Notman online collection has photos related to history of Saraguay, Quebec

I recently had coffee with Bob Carswell, whose history-related stories I have featured in previous posts. Below is an additional item that Bob has shared with me, after I asked him to verify the correct spelling for “McDougall,” whose house is featured on a map of postwar Saraguay that Bob has drawn, which we will develop into a final version.

Allan McDougall I remember as being in my Grade 4 class at Cartierville School. I remember him as cheerful, good-natured student.

Here is an early draft of Bob Carswell’s map of postwar Saraguay:

saraguay map035

Below is today’s text from Bob Carswell

The spelling is McDougall. To see the house of old lady McDougall, probably about 90 when I delivered the paper to her, just punch in SARAGUAY on the Notman online site…accessed by hitting the number that tells you how many photos are online.

When I delivered the paper to her, the house was so overgrown, you would not have found the entrance without the driveway to the front door. I think it was torn down just after she died as it was already something like almost a hundred years old by then which is a lot for an old wooden structure bordering on the river and all that moisture.

If you punch in Carswell you will see three photos of Carswells…the two for E. Carswell would only be genetically related but the one for William Carswell 1943 is my grandfather, Grandmaster for the AS&M Masonic order for the Province of Quebec.

He died in 1949 when I was 5 years old but I do not believe I ever met him as my father disowned him … Two years later he bent down to pick something up and could not get up. They found he had cancer in his back which in 1949 was a death sentence. He died at age 65.

There are other family photos in the Notman collection which have not been posted as of yet. Nora Hague, retired now, had found them for me years ago. One of my aunt and another of my uncle who both graduated from McGill University in the 1940s.

While the name Carswell is not all that common there are still hundreds of them across the country probably all related to the original Carswells who owned a farm in the Parish of Mearns for 250 years and probably farmed in the area for many generations before that.

They were listed as landowners in the First Statistical Account of Scotland (1791) so it tells you they had been there for some time. Genetically, I am related to two groups of Carswells in Australia, one individual has my exact yDNA genetic numbers which puts us within 20 generations while the other group of 2 individuals who have the same series of numbers except that one of the numbers is off by a single digit are much earlier.

What that tells us is that we are all related but that the 1 off individuals probably branched off the main tree up to 80 generations ago whereas my group is more recent. However, it does not explain how it is possible for the name to be the same since surnames are a more modern invention.

In the same group that I am in there are many different name variations with the same numbers as me but without the same CARSWELL name…For example, CARTY…which is a nickname but contains the CAR so signals a relationship to my CAR line.

Where it gets confusing is a name like Devlin which in no way related to the KERR name in any shape of form…perhaps an adopted child or a change in name to protect an individual when photos were not available. Who knows?

We ultimately are all connected to the family group of KERRs of the Border Region as our genetics prove, it is just a case of figuring out how some of them got different surnames in the end while others like mine got the locational surname of living by the WELL (the water collection site alongside the local stream) on land owned by the CAR family those that show a genetic connection to the CAR line of the KERR family…since it was spelt 4 different ways across the Borders as KERR, KER, CARR and CAR when local surnames were adopted.

It depended on who translated the name from a verbal form to a written form. Back then spelling was never consistent….an “sf” in the old records like ‘clasfey’ (if such a word was used back then) would come out today as “classey” in modern terms.

There was this guy named “Dougal” who had sons who became known as the sons of Dougal or MacDougal, MacDougall, McDougal, McDougall and so on, all depending on who wrote it as what when it became an official spelling.

An interesting example comes from the head of a particular clan who was known as Finhla….since he was the head of the clan or “Farquar” he was referred to both ways. His descendants created two surname varieties but which are definitely related back to the same individual.

The son of Finlha became MacFinlha with variations like MacFinley, McFinley, McInley, McGinley, McKinley and so on, Mc and Mac often interchangeable….the other son besides MacFinlha was referred to as the son of the Farquar….or, ultimately Farquarson which seems to have come down without a lot of variation.

It all depended on what the scribe heard when he first asked the individual’s name and how he personally thought it should be written down.

There were no fixed rules back then.

So there is a little bit of a Scottish education for you on name evolution. Still I wonder how the name Carswell is the same whether your genetic yDNA is 20 generations or 80 generations apart when surnames were not common. That still baffles me.

Confusing my genetics even further is that my great great grandmother who arrived in Montreal from Scotland as a child in 1822 spelt her name as KERR so descendants of different branches of the same family converged once again. It can be confusing.


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