventh of August one thousand eight hundred and eighty-seven in the presence of we the undersigned priest, duly authorized by Monseigneur Joseph Thomas Duhamel Archbishop of Ottawa,  have come John Delany minor son of Michel Dolaney and of Mary Ashberry of this parish, on the one part, and Emma Dean minor daughter of Herbert Dean and of Mary Davis of Salford, Manchester, England on the other part, who have already contracted marriage together on the sixteenth of January one thousand eight hundred and eighty-six in Salford, Manchester, England in the presence of a Protestant minister: no impediment having been discovered, we the undersigned priest have blessed their marriage in the presence of the undersigned Michael Delany and Francis Delany. ME Harnois, priest]

A week before the above-recorded blessing, it should be noted, Emma Dean had converted to Roman Catholicism and had been baptized a Catholic at Notre Dame de Grâce (31 July 1887), with her father-in-law Michael Delaney and her mother-in-law Mary Ashbury serving as sponsors (as le parrain, the godfather, and la marraine, the godmother, respectively). Without this conversion to Catholicism on the part of Emma Dean, there’s no way that Father M.E. Harnois would have blessed the marriage.

Quebec land grants information online

In addition to Library and Archives Canada’s Lower Canada Land Petitions (1764-1841), archive.org has the List of lands granted by the Crown in the Province of Quebec, from 1763 to 31st December 1890 [Liste des terrains concédés par la Couronne dans la province de Québec, de 1763 au 31 décembre 1890] (Quebec: Charles-François Langlois, Printer to the Queen, 1891) available online in several formats (including Full Text,  PDF, and DjVu).

This online, digitized version of a microfilm is admittedly a bit cumbersome to read (there are 1927 [one thousand nine hundred and twenty-seven] pages, after all!, and some of the text is quite faint/faded), but definitely worth the effort if you’re looking for ancestors who settled in Lower Canada/Quebec.

Protestant records for Pontiac Co., Québec, 1894-1909: online at BAnQ, free of charge

Actually, Catholic records for Pontiac County are also online at BAnQ, free of charge, and for the same time period (roughly 1894-1909, though it varies by church/parish). But the Catholic parish registers for Pontiac Co., Quebec are available online at three other sites that I know of, and for a much broader time period:

  1. by subscription at ancestry.ca (Quebec, Vital and Church Records [Drouin Collection], 1621-1967);
  2. free of charge at FamilySearch (Quebec, Catholic Parish Registers, 1621-1900);
  3. and by subscription at Généalogie Québec (Registres du Fonds Drouin).

So I’m highlighting the Protestant records of Pontiac County here, since it’s my impression that these records are far less readily available in online, digitized format than are the RC parish records.1

BAnQ = Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (National Library and Archives of Quebec). And, because of Quebec’s pre-1994 church-based system of civil registration,2 BAnQ’s collection of digitized parish registers (both Catholic and Protestant) will be found under the heading of Registres de l’état civil (= civil registers).

The records are here. For Pontiac County (District judiciaire de Pontiac [Outaouais]), look for Outaouais in the left menu (under Par région [by region]), then look for District de Pontiac (the other option being District de Hull). The time period is admittedly quite limited (roughly 1894 to 1909, as mentioned above), but this is an ongoing project, apparently, and we can expect to see the coverage broadened in the future. The alphabetical list (right side of page) for Pontiac Co. begins with Bristol Township Presbyterian Church and ends with Thorne Township Methodist Church, and includes a number of Protestant (Anglican [Church of England]; Lutheran; Methodist; Presbyterian; and also the Shawville Holiness Movement Church) Pontiac Co. parishes in between.

A few French terms in translation, to help with navigation:

  •  Début = [to the] beginning
  • suivante = next
  • précédente = previous
  • Affichage plein écran = full-screen display


  1. Certainly, there are no Protestant parishes included in FamilySearch’s “Quebec, Catholic Parish Registers” collection, for obvious reasons. And while ancestry.ca’s Drouin collection does include many Protestant parishes in the province of Québec, there appear to be some gaps in its coverage of Pontiac County (for Protestant denominations, I mean, not for RC parishes). And as to Généalogie Quebec, I really don’t know: it is not easy to use its search tools (in fact, I don’t think it’s possible) without subscribing to its service, and I gave up my subscription when FamilySearch added not only “Quebec, Catholic Parish Registers, 1621-1900” but also “Ontario, Roman Catholic Church Records, 1760-1923” to its online collection (which, in combination with ancestry’s RC Drouin records for both Québec and Ontario, now answers my research needs, and why pay for a subscription that you won’t actually use?). So for all I know, Généalogie Québec has Protestant Pontiac well covered, though with a paid, subscription-only service.
  2. Brief description of the system, in French, at BAnQ, under En savoir plus (to know more/further information), Présentation; but also see Marlene Simmons for a brief but comprehensive English-language explanation

‘I am a Poor man with a helpless family’: Peter Finnerty petitions the Crown

Marriage of Peter Finnerty and Anne Havey, 11 July 1843, Notre Dame Basilica, Québec.

Peter Finnerty was born about 1810 in Co. Kerry, Ireland, the son of John Finnerty and Catherine Dunleavy. He emigrated to Canada probably in the early 1840s, initially working as a labourer (journalier) in Quebec City. Here  he married another recent Irish emigrant, Anne Havey of Co. Sligo, daughter of John Havey and Mary McGee. The couple were married on 11 July 1843, at Notre Dame Basilica, Québec (click preview, left, to see larger image). 1 A year later, they could be found in McNab township, Renfrew County, Ontario, where they raised a family of seven known children.

Two of the sons of Peter Finnerty and Anne Havey — John and James Finnerty, respectively — married two of the daughters — Catherine and Bridget Benton, respectively — of Thomas Benton and Honora Ryan, which two Finnerty-Benton unions produced an impressive number of Finnerty children (nine by John and Catherine; eleven by James and Bridget) who were double first cousins.

  1. Basilique Notre-Dame (Québec City, Québec), Register of Births, Marriages and Burials, 1843, p. 123, M. 69, Peter Finnerty-Anne Havy marriage: database, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca/: accessed 23 March 2012), Quebec Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967.

Peter Robinson Settlers in Huntley township

Peter Robinson settlers in Huntley township, Carleton County, Ontario [Upper Canada], 1834. The names below can be found on the passenger lists for the Hebe and the Stakesby (from Cork to Quebec, 1823).

Transcribed from:

Return of a portion of the Irish Emigrants located in the Bathurst District in 1823 and 1825, by Peter Robinson Esqr, and who are now entitled to receive their Deeds, the lots having been inspected by Francis K. Jessup in 1834.1.

Township of Huntley:

James FORRESTWest2011
William WELCHEast2011
Timothy FORRESTWest2111
Timothy KENNEDYEast2111
Charles SULLIVANWest2311
Jeffery DONOGHUEEast1510
James WHITEEast1710
Michael CRONINWest1810
James ALLANEast1910
John KENNEDYWest1910
John KEEFEWest1910
William GREGGWest169
William WHITEWest209
James MANTLE2710
Thomas BOYLEN.W. 4 [quarter] 24 10
S.W. 4 [quarter]2510
Thomas BRISTNAHAN Senr.West219
Thomas BRISTNAHAN Jnr.East2010
  1. Upper Canada Land Petitions 1835, RG 1, L 3, vol. 435, R Bundle 19, petition 23c: microfilm C-2746

Early Baptisms, St. Francis de Sales, Smiths Falls: Part I

Early Baptisms (May 1848-Dec 1849), St. Francis de Sales, Smiths Falls, Montague township, Lanark Co., Ontario, Canada

This is my own transcription, some of the names were hard to make out. I have resisted the urge to “correct” the spellings. You should check the original for names, dates, and other details, and especially for the names of sponsors/godparents (which I have not included here due to space constraints).