Brennan -

The Brennan / Lachance Family of Ottawa, Canada, the Ottawa Valley, Ontario and Gatineau Valley, Québec - History is being compiled by Bob Ranger - - - this website is maintained at Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York, USA. Updated: February 1, 2017.

Pictured at right is Robert Alexander Brennan (1892-1975) with Victor Milks, his step-brother (seated). This picture was taken about one hundred years ago.

Brennan name might have something to do with burning, for instance, worker in metal, smelting, sword making, etc. - burn - ME brennen < ON & OE: ON brenna, burn, light - OE biernan; both < IE bhre-n-u < base bhereu, to boil forth, well up: cf. bread; brandish - ME brandischen < OFr brandir < Gmc brand; brand - ON brandr < ME < OE brand, brond, a flame, torch, sword < base of biernan, brinnan, to burn OHG brunna, armor. It was also the name of a Celtic clan, hence, many changed their surname to Brennan upon being brought into the clan. And, of course, we could be named for St. Brendan who, as everybody knows, was the true discoverer of North America by a European.

Towns mentioned often in early conversations (c1950): Gracefield, Wakefield, Masson, Maniwaki, Ile des Alumettes, Moose Creek, Ont., Gatineau, Brennan's Hill, Brunelle Hill, Buckingham.

The Ottawa and Gatineau Valleys are English/French bicultural. Brennan is hard to say in French. For this reason perhaps, the name Brennan was francicized to Brunelle in some families. The same could be said of the surname Aubry (see the link below).

Our own Brennan family goes back to:
James Brennan (about 1868-1900), Wakefield, Gracefield, Ottawa, timberjack, wagon driver; married Julia Kenny (about 1890) (center of photo); Siblings: unknown.
Their son:
Robert Alexander Brennan (1892-1975) (far left in group photo), Gracefield, Québec, Ottawa, iron worker, steeplejack; m Marie Angelina "Lena" Lachance at Ottawa in 1914. Siblings: Elizabeth "Bessie" Brennan (1892-1972) (far right), Mary Brennan (about 1885-1950), Georgina Brennan (about 1885-1950). Photo circa 1908.
Their daughter:
Olive Eleanor Brennan (1920-2010) (left)Ottawa, Canada m Charles Antoine Ranger, Jr., 1942. Siblings: Robert Edward Brennan (1918-1987), Floyd Noel Brennan (1923-1997), Bernice Brennan (1926-2005).
Their son:
Robert Charles Ranger (1945-) Ottawa, Canada, Syracuse, NY, musician, computer specialist; m Betty Ann Lewis, 1964. Siblings: Carol Ann Ranger (Carole Spencer) (1947-), Charles Michael "Mike" Ranger (1952-), Patrick Edmund Ranger (1954-).
Our daughter:
Jeanette Michelle Ranger (Born in the Syracuse "Blizzard of 1966") m Eric Andrew Zoeckler of Cazenovia, NY in 1984. Siblings: none.
Their daughters and sons include:
Michele Renée Zoeckler (1987) m Nathan Odhner at Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania in July 2010, Reuben Lee Zoeckler (1989), Vernon Taylor Zoeckler (1991), Charlene Grace Zoeckler (1993), Ethan Lemuel Zoeckler (1996), Simeon James Zoeckler (1998), and Olivia Rose Zoeckler (2002).

Does anyone know what happened to "The Brennans of Idough," the web site dedicated to the history of the Brennans of Idough, an Irish family that has existed since the 900s in northeastern Kilkenny? The region has been known by many formal names over the centuries, but history records that the people who lived there had a different name for it: O'Brennan country.

The first Irish immigrant to Canada was a Brennan . . Tadhg Cornelius O'Brennan who founded the Aubry family (O'Brennan < Aubrenan < Aubry). See and - Diving into the Genepool by Jack Aubry, one of his descendants. -- From an article in the Ottawa Citizen.

Vincent McSheffrey (1996), HOIST AWAY: A story of growing up in the Gatineau during the 1950s. published by Vincent McSheffrey in Ottawa, Canada. An information-packed book about many different topics: history, genealogy, and geography,along with many entertaining stories. It's primarily about the Gatineau, but also contains much information about Ottawa. See Dedication and Remember When . . . from HOIST AWAY.

To order your own copy of HOIST AWAY, send an email to Vincent McSheffrey at

Bytown or Bust -- Ottawa Valley Irish -- including Brennan and Kenny links.

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Copyright © 1999, 2017 by Robert Ranger, Wilmington, North Carolina.