Genealogy

The Courtship of Ann and Tommy – Part 3

Wedding bells at last! The long awaited marriage of Ann and Tom took place at The Church of the Advent, in Westmount. on May 31, 1947. They were married by Ann’s father, Canon Sydenham Lindsay, after a passionate four year courtship.

1947 May Wedding - Ann and her Tommy
1947 May Wedding – Ann and her Tommy

After their honeymoon in Bermuda, the newlyweds lived briefly with both sets of parents as there was a shortage of apartments at that time. Lucky for them, however, a friend had to vacate his place on Prince Albert Avenue (only blocks away from their families) and offered it to them. Finally, Ann and Tom had a place of their own, albeit quite small. Two years after they married my brother Bill was born and the apartment was suddenly very crowded.

Ann’s parents gave them a piece of land just up the hill from them on St. Sulpice Road in October 1951. Tom designed the house himself to fit the lot and to this day it remains an original and sophisticated design.

3170 St Sulpice - 2010
3170 St Sulpice (2010) – built by Ann and Tom in 1952

In order to proceed with building the house, Tom needed a loan, which was difficult to obtain at that time. Eventually, Standard Life approved the loan and the house was built for about $18,000. According to the financial records, the loan was paid off in five years.

The interior of the house was completed, with Ann’s help, only as needed and in between children.

Their first son Bill was not an easy child, according to my father, and my mother found herself consumed by his needs. No small wonder it took five years before they had my sister Margaret. After Margaret was born, they really had their hands full and before they knew it my brother John was on the way. My father said the doctors were concerned but Ann seemed to thrive on motherhood. And three years later, in 1957, I was born.

Somehow during this busy time Ann wrote a short story which described a night in their life with small children:

“…Another wail woke them up. Then another, then tears. John was crying, so was Margaret, yelling hard and Bill was coughing and in tears. They both moaned, hopped out of bed and started laughing. Pandemonium had broken loose! ‘There’s nothing like a good night’s sleep’ she mused. ‘The advantages of bachelorhood are extremely obvious at a time like this’ he chuckled and then each picked up an unhappy child.”  (Ann Lindsay Anglin – March 17, 1955)

1959 - The Anglin Children
1959 – The Anglin Children

As the family grew and thrived during the first twelve years of their marriage so did Tom’s engineering business. Sometimes Ann was able to join him on the odd business trip. It was during one of these trips in March 1960 that she felt ill.

The devastating diagnosis was cancer.

During the year and a half that followed, my father did his best to juggle children and career with taking care of his beloved Ann. He wrote long desperate prayers and took up yoga in an effort to cope. It must have been heart-wrenching for him to watch my mother endure the effects of experimental chemotherapy. Advertisements were submitted to the local newspapers in search of “a capable woman willing to do her best to look after a home and four children”. Both families scrambled to assist in any possible way.

In November 1961, my dear mother and Tommy’s Ann, passed away at the age of thirty-five.

Their love lives on in each and every one of their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

I feel very fortunate to have been part of their extraordinary love story.

The Priest

The Courtship of Ann and Tommy – Part 1

The Courtship of Ann and Tommy – Part 2

Genealogy, Quebec

Quebec Guardianship Records can help resolve brick walls

Tutelle et Curatelle (guardianships) of the region de Montréal 1791-1807 and of Quebec City, 1639-1930

Life was often short in our ancestors’ times. Epidemics swept through communities, tuberculosis took many, and accidental injuries killed others at a young age. Not every parent lived to see children grow to adulthood.

In Quebec, there was a system to ensure that children who had lost one or both parents, as well as people who were unable to care for themselves, had guardians to look out for them. When a parent died, male family relatives and friends would meet together with a notary and decide who that guardian was to be. The notary would write a legal document known as a tutelle et curatelle to make the guardianship official.

These documents can be very helpful to family history researchers. They can help us understand how a family got through a crisis, and they can also shed light on family networks by identifying the uncles, family friends and so on who were present.

To actually read these documents, you may have to visit the archives. Meanwhile, in this article, I will explain how to find the tutelle et curatelle records that are online.

Tutelle et curatelle records are filed separately from other notarial documents at the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ). The BAnQ in Montreal alone has more than 300,000 linear meters of these documents, dating from 1658 to 1974, and other branches of the Quebec archives have many more such records.

Definitions

Today, people think of a tutor as a teacher, not a guardian. In this article, we have to understand that both tutors and curators are guardians: tutors are guardians of children, and curators are guardians of young adults.

There were two types of guardianships in Québec:

Tutelle testamentaire – Guardianship governed by a will (testament) issued by a notary in which the surviving parent (father or mother) of the children would assign the guardianship of his or her young children to an adult family member or close friend.

Tutelle légitime – Guardianship governed by the judicial courts, in which full legal tutorship is accorded to the closest adult relative (uncle, aunt, older brother, older sister.) It appears that the majority of guardianships decreed in Québec were this type.

The use of guardianships dates back to the mid-1600s and the first days of the French colony of New France, where the age of majority was 25. After 1783, under British rule, the adult age was 21.

Around 1791, British Laws were implemented in Quebec. The laws governing various judicial jurisdictions were grouped under the general heading of Laws of Canada and among those was one such law governing the tutorship (guardianship) of children and incapacitated adults. The latter dealt with those who could not take care of themselves and needed supervision by others. In 1865, the Civil Code of Lower Canada basically addressed the same issues with slight variations of content.

Searching for the records

If your ancestors lived in the Quebec City region, you are in luck. Familysearch.org has placed online tutelle et curatelle records from 1639 to 1930. Take a look at the wiki page, https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/Quebec,_Quebec_Judicial_District,_Guardianships_(FamilySearch_Historical_Records)

You can access the actual records at

https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/1399459

There are more than 300,000 images and they have not been indexed, so you will need to browse them. They are separated into numbered files by year.

In another, separate database, the BAnQ in Montreal has placed online tutelle et curatelle notarial records from 1791 to 1807. Even within that short time frame, this database contains 22,879 searchable links. In the future, more such records will likely be made available online.

To access this database, go to http://www.banq.qc.ca/archives/genealogie_histoire_familiale/ressources/bd/instr_archives_civiles/tutelle_montreal/index.html

This is what you will see on that page:

Tutelle et curatelle (Tutorships and guardianships)

On this page, click on the blue box on the right side of the page that says Consultation de l’instrument de recherche (Access to the searchable online database.)

The next page will indicate: Nouvelle recherche (New Search), and one line below in the colour blue, Chercher par (research by):

Nom (family name)

Prénom (first name)

Titre (title) – Enter Tutelle

Acte (Tutorship Act) – Enter Tutelle

Date – Enter the date of the date of event.

If your family name was not a common one in Quebec, you can simplify your search. Go to the page https://applications.banq.qc.ca/apex/f?p=148:2::::::  Then, next to Nom, just enter the family name you are researching.

The database includes the following information:

Pupille (First name of child)

Date tutelle (Date of Tutorship decreed (judicial order))

Défunt (Deceased person) In most cases, the name of the father or mother

Tuteur (Tutor), the person described on line 1 and line 2

Autre (Other) – In rare cases in which limited information is available in regard to a particular act of Tutorship

The Next Step in Your Research

Unfortunately, the information obtained in this online database is basic at best. By clicking on Détails on the right hand side of each name, you will access another page indicating the family, first name of the child, and the date of the tutorship.

For example, I entered the name of Smith under Nom. This search resulted in 25 results from 1796 to 1807. I picked one, Enos Smith, and the results obtained online under Détails read as follows:

Nom: Smith

Prénom: Enos

Titre: Pupille

Acte: Tutelle

Date tutelle: 1804-02-07

At the bottom of the page, a box will appear:

> Seul le contenu sécurisé s’affiche (Only the secured information will be posted) >> Afficher tout le contenu (Access to content of file)

The results obtained are precisely the same as the previous page. This most likely indicates that you can only see the full content of the original document by visiting the BAnQ.

For the closest branch of the BAnQ, see

http://www.banq.qc.ca/archives/entrez_archives/centres_archives/index.html

There are 10 branches of the BAnQ across Québec. The repository in Montréal is listed on the website under Vieux Montréal; the archives in Quebec City under BAnQ Québec, the branch in Sherbrooke in the Eastern Townships under BanQ Sherbrooke, and the branch in western Quebec near Ottawa is called BAnQ Gatineau.

Always contact by email the archives branch to confirm whether the record you wish to access is actually stored at that branch. Emails written in the English will be answered in the English language.

I recommend for the initial requests to be sent by email. Once you have obtained the name of the technician assigned to your dossier (file), telephone calls are in order. And once you reach the archives, you may need help locating the tutelle et curatelle files.

Compiled, adapted and researched by Jacques Gagnégagne.jacques@sympatico.ca

Genealogy, Immigration, Montreal, Quebec, Scotland

Polio in the Family

My Auntie Elsie McHugh was quite a chatterbox and so were her budgies. When we used to visit her, the budgies filled the room with the sound of their chatter, competing to be heard. Unless it was time to go to bed, or someone was coming in the door, the budgies were free to fly around the apartment. It was quite an adventure to go there.

My Uncle Jimmy Scott was usually sitting in his favourite chair, not saying a word.

Certainly when I remember Elsie, I think about her continual stream of conversation and story-telling. But I also remember that she had a distinct limp.  This didn’t stop her from being a snazzy dresser or wearing fancy shoes.

Scott, Jimmy and Elsie McHugh

Jimmy Scott and Elsie McHugh

As an adult, I learned that Auntie Elsie limped because she was stricken with paralytic polio when she was an infant living in Dundee, Scotland at the beginning of the 1900s.1 While today, polio is almost eradicated, at that time it would have been a frightening disease.

Only Elsie, out of the family of seven children, contracted poliomyelitis, the medical term for polio. Dr. Ivar Wickman of Sweden proved that polio was contagious in 1905. This was probably after Elsie was sick. And it was not until the 1930s that it was discovered that it was an intestinal infection and spread by the oral-fecal route, and not an airborne virus, as previously thought.2

During Elsie’s childhood, the family lived in a tenement in industrial Dundee, near the jute factories. There was overcrowding and poor sanitation.

In children, paralysis from polio occurs one in a thousand cases. Most children are simply sick and consequently develop an immunity to it.3 It is probable that Elsie’s siblings were also exposed to polio, but they suffered from no permanent consequences.

Because young Elsie limped and probably could not run or jump very well, she was considered disabled or “crippled.” As a result, she attended a special school to learn cooking, needlework and housekeeping. The other girls in the family resented the special education that Elsie received.

In Scotland, children had to attend school between the ages of five and thirteen. In addition, the morals and tenets of the Church of Scotland were influential. The church believed that children should be taught to be self-sufficient.4 Therefore, there was considerable pressure on educational institutions to provide for all children, including the blind, deaf and physically disabled.

Throughout the 1800s, institutions for the blind and deaf were opened in the major cities in Scotland.5 It is likely that Elsie attended one of these institutions as some of them expanded to include “cripples.”

The family immigrated to Montreal, Canada in 1912. Elsie was fourteen and would have finished her schooling by then. As far as I know she always worked in a department store as a saleslady, but like many women at the time, she quit her job when she married Jimmy Scott in 1926.6 Her daughter, Norine Scott, was born the next year. 7

Many people who have had polio in childhood experience symptoms of fatigue, weakness in the muscles, pain and breathing problems later on in their lives.8 I remember Auntie Elsie used to have difficulty breathing but she always said that it was old age.  Elsie never let anything get in the way of her enjoying life and she lived to the respectable age of 91.9

She did put her skills to good use at home, cooking for the family and sewing. I have inherited her Singer sewing machine, although I don’t sew at all. The machine works by pushing on a lever with your knee. It is a lovely piece of furniture in my home and, more importantly, a beautiful keepsake of my Auntie Elsie.

sewing machine

 

  1. Birth register of Elsie McHugh, November 10, 1898, District of St. Mary, Burgh of Dundee, National Records of Scotland, Scotland’s People web site, accessed December 1, 2017.
  2. Post-Polio Health International, History of Acute Polio, Tony Gould, unknown date, http://www.post-polio.org/edu/aboutpol/hist.html, accessed January 28, 2019.
  3. Wikipedia, History of Poliomyelitis, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_poliomyelitis, accessed January 28, 2019.
  4. The Semantic Scholar, Voices from the Past, Early Institutional Experience of Children with disabilities – The case of Scotland, Iain Hutchison, https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/f5d8/80cd842c518f3bc8a2dd3f5fb4e359eecf7e.pdf, accessed January 28, 2019.
  5. Ibid.
  6. Personal notes of author.
  7. Personal notes of author.
  8. Post-Polio Health International, History of Acute Polio, Tony Gould, unknown date, http://www.post-polio.org/edu/aboutpol/hist.html, accessed February 6, 2019.
  9. Personal notes of author.

 

french-canadian, Genealogy, Huguenot, Quebec, Quebec City

The Protestant Churches of Quebec City, 1629-1759

Some 15 or 20 years ago, someone asked me to research and compile a document addressing the earliest Protestant churches in Quebec and find out where the church registers are. Listed here are Quebec City region Protestant missions organized from 1629 to 1759. None of the church registers have survived.

A number of Huguenot merchants from La Rochelle, Bordeaux and Rouen, France were present in Quebec City in September, 1759 when the British army conquered the French forces at the BattIe of the Plains of Abraham. More than a century before those events, Huguenot merchants were members of a small Calvinist church in Quebec City.

1629 Lutheran Chapel – It is on record that the Kertk (Kirke) brothers, and a small group of French Protestants (Huguenots from France), who captured Québec in the name of King Charles I of England on the 20th of July, 1629, built a Lutheran Chapel in Nouvelle France at the time. David, Louis, Thomas Kertk (Kirke), their wives, plus two other women and an undisclosed number of men worshipped until 1633 in Québec.

1631 – Temple Calviniste – A small community of Huguenots (Reformed Church of France) established a Calvinist Temple in the old city of Québec in the early 1630s or shortly after. The small temple would have been located near the Couvent des Ursulines. Most of the Huguenots at the time in Québec were traders who imported goods from French ports such as Auray, Bayonne, Bordeaux, Brest, Caen, Calais, Cherbourg, Dieppe, Dunkerque, Fecamp, Le Havre, Honfleur, La Rochelle, Lorient, Nantes, Paimboeuf, Port Louis, Rochefort, Rouen, Royan, Les Sables d’Olonne, Saint Brieuc, Saint-Malo and Vannes. These same Huguenots were also merchants, mainly in the purchasing and exporting of fine furs and selected hardwoods in New France. This small but thriving Protestant community was instrumental in opening-up trade partnerships between Nouvelle France and fellow Huguenot associates in France and other European countries including Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and the British Isles.

1759 – Chapel of the Ursulines  – First Anglican Church service in Québec on September 27th 1759 – Rev. Eli Dawson, presiding – Chaplain of the British Forces headed by the late General James Wolfe, Commander in Chief of the British Imperial Army – In attendance were French speaking Huguenots from the Québec region.

 

 

Genealogy

A Soldier’s Fortunate Care

Lawrence Tarrant, known as Larry, was forever thankful to a young female doctor in England for saving his arm during the First World War. He was left with a permanent crook at the elbow where four inches of bone had been destroyed and an inverted hand missing the index finger. Of critical importance was that the skillful repair allowed him sufficient mobility in the arm to later hold down a job and raise a family.

Larry, the grandfather my son never knew, signed up for service on March 25th, 1916 in Magog, Quebec and was assigned to the 117th Battalion of Canada’s Expeditionary Force. He was a teenage boy of eighteen. Lance Corporal Larry arrived in England in August of 1916 but once there requested to be reverted to the rank of private. He knew this move would enable him to proceed immediately to France with the 24th Battalion His brother Lloyd had been killed at Mount Sorrel two months earlier. It would seem that Larry was determined to “get them” who had killed him.

On August 28, 1918, Larry was injured at the Battle of Arras. Canada’s 2nd and 3rd Divisions had been led into this battle by the British General Sir Arthur Currie. Currie’s questionable strategy was to launch successive frontal attacks on the German trenches in order to exhaust the enemy. Although very successful, the cost to Canadian soldiers was huge. Arras was the start of “Canada’s Hundred Days”, the series of offensives led by Canadians that culminated in the Allied final victory at Mons in November. At Arras, however, Larry was shot in the head, legs, and left arm, and was evacuated to England. Although badly wounded, he was actually one of the lucky ones. The total loss to the Canadian Corps during the Hundred Days was eleven thousand men.

In England, Larry was sent to Endell Street Military Hospital in London, another stroke of luck as it was one of the most remarkable hospitals of the war. Entirely staffed by women and the only women’s unit operated by militant suffragists, it was known not only for the skill of its surgeons but for its highly distinctive nurturing care. The staff concentrated on the psychological as well as the physical needs of their patients. Larry claimed that his doctor never gave up on saving his arm but it is just as likely that his doctor never allowed him to give up on himself.

Larry spent almost two years in England recovering from his wounds, first at Endell and then in Epsom, Surrey. His recovery was compromised by influenza so severe that he was hospitalized for weeks in yet another hospital at Hardelot. In August of 1919 he returned to Canada and a military hospital in Toronto. He was ultimately discharged from the army in 1920 as medically unfit for further service  He was only twenty-two years old, hardly yet a man but with four years of hell behind him.

On his return to civilian life Larry found work as a machinist at a paper mill in LaTuque, Quebec where he spent his entire career. He married Flora Tremblay in 1939 and fathered three sons and a daughter. He died in 1962 of a blood clot following routine gall bladder surgery. He was sixty –four. His eldest child, Lloyd, my son’s father, was nineteen. Today my son carries his grandfather’s name: Stephen Lawrence Tarrant.

001 (2)

Larry with wife Flora, two of his three sons (Lloyd and Gerry), his daughter Linda, and a the daughter of a cousin (Susan). His third son (Gordon) was born later.

France, Genealogy, Research tips

The National Archives of France

The National Archives of France is not the most advanced institution in terms of its digitized holdings, however, if you are researching French culture and history, you should be aware of it, and it may be helpful if your French ancestors were among the upper classes.

The Archives nationales (France) is making efforts to facilitate its online research process. You can find an introduction to the catalogue online in French, English and Spanish, and access it from there. For English, see http://www.archives-nationales.culture.gouv.fr/en/web/guest/salle-des-inventaires-virtuelle. Also go to http://www.archives-nationales.culture.gouv.fr/en_GB/web/guest/faire-une-recherche

Examples of the archives’ holdings include maps, photographs, documentation from the two world wars, and the records of Paris notaries. In addition, the archives has research centres focusing on topics such as place names and heraldry.

For many years, people with French Canadian or Acadian family lineages who wanted to know more about the research process in France have asked me whether the Archives nationales (France) in Paris was the place to conduct a family search. I have always replied that, if your ancestors in France were considered as nobility (familles nobles), yes, the Archives nationales de France is an online address you should consider. To check out the archives’ holdings on the ”bourgeois families” of France prior to the French Revolution, see https://www.siv.archives-nationales.culture.gouv.fr/siv/rechercheconsultation/consultation/pog/consultationPog.action?pogId=FRAN_POG_05&existpog=true&preview=false

However, if your ancestor was from the working class, you should conduct your online searches in the 95 Archives départementales de France. See my article https://genealogyensemble.com/2018/09/23/finding-ancestors-in-french-municipal-archives/

At the bottom of the following Archives nationales page, you will find links to a number of sites related to genealogy in France: http://www.archives-nationales.culture.gouv.fr/web/guest/signets-sciences

For many years the navigation process on the Archives nationales site was burdensome, and results posted from an online search would only indicate the dossier numbers (“fonds”) and a brief description of the fonds, followed by the ”série” (category of fonds) and the ”cote” (shelf  number). If you one wanted additional information on the content of a dossier, you had to send an email to Paris.

As of September, 2018, even if you find your family name, in order to access the biographical material of that family, you must visit the Archives nationales (France) in Paris. To further complicate matters, the Archives nationales has more than one repository in Paris, and you must first determine in which repository the records you want to see are kept. You also need to determine the spelling of the family name in France at the time. For example, my name, Gagné, was spelled Gasnier.

Genealogy

Discovering Scottish and Irish Roots

My former red hair often had people asking where in Scotland I’m from. For years, I knew of no Scottish blood relatives. Now, I’ve finally found Scottish and Irish roots on my mom’s side.

Turns out that great granny Keziah Charlotte Mcmaster Charboneau, whose birth took place almost exactly a hundred years before mine, identified as ‘Scotch’ even though she never lived in Scotland.

Keziah’s heritage demonstrates a clear cultural tradition in my family of identifying children with their father’s heritage.

She could have identified as Canadian, given that her birth took place in Orangeville Ontario. She might have been Irish, because her mom Mary Willard’s birthplace was Ireland. Still, it was her dad Robert Mcmaster’s birthplace that was important. He was born in Scotland, although I don’t know where.[1]

Even though her parents had different heritages, Keziah identified as “Scotch.”

1901 Census

Yet, some crossed-out hashtags next to her eldest child on the 1901 census indicate that someone wanted to make sure her children were seen as French.

The enumerator probably initially assumed the children shared their mother’s heritage of ‘Scotch’ because the entire family was English-speaking and practiced the Brethren religion. Many of the people he interviewed in the village of Weston, Ontario practiced the protestant denomination stemming from a German movement that began in 1708.

His mistake got corrected, however, presumably by 38-year-old Keziah herself.

Clear hashtag marks indicating that Etta was Scotch were scratched out to write in the word “French” to match the heritage of their father, Paul Charbonneau, who appears in a 1917 Weston resident list as “the caretaker who lives in the house on the east side of Cross street.”

The rest of the hashtags identify all ten children—from two-year-old Wilbert, through six-year-old John, eight-year-old Zelia, nine-year-old Charlotte, 15-year-old Paul, 16-year-old Henry, 18-year-old Latton, 19-year-old Maggie and 20-year-old Etta—as French like their father, not Scotch like their mom.[2]

Keziah and Paul’s first son, Matthew Dalton Charbonneau[3] doesn’t appear at all, perhaps because he lived elsewhere on March 31, 1901 (the day the census is supposed to represent). He’s on earlier and later censuses though. Eight summers later, he married Edith Daniels in Toronto.[4]

Death Certificate

Even when family members had more information, they carried on the tradition of father-centred heritage. Kezia’s son, J.P. Charbonneau described her as “Scotch” on her death certificate just a few lines before identifying her parents’ birthplaces.

Keziah’s death took place in her son’s home at 111 St. Johns Road in Toronto. She died there of chronic myocarditis (heart failure) on July 30, 1932, at the age of 76 years old.[5]

She’s buried in Weston’s Riverside Cemetery, 1567 Royal York Rd, Etobicoke, ON M9P 3C4. I plan to look for her gravesite when next in Toronto.

 

[1] “Ontario Deaths, 1869-1937 and Overseas Deaths, 1939-1947,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-DC6K-4G?cc=1307826&wc=3LV1-DP8%3A1584243504%2C1584252301%2C1584254001 : 19 May 2015), Deaths > 1932 > no 3918-5556 > image 1593 of 1748; citing Registrar General. Archives of Ontario, Toronto.
[2] “Canada Census, 1901,” database with images, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KHPQ-6NG : 18 March 2018), Keziah Charboneau, York (west/ouest), Ontario, Canada; citing p. 8, Library and Archives of Canada, Ottawa.
[3] Ontario Births, 1869-1912,” database with images, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VNL1-HYW : 16 July 2017), Matthew Dalton Charboneau, 30 Nov 1882; citing Birth, Weston, York, Ontario, Canada, citing Archives of Ontario, Toronto; FHL microfilm 1,845,583.
[4] “Ontario Marriages, 1869-1927,” database with images, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KSZV-DMR : 11 March 2018), Dalton Charboneau and Edith Daniels, 22 Jul 1909; citing registration , Toronto, York, Ontario, Canada, Archives of Ontario, Toronto; FHL microfilm 1,871,870.
[5] “Ontario Deaths, 1869-1937 and Overseas Deaths, 1939-1947,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-DC6K-4G?cc=1307826&wc=3LV1-DP8%3A1584243504%2C1584252301%2C1584254001 : 19 May 2015), Deaths > 1932 > no 3918-5556 > image 1593 of 1748; citing Registrar General. Archives of Ontario, Toronto.
french-canadian, Genealogy, Loyalists, Quebec, Research tips

Tips on Researching Gaspé Ancestors

Over the centuries, Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula has been home to a mix of residents including the Micmac First Nations people, French settlers, Acadians and Loyalists. The Gaspé is surrounded by water on three sides — the estuary of the St. Lawrence River, the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Bay of Chaleur – so in the past, many Gaspé residents made their living by fishing, however, the fishing industry has changed and suffered in recent years. The interior of the peninsula features mountains, forests and rivers.

If you had ancestors from the Gaspé, the idea of researching their lives might seem daunting. It is a long way from central Canada, and many people in the region do not speak English today. However, there are a number of databases and other resources online, and you can contact the archives there to ask for help.

The attached PDF has links to a variety of resources, including background on the Loyalists who came from the United States after the revolution and settled in the area. The major part of this document lists the notaries who practised in the Gaspé. Their records should help you find your ancestors’ land transactions, business agreements, wills, inventories, and other records.

One of the best researchers to have studied the people of the Gaspé was Michel Émard, a medical doctor, historian and author. This research guide tells you where to find the books he wrote. It also tells you how to contact the main archives serving the area.

Here is the link to the PDF: notaries of the gaspé peninsula guide

Genealogy

Lillian Forrester: Growing Up on the Farm

My father’s mother was born in rural Ontario and grew up on a farm on the Manitoba prairie, but that doesn’t mean she wanted to live on a farm all her life. In fact, she had other plans.

There were basically two career paths open to women in the early 20th century: teaching and nursing. She pursued both. Then, when she married a Winnipeg physician, her future in the city was assured.

samantha & children
Lillian with her mother and brother Arthur Wellington

Lillian May Forrester (1880-1956) was the daughter of John Macfarlane Forrester (known as Jack) and his wife, Samantha Rixon (known as Mattie).1 Lillian’s twin brother, Arthur, died the day of their birth, but, according to a family story, Lillian was placed in a box behind the woodstove to keep warm, and she survived.

The Forrester farm was located in Tyendinaga, near Belleville, Ontario. The property was quite small and the Forresters were a large and expanding family. They needed more land. Good farmland was becoming scarce and expensive in Ontario, while Manitoba, which had recently been opened up to settlement, looked very attractive.

In 1881, the Forresters bought land near Emerson, close to the American border and the Red River. Lillian’s parents farmed one property, her uncle William farmed the property across the road and her grandparents, James and Janet Forrester, farmed an adjoining half section with their son Donald. Lillian grew up with her five younger brothers and sisters and many cousins. According to Lillian, the Forresters “loved” their new home on the prairie.2

There was always work to do and, as the eldest of the children, Lillian must have had to do chores, such as helping to care for the animals. She had a bossy personality (years later she was nicknamed The Duchess), so she probably liked to tell the younger children what to do.

In a memoir, Lillian’s cousin Charles Reid Forrester wrote that the Forresters had their share of hardships. One year the crops were flattened by a hailstorm, and another time, lightning struck Grandpa Forrester’s stable, killing two horses, a cow and a sheep. 3

Lillian may also have remembered her grandmother’s flower garden, her mother’s freshly baked bread, and festive family parties when everyone danced to the music of the piano, violin and mouth organ and her father sang his favourite Scottish ballads.

She was exposed to many books and ideas at home. Cousin Charlie described Jack Forrester as very intelligent and a student of American and Scottish history, 4 while Lillian later wrote that she owed a special debt to her grandmother, who was an avid reader and a poet.5

Lillian attended the Des Marais school, a one-room schoolhouse that served the area. After graduating, she became a teacher herself,6   but she must have decided that teaching was not the right career for her.

hamnursinggroup-01
Lillian, right column, second from bottom

By the early 1900s, nursing had become a modern, well-organized profession, with nursing schools open across Canada.7 Perhaps Lillian thought there was a need for better medical care in rural communities, or maybe she saw this as an opportunity to move to the city. Whatever her motivation, she applied to the Winnipeg General Hospital School of Nursing.

She was 25 years old when she graduated, however, she did not work as a nurse for long. A year later, she married Dr. Thomas Glendenning (T.G.) Hamilton. T.G. practised medicine, surgery and obstetrics just across the river from the expanding city of Winnipeg.

The wedding took place in November, 1906 at the Winnipeg home of Lillian’s uncle. Three years later, the first of the couple’s four children was born, and in 1910, the Hamiltons’ newly built three-storey house in suburban Elmwood was ready for them. It was Lillian’s home for the rest of her life.

See also:

Janice Hamilton, “Exploring Emerson,” Writing Up the Ancestors, Feb. 14, 2014, http://writinguptheancestors.blogspot.com/2014/02/exploring-emerson.html

Janice Hamilton “James and Janet Forrester,” Writing Up the Ancestors, Feb. 5, 2014, http://writinguptheancestors.blogspot.com/2014/02/james-and-janet.html

Janice Hamilton, “Mattie Rixon and the Forrester Family,” Writing up the Ancestors, June 8, 2015, http://writinguptheancestors.blogspot.com/2015/06/mattie-rixon-and-forrester-family.html

This article is also posted on writinguptheancestors.blogspot.ca

Sources

  1. “Ontario Births, 1869-1912,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9Q97-Y3SZ-37X?cc=1784212&wc=QZ3B-GHJ%3A1584203503%2C1584203606%2C1584213601: 15 January 2016), Births > 1880 > no 7692-15395 > image 349 of 801; citing Archives of Ontario, Toronto.
  2. Lillian Forrester Hamilton, “Our Ancestors,” photocopy of a four-page typed document, in the author’s possession.
  3. Charles R. Forrester, My World in Story, Verse and Song, self-published, Altona, Manitoba, 1979. p 29
  4. Charles Forrester, Ibid, p 109-110
  5. Lillian Hamilton, Ibid.
  6. 1901 census of Canada, Montcalm, Provencher, Manitoba, population schedule, page 3, family no. 25, Lillian Forester; digital image, Ancestry.ca (http://ancestry.ca, accessed 26 Nov. 2009); citing Library and Archives Canada, Census of Canada, 1901, Ottawa, Canada: Library and Archives Canada, RG31,T-6428 to T-6556.
  7. Anonymous. Wikipedia “History of Nursing” https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_nursing, accessed Dec. 10, 2018

 

french-canadian, Genealogy, New France, Quebec

Bulletin des Recherches Historiques

If your ancestors lived in Quebec between 1640 and 1940, you may find them mentioned in a periodical called Bulletin des Recherches Historiques, published by one of the province’s senior archivists and his sons. Searching this publication takes a little effort, and it helps if you can read some French, but your time may be well spent.

Archivist Pierre-George Roy and two of his sons did their research over several decades and published the Bulletin between about 1920 and 1943. In 1920, Roy was the first archivist at the Archives de la Province du Québec, the precursor of the Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ), and he later became senior archivist at the Archives nationales du Québec in Quebec City. His two sons were also archivists.

Roy obtained the majority of his material from notarial documents. His father, Joseph-Edmond Roy, was a notary in Québec City from 1880 to 1911, and other Roy family members were also notaries.

The Bulletin includes a variety of articles including family genealogies, profiles of individuals, amusing anecdotes and accounts of historical interest. Some articles focus on high-profile people such as land owners and civil servants in the days of colonial New France. Others look at Catholic religious orders, laws and the courts, but there do not seem to be many women mentioned.

The articles are not exclusively about French Canadians; they also include Acadian, British, Scottish, Irish, Germanic, American, Jewish, Loyalist and Huguenot families and individuals. Ancestors of at least four members of Genealogy Ensemble are covered in the pages of the Bulletin.

When the BAnQ copied these periodicals, it named the database Le Bulletin des Recherches Historiques 1895-1968, however, it appears that the articles cover the period 1642 to 1942, not 1895 to 1968.

To find out whether any of your ancestors is mentioned in the Bulletin, start by scrolling through the 818-page PDF of the index. The volume number is underlined and the second number is the page number. Here is a link to the index: http://numerique.banq.qc.ca/patrimoine/details/52327/2656928

Once you have found your family’s name in the index, the next step is to go to the database that includes the actual volumes of the Bulletin. Open http://numerique.banq.qc.ca/ and, on the right hand side, put in your search terms: Bulletin des Recherches Historiques, as well as the volume number in roman numerals and the name of the month the issue appeared in French.

For example, according to the index, the name Bagg appeared in volume 49, page 59, so the search term is “Bulletin des Recherches Historiques XLIX Fevrier” You may have to guess the month, depending on the page number. Then scroll down to find your ancestor. You can also find hard copies of this publication at la Societé généalogique canadienne-française (https://www.sgcf.com/) in Montreal.

The language level of the magazine is not difficult, and you can use Google Translate or a similar online tool to help with the translation.

Here are links to a few samples of the Bulletin that I found interesting:

http://collections.banq.qc.ca/jrn03/dn2087/src/1935/02/164865_1935-02.pdf

http://numerique.banq.qc.ca/patrimoine/details/52327/2656928

http://numerique.banq.qc.ca/patrimoine/details/52327/2656964

http://numerique.banq.qc.ca/patrimoine/details/52327/2657360

http://numerique.banq.qc.ca/patrimoine/details/52327/2656957

http://numerique.banq.qc.ca/patrimoine/details/52327/2657519

http://numerique.banq.qc.ca/patrimoine/details/52327/2657338

http://numerique.banq.qc.ca/patrimoine/details/52327/2657158

http://numerique.banq.qc.ca/patrimoine/details/52327/2657205

http://numerique.banq.qc.ca/patrimoine/details/52327/2657158

http://numerique.banq.qc.ca/patrimoine/details/52327/2657534?docsearchtext=Braillard%20de%20la%20Madeleine

http://numerique.banq.qc.ca/patrimoine/details/52327/2657523?docsearchtext=Braillard%20de%20la%20Madeleine