A Tale of Four Irish McMaster Sisters (and More)

In my previous Blog I set out to try to show that Margaret Frazer, wife of William McMaster from County Sligo was the daughter of Michael Frazer. In the process, I came upon a lot of genealogy for the four daughters of William and Margaret. My idea was to put this information into a narrative to work out some of the bugs in my genealogical tree and in others’.

A Tale of Four McMaster Sisters

I have done some research and now have a better idea of what was going on with this family.

William McMaster probably from Kilmactranny Parish married Margaret Frazer probably from North County Roscommon in 1813. I have information on four of their daughters, though they may have had other children. Those daughters were Jane (born 1816), Mary Ann or Marrianne (born 1820), Catherine Frazer (born 1827) and my 3rd great-grandmother Fanny McMaster (born 1829). These four sisters were probably born in Kilmactranny Parish, County Sligo. The older three sisters traveled to Canada and beyond and the youngest stayed in Kilmactranny.

Jane McMaster (1816 – 1893)

Jane’s younger sister Catherine gave testimony concerning a pension for Jane based on the death of Jane’s son George in the US Civil War:

That claimant and deponent are sisters and lived in County of Sligo, Ireland under the same roof, until the claimant above named was married. Deponent says though she was not present at claimants marriage with GEORGE MCMASTERS , yet they came back to my father’s house a day or two after as man and wife and that they lived in the neighborhood as man and wife until he died. That they were married by a minister named Scott. That the date of claimant’s marriage was August 25th, 1839. That deponent was present when George McMaster late of Co. B, 8th NY Heavy Artillery was born on the 22 day of May 1847 in York County, Province of Canada and parents were then both living and living together. The name of his mother was Jane McMaster and his father’s name George McMaster.

My records show that Jane had the following three first children in County Sligo:

They were said to be born in Dramore or Dramora, but I believe that Dromore may be the correct name:

Land records tie some of the McMasters to Dromore.

Kilmactranny Parish vital records are missing between about 1830 and 1840, but I have this one:

I don’t know where Burwich is or if it exists. I’m not sure where the reference comes from. Jane has two more children, Annie Wilmena and George Arthur, then her husband dies – presumably in Vaughan, Ontario.

Jane re-marries a carpenter who was also born in Ireland. Here is the 1851 Census which is a bit confusing:

These are Jane’s children from her first husband. Thomas and William are shown as 11 and 8 and born in Ireland. Thomas would be about the age that I have for James McMaster. William I mention above. Catherine and George are shown as 7 and 4 and born in Canada. Catherine is the age I would have for Annie Wilmena McMaster. William Thompson and Jane have a daughter Wilmena, so the Wilmena I have three images above may be wrong. George is the one that dies in the US Civil War. I have that Jane’s mother dies in 1853 though I don’t have that documented. [More about Jane’s mother Margaret later.]

The Trip from Ireland to Canada – 1844?

Assuming that the 1851 Census is correct and that these children belong to Jane, then we can place Jane’s move from Ireland to Canada quite precisely between the birth of William and Catherine. William was baptized 18 August 1843. That means the ocean voyage took place between then and when Catherine was born probably no later than 1845.

The Rest of the Story for Jane McMaster

It is unclear why George, a Canadian, fought and died in the US Civil War. Jane and family move to nearby Tecumseth. Here is the 1871 Census:

As William and Jane married in 1851, I assume that these were the four children of this couple.

This is Jane in 1881 in Tecumseth:


I can now read that Jane’s youngest son is Fraser A. Susan E Bates is listed as a servant. She looks suspiciously like Susan E Thompson from 1871.

In 1890, Jane was in Milwaukee applying for a Civil War pension with the help of her sister Catherine,

Here is Jane in a photo taken in Janesville, Wisconsin:

Janesville is about 60 miles WSW of Milwaukee. Jane is in the middle.

Here is the death record for Jane in the Costa County records. Under remarks, it says Antioch, so that may be where she died of pneumonia:

Jane is buried in Antioch, California with her sister Mary A. Shannon:

At the end of her life, Jane re-connected with her two American sisters, Catherine and Mary Ann. She likely visited her brother also who lived in Janesville, WI where her photo was taken.

Postscript on Jane

Much more could be said about Jane. However, I am checking the DNA also. I see my sister Heidi has an AncestryDNA ‘ThruLine’ with Jane here:

The match is with Joseph who is managed by KAH. I must say that KAH’s tree is in much better shape than mine. Joseph connects with my family through Mary Etta Jane “May” Thompson. The following is from KAH’s tree and profile on “May”:

We see that this family was in Janesville so perhaps May is one of the other two women in the photo of Jane. I used KAH’s Thompson children for Jane, now I have a better line-up of Jane’s nine children:

I see that Jane remembered her Frazer heritage through the name of her last child.

Maryann McMaster (1820-1893)

I have been following Maryann for a while. I have a good match with BV who descends from Maryann and wrote to Cheryl who manages a tree for BV and Maryann. Here is my DNA match with BV:

I have this record from the Kilmactranny Parish Church:

Marrianne daughter of William and Margeret McMaster

Born                                  Bapt. Jan 09, 1820

Cheryl has this great photo of Maryann:

I’m not seeing a huge resemblance between Maryann and Jane. Perhaps someone else will. However, these two died about two weeks apart and share a grave marker as seen above.

Unlike her older sister Jane, Maryann came to Canada as a single woman. I don’t know if these sisters came to Canada together, separately or in combinations. I assume that Maryann was in Kilmactranny Parish at the time of her sister Jane’s marriage and would have been about 19. If Maryann joined Jane in her trip to Canada that would have been about 1844 and Maryann would have been 24.

Maryann’s Years Between 1827 and 1864

Maryann was in Canada about 20 years or so. She married Thomas Shannon in the Wesleyan Church in 1849:

James McMaster and Maryann’s recent brother-in-law William Little were witnesses.

Here is Thomas Shannon, again, thanks to Cheryl:

Here is the family in 1852:

Thomas was 35, Mary Anne says she is 29 and John, an apparent relative of Mary Anne is 11. 25-year-old Isabella is also on the next page as well as some Shannon’s:

I don’t know who these extra McMaster’s were, but it was nice of Thomas and Mary Ann to have them.

Mary Ann was on Page 177 of the Census for Vaughan. Jane was on Page 183 of the same Census. Here is Vaughan – outside of Toronto.


Next, I have said that Mary Ann’s mother Margaret died. However, I don’t know the actual date. I don’t see her in the 1861 Census.

Some information is missing for this family at this time. It appears that this family had two children, William and Elizabeth, 14 or 15 years after they first married. Mary Ann would have been in her mid forties at this time.

Mary Ann from 1870 to 1893

The family made its way from Canada to Contra Costa County, California:

The family appears to go missing from the Census again in 1880. Thomas dies in 1880:

This looks like it could be the same marker that marks Mary Ann and her sister’s Jane’s daughters. Again, I don’t see a death record for Mary Ann. It seems ironic that I found one for her sister Jane who was apparently just visiting but not for Mary Ann.

Elizabeth Frances Shannon

As if to offset all the mystery in Mary Ann’s genealogy, I still have a large DNA match with BV. BV is the granddaughter of Elizabeth, so she got about 1/4 of her DNA from Elizabeth.

Cheryl shows that Elizabeth married while her mother was still alive:

The 1900 Census shows that Elizabeth entered the US in 1865. She would only have been one year old then.

Catherine Frazer McMaster (1827-1917)

Catherine was born 7 years after Mary Ann and lived the longest of the three sisters. I was spoiled by photographs of Jane and Mary Ann, but don’t see any readily available of Catherine.

1827 – 1852

Catherine’s early life was similar to Mary Ann’s. Catherine’s sister Jane married in 1839 when Catherine was 12. Catherine gives testimony to living under the same roof as her sister Jane and recollects the day that Jane married George McMaster as well as some other events in Jane’s life.

Note that Catherine arrived in Canada in 1844. This is from the 1900 Census and matches the date I had guessed that Jane came to Canada from Ireland. Jane’s date was based on the births of two of her children. That lends credence to the idea that the three sisters and perhaps at least the mother arrived in Canada at the same time.

An Extra Confusing Marriage for Catherine

The above timeline shows that Catherine married Henry DeWitt Clinton Bennet at the end of 28 December 1850. Then what about this record?

This shows Catherine marrying William Little in November 1848. Thomas Shannon who is to become Mary Ann’s husband in 1849 is a witness as well as James McMaster. Then, to complete the symmetry, William Little and James McMaster are witnesses for Mary Ann’s marriage four months later in March 1849:

Both of these weddings take place at the Wesleyan Church in the Home District. That would lead me to believe that these are the sisters: Catherine and Mary Ann. The main possibilities seem to be that 1. William died not long after the marriage or 2. This is the wrong Catherine (not as likely).

The Bennett Family

Whatever happened in 1848, there is a less documented marriage between Catherine and Henry Bennett in 1850. Here is some information for a Sons of the Revolution application from 1956:

This says that the couple wed in Hamilton.

Here is the young family in 1852 in Burford, Ontario:

Catherine’s husband Henry is listed as a miller. Here is some more information from the 1851 Census:

It looks like Catherine has extra McMaster’s, including probably her mother Margaret Frazer McMaster. I would assume that she arrived in Canada also in 1844. Catherine gets extra points for housing relatives.

Further down on the page:

Perhaps this is the witness at the two weddings above. He is a cooper from Ireland married to Elizabeth from Canada and living with two people from England.

This is probably James’ marriage in 1851:

This looks to be James in Janesville in 1870:

The plot thickens. With any luck, Margaret could be his mother, Margaret Frazer McMaster. Until recently, I never knew Margaret left Ireland. Now she seems to be popping up in Canada and Janesville, Wisconsin. I shouldn’t have written Margaret off so quickly.

Refresher: May Lowry, daughter of Jane McMaster lived in Janesville in the 1870’s. Here’s Janesville:

Quite a trip from Burford, Ontario.

A Side Trip with James A McMaster

I need a place to put all this information, so I can create a tree for James or assume that he is a long-lost brother. I’ll go with the long-lost brother and add him to my tree for now. I’ll say he was born in 1832 as that was during the time when entries were not made into the Kilmactranny Parish Register. Here it is, written in stone:


This is from the Find A Grave Index:

This puts James Archibald in the right Parish, but doesn’t prove his parents.

Next, I’m interested in seeing what the 1900 Census says about his immigration. It says that his year of immigration was 1845. That fits in with what I had for Jane and Catherine. Catherine had 1844, but these dates can be off by several years. That means that he could have come over with the three McMaster sisters and his proposed mother Margaret. Here is Wayne Township where James was in 1900:

The family moved West from Janesville.

Backing up in time a bit, here is James and family in 1860 in St. Claire, Michigan:

I wonder where the mother, Margaret McMaster was in 1860? James likely named his first two children for his parents: William McMaster and Margaret Frazer. The McMaster family were just over the border in the United States:

I’m jumping a bit, but here is the family business in Janesville in 1876:

A Survey of Ancestry Trees for James McMaster

Many trees had Margaret as a mother for James. No one had a guess for James’ father. Two trees had Margaret Frasier as James’ mother which I think is brilliant. There must be a clue somewhere unless this is from oral tradition in their family. One tree had this information:

Some McMasters were from Cuilnagleragh, but I don’t know how they could know that. All this tends to support my theory that James is a brother to the four McMaster sisters.  Assuming his 1822 birth is correct, he would help fill in a gap between McMaster births between 1820 and 1827.

I can come back to James later, but the evidence seems to support James being a son of William McMaster and Margaret McMaster.

More on Margaret McMaster Born About 1789

I did some searching and came up with this record:

I think the ‘has bio?’ refers to the one who took the photo. I feel like this must be Margaret:

If Margaret was 82 in March 1872, she could have been born in 1789. Here’s another listing giving the plot address:

It looks like a substantial marker; however, it has minimal genealogical information on it. The heading above says M McMaster – even though I can clearly see that is not right from the head stone. Perhaps there was additional information from the Cemetery records.

A Quick Re-Cap for Margaret Frazer McMaster (1789-1872)

Margaret was probably the daughter of Michael Frazer born about 1764 and Margaret Stuart. Margaret was born about 1789 – probably in North County Roscommon. In 1813, Margaret married William McMaster. Some trees have William as the son of Abraham McMaster. However, this may be due to a misreading of a land lease. Now that I see he had a son James, that could be the name of his father. In a story about Jane (see my previous Blog) it was mentioned that Jane came from a McMaster family in Scotland and married into an Irish McMaster family. Abraham could have been the Irish McMaster and James could have been from Scotland.

The Tithe Applotment for McMaster’s

I might assume that there could be reference to the William McMaster lands in the Tithe Applotment but not in Griffith’s valuation. I see records for the Tithe Applotment for McMaster’s dated 1825 and 1833:

Here is Kilkere above.

Here is the 1825 listing for Kilcare:

Here is the 1833 listing:

I don’t see any difference in the two lists. I assume that the widow McMaster cannot be Margaret as she had children up to 1829.

Griffith’s Valuation

Here is the listing for McMasters in Sligo:

I assume that the William above is different than the one in the Tithe Applotment. This William is in Cloghmine:

This was printed in 1858 after Margaret McMaster was in Canada. In 1858. There is one house in Kilkere:

Archibald could be a son or relative of my ancestor William McMaster.

William and Margaret McMaster had four daughters – the subject of this Blog – and now we see one son. These children appear to have been born between about 1816 and 1829 in Kilmactranny Parish, County Sligo. It is unclear why Margaret, Jane, Mary Ann, James and Catherine moved to Ontario. It is also unclear what happens to Margaret’s husband William. One Ancestry tree has a different William McMaster who died in Aylmer, Ontario in 1835. There is no reference for this death. I don’t know if William traveled to Ontario or died in County Sligo. I assume that he was dead by 1852 when Margaret is shown living with her daughter Catherine McMaster Bennett in Burford, Ontario. At that time she was living doors away from her son James Archibald McMaster and about 100 km away from her daughters Jane and Mary Ann who were living in Vaughan, Ontario:

Margaret in the 1860’s?

We lose track of Margaret in the 1860’s. Here is a summary of the McMaster family as now known:

Based on what I don’t know Margaret could have been with Mary Ann or another unknown child or relative in 1860.

Margaret in the 1870’s

Margaret goes from Catherine Bennett’s house in Burford in 1852 to James McMaster’s house 18 years later in Janesville, Wisconsin.

Margaret would have been in a busy house in Janesville with 10 people in it:

You can trace James’ travels just based on the places of births: Ireland to Canada to Michigan to Wisconsin. James would have moved to Wisconsin between 1866 and 1869.

Here is Central Ave. The McMaster Cooper family business was somewhere along this avenue. Margaret was buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in 1872:

Back to Catherine McMaster (the Miller’s Wilfe) the Years After 1852

1852 is important due to the Canadian Census. The 1851 Census didn’t start in Ontario until 1852.

It looks like Henry and probably the rest of the family moved to Wisconsin in 1855 – soon after the birth of Sylvia:

William was the couple’s fourth child [Note: actually the third. See below] and the first born in the US . He was perhaps named for Catherine’s father.

Catherine had her last child, Harry, when she was 40.

This shows that Catherine’s husband Henry was a grist miller. Son Charles also worked in the grist mill.

This brings us up to the year 1900:

I had trouble finding the family in the 1880 Census. Here are a few directory listings for Henry to fill in the gaps:

1877, Milwaukee:

I added in Wauwatosa for reference.

1879, Milwaukee:

1885 Milwaukee:

This family moved around a bit within Milwaukee:

1899 and 1896 Milwaukee:

Some of these Street names may no longer exist. I couldn’t find Grove on Google Maps:

In 1900, the family is still at Grove Street:

Out of Catherine’s 7 children 4 were still living in 1900

This brings us to the end of Catherine’s life. In 1910, the couple had moved back to the suburbs of Wauwatosa. Harry is still with them and now their widowed daughter Lannie is also living there at 352 Second Street:

Here is the Wauwatosa Cemetery location where Catherine is buried:

It seems like this family lived a settled life. They stayed in the Milwaukee area most of their lives where Henry was a miller. I don’t know much about Catherine’s personal life other than a little from the testimony concerning her sister Jane and family. In 1852 she and her husband were listed as Presbyterian. Her mother Margaret was listed as Wesleyan Methodist along with two other unknown McMaster’s. James McMaster a little further down the page, Catherine’s brother, was listed as Episcopal.

Fanny McMaster (1829-1875)

Fanny McMaster is my 3rd great grandmother. She was the baby of the family:

Fanny’s mother and four siblings left her for Canada. They appear to have left Fanny behind or Fanny decided not to go. The other question is: did Fanny get married young because she was left behind or was she left behind because she married? I think that the McMasters left for Canada in 1844 or 1845. I don’t think that Fanny would have married before 1845 as she would have been 16 in 1845. I don’t know if Fanny’s mother and fours siblings were around when she married or not. My guess is that the five McMasters made up their mind to go to Canada and asked Fanny to go. Fanny likely intended to marry James, so decided not to go. When my second great-grandmother Margaret was born, Fanny was only 17. I don’t have a marriage record for Fanny and James McMasrter. It seems I just missed having my ancestor leaving for Canada. Then perhaps she wouldn’t have been my ancestor if she did that!

At any rate, Fanny did marry James McMaster Sr. He was born about 1806 or 1807, so he was about 22 years older than Fanny.

Fanny and the Potato Famine (1845-1852)

It is unclear to me whether Margaret McMaster and her four children left Ireland as a result of the Potato Famine or not. The Potato famine started in the 1845, so if they left in 1844, it would have been before the famine. If they left in 1845 it would have been right at the start of the famine. Whatever happened, it appeared that Margaret and her four children missed the Potato Famine and that Margaret’s youngest went through it. In fact, Fanny married James in 1845 at the beginning of the potato famine. Margaret would have been born in the second year of the potato famine.

Fanny After the Potato Famine

Again, we see the names of William and Margaret named for Fanny’s parents. William was born the year the Potato Famine ended. Margaret had children between the ages of 17 and 30. Fanny likely lived in Cuilnagleragh. Fanny’s daughter Margaret, my 2nd great-grandmother married in 1866:

Mar 15, 1866 George Frazer of Ballindoon son of James Frazer

                      Margaret McMaster of Cuilnagleragh, Kilmactranny daughter of James McMaster

If Margaret was from Cuilnagleragh, it stands to reason, that was where her parents James and Fanny lived.

And if Fanny lived in Kilkere as I guessed, then she would not have moved far from where she grew up.

Bad things happened in three’s for the McMaster family in the 1870’s. Fanny’s youngest son James was buried in Kilmactranny in 1873:

Mar 20, 1873     James McMaster   Age 13

Fanny’s husband James was buried in the same Parish in 1874:

June 15, 1874  James McMaster  Age 68

About a half year later, Fanny was buried at the age of 45:

Jan 16, 1875    Frances McMaster  Age 45.

I wonder if Fanny had moved to Canada with her family, would she have lived a longer life? Mary Ann, her sister, died at the age of 73. Her sister Catherine died at the age of 90 – twice the age of Fanny when she died.

Loose Ends: Margaret and Anna McMaster

I’m curious as to who Margaret and Anna McMaster are in the 1851 Census in Burford, Ontario:

It may be important to figure out who these two girls were. It turned out James was another sibling I didn’t know about. And finding James lead to other connections. He is also listed lower on this same page of the 1851 Census.

One interesting thing is that these two McMaster Girls were born in Canada. A search for Anna brings up nothing. Perhaps she was not interpreted as being a McMaster. I did find Margaret. Here she is in 1861 in Vaughan, Ontario:

Margaret is living in the household of Christopher Scanlon. Now Margaret is shows that she was born in Ireland.

Margaret in 1862

This looks to be the answer:

Remember Tecumseth? This shows that Margaret is the daughter of George and Jane. Mystery solved. That brings me back to this family tradition  about Jane McMaster that I quoted in my previous Blog. It is perhaps half-true. I have bolded some names for easy reference:

The following information written about my 2nd great grandmother, JANE MCMASTER, comes from a family history titled ‘The Wheeler and McMaster Family History as told by May McMaster Timmel, 1960’. It was sent to me by Geraldine Fickel of Glenwood, Iowa before her death in the 1990’s. William McMaster, Jane’s first child was born in Edinborough, Scotland although his home was Dramora, County Sligo, Ireland. A child of wealthy parents, he was never taught to work. Jane, his mother belonged to the Stuart line and was a lady in-waiting to one of the Queens. Her name was McMaster before her marriage to a McMaster. She was Scotch and he was Irish. Her husband (George) died when William was about 6 yrs. old and a few months before his sister Anna was born. Not wishing inter-marriage in her family as was the custom in Scotland, William’s mother Jane started to America with her family leaving six year old William with her brother in Edinborough. Anna was born at sea. The other children were Sue and James. She with her young family stopped in Canada for a short time and then came to Milwaukee, Wisconsin where her sister Margaret lived. After a few years she married again, a man by the name of Thompson. He died some years later and she continued to live in Wisconsin. She was very dainty and aristocratic and we all waited on her for she knew nothing of work. Sister Carrie looked very much like her and was our father’s favorite. ‘Grandmother’ Jane went back to Milwaukee with her sister Margaret who came for her and was much like her. Later she went to Oakland, California to live with her husband’s half brother E.A. Thompson and passed away there. She was extremely religious and often took the place of the circuit rider in (Wisconsin) in the winter when the snow was deep and the circuit rider could not make his rounds. She also lived with her son ‘Mac‘ and daughter-in-law Laura in their hotel in Western, Nebraska for about a year. Jane and ‘Grandmother’ Wheeler were exact opposites. They were given rooms as far as possible away from each other. Grandmother Wheeler firmly believed every one should work and wasn’t slow in speaking her mind. Written by Laura May McMaster Timmel Written 1957, Assembled 1960. 

In the above story, Margaret is listed as a sister to Jane. Perhaps the one they refer to as a sister was actually her daughter. As I pointed out above, Catherine lived in Milwaukee, but Catherine doesn’t sound like Margaret. Another interesting thing is that is if Anna was actually born at sea, that would put Jane’s trip to Canada in 1846. Anna is 6 in the 1851 Census. However, that Census in Ontario didn’t take place until January 1852. To be more confusing, the Census asked for the age at the next birthday.

The 1852 Census now tells a story. Here is Jane in 1852 in Vaughan, Ontario:

Jane’s husband George McMaster had died and she remarried William Thompson in 1851. Perhaps that was too many children to handle so out of Jane’s six children, two end up with grandma Margaret and sister Catherine in Burford. Note in the family tale above, William stays in Edinburgh and Anna travels to America. In my version, William lives with Jane and Anna lives with Catherine and Margaret – at least in 1852.

I will have trouble squeezing in these two new children in addition to the nine children I already had for Jane:

If I have it right, Mary Frances Thompson on the right was from a previous marriage that William Thompson had. Here are the children on the George McMaster side:

Margaret and Anna are the ones living with their grandmother Margaret Frazer McMaster in 1852. I wonder if Anna really was born at sea. That would have been a wild situation.  Now I have Margaret married off. Here is one tree for Margaret:

I don’t see Margaret going to Milwaukee in this tree. The closest she gets is Sand Beach Michigan in 1870:

This Margaret later moves to Southern California where she is buried in 1925.

Mac and Laura from the Family Story

As I was bopping around Ancestry Family Trees, I came upon this one which included a photo of William McMaster [who I assume was ‘Mac’ in the McMaster family story from above] and his wife Laura:

Here again is the tale of being born at sea, but this time the tale goes to William as a possibility. Laura is Laura Rickey Wheeler, so grandma Wheeler in the family story above. She must be the one who thought that Jane should do her share of work.

She also lived with her son ‘Mac‘ and daughter-in-law Laura in their hotel in Western, Nebraska for about a year. Jane and ‘Grandmother’ Wheeler were exact opposites. They were given rooms as far as possible away from each other. Grandmother Wheeler firmly believed every one should work and wasn’t slow in speaking her mind.

Based on Kilmactranny Baptismal records, I would say that William was not born at sea or in Scotland:

William son of George and Jane McMaster

Born                                      Bapt. Aug 18, 1843

At this point, I need to apologize for the length of the Blog. I could have easily done a Blog just on Jane McMaster.

Back to Anna McMaster Born 1846

A tree search for Anna brings up this top tree:

Above in the Blog, I had disregarded this Annie Wilmena because Jane McMaster and William Thompson had a daughter named Wilhemine Thompson. Also I could not find any Burwich in Canada. Time to take a second look. This same Tree had a marriage in Wauwatosa, WI:

Anna’s Aunt Catherine was in Wauwatosa at this time. Here is the family in 1860:

Here I missed something. Anna was living with the Bennett family as Anne Bennett. There are a few hints. First, is the six years between Anne and Charles. The second is that Anne is born about 1846 according to the Census and Henry and Catherine married in December 1850. Details. That means that Catherine gets more bonus points for taking care of Anna in 1852 and apparently bringing her to Wauwatosa with the family in the 1860’s. I imagine that Anna helped out in the Bennett house.

Anna Evans in 1870 in Mineral Point, Wisconsin:

So now I have Margaret and Anna safely married off. I also found Anna living with her Aunt Catherine in 1860. I also found a photo of their brother William and his wife Laura. These loose ends are tied.

Loose Ends #2: John and Isabells McMaster

In 1852, Mary Ann or Marrianne McMaster was living in Vaughan, York County, Ontario. She was married to Thomas Shannon, a Farmer. Also in the household were John McMaster aged 11 and Isabella McMaster aged 25. It would be nice to figure out who these two are. My assumption is that they are related to Mary Ann McMaster Shannon.

The two children living with Mary Ann’s sister Catherine, Margaret, 12 and Anna, 6 turned out to be Jane McMaster’s children. However, Isabella at age 25, would be too old to be a daughter of Jane.

Here is Thomas, Mary Ann and John in 1852 in Vaughan, Ontario:

There religion looks to be New Comer Methodist. Here is Isabella on the next page:


10 years later, this appears to be John:

The Census is a little difficult to interpret, but I think that it shows that John and James above were labourers on the James Hardie farm. In the household above the Hardie farm, I see an Isabella:

Isabella is about the right age to be Isabella McMaster. Did she marry the surgeon John De Evelyn? I found this grave marker:

It looks like this Isabella died that same year. However, Isabella appears to be 25 years old. At this point I am stuck with Isabella and John McMaster. However, I have them here as a place-holder.

Summary and Conclusions

  • When I went off to write about four sisters, I didn’t know that the story would be so long and intertwined.
  • The intertwining was helpful in finding a brother to the four sisters: James Archibald McMaster.
  • I was happy to find my fourth great-grandmother Margaret Frazer McMaster living with her son James Archibald at the end of her life in Janesville, Wisconsin.
  • I found out who Margaret and Anna McMaster were and how they tied in to the McMaster family. They were daughters of Jane McMaster.
  • I took another look at the family legend that I have had for a while. There was a lot of interesting and helpful information in it – along with some things that still don’t seem to be right.
  • When researching ancestors, I would recommend researching their siblings also.
  • Telling a story of your ancestors and siblings helps to tie the facts together and points out records or information that may be missing.

One Reply to “A Tale of Four Irish McMaster Sisters (and More)”

  1. There is a location mentioned earlier, Burwich in Canada, and a comment about not knowing where that was.

    Possibly Berwick, in Kings County, Nova Scotia. There are McMasters in this area, just west of Berwick, dating back to the 1840s. Thomas and Margaret immigrated to Canada, arriving in Nova Scotia in 1838. The children went on to establish a substantial community centered around a saw/ grist mill.

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