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   Welcome to the Frampton Irish Blog. I will try to provide a blog edition each month. Each edition will have a theme. I will try to include such items as updated information on my research activities, new things I am learning, interesting tidbits on Frampton Irish persons and families, and occasionally some research tips. If I present questions and issues to you, and you have answers or comments, I invite your feedback either on the guest book or if you prefer by email to me at

Quebec City Nov 25, 2009

The theme of this blog is "Quebec City." The importance of Quebec City in the lives of the Frampton Irish should not be understated. I was once told that the family lore of a Frampton Irish descendant included a story of how their Frampton Irish ancestor had traveled from Ireland to Boston and then traveled north to Frampton. It is sometimes difficult to accept that a person’s family lore might not be true! I had to answer this by stating that in my opinion I did not believe this to be true. In fact, in all of my research, I have never come across any information of any settlement of the Frampton vicinity coming from the U.S. to the south.

Access to the lands in the Frampton vicinity had always progressed from the Quebec City area. The "Craig Road" was one of the first routes to be improved that led from Quebec City south into the Chaudiere River valley with a connection to Ste. Marie de Beauce. The "Craig Road" into this area was not completed until 1810. It would eventually be extended in the form of the "Kennebec Road" to the U.S. border and connect with routes in Maine, but in the early days there were perhaps nothing but trader and Indian trails to the U.S. The Kennebec Road led from Quebec City to the Kennebec River Valley in Maine. It passed through the Chaudiere River Valley and the Town of Ste. Marie de Beauce. Roads from Ste. Marie to Frampton would not be constructed until 1817. So the road to Frampton was always through the port of Quebec City and Ste. Marie de Beauce would be the initial gateway to Frampton.

So I can say with some confidence that all the Frampton Irish set foot in Lower Canada for the first time at the port of Quebec City. This was actually very fortunate because for the most part the Irish were welcomed there. There were employment and housing opportunities available in the port and there was already a fledgling Irish community present. Irish surnames are found among the following occupations in Quebec City from 1812 to 1819: shoemaker, tavern keeper, navigator, merchant, ship carpenter, clerk, tailor, ship captain, and painter. The Quebec Emigrant Society was founded in 1818 to provide assistance, advice, information, shelter and food.

Nancy Schmitz, in her book, Irish for a Day, Saint Patrick’ Day Celebrations in Quebec City, 1765-1990, stated: "In Quebec City this Irish presence meant that there were almost a thousand English speaking Catholics in 1819."

Probably most of the Frampton Irish spent some time living in Quebec City prior to settling in the Frampton vicinity. In fact this would be somewhat of a necessity as a farm being established in the "waste land" would require several years before it could produce enough crops even to provide for a family’s subsistence. Also, some may have also occasionally resided in Quebec City during periods of employment there after they established farms in the Frampton vicinity in order to the raise necessary cash. So ties between the Frampton Irish community and the Quebec City Irish community were strong. My research has found many specific examples of the Frampton Irish being employed and being residents in the Quebec City area. The following is a list of their names, occupations (if known), locations, and year(s) they were living there: Walker Birnie, Quebec City, 1826 to 1831; George Beatty, laborer, Quebec City, 1821 to 1825; Owen Bird, joiner and carpenter, Quebec City, 1831 to 1832; Robert Blakiston, sailmaker, Quebec City, 1820s; Patrick Byrnes, Little River St. Charles, 1815; Dudley Colcough, clerk, Point Levi, 1817;

Bernard Connolly, yeoman, Quebec City, 1834; James Coyle, Little River St. Charles, 1831; Patrick Daly, tavern keeper, Pres de Ville, 1816 to 1841; John Dillon, snuff maker, Quebec City, 1827 to 1828; Thomas Donahue, publisher, Lower Town, 1838; James Falls, laborer, Quebec City, 1835; Joseph Garthwaite, joiner, Quebec City, 1821; Andrew Hennessy, school teacher, St. Peter Ward, 1838 to 1851; Jeremiah Kilduff, laborer, Quebec City, 1825 to 1832; Joseph Knowles, laborer, Quebec City, 1834; John Lally, laborer, Quebec City, 1834; James Lennox, carpenter, Quebec City, 1829; Edward Lilly, navigator, Quebec City, 1826; Edward Manes, Quebec City, 1827; Michael Marrigan, tailor, Quebec City, 1831; George Matthews, sawyer, Quebec City, 1838; Timothy McCarthy, laborer, Pres de Ville, 1831; Robert Mills, mason, Quebec City, 1825; Martin Murphy, Jr., merchandise sales, Quebec City, 1828; Miles Murphy, yeoman, Little River St. Charles and Sillery, 1806 to 1817; Andrew Murphy, Sr., clerk, timber inspector, ship carpenter, Quebec City, 1806 to 1825; Patrick Murphy, carter, Quebec City, 1836 to 1881; Andrew Murphy, Jr., timber stower, Quebec City, 1840 to 1873; Thomas Murphy, tavern keeper, Woolf’s Cove, 1834; Peter Murphy, farmer, Ancienne Lorette, 1806 to 1821; Michael Murphy, stevedore, Lower Town, 1833 to 1842; John Nicholson, shipyard operator, Levis, 1843; Cornelius O’Brien, laborer, Quebec City, 1844; John O’Toole, Point Levi, 1832;

Michael Quigley, mason, Quebec City, 1823 to 1840; Finlay Ross, Point Levi, 1832; John Sheehan, mason, Quebec City, 1829 to 1835; Daniel Sheehy, policeman, Quebec City, 1866; Archibald Smith, laborer, Quebec City, 1826; Kenneth Sutherland, Quebec City, 1821; John Tackney, laborer, Quebec City, 1854; William Weeks, Quebec City, 1826; John Wilson, grocer, Quebec City, 1826 to 1851; Joseph Wilson, store clerk, Quebec City, 1836 to 1839; James Wright, tavern keeper and stevedore, Diamond Harbor, 1833 to 1850; and Robert Wright, laborer, Quebec City, 1806 to 1821.

This substantial list shows that if a researcher wishes to find all the records of their Frampton Irish ancestors, they must go beyond the records of Frampton alone and expand to searches of the records in the Quebec City vicinity. For example, the very first church records found for the Frampton Irish were the marriage of Robert Wright and Mary Murphy in 1809 at the St. Gabriel’s Presbyterian Church in Montreal and Andrew Murphy and Mary Mackie in 1809 at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Quebec City. Both of these families were known to be Catholic, yet these marriages were found in Protestant records, which I have found in my research was not all that unusual. So records of all religions should be searched. In my research I have found records of the Frampton Irish is the following registers: St. Andrew’s Presbyterian, 13 records; Chalmers Presbyterian, 1 record; Holy Trinity Anglican Cathedral, 46 records; and Aubigny Anglican Church in Levis, 76 records. I have also found numerous records in the parish register of Notre Dame de Quebec Catholic Cathedral in Quebec City.

The Irish Catholics in Quebec City attended mass and were members of the parish of Notre Dame de Quebec. In 1828, the Irish congregation and was allowed to use the church of Notre Dame des Victoires in Lower Town. However, records of their events were included in the Notre Dame de Quebec register.

Many cities in North America would come to have ethnic neighborhoods commonly referred to as "Chinatown, Germantown, etc." Such it was with the Irish neighborhood of Quebec City, although it was never given the name "Irishtown." The Irish primarily inhabited the area of Lower Town where most of the "maritime" jobs could be obtained. Robert Grace in his The Irish in Quebec, An Introduction to the Historiography, stated:

Yet another Irish colony in Quebec City became known as Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde. Honorius Provost’s history of the parish traces the development of the parish and the Irish community. The continuation of Champlain Street out to Cap Blanc "...constituted their [the Irish people’s] principle habitat and remained so for over half a century." As early as 1818 the Irish were numerous among the Catholic population of the area. By 1877, the Irish element was "...overwhelmingly dominant. Diamond Harbour and Pres-de-Ville constitute their uncontested fortress."

Recently one of my client’s was interested in finding more precisely the Quebec City neighborhood in which his Frampton Irish ancestor Timothy McCarthy lived in. I was able to quickly answer that it was most likely in the vicinity of Lower Town. He told me that he had found his ancestor in the 1831 Lower Canada census in Quebec City. So I started by finding that entry in the census. It was listed among several pages where the location was given as "Basse Ville, Cap Diamond." The approximate translation would be "Lower Town, Cape Diamond." Cape Diamond is the tremendous escarpment that rises abruptly from the St. Lawrence River and Upper Town and the citadel of Quebec is situated on the top of it. Among the numerous Irish names on these pages was "Patrick Dailey, aubergiste (inn keeper)." I was very familiar with this person as he was married to Helen Murphy, daughter of my ancestor Miles Murphy. I had found numerous notaire records on Patrick Daly as he was quite active in renting houses, flats, and rooms in the buildings that he owned in a location called "Pres de Ville." In some of these records he was referred to as a "tavern keeper" and in later records as a "grocer." So I was able to specifically locate the client’s ancestor in this same neighbor and judging by the numerous Irish names found in Pres de Ville in the 1831 census, it was clearly the "Irishtown" of Quebec City.

Pres de Ville stretched from the King’s Wharf upriver to Diamond Harbor. Even from around 1822 it included several Irish business men. It was also the center of many ship building enterprises representing employment opportunities for the arriving Irish. In fact, James Young, ship builder, was a neighbor to Patrick Daly. Patrick Daly’s many "lease agreements" found in various notaire registers showed that he seemed to have a preference for renting rooms to the Irish, most merely listed as laborers.

The principle landing place for newly arriving Irish passengers was between Queen’s and McCallum’s wharves. This is right near the Market Place in Lower Town near the intersection of Champlain St. and Mountain St. It would have been a short walk from the landing place to either Thomas Murphy’s tavern at Irvine’s Wharf or Patrick Daly’s tavern at Pres de Ville. Perhaps they were sources of information to them for jobs in Pres de Ville and would tell them to contact their brother-in-law Andrew Murphy (Frampton first settler and Captain of the Militia) about settlement opportunities in Frampton.

Incidentally, one of the major properties in Pres de Ville was purchased in 1815 by Montreal brewer and steamboat operator John Molson. Some of the Frampton Irish laborers who lived in Pres de Ville may have been employed by him. So the next time you enjoy a Molson’s beer, you can think of this interesting connection to the Frampton Irish and the "Irishtown" of Pres de Ville.

The Big Picture Oct 15, 2009

The theme for this blog is the "big picture." I have been very busy with several personal projects and time has gone by quickly and many of those projects have gotten in the way of writing this blog. The "big picture" I am referring to is going beyond the simple study of a family and approximately where they are from to gathering enough information on them to get the "big picture." Many persons searching for their family roots often are easily satisfied by just finding out the names of their direct line ancestors and approximately where they lived and when. Some find this information from secondary sources in the form of various indices. This was the first step for me in discovering my Frampton Irish ancestors. Many years ago, I found my Great Grandmother Elizabeth Murphy in the LDS Ancestral File and in a now defunct listing of the Irish in Canada. This resulted in my contact with Foster Murphy and Karen Beatty, my first distant relatives that I found through my research. I could have stopped here and been satisfied with the "small picture," because this information gave me their names and where they were approximately from and when. But I was searching for more and Foster and Karen shared with me all they had gathered and what sources they got the information from. I wanted to examine the sources myself. So first I began researching the Canada census to gather names and approximate birth years, not only for my Murphy families, but my other Frampton Irish families: McLean, O’Connor, O’Farrell, Doran, etc. This was another point at which I could have stopped. But I soon discovered that much of the census information was somewhat unreliable in the ages given and it was not precise enough to determine where my ancestor’s farms were located. So I began research in the church records and was then able to nail down precise baptism, birth, marriage, death, and burial dates. These became the first real "primary sources" that I used. This is a point where many researchers stop! They get the vitals and have little interest in the "big picture" beyond that.

After gathering all that I could on my ancestral families in terms of census and church records in Frampton, I still had many unanswered questions. In terms of getting passed my "brick walls," I learned from various genealogy magazines and guidebooks that I needed to go beyond just the Frampton vicinity and also study the neighbors. The neighbors turned out to be all the Irish that lived in the Frampton vicinity and many adjacent areas to include places in the Quebec City area. Some research guides told me about notaire records. My first venture into researching in notaire records was intimating. The obstacles seemed somewhat insurmountable: the French language, the poor handwriting, the lack of indices, no clear way of selecting the most likely notaire registers, no central repository of such records, etc. But I still wanted the "big picture" so I started my notaire research.

I absolutely cannot say enough about the value of notaire records in your research. In review of a previous blog on this subject: they provide precise locations of your ancestor’s farms; they sometimes point backwards to other notaire registers where original land entries might be found; some records provide the approximate arrival date in Quebec; some records even say where in Ireland a person came from; if your ancestor could sign their names, their signatures can be found on the documents; the land records often provide the names of the neighbors; will and testaments often provide the names and locations of children and relatives; and they often provide the most accurate spelling of your ancestral surnames. I have discovered that the greatest notaire "treasure" to be found is a document know as an "estate inventory." These documents are fascinating and very detailed. They have a complete listing of all the property owned by the deceased such as their livestock, furniture, dishes, utensils, etc, They also list the persons they owe money to and the person who owe them money. Associated documents include details on disbursements to the heirs.

The detailed information you can get from notaire records will give you the "big picture" of your ancestor’s lives and times. It is a true genealogical "treasure hunt." The notaire documents give not only detailed information but the legal language they are written in give a fascinating picture of the times in which your ancestors lived. An accumulation of the numerous documents of your ancestors become a more or less complete illustration of their lifestyle. It is my favorite form of research and I am currently spending a great deal of time pursuing it. I have been indexing every record I have found for the Frampton Irish. I have fully realized that there is no "rhyme nor reason" for determining which of the hundreds of notaire registers that you might find your ancestral documents in. But my research work makes it tremendously easier for you. I have published two volumes of indices and I am working on a third volume. My work has suddenly become a little easier with the notaire registers being placed on-line by the Archives de Quebec. Some of you have taken advantage of my work through the purchase of my indices or asking for a "custom report" on your ancestors. My "custom reports" include copies of the pages from my notaire indices that have references to your direct line ancestors. The references make it possible for you to seek the actual documents on your own without a great deal of search time. Right now, I am also including any references found in my draft volume III. Some of you have also retained my services in finding and obtaining the actual notaire documents.

I am now about half finished with my draft volume III. My recent work involved indexing the on-line documents of Notaires Francois Bourget and Louis Napoleon Carrier. Although the documents are on-line, finding the specific documents involves using the alphabetical or chronological indices that are in the notaires handwriting. My advanced experience with the surnames of the Frampton Irish allows me to move rapidly through the indices picking out the dates of the targeted notaire documents. Then I consult those actual documents and extract certain indexing information such as the date, type of document, names of involved parties including neighbors, and property descriptions, if given.

Notaire Francois Bourget kept his register from 1852 to 1904. For the most part he kept his office in the Parish of St. Henri (not far from Frampton). His location would lead one to believe that his register would be categorized with the court for the District of Beauce, but his register is actually categorized with the District of Quebec City. I have extracted 39 records for the Frampton Irish. The most noteworthy of these involve the Allen and Cullen families of St. Anselme and St. Isidore who have relatives in Frampton. There is also a testament for Margaret Hall, widow of William Fitzsimmons of St. Malachie.

Notaire Louis Napoleon Carrier kept his register from 1863 to 1879 and also had his office in St. Henri. His register is also categorized under the District of Quebec City. I have extracted 57 records for the Frampton Irish. This register includes several "new titles" granted to the Frampton Irish for properties in Frampton Township from the heirs of George Desbarats that give precise descriptions of the land and the neighboring Irish. Another marriage contract record involving the O’Rourke family of St. Isidore allowed me to correct my records from Louise O’Rourke being married to a Patrick Murphy to have actually been married to a Thimothy Murphy. The church record for this marriage erroneously gave the name of the husband as Patrick Murphy. So this proves that notaire records sometimes have value for making corrections for other primary sources.

Not all notaire registers are on-line yet. Some have indices on-line but not the actual documents meaning that "good old fashioned" microfilm must be consulted to view the actual documents. In a recent trip to Salt Lake City, I was able to view two such registers. The first was the register of Notaire Francois Xavier Ponsant. Ponsant operated in Ste. Marie from 1832 to 1872 and his register is categorized with the District of Beauce. I extracted 14 records for the Frampton Irish. The most significant of these were estate property inventory documents in regards to the late Catherine Allen Ross, former wife of Frampton surveyor Andrew Ross. Andrew Murphy (my own ancestor) and James Kelly were the "experts" appointed by Andrew Ross to establish values.

The other register that I started on in Salt Lake City, is the register of Edward George Cannon. Edward George Cannon worked in Quebec City from 1834 to 1885. He has so many Irish surnames listed in his index that he probably could be called the "notaire to the Irish." But many of these Irish in his register were not specifically related or connected to the Frampton community. Therefore, I have had to screen his chronological index for documents that might "most likely" be those of the Frampton Irish. While in Salt Lake City, I was able to extract 36 records of the Frampton Irish before I ran out of time. So far I have found in this register several land sales in the Frampton vicinity, several building leases in Quebec City involving my ancestor’s relative Patrick Daly and some documents related to the business dealings of St. Malachie’s Michael Quigley. I have since ordered several rolls of microfilm to be delivered to my local family history center so I can continue with these extractions. But because his register is on 17 rolls of microfilm, this may take me some time to complete.


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