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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

Hay Bales Dec 16, 2009

The theme of this blog is "hay bales." I thought of this theme because of a recent episode of the "Amazing Race" that I saw. In that episode, the contestants were challenged by a large field filled with those "rolled-up" hay bales. There were hundreds of hay bales, but only a few that contained clues that would allow the contestants to continue on the race. Because I have recently been doing a great deal of research in the Quebec notaire records, I looked at all those hay bales and they seemed like hundreds of rolls of microfilms to me. The contestants began to unroll each hay bale looking for the clue. Some were lucky enough to find the clue with only having to unroll a few bales. But others spent hours unrolling one bale after another and not finding the clue. All they could do is pick the bales they wished to unroll by random. So it is with doing genealogy research in notaire and other records in Quebec. While many sources have come on-line with search functions. Others exist only as images on line with maybe some handwritten indices. Many others still only exist on hundreds of rolls of microfilm. So I am in the business of unrolling the hay bales of the history and genealogy of the Frampton Irish. Many times I unroll the bale without finding the clue. But other times I might find one or several clues. With each clue found, a little more of the mysteries of the Frampton Irish reveal themselves.

One of the objectives of my research is to tell the story of the "little people" of Frampton and vicinity. Many of the local histories tend to devote most of their written word to the seigneurs, proprietors and other significant people. So I have cast my net widely looking for all possible hay bales. When I started these blogs I had written about "Frampton’s most wanted." One of the things I was looking for was a copy of Patrick Ryan’s journal. In "Histoire de la Paroisse de Saint-Malachie" by Fr. Jules-Adrien Kirouac, there is the story of how the Edmond Ryan family left County Tipperary in April 1826. Kirouac goes on to say that Edmond’s eldest son Patrick Ryan kept a journal of all the details of their trip from Tipperary through Limerick to Quebec. One of my readers saw this request and actually found a library catalog entry for a manuscript by Patrick Ryan deposited in the National Library of Ireland. I began corresponding with the library and found out that they do not participate in inter-library loan outside of Ireland. So I decided to purchase a copy of the manuscript. After a few months of trying to obtain a set price for the copy and postage and then obtaining an international money order and waiting for the copy, it finally arrived last month. I had high hopes for this source because of Kirouac’s description. But once again I found out that Kirouac seemed to have provided some "over exaggeration" of what it contained. Kirouac had said that Patrick Ryan was an intelligent and well informed man. He also mentioned that he was fluent in the Irish language. The manuscript that I obtained did indeed appear to be written by the Patrick Ryan that Kirouac described. But it provided little details about the journey to Quebec. Most of it was written in Gaelic using unique Gaelic characters, so it was beyond my abilities to read. Most of the journal was a history of Ireland and the rest was instructions in the grammar of the Irish language. But it did mention that the Ryan family was from Drumclieve in the Parish of Templenoe in the Barony of Clanwilliam in the County of Tipperary. In Ryan’s manuscript, there is a letter to his "dear brothers" dated April 10, 1826 (the month and year of his departure from Ireland) in which he references "when we arrive in Quebec" and he states, ". . . for a person by himself in a strange country always attended with the greatest perplexity of mind." A margin note later in the manuscript mentions that he was in Quebec, Canada on August 15, 1827. So I unrolled this hay bale but it did not quite contain the clues I was hoping for.

The hay bales of Quebec church records has certainly become much easier with the on-line Drouin Collection on The search engine is fairly effective in helping to determine what hay bale to unroll. But sometimes the search engine does not work effectively because of a few different factors. Those factors are whether the "indexer" got the surname spelling correct, whether the priest who made the entry spelled the surnames correctly or entered the correct first names, and finally the fact that the Drouin Collection were actually the "duplicate" copy of the church records that were submitted by the church to the courts. This is why a researcher may be unrolling the Drouin Collection hay bale and not finding the clue. I found one recent example where a Quebec marriage record that I found in another index, failed to come up on a search in the Drouin Collection on I then went to the actually images for that parish in the year of the marriage and found the names of the parties in the handwritten index. When I went to find the page number given in the index, I discovered that the actual page was missing from the Drouin Collection. Then I went to the collection of on-line images and found the images for that church and went to the page number and found the marriage record. This is because the microfilms obtained by the Family History Library are the actual church registers, not the copies sent to the courts. This is just one example of several I have come across that point to the fact that the Drouin Collection is not a "complete" set of records. So just because you can’t find it in the Drouin Collection, doesn’t mean that there isn’t a record. You just have to unroll some more hay bales.

I have reported in previous blogs that the Archives of Quebec have now placed numerous notaire record images on-line. But this is definitely a field full of hay bales. I have been plugging along in my notaire research by "sampling" and following clues I find in previously screened notaire registers. Early in this project, these were fairly productive methods. But the general rule of Quebec notaire research has always been: "there is no rhyme nor reason to where your ancestors may have had their notaire documents recorded." Further, there is no centralized index or search engines. So recently, I though I would try to organize my project by making a list and determine which registers had alphabetical or chronological indices, which indices were on-line, which had actual documents on-line and which are available on microfilm at the Family History Library.

The Archives of Quebec has listed 87 notaires on their website for the Court districts of Quebec City (71 notaires listed) and Beauce (16 notaires listed). It should be understood that this is not a complete list of all the notaires that practiced in those districts. The 2006 Archives de Quebec catalog indicates that they have records for 261 notaires with 220 of those in the Quebec City District and 41 of those in the Beauce District. So this is indeed a large field full of hay bales. The archives website listing represents only about 33% of their entire holdings for these two districts. I did not evaluate those notaires listed for the Montmagny district, but I have found a few Frampton Irish notaire records in registers in that district as well. But, having at least 33% of the notaires listed with some handwritten indices is so much better than a few years ago when you either had to get microfilm from the Family History Library or go to Quebec City to examine and screen the registers.

The archives list of notaires in the two districts has mostly images of the handwritten indices of these notaires. 70 of the listed notaires have both a chronological order index and a name index. 111 of the listed notaires have only a chronological order index. Some of the name indices have both surname and given name, some have only initials for given names and some list only the surname. Most of the chronological indices include the register number, the date of the act, the type of act, and the names of both parties. But this varies as well. 48 of the listed notaires have images of the actual notaire documents. With these I can find a possible Frampton Irish record in the index and then immediately consult the actual document to confirm it. With so many Irish names being the same, consulting the actual document for further details is about the only way to confirm it is the right record. But not all the listed notaires that have actual documents also have indices. In this situation the first page of each document must be viewed to see if it is a Frampton Irish record. For those listed notaires that have indices but no actual documents, the only way to confirm a Frampton Irish record is to consult the available microfilm. However, only 34 of the listed notaires have microfilms available at the Family History Library. For all the others, the microfilm collection at the Archives of Quebec would have to be consulted and they don’t participate in inter-library loan outside of Canada. (A great reason to take a trip to Quebec)

I have done all this analysis and listing in order to organize my work of screening these notaire registers. It is a lot of hay bales and I have unrolled many that have none or maybe only one or two Frampton Irish records in them. My hope in organizing the task is so I will have a guide to my research and I might select those hay bales most likely to contain clues. I wish that I had a math genius friend like the professor on the T.V. show "Numbers" who is always coming up with an algorithm to predict where the FBI can find the criminal. If I had such a friend, he could input my data into the algorithm and predict which of the numerous notaires is most likely to contain Frampton Irish records.

I have already indexed two volumes of Frampton Irish records and I am working on volume three. So I have uncovered a great deal of the history of the common Frampton Irish person. For some of the Irish in Frampton I have found a lot of records, but for others I have found very few. Yet, every Irish settler has at least a land entry document somewhere in the notaire registers. Many others would have had other land sales, wills, inventories, and mortgages. Yet I find that I still have a lot of missing pieces, so I know there are notaire registers with lots of Frampton Irish records that I have yet to discover.

Genealogy research is a lot like being in the show "Amazing Race." You sort of travel to different countries (at least in the records), examine different cultures, and you have to complete certain tasks to move on. The most difficult task is always the field full of hay bales. There is so much information to be had that some find it intimidating and just quite the search. For me, it is like I can’t get enough! I am always thinking that the very next hay bale will contain the clue I am looking for. So I will continue to plug away with the clues I find and key in on the notaires that lived and worked near the Frampton vicinity and the Irish neighborhoods of Quebec City. The story of the Frampton Irish will continue to "unroll."

A bit of good news! I recently paid for two more years for the domain name of, so I guess I am committed to keeping this website running into the immediate future.

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.

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