Most genealogists seem to have their beginnings in curiosity about family stories. By now you know I’m an advocate for including them in a family history as long as they are identified as stories. I had very few hand-me-down Dougall ancestral stories.
When the first train in Canada performed its official run (from Laprairie to St-Jean-de-Richelieu) to great public excitement, emigrant ancestor John Dougall was allegedly a witness in the crowd. The Canadian Encyclopedia tells us that John Molson and other Montreal merchants were backers of the new service that opened officially 21 July 1836. It’s possible John Dougall was there. It’s possible some member of his family was there. Not an exciting or particularly mysterious family story!
The story was handed down that the oldest son Thomas Dougall emigrated from Scotland in 1832. Doubtless, Tom’s favourable reports convinced his parents to leave a life of agricultural labour for others and become owners of land in the new world. Up until their leaving, father John worked at different farms in the county as noted in the baptisms of his children in Livingston and West Calder parishes. John Dougall was about 53 years of age when he arrived in Quebec two years later. The saga of finding his baptism was recounted here. His wife Marion Hastie, born in Whitburn parish, Linlithgowshire, (the county of Linlithgow became West Lothian in 1921) was about 43.
Marion Hastie and John Dougall. Undated photograph, but prior to July 1867; in family collection of BDM.
Children of John Dougall and Marion Hastie:
i. Thomas2 Dougall, baptized 16 June 1811 in Livingstone, Scotland. He married Elizabeth Lillie Cameron.*
ii. Margaret Dougall, baptized 22 February 1813 in Livingstone, Scotland; died young.
iii. John Dougall, baptized 6 May 1814 at Livingstone, Scotland; died about 1833 in Scotland.
iv. James Dougall, baptized 21 April 1816 at Livingstone, Scotland. He married Agnes Fenton.*
v. George Dougall, baptized 24 April 1818. He married Agnes Moffat.*
vi. Margaret Dougall, baptized 8 March 1820 in West Calder. She married Donald Loynachen.*
vii. Jean Dougall, baptized 24 September 1822 at Netherlongford, Scotland. She married Murdoch Laing.*
viii. Peter Dougall, baptized 19 September 1824 at Netherlongford, Scotland. He married Catharine Fraser.*
ix. Marion Dougall, baptized 9 September 1826 at Netherlongford, Scotland; died young.
x. Marion Dougall, baptized 12 May 1829 at Bells Quarry, Scotland; never married.*
xi. Helen/Ellen Dougall, baptized 18 January 1832 at Bells Quarry, Scotland. She married John McCunn.*
(* = More information available in the extended family history; some will be followed up here later. Livingston or Livingstone? Both versions appear in assorted records.)
John Dougall brought his entire surviving family to Canada in 1834. Before that, two daughters had succumbed to infant mortality. His son John was said to have been killed in a farm accident involving a horse, a year or so earlier. This family story has more “substance,” but is alas unverified. ScotlandsPeople with its recent extraction of burial records from the old parochial registers has not confirmed this. Nor have searches been productive among West Lothian cemetery stone transcripts, or monumental inscriptions as they are called in the U.K. The recording of deaths and burials has always been less than comprehensive in parish registers; transcription of cemeteries is still a great challenge in Scotland.
None of the Dougall sons remained on the original farm. Thomas went to Chicago and prospered. James moved to the more fertile Eastern Townships. George became a tailor in Montreal. Peter became a blacksmith like his father-in-law, and moved to Renfrew, Ontario.
St Andrews (St-André Est) in Argenteuil County, Quebec, is where my Dougalls and Frasers cross paths. John Dougall took a farm at Beech Ridge above St Andrews. One of my next tasks is to determine the notaries active in the St Andrews-Lachute area during the 1830s to the 1860s. Hopefully there will be a will or a deed to describe exactly where the farm was located. Alternatively, the Quebec Online Land Registry (ACAIQ) is searchable if you know the cadastral number of the property. And how do you learn that? The cadastral number is not a street or rural address; it’s the one allocated to any property for municipal taxation and valuation purposes. It’s one of those catch-22s. You have to know it to find it. Another puzzle to sort out.
My family stories are pretty thin for that first generation! It’s a long time since I made the last of two visits to St Andrews, but I still have the T-shirt to prove it! Visit number one was during the celebration of the tricentenaire (300th anniversary) of the founding of the Seigneury d’Argenteuil.