Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Judge Marcus Doherty and his family 1

As I've written here, Judge Marcus Doherty was a lawyer and distinguished jurist who served as a judge in the Quebec Superior Court from 1873 to 1891. He was appointed to the bench by the government of Canada's first prime minister, Sir John A. MacDonald.

Marcus met his wife, Elizabeth O'Halloran, the youngest daughter of immigrants from County Cork, when he was studying law at the University of Vermont in Burlington. Marcus was a classmate of one of Elizabeth's brothers. She was only 17, but Marcus was smitten and so they married in November 1843 and settled first in Granby, where they began their family, which grew to 12 children born between 1844 and 1867:
  • Ellen Elizabeth (1844-1919) never married
  • Thomas James (1845-1894) Q.C., never married
  • Marcus (1847-1856)
  • Mary Louisa Cecilia (1851-1919) m Patrick Walter Kavanagh, three children
  • Daniel O'Connell (1853-1878) never married
  • Charles Joseph (1855-1931), K.C., MP, married Catharine Lucy Barnard, five children
  • Anna Maria (1857-1944) never married
  • Margaret Agnes Mary (1859-1894) took religious vows, known as Rev. Madam Mary of the Annunciation
  • Elizabeth Mary (1861-1926) m Judge Henry W. Mulvena, three children
  • Sarah Curran (1863-1863)
  • Marcus Emanuel (1866-aft 1931), lawyer, never married
  • Michael Joseph (1867-1907) accountant, never married
3462 (formerly 38) rue Ste-Famille, 2016
By 1851, Judge Marcus and his growing family had relocated from Granby to Montreal. He was an active member of Montreal's St. Patrick's Society, serving as its president in 1858 and 1861, and earning a good reputation. By the 1861 census, they were living at 38 Ste-Famille, a house that still stands today, but re-numbered 3462.

During those years, Marcus had offices in what today we know as Old Montreal, in a building that till standing today, mentioned here. In the 19th century, the building's address was 59 Little St. James Street. Today the street is known as rue St-Jacques.


59 Little St James Street
Following his 1873 appointment, Judge Marcus was assigned to the St. Francis District, in which the city of Sherbrooke is located. While in Sherbrooke, Judge Marcus was regarded as a leading citizen, serving as a member of the Sherbrooke chapter of the St. Patrick's Society and giving the English language welcome when St Patrick's parish was dedicated at its first mass in 1873. Judge Marcus is mentioned in Pioneer English Catholic of the Eastern Townships, published in the 1930s by Rev T. J. Walsh, SJ.

The family lived in Sherbrooke, Quebec, from 1873 until 1882, when Judge Marcus was re-assigned back to Montreal.

Judge Marcus must have liked Ste-Famille a lot, because he moved the family into number 24 Ste-Famille in 1882, when they returned from Sherbrooke. That house also still stands today, as number 3442 Ste-Famille.


3442 (formerly 24) rue Ste-Famille, 2016 
With such a large family, the censuses of 1871, 1881, 1891 and 1901 all included servants to help Elizabeth Doherty in running her household.

Three of Judge Marcus' sons also became lawyers: Thomas, Charles and Marcus E. They shared offices at 590 Sherbrooke St W, for many years, joined by their father after he stepped down from the bench in 1891. That building no longer exists. The space today is occupied by a large Universite de Québec à Montréal student residence at the corner of Sherbrooke and St-Urbain Streets, the always helpful staff at the Bibliotheque et Archives Nationale du Quebec (BAnQ) tell me. I walked this block during a recent visit to Montreal.

When he died in July 1903, Judge Marcus was memorialized in several newspapers, including this item in the July 6, 1903 edition of The Gazette.

Judge Marcus and several family members are buried in Notre Dame des Neiges Cemetery on Mount Royal in Montreal.

The never ending story continues....

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

A visit to Montreal

I've been visiting Montreal and was busy there for the past week, but am now back to blog about my never ending family stories. In Montreal, I spent a great half-day doing genealogy research at the magnificently modern Grande Bibliotheque, a downtown building that opened to the public in 2005, and which houses Quebec's national archives and library.

For family historians and genealogists, this facility is a mecca.


I could spend weeks in their Collection Nationale room, where they have new, modern, microfiche machines on which to read a collection of Quebec newspapers in both English and French. This is the only place to find these newspapers. For the first time ever, I didn't have to wrestle with a microfiche machine, earlier versions of which presented nothing but frustrating problems to me as a student long ago. I barely scraped the surface of all that I had wanted to research--I came prepared with a list. A return trip is a definite plan.

I did drive to my ancestral (!) neighbourhood of Notre Dame de Grace, and to the streets where both sets of my grandparents and my parents lived. These homes still stand today.

4186 West Hill Ave, Montreal
My Dougherty grandparents lived in a house on West Hill Avenue, that they purchased new in 1919, when their family of six children was complete, until their 1953 deaths. The house remained in the family until the mid 1970s.

The exterior has changed of course, from when it was first built, probably a few times, and the windows have been replaced too. Here is a photo of the front entrance in the mid 1940s with a couple of my then very young cousins and an aunt.
4186 West Hill, mid 1940s

A few of the neighbouring houses are having their exteriors re-done right now. But none of those homes has been knocked down to be replaced by any monster home. Which I suppose says a lot about the neighbourhood and the solidity of the original builds.

4206 Hampton Ave, Montreal
My paternal grandfather, John Matheson, bought a solid home six blocks away from West Hill, on Hampton Avenue in the late 1920s for his family. This is where my mother lived most of her life until she married. I remember when I was a teenager that there was a real estate open house for my mother's home. Off we went. The house was empty of all furnishings. She told many stories about growing up there as we walked through the rooms.

Because my grandfather was a locomotive engineer, he was often away from home for days at a time. During the Great Depression, my grandmother would often have out of work, homeless men knock at the kitchen door looking for something to eat. She never turned them away, always inviting them in to sit at the kitchen table and have a sandwich and a cup of tea. She must have felt very safe to do that. It was a very different era.

I was also going to post a photograph here of St Michael's the Archangel Parish, where my grandparents John James Dougherty and Alice Nelson were married in 1909, but realized while reading its history that the structure that still stands today was only completed in 1915. My grandparents were married in an earlier building, which the community had outgrown. So far, I haven't been able to find a photograph of the original structure, which stood at Drolet and Boucher streets, and where its cornerstone was laid on May 29, 1904. But I'm waiting to hear back from a potential lead.

The parish celebrated its centenary in 2002. A brochure prepared for that event notes that St Michael's became the largest English language parish in the province of Quebec. When my grandparents attended mass there with their growing family from 1909 to 1919, it was a predominantly Irish community of worship.

The never ending story continues...

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Our Immigrant Ancestors -- the Kingston, New York Doughertys

Despite the name of the county in which it is located, Kingston was originally settled by the Dutch. Later, there was an influx of German immigrants, and then in the mid 19th century, the Irish began to arrive, including six of my 1st cousins 3x removed, five of whom remained in Kingston or New York City. Today, Kingston is about an hour north of Manhattan.

Only one of their spouses was born with certainty in New York. I wonder if my other cousins' spouses were born in or near Dungiven.

Rev James Dougherty
Michael (abt 1810-1853) m Ann O'Reilly (abt 1816-1852). I haven't found a record of their marriage either in Ireland or New York so far. They were in Rondout/Kingston by 1843, when the first of their four children were born, but they both had died by the time their eldest was ten years old. Their children:
  • James (1843-1906) ordained as a priest
  • Mary Anne (1845-1933) m David P. Hallahan, 1 daughter
  • Isabella (1848-1924) took vows as an Ursuline nun (Mother Ambrose)
  • Elizabeth (abt 1851-1931) never married
Isabella Dougherty McReynolds 
Isabella (abt 1813-1897) m Bernard MacReynolds, childless. From Bernard's marker, we know that he was born in Dungiven.

Margaret (abt 1819-1893) m  James McGranahan, who was born in Rosenale, Ulster, New York. They were in Rondout/Kingston by about 1850 when their first child was born:
  • Anna (abt 1850-?)
  • Margaret (1852-1931) never married
  • Isabella (abt 1855-?)
  • William J. (abt 1857-1892) became a lawyer, never married
  • Margaret & James McGranahan
  • Rosemary (1864-1940) m James W. Allen
Mary O'Reilly
Mary (1820-1908) m Andrew O'Reilly (possibly a sibling of Ann O'Reilly). Here again, there is no record of their marriage in either New York or Ireland. They had nine children, all of whom were born in Kingston:
  • John C. (1839-1906) an ordained priest
  • Andrew B. (1842-1872) never married
  • Terrence J. (abt 1845-1886) never married
  • Mary Theresa (abt 1847-aft 1880)
  • Margaret (abt 1847-?)
  • Joseph A. (abt 1850-aft 1880)
  • Thomas (1851-1855)
  • James Augustine (1854-1855)
  • Roseanna (1859-1938) married and had three children
Mary, Andrew and three of their children are listed on a monument in St Mary's Cemetery in Kingston. It's not clear what happened to Joseph, Margaret and Mary Theresa. 

Bridget Dougherty Hayden
Obituary 
Bridget (abt 1821-1916) m. William B. Hayden, I believe in New York. I have found an immigration record noting that Bridget arrived in 1849. Bridget and William had five children:
  • Thomas (1853-1855)
  • Mary M. (1856-1921) m James W. Allen, childless 
  • Isabella (1858-1941) never married 
  • Helen E. (1862-1940) m1 John Fitzgerald; m2 John Kearney, no children
  • William J. (1865-1926) m Anna Sweeney, eight children
Thomas (abt 1823-1854) appears in the 1850 census in Kingston, living with his brother Michael and his family, but soon returned to Ireland. He died, unmarried in 1854 in Dunvigen.

Isabella, Margaret and Bridget each outlived their husbands, and all died in New York City. Bridget's children all settled in and around Jersey City, New Jersey. 

I did make an interesting discovery in researching these families. Mary E. Hayden married James W. Allen in New York City. After her 1921 death, James then married Mary's cousin Rosemary McGranahan. Both marriages were childless. Rosemary survived James. 

There were other Doughertys in Kingston as well, census and other records reveal. Were these relatives? As I've asked before, why did my cousins choose Kingston over Vermont or Cincinnati or Granby? Once one arrived there, the rest seem to have followed. As I noted here, Fr James officiated at several baptisms, marriages and funerals of his uncle Judge Marcus' family. Bridget Dougherty Hayden's obituary notes that she was sister to Judge Marcus. 

There were family ties. But did the Kingston Doughertys stay in touch at all with the Cincinnati Doughertys or my 2nd great grandfather (farmer) Marcus? When were those family ties lost? 

The never ending story continues...

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Thomas Dougherty of Camnish and his children

Thomas Doherty, my 2nd great great uncle, died about 1832 in Camnish, precipitating the decision of his widow, Bridget McCloskey Doherty, to send their son (Judge) Marcus to his uncles in South Hero, Vermont.

Thomas and Bridget had several other children in addition to (Judge) Marcus:
  • John (abt 1807-1872)
  • Michael (abt 1810-1853)
  • Isabella (abt 1813-1897)
  • (Judge) Marcus (1815-1903)
  • James (abt 1817-1854)
  • Margaret (abt 1819-1893)
  • Mary (abt 1820-1908)
  • Bridget (1821-1916)
  • Thomas (1823-1854)
  • Elleanor (abt 1825-?)
  • Sarah (abt 1826-1861)
  • Louisa (abt 1830-?)
His brothers James and Marcus were already in Vermont when Thomas passed away. Thomas' children Michael, Isabella, Margaret, Mary and Bridget all made their way from Camnish to Rondout, which later was Kingston in Ulster County, New York and all had families. They seem to have arrived by the late 1840s. Their brother Thomas also was in Kingston for a time, but returned to Camnish. Kingston is about an hour north of New York City, by today's travel standards.

It's not clear whether all five travelled together or at different times. It's also not clear if they married their spouses before they left Ireland or after they arrived in New York.

What is clear is that all of the siblings who settled in New York used the Dougherty spelling. Paul, who remained in Camnish, appears as Doherty or O'Doherty in various records. 

I wonder what made these five siblings go to New York and not to either Granby, Montreal or Vermont, where they knew they had family. All are relatively close to Kingston.

(Judge) Marcus did stay in contact with the Kingston Doughertys, as evidenced by the regular appearance of his nephew (son of Michael) James Dougherty's name as a Catholic priest officiating or appearing as a concelebrant at baptisms, funerals and marriages in (Judge) Marcus' family.

Did my great grandfather and grandfather know any of the Kingston Doughertys? Did the Cincinnati Doughertys know the Kingston Doughertys?

More to come about the Kingston Doughertys.

The never ending story continues....

The Camnish Doughertys

My paternal 3rd great grandparents were James Dougherty and Isabella McLaughlin. I discovered these names while researching their son, Rev James Dougherty of Vermont. I have no information about the birthdates or marriage date for James and Isabella.

The family story goes that we are originally from the Inishowen peninsula in Donegal. Inishowen is the name given by Judge Marcus' son Charles J. Doherty to his country home in the Laurentians north of Montreal. Over years of research, it became clear that my line of Doughertys arrived in North America from Camnish, near Dungiven, which today is in County Derry. Not all of James and Isabella's children were born in Camnish, possibly none of them. In fact, based on published eulogies and other resources, Rev James was born in Park, Banagher or possibly Learmont. Were any other of James and Isabella's children also born in Park or Learmont? The family was definitely in Camnish by 1826, when my great great uncle James was baptized at the Dungiven church, St Patrick's. I have a copy of that record, thanks to one of my internet cousins. Certainly, Isabella was in Camnish when she died on 2 Apr 1830. We have a copy of her burial record from St Patrick's. Inishowen and Dungiven have very small populations even today. I wonder what their populations were in the early 19th century.

Here's what I definitely know about James and Isabella's children:
There were likely daughters too. One source mentions that Rev James was one of four brothers. We know that Thomas and Joshua stayed in Dungiven. More about Thomas' family will be written in the next post.

I did find Thomas and Joshua listed on page 163 of the transcribed 1831 Derry census. There are two interesting column headers in this document: surname standardised and surname as spelt in census returns. In the first column, the spelling is Doherty, while in the second column, Dougherty is given. This suggests that my ancestors used the Dougherty spelling, but that Doherty was used in public documents. Why?

There are Dohertys who settled in other areas of Quebec's Eastern Townships -- Sherbrooke and Farnham. It's been suggested that these are also descendants of James and Isabella from Dungiven, but I'm still looking for sourced proof. There is another line of Dohertys who settled in the Lotbiniere area of Quebec -- one of them married one of the other Dohertys in Sherbrooke. In addition, a descendant of the Lotbiniere Dohertys and I share DNA. More unsolved mysteries. 

James and Isabella are responsible for the naming of many of their descendants for at least the first three generations carrying those names, causing great confusion for their 20th century descendant, the family historian.

The never ending story continues....

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Our immigrant ancestors -- Judge Marcus Doherty QC

Judge Marcus Doherty
My 1st cousin 3x removed, Marcus Doherty (1815-1903) emigrated from Camnish, Dunvigen in what is now County Derry at the age of 18, arriving in Quebec City in 1833, and then travelling down to South Hero, Vermont, to join his uncles (my 2nd great grandfather) Marcus and (my 2nd great great uncle) James Dougherty.

Marcus was born in a house in Camnish, Dungiven, that was later occupied by the family of Irish nationalist John Mitchel.

The story is that Marcus was sent to Vermont by his mother after his father Thomas Dougherty died in Dungiven. He wasn't their eldest, but I think he was the brightest, and had attended grammar school in Dungiven, something one of my internet cousins tells me was quite rare for an Irish person to do in the early 19th century. One story has it that he was destined for the priesthood. Marcus attended college and also  taught at the Shefford Academy, where his uncle James was the principal. In 1838, he enrolled at  the University of Vermont where he received his BA and MA, and in 1848 was called to the Bar of Lower Canada in Montreal. He was appointed to the Quebec Superior Court in 1873. I've found many references in which Judge Marcus is mentioned. He first practised law as a newly minted lawyer in Granby, then moved on to Montreal. He was then posted in Sherbrooke for several years, before returning to Montreal.

Judge Marcus' eldest children were born and baptized in Granby. In my very early web research days, and before the Drouin Collection had indexed the Notre Dame de Granby parish records, another researcher, in an act of random genealogical kindness, pointed out to me that having a Marcus Dougherty and Marcus Doherty in the same small community at the same time was, well, no coincidence. My great grandfather John James and Judge Marcus were cousins.

In my family papers, we have for reasons still unknown to me, a copy the certificate attesting Judge Marcus' entry into the Bar of Lower Canada. The seal has been cut out. How did this come to be in my grandfather's possession?

Marcus was the first of six siblings to leave their Camnish, Dungiven home for America. Those siblings who came all used the Dougherty spelling. More about those siblings and their families will come. No, I don't know why Judge Marcus used the Doherty spelling. His siblings who remained in Ireland used both Dougherty and Doherty. Yes, all these same names do get confusing in the telling of stories.

Full disclosure: In 1998 and 1999, a woman posted on several genealogy message boards seeking relatives of Judge Marcus, and saying he was the brother of her late husband's great great grandfather. She even contacted me, saying we were related. But this was in my dark age of the genealogy research, and I brushed her off. Of course, it turned out she was absolutely right, but by then several years had passed, and I was unable to locate her. It was an early lesson to never make assumptions.

Montreal - Biographical Sketches
An early biography of Judge Marcus appeared during his lifetime in something called Montreal - Biographical Sketches. Note the inconsistencies about his year of birth and John Mitchel.

Here's another profile (in two images), from the Canadian Biographical Dictionary:


Note the inconsistencies in both with respect to Judge Marcus' year of birth and John Mitchel. It wasn't always easy in the mid 19th century to fact check, I guess. No Google, for one thing.

Judge Marcus died in Montreal on 4 Jul 1903. The Montreal Gazette carried a lengthy obituary about him and his remarkable career, which offers yet more conflicting information on his year of birth and other facts.

I will be writing more about Judge Marcus, his marriage and family. Note: For identification purposes in this blog, this Marcus will be called Judge Marcus, while my 2nd great grandfather will be referred to as Farmer Marcus. My small contribution to ending the confusion over the use of the same names even within the same generations.

The never ending story continues...

Friday, 12 August 2016

Joe Dougherty & Rosie Caroline

Notre Dame de Granby Parish register, 1876
My great grandparents, John James Dougherty and Rose Caroline (Joe -- no, I don't know why he was called Joe, but he was -- and Rosie), were married in 1876 in Granby.

Despite all of the research I've done, I really did start with a virtual blank slate in terms of photographs of my more immediate ancestors. Were photographs taken? Probably. What happened to them? Who knows.

This spring, a 2nd cousin once removed on my Caroline side called to say she realized that she had a photograph of Joe and Rosie. Was I interested in seeing this? Hello!! No one in my family had ever seen any photos. I was so excited. It felt like I was going to meet them. The photo took my breath away.  

(top) John & Rose Dougherty (bottom) Margaret & James Caroline
Sherbrooke, Quebec Aug 1877
Joe was a really big guy! He's the man standing with the incredible dark beard.

Cousins see a bit of one of my uncles in Rosie's face. I'm sure there are many more resemblances in their descendants.

When this photo was taken, Joe and Rosie had been married less than a year. Joe was 43 and Rosie was 37. This was his second marriage, Rosie's first. They had known each other all their lives, since their fathers farmed adjacent plots of land.

The seated couple are my great uncle James Caroline (1850-1928) and his bride, Margaret Murphy (1856-1928). They had just been married in Adamsville in the Eastern Townships, and this was taken while they were on their honeymoon, visiting Rosie and Joe in Sherbrooke. 

And Joe's face? My father and brothers have the same face. It was a jaw dropping experience for me. Here's my father as a young man.

My father was a redhead -- they tend to go grey early. Could it be that Joe was also a redhead? 

The seated couple are my great uncle James Caroline (1850-1928) and his bride, Margaret Murphy (1856-1928). They had just been married in Adamsville in the Eastern Townships, and this was their honeymoon. 

1871 Granby census
Joe's 1861 marriage to Mary Ann Gannon (1838-1871) had produced no children. Yet, the 1871 census in Granby for their household shows a 13 year old Mary Ann Dougherty living with them.

1877 Cincinnati directory
Is this the same Mary Ann Dougherty noted here that appeared in the 1877 Cincinnati city directory boarding at the same address (62 Barr St) as Joe's brother Joseph M? If so, Mary Ann would then have been 19 years old. Was she a niece to Joe and his brother Joseph? The 1871 census doesn't state her relationship to John and his wife Mary Ann Gannon, but I think she's his niece from Cincinnati, and the daughter of  James, or even the Marcus Dougherty also seen in this directory. And what about him? Both the Mary Ann in the 1871 census and 1877 city directory and the Marcus Dougherty both remain unsolved mysteries. What happened to them?

By 1881, Joe and Rosie had their only son, my grandfather, also John (1879-1953), and according to that year's census, they were running a boarding house in Sherbrooke and had two servants, and two roomers.
Baptism 3 Dec 1876, John James Dougherty

And here's another mystery. My grandfather's godparents are James Joseph Doherty and Margaret Anderson. This is a couple who also lived in Sherbrooke. But I believe that this James and Joe were cousins. I'm still trying to confirm this. Yet another unsolved mystery.

In 1891, the final census Joe appeared in, he, Rosie and their 11 year old son John are living in Compton, just outside Sherbrooke. His occupation is listed as gentleman. Joe died two years later at the young age of 59.

Rosie raised her son alone, as far as I've been able to discover. There must have been some money, because John was able to attend McGill University in Montreal. My father also told a story that his father had attended school for a time in Worcester, Massachusetts before going to McGill. Rosie is recorded as living alone in 1901 in Sherbrooke, and as noted here, in 1911 was living with my grandparents in Montreal. Rosie died in 1915. She, Joe and my grandparents are all buried in St Michael's Cemetery in Sherbooke.

The never ending story continues...

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Frank Matheson's wives and children 2

Frank & Annie marriage 6 Aug 1878
On 6 Aug 1878, Frank married a second time, to my great grandmother, Annie Ross (1849-1922). By this time, Frank is a railway surface man, and Annie is a domestic servant.

The marriage extract for Frank and Annie is filled with family history clues, I realized years after I had first seen it. The witnesses were Annie's half brother John McLeod (1856-1880) and her brother-in-law, James Gillies, who was married to Margaret Grace Darling Ross. Annie's mother Isabella is recorded on the extract with all of her names: Isabella McLeod previously Ross m.s. McLeod. I wonder if the Free Church of Scotland minister given, Walter Ross, was a relation to Annie. Another clue?

In marrying Annie, Frank also took on her four year old daughter, Annie Munro Ross (1874-1882), born out of wedlock. In fact, Annie gave birth to twins on 21 Feb 1874. Her son Henry died the same day he was born. We don't know who their father was -- Henry Munro perhaps? Was the father another domestic servant? I've never found any records giving any clues. Annie's little daughter Annie was only eight years old when she died. A family note says that the cause was possibly peritonitis.

Frank & Annie and family
Annie and Frank had eight children, three of whom died at one year old or less. Here is their family's page from Frank's bible.

My grandfather, John was their fourth child, but he was given the same name as their firstborn, also a John. My great uncle Frank was named after their son Francis who was born and died two years previous to young Frank's birth. Their daughter Isabella was named after Frank's late first wife. And their youngest daughter Annie could have been named for Frank's sister, her mother, or Annie's first daughter Annie. So many similar names in one family:
  • John (1879-1879)
  • Alexander (1880-1946)
  • Isabella McKenzie (1882-aft 1901)
  • John (1884-1964)
  • Marjory Law (1886-1887)
  • Annie (1888-1918)
  • Francis (1890-1890)
  • Frank (1892-1949)
Of Frank and Annie's five surviving children, only my great grandfather John, great uncle Frank and great aunt Annie had children. In the case of my grandfather and great uncle, they had only daughters, and so Frank's line of male Mathesons died out when my grandfather died in 1964.

The never ending story continues...

Frank Matheson's wives and children 1

My maternal great grandfather Frank Matheson married twice. His first wife was Isabella McKenzie (1840-1871). They married on 20 Apr 1866 in Inverness. As you can see from their marriage extract, he was a railway plate layer and she a domestic servant. The industrial age had reached the Highlands. This record also tells me that Frank's parents Donald and Margaret were deceased by the time Frank married.

Frank & Isabella marriage 20 Apr 1866
Frank and Isabella had three daughters, but sadly, Isabella died four days after the birth of her namesake, who herself died six weeks later.
  • Margaret Finlayson (1868-1887
  • Catherine (1869-1950)
  • Isabella (1871-1871)

The cause of Isabella's death was rheumatic fever.

Here is the page from Frank's bible recording his and Isabella's marriage and their children, as written by Frank.

Frank & Isabella and family
For 12 years, Frank was a single parent. The 1871 census for his household in Rafford, Morayshire, includes the name Catherine Matheson, who is identified as his sister-in-law and whose occupation is given as 'mother's wife' and her nine month old daughter, Margaret Matheson. Is 'mother's wife' a Highland term? Clearly, Margaret was helping to raise Frank's girls.

Only one of Frank's and Isabella's daughters lived to adulthood. Catherine (or Kitty as she was known), married Finlay Graham, a Glasgow police officer, the family story goes, on 2 Dec 1904. They had no children.

The never ending story continues...

Frank Matheson's Family Bible

When we closed up my father's apartment about 20 years ago, I found a three-volume bible, carefully wrapped in very old newspapers that I'd never seen before. The title on the spine of all three volumes is Haweis Bible, that belonged to my great grandfather, Frank Matheson. 

I've always thought it was a Church of Scotland bible, but when I really started to look at it yesterday, discovered it's proper name is (wait for it -- it's a very long title, complete with the punctuation of the era) The Evangelical Expositor; or, a commentary on the Holy Bible; wherein the sacred text of the Old and New Testaments is inserted at large, the sense explained, and the more difficult passages elucidated; with practical observations for the use of families and private Christians" .

inside cover 
The Haweis in the title is Thomas Haweis (1734-1820), described in one reference book as a Church of England clergyman and evangelical Christian born in England, The Haweis Bible, which, no, I haven't read, must have had Presbyterian/Kirk-like overtones to be practised in the Highlands.

So it seems that Frank was an Evangelical living in the Highlands of Scotland. He was married in the Free Church of Scotland.

In Montreal, my grandparents attended Presbyterian services, although my grandmother had been raised in the Church of England.

This edition, I learned after I converted the Roman numerals found at the bottom of the inside cover, was published in 1863. So this was very much something that my Frank bought, not something that was passed down to him.

Frank died in 1909, two years after my grandfather emigrated to Montreal. They were either shipped or sent to Montreal with someone. Of course, the Scot in me wonders how much it must have cost to bring these three volumes across from Scotland to Canada. But then, perhaps there were no baggage allowances in the early 20th century. 

If shipped, and that would have been by sea, how long would that have taken, and again, how much did it cost, I wonder? The volumes are quite heavy. 

The never ending story continues...

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Those Mathesons of Ross and Cromarty, Scotland

When I wrote about my grandfather here, I mentioned that his parents were Frank Matheson and Annie Ross. I knew Frank's exact birth date, thanks to his record keeping in his three-volume (!) bible.

Frank's parents, my maternal great great grandparents were Donald Matheson (abt 1800-bef 1866) and Margaret McKenzie (abt 1798-bef 1866) of Ross and Cromarty, in Scotland's Highlands. I didn't have those names in family papers. I found them online.

Armed with this knowledge, I found Frank's baptismal record on FamilySearch.org together with the baptismal records and names of his eight siblings. What a fantastic discovery. Here are Frank and his many siblings, all of whom were born in Urray:
  • Janet b 9 Jul 1821
  • Alexander b 24 Jan 1824
  • Isabel b 3 Jul 1827
  • John b 30 Oct 1829
  • Duncan b 11 Dec 1331
  • Francis b 19 Dec 1833 (my great grandfather)
  • Elisabeth b 29 Jun 1838
  • Donald b 29 Jun 1839
  • Ann 12 Jul 1842
I don't have the images of the baptisms, but the transcriptions gave me the key information of their names, birth and baptismal dates, which helped me find the family in the 1841 census (below). Five of the nine children baptized are shown living at home at that time. The youngest, Ann, hadn't yet been born. Did the two eldest, Janet and Alexander, marry by 1841 or were they in service elsewhere? It's likely. Did John and Elisabeth die young, since they aren't on the 1841 census? Just as likely.

1841 Census of Scotland
Urray, according to an 1840 account, was a parish partly in Inverness-shire but chiefly in Ross and Cromarty. I found that infobit and a whole lot more here.

The never ending story continues...

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Census Sunday: early 20th century Montreal roots

As I've written here, my grandparents, John James Dougherty and (Elizabeth) Alice Nelson married in Montreal in 1909. Following their marriage, they first lived at 69 o. av Laurier, which would have been just west of boul St-Laurent, that street being the east/west dividing line in Montreal. This is in what is now called the Mile End area of Montreal. Back at the turn of the century and beyond, the area was quite Irish.

By 1911, when the regular Canada census was taken, my grandparents were
1911 Canada Census, Montreal
living at 2127 Esplanade (or more properly ave de l'Esplanade), still in Mile End. This is my grandfather's first appearance on the census in Montreal. In 1901, he was still living in Sherbrooke, I believe, before attending McGill University. Living with them, as seen in the snip above, were my great grandmother Rose, my uncle John Marcus who was just a baby.

Oh, and someone named William Dougherty, 26 years old, born 26 Jun 1884 in Quebec, who is listed as my grandfather's unemployed brother. Now, this relationship is an error, as William never appeared before or afterwards in any family records, but I'm very sure that he is nonetheless a relation of some kind. A cousin perhaps. I'm still researching for how he's related to my line and what happened to him. Call it a work in progress, as so much of genealogy becomes, or, yes, another puzzle.

But my grandfather really was an only child, unlike his father, who we were told was an only child, but was actually one of seven siblings.

Many of the Mile End residences recorded in the 1911 census are still there today. Most are triplex semis, many converted to condos, but with flats on the second and top floors accessed by exterior circular metal stairs (and in the case of the top floor, another set of interior stairs. Those exterior circular metal stairs are notorious in Montreal. Charmingly romantically pretty they may be, but imagine if you will how very treacherous they are in the winter. No charm there.
5317 av de l'Esplanade, Montreal

While visiting family in Montreal in January, we drove down Esplanade, but didn't find number 2127. I contacted the City of Montreal, where very helpful staff researched the property and ascertained that it is still there today, but re-numbered 5317 Esplanade. I sent a brother off to take a photo -- see left. here is my grandparents' 1911 home as it looks today. It's been updated.

Here is where 5317 Esplanade is located in Montreal.

According to Montreal city directories of the time, my grandparents lived here until at least 1916, by which point they had four sons under five years of age (!) as well as my great grandmother Rose, until she passed away in March 1915.

People, myself included, speak with great admiration of the spaciousness of these triplex semis today. But let's stop and consider this: my grandmother had to corral four babies and toddlers up and down those stairs and my great grandmother had to hike up and down those stairs. Did I mention they lived on the top floor?

By the time the 1921 census was held, my grandparents' family was complete. They were living in what would be their lifelong home on West Hill Avenue in the Notre Dame de Grace (NDG) area of Montreal. Their address at that time was 386 West Hill Avenue. The addresses on the street were subsequently renumbered, and 386 became 4186 West Hill Avenue. My father was the second eldest of six siblings -- five sons and one daughter.

1921 census West Hill Ave, Montreal
The never ending story continues...

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Our Immigrant Ancestors -- the New England Planters of Nova Scotia

In addition to my 4th great grandfather Alexander Nelson, all of my Nova Scotia roots come from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, via New England, more specifically Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Connecticut. 

The first of my ancestors to reach Nova Scotia following Alexander Nelson were also part of the 2,000 families who were New England Planters, arriving between 1759 and 1768, after the Acadian Expulsion. I have New England Planter ancestors who settled in Colchester County and the Annapolis Valley. They were primarily farmers and fishers when they arrived.

These direct ancestors had family names such as Fisher, Forbes, Godfrey, McClane/McLean, Moor, Newcomb, Tupper and Webster. These are names still found in Nova Scotia, more than 200 years later. 

Planters is an Elizabethan English term for settlers. After the Acadian Expulsion by the British, notices were published in New England newspapers offering free land to anyone who would go to Nova Scotia to farm land formerly occupied by Acadians.  

Sir Charles Tupper
Canada's seventh prime minister, Sir Charles Tupper, who holds the record for serving the shortest term as prime minister--10 weeks--(there's a good trivia question), led Nova Scotia into Confederation and is one of Canada's Fathers of Confederation, is the descendant of New England Planters. Oh, and he's also my 3rd cousin 5x removed--not necessarily a great trivia question. 

Want to know more about the New England Planters? 
The never ending story continues...

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Grace Darling, 19th century national heroine

In this post I noted that one of my maternal great grandmother's sisters' name was Margaret Grace Darling Ross. I've always assumed that these were family names passed down through either the Ross or Smith families. I even used them trying to research further back.

Then I heard from an English friend this week who was reading my blog. She presumed I knew that Grace Darling was an English national heroine. Er, no, and kicked myself yet again to never make assumptions in family history. (Borrowing a line from Game of Thrones, you know nothing Margaret Dougherty.)

Off I went to research Grace Darling (1815-1842), aided by my friend's inclusion in her message of this link detailing Grace's story. In 1838, Grace and her lighthousekeeper father, William, were responsible for the rescue of nine passengers who survived when the paddlesteamer Forfarshire hit rocks at the Farne Islands off the coast of Northumberland in a gale enroute from Hull, England, to Dundee, Scotland and sank.

Grace Darling
Grace quickly rose to fame as word of her exploit spread far and wide. People wanted to fete her constantly, and it grew too much for her. She died, probably from tuberculosis, four years after this event.

Were many young girls in Scotland named to honour Grace? Or was there still some remote family connection to the Forfarshire? Did my 2nd great grandparents Alexander Ross and Isabella Smith honour the memory of Grace because a family member had been among the Forfarshire's crew or passengers? Had a family member helped to build the Forfarshire in Dundee in 1834?

What I do know is that my great great aunt, Margaret Grace Darling Ross, included the name Darling in at least one of her own daughters' names, Jessie Darling Mary Gillies (1880-1931).

The things you learn.

The never ending story continues...

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

So where are my Doughertys and Carolines buried in Granby?

In 2009, I spent a few hours in Granby. This was the first time I'd visited there since I was a child going to the Granby Zoo, which, trust me, all Montreal children do.

It was less than an hour's drive from the south shore of Montreal where I was visiting family, and I wanted to visit the graves of my paternal second great grandparents, Marcus Dougherty, Mary Ann Diamond, Hugh Edward Caroline and Mary Donovan. I soon found a small cemetery on Cowie Street in a beautiful and peaceful setting overlooking the Yamaska River.
Hugh Caroline inscription

Hugh and Mary and their family are in a large plot just inside the cemetery entrance. Sadly, the plot is well filled with the markers of family members. The markers were restored a few years ago by their descendants. The main marker in the plot is inscribed on all four sides with the names of Hugh, Mary, and their children.

I carefully walked each row of the cemetery anticipating the moment of connectedness when I found my Doughertys. I even walked through the Anglican cemetery, separated from the Catholic cemetery by a narrow road. Who knew? There were many broken markers, and many plots with no markers at all in the Catholic cemetery. I found no trace of my Dougherty ancestors Marcus, Mary Ann and their son James, and who knows who else could be buried with them. Where were they?

I also didn't find any plot or markers for my 2nd great great uncle Mick Caroline and his wife and children who predeceased him.

The following week, I found the website for the Societe d'histoire de la Haute-Yamaska and emailed them. Naturally, it never occurred to me to find them on Granby's rue Principale while I was there. My best thoughts always come after I really need them.

It turns out that the cemetery I had visited opened only in 1875. Over the years, disrespectful teenage boys would smash or break off markers and toss them intact or in pieces into the Yamaska River far below the cemetery. As some teenagers seem compelled to do. Don't get me started.

I found out that the original Catholic cemetery was located beside Notre Dame de Granby and had been either full, or its plots spoken for, by 1875. I had driven by the church while in Granby, but it was closed. I still stopped to take photos. There was a parking lot next to the church. Wait. Can you guess? The historical society staffer told me that the parking lot was above the original church cemetery. Had I known, I would have included the parking lot in this photo of the church. Who knew?

Notre Dame de Granby Church
Like that old Joni  Mitchell song goes, they paved paradise and put up a parking lot.

I asked if any of the original cemetery markers had been moved into the church when it was decided to pave it over, but learned that not only was the church closed the day I had visited, it in fact had closed a couple of years previously. An adjacent former convent was already being converted to condos. The historical society staffer doubted that any markers had been moved inside.  If a record had been made of the markers in the cemetery before it was paved over, the historical society didn't know its whereabouts.

I remember gazing at the parking lot, never dreaming that below it were my family members' the final resting places.

The never ending story continues....

Talking about Granby ....

It occurred to me that some readers may want to know more about Granby. 

During my research, I came across this charming description of Granby in the 1876 Directory of St Johns, West Farnham, Granby, West Shefford, Waterloo, Roxton Falls, etc. The village had everything, including local government, a Temperance Society, Masonic Lodge, a fire brigade and four churches (Anglican, Baptist, Congregational), Methodist and Roman Catholic) and a newspaper. 

For more about Granby, the Canadian Encylopedia has this entry.

The never ending story continues...

The Carolines of Granby 2

My 2nd great grandfather Hugh and his brother Michael, or Mick, farmed together in their early Granby years. Mick lived with Hugh and Mary until he married Julia Ann Ryan (abt 1821-1869) in 1842. Mick and Julia Ann had ten children:
  • Mary Jane (1843-1921)
  • Edward (1845-1889)
  • Elizabeth (1847-1906) 
  • Thomas (1849-1867) never married, died in a Vermont railway construction accident with his cousin, Edward
  • Margaret (1852-?) 
  • Rose (abt 1856-1926)
  • John (1857-?) 
  • Isabella (1859-?) 
  • Julia Anne (1862-?)
  • William (1866-1888) 
New records are always being added to various databases, so I often go back to people of my tree a few years after first adding them, to see if I can learn more about their stories. Gathering up information about these 1st cousins 3x removed has been slow. Only a spurt of several new finds earlier this year opened the doors to more of their stories. This added lots of new information to my own genealogy software (Legacy for inquiring minds) and to my tree on Ancestry. In doing so on the latter, I'm hoping that more DNA links will be discovered. But so far....nothing. Hope springs.

Below is the 1871 census of Mick's household--two years after his wife Julia died. This is on the page before the listing for his brother Hugh's family.

1871 census, Granby
His son Edward married in Granby, but had no children. William died unmarried in Granby,

Three daughters, Mary Jane, Elizabeth and Rose (Rosie), settled in Chicago. Mary Jane and Elizabeth married in Granby, while Rose met her husband in Chicago. All had families.

1900 US Census, Chicago
Mary Jane married Michael Healy in 1861 in Granby, and by 1871 they had four living children to report in that year's census. According to the 1900 Chicago census, the family arrived there in 1880. Six children are reported, only one of whom was in the 1871 census. Three others had died. In subsequent years, the Healys adopted Haley as the spelling of the family name. Was this because the 'sort of Irish' way Healy was pronounced, it sounded like Haley?

Of their nine children in total, only one son seems to have married and had children. I'm still tracing them.

Elizabeth married Thomas Hale in 1871 in Granby. They and their son arrived in Chicago by 1885. Their son died as a young man, and left no children.

Rosie evidently followed her sisters to Chicago, or perhaps travelled with one of them. In 1886, she married Elmer Holden, and they had two sons, who both died as young men, and only one of them had one child, a daughter.

Margaret's and John's trails are both cold after they appear on the 1871 census. For now. Images for Notre Dame de Granby church records aren't always legible for years at a time because of water or other damage. Did they stay in Granby or did they join their siblings in the U.S.? I found Isabella in the 1880 census in Vermont, working as a servant in what looks to be the home of a cousin of her brother-in-law, Thomas Hale. I'm still looking for more about Isabella. And it looks like Julia may have lived in and around Boston, with a son, Francis P. born out of wedlock. But with a name like Francis Caroline in Massachusetts, so far it's been a challenge to sort out all of the records.

Did his children write often to Mick with their news after they left Granby? Mick died in 1898, appearing in the 1891 census living as a lodger with his son Edward's widow with a Francophone family in Granby, which tells me that neither Margaret or John stayed in the area.  He was still on his farm in the 1881 census, with only his children William and Julia still living at home. When did Mick give up his farm?

The never ending story continues...

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

The Carolines of Granby 1

I've mentioned my paternal great grandmother, Rose Caroline (1839-1915) a couple of times here. Now it's time to flesh out her family. Rose's father, Hugh Edward Caroline (abt 1798-1879), arrived in Quebec with his younger brother Michael -- Mick -- (abt 1810-1898) from County Longford before Jun 1834, when Hugh married my great great grandmother, Mary Donovan (1807-1892), of County Cavan, in Montreal.

Hugh and Mary were in Granby by the time their first child was born the following April. They went on to have nine living children:
  • Edward (1835-1867) never married, died in a Vermont railway construction accident with his cousin, Thomas
  • Jane (1836-1930)
  • Louisa (1838-1890) never married
  • Rose (my great grandmother)
  • Mary Ann (1841-1923) 
  • Hugh (1843-1913) never married
  • Eliza A. (1844-1905) 
  • Margaret Grace (1846-?) 
  • James (1850-1928) 
1871 census, Granby Twp, Shefford, Canada
I've made several new discoveries about these ancestors/distant cousins as recently as this spring.

Jane, Eliza and Louisa each lived in Massachusetts and Connecticut as adults. Many Eastern Townshippers left for points in the United States in the late 19th century.

Margaret Grace apparently didn't get along with her father, and the story goes that she walked away from the farm and down the road, never to be seen or heard from again by any of her family. This would have been before 1871. Margaret Grace appears on the 1861 census, but on no subsequent censuses. What happened to her? She reinvented herself, I suspect. Did she change her name? Where did she go?

Jane's (called Jennie) first husband disappeared from Granby in grief or worse, leaving Jennie, the story goes, after 1868 when the youngest of their three young children died aged 7. The two elder children had died at less than two years of age. News must have eventually reached Jane that her husband, Edward Bray, had died, because she did re-marry in Massachusetts in 1881, but that husband died in 1885. She and George Cook had no children. At some point, she returned to Quebec, and was living in Montreal when she died in 1930.

Louisa was a housekeeper for a priest in Waterbury, Connecticut for many years. She died there, but was buried in Granby. Where was she between Granby and Waterbury? I haven't picked up her trail so far.

Mary Ann married John Charles O'Brien (1833-1906) in 1861. They farmed in Farnham/Dunham in the Eastern Townships and had 12 children, several of whom followed their brother Erastus Oakley O'Brien (1869-1930) to the United States, settling in Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York.

Erastus reinvented himself after he moved to Lowell MA, calling himself Oakley E. Brien. Why did he do this? Did he want to sound less Irish? More American? Here is his 1930 obituary:


At some point between 1871 and 1876, Eliza left Granby for Boston. In 1876, Eliza married George W. Moore, who had been born in New Brunswick, but lived and worked in Massachusetts. He may have been a journalist at one point. They had no children. Eliza died in Hudson, MA in 1905.

Several of Hugh's and Mick's children acted as sponsors at the baptisms of  their younger siblings or cousins, church records reveal.

Families, not just the Carolines, were very closely entwined in Granby. Here is a clip of the 1861 census, listing Hugh and his family, followed by Mick and his family:

1861 Census, Shefford, Canada East
With one exception, I had no information about my Caroline ancestors and cousins until within the last ten years. The names of some of these ancestors/distant cousins and some of their stories came from a second cousin once removed, who is a granddaughter of James Caroline. The exception were my father's cousins, Rose, Margaret and Elizabeth Caroline who lived in Montreal with whom my father stayed in touch. I found all of Mick's family, which I'll discuss in my next post, on my own.


James Caroline, Hugh and Mary's youngest, took over the Granby farm. His brother Hugh was unmarried, and lived with James and his wife, Margaret, whom he married in 1877. James and Margaret didn't have their first child until 1887, apparently because his mother was living with them too. (!) They had eight children between 1887 and 1899. I'll write about this family in a later post.

I haven't yet been able to trace Hugh's and Mary's parents -- my Irish ancestors in Cavan and Longford, but I'm confident that one day I'll start to crack the code on the Carolines, Donovans, Sheridans and Connors there.

The never ending story continues....