Catholic Records

Translating French Records: Catholic Burial Records

As with baptismal and marriage records, RC burial records adhered to the same formula, whether written in English or French. If you know the English-language formula, you can easily figure out the French. (And often the hardest part, as I’ve mentioned before, is to decipher the priest’s handwriting).

The formula, more or less:

The [day of month of year], we the undersigned priest buried in the [name of cemetery] the body of [name of deceased] who died on [date of death] at the age of [age of deceased]. Were present [names of two witnesses].

Le [day of month of year], par nous prêtre soussigné a été inhumé[e] dans le [name of cemetery/cimitière] le corps de [name of deceased], décédé[e] [date of death] à l’age de [age of deceased]. Furent présents [names of two witnesses].

‘in quarto & quarto consanguinitas': more on consanguinity

I hadn’t visited Irish Genealogy.ie in quite a while, and hadn’t realized until today that they had recently (recently? or perhaps over a year ago?) added more records from the RC parishes of the Diocese of Cork and Ross. I little expected to find any records from Muintervara (the Sheep’s Head Peninsula), a place so remote (and so beautiful) that to travel its narrow paths and roadways feels like driving through a set piece commissioned by the Irish Tourist Board (though the people who live there are very much real). Well, when it comes to the Irish records, my expectations are low. But Irish Genealogy.ie has exceeded my expectations.

Who Baptized/Married/Buried Your RC Ancestors?

A preliminary, partial and incomplete list of the priests who served the various 19th-century Ottawa Valley area Roman Catholic missions and parishes.

I will add more names, dates, and parishes as I come across (and/or organize) more information (which info. is mostly culled from the parish registers, but occasionally supplemented by listings found in directories such as the American Sadlier’s Catholic Directory, Almanac, and Clergy List Quarterly [which typically included information on Catholic dioceses in the British Provinces of North America, as well as in Britain and Ireland]).

Roman Catholic Priests of the Missions/Parishes of the 19th-Century Ottawa Valley:
Mission/Parish Dates Priests
Fitzroy Harbour Mission
Carleton Co., Ontario
1852-1865
1859-
1866-1903
1903-
Bernard McFeely
G. Bertrand
Dominic Joseph Lavin
P. Corkery
Holy Name of Mary (St. Mary’s)
Almonte
Lanark Co., Ontario
Notre Dame
Bytown/Ottawa
Carleton Co., Ontario
1827-1829
1829
1829-1831
1832
1832-1834
1834
1835
1836-1838
1842-
1842-
1842-1843
1844-1848
1844-1845
1845-
1847-1874
Patrick Haran
H. Paisley
Angus McDonnell
M. Lalor
J. Cullen
John O’Meara
John McConnell
W. Cannon
Neyron
Colgan
Patrick Phelan
Adrien Telmon
Damase Dandurand
Michael Molloy
Damase Danderand
St. Isidore
South March
Carleton Co., Ontario
1861-1879
1881-1883
1883-1899
1900-1906
Michael Malloy
John A. Cadigan
John Andrew Sloan
Thomas John Brownrigg
St. John Chrysostom
Arnprior, Renfrew Co., Ontario
1867-1875
1875-1918
Joseph Bouvier
Alphonse Chaine
St. Michael’s, Corkery
Huntley township, Carleton Co., Ontario
1837-1851
1868-1884
?
Terence Smith
A. O’Malley
P. Corkery
St. Patrick’s, Fallowfield,
Nepean township, Carleton Co.,
Ontario
1851-1884
1884
1884-1887
1887-1900
Peter O’Connell
J.W. Coffey
Edward John Joseph Stenson
John Andrew Sloan
St. Patrick’s
(originally St. Andrew’s)
Ottawa, Carleton Co.,
Ontario
1855-1861
1861-1866
1866-1877
1877-1881
1881-1922
Aeneas McDonnell Dawson
James McGrath
John Joseph Collins
John Lalor O’Connor
Matthew J. Whelan
St. Peter Celestine
Pakenham, Lanark Co.,
Ontario
1866-1903 Dominic Joseph Lavin
St. Philip’s, Richmond
Goulbourn, Carleton Co.,
Ontario
1819-1822
1822-1827
1836-1850
1850-1890
Patrick Sweeney
Patrick Haran
Terrence Smith
Peter O’Connell

Who was Daniel Galligan (1821-1889)?

(Or: who were the parents of John Galligan, husband of Ellen McGee?)

Daniel Galligan was born about 1821 in Co. Cavan, Ireland, the son of Daniel Galligan and Mary Walsh.1  I don’t know when he emigrated to Canada, but I haven’t found him in either the 1851 or the 1861 Canadian census returns. Presumably he arrived later than the Galligans of Fitzroy (some of whom later moved to Renfrew Co.), with whom he was obviously connected.

Once in Canada he worked as a tailor, and seems to have moved around a fair bit. Two records place him in Pontiac Co., Québec by 1871. In Lovell’s Province of Quebec Directory for 1871, there is a Galligan, Daniel, tailor listed in the village of Chapeau, Allumette Island. And in the 1871 census, Daniel Gallagan, Tailor (age 45, born Ireland) can be found in the household of a Matthew Kelly and his wife Roseann, at Allumette Island, Pontiac Co, Québec.  By the 1881 census enumeratrion, he was in Faraday, Hastings Co., Ontario, where he was again listed as a tailor (age 60, born Ireland), and now apparently living alone.

Daniel Galligan died at Kingston (Frontenac Co., Ontario) on 23 July 1889, and was buried at Arnprior (Renfrew Co., Ontario) on 25 July 1889.

Witnesses to the burial were Michael Galligan and Thomas Daniel Galligan. Michael Galligan was the son of Denis Galligan and Anne Kelly. Thomas Daniel Galligan was the son of John Galligan and Ellen McGee, and a suspected grandson of Denis Galligan and Ann Kelly (unless he was the grandson of Daniel’s parents Daniel Galligan and Mary Walsh?). Not only did these Fitzroy (or Fitzroy-Renfrew) Galligans attend his burial, they also erected a headstone, which reads “In Memory of Daniel Galligan Died July 23 1889 AE. 68 Yrs.”

I have John Galligan (1826-1906) in my database as a son of Denis Galligan and Anne Kelly. However, my evidence for this relationship is indirect and circumstantial, and I haven’t yet found the document (e.g., the record of his marriage to Ellen McGee) that would resolve the question of his parentage. It’s possible that John was a brother of Daniel, and therefore a son of Daniel Galligan and Mary Walsh.

  1. The names of his parents are given in his burial record: St (John) Chrysostom (Arnprior, Renfrew Co., Ontario), Register of Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1883-1893, p. 171, image 90 of 162, Daniel Galligan, S(épulture), database, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca/: accessed 5 October 2011), Ontario, Canada, Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1747-1967.

St. Michael’s, Corkery Lookups

I will do free lookups from the parish register for St. Michael’s, Corkery (1837-1968). This register was microfilmed by the Drouin Institute in 1968, and a digitized version is supposedly included in ancestry.ca’s “Ontario, Canada, Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1747-1967″ database. But for some reason or reasons unknown to me, ancestry.ca has only the first couple of pages of the register for “Cockery” (i.e., Corkery).

Missionaries of Pontiac, 1836-1858

Who baptized/married/buried your ancestors? If your RC ancestors settled in the Ottawa Valley area, the early church records can be a bit confusing: because the acts were recorded by a number of different priests covering an often vast territory, the relevant baptismal/marriage/burial records may be found in the register for a parish (originally a mission) many miles away from your ancestors’ residence.

Here’s a partial list of the missionary priests who served the Pontiac Co. area in the mid-nineteenth century.

Missionaries of LaPasse, Coulonge, Calumet, Allumettes, 1836-1858:

Information extracted from “Notes pourvant servir à la recherche d’extraits aux Régistres,” by Rev. G.A. Picotte, curé au Calumet, circa 1893; and from notes made by T. Nap. LeMoyne, Gower Point, 30 June 1900.1

Dates Priests
1836-1838 Rev Pascal Brunet, curé Montebello
Wm Cannon, vicaire à Bytown
1836-1838 F.L. de Bellefeuille, S.S. Montréal
J.B. Dupuis, Evêché Montréal
1838-1845 John Brady, curé Montebello
1839-1845 Hyp. Moreau, Evêché Montreal
C.C. Vôire, curé St. Joseph [Leves?]2
1839- A. Morin
1839- J.B. Bourassa, curé Montebello
1840-1848 J.J. Desantels, curé Aylmer
1840- A.F. Truteau, Evêché Montreal
N.L. Amyot, St. Cyprien
1841- S.E. Payment, missionaire St. Maurice
1844- Flavien Durocher, OMI, Montreal
1844-1846 Jas. C. Lynch, curé Allumettes
1845- A.A. Brunet, OMI
Medard Bourassa, Montebello
Eusèbe Durocher, Bytown
1845- Jean N. Laverlochère, OMI
1846- H. Ths. Clement, OMI
1846-1847 A.F. Grouse, curé Calumet
1847-1849 J.S. St Aubin, Calumet
1849-1851 Jos. Bouvier, Calumet
Frs. Perret, vicaire Calumet
1847- J.H. McDonagh, Almonte
1842- McNulty, Mount St Patrick
1855- Rev. Michael Lynch, vic. aux Allumettes
1851-1858 L.C. A. Ouellet, Miss. à LaPasse
1858 ____ A. P. de Saunhae, Ier curé à LaPasse
OMI = Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate/Oblates Missionaires de Marie Immaculée

A Few Ecclesiastical Terms (French-English):

curé = parish priest
évêché = bishopric
évêque = bishop
missionaire = missionary
paroisse = parish
presbytère = rectory, parsonage
prêtre = priest
prêtre soussigné = undersigned priest
vicaire = curate; assistant priest
Vicariat Apostolique = Vicariat Apostolic. A Catholic ecclesiastical jurisdiction established in an area that has not yet been organized into a diocese.

1Ile du Grand Calumet (Paroisse Ste. Anne, Co. Pontiac, PQ), Register of Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1881-1893, database at Ancestry.ca (http://ancestry.ca/: accessed 8 August 2011), Quebec Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection),  1621-967.

2Possibly St. Joseph de la Pointe de Lévy?

Catholic Marriage Dispensations

If you come across a marriage record which notes the granting of a dispensation of consanguinity, you should definitely sit up and take note: you are looking at evidence of a common ancestor (or a pair of common ancestors) shared by both bride and groom. However, as Dan MacDonald points out in his Marriage Dispensations in Roman Catholic Marriage Records, the presence of a dispensation does not necessarily imply that a couple were related. It depends on the type of dispensation.

In addition to dispensations of consanguinity and affinity (which indicate a blood or marital relation, respectively, and which are pretty much always of interest to the genealogical researcher), the Church also granted dispensations from certain established rules and procedures surrounding the marriage ceremony.

For example, when John Killeen married Margaret Fahey on 20 December 1852, the priest (Rev. M. Molloy) noted that he had obtained a dispensation from the Bishop of Bytown to perform the marriage ceremony at “a fordidden time.” The “forbidden time” in this case was that of Advent (from the start of Advent to the Feast of the Epiphany); another “forbidden time” would be that of Lent (from Ash Wednesday to Low Sunday, or the first Sunday after Easter).

In 19th-century Ottawa Valley area RC parish registers (and no doubt in the RC registers of many other places too), the most common dispensation was that of a dispensation of one or two (and sometimes, although less frequently, of all three) of the required banns.

Wilfrid Dontigny and Anna Matilda Derouin

A couple of months ago, I published an entry on tuberculosis in Ontario, along with a photo that was taken “at the sanatorium.” The photo shows a patient, whose name was unknown to me at the time, along with his wife, my great-aunt Anna Matilda Derouin, and my grandparents Delia Lucie Derouin and John (“Jack”) Eugene McGlade. Click thumbnail preview to see larger image:

mcglade_derouin_anne_firsthusband_sanatorium.jpg
Left to right: Delia Lucie Derouin; John (“Jack”) Eugene McGlade; Wilfrid Thomas Charles Dontigny; and Anna Matilda Derouin.
I now know the name of the patient in the above photograph: Wilfrid Thomas Charles Dontigny. He was born at Arnprior on 4 June 1911, the son of Joseph Philip Dontigny and Agnes Simpson; and he died (presumably of tuberculosis) on 4 September 1938, at the age of 27, and was buried at Arnprior on 7 September 1938.
On 20 November 1930, Wilfrid Dontigny married Anna Matilda Derouin at Notre Dame Basilica, Ottawa. He married as a fils mineur (minor son: so, not yet 21 [not yet 18 for a fille mineure, or minor daughter, btw]); and both bride and groom were identified in the register as members of the parish of St. John Chrysostom in Arnprior. The witnesses were Earl Steen and my grandmother Delia Derouin (who was not yet married to Jack McGlade).

A few forenames in translation (Latin/French/English)

When Bridget O’Hanlon married Thomas McTeague (15 November 1841, Notre Dame de Bons Secours, Montebello, Co. Papineau, Québec), the priest identified her as “Brigitte O’honlon, domiciliée en Grenville, fille majeure de Pierre O’honlon et de Marie Thoõner, domiciliés en Irlande,” which, in English, would read: “Bridget O’Hanlon, domiciled at Grenville, daughter of age of Peter O’Hanlon and of Mary Toner, domiciled in Ireland.” 

If your Irish Catholic ancestor was baptized, married or buried by a French Canadian priest, you may find his/her forename (but not surname) given in French in the parish register. Moreover, some of the early records for several Ottawa Valley RC missions and parishes (e.g., Our Lady of Holy Angels, Brudenell, Renfrew Co., Ontario) were written in Latin, with forenames (but not surnames) given in Latin.  
Here are a few forenames in translation. I’ll add more names as they occur to me, or as I come across them in the parish registers.
Latin French English
Aloysius Louis Lewis
Anastasia Anne Ann, Anne, Nancy
Andreas André Andrew
Antonius Antoine Anthony
Augustinus Augustin, Augustine Austin
Bartholomeus Barthélémy Bartholomew, Bartley
Brigida, Brigitta Bridgitte, Brigitte Bridget
Carolus Charles Charles
Francisca Françoise Frances
Franciscus François Francis, Frank
Georgius Georges George
Helena Hélène Ellen, Helen, Eileen
Henricum, Henricus Henri Henry
Hermani Armand Herman
Ioannes, Johannes Jean John
Jacobus Jacques James
Johanna Jeanne Joan, Jane
Margareta Marguerite Margaret
Maria Marie Mary
Matthias, Mattheus Mathieu Matthew
Michaelem Michel Michael
Patricius, Patritius Patrice Patrick
Petrus Pierre Peter
Willelmus, Guillelmus Guillaume William
Stephanus Stéphane, Étienne Stephen

George Vallely and Anne O’Hanlon

in Canada by 1832

This is not the first time that I’ve found an early recordin the register for Notre Dame Basilica, Montreal for a family who emigrated from Ireland and settled in the Ottawa Valley.

Until I came across the following record of the burial of daughter Catherine Vallely in 1832, the baptismal record for son John Vallely (born 14 September 1835; baptized 10 December 1835) was the earliest document I had for the presence of George Vallely and Anne O’Hanlon in Canada. Click thumbnail preview to see larger image:
vallely_catherine_burial_1832_notredamemontreal.jpg
Montréal (Basilique Notre Dame), Régistre, 1832, p. 253 , S. 2474, Catherine Valely, database, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca/: accessed 25 July 2011, Quebec Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967.

The record reads (with illegible words in brackets, and with my translation in italics):

Le vingt un Septembre mil huit cents trente deux je prêtre soussigné à inhumé Catherine décédée avant hier âgée de dix huits mois fille de George Valely [tisseur?] et de Ann Hanlan de cette paroisse. Temoins Joseph [Boudre?] et Jean Baptiste [Brean?] qui n’ont pu signer. The twenty first of September one thousand eight hundred and thirty two I the undersigned priest buried Catherine who died the day before yesterday aged eighteenth months daughter of George Valely [weaver?] and of Ann Hanlan of this parish. Witnesses were Joseph [Boudre?] and Jean Baptiste [Brean?] who could not sign.

Was Catherine born in Canada or in Ireland? I have not yet found a baptismal record for her (and if she was born in Ireland in 1831, it’s likely I never will). Nor have I found a marriage record for George Vallely and Anne O’Hanlon (who may have been married in Ireland).

In any case, this places George Vallely and Anne O’Hanlon in Canada at least a couple of years earlier than I had previously assumed. By 1835, they can be found in Grenville, Deux Montagnes, Québec, and by 1851 in Bristol township, Pontiac Co., where they farmed at Concession 3, Lot 4.