Saturday, November 22, 2014

Intermarriages: Clouding Consanguinuity

As I'm tying together the last of the Québec direct ancestors, I'm finding several cases where couples are (usually) distant cousins:

Great Grandparents (C:3,0)

Elusippe Guimond (1871-1926) and M.Ernestine Vaudreuil (1875-1916) are 6th cousins with common ancestors René Hubert (1648-1725) and François de la Croix (1640-1711), my 8th great-grandparents.

2nd Great Grandparents (C:4,0)

However, Ernestine's parents, Ferdinand Vaudreuil (1837-1916) and Clarisse Bélanger (1844-1917) are FIRST cousins sharing grandparents (C:6,0 to me), Jean-Baptiste Maillot (1784-) and Marie-Madeline Pérusse (1772-1879); their mothers are sisters. In the 1869 marriage record, the church notes the relationship and notes the dispensation, but doesn't say WHY they let this go.

Here's the relationship diagram:

(Click to enlarge.)

(I know - "Ewwww" - right?)

Ferdinand has the name Vaudreuil while his parents have the family name Tousignant dit Vaudreuil.  I don't know why he moved to the "dit" name (though marrying his cousin might have something to do with it).   Ferdinand and Clarisse had nine children.

Likewise, Elusippe's parents Alexandre Guimond (1842-1930) and Célina Boulé (1840-1928) MIGHT be distant cousins - in this case 7th cousins once removed - with Hélène Desportes (1620-1675) as a common ancestor (my 9th great-grandmother).  She's Elusippe's 8th great-grandmother with her second husband Noël Morin (1616-1680).

I say "might" because we're still not certain about Célina Boulé; it's possible that she's adopted into the Boulé family, which wouldn't make any of the Boulés blood relatives (at least so far).   Provided Célina isn't adopted, her 7th great-grandmother with her first husband Guillaume Fournier (1619-1699).

4th Great Grandparents (C:6,0)

If Célina is actually a natural Boulé, her grandfather, Pierre Boulé (1776-1842) and grandmother Marie-Reine Blanchet (1780-1852) would be my 4th great-grandparents.   In any case, they are 3rd cousins once removed, sharing Guillaume Fournier (1619-1699) and Françoise Hébert (1636-1716) as his 3rd great-grandparents, and her 2nd great-grandparents.   Françoise is also the daughter of Hélène Desportes from her first marriage to Guillaume Hébert (1604-1639).

5th Great Grandparents (C:7,0}

Marie-Reine's parents,  Charles Blanchet II (1757-1833) and Marie-Reine Blais (1751-1824) are 4th cousins, again with Hélène Desportes, and both Noël (for Marie-Reine) and Guillaume (for Charles).

Here's a handy diagram for those last three:

(Click to enlarge.)

If you're paying attention to the dates: yes, Hélène gave birth to Françoise at 18 to a man who was 34 (and who she married at 14 when he was 30), then Françoise married in 1651 (at age 13!) to Guillaume Fournier who was a year older than Françoise's mother.

That's 17th century Québec for you.

Now, Françoise and Guillaume's first child wasn't born until Françoise was almost 16 (he died in infancy); their 2nd child is Marie (1655-1717), is Marie-Reine's 3th great-grandmother.  Pierre's 2nd great-grandmother is Marie's younger sister (by 16 years) Françoise Fourner (1671-1734).

Head swimming yet?   Try this mental image:

Imagine it's Christmas 1673, and the family is all gathered together.  You're 17-month old Pierre-Alphonse Blanchet with his mommy Marie (who is 18) and daddy Pierre (who is 27).   You're in front of the fire playing with Aunt Françoise (who is 2 1/2) and Uncle Louis who is 7 months old.   Sitting around are your other six uncles and aunts - mommy's younger sisters and brothers.   Your oldest aunt, Aunt Agathe (age 16) is very pregnant with your cousin Louis (who will be born in March) with her husband, "uncle" Louis (age 34).   Aunt Jacquette (age 14) just got married to her husband, "uncle" Jean (age 26) in June.    Grand-mère Françoise (age 35) and grand-père Guillaume (age 54) are doting on all you and the other infant children and toddlers (she will still have three more aunts and uncles for you over the next six years).   Great grandmother Hélène (age 53) and step great-grandfather Noël (age 57) are there too.   (Your other grandparents are also 53, Noël and Madeleine but they're in France.)

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Well, it eventually had to happen... 19th cousin 9x removed

George Washington (1732–1799)

It's not that I feel much kinship to someone so far flung on the tree, but it's an interesting path to GET there.  Going up the three (20 generations) to get to his 18th great-grandfather (my 27th great-grandfather), and solely through his paternal line:

George Washington {C:29,20} (1732 - 1799)
John Washington {C:29,17} (1631 - 1677)

Here we cross from Virginia to England, where we stay for 16 more generations:

Robert Washington I {C:29,10} (1404 - 1483)

Somewhere around this time "Washington" becomes "Wessington" which isn't so much a surname as a placename:

William, Sir of Wessington {C:29,3} (1183 - 1239)

... and at this point we lose the placename altogether and revert to Scottish patronymics.  So probably the William we just passed was known as "William Fitzwilliam" before he becomes "of Wessington":

So, we see we have common Scottish roots (based on the name).   Raby castle is actually in County Durham which is in Northumberland, but close to the (modern) Scottish border.  If we go a generation back, we start finding ancestors who were on both sides of the Norman Invasion (including both of the protagonists). 

Coming back down the tree, we stay in noble families for several generations; earls, barons and the like (including a few knights):

... and here we briefly cross over into France:

... but not for long because now we go over to Québec:

I find it very funny that George Washington has a distant cousin (Jeanne Millet's grandaughter Hélène Desportes who is also a 11th great-grandmother) who is the first French citizen born in Canada (in fact they're 17th cousins, 3x removed), and whose family (and their close relations) were established in Québec in 1617, before the Pilgrims at Plymouth, whereas George's ancestors didn't arrive in the New World until great-grandfather John (1633-1677) came in 1657.  (On his mother's side, however, the Ball family arrived in Boston in 1635.)

Anyway, we can now go through the Québec records to the current day:

MARGUERITE LANGLOIS {C:12,0} (1595-1665) - who was married to Abraham Martin (1589-1664) a notable figure in Québec history.  Followed by several other notable Québec founding families:

MARIE-JOSEPH-ANNE MARTIN {C:11,0} (1635-1699)
XAINTES CLOUTIER {C:10,0} (1660-1725)
MARIE-ELISABETH FORTIN {C:9,0} (1695-1733)

Now we cross over to the Guimond family:

FRANÇOIS GUIMOND {C:8,0} (1730-1790)
ANNE ERNESTINE "Annie" GUIMOND {C:2,0} (1895 - 1954)

... and of course Mom and me!

(For my nephew: that makes George your 19th cousin 10x removed.)

Of course the relationship could be (and likely is) closer if any of GW's ancestors are closer cousins and we have a common ancestor from more recently.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

The (Almost) Last Great-great Grandparent in the Tree

While I've been very successful finding some truly ancient ancestors in the family tree, there has been one[1] gaping hole in the maternal branch: who is Célina Boulé (1840 – after 1921), and where are her parents?

She was the wife of Alexandre Guimond (1842–1930), married in 1863 in Saint-Louis-de-Lotbinière.   I've got her Drouin marriage record:

Sadly, legibility wasn't a hallmark of these hand-written records.

Nor apparently was completeness.   The translated text reads (as best as I can make out):
The sixth of July, 1863, after the publication of the three banns of marriage, ... enters Alexandre Guimond, adult son of Narcisse Guimond and (of) Celeste Lemay dit Lefleur of this parish, firstly, and Marie Célina, adult daughter also of this parish, on the other hand, ... (the rest is basically boilerplate language about the diocese)...
The problem is that typically, following "fille majure", it SHOULD say "of (father's name) and (mother's name)", but for some unknown reason it's missing.   At first I wondered if there were some unknown ecclesiastical "drama" involved; that Célina "had a past" as it were and for whatever reason didn't want to be associated with her family (or vice versa).   1860's "Reality Marriage Record" aside, I now believe that whoever copied this just made a boneheaded clerical error.

This error — 150 years later —  has confounded everyone on who has her in their family tree.  Basically, the trail ends here.   Note that her family name isn't even mentioned!  It's not in the text, nor in the margin!   (Some have mistakenly listed her as "Marie Célina" thinking that Célina is a family name.  

That particular mystery isn't hard to solve.   Alexandre and Célina have several children, and their own records clear up that particular matter.   Sort of.   Now we get back into the trials and tribulations associated with those pesky "dit" names, and for (another) unknown reason, Célina can't make up her mind as to what her last name should be on official paperwork.  For each of her nine children, here are the names she gives on their baptismal or marriage records:
  1. Alphonse Joseph (1864–1940):   Célina Baudry[2] (baptismal);
  2. Edouard (1866–): Célina Boulé (baptismal);
  3. Marie-Célina (1869–): Célina Boulé (baptismal);
  4. Joseph Elusippe[3] (1871–1926): Célina Boulay (baptismal);
  5. Honorine (1873–?): Célina Boulé (marriage);
  6. Albert (1877–?): Célina Boulay (baptismal), his (second) marriage record doesn't list the parents, just that he's a widower;
  7. Daniel (1879–?): Célina Boulet;
  8. Aurèle (1879–?): no record
  9. Alvine (1881–?): Célina LaLiberté
Discounting Baudry (because it only appears in this one record) and taking LaLiberté as a "dit" name it appears certain that Célina is a Boulé.   But Boulé isn't an uncommon name (and as you can see it can be spelled in several different ways).   It would be great if we could find her baptismal record, but wading through turns up several Célina Boulé's but none born in 1840, and several potential leads show different husbands than Alexandre Guimond.

So — another dead end?   Not quite.

Looking back through all of those records, two names pop up:  Moïse Boulé (1814–1898) and Anastasie Boulé, and now that we know that Célina is a Boulé, perhaps they'll lead to a better understanding.[4]

Moïse Boulé is a witness to Célina's marriage in 1863, and is a godparent to Edouard in 1866.   Anastasie is a godmother to Daniel (1879).   The Canadian Census does show a Moïse Boulé living with an Anastasie Boulé (1835–?) over several years.   They're listed as uncle/niece, with Anastasie apparently an unmarried spinster.

Moïse is the son of Pierre Boulé (1776–1842) and Marie-Reine Blanchet (1780–1852).   He has four brothers (but Luc only lives one year) and five sisters.   Since Célina is a Boulé, none of the sisters can be a parent[5], that leaves:
  1. Pierre (1804 – 1860) has three children, so Célina could be a daughter.  In fact one daughter, born in 1836 is named Marie-Celanire, but I find it odd that Célina's name is constant in all the Drouin records, and while other people in the tree have the name Celanire, Célina is fairly rare: it just seems weird that they'd all get it wrong.
  2. Magloire (1809 – 1874) has eight children, including Anastasie (the eldest), but no census records ever list Célina;
  3. Moïse (1811 – 1898) has no children listed in records, and has not yet appeared in any census records;
  4. Joseph (1820 – 1842) who has no marriage records nor anything else to suggest he fathered a daughter just before he died.

But each of them COULD be the father (cue Jerry Springer!)...

In the end (for now), I picked Moïse as the most-likely candidate, owing to his showing up on the marriage and baptismal records, and his domestic association with Anastasie[6].   Of course he could be an uncle and Pierre could be the father (being dead at the time of Célina's marriage).  

Either way, I'm almost certain that her grandfather is Pierre Boulé.


[1] — there are two other great-great grandmothers I don't have conclusive identified:
  1. Mortimer Donahue's (c. 1848?) wife.   According to my uncle's records, this should be Ellen Murphy, and for a while I thought I had found her, but according to another user, the Ellen Murphy I had identified was a different person entirely.   So, I had to "prune" that part of the tree, and I haven't had any leads since;
  2. Joseph(?) Bradish (c. 1836) whose son John Patrick was an English soldier stationed in India, might have been married to an Emily Creighton, but I'm still not sure.  
[2] — This is the ONLY time this surname EVER shows up.  Given that it's the year after the marriage, and in the same parish, I have to wonder about the priest doing the recording.   Alzheimers plus hard-of-hearing?   

[3] — Great grandfather.

[4] — OK it IS technically possible, but very unlikely that Moïse and Anastasie are Boulés that just happen to be witnesses and godparents, but completely unrelated (or very distantly related) to Célina, but given the time period and that these people stay near the same location for decades, I'm betting that they are close relations. 

[5] — ... unless one of them married someone whose family name is also Boulé, but that didn't happen.

[6] — Another thing that strikes me odd is that she's living with them in 1871, but her father is still alive.  He appears to be living with his grandmother's relatives (her maiden name is Blais) (or vice versa) and there is a Célina Blais in that family who would be born in 1847 which is probably too young to be our Célina.

The First French-Canadian Settlers I: Louis Gaston Hébert

The city of Québec was founded in 1608, the second permanent French settlement in Canada.  It took several years for these colonies to take hold; in fact, for the first few years, the majority of the population died each winter.   Despite a continual trickle of immigrants, the population was extremely low until the mid-17th century (for example, even as late as 1667, Québec’s entire population was only in the 3,000’s), compared to the English colonies which — although they started later (1620 in Plymouth) — had spread to all over New England by the 1640s.  While (so far) there's absolutely NO representation in my family tree on the English colony side, in Québec, there are several ancestors who actually were among the first colonists!

For this, one needs to start with 10th great-grandfather Louis Gaston Hébert (1572/5 – 1627).  He was born in Paris (near the Louvre), and arugably the first "true" settler of Québec.   I say that because he actually lived off of the land by creating a small farm for sustenance, and traded with the indigenous population, whereas other "colonists" relied entirely on trade ships from France for supplies.  Not "going entirely native" was actually encouraged by the French government through the sponsors of the fur and cod trade in Canada.

Rue Saint Honore in Paris where Louis Hébert had an
apothecary shop.

He wasn't a farmer by trade — he was actually an apothecary (which was the family business[1,2]) — who first came to the Arcadian settlement in Port Royal (the first French settlement established in 1604 until 1607) in the summer of 1606 traveling along the coast as south as what's now Gloucester, MA, with Champlain scouting for potential future settlement locations.    He returned in 1610, again in the role of healer to both the French and the Indians, including the Mi'kmaq leader Membertou (who is also a 13th great-grandfather), and attempts to start a settlement on Mt. Desert Island in 1613, but is captured by the British who proceed to destroy Port Royal in November of that year.

Louis Hébert, gathering plants
The third time is the charm.   In 1616-1617 Champlain is once again in Paris, advocating creating a permanent settlement in Québec and obtains the promise of a fairly lucrative contract with the "Compagnie de Canada" (200 crowns per year plus support for he and his family in return for his apothecary services).   Perhaps too optimistically, he sells his house and garden in Paris and gets ready to leave with his wife Marie-Anne (Rolet/Rollet, 1580-1649) and their three children[3].   Arriving at Honfleur (where the ship will leave for Canada) he learns that the company in fact has no intention to honor this contract; the new "offer" is far less favorable, and basically puts his entire family at the mercy of the company.   Having no choice now that he's liquidated his assets for the trip, they agree to the new terms, and leave France on March 11, 1617, arriving in Tadoussac (a trading post) four months later on July 15, 1617, and from there on to Québec.[4]

His presence (and his small 10-acre farm) were instrumental to the nascent Québec colony.  Because of his background in (17h century) medicine, one of the primary roles of the farm was to grow medicinal herbs and plants as well as a variety of vegetables.   This is despite interference from the the controlling company, first in requiring as much of their time as possible, but also in their trying to maintain control of all economic activity (requiring colonists to rely completely on the company for all supplies);  in fact, it wasn't until 1627 that Québec received a ox-driven plow!

Champlain went back and forth from Canada to Québec, trying to promote colonization.  In 1620 he was given full control of the Québec colony, and placed Hébert as the prosecutor of justice for the colony (whose population was only 60, of which only six were women, including Louis' wife and daughter!).   He finally received a plot of land of his own in 1623; his house and that of his son-in-law, Guillaume Couillard, are the first two private homes in Québec (and remain so until 1634).[5]  Everyone else lived in "L'Habitation".

He had realized his fondest dream, but it wasn't to last: after a fall on the ice at the very end of 1626, he died on January 23, 1627.

Monument in Québec honoring Louis Hébert
and Guillaume Couillard.

[1] His father, Nicolas Hébert (1539–1600) was also an apothecary, serving in the court of Queen Marie de Medici (1573-1642) who herself is the wife of King Henry IV of France (1553–1610, and who is also a 5th cousin 15x removed).

[2] Nicolas Hébert is an 11th great-grandfather.  Louis' younger brother Jacques (1576-1662) is also a 10th great-grandfather.  He settled in Port Royal several years after Louis had settled in Québec (apparently in the 1640s).

[3] Anne (1603–1619) died shortly being married (at age 15!) to Joseph-Marie-Etienne Jonquest — this was the first marriage performed in New France;  Guillaume (1604–1639) is a 9th great-grandfather, the husband of Hélène Desportes (1620–1675) the first French child born in Québec;  Joseph (1605–1608) died before the family left France; and Marie-Guillemette (1606–1684) marries Sieur Guillaume Couillard (dit de Lespinay), a carpenter and one of the original colonists to Québec (arriving in 1613, even before the Hébert family) who takes over most of the Hébert land after Louis' death.   He's also the first Canadian to be knighted in 1654 by Louis XIV.

[4] Today one can't really imagine what this "voyage" must have been like.   These were not "cruise liners" — there were no "passenger" accommodations; those traveling were essentially treated like cargo, crammed into makeshift dark areas below decks, surviving off of what provisions they had (that hadn't spoiled or were eaten by rats, etc.).   The semi-rotten food, combined with the rolling of the ship tortured the passengers with sea sickness.  

[5] It's things like this that fascinate me, especially when comparing the Québec colony to the Plymouth colony.   The first Hébert house was nothing more than a shack; it was soon replaced with a one-story stone house, 38'x19' (722 sq. ft.).