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Cecelia Agatha McPhail and William Black

When Cecelia Agatha McPhail was born on May 10, 1904 in Welland, Ontario, her father, Archibald James Jacob McPhail (1870-1941), was 33, and her mother, Cecelia (née Garrow) (1876-1941), was 27.

Cecilia had six brothers and three sisters.

Border Manifest (image via

A border crossing document dated November 13, 1929 suggests Cecelia was crossing into the United States to go to the Convent of St. Joseph in St. Paul, Minnesota. At the time, it appears she was living at 133 London Avenue, still with her parents. Her occupation is listed as a “Domestic.” The specific purpose of the trip to a convent in Minnisota is unknown, however, a family member suggests that Nicky had made an attempt to become a nun. It is unknown whether or not she completed the task, but her marriage almost exactly a year later suggests that if she did, it didn’t stick.

Cecelia married William John Black on November 15, 1930, in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Marriage Certificate (image via

William John Black was born on May 10, 1907, to parents Samuel Black and  Mary (née Middleton).

William died on March 29, 1973. Cecelia died exactly thirteen years later on March 29, 1986. Cecelia is buried at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Burlington. William’s burial location is currently unknown.

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AG Knapper

AG Knapper

AG has been researching her family tree since 2004, and it now includes over 7,000 ancestors and their descendants. She aspires to permanently record the stories before they're lost to time. Do you want to read her latest research? Use this link to sign-up for a weekly newsletter so you never miss a story! Do you know this family? Comment below or use the contact form and help make these stories richer.

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