M.C. Moran

Back up Your Online Genealogy Data!

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.

Translating French Records: Baptismal Records

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.

Where was Patrick Killeen born?

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.”1 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.2
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).

Upper Canada Militia Rolls, 1828-1829

Nowadays, people tend to think of militiamen and citizen’s militias and the like as a peculiarly American phenomenon, but that’s not really historically accurate. The whole apparatus of the citizen’s muster rolls was imported from England, actually, and can be found in Upper Canada from a relatively early phase.

Did your Ontario ancestor enroll as a militiaman? Well, some of my ancestors did. If you know or suspect that a (male) ancestor was in the province by 1828, it’s worth checking the militia rolls to find out.

Last Will and Testament of Francis Moran

Francis Moranwas born about 1812 in Co. Leitrim, Ireland, the son of Ambrose Moran and Margaret [maiden name unknown]. He emigrated to Canada about 1833, where he settled at Fitzroy township, Carleton Co. He married 1.) Margaret Behan; and 2.) Anne Galligan.

With his first wife, Margaret Behan (born Ireland about 1818; died Canada between 1846 and 1852) he had seven known children: Ambrose; Mary; Jeremiah; Catherine; Ellen; Catherine; and Francis.
On 4 January 1853 (Fitzroy Harbour Mission) he married Ann Galligan, born about 1827 in Co. Cavan, daughter of Denis Galligan and Ann Kelly.

Interestingly enough, there is no mention of his first family in his will, which is transcribed as follows:

Conditional Baptism

While going through RC parish registers in search of your Catholic ancestors, you may come across the phrase “baptized conditionally” or “baptized sub conditione,” or, in French, “baptisé(e) sous condition.” What did the padre mean, you may wonder, by this seemingly cryptic communication?

What the priest meant, basically, was that he had performed the baptism with words to the effect of, “If you are not already baptized, I baptize you.”

Hannie McCarthy (1924-2010)

Hannie McCarthy died in hospital last weekend, after a decline in health of several months’ duration.
I took this photograph of Hannie in June 2008, in her cottage at Farramanagh, Kilcrohane, on the Sheep’s Head peninsula in southwest Cork.
hannie_insidecottage.jpg

Safe home, Hannie. You will be remembered by everyone who knew you.

Certificate of/for Genealogical Tourism

Or “certificate of Irish heritage,” I guess it’s to be called. 

This article in the Irish Times includes some amusingly snarky comments about shamrocks and leprechauns and shillelaghs and the like:

‘If it’s not handled correctly, it could end up looking tacky,’ warns Smyrl. ‘Heritage and business aren’t incompatible, but too often we end up with leprechauns and shamrocks. This will end up as a gimmick if the only intention is to get people to visit Ireland.’

Tacky and gimmicky? Well, of course. Warning duly noted.

But faith and begorrah and etc., if it meant a 25 to 30 percent discount on transportation and lodging whilst visiting the auld sod, sure, I’d be more than willing to land at Shannon decked out in a day-glo green tracksuit with a large “Kiss Me I’m Irish” button fastened to my lapel. Oh wait. If I’m wearing a tracksuit, I guess I don’t really have a lapel. So, okay, maybe I wouldn’t go quite that far.

But I would totally fill out the necessary paperwork in order to obtain a significant travel discount. And I’m guessing that Ireland (land of the “ghost estate” following upon the burst of the real estate bubble) could use the tourism dollars these days.

(Via Deborah Large Fox’s Irish Family History blog, amongst other recent notices).