Category Archives: Quebec

Aren’t Birthday Parties Fun?

By Sandra McHugh

Aren’t birthday parties fun? I was thinking this recently when we celebrated my daughter’s 30th birthday at the Auberge Saint-Gabriel in Montreal. I was also thinking how a birthdate is such an important indicator in genealogy research.

A birthdate and a place of birth places a family member in a period of time and in a location that can tell us a lot about the social context in which the person lived. Buildings and their uses can also tell us a lot about a place.

The Auberge Saint-Gabriel in Montreal is one of the oldest buildings in the city.  It was built by Etienne Truteau, a French soldier in 1688. 1 In 1754, it was the first inn in North America to be issued a liquor license. 2 Over the centuries it has had many vocations, including the Beauchemin printing press operation founded in 1860 and that printed the newspaper Le Patriote.3

And who doesn’t love a good ghost? It is said that the Auberge Saint-Gabriel is haunted by a little girl who lost her life when a fire raged through the ground floor, trapping her and her grandfather upstairs while her grandfather was teaching her to play the piano.4

Today, the Auberge Saint Gabriel is a trendy restaurant and reception centre right in the middle of Old Montreal. If you go inside, you can see that the owners continue to maintain the building as much as they can in the style that it was built. You can appreciate the thick brick walls, stained glass windows, and the many antiques that grace its rooms. If you like, you can go down to the basement to visit the place where there was a fur trading post. Today, this fur trading post is a speakeasy, called The Velvet.5

I am quite confident that almost all of my ancestors who lived in Montreal would have at least walked by or had business in or around the Auberge Saint Gabriel.  And who knows? Maybe our descendants would be pleased to know that we dropped off our car at the door of the Auberge Saint Gabriel for a fun-filled night at the speakeasy.

What buildings are important to your family’s history?

  1. L’Auberge Saint-Gabriel web site. <http://aubergesaint-gabriel.com/historique/>, accessed June 12, 2017.
  2. Wikipedia article on Auberge Saint-Gabriel. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auberge_Le_Saint-Gabriel>, accessed June 12, 2017.
  3. Wikipedia article on Auberge Saint-Gabriel, accessed June 12, 2017.
  4. Benoit Franquebalme, “Garou : Propriétaire d’une auberge hantée !”, France Dimanche, January 1, 2016, <http://www.francedimanche.fr/infos-people/musique/garou-proprietaire-dune-auberge-hantee/>, accessed June 12, 2017.
  5. L’Auberge Saint-Gabriel web site, accessed June 12, 2017.

 

New Book Tells History of Mile End

Hundreds of special events are taking place in 2017 to mark the City of Montreal’s 375th birthday, but the one that means the most to me is the publication last month of a history of the Mile End district of Montreal. Some 200 years ago, that was where my three- and four-times great-grandparents lived.

There, at the intersection of the only two roads for miles around, Stanley Bagg and his father Phineas ran an establishment called the Mile End Tavern. Their landlord and future in-law, an English-born butcher named John Clark, probably came up with the name Mile End. The tavern was at the corner of what is now Saint-Laurent Boulevard and Mont-Royal Avenue, and the whole area eventually acquired the same name.

Mile End has no formal boundaries, but it is essentially just to the northeast of Mount Royal, as far as the railroad tracks. Some of the area’s streets are known far beyond Montreal: Saint-Urbain, for example, was made famous by author Mordecai Richler, and both Saint-Viateur and Fairmount streets have bagels named after them. Other well-known streets include Laurier, Parc, Saint-Joseph and Jeanne-Mance.

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This fire station at Laurier and Saint-Laurent was once town hall of the suburban Ville de Saint-Louis. jh photo.

It is a vibrant neighbourhood, home to musicians, teachers and software developers, trendy restaurants, second-hand shops and rows of triplex and duplex dwellings, often featuring Montreal’s iconic outdoor staircases.

Histoire du Mile End, the first book to focus on the area’s history, was written by former journalist Yves Desjardins. His journalism background shows: he has researched his subject thoroughly in newspaper accounts, archival sources and academic articles, and pulled it all together in clear, concise language. I can attest to how readable it is because, although the book is in French, I have had no trouble reading it. It helps that the book is generously illustrated with historic photos and maps.

Over the decades, Mile End has been home to waves of immigrants, starting with French Canadian job-seekers who moved to the city from the Laurentians, and including Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe, Italians, Portuguese and Greeks. Many of the area’s residents worked in the nearby Peck Building, labouring in low-paying jobs in the garment industry; today, the Peck Building is home to Ubisoft, a major player in the video game industry.

Just as it takes a village to raise a child, sometimes it takes a community to write a book. Yves had help from friends and neighbours — many of them members of the local history group Mile End Memories — who gave him access to their own research and expertise. I provided him with information about my ancestors the Baggs and the Clarks, and the collaboration paid off for both of us: I was able to fill in family information he didn’t have, and he helped me understand the historical context of my ancestors’ lives.

I learned that Saint-Laurent Boulevard, the traditional dividing line between the western part of the city, where the majority of English-speaking Montrealers live, and the eastern part, which is overwhelmingly French-speaking, was the only road leading north out of the city in the early 1800s. The Baggs owned much of the land on the western side of Saint-Laurent, and it remained primarily rural until the 1890s. Much of the land on the east side was owned by the Beaubien family, and early residents worked in local tanneries and quarries.

At the end of the 19th century, a group of real estate promoters from Toronto tried to develop a “strictly high class suburb” in Mile End called the Montreal Annex. While they did manage to attract a few professionals and their families, the scheme eventually failed. For decades, most of Mile End’s residents were strictly working class, or worked at skilled trades such as shoe-making and carriage-making.

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Carriages, not cars, once used this entrance between row houses. jh photo.

Meanwhile the area experienced many growing pains as politicians argued over taxes and infrastructure, and promoters battled to provide the public transportation (by electric tram and rail) that was key to the area’s growth.

Today, as the city of Montreal rebuilds its infrastructure and controversy surrounds plans for future residential projects and transportation corridors, it seems that some things haven’t changed much.

Yves Desjardins. Histoire du Mile End, Québec: Éditions du Septentrion, 2017.

See also:

Janice Hamilton, “The Mile End Tavern”, Writing Up the Ancestors, Oct. 21, 2013, http://writinguptheancestors.blogspot.ca/2013/10/the-mile-end-tavern.html

Mile End Memories, http://memoire.mile-end.qc.ca/en/ This site includes articles in English and in French, photos, an interactive map that indicates the location of many historic buildings, including the Auberge du Mile End (Mile End Tavern), and a link to summer walking tours of the area.

This article was simultaneously posted on http://writinguptheancestors.blogspot.ca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ida Girod Bruneau

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Ismael Bruneau wanted a biblical family, one child for each of the 12 tribes of Israel. His wife Ida didn’t share that ambition, but still, they had 10. When one of her daughters was getting married she asked her mother what she could do to prevent the arrival of so many children and Ida answered, “If I knew, do you think I would have had all of you?” 

Ida herself came from a very large family. She was born in 1862 in Les Convers, Switzerland, to Gustave Girod and Sophie Balmer, the sixth of 16 children. Her favourite aunt, Celine Balmer was teaching at a private girl’s school in Baltimore, Maryland and arranged a job for Ida at the same school. In 1882 Ida sailed to the United States for the teaching position.

After a particularly bad year, with many deaths in the family, her parents decided to emigrate to America. Another son tragically died on the voyage and was buried at sea. The Girods were farmers and settled in the French community of Kankakee, Illinois. When Ida went to visit, she met the Minister, Ismael Bruneau. He was taken with her and they were soon married.

Ismael and Ida then lived in Green Bay Wisconsin where their first three children, Edgar, Beatrice and Hermonie were born. A French Protestant minister moved frequently and the next charge was in Holyoke Massachusetts, where Helvetia was born. Next was a move back to Canada. Sydney, Fernand, and Edmee were born in Quebec City and Renee, Herbert and Gerald in Montreal. All the children survived except Fernand. My Grandmother Beatrice said it was his name that killed him but we didn’t understand why as we thought the other siblings had stranger names. They played funeral with him and pulled him around in a wagon covered with flowers.

Beatrice and Ida

Beatrice Bruneau and mother Ida 1900

 

Although a minister’s salary was meagre the family survived and flourished. The first two sons went to McGill. One became a doctor and the other a lawyer. All the girls finished high school, went to Normal school and became teachers except Renee who attended Business school. The two youngest boys were still at home when their father died. There wasn’t the money to send them to university but they both became successful businessmen.

Ismael’s death was a shock to Ida. He had preached at an earlier service in Portneuf and ran uphill from the station in Quebec City, as the train was 50 minutes late. He arrived at the end of the service and died of a heart attack. Her heart was broken, “ I must realize that my dear husband of nearly 32 years has left me forever.” She moved to her daughter Helvetia’s home in Lachute, a town Ismael had felt would be a good place to retire. She went back to Switzerland because her aunt Celine had returned, but Celine was suffering from dementia and with all other friends and family gone Ida decided her life was in Canada.

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Ida Girod Bruneau Frechette 1925

 

One of her husband’s brothers-in-law, Emilien Frechette, whose wife Emilina Marie Bruneau had died, proposed that as they were both alone they get married. He had built himself a large house in Iberville south of Montreal and wanted company. My Aunt Aline remembered hating her mother’s visits to Iberville because she would come back with large baskets of gooseberries, red and black currents, which had to be cleaned for jam and pies. Aline’s other memory of her grandmother Ida was teaching her to play rummy and seven up. Aline said, “ She liked the little games they played and thought the ‘Devil’s plaything’ was a misnomer.” It was fine to play cards, just not on Sunday.

Ida developed cancer and spent her last days in the Montreal General Hospital. She was buried in Mount Royal Cemetery in the Frechette plot with Emilien’s first wife Marie. After Ida’s death in 1927, he married Emilie Beauchamp Bruneau, the widow of Napoleon Bruneau, Ismael’s brother. Emilien certainly looked after the women in the Bruneau family. My mother remembered him as a nice old man. She didn’t remember her grandmother who died when she was five but she did remember visiting Monsieur Frechette in Iberville, going to the toilet and thinking, “My grandmother sat here!”

Endnotes:

Bruneau, Ida. A Short History of the Bruneau – Girod Families. 1993.

Bruneau, Ida. letter to Mes Frere et Soeur. February 5, 1918. Quebec City, Quebec. A copy in the author’s possession.

Aline Raguin Allchurch. Letter to Mary Sutherland. 2002. Author’s possession.

Dorothy Raguin Sutherland’s Stories. Personal interview. 1998.

Ancestry.com. Quebec, Canada, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1968 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2008. Original data: Gabriel Drouin, comp. Drouin Collection. Montreal, Quebec, Canada: Institut Généalogique Drouin.

Part of the Bagg Family Fonds Now Online

Many people have old family treasures such as letters and albums in the attic. In my family, a collection of 200-year-old business records made their way from the attic to a Montreal museum, and now some them have been digitized and placed online for everyone to explore. Part of the Bagg Family Fonds housed at the McCord Museum, these newly digitized images include records from the store where the workmen who built the Lachine Canal in the early 1820s bought their bread and rum.

The project to digitize these and other documents was financed by Library and Archives Canada to mark the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation and Montreal’s 375th anniversary. The McCord Museum in Montreal is posting some 75 000 images from its collection of textual archives to its website (http://collections.musee-mccord.qc.ca/en/keys/collections/).

The website provides an introduction to the Bagg family and to the scope of the Bagg Family Fonds (P70): http://collections.musee-mccord.qc.ca/scripts/explore.php?Lang=1&tableid=18&tablename=fond&elementid=31__true.  At the bottom of this page are links to four sets of digitized documents: the Laprairie Brewery (1821-1832), the workmen’s store in Lachine (1822-1823), a child’s scrapbook and a young woman’s autograph book that probably dates from around the turn of the century.

My three-times great-grandfather Stanley Bagg was one of the four main contractors in charge of building the Lachine Canal in Montreal in the 1820s. He also ran the store that supplied the workers with bread, tea, sugar, pork and occasionally fish, eggs and butter, although rum and beer seem to have been the most popular items. Some pages list the names of the customers, the items they purchased and the prices they were charged.

Other images record cash payments related to the canal construction, including planks, nails, wheelbarrows, hay (probably for the horses), blasting powder and wages for day labourers.

Another set of records is related to the brewery owned by Stanley’s brother, Abner Bagg. The LaPrairie Brewery account books list expenses such as barley, charcoal, transportation costs and wages. Both the store and the brewery records contain many names of suppliers and customers.

Both of these collections provide a window into life in Montreal some 200 years ago. For example, Quebec historian Donald Fyson used these records as a basis for his thesis, “Eating in the city [electronic resource]: diet and provisioning in early nineteenth-century Montreal” Montréal: McGill University, 1989. http://www.collectionscanada.ca/obj/thesescanada/vol1/QMM/TC-QMM-55597.pdf

No one really knows who had the foresight to save these records, or how they ended up at the McCord. According to one of my cousins, these account books were found in the basement of the Redpath Museum at McGill University, but no one knows who put them there in the first place. Clare Fellowes, daughter of Evelyn (Bagg) Davis, gave an additional gift of textual documents to the museum in 2002 and 2003.

Documents in the Bagg Family Fonds that have not been digitized includes copies of letters that Stanley and Abner wrote to each other and to business colleagues, and a ledger belonging to butcher John Clark, Stanley Bagg’s father-in-law. Documents related to another generation of the family date from the final decades of the 19th century when the Baggs were property owners and real estate developers. This includes a ledger showing property sales, and letters between the Bagg siblings as they discussed and sometimes disagreed about business decisions. There are also personal documents such as a list of wedding presents, recipes and several albums of family photos, taken in the early 1900s by my grandmother, Gwendolyn Bagg. More recently, the late Joan Shackell, a descendant of Abner Bagg, donated a number of items related to her line of the family.

Members of the public can visit the archives at the McCord Museum to consult the Bagg Family Fonds and other collections, but they must make an appointment weeks in advance. It is encouraging to see that some of these documents are now available online.

(This article is also posted on http://writinguptheancestors.blogspot.ca)

See also

Janice Hamilton, “Abner Bagg, Black Sheep of the Family?” Writing Up the Ancestors, April 9, 2015, http://writinguptheancestors.blogspot.ca/2015/04/abner-bagg-black-sheep-of-family.html

Janice Hamilton, “Stanley Bagg and the Lachine Canal, Part 2: Rocks and Water,” Writing Up the Ancestors, March 13, 2015, http://writinguptheancestors.blogspot.ca/2015/03/stanley-bagg-and-lachine-canal-part-2.html

Church Registers: A Wonderful Resource for Researching Quebec Ancestors

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Posted by Jacques Gagné

Quebec’s Church Registers are a happy fact for anyone researching ancestors in that Canadian province.

From the early days of New France in the 17th century, a record was kept in a register for every Catholic birth, marriage and death. Priests kept a religious copy of the register at the parish and filed another state copy with the tribunal serving the relevant territory.

After the British Conquest in 1760, the right to keep registers of civil status was gradually extended – over the next century – to non-Catholics. At present, BAnQ’s Church Register collection contains the digitized records of births, marriages and deaths for Catholic, Anglican, Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, Evangelical, Jewish and Lutheran churches.

Today, these records can be accessed from the Drouin Institute on Ancestry.com, as well as through the BAnQ (the National Library and Archives of Quebec) http://bibnum2.banq.qc.ca/bna/ecivil/as

and familysearch.org: https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1321742

The BAnQ website is available in French, but the above link will take you directly the Church Registry page. Records can be accessed in three ways: by the place where the act was established (parish, congregation, synagogue, etc); by the judicial district, according to the list established by the Territorial Division Act (L.R.Q., chapter D-11); or by region.

To consult the registers, select one of the headings on the left side of the screen. To display the pages in large format (PDF format, image mode) click on the headings for the desired pages.

What will you find at the BANQ Online Church Registers 1768-1912?

Protestant churches – English – 686 churches

Jewish Synagogues – 20 synagogues

Protestant churches – French – 28 churches

Catholic parishes – French & English – 1,027 churches

Catholic parishes – Italian & others – 15 churches

Catholic missions – French & English – 8 missions

Catholic Religious Communities – 18 convents

Hospitals (French & English) – 12 medical centers

Hospices – (French & English) – 5 institutions

Psychiatric hospitals (Asylums) –3 institutions

BAnQ and Family Search

Civil Registers (Parish Registers)

Catholic & Protestant Churches

Civil Registers (Parish Registers)

1621 to 1916

Births (baptisms), marriages, deaths: http://bibnum2.banq.qc.ca/bna/ecivil/

 BAnQ Catholic & Protestant Church Registers & Jewish Synagogue Registers: http://bibnum2.banq.qc.ca/bna/ecivil/

Consult the following PDF document to see a list of all the churches (Catholic and Protestant) and synagogues in the BAnQ online collection.

BAnQ Online Collection of Church and Synagogue Registers

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Montrealers really enjoy a parade and this year marks the 194th Saint Patricks Day Parade organized by the Irish Society of Montreal. On Sunday, March 19th people will line St Catherine’s Street, mostly on the sunny side, to cheer the floats, dance to the bands and even have a “little something” to help them stay warm.

This is a great time to start researching your ancestors. You never know what stories you will uncover. Some of you may find Irish roots even if your name is Tremblay or Gagnon. Many Irish came to Canada in the mid-1800’s, before and after the potato famine. Sandra McHugh’s great-grandparents left Ireland at this time but moved to Scotland rather than  North America. Read about their journey in Everyone is Irish on St Patricks Day. https://genealogyensemble.com/2016/03/16/everyone-is-irish-on-st-patricks-day/

Most of the Irish immigrants to Canada arrived in Quebec City and then traveled on to Montreal. Some of the Irish Catholics did settle in towns and villages all around Quebec while most of the Protestants moved on to Upper Canada. Jacques Gagne’s The Irish of Frampton Quebec https://genealogyensemble.com/2016/09/11/the-irish-of-frampton-quebec/ and The Irish Catholic Churches of Quebec https://genealogyensemble.com/2014/05/20/irish-catholic-churches-of-quebec/ are great sources of information on the lives of these people who populated Quebec.   

Janice Hamilton shows that persistence pays off in genealogy research in her Breaking Through My Sherman Brick Wall about the Irish origins of her great great grandmother Martha Bagnall Shearman. https://genealogyensemble.com/2016/07/06/breaking-through-my-shearman-brick-wall/ Census, birth, marriage and death records are harder to find in Ireland as a fire destroyed the Public Records Office in1922 but information can still be found. Janice found that aside from Canada the family has spread to the United States and New Zealand. There are Irish everywhere.

My Irish ancestors were all Protestants and more apt to celebrate the glorious twelfth than Saint Patricks Day. The Orangemen would march on July 12th to celebrate the battle of the Boyne when the protestant king, William of Orange defeated catholic James II. Susan Dodds and Alexander Bailey came from County Monaghan in Northern Ireland and their story is told in The Sampler. https://genealogyensemble.com/2016/04/20/susan-dodds-sampler/

So whether you have the ancestors or just want to pretend, have corn-beef and cabbage, drink a green beer and celebrate being Irish!

Montreal Cemeteries

Genealogists tend to visit a lot of cemeteries, so if those are beautiful places, the experience can be a pleasure. Anyone with Montreal ancestors in either Notre-Dame-des-Neiges (Catholic) Cemetery or in the non-denominational Mount Royal Cemetery can consider themselves lucky: both cemeteries are located on the slopes of Mount Royal, both are filled with trees and wildlife, and both have services to assist genealogists find their relatives.

These cemeteries were opened in the middle of the 19th century after the city’s population expanded, putting earlier burial grounds too close to residential areas. Hygienic concerns became particularly important when cholera epidemics swept the continent.

In fact, because of epidemics, poor sanitation and a lack of clean drinking water, many of the city’s dead were children.

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The cemetery at St. Stephen’s Anglican Church, Lachine.     jh photo

Since Mount Royal Cemetery opened in 1852, more than 300,000 people have been buried there. To check the location of a grave in Mount Royal Cemetery, go to  https://mountroyalcem.com/index.php/en/our-services/genealogy-menu.html. The Quebec Family History Society (QFHS) sells a book of 4600 monument inscriptions from Hawthorn-Dale, Montreal’s second-largest Protestant Cemetery and an affiliate of Mount Royal Cemetery. See http://www.qfhs.ca/forsale.php.

Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery, the largest graveyard in Canada, has been in operation since 1874. To find a grave there go to http://www.notredamedesneigescemetery.ca/en/research/locate.htm and click on locate deceased.

When the older cemeteries were closed, people were told they could move the remains of their relatives, but that did not always happen. Every now and then, human remains turn up when repairs are done to Dorchester Square, a former cemetery that is now a park in the heart of downtown. And in addition to proper cemeteries, there are some unusual burial places in the city. Priests and nuns were buried in the crypts of Catholic churches and other religious buildings. Some 6000 Irish immigrants who died of ship fever in 1847 are buried in a mass grave, marked with a commemorative stone, near the Victoria Bridge.

Because so many of the city’s old cemeteries were closed and eventually built upon or used for other purposes, anyone who comes to the city looking to find the grave of an ancestor who died before the mid-1800s will probably be disappointed.

For a list of 110 Montreal cemeteries, current and closed, including crypts and military cemeteries, see http://www.leslabelle.com/Cimetieres/ListerCims.asp?MP=E3&TY=M&SS=52

To find out about Jewish burials, see the following article posted on the Jewish Genealogy Society of Montreal website: http://jgs-montreal.org/burials.html

The QFHS has a number of publications related to cemetery histories and monument inscriptions in its library. Go to http://www.qfhs.ca/libraryRecords.php and put cemetery in the keyword space.

Following is a list of old cemeteries primarily used by the city’s English-speaking community. Most of them no longer exist. The links will tell you their locations and other information.

Montreal General Old Cemetery   http://www.leslabelle.com/Cimetieres/AfficherCim.asp?MP=E3&CID=2148

 Montreal Old Negro Cemetery – St-Jacques Street at St-Pierre Street in Old Montreal http://www.leslabelle.com/Cimetieres/AfficherCim.asp?MP=E3&CID=826

Dufferin Square Cemetery – Dorchester Boulevard at St. Laurent Boulevard http://www.leslabelle.com/Cimetieres/AfficherCim.asp?MP=E3&CID=828

Montreal Old Military Cemetery – Papineau Street at Lafontaine Street in Southeast Montreal  http://www.leslabelle.com/Cimetieres/AfficherCim.asp?MP=E3&CID=831

St. Mary’s Anglican Burial Ground – Malo Street and Bordeaux Street in Southeast Montreal  http://www.leslabelle.com/Cimetieres/AfficherCim.asp?MP=E3&CID=837

St-Hélène Island Old Military Cemetery http://www.leslabelle.com/Cimetieres/AfficherCim.asp?MP=E3&CID=846

St. Stephen’s Old Anglican Cemetery Lachine  http://www.leslabelle.com/Cimetieres/AfficherCim.asp?MP=E3&CID=2081

Goose Village Ancient Irish Cemetery   http://www.leslabelle.com/Cimetieres/AfficherCim.asp?MP=E3&CID=2717

Field of Honor Military Cemetery Pointe Claire   http://www.leslabelle.com/Cimetieres/AfficherCim.asp?MP=E3&CID=858

Lakeview Memorial Gardens Pointe Claire  http://www.leslabelle.com/Cimetieres/AfficherCim.asp?MP=E3&CID=861

Research: Jacques Gagné

Additional writing: Janice Hamilton

 

 

 

 

 

The Dowry

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Maria Roy Crepeau and three daughters and a granddaughter in front of 72 Sherbrooke West in 1926 or so.

In the Edwardian Age, an ambitious young man, however resourceful, usually needed a solid financial foundation to kick-start his career.  If he didn’t have family money, he had to marry well. Take my grandfather, Jules Crépeau, (1873-1938). The son of a mere house painter, he rose up in 30 years from Messenger Boy in the Health Department to Director of City Services, the top civil servant at Montreal City Hall.

Jules didn’t have the advantage of a superior education; indeed, he completed his regular studies at night. He did have a workaholic nature, an affable disposition, a memory like a steel trap,*1 as well as a connection to the powerful French Canadian industrialists, the Forgets.

New information I found on the Internet reveals that the make-or-break-point for young Jules was in 1901, the year of his marriage. Back then, Jules was making only $600 a year, not a terrible salary for a single man, but certainly not enough to get married on.*2 So, Jules, like so many others, had to choose his wife very carefully.

My grandmother, Maria Roy, the daughter of a master butcher, brought a huge $40,000 dowry to their 1901 marriage, so I’m told. The next year, Jules had a house built for them on Amherst, near Ontario Street, and by a noted architect, at that.*3 Maria’s money!

Lovell’s Directory shows that in 1905 the Crépeau family moved to a tony stretch of St. Hubert Street.  Jules is listed as Head Clerk.  City Hall.   In 1918, they moved to St. Denis Street, just a few doors down from J. A. Brodeur, “Montreal’s Napoleon,” and Head of the Executive Committee. My grandfather was, by then, Second Assistant City Clerk, with a salary of $2,500 -$3,500.

 

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Crépeaus around 1918. My mother wasn’t born yet. Doesn’t Jules, center, look stressed?

In 1921, Jules was promoted to the newly-minted post of Director of City Services*4, almost tripling his salary to $8,000, and soon thereafter, to $10,000. In 1922, his family moved to a three storey greystone at 72 Sherbrooke West.

It’s during this period, the Roarin’ Twenties, that my grandmother, Maria, finally started earning dividends on her dowry, taking  shopping trips to New York City to stock up on bourgeois bric-a-brac like marble urns, porcelain statuary, and art nouveau lamps; a complement to the whole roomful of ‘gifts’ the family received from various community groups, especially at Christmas. Jules and Maria needed a good supply of breakables. Family legend has it that the crockery flew over the stairs throughout their tumultuous 37 year marriage.

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Aunt Flo posing in front of some Crépeau bric-a-brac on Harvard in the late 1940’s. The marble bust of three children actually ended up in my mother’s possession, gracing our upper duplex apartment in the 1960’s, but rather out of place among the melamine furnishings and artwork from Woolworth’s. Today, I own the orange art nouveau-deco Le Verre Francais “Amourettes” vase at top right.

In 1931, Jules Crépeau was forced to resign by the new populist Mayor Camillien Houde, but not before negotiating a huge life pension of $8,000 a year. But, soon,  my grandfather, who had no hands-on business experience, lost all of his savings with bad investments.*5  In 1937, Jules also lost his pension when Montreal City Hall passed an emergency bill to abolish it as a cost-saving measure. *6

Just two weeks later, Grandpapa was hit by a car driven by a plain clothes city policeman. He died the next year from complications. Jules probably threatened someone with a long reach.

Living out her life in the final family home on Harvard in Notre Dame de Grace, Jules’ wife, Maria Roy Crépeau (1879-1951) never complained about her situation as an impoverished widow, and this despite the fact her fat dowry financed the first years of the choppy Crépeau-Roy merger. Still, I suspect her story wasn’t at all unique, especially in the Depression Era.

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Rue Jules Crépeau, Ahunsic, Montreal. Designated in the 1980’s. Funny story. In the late 80’s, when my husband and I were buying our first computer, the ONLY place in Montreal we knew that sold them was in  Ahunsic, where we seldom ventured. We got lost and stumbled upon this road and park. I had to find a phone booth to phone my mother to tell her that a street had been named after her father. Serendipity or what? Jules’ nemesis, Camillien Houde, has the huge road winding through the mountain named after him.

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  1. Le Devoir was the only Montreal newspaper to publish a long obit of my grandfather, in 1938, saying that Jules was the go-to guy for any information about how City Hall ran. Affable is their term.
  2. The 1911 census shows that a $600 a year salary was average/above average for a family. Many era workers were ‘day workers’ with unsteady employment, but, even that $600 salary was not enough for the big families of the era to live on. Terry Copp, the sociologist who wrote An Anatomy of Poverty,claims that $1500. was the minimum salary for a family to live in dignity in Montreal in 1910.  In the Edwardian Era, in England and elsewhere, a working class couple might start out in good shape, with a decent salary for a small family, but as more and more kids came, the family fell into poverty.  Such might have been Jules’ fate, save for this huge dowry.
  3. Louis Zephirin Gauthier specialized in churches. His partner was a Monsieur Roy, so maybe he was a relation. Back then few Montrealers owned their own home, in the 20 percent range. Since 1899, male renters could vote in the municipal elections; women had to be single and own their home to vote. Montreal has long been known as a city of renters, but, just lately, this appears to be changing.
  4. The post of Director of City Services was created in 1921 after much deliberation and input from citizens to ensure an equitable distribution of money among the city districts. The post was a liaison between the seven city departments and the Executive Committee. Newspaper accounts of the time reveal that my Grandfather’s office did everything from organizing events for the visiting Royal Princes to being on the City Clean-Up Committee, to testifying in Quebec with respect to Private Bills. When someone had a beef at City Hall, they wrote to his office. My grandfather was the first to testify at the inquiry in to the fatal Laurier Palace Fire, in January 1927, which was ironic, as I suspect  the fire may have been started by organized crime to get at him. (Just my theory, though.)
  5. Jules’ brother, Isadore, Insurance broker and VP Of United Theatre Amusements, the company that erected many of the famous 1920 era movie houses in Montreal, ‘fell’ out of his 7th floor office while waving for his chauffeur in 1933.
  6. Kristian Gravenor, journalist at Coolopolis.blogspot.ca http://coolopolis.blogspot.ca/2017/01/ndg-coincidence-undercover-cop-slams.html wrote a bit about Jules and dug out the info about the cancellation of his pension.

The Acadians of Quebec

 

Between the early 1600s and 1755, a community of French-speaking farmers known as the Acadians thrived in Nova Scotia.

In 1755, war between France and Britain spilled into North America. When the Acadians refused to swear an oath of allegiance to the king of England, the colony’s British governor ordered the Acadian people deported. By the fall of that year, some 1,100 Acadians had been forced to board ships and were being transported to the American colonies including Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York. By 1758, most of the Acadians who lived on Île St. Jean (now Prince Edward Island) had also been deported. Some of the Acadians who escaped deportation died of starvation or disease.

Over the following years, the Acadians scattered. Some ended up in Louisiana and the Caribbean. Others sought refuge in New France, settling mainly in the Quebec City region, including Île d’Orléans and along the shores of the St. Lawrence River. Today, some of their descendants are still living in the province of Quebec while others have scattered across North America and around the world.

You can read an overview of the Acadian deportation, including a list of suggested books in English and French at http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/the-deportation-of-the-acadians-feature/

The best place to research the Acadians who settled in Quebec is at the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ). You can make telephone or email inquiries in English to the BAnQ in Montreal and to regional branches. For contact information about the Montreal branch and other regional branches, see: http://www.banq.qc.ca/archives/entrez_archives/centres_archives/

You should get a reply in English within a week to 10 days. These are free services available to anyone anywhere, in Canada or elsewhere. Similarly, you can email or telephone your question in English to the Grande Bibliothèque de Montréal (the main branch of Montreal’s public library) or to the Collection nationale within the Grande Bibliothèque de Montréal.

Here are two lists of books available on the subject, mostly in French, some in print, others digital:

http://iris.banq.qc.ca/alswww2.dll/APS_CAT_IDENTIFY?Method=CatalogueExplore&IsTagged=0&DB=BookServer&ExploreType=Subject&Stem=Acadiens–Qu%C3%A9bec%20(Province)%20&Style=Portal3&SubStyle=&Lang=FRE&ResponseEncoding=utf-8&Parent=Obj_459801367596814

http://iris.banq.qc.ca/alswww2.dll/APS_CAT_IDENTIFY?Method=CatalogueExplore&IsTagged=0&DB=BookServer&ExploreType=Subject&Stem=Acadiens–Qu%C3%A9bec%20(Province)–G%C3%A9n%C3%A9alogies%20&Style=Portal3&SubStyle=&Lang=FRE&ResponseEncoding=utf-8&Parent=Obj_37851487839769

Here are some other resources available at the BAnQ:

http://pistard.banq.qc.ca/unite_chercheurs/description_fonds?p_anqsid=201602210002324708&P_classe=CA&P_fonds=301&P_centre=03Q&P_numunide=925880

http://iris.banq.qc.ca/alswww2.dll/APS_ZONES?fn=ViewNotice&q=441513

http://iris.banq.qc.ca/alswww2.dll/APS_ZONES?fn=ViewNotice&q=134450

Here are some other links to information about the Acadians:

http://www.federationacadienneduquebec.com/accueil.php

http://acadiens.radio-canada.ca/les-grandes-familles-acadiennes/

http://museeacadien.org/lapetitesouvenance/?p=1093

http://www.acadiensduquebec.org/acadieduquebec.shtml

http://www.acadienouvelle.com/arts-et-spectacles/2016/04/18/second-livre-andre-carl-vachon/

http://www.renaud-bray.com/Livres_Produit.aspx?id=1550163&def=D%C3%A9portations+des+Acadiens+et+leur+arriv%C3%A9e+au+Qu%C3%A9bec(Les)%2CVACHON%2C+ANDR%C3%89-CARL%2C9782349723147

http://www.acadienouvelle.com/arts-et-spectacles/2015/06/16/prix-acadie-quebec-andre-carl-vachon-emu-davoir-ete-choisi-avec-edith-butler/

http://www.acadiensduquebec.org/acadieduquebec.shtml

For each of the towns and villages of Quebec in which Acadians settled between 1755 and 1775, you will find posted below the web address of the regional repository of BAnQ, the address of the local Catholic parish and a listing of local cemeteries.

The regional repositories of BAnQ contain documents about the Acadian families who settled nearby. Some of the content of files stored at various branches of BAnQ across the province are listed within the Pistard search engine at www.banq.qc.ca however, most family lineage researchers are intimidated by the complex research process involved.

>> Bastiscan – Champlain

http://www.leseglisesdemonquartier.com/1702.html

http://www.leslabelle.com/Cimetieres/ListerCims.asp?MP=F3&TY=V&SS=Batiscan

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

>> Bécancour – Nicolet

http://www.leseglisesdemonquartier.com/832.html

http://www.leslabelle.com/Cimetieres/ListerCims.asp?MP=F3&TY=V&SS=B%E9cancour

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

>> Becquets (Saint-Pierre les-Becquets) – Nicolet

http://www.leseglisesdemonquartier.com/812.html

http://www.leslabelle.com/Cimetieres/ListerCims.asp?MP=F3&TY=V&SS=St-Pierre-les-Becquets

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

>> Berthier – Lanaudière

http://www.leseglisesdemonquartier.com/351.html

http://www.leslabelle.com/Cimetieres/ListerCims.asp?MP=F3&TY=V&SS=Berthierville

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

>> Cacouna – Lower St. Lawrence

http://www.leseglisesdemonquartier.com/1093.html

http://www.leslabelle.com/Cimetieres/ListerCims.asp?MP=F3&TY=V&SS=Cacouna

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

>> Champlain – Champlain

http://www.leseglisesdemonquartier.com/1710.html

http://www.leslabelle.com/Cimetieres/ListerCims.asp?MP=F3&TY=V&SS=Champlain

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

>> Gentilly – Nicolet

http://www.leseglisesdemonquartier.com/1739.html

http://www.leslabelle.com/Cimetieres/ListerCims.asp?MP=F3&TY=V&SS=Gentilly

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

>> Îles-de-la-Madelaine – Gaspé

https://www.google.ca/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8 – q=Iles-de-la-Madelaine+%C3%A9glises

http://www.leslabelle.com/Cimetieres/ListerCims.asp?MP=F3&TY=M&SS=99

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

>> Joliette – Lanaudière

http://www.leseglisesdemonquartier.com/357.html

http://www.leslabelle.com/Cimetieres/ListerCims.asp?MP=F3&TY=V&SS=Joliette

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

>> Kamouraska – Lower St. Lawrence

http://www.leseglisesdemonquartier.com/1250.html

http://www.leslabelle.com/Cimetieres/ListerCims.asp?MP=F3&TY=V&SS=Kamouraska

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

>> L’Acadie – Upper Richelieu

http://www.leseglisesdemonquartier.com/1434.html

http://www.leslabelle.com/Cimetieres/ListerCims.asp?MP=F3&TY=V&SS=St-Jean-sur-Richelieu/L%27Acadie

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

>> L’Assomption – Lanaudière

http://www.leseglisesdemonquartier.com/485.html

http://www.leslabelle.com/Cimetieres/ListerCims.asp?MP=F3&TY=V&SS=L%27Assomption

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

>> Louiseville – Maskinongé

http://www.leseglisesdemonquartier.com/1728.html

http://www.leslabelle.com/Cimetieres/ListerCims.asp?MP=F3&TY=V&SS=Louiseville

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

>> Maskinongé – Maskinongé

http://www.leseglisesdemonquartier.com/1729.html

http://www.leslabelle.com/Cimetieres/ListerCims.asp?MP=F3&TY=V&SS=Maskinong%E9

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

>> Montcalm – Lanaudière

http://www.leseglisesdemonquartier.com/392.html

http://www.leslabelle.com/Cimetieres/ListerCims.asp?MP=F3&TY=M&SS=50

http://www.leslabelle.com/Cimetieres/AfficherCim.asp?MP=F3&CID=1543

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

>> Nicolet – Nicolet

http://www.leseglisesdemonquartier.com/775.html

http://www.leslabelle.com/Cimetieres/ListerCims.asp?MP=F3&TY=V&SS=Nicolet

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

>> Pointe-du-Lac – St-Maurice

http://www.leseglisesdemonquartier.com/1732.html

http://www.leslabelle.com/Cimetieres/ListerCims.asp?MP=F3&TY=V&SS=Trois-Rivi%E8res/Pointe-du-Lac

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

>> Rivière-du-Loup-en-haut (Louiseville) – Maskinongé

http://www.leseglisesdemonquartier.com/1728.html

http://www.leslabelle.com/Cimetieres/ListerCims.asp?MP=F3&TY=V&SS=Louiseville

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

>> Saint-Denis-sur-Richelieu – Lower Richelieu

http://www.leseglisesdemonquartier.com/1360.html

http://www.leslabelle.com/Cimetieres/ListerCims.asp?MP=F3&TY=V&SS=St-Denis-sur-Richelieu

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

>> Saint-Esprit – Lanaudière

http://www.leseglisesdemonquartier.com/388.html

http://www.leslabelle.com/Cimetieres/ListerCims.asp?MP=F3&TY=V&SS=St-Esprit

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

>> Saint-Jacques-de-Montcalm – Lanaudière

http://www.leseglisesdemonquartier.com/392.html

http://www.leslabelle.com/Cimetieres/AfficherCim.asp?MP=F3&CID=1543

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

>> Saint-Ours – Lower Richelieu

http://www.leseglisesdemonquartier.com/1386.html

http://www.leslabelle.com/Cimetieres/ListerCims.asp?MP=F3&TY=V&SS=St-Ours

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

>> Saint-Sulpice – Lanaudière

http://www.leseglisesdemonquartier.com/725.html

http://www.leslabelle.com/Cimetieres/ListerCims.asp?MP=F3&TY=V&SS=St-Sulpice

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

>> Trois-Rivières – Trois-Rivières

http://www.leseglisesdemonquartier.com/1778.html

http://www.leslabelle.com/Cimetieres/ListerCims.asp?MP=F3&TY=V&SS=Trois-Rivi%E8res

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

>> Yamachiche – Maskinongé

http://www.leseglisesdemonquartier.com/1794.html

http://www.leslabelle.com/Cimetieres/ListerCims.asp?MP=F3&TY=V&SS=Yamachiche

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

 

Early Catholic Marriages in Montreal

Etiennette Alton, the ancestor of Genealogy Ensemble contributor Tracey Arial, was married to Marin Hurtubise in Montreal on January 7, 1660. Their union is among the earliest Catholic marriages in Montreal that are detailed on the French-language website Fichier origine (www.fichierorigine.com).  Established under an international partnership between the Quebec-based Fédération québécoise des sociétés de généalogie and the European-based Fédération française de généalogie, it has been available for free on-line since 1998.

The list of 900 people who married in the early days of Montreal is available at http://www.fichierorigine.com/recherche?nom=&commune=&pays=&mariagerech=Montr%C3%A9al

You can find a wealth of information about each person within the couple, including the name of the conjoint (the husband or wife). Fichier origine tells us Etiennette’s date of baptism in 1635, her place of origin in France before she came to Canada, the names of her parents and siblings, and her date and place of death (Montreal, 1722) (http://www.fichierorigine.com/recherche?numero=240043). The information about her husband is equally revealing.

To read more about this particular couple, refer to Arial’s story at: https://genealogyensemble.com/2014/10/03/etiennette-alton-a-marriageable-woman/.

Fichier origine includes the very first marriage celebrated in Montreal: that of Mathurin Meunier and Françoise Fafard on March 11, 1647. (http://www.fichierorigine.com/recherche?numero=242904). It also has information on more than 5000 other people who immigrated to Quebec from France, from the founding of New France until 1865.

In those times, marriage was probably more of a partnership and an agreement to start a family than it was about romantic love. Nevertheless, on Valentine’s Day, it is interesting to recognize these weddings. These couples are the ancestors of thousands of people spread today across Quebec, Canada, the United States and the world. Perhaps your ancestors are among them.

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