Report on the 2011 November Reunion

Well, look what I found among my drafts for posts …

Haha .. Never managed to post it! But as with most things genealogy .. “Better late than never!”

Our reunion was a great success! With all that has been going on since, I haven’t had a chance to talk about the day.

It was a great chance to meet relatives who didn’t know one another! And we did bring together quite a crew of descendants of Matthew O’Connor and Mary Doyle. And yes, we had a birthday cake in their honor, thanks to cousin Sharon!

My sister Margo (who was unable to come) was hoping that we could find some relatives from the Cadieux side. And we did! Our cousin Neal (his grandmother was Belle Cadieux) joined us and we were thrilled that he brought along some photos to share too.

I had been doing some research at the Arnprior & McNab Braeside archives and came upon a host of photos from our Frood ancestors. Maybe our 2012 reunion will have someone representing the Frood or Watt families.

Turns out that we still have some cousins from my father’s generation in the Ottawa area, which was a great and happy surprise  Matthew O’Connor and Mary Doyle’s next to last child was Emmett (my grandfather’s brother). His daughter Marion, who coincidentally lives not far from the site of the reunion, joined us! What a thrill to catch up with her and that part of the family. Her sister Rita lives in Oklahoma and brother Desmond in the Ottawa area. When I visited with her on the Sunday following, she showed me a letter to our grand uncle Msgr. O’Connor from FDR, asking his advice.

Family of another of my grandfather’s brothers, Stephen, were represented, too! Richard wasn’t able to join us, but his brother stopped by, and was interested in the details of the tree. He got to meet some new cousins, too!

Connie, representing the Delaney branch, was also with us. Her grandmother was Mary “Minnie” O’Connor (my grandfather’s sister; daughter of Matthew & Mary) who married George Delaney.

Gary Allen has been doing research on the Irish in the Ottawa Valley. He joined us for the family names, and discovered a connection to the family through Isidore Cadieux, brother of my great grandfather David!

Cousin John is very knowledgeable on the O’Connor tree, having done most of his research before we had internet sources, so he knows the original sources and details well. He was a great resource for those with questions about the O’Connor and Dolan lines.

Cousin Sharon is also well versed in the O’Connors and Dolans. She too was a go-to person for questions. …and she helped with the cake and refreshments.

We had a really great morning together. It was a great chance to connect to family we had only seen as names on the family tree, but have now had a chance to meet and enjoy. So many commented that it would be nice to do this each year, that we are working on the dates for 2012.

I’m hoping to find some representatives of the Wilson and McEwan lines who could join us.

The Frood family and the 100th Anniversary of World War I

As the commemorations of World War I approach, I think about the family members who lost their lives in the Great War. Many, many of my ancestors were among the 690,000 soldiers of the Canadian Expeditionary Forces (CEF); a number were among the 67,000 killed and 173,000 wounded — almost 39% of those mobilised.

I was particularly touched by the story of Peter Frood (1865-1934), his wife Naomi McEwen (1857-1950), and their family. Peter was my great grandmother Barbara Watt Frood’s brother, my great grand uncle.

Even before the War, they had seen tragedy. In 1912, their daughter Iva Ray, a school teacher, had committed suicide.

cbfroodIt is hard to fathom their sorrow when, in 1915, they learned that their son Lorne Vine Frood, of H Company, CEF, died in the trenches somewhere near St. Julien, France. It was soon to be compounded, when news reached them in 1916 of the death, at age 19, of (Clarence) Boyd Frood, 8th Canadian Mounted Rifles, CEF, near Mount Sorrel, France.

Their bodies were never recovered, but they are remembered in the ceremony that takes place daily at 8pm, at the Memorial at the Menin Gate, Ypres, Belgium, where their names are inscribed. Sons of Renfrew, their names are also inscribed on the cenotaph outside town hall in Renfrew.

One of the plans to commemorate those who died in the Great War is to nightly project the names onto the War Memorials in Ottawa and several other cities across Canada.

In the run up to the celebrations of the 100th anniversary, many are reflecting on the meaning of the Great War. I find it hard to think about 10 million soldiers’ and 6 million civilian deaths.

Seeing it one family at a time begins to give some sense of the devastation that took place on both sides of the Atlantic.

 

WWI Renfrew Area Soldiers’ Records

Renfrew World War I Cenotaph, in front of the City Hall in dowtown Renfrew  ON
Renfrew World War I Cenotaph, in front of the City Hall in dowtown Renfrew ON

During the summer of 1996, students from the Renfrew area digitized over 50,000 pages of Attestation papers at the Library and Archives Canada building in Renfrew, ON, as a tribute to the many residents from the town of Renfrew who enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Many lost their lives during the war.

This project was part of the SchoolNet Digital Collections Program supported by Industry Canada and the Library and Archives Canada and included both the Attestation papers of the soldiers and — in many cases their full military file.

To check the list of soldiers included, visit the CEF site at Library and Archives Canada.

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 archive.org and can be downloaded in a variety of formats, including PDF.

Thanks to archive.org 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.