Category Archives: Genealogy

An Ordinary Man

1882 store book page as a single man.

“When the courting at midnight has ended

And he stands with his hat in his fist

And she lovingly lingers beside him,

To wish him ta-ta and be kissed,

How busy his thoughts of the future,

You betchya his thoughts he don’t speak,

He is wondering how they can manage,

To live on six dollars a week.”

(little poem etched in pencil in one of Norman’s early ‘store books’)

Norman Nicholson, my husband’s great grandfather liked to keep track of things: Indeed, that was his one extraordinary trait. He kept track of his every expense, business or household, over five decades (right down to 5 cents tossed to a tramp). He kept balances, inventories, invoices and lists from 1881 when he left home to live on his own to 1921 at this death at home in Richmond, Quebec.

He kept all this information in dozens of ledgers, diaries and notebooks and he kept these booklets neatly arranged in a trunk under the window in his daughter’s room. ( I know because it said so in one of the many letters he kept, which the daughter in her turn kept, and which eventually fell into my hands as the wife of his great grandson.)

Norman in Masonic Regalia circa 1905

That’s how history-challenged I came to have a real appreciation for the life of a 1st generation Canadian living in the Eastern Townships of Quebec at the turn of the 20th century, that is Norman Nicholson, son of Malcolm Nicolson, he who came to this country in 1841 at age 26 with his parents and 8 siblings after being cleared from the family farm on the nearly treeless Isle of Lewis, Hebrides; who walked from Port St Francis to Flodden and settled on crown land, earning money by burning wood for potash and clearing trails through the forest.

That’s how I’ve come to understand that my husband’s great grandfather, Canadian-born, Canadian schooled Norman Nicholson, successful hemlock bark dealer, turkey salesman, bill collector for a local doctor, Town Public Works Clerk, Inspector for the Transcontinental Railway and The Quebec Streams Commission (I have all the documentation) was a work-a-day sort, devoted husband to the spirited feminist-minded Margaret McLeod, (also a Lewis descendant) doting father to three feisty and ambitious daughters Edith, Marion, Flora and one lost soul of a son, Herb.

He was the kind of ordinary man who lives a full life, with all its joys and sorrows and broken dreams, and dies, the memory of him quickly fading to black until, one day, (with any luck at all) a glimmer, as a great great grandson, flipping through the brittle pages of a photo album, points to one particular picture and asks. “Who’s this ‘sick-looking’ dude with the white moustache and beard?” And the boy’s middle aged father answers: “Oh, that’s Norman Nicholson, your great great grandfather, or at least, I think it is.”

“Was he a general or something, too?” the boy asks referring to the man’s mason uniform – because the boy is related to General Douglas MacArthur on another branch of his family tree.

“No, Norman Nicholson was just an ordinary man.”

Cost of setting up house 1883. 45 dollars for furniture

Now, after scanning the ledgers and reading all his diaries, that I can confirm: ordinary, in every possible way. Not a hero like Alexander Mackenzie, the Lewis born explorer, for whom a great Canadian river is named, although Norman did have a thing for bodies of water. From his 1912 diary: List of Rivers East of Cochrane, Abitibi River, Sucker Creek, Mistango River, Low Bush Creek

Not a villain like Lewis descendant Donald Morrison, the Megantic Outlaw, subject of Canada’s largest ever manhunt and at least two books and one documentary, although Norman did have a part in the man’s post capture defense.

From an 1889 press clipping: Let it be hereby resolved that Norman Nicholson be appointed by the Richmond Royal Caledonia Society to press the authorities for an interview with Donald Morrison.

Neither famous, nor infamous, neither scoundrel nor saint; ergo NOT the kind of man whose exploits are chronicled for future generations in plodding high school history texts or low budget straight to cable documentaries; just a loyal husband, protective father, dutiful citizen. An ordinary man, the kind of man who reaches a point in life where he feels the need to lay down the law to his kids: November 14, 1902 Future Regulations: All must be up and downstairs by 7:30 o’ clock in the morning, Sunday included, breakfast at 7:30. The kind of man who, lonely on the job in middle age, writes love letters to his wife: “I don’t want a concrete hall or a little birch canoe; just want a place with you by the fireside.”

Very very ordinary. No, not the stuff of history books or even good caricature, although it would be easy to characterize Norman as the quintessential penny pinching Scot (someone who believes his bank book to be the best kind of reading) but that characterization would be totally unfair.

Norman Nicholson may have been a practical man:

Price of ash for 1899: 8 cents for 12 inch;10 cents for 13 inch; 12 cents for 14 inch.

1913 Trip to Boston to see Grand Lodge: ticket to Montreal, 2.55, street car 05, ticket to Newport, 3.25. Dinner on train .60

with a petty side:

number of times Dr. Kellock was away from his congregation in year 1897: 24 January in Boston; 21 March in Spencerville; 24 October in Toronto;

October 18, 1899. Date McMorine had his water cut off in his store by M. McDonald tinsmith.

But he also was a romantic:

Nothing to do Margaret, Dar..ling, nothing to do. Let’s take a trip on memory’s ship back to the by gone days. Let’s sail to the old village, anchor outside the school door. Look in and see, that’s you and me, a couple of kids once more.

See? An ordinary man of conflicting passions, just like you and me, the kind of man who has but one chance to have something flattering written about him and that’s at the end of his life:

From the Richmond Guardian June, 1922:

The death occurred suddenly last Friday morning in Montreal of Mr. Norman Nicholson, one of the most respected citizens of this place…

And then that’s it, finito, no more, except, perhaps, for an epitaph on a tombstone in a far-flung country cemetery no one ever visits.

RIP Norman Nicholson, my husband’s great grandfather. An oh-so ordinary man, except for this one extraordinary trait, this compulsion to keep track of things, to leave a paper trail for posterity – if mostly in list form.

END

LIST Cost of LIving 1900 Richmond Quebec.

1900 accounts, family of six, children in teens. Wife Margaret got a hefty allowance with her purchases going unnoted, but I see no mention of material or sewing notions in the list and Margaret sewed her daughter’s clothes for the most part. In 1900 the Nicholsons were comfortably middle class with a fine house, but their fortunes would soon fail with the end of the hemlock bark industry.

January

1/3 of a beef, 106 pounds 6.35

Skating rink 10

6 lbs pork 25

2 beef tongues 20

Marion for Rink 10

Postage 12

79 lbs pork from Bromfield 4.35

Sunday School 04

Church plate 05

Scribbler for Flora 05

1 lb sulphur 05

Hairdressing 15

Membership Board of Trade 1.00

Treat of cigars 25

Fare to Sherbrooke and return 1.35

Copy book Flora 08

Scribbler Edith 05

Marion skating rink 10

½ lb Black tea 18

Sunday school 04

1 Ladies Jacket 8.50

1 pair gent’s overshoes 2.00

¼ lb candies 05

1 lb frosting sugar 08

1 lb baking soda 04

¼ lb peppermint 05

Sunday School 04

Church concert 60

Postage 20

1 paper of pins 05

I pocket handkerchief 08

Herbert 05

Postage 25

1 jar molasses 14

Mending Marion’s boots 25

February

Sunday School 04

Bridge toll 02

¼ pound candies 05

Times for one year 1.00

Maggie 25

½ pound Black tea 18

Marion for rink 10

Sunday School 03

¼ lbs cream of tartar 09

1 lbs currants 10

1 bottle Powell’s medicine 25

Maggie 50

W. Daigle for hauling bark 15

1 writing pad 15

1 pair rubbers Edith 45

1 pair rubbers Marion 45

1 loaf break 05

1 lb crackers 08

1 pint oysters 20

Cough candies 02

Scribbler for Marion 05

Postage 02

Maggie 50

1 loaf bread 05

1 bag fine salt 10

Sunday school 02

Church Collection 10

100 lbs salt 05

1 whisk 15

1 loaf bread 06

¾ pounds walnuts 10

Maggie for Church 2.10

1 lamp chimney 07

1 bottle M. Liniment 25

Maggie 06

½ black tea

1 pair laces 04

4 gallons coal oil 75

10 lbs corn meal 15

10 lbs Graham flour 25

5 gallons Coal Oil 95

1 hockey stick 30

Herbert for Dictionary 15

Maggie 10

½ loaf bread 06

1 lbs ginger snaps 10

¼ pound Ceylon Pepper 10

Postage 06

Flora and Marion 05

1 package Corn Starch 09

¼ lbs cream of tarter

Hair dressing 15

Marion for rink 10

March

1 jar molasses 12

1 doz eggs 20

Maggie 10

Chinaman for laundry 14

Sunday School 04

Patriotic Fund for Hockey 60

1 pair rubbers Herbert 60

Maggie 40

Marion and Flora 10

Sutherland for Miss Wilson 1.00

Postage 20

Mending tins 05

Missionary meeting 05

Skating rink 05

Maggie 25

¼ pounds cream of tartar 10

Sunday School 03

Maggie for concert 10

1 cake shaving soap 07

1 lbs soda 04

½ lbs Black tea

¼ lbs cream of tartar 09

1 bottle vanilla 10

5 pounds sugar 25

Maggie 25

5 lbs butter McKee 1.00

Marion 05

Herbert for Sharpening skates 05

Maggie 1.00

5 lbs G Flour 10

6 ½ lbs butter 1.45

Mending Herbert’s boots 25

1 loaf bread 10

Cough candies 05

1 quart milk 05

Skating rink 20

Maggie 22

9 ½ lbs butter 2.00

Flora 05

1 bags fine salt 10

Maggie 50

1 bag flour 2.25

49 pounds oats 49

5 lbs sugar 25

Sunday School 04

½ lbs Black tea

Postage 10

Postal notes 05

Subscription to Herald `1.50

Subscription to Westminster

Pady Jim 25

12 ¾ cords wood 35.25

I scrubbing brush 10

April

5 lbs sugar 25

Maggie 10

1 pair of rubbers Flora 35

Sunday School 04

½ gal Coal oil 10

1 bottle ammonia 05

1 lamp burner 10

1 doz herrings 25

20 lbs Graham Flour 50

1 bag rolled oats 25

5 Gal Coal Oil 95

20 pounds corn meal 30

Flora 05

Small writing pad 05

1 box crackers 25

½ pound candies 10

Scrubbing floor 25

Herbert for sugar 10

Maggie 20

Hair dressing 15

1 jar molasses 15

½ lbs Black tea 18

2 lbs tapioca 10

Postage 27

Sunday School 07

Herbert for Birthday 25

Maggie 10

1 Gallon syrup 65

3 lbs sugar maple 24

3 pairs shoe laces 08

2 pair stockings 60

5 lbs sugar 25

Sugar scale 40

Maggie 2.60

1 pair rubbers 60

Maggie 35

To Sunday School 03

2 dozen eggs 30

1 package popcorn 05

F Lyster for milk 95

Fir dressing Herbert 15

5 lbs sugar 25

Maggie 1.00

Hauling manure 20

Postage 10

Sunday School 03

Bill of goods bought by Dan 32

1 box crackers 25

1 spool thread 10

1 can corn beef? 25

3 ¾ lbs steak 47

Sunday school 04

Candies 04

May

5 lbs sugar 25

½ lbs Black tea 18

¼ pounds ginger 09

1 bag potatoes 45

¼ ream bill paper 05

Daigle for manuring 40

Edith 50

Herbert suit of clothes 4.00

Spading garden 1.00

Mending M and F. Shoes 70

Garden seeds 40

2 pairs shoes Edith and Marion 3.00

1 necktie for funeral 25

Maggie 25

Seeds got by Dr. Cleveland 50

1 package envelopes 07

Post office box 1.00

Sunday School 03

2 scribblers 10

1 bag oatmeal 1.90

1 lb flour 4.50

Mending boots 1.25

Pass Book 10

Postage 09

10 lbs graham flour 30

¼ lbs cream of tartar 25

2 lbs steak 25

3 ½ pounds S. Ham 25

Military dinner 75

3 gallons Maple Syrup 1.95

A Guide to Court Records

Montreal Court House – Palais de Justice

Online resources found on BAnQ

https://www.banq.qc.ca/ressources_en_ligne/intruments_rech_archivistique/archives_judiciaires/index.html?language_id=1

Judicial archives guide

Guide to Court Records, Evelyn Kolish, 2017, 99 p. [PDF – 1.16 Mo]

BAnQ has close to 21 kilometres of court records in its 10 centres, dating back to the middle of the 17th century. These records constitute an historical archival fonds of remarkable depth and continuity, that enables researchers to study how Québec society has changed from its origins to the present day.

Created by courts throughout Québec, these records are preserved in the BAnQ regional centre closest to their point of origin. Because they show how different aspects of daily life have changed, both over time and by region, they can give sometimes highly detailed information about the past. This information can provide many different paths of inquiry: into specific people and events, as well as into broader social, economic and political phenomena – not to mention the judicial system itself! The Guide to Court Records will give researchers an overview of how the courts themselves and the records they create have changed over the past four centuries. Furthermore, for practical purposes, the Guide is based specifically on the court records preserved in BAnQ’s regional centres

Below is a copy of the document the above text refers to.

The French Republican Calendar

Genealogists love FamilySearch. I have spent many enjoyable hours searching for my ancestors on their free databases. As a way of giving back, I enjoy transcribing historical documents so that others can search for their ancestors. This is called indexing and projects are always available on the FamilySearch web site for volunteers to transcribe.

Not too long ago I chose an intermediate French indexing project on FamilySearch, to transcribe Belgium birth registrations.  I now know that an intermediate level of difficulty may mean very difficult. I was able to decipher the names fairly easily, even the uncommon ones, such as Dieudonné. But I ran into difficulties with the dates.

The records I were transcribing were registered in 1798, smack in the middle of French Republican calendar and therefore the dates needed to be converted to the Gregorian calendar. The French Republican calendar, also known as the French Revolutionary calendar, was used by the French government for twelve years from late 1793 to 1805, and for 18 days by the Paris Commune in 1871. It was used in government records in France and other areas under French rule, including Belgium.  The Republican calendar was one of the ways that the French government wanted to do away with the ancien regime after the French Revolution. The new calendar was created by a commission whose members were French intellectuals. Year I (roman numeral) was the first year of the Republic and each new year was set at midnight beginning on the day the autumnal equinox falls at the Paris Observatory. There were twelve months, each divided into three ten-day weeks called décades. The five or six additional days needed to complete the solar year were called complementary days. This calendar closely resembled the one developed by the ancient Egyptians. 1

Luckily, Family Search has a wiki page that explains how to convert the date on the French Republican calendar to the Gregorian calendar. The twelve months in the French Republican calendar are based the natural events that occur during the year. For example, vendémiaire is the grape harvest month. The Family Search wiki gives an example of how the date would be written out: The 13th of Pluviose in the seventh year. This means that this date is the 13th day of the rainy month in year seven of the French Republican calendar. Family Search then provides four calendars that provides the conversion into the Gregorian calendar depending on the French Republican calendar year.2

I had ten birth registrations to transcribe and it took me two and a half hours to complete.  I spent quite a bit of time trying to understand the French Republican calendar. Looking on the Family Search site, I see that there are more civil registrations to transcribe in French but I will wait until I have a few hours ahead of me as once I start, I like to finish the batch.

Even though it is difficult and painstaking to convert the French Republican calendar dates to the Gregorian calendar, I enjoyed learning about this calendar. And, of course, it is always a thrill to know that you have connected the individuals in the historical records a little closer to their descendants.

  1. Wikipedia, French Republican Calendar, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Republican_calendar, accessed 8 September 2022.
  2. Family Search, French Republican Calendar, https://www.familysearch.org/en/wiki/French_Republican_Calendar, accessed 8 September 2022

Montreal Archives Property Assessments 1847-2003

Évaluation foncière 1847-2003

Property assessment 1847-2003
4,606 online listings
https://archivesdemontreal.ica-atom.org/roles-devaluation-fonciere-1847-2003

3723 documents textuels (registres). – Environ 3800 microfiches. – 957 microfilms. – 12 boîtes.

3,723 documents (registers) – About 3,800 microfiches. – 957 microfilms – 12 boxes

Portée et contenu     
La série renseigne essentiellement sur l’évaluation foncière dans les
différents quartiers de la Ville de Montréal, de 1847 à 2003 inclusivement. Le rôle d’évaluation permet d’établir le montant des taxes municipales à partir d’un taux fixé par règlement par le conseil municipal.

Content of dossiers                                                                          The collection addresses the property assessment from 1847 to 2003 in various districts of the city of Montreal.

Chaque propriété listée dans le rôle d’un quartier possède un numéro de compte unique à huit chiffres, dont les deux premiers réfèrent au quartier.

Les autres informations disponibles sont l’adresse civique, le cadastre, le nom du ou des propriétaire(s) et la valeur de la propriété, résultat de l’évaluation de la bâtisse et du terrain.

Each property listed within various districts was assigned with an assessment number of eight digits, the first two being the district number. Additional information includes the street address, the cadastral number, the name or names of owner or owners in addition to the monetary value of said property.

La série comprend les registres originaux sur papier pour les périodes 1847-1934, 1963-1978 et l’année 1987. Les rôles d’évaluation pour les périodes 1847-1962 et 1979-1986 ont été microfilmés. Les rôles d’évaluation pour la période 1963-1978 et l’année 1987 sont disponibles uniquement en format papier (registre). Pour les années 1988 à 2003, les rôles ont été microfilmés.

Fonds includes the original dossiers of 1847-1934,1973-1978 and the year of 1987 in their original paper formats. The periods of 1847-1934,1973-1978 and 1987 are available on microfilms.

Les documents sont en français et en anglais.

Documents are available in either the French or English languages.

Archives de Montréal  Consultation
archives@montreal.ca Téléphone : 514-872-1173 / 514-872-2615

Opened on Tuesdays and Thursdays

https://archivesdemontreal.com/nous-joindre/

Catalogue of dossiers
https://archivesdemontreal.ica-atom.org/

Researched and compiled by
Jacques Gagné
gagne.jacques@sympatico.ca

 

ARCHIVES MONTREAL PROPERTY ASSESSMENT 1847 – 2003

Montreal Archives Collection
Our collection of thematic files (VM166) is now available online. Well known to our regular researchers, who formerly had to come and consult it on microfilm at our offices, this collection is extremely rich in information relating to municipal administration and

The database below consists of property assessments available at the repository of Montreal Archives.

The subject matter of property assessments is often overlooked by family lineage researchers and some are not aware of the existence of Archives Montreal.

The Beginnings Of The Original Plymouth, Devon England

Previously, I wrote about the ancient Plymouth Gin Distillery located in Plymouth 1 in that story, I mentioned that Plymouth had been attacked, raided and ruled by many others many times.

Here is an account of only a fraction of some of the various raids, uprisings, invaders and wars that is the tumultuous history of Plymouth.

Plymouth is located in the South West Peninsula of England and consists of the counties of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset. It is the furthest South and West of all of mainland England.

Map of The South West Peninsula

In 1866 a cave was discovered containing the bones of animals that no longer live on these islands. The bones included the lion, hyena cave bear, rhinoceros, and human remains. So man lived in this district as far back as the early stone age.

Most local finds in and around various areas of Plymouth have been of the Bronze Age, such as mirrors, daggers spearheads and coins up to 150 BC. In an area of Plymouth called Stonehouse, a burial chamber known as a kistvaen or kist was found. The name means a ‘stone chest’ 2

This is known as the Drizzlecombe Kistvaen Dartmoor, Devon

There are many kistvaens in the large area of the Dartmoor National Park just outside of Plymouth. However, the majority of the known Dartmoor kistvaens were opened at some time in the past, and whatever they used to hold is missing. The idea that ancient tombs might contain valuable items is a very old one; one of the first mentions of searching kistvaens in Devon dates back to 1324.

Location of Dartmoor National Park

We can tell that Saxons settled in the Plymouth area because of the names of places ending in ‘Ham, Ton, Leigh, Worthey and Stock. In fact by 926 AD Saxons ruled the whole of Devon. There is an unusual place name are in Plymouth that was once a Saxon lane. In the Doomsday Book of 1086, it was called Heche Bockland and the Saxons had a church there. By 1385 it was known as Ekebokland which over the centuries has evolved into ‘Eggbuckland’ which, as a child, often produced a smirk…

After the Normans conquered England William the 1st gave the Saxon Manors to his Norman Knights and in 1085 had a list made of all the estates in the country and this was called ‘The Domesday Survey’ – the Middle English spelling of “Doomsday Book”.

The Great Domesday Book Held at Kew Gardens, England.

By 1376 we first hear of a Mayor whose name was Maurice Bard. in 1377 the population of Plymouth was 7,000 and by this time, Plymouth was playing an important part in Naval affairs supplying ships for the fleet and was a busy port.

When King Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries in 1539 the priories had to surrender the tithes of Eggbuckland to the king. The present church is a stone building that dates from around 1420/30 called St. Edward. Its Parish registers date from 1653.

The Anglican church of St Edwards Church Road, Eggbuckland Plymouth Devon 3 Photography by Chris Downer

During the 14th Century, the South coast was attacked on several occasions by French pirates with many attacks on Plymouth, which caused a decline in trade and prosperity. Again, raids and attacks took place in 1377, 1400, and 1403. The most famous of all was the 1403 attack from the Bretons. They sent 30 ships and 1200 men at arms who came and anchored as the townsmen of Plymouth fired cannons at them but they landed and burnt 600 houses and plundered.

Later in the same year, an English fleet crossed to Brittany landed 4,000 men and laid waste to a large area. We seem to have had an uneasy relationship with the French ever since!

The famous seaman, Sir Francis Drake was born in 1541 near Tavistock, just outside Plymouth and was the eldest of 12 children. In 1581 Elizabeth I knighted him and the same year he was appointed Mayor of Plymouth. He was second-in-command as a Vice Admiral of the English fleet, in the victorious battle against the Spanish Armada, in 1588.

Sir Francis Drake
Portrait by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger 1591

Early in July 1620 two vessels ‘The Mayflower’ and ‘The Speedwell’ set sail from Delfshaven in Holland. They were refugees who thought it would be safer in America. Both vessels reached Southhampton, but after leaving the Speedwell sprang a leak and they had to put into Dartmouth for repairs. Again, they set to sea but once more the Speedwell started to leak and so they put into Plymouth. On the 6th of September, 1620 the Mayflower left Plymouth with 102 pilgrims aboard and reached Cape Cod on the 9th of November 1620. The rest, as they say, is history.

In 1642 the civil war started in Plymouth. Most of the counties were Royalists whilst the towns were Parliamentarians. Plymouth, which was surrounded by Royalist country was the key to the West.

It had a harbour it was strongly walled and there was a fort on the Hoe. The word “Hoe” is derived from old English and appropriately means High Ground.

(This year, Facebook banned the word ‘Hoe” assuming it meant something else!) 4

The Royal Citadel on Plymouth Hoe

The Royalists asked the whole town to surrender but they refused, and so, on Sunday, December the 3rd, there took place ‘The Sabbath Day Fight’ The townsfolk rallied from all the neighbouring strongpoints and drove the enemy down a steep hill and into a creek. The rear guard of the Royalist Cavalry was thrown into confusion and the creek was full of drowning men and horses. This was the primary battle but not the end of the siege.

At one time, the King himself came down to Plymouth with 15,000 men but still the town held out. in 1646, the siege was eventually raised. During it, 8,000 people died in Plymouth from various cases a number greater than the normal population.

The Baroque main gate of the Royal Citadel. Note the date 1670 above the arch

Today, the following notable units are based at the Royal Citadel.

The Royal Artillery, Number 3 Commando Brigade and the 29th Commando Regiment 5

Centuries later, World War Two came to Plymouth. My grandfather saved the newspaper cuttings below. They are not too clear but give an idea of before and after a bombing raid on the city.

In the beginning, there were many small daylight raids. As the nights lengthened, these took place at night and in 1940, there were fairly heavy raids on December 29th and January 13th, 1941.

The caption reads: “The city centre as it was. Tomorrow, we propose publishing a photo of the same scene as it appears after most of the buildings have been smashed by enemy action”
The caption reads: “The City Centre as it is. Yesterday, we published a photograph taken from the Guildhall Tower of Plymouth’s shopping centre. Poignant contrast is this picture, taken from the same angle showing the destruction caused by enemy raiders during the Plymouth blitzes”

The worst raids took place in March and April 1941 and on the second of these raids in April, 106 high explosive bombs were dropped, 26 people were killed, 60 houses were completely destroyed, 400 were badly damaged and 2,000 were slightly damaged.

During those raids, the city centre was methodically destroyed in seven continuous nights of bombing. Plymouth lost all of its chief public buildings including the Guildhall, and the council chamber was wiped out.

In the last three years of the war, numerous raids were made. Plymouth lost its large stores and shops, 39 churches including its ‘Mother Church’ St. Andrews in the city centre, 20 schools, a theatre, eight cinemas, six hotels and nearly 30,000 homes completely uninhabitable and although many more raids took place, none were as bad as in 1941.

Although it took decades to rebuild today Plymouth is a vibrant holiday destination and describes itself as “Britain’s Ocean City” It has many holidaymakers visit and there is plenty to see and do. Plymouth boasts some spectacular scenery, a bustling town centre and some delicious dining options.

There is The National Marine Aquarium, The University of Plymouth, the Marine Biological Association, and the Blue Marine Foundation plus the City Centre and the Drake Mall. In addition, for any adrenaline junkie or marine life enthusiast, there are plenty of adventures to be had!

Plymouth Hoe view. with Smeaton’s Tower.

Smeaton’s Tower in this photo was built by an engineer named John Smeaton, constructed of Cornish granite and cleverly dove-tailed together. It has been a Grade 1-listed building since 1954.

It is open to visitors who can climb the 93 steps, including steep ladders, to the lantern room and observe Plymouth Sound – pictured – and the city. 6

Plymouth is now a modern city shaped by its past and steeped in history.

SOURCES

(1) https://genealogyensemble.com/2022/06/29/a-history-of-plymouth-gin/

(2) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dartmoor_kistvaens

(3) Thttps://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:St_Edward%27s_Church,_Plymouth.jpg Photograph by Chris Downer

(4) https://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/news/plymouth-news/facebook-apologises-removing-posts-rude-4928078

(5) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Citadel,_Plymouth

(6) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smeaton%27s_Tower

17th Century – Settlement in New France

http://www.ameriquefrancaise.org/en/article-628/la_rochelle_and_french_north_america_.html The port of La Rochelle where new settlers boarded ships sailing to New France

Settlement of New France during the 17th century / Peuplement de la Nouvelle-France au 17e siècle

This dossier addresses the origin of French Canadians, Acadians, and Franco Americans, and those who recruited them to settle in New France.

Websites:

  • BnF Gallica (Bibliothèque nationale de France) in Paris (Online dossiers (free))
  • BnF Catalogue général (Bibliothèque nationale de France- two main libraries in Paris
  • BAnQ Catalogue –12 repositories across the province.
  • BAnQ Numérique (Online dossiers (free)
  • BAnQ Collections (Online dossiers (collections) addressing New France & Québec –  the people who made a difference.
  • MemHOuest – Université de Rennes –  Master Theses – various universities of France who researched the origin in North West France of immigrants bound for the North American French Colonies from 1598 onward.
  • Revue d’histoire – Outre-Mers – Essays, dissertations, papers by college and university professors of France who published texts addressing the immigrants from mostly North West France  destined to the French Colonies of North America including Nouvelle-France, Acadie, Louisiane of the 17th and 18th centuries.
  • Les Cahiers des Dix –the best and most influential historians and authors of the French language in Québec province –  1920s onward..
  • Les Sept aux Archives nationales du Canada in Ottawa. The most prominent French language historians associated with Library Archives Canada and Université d’Ottawa  for the  past 60+ years.
  • University History professors – Cambridge University, Université de Paris à La Sorbonne, McGill University, University of Toronto, University of Ottawa, Université de Montréal, Université Laval, University of Moncton who wrote about New France and Acadia.
  • Société royale du Canada (Royal Society of Canada) based in part in Ottawa- historians who also addressed  New France, Acadia, Louisiana and France.

Click the link to open in a new window.

A Woman of Courage

Marguerite, a young teenager along with her three siblings boarded the ship. She could only fathom in her wildest imagination what lay ahead. Her head and heart were filled with sorrow and sadness leaving behind everything she had ever known. The one thing that brought her solace and comfort: knowing she would soon become a marriageable young woman and had signed a contract to marry Jean Veron de Grandmesnil when she arrived in New France.

Excerpt: definition of filles a marier – marriageable young women  

“Filles a Marier (1634 to 1662) One of the first organizations formed to settle New France was a group called the Company of 100 Associates. They recruited young single men to come to Quebec under a three-year contract. This organization soon realized it was in their best interest to encourage these men to stay at the end of their indenture period, but they needed women in New France to encourage these men to stay. Thus, they began recruiting “marriageable young girls” who would sign a contract in France and then given a dowry to become the wife of a settlor in Quebec. Some were sponsored by their church; a company associate or merchant. Others were of minor noble families, cousins, or sisters of men already in the colony. ….. Later, critics of the plan tried to say that all the girls were prostitutes taken off the streets of Paris, but this was rarely, if ever, the case. Most settled down, raised families, and formed the roots of many French-Canadian families.”1.

Sebastien Hayet,3. Marguerite’s father had married her mother, Madeleine Henault around 1628 and she was born around 1630. Some historians note that her birth took place in Paris, Saint Paul, Ile de France, while others place her birth in St. Malo. Perhaps, St. Malo would most likely be correct. Both Sebastien and Madeleine were from there. Not long into their marriage Sebastien died leaving Madeleine, a young widow and young Marguerite.

Madeleine, Marguerites’ mother was now a widow. At the age of 25 she married a second time in Paris in 1635 to Pierre Esprit Radisson, 44 years old.4. They had three children, Francoise, Elisabeth, and Pierre Esprit, the famous explorer. Their father, a merchant in Paris and owned a prosperous clothing store. The marriage lasted only several years. Pierre died in 1641.

On the 16th of September 1641 Court records in the Chatelet de Paris indicate that Madeleine requested an inventory of Pierre’s possessions.5 A six-page inventory was prepared which she signed. Now a widow for the second time and mother of four young children, no doubt she must have been overwhelmed. She wondered about her future. Life had taken another abrupt turn. How would she cope with another changing event?

Little is known about Madeleine’s life with her children after Pierre’s death. Within five years she too died leaving behind four children. Perhaps that is when the three girls, despite their young ages signed contracts with promises of marriage once they arrived in New France.

After a long and arduous journey crossing the Atlantic Ocean, the Radisson siblings arrived most probably in Quebec City during the summer of 1646. There is no doubt Marguerite was living in the home of Jean Godfrey de Linctot in service to his family and it seems possible that the three siblings were also living there. In the meantime, her future husband, Jean Veron, a soldier, had arrived in Three Rivers several years earlier in 1644.

Jean Veron de Grandmesnil and Marguerite Hayet were married November 25th, 1646. Marguerite received a wedding gift of 50 acres of land from Jean Godefroy on the Lintot concession. 6.

Jean Godefroy’s wedding gift of 50 acres parcel of land to Marguerite.

In 1649 Jean Veron was one of fourteen soldiers to receive a concession at Cap de la Madeleine. The couple settled into their home, and it is speculated that the Radisson siblings lived with the young couple.

Marguerite gave birth to a daughter named Marguerite, followed by a son, Etienne, followed by another son, Guillaume.7.

Jean Veron and Marguerite”s children

It was a rough and dangerous period filled with tensions in New France between the settlers and the Iroquois. In less than a year after giving birth to Guillaume, Jean Veron was killed by the Iroquois in a skirmish on August 19,1652 and was buried the same day.8. This was a shocking blow for the young mother now responsible for three very young children. Once more her courage and resilience were being tested.

Less than a year after Jean’s untimely death Marguerite married widow Medard Chouart DesGroseilliers 9. whose wife, Hélène Martin, the daughter of Abraham Martin had died while giving birth. Marguerite and Medard were joined in Holy Matrimony on August 24th, 1653 in Quebec City and settled in Three Rivers. 10. Their first son was born in 1654, a daughter in 1657, another daughter in 1659 and a third daughter in 1661. Marguerite now had seven young children under her care, the eldest being an eleven-year-old.

Marguerite”s marriages

Medard Chouart Des Groseillers was an explorer who partnered with Pierre Esprit Radisson, Marguerite’s half-brother. They were often on very long journeys. She often wondered if, and when they would return home safely. While Medard was away for extended periods of time she assumed all the responsibilities of caring for the children, managing their several business ventures and those of Pierre. Over the years she became a very astute businesswoman. Many notarial records indicate a plethora of transactions made in her name. However, there came a time in her life when all the family assets and property were seized while Medard was on one of his lengthy journeys.

“On January 27, 1663, Arnaud Perré had her assets and property seized. He then asks for the auction of these. Marguerite opposes this on February 7, stating that she had to protect the rights of her children. On March 6, Perré demanded that the seizure of the property and assets be carried out, or that she pays him 1952 “livres” in the name of her husband. Also, he demanded that she make an inventory of her property. Marguerite tried to negotiate and even offers her share of an inheritance. On April 6, the property was seized.” 11.

Marguerite overcame these hurdles; just as she had done throughout her life.

Many of Marguerite’s children’s lives were cut short. In 1664 Marie Anne Chouart died at the age of seven. On the census of 1666 the names of Marguerite Veron and Marguerite Chouart do not appear, having died prior to 1666. The following year Guillaume also succumbed and in 1678 Jean-Baptiste died. Five of the seven children died in the span of a dozen years. These were trying times for Marguerite often finding herself alone to cope while Medard on an expedition. There were times of joy when the two surviving children, Etienne and Marie Antoinette were both married in 1677.

Médard returned from all his explorations in 1684 and settled in Québec City highly indebted. In 1698 Medard Chouart Des Groseilliers passed away in Sorel.

Marguerite return to Three Rivers where she lived a remarkable life for another 27 years. During that time on May 19, 1701, she contracted an obligation to her son Étienne Véron and died on the 22 of June 1711 at the age of 81 leaving behind her two surviving children and her sister Élisabeth Radisson, wife of Jutras, who died in 1722. 12.

Marguerite’s burial record.

Marguerite Hayet-Radisson-Veron-Chouart became an orphan in her teens, married twice, had seven children, buried five of them during her lifetime. She took care of business while Medard explored the Great Lakes and along with his partner founders of the Hudson Bay Company.

The young “fille à marier” lived a life filled with adventures, hardships, and deep sorrows, along with sprinkles of joy along the way. My seventh great aunt proved to be a resilient woman throughout her life, one who possessed an overabundance of courage.

13. A brief summary of Marguerite’s life,

Sources:

  1. http://fahfminn.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Ancest-PW-100818-website.pdf
  2. https://www.prdh-igd.com/en/home
  3. https://www.prdh-igd.com/en/home
  4. https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Henault-6
  5. https://robertberubeblog.wordpress.com/2017/04/27/1646-linfluence-de-marguerite-hayet-aupres-des-explorateurs-radisson-et-desgroseillers-the-influence-of-
  6. https://www.prdh-igd.com/en/home
  7. https://www.facebook.com/groups/394084010943300   Robert Berube
  8. https://www.prdh-igd.com/en/home
  9. https://www.prdh-igd.com/en/home
  10. https://www.facebook.com/groups/394084010943300   Robert Berube
  11. https://www.facebook.com/groups/394084010943300   Robert Berube
  12. http://www.migrations.fr
  13. http://www.migrations.fr

Physicians of Quebec 1760 – 1800

The doctor is making an incision using a scalpel.

History of Medicine in the Province of Quebec

1760 – 1800

The following database consists of biographical sketches of surgeons, doctors, nurses, and pharmacists who made a difference in the early years of Quebec. Information is gleaned from these books:

Medicale au vieux Trois Rivières  

Visages du vieux Trois Rivières,

Medicine in the Province of Quebec,

Hotel-Dieu de Montreal

Registre_journalier_des_malades_de_

l’Hotel-Dieu_de_Quebec,

along with many biographical sketches, theses, and memoirs.

The database includes numerous authors who wrote about the history of medicine, the doctors involved in military operations in Quebec, the hospitals, and the diseases of the time.

An extensive list of repositories from Canada and France was used in this database.

Medical Instruments

Aime Bruneau- Jewels and Glasses

The Fall River Daily Evening News reported in Our Folks and Other Folks Column, “ He sustained an accident and narrowly escaped serious injury in Brookline on Saturday, by jumping from an electric without signalling for a stop. A sliver in the platform step caught in his shoe heel and threw him, as he jumped, and he was dragged some distance. He sustained severe bruises, his clothes were badly torn and his shoe, one of a new pair, was ripped from his foot.” This is one of the more interesting things written about my two times great uncle, Aimé B. Bruneau.

Aimé was a jeweller and studying to be an optometrist in 1897 when the accident happened. He must have been attending the Klein School of Optics in Boston’s South End. The school, founded three years earlier by ophthalmologist Dr. August Klein, was one of America’s first formal training programs in optics and refraction. After one year of study, Aimé could make glasses as well as jewellery.

He had travelled far from his roots. Aimé Benjamin Bruneau was born in Saint Constant, Quebec to Barnabé Bruneau and Sophie Marie Prud’Homme. He grew up on the family farm but as the seventh of 13 children, he had to find employment elsewhere. He left home as a teenager and went with his brother Dolphis to Adams, South Berkshire, Massachusetts where they were probably attracted by jobs in a mill.

I am not sure where he met Mary Floretta Mann. She lived in Rutland Vermont. Her husband, Steven Mann had died in 1869 and the widow was living with her three children. Four other children had died in early childhood. Mary couldn’t have been looking for financial support as she had real estate worth $16,000 and a personal estate of $5,000. When they married in 1871 Aimé was 26 and Mary 43.

The couple soon moved to Fall River, Massachusetts, which after the Civil War was the leading textile city in America. Aimé didn’t work in a mill but as a clerk in Fred Macomber’s jewellery store and eventually bought him out. It was a prosperous business in the Granite Block, a block-long commercial building in downtown Fall River and one of the leading jewellery stores in the area for almost twenty years.

Aime Bruneau on right in front of his jewellery store, Fall River MA.

Mr. Bruneau was of a very social nature and made many friends here (Fall River). He greatly lived out of door life and was noted as a walker, covering all the country about this city in his tramps. A walk to Newport or Providence, (almost 20 miles away) on a pleasant Sunday was an ordinary thing with him.

Then in 1897, his business fell off, he closed his store, sold his stock at auction and studied to be an optometrist. A year later he re-established in a smaller way as an oculist. In the next few years, he can be found in Leominster, Massachusetts, Dover New Hampshire and finally in Auburn, Maine with Aime’s occupation listed as a jeweller but also as an Insurance Agent working for the Manhattan Company Federal Street, Boston. During this time Mary appeared to be living in Fall River.

Aimé died unexpectedly of an internal hemorrhage in January 1910. He was 65 and still living in Auburn, Maine. His wife continued to live in Fall River, Massachusetts with her daughter Ida. Mary died there, just six months later at the age of 82. I can speculate about why he wasn’t living with his wife but the long and painful illness noted in her obituary might be the story.

Notes:

Aime B. Bruneau Obituary, The Evening Herald, Fall River Massachusetts. Tuesday 18 January 1910 pg 4. Newspapers.com December 25, 2021. The only Bruneau family member mentioned in his obituary was his brother Ismael as a Congregationalist minister in Montreal.

Our Folks and Other Folks column. Fall River Daily Evening News, Fall River Massachusetts. Tuesday, August 24, 1897. Page 1. Newspapers.com Dec 23, 2021. 

Death of Mrs. Mary F. Bruneau: Fall River Daily Evening News, Fall River Massachusetts. Tuesday Aug 23, 1910. Page 8. Newspapers.com Dec 23, 2021. 

The New England College of Optometry, NECO was founded as the Klein School of Optics by Dr. August Klein in 1894. Located at 2 Rutland Street in Boston’s South End, the Klein School offered a one-year program that centred on optics, anatomy, and refraction. As optometry quickly became a more established profession, the school’s name changed in 1901 to the Massachusetts School of Optometry. The school began offering a two-year program in 1909, and that same year the National Board of State Examiners in Optometry was established as other new optometry schools sprang up around the country.

The Mass School of Optometry also began requiring incoming students to have completed four years of high school and to possess “good moral character.”