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.

UPDATE: December 2018

I'm NOW certain that I was completely wrong about almost everything I wrote above.

  1. Célina was probably adopted into the Boulé family.   This would explain the lack of name in the marriage certificate, and the weird switching of names to Laliberté (which isn't a Boulé dit name).
  2. In fact she might not even be Québecois.   She could be an Irish orphan, fleeing the potato famine.  The timing is "right": about 100,000 people came through Québec from Ireland around 1858 (where she'd be about 18).
  3. My DNA makeup matches better (slightly) if Célina is Irish and not Québecois.   This is somewhat important because I have every other 4th generation ancestor mapped.  So, at that level the ratios SHOULD be pretty close.
  4.  Some people have her father listed as Célestin Laliberté.  This is entirely wrong.


[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.   (Update: someone sent me John Patrick's medical records which had a LOT of personal information.  His profile has been updated extensively.)
[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.

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