One of the dead-ends is my 2nd great-grandfather, Ferdinand Vaudreuil (c1839-1916). Turns out I had his marriage record from 1869 on-hand, but never examined it. What an eye-opening experience! It took me quite a while to decipher the handwriting (and translation from French to English), but one thing stood out immediately: "2ème au 2ème consanguinity". Second-degree consanguinity means "first cousins" and that's a particularly interesting situation for Catholic marriages of the period because marriage between cousins required dispensation from the church in order to proceed. So I can only imagine what kind of examination would be involved there.
His bride-to-be, Marie-Clarisse Bélanger (1844-1917) was well-documented (the Bélangers are one of the larger Québec families going back (in my tree) to the 16th century (Nicolas Bélanger, 11ggp, born 1558). But in terms of suggested hints that Ancestry.com offers, the Vaudreuils end at Ferdinand (and Ferdinand isn't a common name, nor Vaudreuil). The marriage record - which typically lists both sets of parents - didn't have any of that information for Ferdinand.
But - since they were first cousins, they shared a set of grandparents, and I had already identified both sets for Marie-Clarisse:
- Pierre Bélanger I (1783-1861) and Marie-Victoire Hébert (1783-1877); and,
- Jean-Baptiste Maillot (1784-) and Marie-Madeleine Pérusse (1882-1879).
Pierre had seven sisters:
- Marie-Victoire (1809-1890)
- Marie-Rosalie (1810-1811)
- Marie-Geneviève (1811-)
- Victoire (1815-1815)
- Marie-Martine (1817-1817)
- Marie-Sophie (1826-1916)
- Marie-Louise (1830-1830)
Thérèse had eight sisters:
- Marie-Sophie (1808-1855)
- Marie-Magdelaine (prob. Madeleine, 1811-)
- Marguerite (1813-)
- Marie-Angélique (1813-)
- Marie-Suzanne (1814-1888)
- Emilie (1819-)
- Marie-Anne (1820-)
- Esther (1824-1848)
So, looking into their pasts, I searched for marriage records, but came up empty-handed. No Vaudreuils! It wasn't a complete accounting: I couldn't find husbands for Geneviève, Angélique, or Suzanne. Victoire married a Lemay, Sophie married an Auger, Marguerite married a Tousignant, and Emilie married a Hamel.
Back to the marriage record. It did almost mention something about a Victoire Lemay - but the relationship wasn't easy to discern at first. I thought it said nephew (neveu) but actually it was "veuf" = "widower"! So Clarisse was actually Ferdinand's second wife. Searching for her, I found a Victoire Lemay that died in 1838, and her burial record listed her spouse as Ferdinand Vaudreuil. From there, I just needed to find THEIR marriage record and hope that I would get luckier in terms of parental identification. (By now my eyes were in pain from all the squinting trying to read messy 19th century handwriting - in French, guessing at half of the scribbled words.)
But it paid off: Ferdinand's father is Basile Tousignant, Clarisse's uncle by way of Marguerite Bélanger.
One more mystery solved!
So WHY "Vandreuil"?
Ferdinand's surname was "Tousingant dit Vaudreuil" - at least earlier in his life. At some point, he dropped the Tousignant, and just went under Vaudreuil. (More on 'dit' names in an upcoming post.)
For the MOST part, people with 'dit' names used the whole thing (sometimes you'd see them hyphenated). Typically after a generation or two they'd fade away, but sometimes the part that would get dropped would be the original family name.
I have to wonder what the circumstances were for this marriage. Getting re-married after you spouse dies is very common, but usually in the case where there's a lot of children in the house who need a step-parent. As far as I can tell, Marie-Victoire was the first child (and I'm not sure she survived infancy). It doesn't appear that this was a "shotgun wedding" - their first child wasn't born until 1871. Nor is it a case of "Québec needs women" where there simply aren't enough potential brides to go around. It would be interesting to learn what the process was for the Church to grant dispensation for first-cousin marriages.
 Sadly, the very NEXT record on the page was for a Marie-Victoire Vaudreuil, born on the same day. Apparently Victoire died in childbirth.