Canada’s 150th Genealogy Challenge

Let’s celebrate our early ancestors, it is because of their contributions that our country is such a wonderful place to live!

List all your ancestors that were living in Canada in 1867, the dates they arrived (can be approximate) and where they first settled.

Here is my list –

Name                             Date                           Place

Dever, James                 1862             Picton, Ontario

Hodgins, Thomas          1820            Huntley, Carleton Co., Ontario

Harrop, Lewis               1849             Etobicoke, York Co., Ontario

Jeffery, Robert                1818            Quebec City

Jordan, Samuel              1851            Quebec City

McMahon, Cornelius    1851           Normanby, Grey Co. Ontario

Murdie, Joseph              1818            Bathurst, Ontario

Potter, Mary                   1834           Huntley, Carleton Co., Ontario

Stewart, William           1846           West Flamboro, Wentworth Co, Ontario

Tipper, John                   1796            Quebec

Now it’s your turn!


The Census-Taker Missed Them

My Friday night fun was reading through The Weekly Chronicle on the BAnQ website (Quebec archives) and I came across this letter to the editor –

The weekly CHronicle Sept 8 1891

The Weekly Chronicle Sept. 8, 1891.


Sir, – Reading Mr. Lortie’s letter in yesterday’s Chronicle, reminds me that I was never called on by the census official.  This makes three more unregistered citizens, and I have no doubt many more can tell the same tale.                                                                 I enclose my card,                                                                                                                               Yours Truly,                                                                                                                                          St. Ursule Street                                                                                                                    Quebec, 8th Sept., 1891

This may be the answer to my never-ending quest to find Samuel Jordan in earlier Quebec City census records.


Connecting at Conference

I was lucky enough to attend the Ontario Genealogy Conference that was recently held in Ottawa. A few of the reasons I LOVE attending:

  1. Deals. The vendors are there in spades and they offer great deals, DNA kits at unheard of prices, renewing your subscription to sites again at reduced rates, books, scanners, and more.
  2. Networking. Talk to societies, archives or other organizations face-to-face. They are there to help and answer your questions.
  3. Learning. The speakers, oh the speakers, their informative talks help to give you focus and direction in your research.
  4. Volunteering. You can put your own knowledge to work by volunteering at these events or by helping out. I was a part of the Social Media Team and they were a truly fun group to work with.
  5. Access. Did I mention the research room? FREE access to many great genealogy sites. The access given allowed me to research and locate many records that I didn’t even know were out there. Genealogy Quebec is the site where I found many new discoveries. The room also had free access to Find My Past, My Heritage, Ancestry, and others. This is a great way to ‘try them out’ and see if they would be a worthwhile purchase for you.
  6. Excursions. I had never been to Library and Archives Canada and felt a little intimidated about visiting. I shouldn’t have been, the tour was quite informative and I was able to ask questions when I wasn’t sure about something. It was a day well spent.

One thing I did this year was showcase my own surnames. I had a T-shirt printed and I was a walking billboard. My t-shirt received a lot of comments and because it was tweeted so many times I was contacted by people who matched my Gedmatch number! Goal achieved.



Photo creds to LDC


I think we may see more of these shirts at future conferences.

You may wonder why I would travel so far (Alberta) to attend and there is really one over-riding reason, the people. The new-found friendships, renewed and strengthened are really the reason I keep coming back.



The Next Step After Griffith’s Valuation

The next step after finding your relative in Griffith’s Valuation is to head to the Valuation Office in Dublin, either in person or remotely, and some exciting news, read all the way through

What you can find there is a record of the land you have located in Griffith’s changing hands. You are charged 1 Euro per page. And no, you do not have to visit them in person to order the records. A friend was telling me that she has requested the information on-line. You can read more about the Valuation Office services here.

When using Griffiths, I had found a John Melody & Michael Melody owned land in Corrabaun, Galway. My recent trip to Ireland along with a handy lesson on using the overlay of Griffith’s maps along with modern ones allowed me to see that the land owned by Michael Melody had previously been owned by John, possibly his father? I still don’t know that yet, but likely.

Corrabaun Valuation record

A page from Book 6 (1847-1939) at the Valuation Office, Dublin.

By using the valuation records, I can see that the land changed hands about 1867, and John is no longer listed at all on the later valuations. I think John may have died but I will have to do some further investigations, although the index for civil death registration for Loughrea is on the Irish Genealogy website, the actual record needs to be ordered.


The entry showing John’s land being taken over by Michael Melody, 1867.

And now the news, these records I was told will hopefully all be on-line in about two years!! This will be a great boon to all genealogists.

A big thank you to Peter who took a day off of work to come with me to the Valuation Office and then he took me to the National Library. A great day of researching!

Conference Day

Today we drove into Nenagh, Tipperary today and I have some time before the Clans and Surnames Conference begins.

It is really hard to relate all that we have experienced so far on our trip. For us the highlight has definitely been our New Inn stay. It is great to see Ireland but also to have people who welcome you into their homes and take the time out of their lives to drive you to various places describing who lives there now and hearing the stories is an invaluable part of our journey.

Places we have been – 

Clontusket Abbey – close to where the McGuinness family lived when they arrived in Galway in the 1820s. (Featured image is of one of the windows from the Abbey
Woodlawn House – owned by the landowners of the New Inn are where the Melody & McGuinness family were living. Their landowner was Rev. Trench.
I received a thorough tutorial from a very helpful friend (thanks Martin) on how to do map overlays using Griffiths Valuation. This allowed me to see where John Melody & Michael Melody were living in the area of Corrabaun in the 1850s. Their farms were located side by side and John’s farm was eventually owned by Michael and then later by Michael’s son Thomas Melody.

I still have a lot to learn but another tip I received was that the Cancelation Books would cover every time the land changed hands and these books are located for viewing in Dublin. I hope to have a chance to have a look at them when we head back there.

Late Night Discovery

Time change had me up at 1 am. What did I do? I logged into my DNA on ancestry to see what was new. After checking on my matches I went into my distant matches which is something I generally avoid. Scrolling through I happened to click on a random person and looked to see if we had any surnames in common. I saw the name Pendergass and selected it on the off chance it would match up with my Prendergast family.

WOW is all I can say. This match could be a legitimate match through the Prendergast family.

First let me take you back a few months when I logged into Gedmatch and looked at my great uncle’s Herb’s matches and I was a close match with a person named Michael. I sent off an email and with his reply I discovered that he decended from Thomas Prendergast & Margaret Walsh. These are the same people who I guessed to be the great grandparents of my great uncle Herb.

To be honest the Reddy/Prendergast line is the one I felt I would never make any breakthroughs on, the history of this family is limited. Herb’s grandmother Anne Reddy died when she was in her early 20s and her mother Margaret Prendergast also had an untimely death at a young age, both died in Quebec City.

With numerous records pointing me to Margaret’s parents being Thomas Prendgast & Margaret Walsh, I had them tenitively listed as  her parents. NO records I have found have proven that connection… yet.

With these new-found DNA matches with my great uncle and myself I felt that these parents are quite likely.

Fast-forward to me last night on Ancestry and the Prendergass match. They had a Cecily Prendergass who married a John Kennedy in Quebec City… Well, with a little further looking I found the marriage record on Ancestry and guess who Cecily’s parents were listed as? Thomas Prendergast & Margaret Walsh. Are you kidding me? Is this even possible? Does DNA do this much?

I have found these same names listed on an Irish pay $$ website as parents for a birth of Margaret Prendergast (1822) in Mooncoin, Kilkenny, this place is where the earlier match named Michael had indicated the family was from.

My question is, how many maybes makes a proven?? How many clues do you use in your genealogy to call it fact? I am leaning closely to Margaret Prendgast’s parents being Thomas & Margaret (Walsh) Prendgast. Woundn’t you?

Summary – 

Great uncle Herb -> Anne Reddy – > Thomas Reddy & Margaret Prendergast 

Margaret Prendergast possible parents –  Thomas Prendergast & Margaret Walsh

Great uncle Herb’s DNA matches Michael who descends from Thomas Prendergast & Margaret Walsh

My DNA shows a match to someone who descends from Thomas Prendergast & Maraget Walsh

Found a birth record for Margaret Prendergast (1822) d/o Thomas Prendergast & Margaret Walsh in Mooncoin, Kilkenny

Airport Fun

I am sitting in the Edmonton airport waiting for the start of what in my mind is my ‘trip of a lifetime’. Although not purely a research trip, more of an exploratory journey, I will be doing some genealogy research. I plan to stay close or in the communities that I know my family has resided,  and I look forward to talking locals, exploring churches, cemeteries and breathing the Irish air. To pass the time I made a list of my Irish immigrant ancestors and where they were from. 

Out of 12 people I have a known location in Ireland for 5, I only know the Counties for 2, which leaves me with 5 that have the empty designation of unknown.

Ancestors name | Date of Immigration | Immigrated From | Location in Canada | Connection to me

1. Mary Potter – [ca.1820] unknown location -> Goulbourn, Carleton Co., Ontario – 3x great grandmother

2. Cornelius McMahon – 1850 Co. Clare -> Sherbrooke, Quebec -. Normanby Twp, Grey Co., Ontario – 2x great grandfather

3. Sarah McCue – unknown date, unknown place -> Normanby Twp, Grey CO., Ontario – 2 x great grandmother
4. Margaret Pendergast with parents Thomas Pendergast & Margaret Walsh – ca. 1830s – Mooncoin, Kilkenny -> Quebec City – 3x great grandmother

5. Thomas Hodgins – [ca.1812] – Dromineer, Tipperary -> Huntley, Carleton CO., Ontario – 4x great grandfather

6. Thomas Reddy – [ca.1840] – unknown place (possibly Kilkenny) -> Quebec City – 3x great grandfather 

7. Samuel Jordan – [before 1852] unknown place -> Quebec City – 3x great grandfather

8. Mary Quigley – wife of Samuel Jordan [before 1852 ] -> Quebec City – 3x great grandmother

9. Mary Loftus – [unknown date] – unknown place –  arrived with husband Felix McGowan to New York -> West Flamboro, Wentworth Co., Ontario – 2x great grandmother

10. Bridget Melody – 1879 – New Inn, Galway -> Montreal, Quebec

11. James Diver with wife Sarah Cheatley – 1862 – Milford, Donegal -> Picton, Prince Edward Co., Ontario – 2x great grandparents

12. Sarah Cheatley – 1862 – Milford, Donegal -> same as her husband James Diver (Sarah was from Dromore, Donegal)


List of Irish Counties – Clare, Galway, Sligo, Tipperary, Kilkenny, Donegal, 6 unknown

Earliest arrival was Thomas Hodgins ca. 1812

Latest arrival was Bridget Melody in 1879

Possible Famine immigration – McMahon, McCue, Reddy, Jordan, Quigley