Tag Archive for Fahey

“Of the Rail Road in this mission”

Thomas Benton (1826-1890) was born in Cappawhite, Co. Tipperary, Ireland, the son of Thomas Benton and Catherine (“Kitty”) Dwyer. Of these facts I am now reasonably certain (which is to say, as certain as one can ever be when it comes to 19th-century Irish genealogy).

But for the longest time, I had only “Thomas Benton, born about 1830 in Ireland, of parents unknown” in my database. I suspected that he had been born in the parish of Doon (Limerick or Tipperary?); and from about last May, I had reason to suspect that he was born in Cappawhite, Co. Tipperary, the son of Thomas Benton and Catherine Dwyer. But until very recently, I had no documented evidence to confirm or refute my suspicions.

It’s Always in the Last Place You Look

And the main reason why I had no evidence is that I could not find a record of Thomas Benton’s marriage to Honora Ryan, daughter of Michael Ryan and Bridget Lahey.

Given that all nine of their known children were born in Canada, I suspected (rightly, as it turns out) that Thomas Benton and Honora Ryan had married in Canada, not in Ireland. And I knew that Thomas Benton and Honora Ryan could be found in Pakenham, Lanark Co., Ontario in 1861, and that they shortly afterwards moved to Arnprior, Renfrew Co., Ontario, where Honora Ryan died in 1879, and where Thomas Benton died in 1890. But I searched the Catholic parish registers of Lanark and Renfrew Counties, and searched in vain, for a marriage record for Thomas Benton and Honora Ryan. And because the baptismal record for their daughter Bridget Benton is found in the register for the Catholic mission at Fitzroy Harbour (Carleton Co.), I also searched surrounding parishes in Carleton County. I also briefly considered, and searched for, a Protestant marriage record, though without really expecting to find one, given the overwhelming evidence of staunch Roman Catholicism for this family.1

I finally found their marriage record in the register for St. John the Evangelist, Gananoque, Leeds Co. — a place I had not thought to look, because I was so focused on Lanark and Renfrew Counties.

‘Of the Grand Trunk Rail Road in this mission’

And what were they doing in the Gananoque area in the 1850s?

It looks like the men were working for the Grand Trunk Railway, perhaps on the construction of the line which ran from Montreal to Brockville, which opened in 1859.

When Honora Ryan’s sister Margaret married Cornelius Harrington on 4 November 1856,2 the priest, the Rev. James R. Rossiter, identified Cornelius Harrington as a railroad worker:

Marriage of Cornelius Harrington and Margaret Ryan, 4 November 1856

Marriage of Cornelius Harrington and Margaret Ryan, 4 November 1856

The above record lists “Cornelius Harrington of the Rail Road in this mission, son of age of Timothy Harrington and Julia Fahey of the parish of Kilcastle, Co. Cork Ireland,” along with “Margaret Ryan, also of this mission, daughter minor of Michael Ryan and Bridget Lahey from the parish of Kilcommon, Co. Limerick.”

And in the marriage record which immediately follows, that of Thomas Elligot and Bridget Conway (10 November 1856),3 we have Thomas Elligot identified with the Grand Trunk Railway in particular:

Marriage of Thomas Elligot and Bridget Conway, 10 November 1856

Marriage of Thomas Elligot and Bridget Conway, 10 November 1856

The above records lists “Thomas Elligot of the Gr. T. R. Road in this mission, son of age of John Elligot and Margaret Collins of the parish of [Grane?] Co. Limerick Ireland,” along with “Bridget Conway, daughter minor of Thomas Conway and Margaret Kennedy from the parish of Kilcommon Co. Tipperary Ireland.”

gananoque mission marriagesIndeed, for the mid- to  late-1850s, a number of men in this register are identified as railroad workers in their marriage records. Which is to say, in other words, that the Rev. James R. Rossiter took the time to add that extra detail about the men’s occupation (and in one record, he also identifies a woman as being “of the Rail Road”). Given the difficulties of locating Irish emigrants who worked on the construction of canals and railroads, the register for St. John the Evangelist, Leeds Co., Ontario therefore strikes me as an unusually valuable source (I consider any Catholic parish register to be a valuable source, but for at least a few families [probably more than “a few,” I haven’t yet counted] this one has that little something extra). Moreover, the priest’s tendency to record counties, and sometimes parishes, of origin in Ireland also makes this register extremely valuable.

By the way, I would expect that many of the people found in this register did not remain in the Gananoque region for very long. Like my own Benton and Ryan ancestors, they had probably moved on by the 1860s — to other parts of Canada, and also to the United States.

Thomas Benton is not identified as a railroad worker in the record of his marriage to Honora Ryan. But given the occupational listing for other men (including his brother-in-law Cornelius Harrington) in the same mission, for now I am filing him under “Possibly Working for the Grand Trunk Railway” in the late 1850s. Thomas Benton’s future son-in-law, Alexander Michael Moran (husband of Anna [“Annie”] Maria Benton), did certainly work, as a machinist, for the Grand Trunk Railway. And Thomas Benton’s grandson, my paternal grandfather Allan Jerome Moran, also worked for the GTR, and later for the CN (Canadian National Railway).

I am currently compiling a table of marriages from the register for St. John the Evangelist, which identify Irish parishes and counties (similar to my Irish Counties in Fitzroy Harbour Mission Marriage Records). To be posted within the next few days.

  1. In the early Ottawa Valley, where conditions were harsh and clerics were scarce, members of various Protestant denominations sometimes crossed denominational lines to baptize an infant or to marry: in the absence of a Presbyterian minister, a pair of Presbyterian parents might have their infant baptized by an Anglican minister, for example. For the most part, however, Roman Catholics resisted this pioneer-era ecumenicalism: to be baptized or married by a non-Catholic, as Catholics understood it, was scarcely to be baptized or married at all.
  2. St. John the Evangelist (Gananoque, Leeds), Marriages 1846-1863, Cornelius Harrington-Margaret Ryan marriage, image 22 of 41: database, FamilySearch.org (http://www.familysearch.org/: accessed 9 March 2015), Ontario, Roman Catholic Church Recors, 1760-1923.

  3.  St. John the Evangelist (Gananoque, Leeds), Marriages 1846-1863, Thomas Elligot-Bridget Conway marriage, image 22 of 41: database, FamilySearch.org (http://www.familysearch.org/: accessed 9 March 2015), Ontario, Roman Catholic Church Records, 1760-1923.

James Ingram: Home Child

Found in the household of John Killeen in the 1901 census of Torbolton township, Carleton County (Ontario, Carleton, Torbolton, pp. 12-13, family 98):

    James Ingram, male, white, Orphan, single, date of birth 15 Nov 1887, age 14, born England u [urban], racial or tribal origin Irish, nationality Canadian, religion R. Cath [Roman Catholic].

The information on James Ingram’s religion and racial/tribal origin may or may not be accurate: the head of this household, the widowed John Killeen (widower of Margaret Fahey, whose mother was  a Lahey), was accurately listed as a Roman Catholic of Irish origin; and the census enumerator then used ditto marks to indicate the origin and religion of all other members of the household (accurate for John Killeen’s children, daughter-in-law, and grandchild, certainly, but perhaps not for James Ingram).

In July 1900, a James Ingram, age 13, travelled from Liverpool to Québec with a party of children from the Barnardo Homes. Is this the same James Ingram as found above?

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.

Patrick Cavanaugh and Bridget Killeen

Another Killeen couple with surprisingly few marriages amongst their offspring:

Bridget Killeen was one of the daughters (possibly the fourth daughter, and fifth child) of Denis Killeen and Mary Ahearn, and a sister of Hanora (married Michael Donahue), and also of Ellen (married Mathew Daley), of Patrick (married Bridget Galligan), of Margaret Jane (married John Lahey), of John (married Margaret Fahey), and of five other known siblings. She was born at March township about 1827, and died at Maniwaki, Gatineau Co., Québec in 1910.
On 2 May 1854 (Notre Dame, Bytown), Bridget Killeen married Patrick Cavanaugh, son of Christopher Cavanaugh and Jane Malone, and an emigrant from Co. Kildare, Ireland. The couple lived in March township, Carleton Co., Ontario for the next six to eight years, where they had five known children (Mary Jane; Margaret; John Christopher; William; and Anna Esther), before moving to Maniwaki, where they had another three known children (James Patrick; Denis Joseph; and Albert). Patrick Cavanaugh was a blacksmith, as were his sons John, William, and James, according to the 1881 census (Quebec, Ottawa, Egan and Maniwaki, household of Patrick Kavanagh, family no. 15; LAC; click thumbnail to see larger image):
cavanaugh_patrick_killeen_bridget_1881census.jpg

Middle Name ‘Loretto’/’Loreto’

In my family tree, I’ve noticed the name Loreto/Loretto as a girl’s middle name from about 1860. It seems to peak around 1900 or so (though there are a couple of examples which occur a generation or two later).

So, for example, my great-grandmother, daughter of Patrick Killeen and Bridget Galligan, was baptized Bridget Loreto Killeen on 11 Jun 1861. Her first cousin, daughter of John Killeen and Margaret Fahey, was baptized Celestina Loreto Killeen on 28 Mar 1871. Her second cousin, daughter of Thomas Daniel Galligan and Catherine Brady, was baptized Helen Loreto Galligan on 20 Apr 1896. Her husband John James Lahey’s second cousin, daughter of Thomas Armstrong and Henrietta Charlebois, was baptized Bridget Loretto Armstrong on 29 May 1898 (this Bridget Loretto is also connected to my father’s family through at least one other branch).
I had initially assumed that the name referred to the Marian shrine in Italy. However, given that the above were all Canadian Catholics of Irish origin, it seems at least as likely that the name was chosen with reference to the Loretto Sisters who first arrived in Canada in 1847.