The Watt Family from Renfrew

An email from Myrna in Idaho about the Watt family has put me back on the trail of the relatives of Barbara Watt, my 3x great grandmother. She married into the Frood family, also from the Renfrew area.

A great source for Renfrew area family history is a small two volume work (published together in a single volume) The story of Renfrew: from the coming of the first settlers about 1820 (published in 1919). It’s easily available, thanks to the website and can be downloaded in a variety of formats, including PDF.

Thanks to and other sites, many local histories are readily accessible. A quick search with the terms “history” and the town or area can often times bring rich rewards. It’s how I came upon the Arnprior & McNab Braeside archives. You can search items from their collection, not just books but photos as well. I found a number of Frood family pictures online. Their photos include those of a local photography studio going back to the early days of Renfrew.

The Froods of Carmichael, Scotland

Tracking the Frood family line was both simple and complicated. My grandmother, Mayburne Cadieux, was the daughter of Barbara Watt Frood and David Cadieux. “Granny Frood” traced her family tree from the Renfrew, ON Froods back to Scotland .. to what I learned was “Carmichael, Lanarkshire, Scotland.”

At various times, I came across information about the Froods buried in the church yard at “Carmichael.” It all seemed just a bit fuzzy. Sometimes the references read “Carmichael Churchyard.” Other times, just “Carmichael.” On a map it looked like a fairly large area.

Alexander Frood was married to Marion Symington, and they were parents of Andrew, whose son Hugh (who married Barbara Watt, my great grandmother’s name sake) emigrated to Canada and was one of the founding families of Renfrew ON at the turn of the 20th century. It seemed the facts were clear, but where this “Carmichael” was located, that was a bit more complicated.

More than a year later, in a quite random internet search, I happened to click on the “images” category for the search results … and came across a picture of a tombstone for Alexander and Marion. It was labelled “Carmichael, Cairngryffe Parish, Carmichael Churchyard, South Lanarkshire, Scotland.”

It led me to Cairngryffe Parish in Carmichael. The pictures of the parish grounds on the parish website indicated that there were indeed gravestones in the church yard! But I had no luck finding out who had taken the picture. I couldn’t verify the location. Was it indeed in this church yard?

Then, the kindness of a stranger. Jack Meikle, session clerk of the parish in Scotland, verified the presence of the stone for me. He even offered to clean it up a bit and take a better picture so that the inscription would be more readable! Thank you Jack!

What a find! There is a special kind of joy that comes with the discovery of the places where your ancestors lived and died. And a distinct appreciation for the generosity of those who help you along the road to such discoveries!