Sympathy Saturday ~ John McGinnis

Obituary of John McGinnis (Collingwood Enterprise Bulletin 14 Oct 1937)

Obituary of John McGinnis (Collingwood Enterprise Bulletin 14 Oct 1937)

John McGinnis was the 3rd Great Grandfather of my husband.  Son of Irish immigrants and born in Flos, Ontario, Canada on 3 Aug 1857. John was a fisherman much of his life.  He moved to Collingwood, Ontario with his parents at the age of 8.  He married his French Canadian wife Mary Jane Burgie 28 Dec 1877 and proceeded to have 8 children, one of whom became a ship’s captain.  John was obviously well-loved and respected and his fellow fisherman nicknamed him “Daytime” due to his early rising!  He was a member of St. Mary’s Roman Catholic church in Collingwood and it is in the St. Mary’s Cemetery he was laid to rest joined two years later by his wife Mary Jane.  He died in Oct of 1937 at the age of 80 years.

Headstone of John McGinnis, his wife Mary Jane, and his son Chares. St. Mary's Cemetery, Collingwood, Ontario

Headstone of John McGinnis, his wife Mary Jane, and his son Chares. St. Mary’s Cemetery, Collingwood, Ontario

I have yet to determine the name of John McGinnis’ mother and to trace his ancestors into Ireland.  His father’s name was also John McGinnis (born abt.. 1818).  Ah yes…another Irish brick wall!

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Sympathy Saturday ~ Uncle Jean-Marie

Jean-Marie Loranger 1947-1963

Jean-Marie Loranger 1947-1963

My father was one of twelve children.  A typical French Canadian family of Northern Ontario, prolific and poor!  What I always found humorous was the symmetry of the family’s composition: a tidy six boys and six girls.  My dad would tell stories of his childhood home.  A room for the boys and one for the girls, children sleeping like match sticks tightly packed in a bed with one or two sleeping perpendicular at their feet.  But that perfect symmetry was disrupted in January of 1963!

It is not enough to say with a dozen who misses just one?  Each child has unique value and as parents it is the greatest of losses losing a child regardless of how many there are “to spare”.  I would venture to say the loss of her son, Jean-Marie, was probably the most difficult trial of my grandmere’s life.

The Loranger Family before the birth of their youngest child.

The Loranger Family before the birth of their youngest child. Jean-Marie appears to the far left (my dad just behind him peeking over his head).

Jean-Marie Loranger, born 31 May 1947, was walking home when he was hit by a car and killed 19 January 1963 in Larder Lake, Ontario.  He was 15 years old! Only two years younger than my father, I think my dad felt the loss in a very real way for it was through him that I learned of Jean-Marie as I was growing up.  Dad had a photo of his brother and had told us of the accident. Similar in age and the eldest of the boys, I imagine they were not just brothers but friends!   My son will be 15 this summer and the thought of such a family tragedy is truly unbearable!

Though I was born over a decade after my uncle’s death and I did not know him I feel a connection.  Perhaps it is  through the stories of my father, perhaps it is the effect of a photograph on an impressionable mind, but I remember Jean-Marie in my soul.  I picture him in my mind’s eye–traipsing through the bush with my dad, skipping rocks in the water, teasing and taunting his sisters.  There is possibly a chemical or biological connection to our ancestors that allows us to know and sense things about them regardless of having never met them!

Jean-Marie's Headstone, Kirkland Lake, Ontario

Jean-Marie’s Headstone, Kirkland Lake, Ontario

Jean-Marie is buried in the cemetery in Kirkland Lake, Ontario.  I am hoping to find a newspaper article detailing the accident from the Temiskaming newspapers in the future.
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St. Patty’s Day ~ My Irish Brick Walls

Ireland

The journey overseas is always fraught with troubled waters.  Genealogical research can so easily stall once one tries to cross the ocean to discover roots in the old country.  When this research takes one back to Ireland the pitfalls can be numerous.  In my personal genealogy and that of my husband I have crashed into many Irish brick walls.  One issue which I cannot seem to get passed is the lack of information regarding these individuals’ home towns and even counties.  On a Canadian census one encounters only the country of origin Ireland, and because Canadian’s were considered British subjects until 1947 those immigrants from Britain and Commonwealth countries (such as Ireland) did not require naturalization.  No naturalization equals less documentation! Without an Irish place name to pinpoint and with such common names…feels like a mission impossible!

Ireland2

Our Brick Wall Irish ancestors:

John  McGinnis (my husband’s 4th Great Grandfather)  ~ Born 1 May 1818 in Ireland.  ~His Immigration year according to the 1901 Canada Census 1832  but could have been anytime between 1832-1857.  Immigrated to Township of Flos, Simcoe  ~Wife Margaret (Maiden Name unknown)

James Sloan(e) (my 3rd Great Grandfather)~Born abt 1811 in Ireland   ~Died 12 May 1871 in Oxford County, Ontario, Canada (in poor house)  ~1851 Canada Census – Living in Brantford, ON, Labourer, religion Church of England  ~Immigration year sometime between 1811 and 1847 (when oldest child was born in Canada)  ~Wife Margaret (maiden name unknown) also born in Ireland; Children: William, Mary Ann, James, Margaret, and George all born in Canada.

Henry Rutledge (my 4th Great Grandfather)~Born abt 1796 in Ireland  ~Immigration year had to have been before 1823                                  ~Wife Ann (Maiden name Unknown). She was born in New Brunswick and died sometime bet 1842 and 1851.   ~1851 Canada Census – Living in Norwich, Ontario, W. Methodist, farme  ~1861 Canada Census – Living in Derham, Ontario, W. Methodist, labourer, Living with his daughter and her family  ~Children: Margaret Ann (born in New Brunswick, Canada), Christopher, Elizabeth, Catherine, and Isabella (all born in Ontario, Canada)

Because of their early immigration years even looking for their immigration to Canada has been challenging.

A few Early Irish Record Sets I’ve searched thus far:

Ancestry.ca

~All Irish Canadian Emigration Records, 1823-1849

~New Brunswick, Canada Passenger Lists, 1834

~Irish Emigration Lists 1833-1839

Find My Past (Currently $1 for the month special)

(**Link to the Irish research Guide)

~Griffith Valuation (1847-64)

~Poverty Relief Loan Fund Records (1824-)

~Newspaper Collection (1740-)

~Farrar’s Index of Marriages 1771-1812 and Baptisms 1771-1812

So far little success but I will continue to chip away at those Irish Brick Walls, maybe the Luck o’ the Irish will find me and I will find the gold at the end of the research rainbow!

Monday Madness ~ Little Bouts of Insanity

A photo of the devastation from the Hailybury fire of 1922 "Haileybury 1922" by Russell Photo - Haileybury Heritage Museum (Virtual Museum Canada (online source)).

A photo of the devastation from the Hailybury fire of 1922
“Haileybury 1922” by Russell Photo – Haileybury Heritage Museum (Virtual Museum Canada (online source)).

I think we all have a little story of madness…either we have experienced our own bouts of temporary “insanity”, or we have had encounters with others experiencing their own madness.  While reading a local history book article written by my father’s cousin regarding my Grandmother’s family I had to chuckle about a horrible story of madness.  Yes, I did chuckle but only because the outcome of the story was a happy ending and the story seemed so unbelievable.

Having lost everything in a great fire which had engulfed their community, my Grandmother’s family went to stay with a neighbour.  It was there that the neighbour lady who was suffering a mental illness took my Great-uncle Anicet and tried to stuff him into the wood stove! I have included the quote of this tale  which I have translated from the original French:

Joseph Beland and Dorilda Boulay, my grandparents, left their home town (village of birth) Ste-Ursule in the county of Maskinonge, in 1917. They came to establish themselves with their four children in the promised land of Nedelec, in the Temiskaming. Their children: Dorilda age 5, Francoise age 4, Arthur age 3, and Paul-Emile age 1. They were not rich and they settled the land and, as most of us know, the farm land of Nedelec is rich in stones (full of stones). But grandpa had the heart to overcome this challenge and give his offspring a good life in this rather wild area called Temiscaming. The 22nd of August 1918 Gerald was born, followed by Bernadette in 1920. The 8th of August 1922 Anicet was born; this was the year of the great fire in Hailybury. The family lived peaceful days in their humble dwelling, when a neighbour arrived running to tell them to get out of the house quickly as the fire was heading their way and was close. It must be said that literally the fire ran the fields and, as it was a very dry autumn, it burned everything in its path. Grandma picked up her small children and ran to the neighbours who gave them a place to stay. The neighbour lady (the lady that lived there) suffered from a mental illness and at one point she seized baby Anicet, to put him in the wood stove. But because of her watchful eye and maternal instinct, grandma saved her youngest. The great fire proved to be a terrible ordeal for the Beland family. They lost everything but the clothes on their backs. The neighbours were generous, but they too were suffering from the disaster. In 1934 they moved onto a farm in Belle-Vallee, To situate you it was the land of Phillipe Goudreault.

An excerpt from an article written by Diane Beland printed in “Raconte-moi ton histoire: Belle-Vallee et Judge 1909-2009”

Having read this vignette what touched me was that my dad’s cousin knew this story only through narrative tales told by her grandparents.  Her father Anicet had only been a baby at the time of the event.  I called my dad to talk about this story and he reiterated the tale.  He had heard this story too from his grandparents and from his mother, Bernadette (my grandmere).  It is often those little bouts of madness which live on in a family’s oral history!
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Sunday Surprises! A Brick Wall Demolished.

 Sketched by G. R. Dartnell, Esq., surgeon of the 1st Royal Regiment, Penetanguishene, Oct. 12th, 1836

Sketched by G. R. Dartnell, Esq.,
surgeon of the 1st Royal Regiment, Penetanguishene, Oct. 12th, 1836

I had every intention this evening of writing a 2nd installment to follow my Thriller Thursday story of My Great-Great Grandfather John Carter but I had a lovely evening with friends which went late into the evening so time forbids such an intricate tale.  Another reason for my change in subject however is a surprise tumbling of a genealogical brick wall today.

I had mentioned previously the brick wall I had been pondering — the Burgie family of Collingwood, Simcoe, Ontario.  I had inquired with the Collingwood library about some obituary notices to see if they would produce any leads.  These took me back one generation further but again the trail ran cold. I had once again stalled!

Breaking through one brick wall only to slam into another is something I do not accept!  I suspected the Burgie name was not the true surname but I had nothing to cling to regarding this suspicion. I decided to take my query about the family to the Ontario Genealogical Society Facebook page last night and by this morning I had a wealth of possibilities presented to me.  Some information I already possessed, some I was easily able to dismiss, but then there came a piece that fit precisely into the picture my research had formed!

The name Burgie was, as I had suspected, a changed surname, a variation  of the name Berger.  Joseph Burgie–the ancestor which had caused a stand still in my research was the son of Joseph Berger and Marie Beaudoin.  Ah ha! Territory I can understand, French-Canadian territory.  Joseph Berger, born in Montreal, it seems was a Voyageur in the fur trade venturing to Drummond Island.  The history of Drummond Island, its British Garrison, and the island’s change of hands from those of the  British to those of the Americans in the years after the war of 1812 are subjects I will be studying further.

The Voyageurs Migration from Drummond Island after the American take over.

The Voyageurs Migration from Drummond Island after the American take over.

I am now vigorously sifting through this new burst of information!  I believe I may now be able to trace the family back into Quebec, if not France.  Time will tell!  Forgive my mixed metaphors, but sometimes all it takes is one ray of light; One foot in the right direction and a stand still turns into a run!!

Sorry so short!  Hopefully this breakthrough will remind you that Facebook Genealogy Society pages can be a wonderful resource, as are libraries, and asking for a little help to steer your research in the right direction by presenting you with more obscure possibilities from local resources you may not have access to any other way!
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