Donald Joseph McPhail and Hazel Frances Hope and Helen Franey

When Donald Joseph McPhail was born on June 10, 1899, in Les Cèdres, Quebec, his father, Archibald James Jacob McPhail (1870-1941), was 28 and his mother, Cecelia (née Garrow) (1876-1941), was 22. He had five brothers and four sisters

Donald married Hazel Frances Hope on February 1, 1922, in Hamilton, Ontario.

When Hazel Frances Hope was born on June 22, 1903, in Marmora, Hastings, Ontario, her father, Edward Hope (1876-1945), was 27, and her mother, Martha (née Brownson) (1876-1960), was 27.

Marriage Registration (image via

As they married after the 1921 Canadian Census, there are not many records of the couple together. They had three children during their marriage:

  • an unnamed son, stillborn on August 23, 1922
  • Donald Edward McPhail (1924-1972)
  • Hope McPhail (1925-?)

A record of the first child’s birth is simply a death certificate, suggesting the child was born at home, which was, at the time, 49 Burson Street(?) in Niagara Falls. I can’t find it on a modern map.

Death Registration (image via

Donald Jr’s birth record is not available yet, but there is a record of Donald Sr., Hazel and Jr. crossing the border into Niagara Falls, New York heading to Stevensville, Ohio on September 16, 1925. The purpose of the trip is unknown.

Border Manifest (image via

The record suggests that Donald Jr. is 20 months old at the time, suggesting his birth occurred around August 1924. Hazel was likely pregnant with Hope at the time and Donald’s record suggests his occupation is “Stat Engineer”.

I have not identified any specific records for Hope, although another Ancestry user suggests that this was the child’s name. Records indicate that Hazel died during the caesarian section to deliver Hope on December 3, 1925, at the age of 22. Hazel is buried in Fairview Cemetery in Niagara Falls, Ontario with her brother Albert.

Death Certificate (image via

Donald remarried to Helen Johanna Franey on July 1, 1937, in Hamilton.

Helen Johanna Franey was born on August 22, 1903, in Wentworth, Ontario, her father, Thomas Franey, was 34, and her mother, Mary, was 32. At the time of the marriage, Helen was a stenographer, living at 56 Fullerton Avenue in Hamilton. This was Helen’s first marriage. The couple appears on two voters lists in 1949 and 1962, both times living at 209 Glendale Avenue North in Hamilton. Donald’s occupation is listed as a “craneman” and “crane operator,” like his father Archibald.

Ontario Marriage Records (image via

Confusingly, descendants of Donald’s brother remember Uncle Don and Aunt Helen, but don’t recall any children. Perhaps the children were passed to another relative after their mother’s death. Another Ancestry member suggests that Donald Jr. married and died in 1972. I’ll be searching for an obituary to verify.

209 Glendale Avenue North, Hamilton (image via GoogleMaps)

Donald died in 1973 in Hamilton, Ontario, at the age of 74. Helen died in 1989 in Hamilton, Ontario, at the age of 86. The couple are buried in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery and their stone reads:

Helen FRANEY/1903-1989/Donald Joseph/1899-1973/MCPHAIL

Main image: Headstone, Hazel Frances Hope


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AG Knapper

I’ve been researching my tree for over twenty years…and I’ve found some easy branches, and some gnarly ones…

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