On 12 February 1870 (Ste. Anne, Calumet Island/l’Île du Grand Calumet, Pontiac Co., Québec) Thomas Brennan, son of Patrick Brennan and Matilda Shirley, married Susanna Connelly, daughter of John Connelly and Ellen Cahill. This couple then seems to disappear from the Canadian records. Did they emigrate to Leadville, Colorado?
The 1880 US federal census for Leadville, Lake, Colorado has a T.W. Brennan (age 37, born Canada), with wife Susan (age 33, born Canada), and children Shirley [male], Delacey, Mary, D. [?] and Margaret. The names Shirley and Delacey (here given as first names) are surnames found in the family trees of Thomas Brennan and Susanna Connelly, respectively.
I came across the following record of an abjuration and baptism in the parish register for St. Isidore, South March (Carleton Co., Ontario):
On the twenty sixth day of January one thousand eight hundred and eighty three, I the undersigned curate of this mission baptized James born about the month of January (in England) Eleven years ago of the lawful marriage of Mr Lewis and a mother whose name cannot be arrived at. The godfather was James Kirwan and the godmother Mary Kirwan. J.A. Sloan, pt.
I don’t know anything about the Kirwans, except that they were Irish Catholic farmers in South March.
My great-grandmother Catherine Honora McCarthy
, daughter of Eugene McCarthy (originally of Co. Cork) and Ann/Honora McDonald (or possibly McDonnell, originally of Co. Clare), at age 13, on the occasion of her Confirmation (at St. Philip Neri, in Toledo, Kitley township, Leeds Co., Ontario) in 1889. With older sister Ellen, and note the age-related difference in the lengths of their skirts.
She looks like my mother (or vice-versa, of course).
A few random observations, in no particular order:
Scott Naylor’s Ottawa Area Grave Markers
gallery is a wonderful source of headstone photographs, covering many cemeteries (both Catholic and Protestant) on both sides of the Ottawa river (i.e., on both the Ontario and the Québec sides of the Ottawa Valley area). And he is continually adding more cemeteries. I was surprised (and delighted) to recently discover that the site now covers Notre Dame
, Ottawa: a huge, and densely populated, cemetery. I can’t even imagine the hours of unpaid work put in by dedicated volunteers: it is a gift to the public (or to that subset of the public that has an interest in genealogy), for which I am very grateful indeed. I’ve found ancestral markers there that I hadn’t realized even existed: I knew (from parish registers and/or civil death records) that the ancestors had been buried at Notre Dame, but I hadn’t known about their headstones.
The headstones in any given cemetery may represent only a portion of those buried there. Or, to put it another way: some people were buried without a headstone. For the nineteenth century (not to mention earlier than that), many people, actually. Headstones were expensive; and for humble folk, much closer to a luxury than a necessity.
Alexander (“Sandy”) Michael Moran and Mary Ann Leavy built this stone house on Concession I, Lot 11 in Huntley township, Carleton Co., Ontario. Sandy Moran had acquired the land in January 1857, when he purchased the property from his father James Moran for the sum of 100 pounds (this money may have been intended as some sort of provision for his mother and sisters). In the 1861 census for Huntley township, Alex Moren and wife Mary (along with children John, James, Margaret, Ernestine, and Julia) are listed as the occupants of a 1 and 1/2 storey log house. So presumably the stone house was built after 1861. In 1913, son Thomas Edwin Moransold the property, perhaps to the Cleary family (who were apparently the owners of the house in the 1940s).
My father once took me to see this old house when I was a child.
From the Carp Valley Press, 26 May 2000, the story of how a couple purchased the home, which had been abandoned for twenty years, and moved it stone by stone to their riverfront property in the village of Galetta. (Click on thumbnail preview below to see larger image):
[Note: I’m having trouble combining MT blog software with numbered footnote citations. For the moment, I’m inclined to take the easy way out: if there are more than one or two citations per blog entry, no numbered footnotes, just astericks, and references minimized, out of laziness and/or frustration. The census data, both English and Canadian, via Ancestry.ca].
William Charles Burton was born in England about 1882 and came to Canada in the 1890s (possibly 1898) as a Home Child. Several records describe him as a “Barnardo Boy.”
In the 1891 English census, there is a William C. Burton found in the village of Cheddar, Somerset, in the household of George Wall (occupation: Market Gardener) and his wife Susan (occupation: Caretaker of Children), along with another orphan, Fred W.G. Owen. Fred Owen’s age is given as 10, and William C. Burton’s age as 8; both boys are listed as Boarders and Scholars (i.e., they are said to be attending school), and both are said to be “From Dr. Barnardo’s Home, Birthplace unknown.” I’d say there’s a very good chance that this is the William Charles Burton who ended up in Renfrew Co., Ontario, Canada.
Frances Lavelle was born in England about 1900. Lavelle was her adopted surname, I do not know her original. She is one of many Home Children I have come across in census records and church records while researching my Ottawa Valley ancestors.
In the 1911 census for Hagarty township, Renfrew South, Ontario, she is found in the household of Austin Lavelle and his wife Bridget O’Hara, where she is listed as Francis [sic] Lavelle, female, adopted, single, month of birth July, year of birth 189[8?], age 10, birthplace England, year of immigration 1907, racial or tribal origin English, nationality Canadian, religion Roman Catholic.
Or: do as I say, and not as I did.
What I did was to fail to back up my site. My old (private and password-protected) family history website, that is. Oh, I still have the information (in gedcoms, files, notes, photocopied documents, and so on), but it’s scattered all over the place. And I lost some of the brief (and sometimes not-so-brief) narratives that I had written, and which I now have to rewrite from scratch if I want to publish them here.
Most annoyingly, I lost my account of how James Lahey
killed his brother-in-law Daniel Lahey
by hitting him on the head with a block of wood, leaving James’s sister and Daniel’s wife Catherine Lahey
a widow with numerous young mouths to feed. It was a shocking act of violence, and a family scandal the effects of which reverberated for several generations at least. As a child, I heard a version (not entirely accurate, but accurate enough, as it turns out) almost a century and a half after the fact, and it left a powerful impression on me. So I think this one is worth rewriting.
But I should have backed up my original account, of course.
If you’re looking for Roman Catholic records in the Ottawa Valley area, you’re almost certain to run into some French entries in the parish registers. But no worries, and please do not panic. Even if you don’t speak a word of French beyond “bonjour” and “merci beaucoup,” you canread and understand the relevant records.
First, realize that these records, whether written in Latin, French, English, Italian or whatever, all adhere to the same formula. The parish register was no place for authorial innovation and brilliant flashes of originality. So if you know the English-language formula (which you surely already do), then you’re already halfway there to figuring out the French. Second, learn a few key French terms and phrases which correspond to their English equivalents, and you’ve arrived at an understanding of the record (in fact, in many cases the bigger challenge will be to make out the priest’s handwriting, though you can do that too, once you understand what terms and phrases you’re looking at).
This entry deals with baptismal records, with marriage, burial and census records to follow in later entries.
Different Sources, Different Birthplaces
In a history of Ottawa published in 1927, A.H.D. Ross wrote that “the first white child born in the Township of March was Patrick Killean, whose father, Denis Killean, was in Captain Monk’s employ, and the second was Benning Monk.” Perhaps Ross was relying on Mrs. M.H. Ahearn’s earlier “The Settlers of March Township,” which was first read before the Women’s Canadian Historical Society of Ottawa on 10 March 1899, and later published by the Ontario Historical Society. According to Mrs. Ahearn:
The first settler to locate [in March township] was Captain John Benning Monk, of H.M. 97th Regiment, who arrived in June, 1819, having been paddled and portaged in boats from Montreal, where he had the misfortune to lose his baby daughter. Leaving his wife in Hull, Captain Monk proceeded by river to March, where, with his soldier servants, he constructed a rude shanty, to which he brought Mrs. Monk, and which was aptly named ‘Mosquito Cove’ by the much-tormented occupants…
…Captain Monk had ten children, and among his numerous descendants are several prominent citizens of Ottawa. One son is G.W. Monk, ex-M.P.P. for Carleton County, and Mrs. Chas. McNab, a well-known member of our society, to whom the writer is indebted for many details of this sketch, is a daughter. The eldest son, the late Benning Monk, was the second child born in March; Patrick Killean, whose parents were servants of Captain Monk, and who afterwards took up land in South March, being the first.
It’s not clear where Mrs. Ahearn got her information about Patrick Killean/Killeen’s birth, although it may have been part of the detail supplied to her by Mrs. Chas. McNab (Frances Amelia Monk, daughter of Captain John Benning Monk and Elizabeth Fitzgerald).