Luck of the Irish – Tracing the Lineage, Wolfe Island, Ontario, Canada

Irish Canadian American – First born generation in United States
Photo above: Living room, November 1948 Murdock, Minnesota: The late Martin J. Walsh Sr.,(1887-1988) about age 61, at home in Murdock, reading newspapers. He was photographed by his son Martin J. Walsh Jr.,(1924-2008). Martin Sr. is first generation born in the United States. His father, Michael J. Walsh Jr.,( 1858-1929) was born on Wolfe Island, Ontario, Canada, 1858, son of Michael J. Walsh Sr. and Catherine Summers, both of Ireland.  The Walsh family originates from County Kilkenny, Ireland, arriving in Canada, 1842, before migrating to De Graff, Minn., 1877.  The is a copy of original black and white photograph, originally created on black and white negative film. View image at Flickr.

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TRACING THE LINEAGE – March 18, 2023, West Central Tribune, view story at

Jannet L. Walsh
March 18, 2023
Murdock, Minnesota

I’m excited to announce a story written by Brian P. Johnson, retired Captain of the Wolfe Islander III, of Kingston, Ontario, Canada, published today, March 18, 2023, at the West Central Tribune, Willmar, Minnesota. It’s another story about my adventures to Kingston and Wolfe Island, Ontario. This is the first publication of the story in the United States, with earlier versions published in Canada.

Read the story – The story TRACING THE LINEAGE, Murdock’s own’Irish Bard’ finds family roots on Wolfe Island, Ontario by Brian P. Johnson is about searching for my Irish Canadian roots, mid December 2022 to early January 2023. View the story directly at the West Central Tribune, or in document viewer below.

Jannet L. Walsh at Spoor Cottage, Wolfe Island, Ontario, Canada. Walsh spent the Christmas season exploring her family’s forgotten history on Wolfe Island located in the archipelago of the Thousand Islands, near the mainland city of Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Learn about this cottage, and other historic places to stay at Hotel Wolfe Island. (Self portrait by Jannet L. Walsh)

Brian P. Johnson is a past president of the Wolfe Island Historical Society, and an author and storyteller. His family goes back five generations, mid 1840s, on Wolfe Island. Researching his family history is a labor of love as historian and storyteller. He recently retired after 35 years as a captain of the Wolfe Islander III Ferry, and after 40 years with the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, Eastern Region Ferries. Brian has spent more than 50 years as a mariner, and is a certified Master 500 Near Coastal certificate of competency. You should be prepared if you ask him about ferries and Wolfe Island as he has a countless stories to tell.

“When Jannet told me, ‘the whole house was shaking, even my bed,’ it planted a seed. Then trudging through deep snowdrifts to attend Christmas Eve Mass by candlelight, that was the beginning. She also told me about a lady calling out from a porch, ‘Don’t get lost in the forest!’
Here’s a story all right!”

Brian P. Johnson, Facebook page
Brian P. Johnson is a retired captain of the Wolfe Islander III Ferry from Kingston, Ontario, Canada. His forthcoming book Ferry Tales from Wolfe Island is due out in 2023. Connect with Brian at his Facebook page to follow his writing, and book updates.
Brian Johnson: Ferry Tales of Wolfe Island – Watch video about Wolfe Island’s ferry’s by retired ferry captain Brian Johson. Recorded at Fulford House, Brockville, Ontario. Ferry Tales from Wolfe Island. February 2015.

Panoramic view of the village of Marysville on Wolfe Island, Ontario, Canada
by Aerosnapper Kingston.

View this panoramic view of the village of Marysville on Wolfe Island, Ontario, Canada by Aerosnapper Kingston. Here is a direct link to this image.

About Wolfe Island – Wolfe Island is in St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario, almost four miles from the port of Kingston, accessible by ferry, the largest island in the archipelago of the Thousand Islands. 

This 48-square-mile island has been home to several European ethnic groups, cheese factories, and dairy farms, along with a history of fur trading. Wolfe Island is the native homeland of the Tyendinaga Mohawk, kawehnóhkwes tsi kawè:note, meaning Long Island Standing. Wolfe Islanders are completely dependent on access to mainland Canada by the Wolfe Island Ferry III to Kingston, soon to be replaced by a zero-emission ferry, Wolfe Island Ferry IV. Locals reference the journey the ferry takes in the St. Lawrence River as a water road, or Highway H20.

Historic Kingston City Hall, December 22, 2022 – This is a view of the public ice skating rink outside of the Kingston City Hall, listed as a Canadian designated heritage site. Learn more about this historic location at the City of Kingston, Ontario, Canada website.
Family from Canada and Ireland – This is a portrait of Catherine Summers Walsh (1833-1909), and her husband Michael J. Walsh Sr. (1812-1901), great great-grandparents of Jannet L. Walsh of Murdock, Minnesota. Undated photo, late 1890s to early 1900s. The couple married at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Kingston, Ontario, Canada, 1857. They had eight children born in Ontario, and baptized on Wolfe Island, Ontario.

This activity is made possible by a grant from the Southwest Minnesota Arts Council with funds from The McKnight Foundation. Learn more about this project writing project, and more details about this grant.

Jannet L. Walsh at Port Metcalf, the foot of Wolfe Island, Ontario, Canada. Canada to the left, and right is the United States, Dec. 30, 2022, self portrait.

Jannet L. Walsh of Murdock, Minnesota is a photographer, writer, and educator. She is the author of the forthcoming creative nonfiction quest narrative “Higgledy-Piggledy Stones: Family Stories from Ireland and Minnesota,” scheduled for publication in 2023 by Shanti Arts Publishing. Walsh is recipient of a Southwest Minnesota Arts Council Growth Grant funded by the McKnight Foundation, 2022-2024. You can follow Walsh on Facebook and Twitter, and on her other social media channels, with the hashtag #IrishFamilyHistoryDetective.

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