Sunday, December 14, 2014

A Tanguay Snafu: When cousins have the same name and get married around the same time.

I'm trying to document all of the blood relatives with their baptism, marriage, and burial records from Drouin.   Up until now I've been mostly relying on Tanguay for information (it's far easier to digest since it's printed), but I've found several situations where Tanguay appears to get his facts wrong.

A user on pointed me to the web site that has been going through the entire Drouin collection, identifying people mentioned in events which has been helpful, despite the extra expense (about $10/month).   The nice thing about this is that for the marriage records, they show the identification of the parents, making following trees easier to do.

Last night I came across this conundrum:  while looking up the children of 1st cousin 9x removed Marie-Françoise Guimond (1685-1725) and her (second) husband Joseph DeLavoye (1678-1727) I found that her son Augustin's marriage didn't agree with what's listed in Tanguay.   He's listed as marrying Marguerite Michaud sometime in the late 1720's.   But the LaFrance/Drouin record shows him marrying Angélique Duchesne (7 Feb 1729).   Some more poking around in Tanguay (because the DeLavoye/Michaud marriage doesn't seem to have a Drouin record) finds the Duchesne marriage to an Augustin DeLavoye, but with Augustin's father as Jean,  not Joseph, and Augustin as a widower, having married Angélique Mignier in 1728.

Now, Jean and Joseph are both sons of René DeLavoye (1628-1696) and Anne Gaudin (1639-1678), so the two Augustin's are cousins.   So - this much is true:

We know there are three marriages mentioned in Tanguay, two of which we have Drouin records:
  1. 7 Jan 1728 to Angélique Mignier;
  2. 7 Feb 1729 to Angélique Duchesne;
  3. (date unknown, probably in 1729) to Marguerite Michaud.
According to Tanguay, it's Augustin, son of Jean who has marriages #1 and #2 (presumably Angélique Mignier dies soon after the marriage, and thus, when he marries Angélique Duchesne he is a widower).   Meanwhile, Augustin, son of Joseph marries Marguerite Michaud.

But the Drouin records say differently.   For marriage #2, it's Augustin son of Joseph who marries Angélique Duchesne in 1729:

It's right there at the end of the third line of barely legible scribbling: "fils de feu Joseph Lavoye et de Françoise Guimond" ("feu" indicating that Joseph died before the marriage).    OK - so Tanguay got it wrong and has his Augustin's swapped.

Oh - were it THAT simple.   But usually the marriage records indicate when someone is a widow or a widower, and here that's not the case.   Augustin's marital status is single.    Now we have to go back to the first marriage listed in Tanguay, to Angélique Mignier in 1728:

OK - here I'm relying on the people at the Québec Genealogy site to have done the transcription because I cannot for the life of my READ this.   But according to them, this says that Augustin's father is Jean, and - like in the other marriage record - Augustin is single at the time of this marriage.

So, Tanguay has it right - for THIS marriage - but is wrong about the second marriage.  

What about marriage #3?   There isn't a Drouin microfiche image to go blind trying to decipher, but there is another clue.   Marguerite Michaud has her birth and death dates:  1707–1784.   Her first child is Joseph-Marie baptised on 18 Feb 1730 (and that record is in Drouin) with a whole set of children born out to 1750.   So if she got pregnant immediately after marriage, that means this marriage had to have taken place no later than May 1729.   If the records are correct in that both the Jan 1728 and Feb 1729 marriages were to Augustins who were not widowers, than the only arrangements of things that makes sense has to be:

  1. On 7 Jan 1728, Augustin — son of Jean and Madeleine Boucher — marries Angélique Mignier;
  2. Angélique Mignier dies within the next 12 to 15 months.  No children.
  3. On 7 Feb 1729, Augustin — son of Joseph and Françoise Guimond — marries Angélique Duchesne.
  4. Sometime in the spring of 1729, the widower Augustin — son of Jean and Madeleine Boucher — marries Marguerite Michaud.
So - there are three errors in Tanguay:

  1. Augustin (son of Joseph) does not marry Madeleine Boucher;
  2. Augustin (son of Jean) does not marry Angélique Duchesne;
  3. Augustin (son of Jean) does marry twice, but it's to Madeleine Boucher, not Angélique Duchesne. 

Whew!  I'm glad we've straightened this out.


  1. When I first started working on my family tree, I also thought Tanguay was all that. As I have gained experience, I have been a bit disillisuioned with it. It was an amazing feat for the time, but that was over a hundred years ago. The seventh volume is errata that had been discovered by the time the seventh volume was printed. Any later than that...sorry, they aren't updating or correcting. The Drouin is a much better source for information (and is a primary source) and PRDH is a much better secondary source (being electronic, they make periodic updates and they will correct any errors that people come across). Tanguay isn't useless, PRDH notes that they apparently had access to records which had not survived in the 40-50 year period between Tanguay's indexing and the time the Drouin microfilms were made.

  2. All true. What I find is working for my current (and probably never-ending project) is to use LaFrance/Drouin/PRDH to get the base marriage information (including the parents), then - if the date is in the right range (before 1770 or so), to use Tanguay to get quicker access to the father's names (which, admittedly isn't always right!), in order to determine if the spouse is also a blood relative.

    The biggest challenge happens when the marriage falls into one of the many "gaps" in the record (Lotbinière is particularly problematic). SOMETIMES I've been able to infer the identity of someone's parents despite the gap; otherwise, I just have to move on to the next listing.

    The errata volumes (LeBœuf) are sometimes helpful - IF I remember to delve into them. I've found missing entries that way too.