Monday, September 7, 2015

Linking 6th great-grandfather Pierre-Marie Lambert into the tree!

The Drouin Institute site is down, and has been almost all weekend, making it very difficult to move forward on the "great aunt/uncle" project (which I'm nearing 10% done).

So, I've been poking around the "lower branches" of the tree, following up on hints, when I came across a PRDH record that seems to connect "dead end" 6th great-grandfather  Pierre-Marie Lambert (bef 1714-1789) to his parents (who were already on the tree):  Michel Lambert dit Champagne (1680-1733) and Louise Grenier. 

 Louise was already a known blood relative (7th great-grand aunt) because her brother Joseph was a 7th-great grandfather.   But now she's a 7th great-grandmother too!

So this brings in eleven more multi-great-grandparents (which means I have to process them so that I can add the great-aunts/uncles to the current project), and brings the number of identified Canadian direct ancestors to just over 400.

The "evidence" comes from the "Programme de recherche en démographie historique" (generally just PRDH, or The Research Program in Historical Demography), which is a reconstruction of the population of Québec from the Drouin records into a large database;  in fact this is the base of the "LaFrance" service (which has extended the PRDH).

If the PRDH record is correct, the one of the few "holes" in the Québec family tree has been plugged.

But I'm still not 100% convinced since I can't (yet) follow HOW this association was made.   It SEEMS correct; the only other Lamberts having children around Lotbinière in the early 1700s are pretty much accounted for; any other Pierres seem to have married other people and there's documentation for those marriages.    I can't quite figure out where the "before" birth years come from; I've noticed this on other PRDH records compared to Tanguay who just leaves the birth year blank where there's no baptismal record known, or - sometimes - will estimate it from the age given at marriage or death (though I've found that those can be off by 5 years or more!).

Since the PRDH is hosted at the same site as the LaFrance, BOTH are down, and so finding out more about the PRDH will have to wait.   If the data are good (or good enough) it would definitely help with other families in the "Lotbinière gap".

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Milestone reached: person #30,000

... is Jean-Baptiste Vésinat (1718-) a 1st cousin 8x removed, from L'Ange-Gardien.

He's the son of Pierre Vésinat (no blood relation - at least so far), and 7th great-grand aunt Jean LeTartre (1683-1765), the daughter of 8th great-grandfather Charles LeTartre.

This is family #18 in the current project of mapping all the 1st cousins X times removed (i.e., C:X,2's), out of 196.   I'm clearing about one family a week (some take much longer, if there's a lot of cousins who get married).  

Still hoping for a trip to Québec in early 2016.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

"X Marks the Spot"

I've long heard about people marking X's for signatures when they couldn't read or write, and while I supposed it was true, I thought it was a bit of a cliché.

But I've just run across it in a 1753 Drouin marriage record for my 1st cousin 8x removed, Scholastique Lemay (b. 1731) to Joseph Bourgoin:

Add 29 Oct 1753 marriage record for Scholastique Lemay and Joseph Bourgoin.

For both of their signatures there's an X with a notation "marque de...".   I've looked at several hundred of these records (probably a few thousand by now), and that's the first time I've encountered this.

What's also strange is that while MOST of the marriage records have SOMEONE signing as a witness, it's not always the husband and wife (which I suppose in part would be if they were illiterate), and sometimes there are no signatures at all, though typically there's at least one by the priest.

Sometimes the space for the signatures take up most of the page.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

The "Death" Family

When looking at family trees that go back several generations, one of the things you expect to encounter is a higher frequency of deaths of children, especially at, or shortly after, birth. The absence of natal care and medical care in general, particularly with difficult pregnancies, birth complications, and any number of abnormal conditions all contribute to a higher mortality rate. I do think that people over-estimate the frequency, but given the large size of families, especially in rural communities (it's not uncommon to see over 10 children, in particular when there's several marriages), finding one or two in a family doesn't surprise me. I've even found cases where MOST of the children died young - I can only imagine the tragic sadness and stress that those families must have experienced.

But then there's THIS family. I noticed early on reviewing the Tanguay record that there were an awful LOT of deaths.  I wondered at first if the family was poor and things like nutrition might be a factor, (but as it turns out, this was NOT a poor rural family).   Then, the more I dug into it, the more things started to look like a twisted 18th century episode of "Criminal Minds".

My 7th great-grand uncle, Antoine Aide dit Créquy (1716-1779) was a "Maître Maçon" (master macon) in Québec, the youngest of 10 chidren (all of whom lived to adulthood). I don't know what his father (Jean, 1646-1667) did - but he probably was also a tradesman, and likely a mason as well (Antoine's older brother Louis (1695-1755 was also a master mason), who died when Antoine was 10. Almost all of his siblings married and had children, and nothing in any of their families stood out as odd. So, as far as I can tell, they had a relatively normal life.  Given their status as master tradesmen, I suspect they were somewhat well-off.  Most the family lived in Pointe-aux-Trembles (now part of the city of Neuville), then a village about 5 miles west of Québec.  It appears they also lived in Québec.  Antoine's siblings get married and settle in either Québec or Pointe-aux-Trembles[1].

Antoine marries Catherine-Angélique Carpentier (1726-1782, a 3rd cousin 9x removed) in 1745 in Pointe-aux-Trembles. She also comes from a large family with 6 siblings (all who live to adulthood) and 6 half-siblings (3 who live to adulthood). Her father, Antoine (1680-1736) was an architect (in Québec), so I also conclude that they were also well-off.   Neither family fits the stereotype of "poor rural farmers living off of the land".  Antoine and Catherine had 16 children - a large family, but not record-breaking - over 22 years (which means that Catherine spent about 50-60% of that time pregnant).

So I started compiling the birth and marriage information for the children.   My process has been:
  1. Look up marriage record in Tanguay and seed the list of children from that.  (Tanguay has lots of errors which I fix as I go along.);
  2. Look up the set of records in LaFrance (Drouin) for the couple going out about 40-50 years to catch all the childrens' baptism and marriage records.   This isn't 100% accurate because sometimes the parents names aren't IN the records, or the various spellings and combinations of double (sometimes triple) given names, "dit" names and so on causes gaps.   Doing Tanguay first helps identify those situations (but not always)[2];

When a child dies before marriage age, I also put in the burial information (I don't for the adults because eventually I'll get back to them when I do THEIR families - adding in the deaths is my final "check" on the to-do list).  What typically is the case is that I'll spend MOST of my time in one set of Drouin records;  they're organized by parish and then year.  Occasionally I'll have to pop over to another parish, usually for a marriage record where the couple's families live in different towns.  Sometimes a family moves over the span of years.   In this case, almost all of the 20+ records I was looking up were in Québec, but with a few exceptions to different parishes.

So here's a table of the children with the vital information:

NameBirthDeathAge at DeathLocation
Marie-Madeleine 6 Aug 174710 Aug 17474dQuébec
Antoine (1)17 Sep 174823 Sep 17486dQuébec
Antoine-André4 Apr 175019 Feb 17587y 10mQuébec
Maurice6 Feb 1752
Louise-Catherine6 Aug 175317 Aug 175311dCharlesbourg
Louis (1)28 Oct 175416 Oct 17561y 11mQuébec
Jean-François31 Oct 175514 Nov 175514dBeaumont
François-Elie26 Jul 175729 Aug 175734dLorette
Joseph26 Jul 175722 Aug 175727dLorette
Louis-Antoine15 Sep 17582 Oct 175817dSaint-Augustin
Charles12 Nov 175920 Dec 175938dLes Écureuils
Marie-Thérèse5 Dec 176021 Sep 184079y 10mQuébec
Marie-Louise25 Aug 176231 Jan 17652y 5mQuébec
Antoine (2)5 Oct 17642 Jul 183267y 9mQuébec
Louis (2)3 May 176725 May 176722dBeauport
Catherine3 Jun 176815 Jul 176913m Québec

LaFrance didn't provide all of this on the first pass.  Specifically, it missed Joseph entirely.   I "found" him looking for François-Elie's baptism (since they were twins the records were back-to-back).   After two hours of work, I finished with Catherine, and this is when I start "pass two" for any gaps (e.g., where Tanguay had a listing, but it didn't show up in LaFrance).  

And that's when something struck me.   First, it was ONLY burials I was looking for, and in this case Tanguay didn't mention them either.   So I was working "blind" without any specific year or location, but sometimes things do turn up.   I found François-Elie's burial record - discovering that he, too died shortly after birth, and finding the page in the Lorette record, saw that Joseph's burial record was on the same page.   Neither had the parents listed - which was odd, as well the case they were in Lorette and not Québec.   Since both extended families are in either Québec or Point-aux-Trembles, what were they doing in Lorette?  (OK - sometimes when there was need of a priest, the local one wasn't always available and people would go to a church the next town over.  But this typically happens in RURAL communities, NOT Québec City where almost all of the parish needs were done at Notre-Dame Cathedral - hardly a place where there wouldn't be ANY priest available!)

Then I noticed that NEARLY ALL of the children who died shortly after birth (and BTW MOST of the deaths-soon-after-birth situations happen ON the day of birth, or 1-2 days after, had burials outside of Québec, and not in Pointe-aux-Trembles.  In fact, the only ones that died IN Québec where the first two children, and the last child.   So, this pattern occurs between 1753 and 1767. [3]   ONLY the children who live past one year die in Québec, and ONLY two children live to adulthood!

Does this sound suspicious to anyone else?   Like - multiple infanticides?

Needless to say, I was curious, so - borrowing from the techniques of multiple modern-day crime dramas - I looked for a pattern in the location of these burial places:

Burial location of the seven children who died outside of Québec and within their first year.

Wow.   It DOES fit a pattern.  OK - you'd expect things to be along the river because that's were all the towns were.   But there's clearly a disturbing trend:
  1. The first two children (Marie-Marguerite and Antoine (1)) die in Québec in 1747 and 1748, respectively, but that's not out of the ordinary... at first;
  2. We don't know about Maurice (1752);
  3. Then we go over to Charlesbourg to dispose of Louise-Catherine (1753).  If this was a suspicious death, leaving Québec and away from the family makes sense;
  4. Go in a completely opposite direction - and across the river - with Jean-François (1755);
  5. Louis (1) dies in 1756, but he's over a year old.  Stay in Québec;
  6. The twins (Joseph and François-Elie) die about a week apart, but in Lorette (1757);
  7. Now we've run out of nearby places (Lévis isn't remote enough) to bury Louis-Antoine, so upriver to Saint-Augustin (1758);
  8. Repeat, going all the way to Les Écrueuils[4] to bury Charles (1759), PASSING BY Neuville, where most of Igance's family lives;
  9. Now there's a several year "gap".  Thérése is spared,  Marie-Louise makes it to the age of two (so is buried in Québec), and Antoine (2) is spared.
  10. But, Louis (2) resumes the pattern, and he is buried in Beaumont (1767).
  11. Finally, Catherine makes it past the one-year mark and is buried in Québec.

Suspicious, yes?   I mean - you hear people talk about where they want to be buried, and I suppose someone even back then might've decided on a resting place that wasn't in their town, or even for a loved one, but why ONLY the children who died in their first year, and why NOT the children who lived to be a year?  And then why put each one in a different community?  If some were in Québec, and some in Pointe-aux-Trembles it would make sense (since that's where Antoine's family is).

I mean - if you were TRYING to discreetly dispose of bodies over time, and didn't want to arouse suspicion, this is what you'd do - right?   Granted the radius is only a few miles, but it's mid-18th century Québec, so a few miles would definitely get you away from anyone who knew you, if you chose your destination carefully.  Then you'd want to avoid the places where people might know you.

By the time the only two siblings who survive these weird fates marry (Thérèse in 1784, Antoine in 1805), both of their parents are dead.   I can only imagine what each of them had to say when they get to that point in a relationship where you disclose (at least some) of the skeletons in the family closet ("well, I have 15 brothers and sisters but 14 are dead, and they're buried ALL over Québec!").

From the point-of-view of the Québec parish, they only see six burials and sixteen baptisms over the 20+ years, so I suppose that nothing came up as suspicious.   Maybe it's all just a truly bizarre and tragic coincidence.

But you have to wonder.  


[1] One appears to move to Lotbinière in the 1740s, but it looks like EVERYONE else is either in Québec or Pointe-aux-Trembles, and not in ANY of the non-Québec places that Antoine buried children.

[2] Despite this minor criticism, LaFrance is AWESOME and completely worth the $13US/month I pay for the service.

[3] I couldn't find anything on Maurice other than a baptism record.   I presume he also died young, but it's weird that he doesn't show up anywhere.   Morbidly, I have to wonder if he ended up in an unmarked grave or something...    Probably in Lévis or Saint-Nicolas.

[4] This is my FAVORITE placename in Québec.   THE SQUIRRELS!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Families of My Québec Ancestors: 0 - introduction

Now that I've finished cataloging my direct ancestors and their children, I've started on the next generation (mapping the first cousins, N times removed).   This means stepping through the whole set of ancestors, then looping through each of the great-grand-uncles and -aunts.  While some families have more interesting stories than others, I thought it might be interesting to post about each one (or at least the more interesting cases).

I thought about going through the set in some kind of order: that's how I did the first phase (starting at the head of the Guimonds, and working "down and across and sometimes backwards" to hit all of the nodes.  For this phase, I've just printed out the list of all the ancestors, and am more-or-less picking one of them randomly, matching them up with their spouse and going from there.

Update: 3/2/2016 --- as of today I'm on the 34th set of great-grandparents mapping out uncles/aunts and first cousins...   That's out of ~205 sets.   At this rate I'll be done in around 2020...  at which point I can start on mapping the 2nd cousins...

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A more-likely probability about Great-great grandmother Célina Boulé (1840-1928): was she adopted?

In a previous posting, I laid out the mysterious case of my great-great grandmother, Célina Boulé.

I mentioned this on the discussion boards and got some very interesting help and commentary from several users.

At the time of the previous posting, I was convinced that the problem was just an imperfect set of data: basically, she wasn't recorded with enough definition to make as "easy" of an identification as most of the other people in the tree. 

Thanks to daciodan (who also turned me on to the LaFrance site), it appears that her parents are NOT Moïse Boulé and Basilice Bernier - at least they're not her "official" (birth/legitimate) parents but there DOES appear to be some (un-ascertainable) connection.   That leaves (broadly) two options:
  1. she was illegitimate;
  2. she was adopted.
The available records don't provide any insight into this, of course (I have seen baptism entries in Drouin that do make it clear the child  is illegitimate, but I don't have one for Célina), and adoption might not have "officially" taken place.

Another mystery is that she sometimes appears under the surname "LaLiberté" which isn't a 'dit' name for Boulé, but a search of the "Lotbinière metro area" under LaLiberté doesn't provide any concrete leads, ALTHOUGH - once again - there appears to be some potential connection to a LaLiberté family who at least at one time lived near the Boulé family.   Perhaps the illicit relation was between a Boulé and a LaLiberté? 

Tanguay and Drouin - how to navigate them...

My latest project is essentially to start getting more serious about data accuracy on the family tree.

One might argue "Well!  It's a little late for that isn't it because you're 25,000+ people in, and perhaps you should've thought of this BEFORE you got started!" and, I suppose they'd be right.  I think part of the problem is in the advertising: they make it sound as if there's a BIG STORY behind every ancestor (and in fact there probably is, although realistically that big story is largely lost to the winds of time), and so as you get your feet wet and "discover" so many more people, etc. you get caught up in the whole thing (which of course is the ultimate goal of the marketing department!).  What newbies like me DON'T realize - at first - is that many of the "sources" or at least pointers to sources come from other newbies, and they're also not particularly adept at ensuring accuracy.

I'll admit I've found some REALLY idiotic boners, and have inadvertently created some of my own.  Seeing children to people in family trees whose birth dates are long after the one or both parents are dead[1] - or even more perplexing born before their own parents[2].

Of course with most of my efforts centered on Québec, there are two primary sources for information: the Tanguay and Drouin collections, respectively.   Both have combed through the parish records which start in the 1620s (or when the parish was established).    The ideal (and naïve) expectation is that you'll find every instance of every baptism, marriage and burial for every person who lived there; the reality is more complex, of course. 

Tanguay's work is a set of seven volumes spanning 1608 to 1800 (or shortly thereafter).  The first volume goes to 1700, the rest give updates for the 17th century data and then continue on for the 18th century; in reality it has more complete data up to 1750 or so and then things trickle off between 1750 and 1800.   Tanguay is ordered by family name of the husband, then date of (first) marriage.  From there you get the date of marriage, where it happened, then a list of children, their baptism dates, and their marriages (where known).   Each husband is tagged with a roman numeral for their generation in the family line: "I" for the first appearance (i.e., the immigrant), "II" for his sons (who marry), "III" and so on.   Both husbands and wives are linked to their father's entries (where available).  For many of the first generation, there's also information about his parents, and where they lived (typically in France, but I have come across Vienna).     So, it's a handy resource and occasionally has VERY interesting footnotes concerning their positions in society, what land they owned, how they died, and so on.

Tanguay is very convenient because it's printed, BUT it's absolutely not infallible:  I've encountered SEVERAL errors, up to and including entire entries being assigned to the wrong family (specifically, two cousins with the same name being assigned to the wrong father/uncle).   Errors in dates - especially pre-1700 - is common. 

Drouin is (for practical purposes) a microfilm collection of as many of the available parish records as possible.   It's the ultimate in "raw" data. has done a so-so job annotating things, but what you get from their "Search" function is fuzzy at best: unless the volume of the parish record is for just one year, you'll get a year range that can be next to useless (e.g., "1640-1749" for a birth year).   To get useful information, you have to actually look at the record (which I didn't realize for the longest time).  Plus the transcriptions/identifications from the community is - well, amateur-based.

However, the Drouin Institute has launched their own effort to making the records accessible, the "LaFrance".     It has a meager cost ($13CAD/month) but offers FAR easier access to the Drouin microfilms with a better search engine.   I've been using both services side-by-side for my new effort.  (You have a daily limit of 75 image views with the LaFrance, whereas if you can figure out which Drouin microfilm you're looking for, access to the images is covered with your subscription.)   The LaFrance isn't complete: marriages to 1913, but baptisms/burials only to 1849, but they're continuing to progress in their identification.   There are mistakes, but FAR fewer than you encounter in Tanguay.   One thing that is INCREDIBLY HELPFUL is that LaFrance's search engine NOT ONLY handles the myriad variations on surname (and given name), but ALSO does a very good job of sort out 'dit' names (sometimes you have to provide them to have a listing show up, but when you enter in a surname, you get a list of the potential 'dit' names that exist for it.  VERY handy.

So, my technique has altered:

  1. Look up a marriage in Drouin (through LaFrance), enter in the metadata;
  2. Look up the parents (if I don't already have them);
  3. Rinse, lather, repeat until I've determined that the spouse is/isn't a blood relative, fixing any obvious errors along the way.

[1] ... although there are several cases where children have been born shortly after their father has died.

[2] ... strangely enough I have NOT seen many cases of children born to couples who were not yet married, or were clearly born after "shotgun weddings".  There are a few who were born 7-8 months after the marriage, though.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Geeking out on the data!

After the last post, it occurred to me that the counts of direct ancestors and the numbers of (Nth great) grand aunts/uncles could be used to estimate the average number of child you could expect in each family:

Y = 2(G-G0)α

where Y is the observed number of kids for each generation and α is the average number of kids per family while the assumption that it's constant across generations. Since we're dealing with a comparatively closed population that is also overwhelmingly agrarian over 350 of the last 400 years, that's probably OK.

Here's the fun geeky part. In logarithmic space, that's:

log Y = (G-G0) log 2 + log α

So borrowing the data from the last posting for Generations 3 through 10 (so G0 = 3), we can get the average for log α (0.766) and for extra geekiness, the distribution about that mean to get the standard deviation (0.143) which corresponds to:

α = 5.8 ± 1.9

So, on average 4 to 8 children in each family!

Milestone Reached!

For the last year I've been going through the family tree, in an attempt to fix a lot of "newbie" mistakes:

  1. First, I relied FAR too much on other users' "family tree" data.   There are so many places where the data is simply wrong.  Sometimes the errors are obvious (children born after their parents, etc.), and while I tried to do SOME filtering, errors definitely crept in;
  2. Tanguay - while an impressive piece of work - is also fraught with errors, and blindly copying data from there into the family tree propagated those errors.
So?  How to proceed?   With over 20,000 entries on the tree, I couldn't bring myself to just start from scratch (given that doesn't really make it possible to copy over PARTS of trees).  Instead I decided that the best course of action was to begin with the direct ancestors on my mother's side of the tree with anyone who was born/lived/died in Québec (or Arcadia), look up their information in Drouin, make screenshots of the available data (baptisms, marriages, and burials), and from there, start going down each generation until I ran out of information.

As of tonight I've finished the first two levels:  the direct ancestors (X,0) and the (Nth grand) great aunts/uncles (X > 4,1).   Whew!

There are 582 nodes with 403 unique people (meaning that 179 people appear in more than one place among the direct ancestors).   I still have to "do" the Arcadians.   This goes back as far as 16 generations, though mostly in the first 13:

Completeness of direct ancestors from Québec

The first drop happens with my 2nd great-grandmother Célina Boulé (1840-1928) as I can't find any record of her family.  She appears to have been adopted by the Boulé family.   The next drop at generation 7 is the strange case of Pierre Gautier and Angélique Boisvert for whom I have absolutely no information whatsoever, other than knowing that they are the parents of my 4th great-grandmother, Thérèse Gautier (1790-1828).  This is probably because in the mid-18th century there are more "holes" in the Drouin records where the original manuscripts were lost early enough that Tanguay doesn't even have information or they're Acadiens and there isn't (or I haven't yet found) the "smoking gun" record.

At generation 10 two things happen:  there's a slight increase (which shouldn't happen) that occurs because some of the ancestors that appear in the tree multiple times do so over different numbers of generations.  If - for example - two children of the same 8th great-grandparents are both direct ancestors, the two branches of the tree might take 9 generations to reach me for one child but 10 generations to reach me on the other[1].   I don't record those designations separately, and only use the "shortest" distance for each ancestor[2].  The larger reason for the drop is that we're getting into the situation where people are the actual immigrants, and these stats only count the people who lived in Québec at some time.

I'm hoping I'll get the chance to do some statistics on this sample: average life span, average age of marriage, etc.

The other major task is that for these  ~400 people I also attempted to register all of the children: the (Nth great) grand uncles/aunts through their baptism (and usually) marriage records[3].   That's 1,673 people (starting with my maternal grandmother).   A new goal.  The time-consuming part will be looking up THEIR children (the first cousins N times removed) - I estimate this next phase should take about 12-18 months and involve about 9,760+ cousins!  (This based on the average number of kids per family (5.8) I calculate in the NEXT post.)

So with any luck I'll have a follow-up posting announcing reaching the next milestone in late 2016!


[1] This happens more frequently when the two "child" ancestors are widely spaced in age, e.g., one is the oldest, and the other is the youngest and they're ~20 years apart, or if on average it just happens that on one branch the successive ancestors are the older siblings, and the other is mostly younger siblings, then over time you sneak in an extra generation (sometimes two!).

[2] I tried to keep track of all the different ways someone was related to me, but it became complicated, especially as you got into the distant cousins because as they married other blood relatives (to me - they didn't have to be related to each other), the different designations kept piling on.   So, say a 10,1 marries an 11,2 - then ALL of their children are both 10,2/11,3.  If one of them marries a 11,2, then all of THEIR children are 10,3/11,3/11,4, etc.   It quickly became apparently that by the time you got even CLOSE to the present day, the trail of designations would be overwhelming, and so I just took the "shortest" path to the common ancestor.   (However, you CAN reconstruct it by looking at the set of ancestors of anyone in the tree --- that might be fun to do if only to see who is the most inter-related (to me) person on the tree!

[3] What about the burial records?   If the child died as a child and the parents were listed on the burial record, that would show up in my search and I'd record it.   For the others (and that's most of the people involved), it'll mean looking them up as individuals, which will happen with successive "phases" of the project (if I live that long!).

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

I'm Seeing Double (Double/Double)!

OK - this is going to get a little complicated...

Second-cousin marriages aren't that uncommon, and they're easy to comprehend:  two people get married and they share a common ancestor, specifically a great-grandparent and usually a great-grandfather and great-grandmother.   That's consanguinity of the third degree.

Today, I found a weird situation where a married couple's marriage certificate mentioned a third-degree consanguinity which I followed-up, but then noticed that they actually shared TWO sets of great-grandparents.   In other words, they're double second cousins.  (They're also my 5th great-grand aunt and uncle.)


Then I got to the next marriage in their family tree.   The bride and groom have the same sets of parents as the previous couple: a brother+sister marrying a sister+brother.  Again, that's not THAT uncommon, but then it hit me:  you have two siblings each marrying their double second cousin. 

It's a "double" double second-cousin marriage!

So, each of these couples' children (my 1st cousins 6x removed) only have 12 great-great grandparents instead of the usual 16. 

It gets WEIRDER.  

In 1773, Marie-Angélique Grenier (1729-?), my 6th great-grandmother, remarried after Joseph-Gaspard Choret passed away in 1768 to Jean-François Sévigny who was recently widowed from Marie-Anne Croteau (1719-1772).  

This sets up another "Greg and Marcia Brady" situation as my last posting.   Fifteen months later, Angélique's daughter Geneviève (1756-1824) who was 17 at the time of the re-marriage, marries her 22-year old step-brother Pierre Sévigny (1752-1828).   They're my 5th great-grandparents.  

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Here's the Story... of a Lovely Lady... (well, you get the idea)

My latest project is to go back to all the Québecois direct ancestors and catalog baptism, marriage, and burial dates using resources for Drouin and Tanguay.   This is to find errors and provide better legitimacy to the information in the Family Tree.

I'm about halfway through.   In the course of this I've found several glaring errors in Tanguay, and have made copious use of the LaFrance tools at the Drouin Institute.

It's also been interesting stumbling across odd relationships.

Take for example 8th great grandmother Catherine Laîné (Laisné).  She was born in 1653 in Rouen on the Seine and came to Québec in 1671 as a Fille du Roi.   Apparently she had been contracted in marriage at least once[1] but had "second thoughts" once arriving in Québec.   Shortly after her arrival, though she married the 28-year old Etienne Mesny (Mesnil), also from Rouen.   During their 22-year marriage, they had ten children (nine girls and one boy who died as a toddler) until Etienne passed away in 1693.   At that time, the oldest girl, Marie-Anne was married, but the others were still at home, one (Marguerite) only two months old.

The year 1709 (sixteen years after Etienne's death), was full of joyous and sad events.   In early May, daughter Suzanne marries, but dies two weeks later.   Mother Catherine re-marries the 50-something widower Jean Paré only four days after that!   Finally, the younger Catherine[2,3] marries in November.  Catherine and Marguerite move to Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré to live with Jean, and (at this point) his four sons: Etienne (18), Prisque (16), Timothée (9) and François (probably about 10).  

Where it gets "odd" is that five years later, Marguerite marries Prisque.

That makes Jean her step-father AND father-in-law. 

Or, looking at it another way, it's the ultimate Greg and Marcia Brady romance...

[1] Remember, the Filles du Roi frequently had marriage contracts before they left France to men they had never met.   However, they were allowed to break the contract upon arrival and marry someone else.

[2] This is yet-another Québec family who were in DESPERATE need of a book with baby names!  Of the 9 girls, there are two Annes, two Catherines, and two Marguerites.  Although in most cases where this sort of thing happens, only Catherine #1 was dead when Catherine #2 was born; both Annes and both Marguerites lived to adulthood!

[3] This Catherine is my 7th great-grandmother.