M.C. Moran

Boxing Day Wedding, 1963

I should have posted these photos on 26 December 2013: fifty years later.

My parents were married (at Our Lady of Fatima, Ottawa) on Boxing Day, 1963.

Wedding recessional, Our Lady of Fatima, 26 December 1963.

Wedding recessional, Our Lady of Fatima, 26 December 1963.

Signing the register at Our Lady of Fatima, Ottawa. 26 December 1963.

Signing the register at Our Lady of Fatima, Ottawa. 26 December 1963.

December 26, 1963: John Alexander Moran and Catherine Frances McGlade

December 26, 1963: John Alexander Moran and Catherine Frances McGlade

Well, I am biased, of course (I mean, obviously), but these photos, taken before I was born, seem to lend support to my recollections that my mother had a smile that could light up a room, and that my father was a bit of a handsome young rogue in his day.

John Alexander Moran, 6 September 1934-14 March 2013
Catherine Frances McGlade, 10 October 1939-22 December 1912

“Lost Ottawa” Facebook group

If you’re on Facebook and you’re interested in Ottawa local history, you should definitely subscribe to “Lost Ottawa,” which bills itself as “a Facebook research community devoted to images of Ottawa and the Outouais up to the year 2000.”

I have to say that, much as I enjoy seeing “Lost Ottawa” images turn up in my Facebook feed, I sometimes find it rather depressing. In the 1960s and 1970s, Ottawa lost so many of its beautiful older (19th- to early 20th-century) buildings to “progress,” and “development,” and ugly, utilitarian, Stalinist-style architecture.

Okay, “Stalinist-style” is admittedly a tad hyperbolic, but still. It is sad to see what Ottawa has lost of its built environment, through lack of respect for/attention to the principles of sane and sound historic preservation. No, we cannot save every building, and some older buildings are probably not worth saving. But this does not mean that we should tear down any old building whatsoever, in order to make way for the construction of yet another condo complex. And yes, times change, and the original purposes of older buildings become obsolete. But from this concession to the imperatives of change, it absolutely does not follow that older buildings are, by definition, useless obstacles to the realization of contemporary needs and goals. Many older buildings can and should be refurbished to meet new purposes, instead of bulldozed into the ground to make way for soulless concrete blocks.

Anyone with a Facebook account can join “Lost Ottawa” by clicking “Like” on its front page.

Ottawa Valley Slang

Growing up in Ottawa, and with an Ottawa Valley Irish background, I used to say bucko all the time (for boy, my boy, boyoguy, dumb**se), but with very little sense whatsoever that this was a corruption of the Irish búachaill. Well, now I’m cookin’ wit gas, because I’ve discovered an Ottawa Valley glossary.

(My paternal grandfather, who would not suffer fools gladly, used to say “amadán” in a certain tone, and this was the Irish for “fool”).

An Ottawa Valley glossary.

Safe home - What would you give to hear Mum say that once more?

O, what wouldn’t I give to hear my Mum say “safe home” once more?

 

Death by Fire (Two Moran Children, Ages 4 and 2)

While Catholic burial records can supply a wealth of genealogically significant information, the cause of death was not something that the priest was required or expected to record. And as I’ve mentioned before, 19th- and early 20th-century Catholic burial records did not generally record the cause of death of the deceased.

In some instances, however, the priest might have included the cause of death in the church burial record — most typically, in cases where the death was considered especially dramatic, horrific, unusual, or violent. So, for example, an elderly parishioner who died of pneumonia? That cause of death is unlikely to have been recorded in a 19th- to early 20th-century Catholic burial record.1 A young child who was burned to death in a horrible accident? There’s a chance the priest might have recorded this awful detail in the child’s burial record.

By way of illustration, here are the Catholic church burial records for James Moran (son of Alexander “Sandy” Michael Moran and Mary Ann Leavy, and husband of Sarah Jane Dooley); and for his two youngest children Julia Gertrude Moran and James Joseph Moran (daughter and son of James Moran and Sarah Jane Dooley). James Moran died in March 1899 at about 40 years of age; and his two youngest children, Julia Gertrude and James Joseph, died a year and a half later, at the ages of about 4 years and 2 years, respectively. All three records (the one for James Moran dated 21 March 1899; and the two for his children Julia Gertrude and James Joseph dated 30 September 1900) were written and signed by the Reverend Father John Andrew Sloan, parish priest at St. Patrick’s, Fallowfield (and also at St. Isidore, March township):2

Burial of James Moran, 21 March 1899, St. Patrick's, Fallowfield.

Burial of James Moran, 21 March 1899, St. Patrick’s, Fallowfield.

Burial of James Joseph Moran and Julia Gertrude Moran, 30 September 1900, St. Patrick's, Fallowfield.

Burial of James Joseph Moran and Julia Gertrude Moran, 30 September 1900, St. Patrick’s, Fallowfield.

Note that Father Sloan inserted “by fire” in parentheses after “died” in the burial records for the two young Moran children. Father Sloan only very rarely recorded the cause of death in his parish registers; his departure from the norm here surely speaks to the sense of communal grief over the awful deaths of these two very young children. Their Ontario civil death registrations record the cause of death as “Accidental Burning,” by the way.

But while the father of Julie Gertrude Moran and James Joseph Moran had died at an age (about 40 years) that nowadays would be considered quite unusual and highly tragic, James Moran’s untimely and unhappy death apparently did not meet the bar (unusually dramatic, horrific, or violent) for a reference to the cause of his death in his RC church burial record. Father Sloan makes no mention of it. (And the cause of death for James Moran is the subject of conflicting accounts, by the way, as discussed here: was he kicked by a horse? or was he fatally injured in a threshing accident? or did James Moran die, as per his Ontario civil death registration, of emphysema?). But note, also, that Father Sloan was not actually present at the burial of James Moran: the parish priest’s after-the-fact record of the burial of James Moran relies on the eyewitness testimony of Thomas Troy, David Villeneuve, and Elizabeth Casey.

My guess is that the young Moran children were the victims of a terrible kitchen accident, but this detail we may never know.

 

  1. For Ottawa Valley-area Roman Catholic burial records, the cause of death, whether horrific or not, is increasingly likely to have been recorded from about the 1920s or 1930s. The more recent the record, the more information (including, again from the 1920s or 1930s, whether the deceased had received last rites, or the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick).
  2. St. Patrick (Fallowfield, Co. Carleton, Ontario), Register of Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1851-1968, p. 89, S. 4, James Moran; p. 115, S. 14, James Joseph Moran; p. 115, S. 15, Julia Gertrude Moran; digital images, ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 30 Nov. 2013), Ontario, Canada, Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1747-1967.

Researching a Canadian Soldier of World War I

If you’re researching an ancestor who served with the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) during the First World War, two posts by Ken McKinlay (Family Tree Knots) are well worth consulting: “Resources for ‘A Soldier of the Great War: A Research Case Study’”  and “They Served Canada But I Want to Know More.”

Via Canada’s Anglo-Celtic Connections.

Sued for Slander?

I’d be interested in learning more about this case (and whether it ever got anywhere as a court case). From The Ottawa Journal, 20 October 1896, a notice that Robert and Eliza Jane Hemphill of Huntley had filed an action against Thomas E. and Mary Moran, also of Huntley township.

The “Thomas E.” almost certainly refers to Thomas Edwin Moran (1860-1942), son of Alexander (“Sandy”) Michael Moran and Mary Ann Leavy, and the inheritor of the Moran homestead at Concession 1, Lot 11, Huntley township. But does the “Mary Moran” refer to his new wife Bridget Mary McDermott (1876-1964), daughter of John McDermott and Mary O’Neil (the couple had married on 26 September 1896), or to his mother Mary Ann [Leavy] Moran (1832-1907)? The action was for “slander and wrongfully destroying and trespassing on plaintiff’s land and dwelling house,” and the Hemphills were asking for $2,500 in damages (a huge sum of money in 1896!).

The Ottawa Journal, 20 October 1896

The Ottawa Journal, 20 October 1896

William Killeen and Lucy Armstrong

William Henry Killeen (1857-1904) was a son of Denis Benjamin Killeen and Ellen O’Brien, and a grandson of Denis Killeen and Mary Ahearn. In November 1885, he married Lucy Armstrong (1863-1956), a daughter of James Armstrong and Bridget Kelly, and a granddaughter of Joseph Armstrong and Catherine Smith.

Lucy Armstrong was the first cousin of my 2x-great-grandfather John Lahey (1837-1899). And Lucy Armstrong’s first husband William Henry Killeen was the nephew of John Lahey’s wife, my 2x-great-grandmother Margaret Jane Killeen (1835-1913). From the “Relationship Calculator” function at the family history database (Ottawa Valley Irish: A Genealogy Database), the relationships can be depicted like so:

 

Relationship between Lucy Armstrong and John Lahey

Relationship between Lucy Armstrong and John Lahey

Relationship between William Henry Killeen and Margaret Jane Killeen

Relationship between William Henry Killeen and Margaret Jane Killeen

Courtesy of one of their descendants, here is a wonderful photograph of William Henry Killeen and Lucy Armstrong, with the first six of their nine known children:

William Killeen and Lucy Armstrong and family, ca. 1896

William Killeen and Lucy Armstrong and family, ca. 1896

I believe this photograph was taken in 1896 or 1897. And I have to love the stylized backdrops of 19th-century studio portraits. This family lived and farmed at Sebastopol, in Renfrew Co., Ontario, Canada. But from the background of the above photograph, you might think they dwelled amidst the ruins of ancient Tuscany! or something like that.

William Henry Killeen died in August 1904, leaving his wife Lucy Armstrong a widow with nine children. About five years later (in May 1909), Lucy Armstrong Killeen married Albert Austin Massey, a British Home Child who was about twenty years her junior. The family moved out west, to Winnipeg, Manitoba. Albert Austin Massey fought with the Canadian Expeditionary Force in World War I, as did at least one of his stepsons, Francis Joseph Killeen.

Our Roots/Nos Racines: Canadian local histories

Our Roots/Nos Racines is an online collection of Canadian local histories in both English and French. Well worth searching if you are looking for ancestors in Canada. I have certainly found a few good leads in a couple of local Ottawa-area histories that I’ve discovered at this site.

A word of caution on local histories: while local histories can be extremely valuable (they can help to establish or confirm the whereabouts of an individual or a family, for example), their information can be a bit loose and vague. Wherever possible, you should verify the information by consulting church records, vital records, census records, and so on.

But on the other hand: the vague and possibly inaccurate information that you find in a local history can offer valuable clues, which can point you in the direction of more reliable sources to pursue.

For example:

When I first found a reference to the marriage of Pat Killeen and Bridgit Gallaghan in Garfield Thomas Ogilvie’s Once Upon a Country Lane: A Tribute to The Gaelic Spirit of Old West Huntley, Carleton County, Ontario, Canada (which I discovered at Our Roots/Nos Racines), I didn’t even know that the surname Gallaghan (Galligan) belonged in my family tree. I was searching for Killeen; and Galligan/Gallaghan hadn’t yet crossed my radar screen. And while the approximate marriage date (circa 1846) given in Ogilvie’s local history was off by about 13 years (Patrick Killeen and Bridget Galligan were married on 28 February 1859, as I was later to discover), that reference to a Bridgit Gallaghan opened up a whole new line of inquiry, and led me to the discovery of another branch of my family tree.

Marriage of Patrick Killeen and Bridget Galligan.

Marriage of Patrick Killeen and Bridget Galligan. Fitzroy Harbour Mission, 28 February 1859. Ontario, Canada, Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1747-1967 at ancestry.ca.

Btw, Appendix H (“Irish Proverbs, Folklore, Maxims and Humour”) of Ogilvie’s Once Upon a Country Lane includes a maxim that my dad (a father of four daughters, but no sons) sometimes used to cite: “Your son’s your son ’til he takes a wife; your daughter’s your daughter all of your life.” However, I’m pretty sure my dad used to render it as: “A son is a son ’til he takes him a wife; but a daughter’s your daughter all the days of your life.”