Tag Archive for Vallely

John Vallely (1861-1935)

John Vallely was a son of Michael Vallely and Mary Ryan. He was born in Lanark Co., Ontario in 1861, and emigrated to Grand Forks, North Dakota about 1882. In 1889 he married another Canadian emigrant to North Dakota: Anna Lillian (“Lila”) Moran (1861-1915), daughter of Alexander Michael Moran and Mary Ann Leavy.

This photograph comes from Clement A. Lounsberry’s North Dakota History and People: Outlines of American History, vol. 3 (Chicago: The S.J. Clark Pub. Co., 1917), which I discovered through a google search.

John Vallely (1861-1935)

John Vallely (1861-1935)

Local, regional, and state histories will often provide useful biographical information about prominent (male) citizens, and will occasionally even supply a photograph. The biographical coverage of such histories is typically skewed toward businessmen, politicians, and other local worthies, and is therefore extremely unrepresentative of the area’s population as a whole (no labourers; no humble farmers; and almost no women).

Surname Confusion: Lavallee, Lavelle, Vallely

Returning to the French-Irish theme (see Strange Surname Spellings: Hohanlan for O’Hanlon) with respect to surname spellings, here are three surnames which sound somewhat similar, and which are often misspelled in the 19th-century records in ways that make them look even more alike:

  • LAVALLEE is a French, and French-Canadian, surname. And just to complicate matters, it is sometimes (but not always!) a “dit” name: Paquet dit Lavallee, for example.1
  • LAVELLE is an Irish surname. According to Irish Ancestors, in mid-19th century Ireland, it was most numerous in Co. Mayo, but was also found in Co. Sligo, as well as in such Ulster counties as Armagh and Fermanagh.
  • VALLELY is an Irish surname. More specifically, it is an Ulster surname, predominantly found in Co. Armagh, but also found in the nearby counties of Tyrone, Monaghan, Antrim, Down, and Fermanagh.

In nineteenth-century Canadian records, Lavallee (French) and Lavelle (Irish) are of course easily confused, and I have seen many instances of such confusion.

For Vallely, I have seen numerous spellings, including Vallilee, Valaly, Valely,  Vallile, and Valley. At a certain point, the spelling for Vallely starts to bleed into something that approximates Lavelle (Irish), or perhaps Lavallee (French).

And then, not only is the Irish Vallely sometimes written out in the records as Valley, but the French Lavallee is sometimes rendered in the English records as Valley, too. Which makes sense, actually, given that la vallée means the valley.

If you have a “Valley” ancestor, and you’re not sure whether he or she was French or Irish, your best first step is probably to consult the 1851 census, and look for Birthplace. Born in Ireland? You can eliminate Lavallee from consideration, but be aware that both Lavelle and Vallely are still in the running. Born in Lower Canada (or LC), later Quebec? Lavallee is now the strongest possible contender, though of course it’s still possible you’re looking at a Canadian-born ancestor of Irish (Lavelle or Vallely) origin.

  1. On French “dit” names, see French “dit” names and Understanding Dit names.

Strange Surname Spellings: Hohanlan for O’Hanlon

As I’ve mentioned before (e.g., in Spelling Doesn’t Count! [in Genealogy]), it’s extremely unlikely that an ancestor had a strong attachment to a certain spelling of his surname, if that ancestor never had occasion to personally spell his own name.

If my ancestor James Moran, for example, was not literate (and I’m pretty sure he was not), then he didn’t  always spell his name Moran (rather than Moren, Morin,  Murran, Murrin, or some other variation that I’ve yet to come across), because, well, he didn’t spell his name at all.  His name was written and recorded by the parish priest; by the county clerk; by the census enumerator … and he would have been in no position to correct the spelling of the recorder, of course, if he could neither read nor write. That’s what it meant to be illiterate.

So surname spelling variations are par for the course in genealogy (for a number of reasons, and not just because of the illiteracy of those named in various records), and the sooner we let go of the notion of a “proper” spelling (which can be surprisingly difficult to do, admittedly), the sooner we arrive at a properly historical understanding of the production of the records on which we rely.1

But while surname spelling variations are only to be expected, are, indeed, the historical norm for pre-20th-century populations, the particular, not to say the peculiar, French-Irish character of the Catholic records of the Ottawa Valley could produce some especially noteworthy oddities in surname spelling.

  1. Most of the records upon which we rely for genealogical information were not produced with future genealogists in mind. A family tree or a series of family events recorded in a family bible can certainly be said to have been written with future family historians in mind. An inscription on a headstone is also oriented toward future generations of the deceased’s family. But a census record? a civil marriage record? a sacramental record (e.g., a church record of a baptism, a Confirmation, a marriage, or a burial)? a register of a deed? a ship’s passenger list? Most “genealogical records” were not originally produced to serve as genealogical records at all. It is we, the genealogists, who now use the records as such, retroactively, and after the fact, so to speak. To approach these records historically means asking a series of “W” questions: Who wrote or produced this record? When was it written? Where was it written? Why was it written (to what purpose, or for what end)? Who was its originally intended audience? What assumptions and presuppositions are embedded in the document? and so on and so forth.

Lizzie Dickens (Dickinson?): Home Child

Found in the household of James Quinn and his wife Mary Ann Vallely in the 1891 census of Lanark (Lanark North, Ontario, p. 33, family no. 140):

Dickens, Lizzie, female, age 14, Orphan, Country of Birth Eng [England]

James Quinn household, 1891 Census of Canada, Ontario, Lanark North, Lanark, p. 33, lines 1-9.

Note the proximity of household 140 (above) of Lanark (Lanark North, Ontario) to household 144 (household of Michael Vallely) of Lanark (Lanark North, Ontario); and also note the family connection: Mary A. [Ann] Quinn of 140 was the daughter of Michael Vallely of 144. And in 1891, both households had an “Orphan” born in England (a Home Child, in other words), each with a very similar surname: William Dickison in the household of Michael Vallely, and Lizzie Dickens in the household of James Quinn and Mary Ann Vallely.

There was an Elizabeth Dickinson, listed as age 11 in 1887, who travelled under the auspices of the Liverpool Catholic Children’s Protection Society, arriving at Quebec on 5 September 1887, with Hotel Dieu, Kingston, Ontario as the final destination for a party of 96 children under the charge of Mrs. Margaret Lacy. Was Elizabeth Dickinson a younger sibling of the William Dickinson who came to Canada on the same voyage, and as a member of the same party?

And was the Elizabeth Dickinson who travelled with the Liverpool Catholic Children’s Protection Society in August 1887 the same “Lizzie Dickens” who is found in household 140 (household of James Quinn and Mary Ann Vallely) of the 1891 Lanark (Lanark Co., Ontario) census?

 

William Dickison (Dickinson?): Home Child

Found in the household of the widowed Michael Vallely in the 1891 census of Lanark (Ontario, Lanark North, p. 34, family no. 144):

Dickison, Wm [William], male, age 16, Orphan, Country of Birth Eng [England]

Michael Valley [Vallely] household, 1891 Census of Canada, Ontario, Lanark North, Lanark, p. 34, lines 4-7.

William Dickison’s religion is listed here as R.C. (Roman Catholic) — a potentially significant clue as to his parentage and origins, or, perhaps, a mistaken assumption on the part of the census enumerator. As I’ve noted before, the recorded religious affiliation of a Home Child must be interpreted with caution:  sometimes the census enumerator assigned the religion of the household head to an “orphaned” or “adopted” child who had been baptized/raised in another denomination.

That said, there was a William Dickinson, listed as age 12 in 1887, who travelled under the auspices of the Liverpool Catholic Children’s Protection Society, arriving at Quebec on 5 September 1887, with Hotel Dieu, Kingston, Ontario as the final destination for a party of 96 children under the charge of Mrs. Margaret Lacy.

In the 1901 census of Drummond township (Ontario, Lanark South, p. 8.) William Dickinson is the head and sole member of household no. 77.  His date of birth is recorded as 7 April 1875, with country of birth listed as England and year of immigration as 1887. His “Racial or Tribal Origin” is English, and his religion is R. Cath (Roman Catholic). Occupation: Laborer.

Quebec land grants information online

In addition to Library and Archives Canada’s Lower Canada Land Petitions (1764-1841), archive.org has the List of lands granted by the Crown in the Province of Quebec, from 1763 to 31st December 1890 [Liste des terrains concédés par la Couronne dans la province de Québec, de 1763 au 31 décembre 1890] (Quebec: Charles-François Langlois, Printer to the Queen, 1891) available online in several formats (including Full Text,  PDF, and DjVu).

This online, digitized version of a microfilm is admittedly a bit cumbersome to read (there are 1927 [one thousand nine hundred and twenty-seven] pages, after all!, and some of the text is quite faint/faded), but definitely worth the effort if you’re looking for ancestors who settled in Lower Canada/Quebec.

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.

Details, Details (Cause of Death Uncovered, or at least Strongly Inferred)

Like most people who get hooked on genealogy, I’m attracted to the detective work aspect of the enterprise. A clue here; a detail there; another hint here, which, combined with a few previously discovered clues and details, finally provides a solid lead; and then: bingo! a nice little nugget of documented and verifiable information, which may then serve as a clue for some other discovery; and on (and on!) it goes.

It’s very easy to overlook a relevant detail, though.

Bridget O’Hanlon = Sister of Ann O’Hanlon Vallely?

On 15 November 1841, in the parish of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours at Montebello, Papineau Co., Québec, Thomas McTeague married Bridget O’Hanlon. The names of the couple and of their parents were written as follows (with my translation/interpretation in italics):


Thomas McTeague, fils majeur de Joseph McTeague et de Brigitte Scerloc, du Township de Grenville, d’une part; et Brigitte O’honlon domiciliée en Grenville, fille majeure de Pierre O’honlon et de Marie Thooner, domiciliés en Irlande, d’autre part…[Thomas McTeague, son of age of Joseph McTeague and of Bridget Sherlock, of the Township of Grenville, on the one part; and Bridget O’Hanlon, residing at Grenville, daughter of age of Peter O’Hanlon and of Mary (Toner?) who reside in Ireland, on the other part]*

The witnesses to this marriage were Charles Major (who signed the register), George Vallillee (who did not sign), and Owen McTeague (who signed).

The reason why the above-cited record interests me is that George Vallillee/Vallely is my 3x great-grandfather, and his first wife Anne O’Hanlon my 3x great-grandmother. Did he witness this marriage as a brother-in-law of Bridget O’Hanlon?

And where did Thomas McTeague and Bridget O’Hanlon eventually settle? A quick search of the 1851 Canadian census turns up a number of McTeagues in Grenville (Deux Montagnes County, Canada East), but no sign of Thomas and wife Bridget O’Hanlon.

*Montebello (Co. Papineau, Québec), Register of Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1840-1851, M. 5 (1841), McTeague et O’honlon, p. 23, Ancestry.ca (http://ancestry.ca/: accessed 12 Dec 2010), Quebec Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967.