Sunday, April 1, 2012

Where is Maudie?

Jessie McCluskey had an older sister she never knew. According to the family bible, Edith Maude McCluskey was born August 27, 1878, 12 years before Jessie. In her short life, Maudie appeared on just one census, in 1881 when she was 3; by May 22 of the following year she was dead. No death record exists to explain how she died but like many children in that era it was likely an illness that took her. Her parents John and Lizzy must have known she was gravely ill because they had her baptized the same day she died, by the minister of the Lachute Methodist Church. Her burial occurred two days later.

John and Lizzie outlived their daughter by many years and are buried together in the Lachute Protestant Cemetery. Jessie, the only one of their remaining five children who stayed in the area is also buried there with her husband Thomas Anderson; they all share a monument. But Maudie's name doesn't appear on the stone and there's no sign of her having been buried there at all. Nor is she recorded anywhere else in this cemetery; I've searched the complete transcripts for the entire cemetery which was compiled by the Quebec Family History Society in 1992 and is available on line here. Of course she could be there in an unmarked grave, in which case I may never find her but I'm not willing to give up just yet.

So I went back to have another look at the burial record and discovered something odd that I hadn't noticed before: Maudie's burial service was conducted from the Lachute Church of England! From all accounts, John and Lizzie seem to alternate between Presbyterian and Methodist. They were both baptized Presbyterian and married at the Presbyterian church but all three of their daughters (Jessie, Maude and the eldest Maggie) were baptized Methodist and the family identified as Wesleyan Methodist on every census. (Their sons Archie, Willie and Lenny don't appear to have been christened at all!) Still they cared enough to have Maudie baptized before she died, but why have her baptized as one denomination and buried by another? And where is she buried?

My first thought was that perhaps there is a separate burial ground associated with this church so I began researching the Church of England in Lachute. The Church of England in the Dominion of Canada became the Anglican Church of Canada in 1955; this much I knew. The current Anglican church in Lachute is St Simeon's, which according to some online sources, has existed as a parish since at least 1868 although the first actual church wasn't built until 1881. The present day St Simeon's has very little historical information on their website but does mention that the current church was built in 1947 on the same site of the previous church. It does not however mention an associated cemetery, past or present. To get more information about the parish records, the physical church and any associated cemeteries, I needed to check the archives of the Anglican Church; fortunately they have a dedicated website here. The site lists all the diocese and the repository of the archives for each. A contact name and email for each is also given. The records for Lachute fall under the diocese of Montreal so I wrote an email to the assistant archivist Barbara McPherson. I've also spoken to her by phone but as of yet she doesn't have an answer for me. The backlog of requests is currently about 3 months because they can only afford to employ an archivist for two days per week and the diocese is considering cutting their funding. The records there are invaluable and the service is provided for free so if you find it useful you should perhaps consider making a donation so they can continue their wonderful work!

In the meantime I am considering another possible resting place for Maudie. Since she predeceased all of her immediate family, it occurred to me that she might have been buried with her grandparents. Her maternal grandparents are not a possibility for various reasons but I believe the location of her paternal grandparents grave is a good possibility. The only problem with that theory is I don't know where they are buried either- but that's a story for another post!


  1. Hi CallieK,

    I don't know how to contact you elsewhere but here so I hope you'll be able to read this soon. I know you are very busy at this time of the year...

    I'll be leaving for my son's place next Wednesday probably and will be staying there for the whole month of August. If you think I can do something to help you with your ancestors I will gladly do my best to do so. I will be keeping my two young grandsons(8 & 4)during the week but I guess I will have some time to spare also. You can e-mail me at:

    P.S. I'm jealous that you got to meet Corey Hart in person...


    1. Thank you so much Kathleen, i will be in touch. I'm still hoping to get to Lachute this summer myself so maybe we can meet up in person!

    2. That would be very nice and fun. I'm glad I thought about checking here if you had seen my message. I'm still at home but leaving early Friday morning for Carling.

      Really looking forward to meeting you in person...


  2. Dang it~ nothing from Kathleen to update the Maude mystery? She could be on their property. That wouldn't be far fetched at all...
    Kassie aka "Mom"