Death and Burial

Death and Burial Records: c. 1857-1861 versus 1882

Or: What a Difference Twenty-Some Years Can Make

Death and Burial of Margaret Jamieson

When Margaret Jamieson, widow of James Moran, died on 12 July 1882, her death generated two records: a Roman Catholic church burial record; 1 and an Ontario civil death registration, based on the RC burial record.2

Burial of Margaret Jamieson, widow of James Moran.

Burial of Margaret Jamieson, widow of James Moran. St. Michael’s, Corkery.

Death of Margret Morin (Margaret Jamieson, widow of James Moran)

Ontario civil death registration of the death of Margret Morin (Margaret Jamieson, widow of James Moran)

Note the spelling variations for both forename and surnames. In the church record we have Margarette, and in the civil record we have Margret, for the first name that I’ve decided to standardize as Margaret.3

And in the Ontario civil death registration, we have Morin for Moran; while in the church burial record, we have Jameson (and perhaps also Jemeson?) for a surname that her descendants most frequently spell as Jamieson.

And btw, and as noted before, that “Jameson alias Moran” does not mean that my 3x-great-grandmother had been travelling under a false identity, nor that she had been caught up in the cloak-and-dagger world of international espionage. By “alias,” the priest (Fr. O’Malley) just meant “otherwise known as.” So: Jameson (or Jamieson, to her descendants), her maiden or family name, but otherwise known as Moran, her married name.

  1. St. Michael (Corkery, Carleton), Baptisms, marriages, burials 1864-1884, Vol. 4, S. Margarette Jameson alias Moran, p. 147: database, ( accessed 28 March 2013), Ontario, Roman Catholic Church Records, 1760-1923.
  2. Margret Morin, Ontario death registration 1882: microfilm MS 935, reel 30, Archives of Ontario; database, ( accessed 28 March 2013), Ontario, Canada, Deaths, 1869-1938 and Deaths Overseas, 1939-1947.
  3. I doubt very much that she herself adhered to a standardized spelling, that she would have insisted on Margaret or Margarette or perhaps Marguerite (this last a spelling which some of her descendants favour).

Burial of Thomas Dunn

Courtesy of Bruce B. Gordon, a response (with a great photograph!) to my query,  ‘Was Thomas Dunn buried at St. Bridget’s RC Cemetery at Stanleyville?

Thomas Dunn, who died 30 December 1886 at North Burgess (Lanark Co., Ontario) and whose cause of death was given as “Frozen — 12 hours,” was indeed buried at St. Bridget’s Roman Catholic Cemetery at Stanleyville, North Burgess Township, Lanark County, Ontario:

Headstone for Thomas Dunn (1820-1887), St. Bridget's RC Cemetery, Stanleyville

Headstone for Thomas Dunn (1820-1887), St. Bridget’s RC Cemetery, Stanleyville

Thomas Dunn was born about 1820 in Co. Armagh (presumably parish of Killevy),  the son of Owen Dunn and Ann Rocke (or Roche?), and had emigrated to Canada by 1851 (probably in the 1840s). His first wife was an Anne Ward (possibly the daughter of Edward Ward and Anastasia Molloy?), who died between 1857 and 1861. His second wife was an Anne Murphy, daughter of James Murphy and Mary (maiden name unknown). His sister Bridget was my great-great-grandmother, who married John McGlade (my great-great-grandfather) in 1856.

Bruce B. Gordon has posted many headstone photos for St. Bridget’s, Stanleyville at

Cause of Death for James Hourigan?

A couple of family connections have told me that James Hourigan, son of Thomas Hourigan and Julia Moran, died in the Great Fire of 1870. Their source of information was apparently Alec Lunney’s “My Maternal Ancestors,” which I posted here.1

But looking closely at Alec Lunney’s “My Maternal Ancestors,” I can’t help but notice that he doesn’t actually say that James Hourigan died in the Great Fire of 1870. Rather, he refers to James Hourigan as “James who died as a youth of 18 in the year of the Great Fire of 1870.” Well, details, details…but so much of genealogical research has to do with the details; and there is a difference, after all, between dying as a direct result of a catastrophe, and dying of some other cause altogether around about the time that the catastrophe occurred.

James Hourigan baptism.

Baptism of James Hourigan, son of Thomas Hourigan and Julia Moran, 12 Dec 1852. Basilique Notre Dame d’Ottawa (Ottawa, Ontario), Register of Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1852-1855, image 35 of 244, B. 271, James Hurrigan [Hourigan], database, ( accessed 19 February 2013), Ontario, Canada, Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1747-1967.

I have not (yet) found a church burial record for James Hourigan, though I do have his baptismal record (see above). Nor have I discovered an Ontario civil death registration, and this document I do not really expect to find: for the province of Ontario, the registration of deaths only began on 1 July 1869, and for the first decade or so after its inception, the record-keeping was quite spotty.
  1. From Alec Lunney’s  “A Collection of Family and Ottawa Area Information.”

Patrick Galligan/Gallaghan: Three Records of Death/Burial

I have not yet found an RC burial record for Patrick Galligan/Gallaghan, who was born about 1807 in Co. Cavan (probably parish of Kilmore), Ireland, and who emigrated to Canada about 1843. I have checked a number of Roman Catholic parish registers (e.g., St. Michael’s, Corkery; St. Michael’s, Fitzroy Harbour; St. Peter Celestine, Pakenham), but so far, no burial record. It may be that I am overlooking something obvious; it may be that I am overlooking something obscure. Or perhaps his burial was recorded and the record was subsequently lost, misplaced, or destroyed. Or perhaps his burial was never recorded in a parish register at all.

In any case, despite the lack of a church burial record, I do have three different records of the death or burial of Patrick Galligan:

Cause of death: puerperal (childbed) fever?

On 7 April 1885, Bridget Adeline Lavelle,1 wife of James McCann, gave birth to her second child, a daughter named Margaret Adeline McCann. Ten days later, Bridget Adeline Lavelle was buried at “the new Catholic Cemetery of Perth” (i.e., St. John the Baptist RC Cemetery, on the outskirts of Perth).

Not surprisingly, her Catholic burial record supplies no information about the cause of death:2

Burial of Bridget Adeline Lavelle

Burial of Bridget Adeline Lavelle

Or, at least, there is nothing in the above record itself that would indicate a cause of death. On the previous page of the register, however, is the record of the baptism of Margaret Adeline McCann, born 7 April and baptized 14 April 1885 (with Michael John Hartney and Maggie Finnall serving as godparents). This is obviously a significant clue: when a woman dies nine days after having given birth, it is reasonable to suspect a childbirth-related mortality.

  1. Daughter of James Lavelle and Margaret Boyle, and baptized (30 June 1861, Pembroke Mission, Renfrew Co.) Bridget Adelaide Lavelle.
  2. St. John the Baptist (Perth, Lanark), Baptisms, marriages, burials 1880-1899, Intmt 14, Mrs. James McCann burial, p. 173: database, (
    accessed 4 January 2013), Ontario, Roman Catholic Church Records, 1760-1923.

Death of Thomas Benton …

… And Dispersal of his Household of Five Daughters

When Thomas Benton died in Arnprior (Renfrew Co., Ontario) on 7 March 1890, he left behind one son and seven daughters.

His wife Hanora (“Annie”) Ryan had died over a decade earlier (28 January 1879), apparently of “inflammation of the bowels.”1 And three of the children of Thomas Benton and Annie Ryan had already married and set up their own households by the time of their father’s death:

That left five Benton daughters still at home when their father suffered a dreadful, and fatal, accident…

Thomas Benton Jr. was in Duluth, Minnesota with his wife Maggie Mulvihill (daughter of Michael Mulvihill and Bridget Cronin). 2
Catherine Benton, who had married John Finnerty (son of Peter Finnerty and Anne Havey) in 1875, was still in Arnprior, though she and her family would move to Cloquet, Carlton Co., Minnesota in 1892. And Bridget Benton, who had married James Finnerty (another son of Peter Finnerty and Anne Havey) in 1888, was also in Arnprior, with her husband and the eldest two of their eleven known children.

That left five Benton daughters still at home when their father suffered a dreadful, and fatal, accident.

  1. Dysentery?  appendicits? colitis? enteritis? The cause of death might have been any of these, or perhaps something else entirely.
  2. Although Thomas Benton Jr. had emigrated to Minnesota in 1883, he had at least briefly returned to Arnprior in the late 1880s, where he married Margaret (“Maggie”) Mulvihill. In the record of their marriage, St. John Chrysostom, Arnprior, 13 September 1888, he is described as “Thomas Benton of Duluth, hotel keeper.”

Funeral Prayer Cards

I tend to think of funeral prayer cards as a Catholic thing, though this assumption may be a function of my own, somewhat limited experience: the vast majority of funerals I have attended have been Catholic (at the moment, I can think of only two that were not, though that can’t be accurate, surely?).

In any case, the two examples below are most certainly Catholic, and baroquely Catholic at that.

Funeral card for Francis Joseph McGlade (1908-1961)

Francis Joseph McGlade, son of Arthur Joseph McGlade and Catherine Honora McCarthy, was a younger brother of my maternal grandfather Jack McGlade.