Rod A. MacDonald, Ed.D.
Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 April 2013
What's On This Site?
This site was established to provide the results of some original research. You will find newly documented family lines for several surnames: Milks, Mylks, Keays, Giff, MacDonald, Calvert and others. This has been an interesting journey through family documents and photos, the WWW, archival material from the Ontario Archives, Archives Canada and U.S. sources and several cemeteries in Kingston, Ont., Augusta Twp., Ont., Niagara Falls, Ont., Shelburne, Ont., Orangeville, Ont. and Western N.Y.
The site is organized under the following headings:
1. The Descendants of Jeremiah Giff, who was married for the first time in 1795 in Waterford, Ireland. This family line, starts in early 19th century Leeds & Grenville, produces a surprise from the island of St. Kitts, West Indies, then moves to Goderich, Ont. in the mid-19th century. In the later 19th century it goes through Chicago, Ill., Buffalo, N.Y., and the U.S. Civil War. Today, descendants, of which I am one, live in Ontario, Alberta, Illinois, Georgia, Florida and California. To my knowledge, this family line has not been researched elsewhere. You will find the full Jeremiah Giff (Waterford, Ireland) descendancy, a last names' index and a gedcom you can download if you wish. Here is the list of Last Names included in this genealogy.
2. The Life of William Jeremiah Keays was both exhilarating and tragic. He is memorialized here, not because he was a great man, but because his was a remarkably tragic story. William was the brother of my 3xgreat-grandmother (Eliza Keays-Wright). This story has never been told before - it appears here for the first time.
3. A Chronology of the Life of Samuel McDonald who was one of my great-grandfathers. He was born in Ireland in 1839 and came to the Niagara area prior to 1863. Before embarking on this endeavour, I'd never heard his name. His life was a complete revelation to me. It's not very pretty.
4. A Sketch of the Life of William Fenwick Calvert who was the brother of my great-grandmother Margaret Calvert-MacDonald. When William was 21 his father, James Calvert, died. William took on the responsibility of providing for the family. When he was 35, William took on the responsibility of providing for his sister Margaret's young family. When he was 45, he ran off to California to have his own family. In the end, his story finishes sadly, if not tragically, in an unmarked grave here in Niagara Falls, Ont..
5. The Descendants of Abel Wright is a well-known family line and is not original research done here. It is included in this site because it is a central part of my story. I am one of the thousands of descendants of Abel Wright. Here is the list of Last Names included in this huge database.
The Wright genealogy was first developed by Rev. Stephen Wright of Glenns Falls, N.Y who compiled it up to 1889. Then Frederick Wright, the youngest child of my 2xgreat-grandparents Isaiah Wright and Eliza Keays, extended it first to 1930 and later to 1950. A true copy of his work is available here as a Word document you can download. You will find the full Wright descendancy, a last names' index and a gedcom you can download if you wish.
My 3rd cousin, Norm Lewis of Calgary, Alta. is a direct descendant of Frederick Wright. He now maintains this genealogy. The material listed here is from his website. Thanks, Norm.
6. The Ancestors of Monk Morden is a genealogical line for one of my favourite people, my uncle Garnet Cotter "Monk" Morden. It includes an interesting anecdote from the U.S. Revolutionary War involving a hanged man, Ralph Morden, who was an ancestor of Monk's. The original research for this line was done by members of the Morden family. The full Samuel Morden descendancy, last names' index and a gedcom, you can download if you wish, are included. Here is the list of Last Names included in this genealogy. There is also a photo gallery of Monk's championship baseball team photos in this section.
7. My Loyalist Ancestry appeared as I carried out my family history research. During three years of work occasionally I came across mentions of Loyalist roots. I pulled together all the scraps of information and realized I have at least 5 UEL ancestors. This section displays the first four UEL ancestries I have been able to document and have approved by The United Empire Loyalists Association of Canada.
8. Eve Bowman, the Daughter of Jacob Bowman of Stamford, is listed in several genealogies as being the wife of Matthias Lampman and of John Morden. Obviously they can't both be correct. This article reports research into this contradiction and provides a resolution.
9. P/O Douglas Burnell was my mother's first cousin. He was orphaned at age 11 and came to Niagara Falls to live with the family in 1929. I was always told he was a sad boy who left Niagara Falls when he was 16 and was never heard from again. Then I discovered that he had enlisted in the RCAF in WWII. What happened to him after that is the subject of this essay. It is a despicable story of how the Canadian military went to great lengths to fabricate its account of the demise of an accomplished Lancaster bomber pilot of the famous 408 Goose Squadron. (photo of his bomber crew)
10. HELP!!! In any effort like this, the research comes to a screaming halt once in a while because no information can be found using the methods at hand. Here are some places where you, the reader, might be of help in breaking one of my impenetrable logjams. Please take a look to see if you can help. This section also contains a short summary of my current work. Help with any of this would also be most welcome.
11. A Picture Gallery filled with more than 50 photos of people, gravestones and even the full 1796 census for Augusta Twp., Ontario. The oldest photo in the Gallery was taken in 1861 and many more were taken prior to 1940.
12. A List of Credits and Thanks to the several people who have already been helpful to me with this work. I am not an experienced historical or genealogical researcher so what appears on this site could not have been developed on my own.
13. The Story Behind the Research tells how this material was collected, not as a primer on doing family research, but merely as an explanation of how it happened in this case. It also contains links to some family documents including a 26-page 1854/5 annotated section of the Diary of Eliza Amelia Bellamy, my 3Xgreat-grandmother. Here is a schematic of family names I am currently researching.
14. My Miscellany pages contain just stuff -- stuff like photos of friends & relatives, the dog, my background, and a lot of other things websites are supposed to contain.
15. Contact Me through the completion of a Feedback Form. I'd just use my e-mail address, but the creeps sweep the net for addresses on web sites and will clog up my in-box with useless nonsense.
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