So today's story is about finding a seemingly insignificant, forgotten note that turns out to be pretty darned important!
Back in August when I decided to start back up with this, I had already decided to begin hunting down our Canadian ancestors as this had been pretty much a brick wall back when I began. G-pop Masterman had been frustrated himself at the lack of information available. Also, Dad had asked me "What about siblings' and cousins' info?" I had always traced the lines straight back, not sideways (unless I was stuck) so off I went.
Jenny, John & Alice McMonagle, ca 1898
With this in mind, I started looking through the notes I had taken during conversations with G-pop. I found a small piece of memo paper that said “Patlow, Joseph McMonagle's child from first marriage. Malden Mass. G-pop knew him.” What the heck? First marriage? What happened there?
A little background - G-Pops mother, Jenny McMonagle, was born in Nova Scotia. Her father was Joseph Howe McM and her mother was Adrienne Harrington. They had two daughters and one son. The son, John H. died in 1899 when he was 17, G-pop's mother died in in 1920 and her sister Alice had no children. Therefore, no one to carry on the family name. (Joseph himself died in 1917, "drinking carbolic acid with suicidal intent," according to the coroner.)
Joseph McMonagle's family came from New Brunswick, but looking into McMonagles in that area wasn't easy. During the 1800s you couldn't swing a dead cat in New Brunswick without hitting a McMonagle! So many of them had the same given names that it was totally confusing.
With the name Partelow being so unusual I figured he would be easy to find. Oh heck no. I checked the U.S. Census for Malden and didn't find him. (I did find a John P McMonagle living in Malden but put him in the back of my mind.) Sooooo back to Canada I went!
In New Brunswick census of 1871, I found Joseph & his first wife Ruth, living with his parents, Hugh and Alice, with their 4 kids, one of which was Partlow. I then found Joseph and Ruth in the 1861 census with his folks and 2 of his sisters, but no children of their own yet. A Phebe McM, age 87, was living there as well....Hugh's mother. Woo hoo!
By 1881, Joseph was in NS, married to Adrienne and with two daughters. I also found Ruth living in a boarding house in NB with her two sons Hugh and Joseph.
Also In 1881 the only Partelow was an 18-year-old living with another family as a harness makers apprentice. Wait a minute! The John P. I found living in Malden in 1900 was a harness maker! Maybe this was him. I checked out the ages and they matched. He was listed as born in NB, father born NB, mother b. NS! His wife, Eudosia, was listed as being from NS, so I hunted for and found their marriage record, showing his parents as Jos & Ruth. They are also found in the 1891 Census living in NS with 3 children…SUCCESS!
John P & Eudosia Marriage Record (click to enlarge)
After 1881 I couldn't find Ruth or her other kids in the Canadian census, dammit. Where did they go???
SIDEBAR: While searching through some New Brunswick newspaper records I found a story from 1883 about Ruth. Reader's Digest version is she had remarried, separated rather quickly from her new husband, he came after her to convince her to come back and when she refused he shot her! The bullet went through her neck and they expected her to die. Curious about the outcome, I hunted and hunted for death records for her to no avail. I did find a Supreme Court ruling where her crazy husband was petitioning for a change of venue as the sheriff in town apparently was sweet on our Ruth ha ha! Since he wasn't charged with murder I assumed that she survived. You can read the article here.
So I went back to the U.S. Census to track John P./Partelow's children, hoping to find some living McMonagle's still around today. The 1900 census shows them as having five children-Joseph Beverly (poor kid), Ora N., and three daughters. I looked in 1930 and found Ora married with two sons of his own, Hugh J. and George A. I looked for George A. MacMonagle in the Social Security Death Index and found one from Arizona that had died in 2007 with the same birth year.
John P. & Family, 1900 Census, Malden, Mass. (click to enlarge)
This is where Google comes in handy! I found an obituary about a highly decorated World War II pilot named George McMonagle that had died in 2007 in Arizona. The obituary listed his wife and children's names so I looked up his phone number and got his wife on the phone. She referred me to her daughter Marie who was researching their family roots. I called her and she was ecstatic as she had gotten stuck back in Canada at Joseph and his father Hugh.
Marie told me the rest of the story is that Ruth married a police man that was 20 years older than her named Lafayette Ford, after having moved to Massachusetts and is buried there!
Without that note, naming Partelow as our Joseph's son, I would have never considered THAT Joseph McMonagle as Jenny's father. From there, it gave me his parents, and ultimately their parents.