St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
History and Genealogical Records



New February 13, 2013:

St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada Photo Source: Planted by Flowing Water, The Diocese of Ottawa, 1847-1997 by Pierre Hurtubise, Mark G. McGowan and Pierre Savard, ISBN 2-89088-978-5, Saint Paul University, page 63 St. Joseph's Church, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Hi Al, I am back at doing more genealogy. I was going through your most informative site, Bytown or Bust to find out what's new and went to the part that deals with churches: Churches and their Ministers in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, in 1867 and 1874 It states St. Joseph's was a french church, which is wrong. It has always been an english church though many of the priests who practised there were french-speaking. Because of the number of french attending St. Joes, it was decided to build a french catholic church to better meet the needs of french Canadians. So in 1891 Sacre Coeur was built across the street from St. Joes. I am the historian for this church, wrote a book on it (Where the Spirit Lives - a History of St. Joseph?s Parish, Ottawa, Ontario - 1856-2006) and have ensured that all of their records dating back to 1856 are well maintained. Just thought I would share this with you in case some genealogists decide not to check for their relatives at St. Joes if it were a french church. There are some records from St. Joseph's in the Drouin Collection, but I am not sure to what extent they exist. I did check Library and Atrchives Canada and they have "Baptisms, marriages and burials from 1856 to 1935" and the Genealogical Society made a copy of St, Joseph's marriage records from 1856 to 1984. These later records can be found at the Central Archives on Tallwood Drive in Centrepointe. (See Ottawa Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Catalogue) In addition to these records, I have been compiling newspaper articles about this church and they date back to 1880. I have likely over 800 articles and these are date ordered and kept in bounded books. This work continues. Furthermore, I have been obtaining photos of people and events at St. Joseph's over the years and am in the process of identifying names and dates. I expect that over the next year to start loading these photos on the church website by decade and special event. I have over 1200 photos and a good collection from the 1940s and 1950s. I will be at the Deschattelets Archives this week to take photos of the church bulletins that date back to 1956. We have at the church the hard copies and some of the electronic copies of the bulletins from 1990 to present day. We have kept as well all the blue prints related to the building of the church in 1931 and all subsequent changes. While at the Deschattelets Archives, I have made copies of key documents about the church that span the last 100 years. ie the initial contract to build the church and decisions surrounding it. We found a video of the fire that burnt the church back in 1930 at the Deschattelets Archives and have put it on the church website. In addition, the book I wrote on the church is on the website too. However, we have lots of books remaining and can easily provide you with a complimentary copy. If you require any more, let me know. We covered all of our costs related to producing this book and have been giving them out to new parishioners so that they are familiar with the story of St. Joes. All of our records are in a walk in safe built into an exterior wall and within this walk-in safe, the books that list all the births, baptisms, marriages, deaths are in another smaller safe in the same room, for additional protection against fire. We have the original marriage records from 1944 here as well, with the ones previous to that time period at Deschattelets. (I am trying to get them to find these records so that they can be accessed if needed or returned to St.Joes). Let me know about the book or books you require and I will leave them in an envelope at the reception for you. The reception is located at 151 Laurier Ave East, the entrance door is at the end of the canopy. It is opened Monday to Friday from 8am to 7pm and Sat 1 to 5pm. Just tell them that Terry left an envelope for you to pick up. If I am there the day you drop by, I would be pleased to meet you. PS. We feed the homeless at our Supper Table from 5 to 6:30 each weeknight so if you see a line up under the canopy, you do not need to wait in line, just continue in through the doors and the reception window is on the left. The people in line won't be offended as we have alot of people going to this window to pay for parking. Also, we started doing one page write-ups on those parishioners who served in WW1 and WW11 and died during the war. To the extent we could, we have added photos of them. It is my intention to continue to write stories about the other parishioners who served in these wars and returned home. It will be a lengthy process as 322 parishioners served in WW1 and 579 served in WW11. These write-ups appear below the WW1 and WW11 plaques listing their names. I guess it is my way of saying "we will never forget".
St. Joseph's Church veteran's memorial book, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
As an aside, I don't know if you are aware of it or not but the common plaque used to list those people who served in WW11 format was created by A. J. Cason one of the Group of Seven artists. My collegue, Rolly Leroux, had Library and Archives Canada check it out and they said they are 95 % certain he created these formats. You will need to look closely to see his name at the bottom of these plaques. It appears amid the base design of the plaque, just to the left of the navy shield on the right hand side. Terry Byrne

E-mail Terry Byrne and Allan Lewis

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