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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

What's in a name? Mar 12, 2010

The theme of this blog is "what’s in a name?" I have finally found some time to write and post this blog. I moved my father into an assisted living facility in January and I have spent the last eight weeks going through his things, emptying his house, conducting an estate sale, and making improvements to his house to prepare it to be put up for sale. It has been so time consuming that I have suspended much of my research work. Going through all of his things brought back many memories of his and my families immediate (the past 50 years or so) history. I even found a brass plate with Japanese writing on it, that my dad said he had removed from a Japanese artillery piece that his Army unit in the Philippines had captured. He served as a machine gunner during WW II and was part of the U.S. forces that occupied Japan after the surrender. He is indeed part of America’s "greatest generation." The brass plate that he collected will be a small treasure that will stay in the family.

My dad, James P. McLane is my ancestral connection to the Frampton Irish. When he introduced himself at the assisted living facility, he told the other residents that he was an "Irishman." He said this despite the fact that he was born in North Dakota and his mother had been born in Minnesota to Danish parents. But in my family, it has been the names and the "Irishness" that stuck to the family story without any other genealogical information. My dad, James P. McLane may have been named after his great grandfather who lived in Concession St. Alexander of Ste. Marguerite, just north of the Frampton Township boundary. I have found in a notary record, that his great grandfather signed his name as "James P. McLean." My dad’s father was Miles McLane who was born in Ste. Marguerite in July of 1880, although for most of his life he thought he was born in September of 1881. Miles’ parents were John McLane and Elizabeth Murphy. In their marriage record, they signed their names as "John McLane" and "Elizabeth McLane." It appears that this generation were the ones that altered the spelling of the name from "McLean" to "McLane." This was lesson to me that the spelling of a surname may have some importance, but it should not be assumed to carry through the many generations and a researcher should always check under alternative spellings. (The name McLean has at least 14 different spelling variations)

My family was always intrigued by the given name of "Miles," but other than knowing that it was Irish we didn’t know where it came from. It turns out that my great grandparents, John McLane and Elizabeth Murphy, followed the "Irish naming tradition" in their family very precisely. That pattern goes like this: the first male child is named after the paternal grandfather; the first female child is named after the paternal grandmother; the second male child is named after the maternal grandfather; and the second female child is named after the maternal grandmother. The first child was a daughter and she was named Anastasia McLane after her paternal grandmother, Anastasia O’Connor. This Anastasia would be known as "Stacy" all of her life. The second child was a daughter and she was named Bridget McLane after her maternal grandmother Bridget O’Farrell. Although she would be known as Sarah all her life. For quite some time, I thought that they had a child named Bridget and a child named Sarah. I had found the birth record of a Bridget, but in all the U.S. Census I could only find a Sarah and the birth years didn’t match. It wasn’t until I obtained a death certificate for her where the name was listed as "Bridget Sarah" that I discovered that this was the same person. Apparently she didn’t care for the name "Bridget." The third child was James McLane who was named after his paternal grandfather James P. McLean. The fourth child was my grandfather Miles McLane who was named for his maternal grandfather Miles Murphy. This Miles Murphy was the son of Andrew Murphy, Frampton first settler, and Andrew’s father was Miles Murphy who had been imprisoned for participating in the Rebellion of 1798 and came as one of the early Irish emigrants to Quebec in 1806. So it turns out that the given name of "Miles" is perhaps the greatest piece of heritage to pass down to my family. I knew very little about my grandfather’s heritage before I started my research. He died in Los Angeles, California in 1957 when I only six years old. He had left his family home in the Neillsville, Wisconsin "Frampton Irish colony" in 1901 to homestead in Western North Dakota. Then he moved his family to Los Angeles in 1938. By the time I was born, our family was geographically far removed from our "Frampton Irish" connections. But the names and the Irishness lived on.

Some of you may have only these tenuous connections to the Frampton Irish community. My word of caution is always, don’t be too sensitive about the spelling of your name. Most Irish names are Anglicized versions of ancient Gaelic names. My own surname originates from Scots Gaelic as "Mac Gille Eoin" or in English, "son of the servant of St. John" known as "Gillean of the Battle Axe." The Anglicized version uses only "Mac" (son of) and "Lean" from "Gillean." All of its spelling variations are pronounced as "Mac" "Lane" not "Mac" "Clean." This may be why my great grandparents began to spell it just like it sounds. Unfortunately, I have never found where the descendants of my great grandfather John’s brother James ended up. It leaves me wondering if that family spells the name differently. But as I search for them I remain open to different spelling variations.

Over years of research, I have become quite familiar with the surnames of the Frampton Irish and their various spelling variations. One example I often give is the Irish name of Meagher. This surname can also be frequently found as Magher or Maher. I am told that it is pronounced as "May her." The way Irish surnames are pronounced originates with their Gaelic pronunciations. The Frampton Irish people would most likely be very familiar with how their name was properly pronounced. If they told the priest who was baptizing their child what their name was, they would use the pronunciation they were used to. If the priest was an Irish priest, he most likely was familiar with the pronunciation and its common spelling. But if the priest was French, he might spell the name the way he heard it with the additional interpretation of French vowels and the name was in many cases mis-spelled. The same can occur with a French census taker who had entered my family as "Macklin" in the 1861 census. So when you are using the Drouin collection on-line or on-line census records, etc. you may not immediately find your ancestors under the spelling of the name you are used to. With on-line indexes, you not only have mis-spelled surnames in the original record, but you also have the chance that the index transcriber mis-read the handwriting, etc. I have also found examples where the Drouin collection index does not turn up a record because it was missing from that collection, but the original parish register did have the record. Many of the original parish registers for Quebec can be found on the FamilySearch pilot record search webpage.

Any person researching Irish surname must also know about the prefixes of "Mac" (also found as "Mc" and "M’ " and "O’." Both of these mean "son of." While the "Mac" prefix is seldom omitted from the spelling of the surname, the "O’ " can often be missing or not used. Such is the case with the surname "O’Connor" which can also be found as "Connor, Conner, or Connors."

Then there is the problem of given names and their equivalents. For example, the name Johanna can be found as Johannah, Hannah, Judith, or Julie and Ellen can be found as Helen, Helena, Eleanor, etc. Then nick names come in to play, like Margaret can be "Maggie" or "Peggy." Some persons can be found under the Anglicized "Jeremiah" rather than the Gaelic "Darby." In other examples (just to name a few), "Thaddeaus" can be found as "Thimothy or Thimothy, " "Dennis" can be found as "Denis," and "Matthew" as "Mathias or Mathew." Then there is the problem of French priests using the French version of a given name like: "Jean" for "John," "Pierre" for "Peter," "Jacques" for "James," "Brigette" for "Bridget," "Guillame" for "William," "Marguerite" for "Margaret," "Marie or Maria" for "Mary," "Michel" for "Michael," and "Patrice" for "Patrick." One of the few given names I have not seen a French equivalent for is "Miles." But I have seen it entered in a record in its "Latin" form of "Milesius."

In compiling my databases and publications, my goal is to spell the surname the way that the living descendants spell it today. But for many Frampton Irish families, I have not had contact with living descendants. So in those cases I prefer to use spelling actually found on existing gravestones and absent that I have to adopt the spelling that I find to be most frequent in the records or the common spelling I find in the surname reference books that I own. So when I first make contact with living descendants, I have occasionally been using a spelling that they are not accustomed to.

So if all you have is that you are "Irish" and your surname is spelled a certain way, you might not be very successful in finding your Irish ancestors in Frampton or other parts of Quebec. I have even had some clients that believed that their "Irish" ancestors came from "England." This is because they found a U.S. census record for their ancestral families that listed the birth place or country of origin as "England" or "Great Britain." This mis-interpretation can be often made when it is not realized that "Ireland" really did not become independent from "England or Great Britain" until 1923. So cling to your name and Irishness, but don’t be surprised when the "family story" takes a few unanticipated turns during your research.

I have shared the names of my ancestors. I will now share the name of one of my descendants. My youngest grandson’s given name is "Kyan." This name originates from the Gaelic "Cian" which means ancient. Although, my daughter found this name independently from my research, I like to imagine that his name memorializes that of "Esmond Kyan" a famous leader of the Rebellion of 1798 in County Wexford that my great great great great grandfather Miles Murphy and several other Frampton Irish ancestors participated in.

Here are some of the surname reference books I have in my library that I consult:


The Book of Scots-Irish Family Names, Robert Bell, The Blackstaff Press, Belfast, 1988.

Book of Irish Names, First, Family & Place Names, Ronan Coghlan, Ida Gehan, P.W. Joyce, Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., New York, 1989. This source has a section on Irish given names with their origins and equivalents.

The Dictionary of Irish Family Names, Ida Grehan, Roberts Rinehart Publishers, Boulder, CO, 1997.

Fr. John O'Grady Feb 13, 2010

The theme of this blog is Catholic priest, the Reverend John O’Grady. I was inspired to learn more about Fr. John O’Grady because recently in my notary research in the register of Edward George Cannon, I came across his last will and testament and the inventory of his estate. You can learn a lot about a person when you see a detailed examination of the property in their possession at the time of death. Finding this document made me curious for more. A cursory on-line search revealed that a written biography for him did not seem to exist. Further, Fr. John O’Grady was very significant to the Frampton Irish community and several Irish communities in Quebec. In fact, he performed the marriage ceremony for my great great grandparents James McLean and Anastasia O’Connor in 1837. He performed many Frampton marriages in the 1830s in which he meticulously listed some of the Ireland place names that the early settlers came from. Although he was the second Irish priest to actually live in Frampton, he was the first to live there long term and he came from County Wexford and was a son of the Rebellion of 1798 like many of his parishioner. So here is my attempt at his biography.

He was born on December 27, 1803 at St. Martin in County Wexford, Ireland. St. Martin was in the town of Ballycullan in the civil parish of Tintern. His brother would later be identified as a resident of the Townland on Curraghmore, also in the parish of Tintern. His parents were Patrick O’Grady and Margaret Caulfield. His name has occasionally been found as Fr. John Caulfield O’Grady, perhaps due to his mother’s maiden name. He has at least three siblings. James O’Grady, Thomas O’Grady and Sarah O’Grady. While the parish of Tintern was located at a distance from the homeland of many of the Frampton Irish near Oulart, it was no less affected by the events of the Rebellion of 1798 and its aftermath. The O’Gradys could quite possibly have relatives among the families that lived near Oulart.

Fr. John O’Grady was ordained a priest in Quebec on June 17, 1832 after study at Ste. Anne de la Pocatiere. Fr. Gagnon’s "History of Frampton" stated that he had received a French education so it is reasonable to assume that he was in Quebec as early as 1828. This year would be consistent with when the majority of the Wexford Irish came to Quebec.

Four months after his ordination he was assigned to the recently created mission parish of St. Edouard de Frampton, so this was most likely his first assignment. He was appointed cure and missionary of St. Edouard de Frampton on October 26, 1832 and he arrived in Frampton on October 30. When Fr. O’Grady arrived in Frampton, life there was very primitive and difficult. After he had been there for 10 months, he wrote to the Bishop describing some of the conditions he was confrnted with. He told the bishop that he was responsible for the townships of Frrampton, Cranbourne, Standon and part of Buckland. Hr also served the Irish families in Ste. Marguerite. He stated that most of the houses are very remote and in the middle of the thick woods. He remarked on how difficult it was to travel throughout his mission due to the bad state of the roads. He stated: "An entire trip in part takes around six hours and it takes about ten hours when it is sufficiently difficult to make 18 or 20 miles." He described a situation in which the parishioners must pay an annual subscription of 5, 10 or 15 shillings per family so that Fr. O’Grady might have a salary of about 112 livres (pounds). He told the Bishop that the parishioner were poor and in most cases unable to pay. However, he had received flour, meat, butter, potatoes and some money valued at about 25 livres. He stated that he had to go in debt just to get a bed, table and kitchen articles. In terms of his quarters, he described the presbytery as an "old shed" and that there were cracks and holes in the wall where daylight can be seen and the roof was so bad that rain and snow gathered in the loft. He also had to share this building with the Frampton school. So his first assignment was somewhat a life of poverty.

Two months later, in an attempt to assist Fr. O’Grady in his financial needs, Captain of the Militia, Andrew Murphy wrote a note to Antoine Charles Taschereau in Ste. Marie. The note stated: "I would thank you if you would let the bearer know when will be a Court at St. Marie or whether I will be able to try small causes as our people don’t pay, the Cure Mr. Grady his salary, as I am bound to the Lord Bishop to see the Priest paid his yearly salary."

Fr. O’Grady’s first entry in the Frampton parish register was a on November 13, 1832. It was the baptism of Martin Horan, son of Edward Horan and Bridget Deegan. He would baptize, bury, and marry many of the early settlers of Frampton. On May 13, 1839, his brother James O’Grady was married to Ann Lawlor. The marriage was performed by Fr. Grenier, cure of Ste. Claire and witnessed by Andrew Murphy, Captain of the Militia and several others. James O’Grady’s farm was known to be in lot 22 of range 1 of Frampton Township. Fr. John O’Grady must have earlier filed a petition for a grant of that land because on December 1, 1857 he received a grant from the Crown for 327 acres in that lot. He apparently allowed his brother James O’Grady to establish there and cultivate the land.

Fr. O’Grady served the people of Frampton for about eight years until September 1840. He was then reassigned to be the cure for the parish of Perce from 1840 to 1842. He then moved to serve Drummondville from 1842 to 1846 and then to Ste. Catherine from 1846 to 1851. While at Ste. Catherine’s he became aware of the blight of the Irish emigrants who were isolated at Grosse Ile. Around 1847, Irish born priest Rev. Bernard McGauran lead a team of chaplains to Grosse Ile. Among the priest that served at Grosse Ile were John Caulfield O’Grady, James McDivitt, Hugh McGuirk, James McDonnell, Michael O’Reilly, Michael Kerrigan, James Nelligan, Edward Horan, William Dunn, Hubert Robson, Michael Power and Taschereau. Fr. Taschereau would later become Canada’s first Cardinal. Two of these priests (Robson & Dunn) also served as cures at Frampton. The priests ministered to the sick and dying Irish at Grosse Ile. They also assisted in placing many orphaned children with some of the parishioners they had contact with in their parishes. A few of these children were placed with Frampton families,

Fr. John O’Grady became the cure at St. Sylvestre in 1851. St. Sylvester was an "Irish" parish and Fr. O’Grady replaced fellow Irishman Fr. James Nelligan. There was some degree of unrest in St. Sylvester. The French Canadians resented the control that the Irish seemed to have in running the parish. There was also some conflicts between the Catholic and Protestant communities. D. Aidan McQuillan in his Beaurivage: The Development of an Irish Ethnic Identity in Rural Quebec: 1820-1860 states: "Fr. O’Grady, did not have his predecessor’s diplomatic skills and his leadership in the parish was ineffective." The "Corrigan affair" erupted during Fr. O’Grady’s tenure there. Protestant Hugh Corrigan was rather outspoken in his anti-Catholic rhetoric. He was a judge at a local agricultural fair and gave low grades to the livestock owned by a Catholic farmer. A physical altercation took place in which Corrigan’s skull was cracked. He accused some Catholics as his attackers. The accused went into hiding. The local Orangemen assisted the local officers of the law in conducting raids on many of the Catholic homes. The accused finally gave themselves up, but changes in testimony resulted in a mistrial and they were acquitted. Then in 1858, an election was held in which the Irish Catholic community may have been involved in "poll rigging" to support their preferred candidate for a legislative seat. Fr. O’Grady may have been implicit in this fraud and he was "secretly" removed and reassigned.

Fr. O’Grady was then appointed as the cure for the neighboring parish of St. Gilles which also had some Irish parishioners. He would serve there for one year before being reassigned to Ste. Catherine de Fossambault where he would serve until his death. Fr. John O’Grady is found in the 1861 Canada census in Portneuf (near Quebec City), and his household included his cousin Bridget Welsh. He purchased an "emplacement" of land with buildings situated in the Parish of Ste. Foye from Joseph Berthiaume on October 18, 1870 before Notaire H. Bolduc. It is assumed that this was his place of residence. In the 1871 Canada census, he is found in the Portneuf and his household included Bridget (Welsh) Dunphy and a Margaret Driscoll (age 16).

Fr. John O’Grady made a last will and testament on January 18, 1872 before Notaire Edward George Cannon. However, on January 20, 1872 he made a new will and testament before the same notaire. In that document testament he appointed the Rev. Bernard McGauran as his executor and his housekeeper and cousin Bridget Welsh as his universal legatee. In his will he bequeathed to his brother Thomas O’Grady of the Parish of Tintern (Townland of Curraghmore), County Wexford, Ireland £ 800. He bequeathed to his sister Sarah O’Grady, widow of John Harrison, boot maker, of Philadelphia £ 200. He bequeathed to the children of his late brother James O’Grady and Ann Lawlor £ 100 each to Eliza O’Grady, John O’Grady, Margaret O’Grady, Bridget O’Grady, Andrew O’Grady, Ann O’Grady, James O’Grady and Mary O’Grady, all of Frampton. He bequeathed to his cousin and housekeeper Bridget Welsh, wife of Edward Dunphy, £ 500. He also made bequeaths to the following institutions in various amounts: St. Bridget Asylum, Propagation of the Faith, English speaking Catholics of Quebec City, Convent of the Good Shepherd, Fabrique of St. Catherine de Fossambault, Parish of St. Sylvester. College of St. Ann, the poor of St. Edouard de Frampton and the Seminary of Quebec.

John O’Grady died at Ste. Foy on February 8, 1872. A notice appeared in the Quebec Mercury that stated: "The funeral of the Rev. Father O’Grady will leave his late residence, near St. Foye Church, on Sunday at 10 a.m., and thence the corpse will be conveyed to St. Catherines when the funeral serviceand burial will take place. He was buried at Ste. Catherine de Jacques Cartier (also known as Fossambault and Portneuf) on February 12, 1872. Many of the cures of the surrounding parishes were present at the funeral.

An inventory of Fr. John O’Grady’s property was taken on February 27, 1872 before Notaire Edward George Cannon. His inventory indicated that he owned an "emplacement" with buildings in the Parish of Ste. Foye. His household goods were valued at $272.67; he had bank accounts worth $5,467.79; He had $2,000,00 in debentures; he had $157.62 in cash; He had $3,600.00 in bank stock; he had $3,000.00 in outstanding obligation debts; he had $230.00 in promissory note debts; he had $183.97 owed him by certain parishioners in St. Sylvester; he owed $946.25 in cents; and his estate was worth about $12,865.80. There were a great many Irish names among those listed that owed him money. He apparently was quite generous in making loans and didn’t pay much attention towards collecting the debts.

Among his possessions was a large collection of books. There were several bibles, catechism, and theology texts. But he also had sets of Encyclopedia and a seven volume set of the "History of Ireland." He had come a long ways since living in the "old shed" in Frampton in 1832.

I must acknowledge the following sources in compiling this biography: e-mail from Barry O’Grady; Fichier Origine, Federation quebecoise des societes de genealogie; Irish Priests in the Diocese of Quebec in the Nineteenth Century, Marianna O’Gallagher; Beaurivage: The Development of an Irish Ethnic Identity in Rural Quebec: 1820-1860, D. Aidan McQuillan; and the Register of Notaire Edward George Cannon.


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