Category: Death and Burial

Obituary for Thomas and Alexander Moran

While it may seem a glaringly obvious point, it’s a point worth keeping in mind when you discover an ancestor’s obituary. That obituary or death notice1 that you discovered for your ancestor didn’t just write itself. Somebody had to write it; and was that somebody a staff writer for the newspaper, or a family member…

17 Years of Cheers, and No Green Beers

Meant to post this on the 6 September (my Dad’s birthday), but got busy and distracted…. My dad spent the last few months of his life at an assisted living facility above a brew pub. Yes, only Johnny Moran would agree to not go gentle into that good night above a damn brew pub. It…

Cause of Death: Pulmonary tuberculosis

The Family of Hugh Walsh and Mary Catherine McGladeI’ve written about tuberculosis before. See, for example, Tuberculosis in Ontario; and also see a list of those who Died of Tuberculosis in the Ottawa Valley Irish database. Here’s a family that was hit hard by the scourge of tuberculosis in a five-year period from 1915 to…

The hazards of early settler life

As I’ve mentioned before, 19th-century Roman Catholic burial records did not generally record a cause of death for the deceased, but there were exceptions to this general rule. In cases where a death was considered unusually tragic, dramatic, or violent, the priest might note the cause of death in the parish register. Here’s an interesting…

Burial of Four Irish Orphans

From the register of Notre Dame Basilica, Montreal, the burial of four Irish orphans on 2 August 1847.1 Apparently all girls, their names unknown, and with only a guess as to their ages: The record reads (in translation): The second of August eighteen hundred and forty-seven I the undersigned priest have buried four Irish (female)…

Death of George Vallely

When and where did George Vallely die?Sometimes the records just don’t add up. Oh, I don’t mean numerically or arithmetically: genealogical research is not double-entry bookkeeping, after all. What I mean is that sometimes the information found in one record will directly contradict the information that is found in another record. A case in point:

Death of Alexander Michael Moran

Newspaper obituaries often supply loads of genealogically useful information, along with interesting forename and surname spellings. Here, for example, is the obituary for my paternal great-grandfather Alexander Michael Moran (1871-1939). A fairly standard obituary, which informs readers of the death of A.M. Moran, and supplies practical information about the arrangements for his funeral and burial.…

Scarlet fever deaths in March Township, 1870-1871

You know you’re a census geek when you find yourself reading the “Nominal Return(s) of Deaths” from the Canadian census returns. The “Nominal Return of the Deaths within the last twelve months” (1871 Census of Canada, Ontario, Carleton County, Township of March) for the Township of March records twenty deaths in the township for the…

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,…