Category Archives: Canadian Province

Virginie Bruneau Dutauld The Protestant Teacher

Virginie Bruneau in New York City

Virginie Bruneau, born in St. Constant, Quebec in 1840, became a teacher. “She enjoyed the distinction of being one of the group of teachers to receive the first French Canadian diplomas from the McGill Normal School.”

The school was established in 1857 by John William Dawson, McGill’s first Principal with an agreement between the university, the government and the Colonial Church and School Society to educate Quebec’s protestant public elementary and secondary school teachers and produce teachers who could turn young minds into university material. The Colonial Church and School Society had been dedicated to the maintenance and financing of Anglican schools.

McGill Normal School 30 Belmont Street, Montreal

Applicants to McGill’s Normal School were examined in reading, writing, the elements of grammar and arithmetic and “needed to produce certificates of good moral character from their clergyman or minister of religion under whose charge they have last been.” The earlier schools judged teachers qualifications only on their common sense and reputation. The one-year course earned an elementary diploma and students attended for two years for a Model School diploma required to teach higher grades. Students had to be at least 16 years old and teach at least three years after graduating.  The first class contained 35 women and five men. So Virginie, born in 1840 could have been in the first class.

The school opened at 30 Belmont Street in downtown Montreal. In 1907 it moved to the west of the island and became part of MacDonald College.

After graduating, Virginie first taught in Montreal and then later, of all places, New York City. She was my great grandfather Ismael’s sister, the third child and second daughter of Barnabé Bruneau and Sophie Marie Prudhomme. Like many of her siblings, she looked for a life beyond the farm in St Constant.

I don’t know how or where she met her husband Francois Dutaud. He was from the same region of Quebec, born in Napierville, to Joseph Dutaud and Isabelle Cyr but he also spent time in the United States. He lived in Boston for several years. There, he worked for the Tuft Brick Company. He returned to Canada in 1875, where he farmed and had a successful grain business in Grande-Ligne, Quebec.

Francois Dutauld

Did Virginie give up the bright lights of New York City to teach at the Feller Institute in Grand-Ligne? Is that where she met Francois? Henriette Feller was a Baptist missionary from Switzerland who came to Quebec to convert Catholics to Protestantism. The hostility of Catholics in Montreal forced her to move south. Madame Feller’s first school was in the attic of her log cabin but eventually a large stone building was constructed. She and Charles Roussy her colleague, were responsible for the conversion of Virginie’s parents in the 1850s.

Virginie was 38 when she married and she and Francois had only one child, Gustave Dutaud, born in Grand Ligne in 1879.


The couple moved to Montreal to live with their son when Francois became ill. He died a year later. Virginie continued to live with Gustave until her death in 1926 from arteriole sclerosis. Her obituary said she was of proud Huguenot stock but I don’t think this was necessarily true. Yes, she was a French Protestant but her Bruneau line had been practising Catholics for centuries.

Notes:

Picture of Virginie by S.A. Thomas 717 Sixth Ave New York. He was a photographer from 1853 to 1894 when he died at 71.

https://numerique.banq.qc.ca/patrimoine/details/52327/4280081

The Educational Record of the Province of Quebec April – June 1964 Vol LXXX No. 2

McGill Normal School: https://education150.mcgill.ca/images/MNS-dOC20.pdf

McGill.ca/about/history/features/dawson accessed September 12, 2022.

Virginie Bruneau Dutaud Obituary. Montreal Star, Montreal, Quebec. April 28, 1926 page 31. Newspapers.com accessed April 19, 2022.

https://numerique.banq.qc.ca/patrimoine/details/52327/1955334 Picture of Feller Institute

Walter N. Wyeth D.D. – Madame Feller and the Grande Ligne Mission, Philadelphia Pennsylvania. WN Wyeth 1898

https://archive.org/details/henriettafellerg00wyetuoft

My Parents’ Courtship

As a child, I never imagined what life was like before my parents had my brother and me. But once in a while they would talk about their courtship and what it was like to meet right after World War 2.

When war broke out in 1939, my dad, Edward McHugh, signed up right away. He was stationed in Yorkshire, England and only returned home when the war ended in September 1945. He was already 31 and normally would have been considered a confirmed bachelor.

My mom, Patricia Deakin, would often speak about the day the war ended. She worked for the Sunlife Insurance Company of Montreal. The Sunlife Building was located on Dominion Square in downtown Montreal. When word got out that Germany had surrendered, all of the office workers in downtown Montreal just left their offices and walked out into the streets to express their joy. My mom described it as an amazing outburst of pure joy and celebration of the end of a long and painful war.1

Celebrations in the streets of Montreal at the end of WW2

When Edward went to war, he intended to return to work for his employer, the Canadian Celanese located in Drummondville and his employer had guaranteed his employment. However, my dad decided to stay in Montreal.

At that time, my mom’s brother, Jack Deakin, was dating Norine Scott. Norine and Patricia became great friends. The picture below shows them in the Laurentians for a day of skiing.

Norine Scott (left) and Patricia Deakin at the ski hill

Both the Canadian National and the Canadian Pacific operated trains from Montreal to the Laurentians, known as the “snow trains,” otherwise known as the P’tit train du Nord.2 Below is one of the Canadian Pacific posters.3

Promotional poster for snow trains

It wasn’t long before Norine introduced her young and eligible Uncle Eddie to my mom and that was the beginning of their courtship.

Both Ed and Patricia loved going to the movies and their Saturday night dates were often a meal at Bens Delicatessen, followed by a show. Bens was a well known delicatessen in Montreal that was famous for its Montreal-style smoked meat. In 1908, Benjamin Kravitz and his wife Fanny Schwartz opened a sweet shop on Saint-Laurent Boulevard and then added sandwiches, using Benjamin’s mother’s recipe. In 1929, they moved to 1001 Burnside (now de Maisonneuve), in the theatre and night club district of the city, and then to their final location in 1949.4

Bens Store Front5

My parents were married on May 21, 1949 at St. Columba Anglican Church in Notre-Dame-de-Grace. This church was built in 1920 but has now been sold to a developer.6 My grandparents would have been parishioners of the church as they lived just 10 minutes away.7 The post WW2 period was marked by a housing shortage. Pressure on the housing shortage was due to demobilized soldiers returning home, and the increase in newly created families. My parents, like many post WW2 newlyweds, lived with my grandparents after the wedding.

St. Columba Anglican Church, Notre-Dame-de-Grace, Montreal

The wedding announcement in the Montreal Star on May 30 1949, describes the bride as wearing:

“A gown of white slipper satin made with nylon yoke on Grecian lines and with train. Her veil was of tulle illusion, was finger tip length, held with a bandeau of lilies of the valley and orange blossoms. She carried a cascade bouquet of white carnations and bavardia.”8

The wedding announcement goes on to say that the reception was held at the Montreal West City Hall, in the music room. This photograph of the wedding party is probably taken outside the Montreal West Town Hall.

From left to right: Alistair Lamb, Mary McHugh, Ronald Lamb, John Deakin, James Meikle, Edward McHugh, Patricia Deakin, Melba Jones, Norine Scott, Dorothy Newcombe, Grace Hunter, George Deakin

The wedding announcement continues:

“Mr. and Mrs. McHugh went to Pleasant View Hotel, North Hatley, for their honeymoon, the bride wearing for travelling a three-piece suit of beige Scotch mist, with white straw hat and green accessories and a corsage of white carnations.”9

Founded in 1897 and located on Lake Massawippi, North Hatley is one of the prettiest villages in Quebec.10 Below is a post card of the Pleasant View Hotel:11

Pleasant View Hotel, North Hatley, Quebec
Patricia Deakin and Ed McHugh, North Hatley
  1. Courtesy Cadeau, C, All About Canadian History, The End of World War II in Canada, Montrealers celebrate VE Day, https://cdnhistorybits.wordpress.com/2015/11/11/ve-day-vj-day-canada/, accessed 29 November 2022.
  2. Baladodiscovery.com, Saint-Sauveur History, https://baladodiscovery.com/circuits/900/poi/10159/saint-sauveur-history, accessed 27 December 2022.
  3. Pinterest, Kirill Blinov, accessed 26 December 2022.
  4. Wikipedia, Bens De Luxe Delicatessen, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bens_De_Luxe_Delicatessen_%26_Restaurant, accessed 7 December 2022
  5. Stanton, Michael, 2005
  6. Memento Heritage Montreal, St. Columba Church, https://memento.heritagemontreal.org/en/site/st-columba-church/#:~:text=Built%20in%201920%2C%20the%20church,the%20Polish%20and%20Korean%20communities, accessed 27 December 2022.
  7. Lovells Directory, 1949, Deakin, page 1120, accessed December 20, 2022.
  8. Newspapers.com, McHugh-Deakin wedding announcement, 30 May 2022, accessed 22 November 2022.
  9. Ibid.
  10. Eastern Townships, North Hatley, Things to Do in North Hatley, https://www.easterntownships.org/towns-and-villages/45050/north-hatley#:~:text=Founded%20in%201897%2C%20the%20village,village%20centre%20are%20all%20unique., accessed 28 December 2022.
  11. Pleasant View Hotel, North Hatley, Quebec, Photogelatine Engraving Co. Limited, 19?, Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec, 0002643996, accessed 28 December 2022.

A Montreal Landmark

The Robert Stanley Bagg home at the corner of Sherbrooke Street West and Cote-des-Neiges. My grandmother, Gwen Bagg, took this photo in 1903 and it is now in the possession of the McCord Museum.

The old house at the corner of Sherbrooke Street West and Cote des Neiges in downtown Montreal pops up regularly on the internet sites devoted to historical photos of the city, but often the information that accompanies those photos is incorrect. Frequently, people erroneously identify the owner as Montreal landowner Stanley Clark Bagg (1820-1873). In fact, the house belonged to his son, Robert Stanley Clark Bagg (1848-1912).

The building is prominently located on the corner of Sherbrooke Street West and Côte-des-Neiges, which leads up the hill toward Mount Royal. Thousands of people pass by daily, and it is hard not to notice the four-story red sandstone building with its pink tiled top floor.

It has gone through several reincarnations over the years. When it was built in 1891, it formed the south-west anchor of the Golden Square Mile, the neighbourhood where Canada’s wealthiest businessmen, manufacturers and bankers lived. Today it is a commercial building, surrounded by other small businesses and medical offices.

The original owner, R. Stanley Bagg (I will refer to him as RSB), grew up in a house called Fairmount Villa that was at the corner of Sherbrooke Street and Saint-Urbain. His father, Stanley Clark Bagg (SCB), was one of the largest landowners on the Island of Montreal, having inherited several adjoining farm properties along St. Laurent Boulevard from his grandfather, John Clark.

RSB studied law at McGill University and went abroad to continue his studies after graduation, but when his father died of typhoid in 1873, RSB came home. He practised law in Montreal for a short time, but quit to manage the properties belonging to his father’s estate, a position he held until 1901.

He married Clara Smithers (1861-1946) in 1882, and for several years the couple lived just around the corner from Fairmount Villa, where RSB’s mother still resided. Eventually they decided to build a new house in a more fashionable part of the city. When they moved, they had two daughters, Evelyn (1883-1970) and Gwendolyn (1886-1963)—my future grandmother. Their only son, Harold Stanley Fortescue Bagg (1895-1945), was born a few years after the move.

Many houses in Montreal were built of locally quarried grey limestone because it was abundant and cheap, but RSB chose red sandstone, probably imported from Scotland. Originally designed by architect William McLea Walbank, the house was renovated twice in the eleven years RSB lived there, with a major addition constructed in 1902 and other changes in 1906.

It was a large, even for a family of five, but the Baggs employed at least two live-in domestic servants—a cook and a maid—and perhaps a man to do the heavier chores. The interior was ornately furnished, as shown in photos my grandmother took of the drawing room, with a carved mantlepiece over the fireplace, heavy floor-to-ceiling drapes, and pillows and knickknacks everywhere. She also took photos of the interior of the tower on the Côte-des-Neiges side of the building. It must have been a sunny spot for reading and a good place to watch people struggle up the hill during a snowstorm.

The drawing room (living room) of the house was ornate. This is another photo from my grandmother’s 1903 album, now at the McCord Museum.

RSB died of cancer while on vacation in Kennebunkport, Maine in 1912. Clara (who was usually identified as Mrs. Stanley Bagg) divided the house into two apartments and continued to live there until her death, at age 85, in 1946.

After she died the house was sold and renovated, with a new entrance facing Côte-des- Neiges, and Barclay’s Bank (Canada) moved in. Many of Montreal’s elite families became customers of this British-based institution. In 1956 the Imperial Bank of Canada took over Barclay’s (Canada) and five years later, it became the Canadian Imperial Bank of Canada (CIBC). In 1979 CIBC decided it could no longer upgrade the old Bagg building to the modern requirements of banking and it moved its customers to a branch down the street at the Ritz Carlton Hotel.

For the next few years, the building was home to a jazz bar on the main floor and a bookstore upstairs, until a fire destroyed the interior in 1982. It may have been that fire that destroyed the cone-shaped roof of the tower. Many years earlier, my mother noticed that a stained-glass window displaying the Bagg family crest had disappeared.

The building was restored in 1985-86 and two art galleries moved in, but the interior featured bare brick walls, a style that was popular at the time in some older parts of the city, but was not appropriate for this Victorian-era building. An oriental carpet store rented the main floor in the mid-1990s.

Today, Adrenaline Montreal Body Piercing and Tattoos has been located there for many years. I suspect my great-grandparents would not be impressed.

Note: Lovell’s Directory of Montreal shows the address of this building changed several times over the years. It was at 1129 Sherbrooke in 1894-97, and 739 Sherbrooke W. in 1908-1910. The attached house, on the right, had a separate address – 737 Sherbrooke West—and belonged to another family. The Bagg house had been divided into apartments 1 and 2 at 739 Sherbrooke W. by 1927-28, and the address had changed to 1541 Sherbrooke W. apartments 1 and 2 by 1935-36.

Sources:

Edgar Andrew Collard, “A sandstone house on Sherbrooke St.”, The Gazette, October 20, 1984.

Répertoire d’architecture traditionnelle sur le territoire de la communauté urbaine de Montréal. Les residences. Communauté urbaine de Montréal, Service de la planification du territoire, 1987.

Charles Lazarus, “Farewell to Landmark”, The Montreal Star, April 30, 1979.

This article is simultaneously posted on my family history blog, https://writinguptheancestors.ca.

Gustave Dutaud The Lawyer

Gustave Dutaud, a member of the Bruneau family, was my grandmother, Beatrice Bruneau Raguin’s first cousin. I hope they knew each other as both lived in Montreal and from what I have found out, Gustave was worth knowing!

He was well-liked and well-respected as per messages in newspapers after his death. “There is a sense of loss when good men die, something goes from the richness of the world, something we can ill spare. Such is the feeling aroused by the death of Gustave Dutaud.” according to Marguerite Cleary.

“ If he was not conventionally religious he was a fine example of a French Canadian Christian, whom to know was a rare privilege.” said George Hosford.

His mother Virginie Bruneau, was 38 when she married Francois Dutaud and they only had one child. Gustave attended the Feller Institute, in Grande Ligne, Quebec south of Montreal, the school founded by Henriette Feller for French Protestants. She along with Louis Roussy came to Canada from Switzerland as missionaries, to convert the French Catholics. Gustave’s grandparents, Barnabé Bruneau and Sophie Marie Prudhomme heard their gospel and converted in the 1850s along with their children.

Gustave later entered McGill University where he obtained a BA in 1903 and a Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL) in 1909. He worked as a reporter for the Montreal Gazette while completing his law degree. He was a KC (Kings Consul), an official interpreter for the Court of Kings Bench and practised from his own law firm.

“He had a lion’s heart for anyone who suffered under injustice.” Much of his legal practice concerned a number of social welfare organizations including the Society for the Preservation of Women and Children. He was interested in the troubles of the poor and used his legal training to help them out of difficulties. Gustave won a case for a woman hit by a car on Sherbrooke Street and McGill College, where the driver blamed the pedestrian for the accident.

He lead a busy life. He was a member of the Montreal Reform Club, the goal of which, according to its 1904 constitution, was “the promotion of the political welfare of the Liberal party of Canada.” Also a member of the Knights of Pythias organization which believed, “It is important to promote cooperation and friendship between people of goodwill. One way to happiness is through service, friendship, charity, benevolence and belief in a supreme being.”

In 1923 Gustave took his first trip to Europe. He accompanied the Montreal Publicity Association to a London convention as their honorary legal adviser. Aside from his time in England he also toured France and Scotland. “He returned to Canada more than ever convinced of the desirability of this country as a place in which to live.” He was amazed at the poor living conditions of the French peasant farmers. He described the French Chateaux as, “picturesque but uncomfortable, much nicer in pictures than as places to live.” The French wanted to replace war-damaged stone buildings with the same and not live in stick-built houses common in Canada.

Europe was still suffering after World War I. The group visited the battlefields of France. Gustave found “Verdun a sinister expanse of horrors surrounding a miserable medieval town, which had been destroyed by shell fire. There were still many ghastly reminiscences of the war. A trench where many of the French troops had been buried alive and where the soldiers still stood buried, with the tips of their riffles and bayonets protruding from the ground.”

“The finest things he saw in Europe were the masterpieces at the Louvre while the beauty of Scotland entranced him, as quite the most lovely country visited, more so even than his ancestral France.”

His compassion for people included his parents. They moved to Montreal to live with him after his father became ill. His mother stayed with him after his father’s death, until she died in 1926. Unfortunately, Gustave never married or had children, so when he died in 1949, another line of the Bruneau family ended.

Notes:

Montreal Star, 11 July 1949 page 10. Newspapers.com accessed April 22, 2022. George Hosford. George Hosford roomed with Gustave and later was warmly received at his home and office.

Montreal Star July 7. 1949 Letters to the Editor page 10. Newspapers.com accessed April 22, 2022. Marguerite Cleary. She recalled Gustave Dutaud as a man with a mind that was noble, not conventionally religious, a lover of Anatole France, he expected little from humanity and sided by nature with the underdog, a gentleman.

Gustave Dutaud Obituary: Gazette, Montreal Quebec, Canada. June 25, 1949. Page 15. Accessed from Newspapers.com April 19, 2022.

Old World Living Conditions Poor: The Gazette (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) · 12 Mar 1925, Thursday, Page 6. Accessed from Newspapers.com April 19, 2022. Gustave’s trip to Europe.

McGill Year Books: https://yearbooks.mcgill.ca/browse.php?&campus=downtown&startyear=1901&endyear=1910 Accessed November 21, 2022. Gustave Dutaud McGill BA 1903. He was also in the Drama club while obtaining his BA, and one of only seven students in third year law. Gustave advertised in the 1916 year book as Barrister and solicitor.

Quebec Heritage News: 

The Montreal Reform Club, at 82 Sherbrooke St West, used the building as its city headquarters for half a century. Established on June 17, 1898, the Reform Club was the social wing of the Liberal Party of Canada, and its provincial wing in Quebec. By 1947, the club counted a remarkable 850 members, 670 French-speaking and 180 English-speaking. 

The irony, of course, is that since April of 1973 the building has belonged to the nationalist and pro-independence Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Montréal. On May 17, 1976, the SSJB renamed the property La Maison Ludger Duvernay, in honour of the founder of the Society. The Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Montréal has never complained of the presence of frightening federalist ghosts within its walls!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anatole_France accessed November 27, 2022.

Anatole France: French poet, journalist, and novelist with several best-sellers. Ironic and skeptical, he was considered in his day the ideal French man of letters. He was a member of the Académie Française, and won the 1921 Nobel Prize in Literature, in recognition of his brilliant literary achievements, characterized by a nobility of style, profound human sympathy, grace, and a true Gallic temperament.”

From Daguerreotype to Digital in Four Generations

Sarah Maclean Macleod : Daguerrotype or Tintype

The above picture is a digital reproduction of a tintype or daguerreotype portrait of Sarah Marion McLean, my husband’s great great grandmother, taken (most probably) around the time of her marriage in 1849 in Flodden, Quebec. I scanned the metal photograph to computer over 10 years ago.

The pic above is composite montage of Sarah’s 4 times great granddaughter, Nora, my granddaughter born 2018, stored on my cellphone. The collage consists of photos snapped from the moment of her birth until her 1st birthday. These pics are but a fraction of the pictures existing of Mademoiselle Nora, now 4 years old, on various cellphones belonging to family.

I have in my possession only two other photos of Nora’s 4x great granny, Sarah, one where she stands beside her seated husband (Isle of Lewisman John Mcleod ) looking very pregnant. Another cardboard studio photo of her is from her final year. At the back of the photograph someone wrote in her name and dates. Sarah Marion McLean McLeod 1825-1912. She may actually be dead in the photo.

Unfortunately, I have misplaced the metallic originals, so I can’t test whether they are daguerreotypes or tintypes. (Tintypes are slightly magnetic.) They must be in a box somewhere in the garage with the other ‘important’ family photos I am missing. I mean, it has to be, right? I would never have thrown out such precious mementos.

The Macleods emigrated to Quebec in 1838, before so many others in their clan were pushed out in the infamous ‘clearances.’ Sarah Maclean from Coll arrived in Quebec a little later, after her parents and two brothers died back home. She had a sister in the province. Sarah, who was born at the height of the Industrial Revolution, led a long life in southern Quebec before passing away just as the motor car was making life in the Eastern Townships much more exciting. Too bad. Apparently, she loved to travel about.

Sarah is oft mentioned in family letters I have on hand from the 1908-1913 period. The family is feuding over her care in old age. Apparently, she speaks only ‘the Gaelic.’

A few years ago, I digitally enhanced her portrait. There was a white ‘hole’ in her forehead. I scanned the dag/tintype into the computer (afraid that any residue from harsh chemicals on the photo might be harmful to me) and filled in the hole using Photoshop.

Later on I embellished the photo of this Scottish ancestor whose face has passed down through the generations.

So, in the almost 200 years between the births of Sarah and Nora, the photographic world has gone from solid metal daguerreotype to a multiverse of ephemeral digital media – with the act of taking photographs becoming progressively easier.

Photographers in the Victorian Age were well-heeled trailblazers and techno-enthusiasts in possession of a great deal of very expensive -and very cumbersome – equipment. Today taking pictures is, no, exaggeration, mere child’s play. Nora is already pretty adept with a cellphone. I imagine in a very few years she’ll be taking candid photos of me as I crawl out of bed and creating instant animations with my dishevelled image and posting them online. Well, she already is.

Nora is already taking candid photos of her grandmother.

Sarah Marion McLean McLeod saw great advances in photography within her very own lifetime.

Although I have only three photographs of Sarah, I have many more of her daughter, Margaret McLeod Nicholson, my husband’s great grandmother 1853-1942 , perhaps 15 in total, and even more, around 75, of her granddaughter Marion Nicholson Blair, my husband’s grandmother, 1887-1947.

Margaret Macleod Nicholson, Sarah’s daughter. 1912. “I have the new pictures. I do not think they make me very good-looking.” (Letter)
Advert for Kodak, aimed at women, without the technical jargon in camera ads aimed at men.
Photo of Margaret, her daughters Edith and Flo and a neighbour taking tea on the lawn circa 1912. Colourized by me. Taken by Marion as she is in another pic from the same day.

According to her 1906 diary, Marion Nicholson (my husband’s grandmother) who was a teacher liked ‘to fool around taking Kodaks’ during her summer vacations. The Nicholson likely purchased their camera at Sutherland’s drug store in their home town of Richmond.

This was clipped because of the final potato entry, I imagine.
1910 Ad from the Delineator Women’s Magazine.
The Nicholson family photo album with the ‘tea on the lawn’ in upper right corner with Marion on the ground in her white dress. The album is full of pics of unnamed people,too. Alas!
Marion, detail from pic above.
My fave photo from album: Sailing in Hudson, Quebec.
Trip to Potton Springs. I love this pic. It looks like a still from an old movie. Where’s Lillian Gish?
Collage of Sarah’s female descendants up until the 1970s. That’s the ‘death’ photo of Sarah top left.

And the family photographs just keep on coming throughout the 20th century. There was that first decade, the era of shirtwaists and silly-looking BIG hats; then the roaring twenties with Sarah’s descendants in home-made flapper dresses sporting crude bobs; then the 30s with the Nicholson women wearing tonnes of movie star makeup to emulate their favourite big screen thespians; then the 40’s with the women in suits with big shoulders or, yes, even military garb; the 50’s ladies in A-line floral sun dresses sporting wing-tipped sunglasses; the 60’s gals reclining in frilly one piece bathing suits at the cottage, all puffing on cigarettes.

Nora will likely have thousands and thousands of photos taken of her in her lifetime. Still, I wonder, will any of these photographs be accessible to HER four times great granddaughter? Or will they have vanished over the years into the Cloud? I have already lost many many valued pics and videos when my ‘ancient” Note 2 suddenly expired.

Should I, as the family genealogist, be printing out all of the best photos on glossy paper with a colour printer with permanent ink, putting them into a giant album – a real album – for these future generations? (Always making sure to put names and birth dates to the pictures.)

(This would be an extremely costly proposition considering the price of colour ink.)

Or, do I merely create an enormous virtual album and put it on a key and into the safety deposit box and hope against hope that it won’t be casually tossed out one day – and that the info on the key will remain accessible?

Maybe all that will be left of the bazillions of photos of Nora, my granddaughter, will be on novelty items like coffee cups and calendars given to me each Christmas.

Or perhaps her image will exist only on this blog post, ready to be extracted from the ether in 2300 by some self-styled cyber-archaeologist.

I’m no fortune teller but I can hazard a good guess…but, first, I have to find that box of precious old photos down in the garage.

Possibly my favorite pic from the Nicholson collection. Waiting for the bus in Richmond, circa 1908. Edith Nicholson standing at front with young cousin Stanley Hill in front of her. Flora seated at left. Could be a scene from the Music Man. What is that decoration on Edith’s hat?

Years ago I wrote an essay for the Globe and Mail on the same topic. It was very well received and often reprinted. Gone with the WIndows.

Understanding Mary, My Protestant Irish Ancestor

Can I learn anything about my great great great grandmother’s life, despite having only a name, a birthplace and a rough idea of where she lived as she raised her children?

That challenge led me to a fascinating thesis about the Irish Protestant Identity in Ontario written in 2010 by Brenda Hooper-Goranson. Hooper-Goranson’s research describes how many Irish women of Mary’s time ensured a lasting Irish identity in Canada that differed from that in the homeland.

Thanks to Ms. Hooper-Goranson, I have been able to imagine the life of women like my ancestor in general terms even if her actual life and personality remain obscure.

An Irish Protestant identity was transferred to Canada as solidly intact as any Irish Catholic identity was and it can even be argued that the former outlasted the latter with regard to late nineteenth-early twentieth century Canadianizing influences,” wrote Hopper-Goranson in the introduction of her thesis. “That distinctive presence was changed or softened in only one regard. In time, with the space and distance that Canada afforded, abrading homeland identities might be abridged, and Irish Protestant and Irish Catholic on new soil found opportunities to simply be ‘Irish’.1

People like Mary maintained connections to family in Ireland, helped foster relationships with neighbours, brought recipes, seeds, textiles and furniture from their home country to their new communities and fostered religious practices and apprenticeships in their children.

Whether Mary herself did such things isn’t certain. We do know that she was born in Ireland, thanks to the 1932 death certificate of her daughter.2 That same document mentions her husband’s Scottish roots, the family religion of Brethren, their daughter’s 1856 birth in Orangeville, Canada West and her death in Weston, Ontario.

Those facts allowed me to make several assumptions about my great great grandmother’s life that enabled me to read Hooper-Goranson’s thesis with an eye to imagining more. We know for sure that Mary Willard travelled from Ireland to Canada West at some point, and the decision probably wasn’t hers. A father, a husband—in those days, women didn’t often get to set their own destinies.

Where she lived in Ireland, whether she lived in other places too, whether she married her Scottish husband in Europe or elsewhere, whether they met on a specific journey or after separately travelling to North America isn’t clear. All I know for sure is that Mary Willard identified as Irish; her faith was Protestant; and she and her husband lived in Canada West when her daughter was born. Given that her daughter died in the Grand River region not far from her birth, it’s likely that her parents lived in the same region for most of their lives.

We do know that in the 1800’s, Canada attracted more migrants from Ireland than any other country in the world. When possible, these migrants tended to settle together with others of the same religion, many in Canada West, which became Ontario.

Irish hostilities between Protestants and Catholics became prevalent late in that century. Fenians raided Canada West from Irish communities in the northern states beginning in 1866. Riots broke out in Toronto in 1875, during the Jubilee March and in 1878, when O’Donavon Rossa visited the city to give a speech.

In most Canada West communities, however, Hooper-Goranson argues that the challenges of felling forests, building homes, subsistence farming and mourning the losses from fevers and disease blurred the lines between groups. Often, a general homesickness for Ireland linked Catholic and Protestant settlers together into a common identity.

Class structures brought to the New World from Europe when Mary Willard lived fell apart in a matter of months, primarily to the amount of work required just to stay alive. Women of all stations did everything required to run a household, including helping grow crops for food, making candles, producing soap, grinding sugar, baking bread, milking cows, knitting or spinning clothes and preparing flour or wool. People offering domestic assistance had so many possible positions, they could be choosy.

…the observations of lrish Protestant immigrant James Reford show that he too, took note of a change in the social climate in America when he complained that even Irish Catholic servants “from the bogs of Connoght” expected certain comforts and conveniences far different from Home. “If you want a girl to do housework the first question is have you got hot and cold water in the house, stationary wash tubs, wringer? Is my bedroom carpeted [with] bureau table wash stand and chairs … and what privileges and the wages? … The writer makes the charge that such girls are too ambitious, and deceitful about their previously humble origins.3

Despite the amount of hard work, Irish women in Upper Canada worked hard to match the fashion trends back in Ireland.

After joining her husband in Canada in 1836, Margaret Carrothers wrote several years later from London, Upper Canada, encouraging her mother to make the journey herself with the remittance pay she sent home. Part of her enticement was the reassurance that her mother could look the part of the Irish lady even on the frontier. Although Margaret requested her mother bring the latest patterns of capes, sleeves, cloaks, and bonnets she delighted that ” … Dress of every kind is worn the same here as with you only much richer and gayer …… this has become a very fashionable place you would see more silks worn here in one day than you would see in Maguires bridge in your lifetime and could not tell the difference between the Lady and the Servant Girl as it is not uncommon for her to wear a Silk Cloak and Boa and Muff on her hands and her Bonnet ornamented with artificial flowers and vail.4

Whether hostilities arose or not often depended on whether communities included nationalities beyond Catholic and Protestant Irish. In those cases, rather than differentiating between themselves, Irish settlers saw themselves as a common group against the others.

There were many occasions where Irish Protestants and Irish Catholics found cause with one another enough to march together in support or defiance of Tenants Leagues, Famine Relief, Confederation, Fenianism, Irish politics and personages, and of course, St. Patrick’s Day was held sacred to both.5

Generations of women built up and maintained national communities as religious differences diminished. They married Irish men, stayed in contact with family members in Ireland, collected Irish recipes, crafted Irish patterns onto clothing and household items, learned Irish Dancing and celebrated holidays with neighbours.

Traditionally, Irish families make their plum pudding on the last Sunday in November before the beginning of Advent. Everyone in the household is supposed to stir the mixture, which contains 13 ingredients to represent Christ and his Disciples.

My great granny Charlotte used to make one every year. I remember it being blacker than fruit cake and with a yummy rum topping.

Sadly, her recipe either was never written down or, if it was, it has since been lost. I’ve been trying to duplicate the flavour ever since.

Haven’t managed to get it right yet, but here’s my closest guess so far.

Christmas Plum Pudding

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (250g) brown sugar
  • Grated zest and juice of 2 oranges
  • 1 cup (250g) dried currants
  • 2 cups (500g) raisins, ideally different colours
  • 1/2 cup (125g) candied cherries
  • 1 can (350ml) stout (I use Buckwheat beer because I can’t eat gluten)
  • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsps nutmeg
  • ground cloves
  • 1 cup (250g) butter, softened
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 small apple, peeled, cored, and shredded

Directions

  1. Grease and line three pudding bowls or the cooking vessels of your choice.
  2. Mix everything together except for the eggs and the stout.
  3. Beat the eggs and slowly add them to the mixture.
  4. Pour the stout in slowly, mixing the whole time. This is a good time to get the family involved.
  5. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave overnight.
  6. The next day, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (130C).
  7. Pour the mixture into the pudding bowls.
  8. Place deeper pans full of water in the oven. Put the bowls into the water so that they are about 2/3rds covered.
  9. Steam for 6 hours.
  10. Set aside in a cool dark place to dry.
  11. On Christmas day, steam the puddings for about 3 hours or until cooked through.
  12. Cut and serve with rum topping.

Rum Topping

Ingredients

  • 1/ cup softened butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 cup rum, brandy or sherry
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg

Directions

  1. Combine the sugar and butter with a hand mixer until fluffy and light.
  2. Beat in eggs.
  3. Add rum, brandy or sherry and nutmeg.
  4. Cook over boil water for 5 minutes or so, stirring constantly past the curdling point until the sauce looks smooth.
  5. Pour over the Christmas pudding.

Sources

1Hooper-Goranson, Brenda C. 2012. “No Earthly Distinctions : Irishness and Identity in Nineteenth Century Ontario, 1823-1900.” Dissertation, Library and Archives Canada = Bibliothèque et Archives Canada. McMaster University.

2 “Ontario Deaths, 1869-1937 and Overseas Deaths, 1939-1947,” database with images, FamilySearch (Ontario Deaths, 1869-1937), Deaths > 1932 > no 3918-5556 > image 1593 of 1748; citing Registrar General. Archives of Ontario, Toronto.

3Hooper-Goranson

4Linen Hall Library, Belfast, Edward N. Carrothers, “Irish Emigrants Letters From Canada, 1839-1870”, (Belfast Northern Ireland, 1951), pp.4-5. Margaret Carrothers, London, U.C. to Mrs. Kirk [Patrick?] Maguiresbridge, Ireland, December 25, 1839.

5Hooper-Goranson

The Debutante

This month a Montreal tradition will resume after a two-year pandemic break: the annual St. Andrew’s Ball will take place at the Windsor Hotel on November 18. The event promises to be “a gala evening of dining, dancing and Scottish pageantry, celebrating Scottish heritage in Montreal,” featuring the Black Watch Pipes and Drums and highland dance performances.

My mother attended this event in 1937, the year that, despite her protests, she was a debutante. Writing under her married name, Joan Hamilton, she recalled that experience 40 years later, and her article, published in Montreal Scene magazine on November 26, 1977, described the endless social gatherings she and her teenage friends attended.

In those days “coming out” didn’t mean what it does today. Then it meant that a young woman of 18 was introduced to society, and to members of the opposite sex, which was important because my mother and most of her friends attended separate private schools for girls or boys.

She wrote, “For a tightly-knit group of Montrealers whose growing up took place in the mid-30s, life consisted of a round of parties that started with events called sub-deb dances and progressed to coming-out balls. Actually, they weren’t as grand as they sound. Life was simpler then, and one lived by a strictly prescribed social code. The sub-deb parties were given at private homes, primarily during the Christmas holidays, and the ages of the future debutantes ranged from 14 to 17.” When the girls became debutantes, the parties became balls.

Although many Canadians were suffering economically during the Depression, my mother recalled that there were dozens of debutantes each season, and there was a ball at least once, and sometimes twice a week from October until February. Many debutantes came out at their own parties, but others were presented at either the St. Andrew’s Ball or charity balls put on by the Royal Victoria Hospital Auxiliary. At that time, most of the balls were held at the Winter Club on Drummond Street, the Hunt Club on Côte Ste-Catherine Road, or the ballroom of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. The St. Andrew’s Ball took place at the Windsor Hotel.

In Montreal the St. Andrew’s Ball was first held in 1848, but some members of the society preferred a dinner for the men only, and the next ball wasn’t held until 1871. When it next took place, it was described as “the social event of the year,” probably because Queen Victoria’s daughter Princess Louise and her husband were the guests of honour. Over the following years, Montreal’s Scots sometimes celebrated St. Andrew’s Day with a banquet or a concert, and the society did not choose a ball as its principal event until 1896.

According to the Montreal Daily Star, more than 900 people—a record—attended the 1937 edition of the St. Andrew’s Ball, including the Governor General of Canada and his wife, Lord and Lady Tweedsmuir. “Merriment reigns as sons and daughters of auld Scotia lay aside their cares,” the newspaper headline announced.

In the ‘30s, the debutantes wore long white evening dresses and white, elbow-length kid gloves, while their escorts were in white tie and tails. The evening began with dinner parties, with cocktails and wine served. On arriving at the ball, the guests went through a receiving line so the proud parents of the debutante in whose honour the party was being held could introduce her. Then the dancing began, with music provided by an orchestra. Supper was served around midnight, accompanied by champagne.

“One’s partner at dinner was supposed to, and usually did, have the first and last dance and escort you to supper, as well as take you home,” she recalled. “It was a good security blanket.” My mother was not one of those girls who was so popular with the boys that her dance card for the evening was always full. In fact, she hinted that she spent a fair amount of time in the ladies’ room, pretending to be invisible. Nevertheless, she wrote that her teen years were a lot of fun, going to movies, picnics and corn roasts in the summer and taking the train to the Laurentians to go skiing in winter, after the party season had wrapped up.

Two years later life changed for everyone, and some of the young men who had attended those parties went off to war and never came back. Nor did my mother marry one of the boys she was introduced to as a debutante; my parents met in Ottawa, where they were both working, just as the war was ending.

This article also appears on https://writinguptheancestors.ca

Amy Eagle “Auntie”

Minnie and Amy Eagle 1885

Amy Eagle, my grandmother Minnie’s sister never married and lived at 69 Seaton Street, Toronto for most of her life. During one visit to Montreal in the 1950s, to celebrate birthdays, her house was robbed. She blamed her sister, accused her of orchestrating it and never traveled again.

Amy was the introvert to Minnie’s extrovert. They were close in age, with Amy born in March 1882 and Minnie in November 1883. They did most things together with Amy following Minnie’s lead. Both worked for Ryrie Brothers Jewellers. Minnie worked on jewelry repair and construction with their Uncle, Jim Bailey, while Amy worked in bookkeeping. They often went out with friends but they were mostly Minnie’s friends.

Amy Eagle

Singing was the love of Amy’s life. She sang in the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and the Canadian National Exhibition Chorus under Dr H. A. Fricker. She must of had a good voice as the Mendelssohn Choir had yearly auditions, even for current choir members. The choir often toured the northern US with trips to Chicago, Philadelphia and Cincinnati and New York. This was one thing Amy did alone as Minnie couldn’t sing. She enjoyed these trips and sent many postcards. She saved her collection of choir medals and pins. When the Exhibition Chorus ended in 1934 it seemed she stopped her singing.

Their mother worried when Minnie got married that Amy would become more of a recluse.

Amy didn’t approve of William Sutherland and they had to tiptoe around her before their marriage. She came around when the children arrived. She was Auntie. She loved her nieces and nephew and enjoyed visiting them in Montreal and their visits to Toronto. After the children came she became Auntie.

We enjoyed the girls visit so much and it did Amy so much good, going out so much. About this winter my principal reason for staying at home is the Mendelssohn Choir business, and it is really the only thing she belongs too to take her out regularly. The only exercise she gets for walking and she loves it so much and if she ever staid out a season she would not go again.”

When her Mother Eliza Jane Eagle died in 1931, Amy continued to live alone in the house on Seaton Street. It was a narrow three-storied semi -detached with little rooms, lots of stairs, and the toilet tank on the wall had a long pull chain.

69 Seaton Street, Toronto, Ontario

She didn’t work after Minnie got married but she continued her bookkeeper’s ways. She kept records of everything she bought all recorded in a fine hand. She even had a box of lace with the date and price of purchase of each little piece. She recorded who was buried where in the cemetery plots. She promised to tell my Aunt Bet the stories of the family coming to Canada from Ireland but unfortunately never got around to it.

In her early eighties she suffered from lung cancer but wouldn’t go to the hospital because her mother went in and never came out. She still lived alone and had become feeble, unable to shop, cook or clean. My mother and grandmother went up to see her. They didn’t have a key. They rang the bell and could see Auntie in the hall trying to crawl to the door. My mother broke a small window and unlocked the door. Although Auntie was relieved to see them she was mad that her window was broken. She remained in her home until the end, with visits from the doctor and the VON. Auntie died March 16, 1965.

Amy and Minnie 69 Seaton Street 1963

My parents went up later to clear the house and put it up for sale. According to Auntie’s account book, she had recently taken out one thousand dollars. She had paid the newspaper boy and had given Mom money for a taxi, but that was all the money that was accounted for. They looked everywhere for it; in dressers, cupboards and desks and in all the little boxes they contained. Finally in the arm of an old kitchen chair, known as the “mouse chair”, wrapped in a rag was the money. They actually found $1151 in her house.

My parents laid in bed on garbage day and listened to the truck door open and close again and again and wondered what family treasures they might have thrown away.

Bibliography:

Letters and postcards written to family members over the years and in the possession of Mary Sutherland.

Eagle, Eliza Jane. Letter to Minnie Sutherland. 24 Sept. 1925. MS. Toronto, Ontario.

Personal recollections of Bet Van Loben Sels, Elizabeth Sutherland Somers and Mary Sutherland.

Of interest: Dr J.N. Humphrey’s account was $19 and the VON $54, not much money to stay in your own home. From Mills and Mills Barristers, Solicitors, ETC. Toronto 2, Canada. Estate of Amy Eagle – disbursements June 3, 1965.

An Ordinary Man

1882 store book page as a single man.

“When the courting at midnight has ended

And he stands with his hat in his fist

And she lovingly lingers beside him,

To wish him ta-ta and be kissed,

How busy his thoughts of the future,

You betchya his thoughts he don’t speak,

He is wondering how they can manage,

To live on six dollars a week.”

(little poem etched in pencil in one of Norman’s early ‘store books’)

Norman Nicholson, my husband’s great grandfather liked to keep track of things: Indeed, that was his one extraordinary trait. He kept track of his every expense, business or household, over five decades (right down to 5 cents tossed to a tramp). He kept balances, inventories, invoices and lists from 1881 when he left home to live on his own to 1921 at this death at home in Richmond, Quebec.

He kept all this information in dozens of ledgers, diaries and notebooks and he kept these booklets neatly arranged in a trunk under the window in his daughter’s room. ( I know because it said so in one of the many letters he kept, which the daughter in her turn kept, and which eventually fell into my hands as the wife of his great grandson.)

Norman in Masonic Regalia circa 1905

That’s how history-challenged I came to have a real appreciation for the life of a 1st generation Canadian living in the Eastern Townships of Quebec at the turn of the 20th century, that is Norman Nicholson, son of Malcolm Nicolson, he who came to this country in 1841 at age 26 with his parents and 8 siblings after being cleared from the family farm on the nearly treeless Isle of Lewis, Hebrides; who walked from Port St Francis to Flodden and settled on crown land, earning money by burning wood for potash and clearing trails through the forest.

That’s how I’ve come to understand that my husband’s great grandfather, Canadian-born, Canadian schooled Norman Nicholson, successful hemlock bark dealer, turkey salesman, bill collector for a local doctor, Town Public Works Clerk, Inspector for the Transcontinental Railway and The Quebec Streams Commission (I have all the documentation) was a work-a-day sort, devoted husband to the spirited feminist-minded Margaret McLeod, (also a Lewis descendant) doting father to three feisty and ambitious daughters Edith, Marion, Flora and one lost soul of a son, Herb.

He was the kind of ordinary man who lives a full life, with all its joys and sorrows and broken dreams, and dies, the memory of him quickly fading to black until, one day, (with any luck at all) a glimmer, as a great great grandson, flipping through the brittle pages of a photo album, points to one particular picture and asks. “Who’s this ‘sick-looking’ dude with the white moustache and beard?” And the boy’s middle aged father answers: “Oh, that’s Norman Nicholson, your great great grandfather, or at least, I think it is.”

“Was he a general or something, too?” the boy asks referring to the man’s mason uniform – because the boy is related to General Douglas MacArthur on another branch of his family tree.

“No, Norman Nicholson was just an ordinary man.”

Cost of setting up house 1883. 45 dollars for furniture

Now, after scanning the ledgers and reading all his diaries, that I can confirm: ordinary, in every possible way. Not a hero like Alexander Mackenzie, the Lewis born explorer, for whom a great Canadian river is named, although Norman did have a thing for bodies of water. From his 1912 diary: List of Rivers East of Cochrane, Abitibi River, Sucker Creek, Mistango River, Low Bush Creek

Not a villain like Lewis descendant Donald Morrison, the Megantic Outlaw, subject of Canada’s largest ever manhunt and at least two books and one documentary, although Norman did have a part in the man’s post capture defense.

From an 1889 press clipping: Let it be hereby resolved that Norman Nicholson be appointed by the Richmond Royal Caledonia Society to press the authorities for an interview with Donald Morrison.

Neither famous, nor infamous, neither scoundrel nor saint; ergo NOT the kind of man whose exploits are chronicled for future generations in plodding high school history texts or low budget straight to cable documentaries; just a loyal husband, protective father, dutiful citizen. An ordinary man, the kind of man who reaches a point in life where he feels the need to lay down the law to his kids: November 14, 1902 Future Regulations: All must be up and downstairs by 7:30 o’ clock in the morning, Sunday included, breakfast at 7:30. The kind of man who, lonely on the job in middle age, writes love letters to his wife: “I don’t want a concrete hall or a little birch canoe; just want a place with you by the fireside.”

Very very ordinary. No, not the stuff of history books or even good caricature, although it would be easy to characterize Norman as the quintessential penny pinching Scot (someone who believes his bank book to be the best kind of reading) but that characterization would be totally unfair.

Norman Nicholson may have been a practical man:

Price of ash for 1899: 8 cents for 12 inch;10 cents for 13 inch; 12 cents for 14 inch.

1913 Trip to Boston to see Grand Lodge: ticket to Montreal, 2.55, street car 05, ticket to Newport, 3.25. Dinner on train .60

with a petty side:

number of times Dr. Kellock was away from his congregation in year 1897: 24 January in Boston; 21 March in Spencerville; 24 October in Toronto;

October 18, 1899. Date McMorine had his water cut off in his store by M. McDonald tinsmith.

But he also was a romantic:

Nothing to do Margaret, Dar..ling, nothing to do. Let’s take a trip on memory’s ship back to the by gone days. Let’s sail to the old village, anchor outside the school door. Look in and see, that’s you and me, a couple of kids once more.

See? An ordinary man of conflicting passions, just like you and me, the kind of man who has but one chance to have something flattering written about him and that’s at the end of his life:

From the Richmond Guardian June, 1922:

The death occurred suddenly last Friday morning in Montreal of Mr. Norman Nicholson, one of the most respected citizens of this place…

And then that’s it, finito, no more, except, perhaps, for an epitaph on a tombstone in a far-flung country cemetery no one ever visits.

RIP Norman Nicholson, my husband’s great grandfather. An oh-so ordinary man, except for this one extraordinary trait, this compulsion to keep track of things, to leave a paper trail for posterity – if mostly in list form.

END

LIST Cost of LIving 1900 Richmond Quebec.

1900 accounts, family of six, children in teens. Wife Margaret got a hefty allowance with her purchases going unnoted, but I see no mention of material or sewing notions in the list and Margaret sewed her daughter’s clothes for the most part. In 1900 the Nicholsons were comfortably middle class with a fine house, but their fortunes would soon fail with the end of the hemlock bark industry.

January

1/3 of a beef, 106 pounds 6.35

Skating rink 10

6 lbs pork 25

2 beef tongues 20

Marion for Rink 10

Postage 12

79 lbs pork from Bromfield 4.35

Sunday School 04

Church plate 05

Scribbler for Flora 05

1 lb sulphur 05

Hairdressing 15

Membership Board of Trade 1.00

Treat of cigars 25

Fare to Sherbrooke and return 1.35

Copy book Flora 08

Scribbler Edith 05

Marion skating rink 10

½ lb Black tea 18

Sunday school 04

1 Ladies Jacket 8.50

1 pair gent’s overshoes 2.00

¼ lb candies 05

1 lb frosting sugar 08

1 lb baking soda 04

¼ lb peppermint 05

Sunday School 04

Church concert 60

Postage 20

1 paper of pins 05

I pocket handkerchief 08

Herbert 05

Postage 25

1 jar molasses 14

Mending Marion’s boots 25

February

Sunday School 04

Bridge toll 02

¼ pound candies 05

Times for one year 1.00

Maggie 25

½ pound Black tea 18

Marion for rink 10

Sunday School 03

¼ lbs cream of tartar 09

1 lbs currants 10

1 bottle Powell’s medicine 25

Maggie 50

W. Daigle for hauling bark 15

1 writing pad 15

1 pair rubbers Edith 45

1 pair rubbers Marion 45

1 loaf break 05

1 lb crackers 08

1 pint oysters 20

Cough candies 02

Scribbler for Marion 05

Postage 02

Maggie 50

1 loaf bread 05

1 bag fine salt 10

Sunday school 02

Church Collection 10

100 lbs salt 05

1 whisk 15

1 loaf bread 06

¾ pounds walnuts 10

Maggie for Church 2.10

1 lamp chimney 07

1 bottle M. Liniment 25

Maggie 06

½ black tea

1 pair laces 04

4 gallons coal oil 75

10 lbs corn meal 15

10 lbs Graham flour 25

5 gallons Coal Oil 95

1 hockey stick 30

Herbert for Dictionary 15

Maggie 10

½ loaf bread 06

1 lbs ginger snaps 10

¼ pound Ceylon Pepper 10

Postage 06

Flora and Marion 05

1 package Corn Starch 09

¼ lbs cream of tarter

Hair dressing 15

Marion for rink 10

March

1 jar molasses 12

1 doz eggs 20

Maggie 10

Chinaman for laundry 14

Sunday School 04

Patriotic Fund for Hockey 60

1 pair rubbers Herbert 60

Maggie 40

Marion and Flora 10

Sutherland for Miss Wilson 1.00

Postage 20

Mending tins 05

Missionary meeting 05

Skating rink 05

Maggie 25

¼ pounds cream of tartar 10

Sunday School 03

Maggie for concert 10

1 cake shaving soap 07

1 lbs soda 04

½ lbs Black tea

¼ lbs cream of tartar 09

1 bottle vanilla 10

5 pounds sugar 25

Maggie 25

5 lbs butter McKee 1.00

Marion 05

Herbert for Sharpening skates 05

Maggie 1.00

5 lbs G Flour 10

6 ½ lbs butter 1.45

Mending Herbert’s boots 25

1 loaf bread 10

Cough candies 05

1 quart milk 05

Skating rink 20

Maggie 22

9 ½ lbs butter 2.00

Flora 05

1 bags fine salt 10

Maggie 50

1 bag flour 2.25

49 pounds oats 49

5 lbs sugar 25

Sunday School 04

½ lbs Black tea

Postage 10

Postal notes 05

Subscription to Herald `1.50

Subscription to Westminster

Pady Jim 25

12 ¾ cords wood 35.25

I scrubbing brush 10

April

5 lbs sugar 25

Maggie 10

1 pair of rubbers Flora 35

Sunday School 04

½ gal Coal oil 10

1 bottle ammonia 05

1 lamp burner 10

1 doz herrings 25

20 lbs Graham Flour 50

1 bag rolled oats 25

5 Gal Coal Oil 95

20 pounds corn meal 30

Flora 05

Small writing pad 05

1 box crackers 25

½ pound candies 10

Scrubbing floor 25

Herbert for sugar 10

Maggie 20

Hair dressing 15

1 jar molasses 15

½ lbs Black tea 18

2 lbs tapioca 10

Postage 27

Sunday School 07

Herbert for Birthday 25

Maggie 10

1 Gallon syrup 65

3 lbs sugar maple 24

3 pairs shoe laces 08

2 pair stockings 60

5 lbs sugar 25

Sugar scale 40

Maggie 2.60

1 pair rubbers 60

Maggie 35

To Sunday School 03

2 dozen eggs 30

1 package popcorn 05

F Lyster for milk 95

Fir dressing Herbert 15

5 lbs sugar 25

Maggie 1.00

Hauling manure 20

Postage 10

Sunday School 03

Bill of goods bought by Dan 32

1 box crackers 25

1 spool thread 10

1 can corn beef? 25

3 ¾ lbs steak 47

Sunday school 04

Candies 04

May

5 lbs sugar 25

½ lbs Black tea 18

¼ pounds ginger 09

1 bag potatoes 45

¼ ream bill paper 05

Daigle for manuring 40

Edith 50

Herbert suit of clothes 4.00

Spading garden 1.00

Mending M and F. Shoes 70

Garden seeds 40

2 pairs shoes Edith and Marion 3.00

1 necktie for funeral 25

Maggie 25

Seeds got by Dr. Cleveland 50

1 package envelopes 07

Post office box 1.00

Sunday School 03

2 scribblers 10

1 bag oatmeal 1.90

1 lb flour 4.50

Mending boots 1.25

Pass Book 10

Postage 09

10 lbs graham flour 30

¼ lbs cream of tartar 25

2 lbs steak 25

3 ½ pounds S. Ham 25

Military dinner 75

3 gallons Maple Syrup 1.95

Researching Quebec when Church and State were one

If you drive into Montreal from the Laurentians on a sunny day, you’ll see a wonderful skyline, complete with a church spire as the tallest building for miles around. Such views are still typical throughout Quebec, although that’s likely to change as the iconic buildings get torn down to be replaced with skyscrapers, auditoriums and other modern structures.

These are remnants of the period from 1621 until 1964, when the Catholic Church operated as Church and State in this province. As genealogists, it’s important to remember this history as we look for traces of our ancestors. Traces of anyone in North American, even Protestant, Jewish and secular ancestors, might be found within documents held by religious organizations in Quebec.

In 1996, David Seljak described the Catholic Church’s influence in Quebec in an article. He wrote:

“Before 1960, the Church exercised a virtual monopoly over education, health care, and the social services offered to French Quebeckers who formed the majority of the population. During his years as premier from 1944 to 1959, Maurice Duplessis had declared Quebec a Catholic province and actively promoted the Church’s welfare. In 1958, more than eighty-five percent of the population identified themselves as Catholic and more than eighty-eight percent of those Catholics attended mass every Sunday. A virtual army of nuns, priests, and brothers, which by 1962 numbered more than 50,000, oversaw the Church’s massive bureaucracy.”

(Seljak, David. “Why the Quiet Revolution Was ‘Quiet’: The Catholic Church’s Reaction to the Secularization of Nationalism in Quebec after 1960,” CCHA, Historical Studies, 62 (1996), 109-124, n.d., 16.)


He argues that the Church took its loss of status with relative serenity because Quebec had so many Catholic residents at the time. The influence of Vatican II meant that most activists in favour of a secular reform in Quebec came from within the Church itself. If he’s right, the Church in Quebec decided itself to remove itself from a position as an instrument of the State to ensure that secularism spread throughout the Province.

Whether that’s true or not, given that many North Americans passed through Quebec during at least one generation, almost everyone has an ancestor whose experience may be highlighted within the records of the Catholic Church in Quebec. If you’re looking for traces of your ancestors, it’s worth exploring these documents.

Records that exist include:

  • baptisms
  • private and public engagement contracts (especially with Marriageable and King’s daughters’ contracts)
  • banns
  • marriages
  • parish records (black cross)
  • migration records
  • death records
  • burial records
  • orphan records
  • land records
  • construction records
  • fundraising records
  • directories
  • newsletters

Glossary

Abjuration: Recantation of faith, often associated with Huguenots (Protestant people from France)

Acquet: Goods inherited or otherwise obtained prior to marriage

cimetière: Cemetery

Communauté de biens: commonly-held goods

claration de fiançailles: oral promise to marry

def, defunt or feu: deceased

Douaire: dower or widow rights to be paid by a future husband to his future bride in the case of his death; this amount could not be taken by creditors in the case of bankruptcy

Fiançialles: marriage bonds, oral promise of marriage, engagement

Mandements: clergical administrative orders

Propres: Items legally owned by a man and women when they married that would not be jointly owned after marriage

Sépulture: burial

Société Notre-Dame de Montréal: a religious organization founded in 1639 in Paris. It recruited people to go to New France, including Jeanne Mance, who wanted to found a hospital, and Marguerite Bourgeoys, who wanted to found a school. The company was dissolved in 1663 and the Seigneurie de l’Ile de Montreal was turned over to the Compagnie des prêtres de Saint-Sulpice. Members started supporting the public program, with Bourgeoys founding the Maison Saint Gabriel farm house in 1668 to house the King’s wards.

Primary Religious Sources in Canada

Archdiocese of Montreal Archives

https://www.diocesemontreal.org/en/archdiocese/archives

30 volumes of mandements, pastoral letters, circular letters and other documents published by the Diocese of Montreal since its beginnings. Also available via: https://numerique.banq.qc.ca/patrimoine/details/52327/2751780

Archdiocese of Quebec Archives

https://archivesacrq.org/

Note: The Archdiocese Archives operate on Monday to Friday, from 9 to 11:45 am and from 1 to 3:45 pm, by appointment only.

Appointments are made via email in which the researcher must provide the archivists with the following information: research subject and context, period and dates, places, people (first and last names, titles and dates) concerned, a summary statement of existing research, and the researcher’s personal information: first and last name, title, institution, and city.

Collections include:

  • Adjurations Index
  • Certificates of freedom of marriage, 1757-
  • Confirmation registers
  • Parish, Mission and Centre Archives
  • Archives from the first missions and the Native American missions (manuscripts in Native American languages)
  • Archives from the apostolic vicariate of New France (1658-1674)
  • Archives from the archdiocese of Quebec (1674), with collections pertaining to the government of the diocese, the cathedral chapter, diocesan councils and committees, the chancellery, church authorities, pastoral work, human resources, communications and communications.
  • Archives from the provincial councils of Quebec (1851-1886) and from the Plenary Council of Québec (1909)
  • Archives from the Québec Interdiocesan Tribunal (1946)
  • Archives from parishes and communities
  • Archives from diocesan seminaries and colleges
  • Archives from institutes of consecrated life
  • Archives from ecclesiastic organizations, associations and movements
  • Archives from religious events at the diocesan, provincial, national and international levels
  • Personal and familial archives, including personal archives of bishops and archbishops of Québec

Archives Deschâtelets

https://archivescanada.accesstomemory.ca/archives-deschatelets

The historical archives of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI) in Canada (documents going back to 1841); manuscripts; volumes; microfilms; photographs (going back to 1816); collections pertaining to Oblate Missions, Aboriginal and Western history. 

Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BanQ)

https://www.banq.qc.ca/accueil/

  • Canada, Québec, registres paroissiaux catholiques, 1621-1979.” Database with images. FamilySearch. https://FamilySearch.org : 14 June 2021. Archives Nationales du Quebec (National Archives of Quebec), Montreal
  • Canada, Québec Index de copie civil de registres paroissiaux, 1642-1902.” Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : 14 June 2021. Bibliothèque et Archives Nationales Du Québec (National Library and Archives of Quebec).
  • Marriage Contracts of Quebec: Contrats de mariage des districts judiciaires de Québec, de Beauce, de Charlevoix, de Montmagny et de Thetford Mines, 1636-1953
  • Superior court records: Fonds Cour supérieure. District judiciaire de Québec. Insinuations, registres des insinuations de la Prévôté de Québec, vol. 1 (Anciennement registres 1, 2 et 3) (1er mars 1667 – 25 septembre 1696), folios 109-109v.
  • Parish Records:Fonds Paroisse Notre-Dame-de-Foy, 1662-1976, Cote : P48, Id 298582
  • Parish Records: Paroisse Sainte-Famille, Ile d’Orléans – registres d’état civil, 1666-1790, ZQ1,S28 #184 : 12 avril 1666 au 7 octobre 1727.
  • Parish Records: Paroisse Notre-Dame-de-Montréal, 1657-[vers 1850], Cote : P1000,D1277 Id 696688 et Registres d’état civil, 1642-1948, Cote : ZQ106, Id 420864 et Index alphabétique des confirmés de Notre-Dame-de-Montréal, de 1676 et 1678 – s.d. 11 pages Numéro : 301330
  • Notarial records: Montréal (Québec : district judiciaire). Notariat, 008127867_003_M99W-KP4, Jan 1, 1657–May 14, 1669; notary Claude Aubert, 1652-1692; notary Bénigne Basset, 1658-1672; notary Pierre Raimbault, 1698-1727; notary Antoine Adhémar, 1673-1712.
  • https://www.banq.qc.ca/archives/genealogie_histoire_familiale/ressources/bd/recherche.html?id=TUTELLE_CURATELLE_20170823

Library and Archives Canada

https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/vital-statistics-births-marriages-deaths/Pages/parish-registers.aspx

  • New France Archive Collection: https://nouvelle-france.org/eng/Pages/new-france-archives.aspx, including the correspondence and memoirs of Jean Talon
  • Collection Jacques Henri Fabien (MG 25 G231), La collection sur microfilm se compose de renseignements généalogiques pour la période de 1657 à 1974.
  • Cases of indentured servants who left their masters (extraits d’arrêts du Conseil supérieur concernant les engagés qui quittent le service de leurs maîtres) 00003916294, fol. 56-57v sur microfilm Centre des archives MG1-C11A, 1663-1702 Microfilm reel number: F-2.
  • Rules, arrests and declarations made in Paris (Recueils de réglements, édits, déclarations, et arrêts : concernant le commerce, l’administration de la justice, & la police des colonies françaises de l’Amérique, & les engagés : avec le Code noir, et l’addition audit code, France, Chez les Libraires associés, Paris), 1765, MG1-C11A. Microfilm reel number: F-2.

McCord Museum

Archived Collections: http://collections.musee-mccord.qc.ca/en/keys/collections/

Parks Canada

History elibrary, http://parkscanadahistory.com/

St. Paul University, Centre for Vatican II and 21st Century Catholicism

Vatican Archives of the Sacred Congregation “de Propaganda Fide” 1622-1846, PFcongressi_1831-1836_p.407-526, https://ustpaul.ca/upload-files/RCRHC/PFcongressi_1831-1836_p.407-526.pdf.

Primary Religious Sources in the United States

Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska

English translation of The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents, 1610-1791, http://moses.creighton.edu/kripke/jesuitrelations/, edited by Reuben Gold Thwaites, secretary of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, computerized transcription by Thom Mentrak, historical interpreter at Ste. Marie among the Iroquois living history museum, Liverpool, New York, 1898-1901.

Internet Archive, San Francisco, California

https://archive.org/

The Internet Archive operates as a free catalogue of everything on the Internet since 1996. It also operates as a public library.

Secondary Sources

Academic papers

Boivin Sommerville, Suzanne. “Marriage Contract in New France according to La Coutume de Paris / The Custom of Paris,” French-Canadian Heritage Society of Michigan, https://habitantheritage.org/cpage.php?pt=14, May 12, 2018, originally published in Michigan’s Habitant Heritage, Vol. 26, no. 3 (July 2005): 135-137.

Gauvreau, Michael. “From Rechristianization to Contestation: Catholic Values and Quebec Society, 1931–1970.” Church History 69, no. 4 (December 2000): 803–33. https://doi.org/10.2307/3169332.

Seljak, David. “Why the Quiet Revolution Was ‘Quiet’: The Catholic Church’s Reaction to the Secularization of Nationalism in Quebec after 1960,” CCHA, Historical Studies, 62 (1996), 109-124, n.d., 16.

Books

Baum, G. (1991). The Church in Quebec. Canada: Novalis.

Grand’Maison, Jacques. Nationalisme et religion. Tome 2. Religion et 58 idéologies politiques, (Montréal: Beauchemin, 1970)

Jetté, René. Dictionnaire généalogique des familes du Québec. Montréal: Les Presses de l’Université de Montréal, 1983.

Lindsey, Charles. Rome in Canada: The Ultramontane Struggle for Supremacy Over the Civil Authority. Lovell brothers, 1877.

Sulte, Benjamin. Histoire des Canadiens-Français. Wilson & Cie, Editeurs, Montréal, 1882, ISBN 0885450183; Editions Elysse, 1977.

Trudel, Marcel. La population du Canada en 1666. Recensement reconstitué. Québec: Septentrion, 1995.

Valynseele, Joseph et al., La Généalogie, histoire et pratique, Paris, éditions Larousse, 1991.

Vincent, Rodolphe, Notre costume civil et religieux, Montréal, Centre de psychologie et de pédagogie, 1963, B004QP56OA

Websites

Genealogy Ensemble: https://genealogyensemble.com/ (particularly

New France, New Horizons, http://www.archivescanadafrance.org/, a bilingual site set up by the Direction des Archives de France (Paris) et les Bibliothèque et Archives Canada (Ottawa) to commemorate the 400th anniversary of New France in 2004. The search function still works.

Southwestern Quebec Genealogical Resources, https://www.swquebec.ca/land_grant/land_grants.html.

Quebec Heritage Repertoire, https://www.patrimoine-culturel.gouv.qc.ca/rpcq/