Albert Austin Massey was born in London, England about 1884,* the son of Thomas Massey and Mary Armitage (his parents’ names come from his RC parish marriage record, and also from the Ontario civil marriage record which was based on that parish register). He emigrated to Canada around 1895 (at about 10 or 11 years of age), where he ended up in Renfrew Co., Ontario.
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?
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.1
St. Isidore Roman Catholic Church (South Marchl, Ontario), Register of Baptisms and Marriages, 1861-1968, James Lewis B2 , database, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca/: accessed 8 October 2010), Ontario, Canada, Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1747-1967.
A few random observations, in no particular order:
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).
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.
Or: do as I say, and not as I did.
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 can read 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.
Le treize de mai Mil huit cent cinquante neuf par nous prêtre soussigné a été baptizé George William né le vingt sept d’avril du légitime marriage de George Cahill et de Mary Moren de cette paroisse. Le parrain a été John Connely et la marraine Anne Shirly qui n’ont pu signer.*
And here’s my translation (note: I’m not a professional translator or anything like that, so my translation is purely utilitarian and no doubt shockingly inelegant):
The thirteenth of May one thousand eight hundred and fifty nine by we the undersigned priest was baptized [or: we the undersigned priest baptized] George William born the twenty-seventh of April of the legitimate marriage of George Cahill and Mary Moren [Moran] of this parish. The godfather was John Connely [Connelly] and the godmother Anne Shirly [Shirley] who could not sign.
Note that William is the child’s middle name, not his surname. In the case of a child “born of [a] legitimate marriage,” the priest typically did not give his/her last name in the text of the record, because the surname was understood to be that of the father (the surname will be found in the margins and/or in the record’s heading, though).
And please don’t be offended if the French-Canadian priest misspelled your English (or, more probably, Irish, since we’re dealing with RC Ottawa Valley records here) ancestor’s name. I’ve seen some truly bizarre renderings of French names by English-language (which is to say, generally, Irish) priests, after all. But nobody really cared about spelling before, roughly, the early twentieth century, anyway. And these priests were doing their best to create accurate, written records for people who spoke another language but who often didn’t write in any language at all. So the spellings were phonetic renditions from another language, which created ample opportunity for spelling variations.
Here are just a few of the French terms and phrases that you might encounter in a baptismal record, with English translations (but I’m too lazy to do numbers, which are easily google-able in any case):
|nous prêtre soussigné||we the undersigned priest|
|baptisé (masculine)||baptized (for a boy)|
|baptisée (feminine)||baptized (for a girl)|
|né (masculine)||born (for a boy)|
|née (feminine)||born (for a girl)|
|du légitime marriage de||of the legitimate marriage of|
|de parents inconnus||of unknown parents|
|cette paroisse||this parish|
|avant-hier||day before yesterday|
|la veille de||day before|
|qui n’ont pu signer||who could not sign|