Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Census confusion - Alice Bard, part 2: 1891 and 1911

For what I found in the 1901 census, see part 1.

After finding Alice in the 1901 census, I searched the 1891 census on the Library and Archives Canada website. I found her right away. In this census Alice is 13, and living with her parents. Her father is recorded as Onesime Bard, just like in 1901, but this time her mother is "Bard Marie" instead of "Bard Pelleti??". The ages are all right and it's in the same town, so it seems promising.

Then, I looked up Alice's parents in the 1911 census to see what her mother's name is there. Once again they are recorded as Onesime and Marie Bard. This time they're in St. Aubert, which is very close to St. Jean Port Joli, where they'd always been before.

Next, I looked up Alice in 1911, when she was (I'm pretty sure) married to my great grandfather, Joseph Carmel Lavoie. I found a possible match, but Alice's date of birth is one year off, though that could easily be an error. She is recorded as the wife of Joseph Lavoie, with three children, Edward, Paul, and Jeanne. I can't tell from those names if this is the right record, because my dad never knew the names of all his aunts and uncles. I do know one of them was named Edward/Edouard, though.

That still left the mystery of Alice's mother, who is usually recorded as Marie, but was recorded in 1901 as "Pelleti??". Well, then I found a marriage record in the Drouin Collection recording a marriage between Onesime Bard and Marie Pelletier in 1875 in St. Aubert. I couldn't read the writing on the actual record at all (foreign language + messy handwriting is not a good combination!), so all the information I could get is what was transcribed on Ancestry. It's not a lot to go on, but that is in the area where Onesime and his wife lived, and the date is plausible.

When I get into these census records, it seems like one thing just keeps leading to another, and I often find myself lost and confused. I'm not sure what the best way to counter this is. So far I'm just trying not to get off track, and taking lots of notes so I don't forget to go back to those paths I haven't yet followed.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Census confusion - Alice Bard, part 1: 1901

Lately, I've been trying to learn more about my great grandmother, Alice Bard, from census records. I don't have much experience with census records, and I find myself having difficulty determining what's accurate. I don't want to assume that someone is the Alice Bard I'm looking for just based on a name, but is the same name and the same date of birth enough? I know she was born in Quebec, but I don't know anything more specific than that.

First, I searched for Alice Bard in the 1901 census (using Automated Genealogy), when she would have been 23 or 24 years old. I found two results.

In the first one I found a 23 year old Alice Bard, with her parents "Bard Onésime" and "Bard Pelleti??". She has the exact same date of birth as my great grandmother has on her tombstone, 22 July 1877, so I'm pretty confident this is her. This is hugely exciting, as I've never known her parents' names before. The location of this record is Saint-Jean-Port-Joli, a village in Quebec.

In the second result, Alice Bard has the same date of birth again, which suggests that this is also the Alice I'm looking for. Here her relationship to the head of the family or household is "domestic". I assume that means some kind of servant; someone please tell me if I'm wrong here. The location for this one is St. Roch, in Quebec City.

I did a bit of Google mapping (after checking that both these places are in fact in the same place as they were in 1901), and found that Saint-Jean-Port-Joli is just down the St. Lawrence river from St. Roch. So, conceivably, Alice was counted twice in the census, once at home, and once at the home where she worked. According to Google Maps, it's a 1.5 hour drive between the two villages; I have no idea how long that would have taken in 1901. Does this seem feasible? At this point I'm not assuming it's true, but it sure is convincing.

In part 2, I'll talk about what I found in the 1891 census. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Louis and Marguerite Lavoie

This was a pretty easy start to my collection of gravestone pictures. Louis Lavoie and Clemence Wilhelmina Marguerite Richard were my paternal grandparents. My dad told me which cemetery to look in (the St. Boniface Roman Catholic Cemetery), though it took a lot of walking around in the blistering heat to find the right section.

I never met my grandfather, since he died before I was born, but my grandmother, or mémère as we called her, was an important figure in our family when I was growing up, sort of the head of the family. They had 6 children (one of whom is my dad), 10 grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren (so far!).

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Organising my genealogical materials

I tend to be a somewhat impatient researcher. I always want to find the next link, get one generation further back. I probably developed this habit because when I started my family tree, it was for a school project, and all that mattered were the basic names and dates. The unfortunate result is a very disorganised pile of notes and charts, in which lots of details are missing, and it's hard to tell which ones.

So, my first task will be to get my research organised enough that I can easily see which data I'm missing, and add new information as I find it.

The main tool I'm using is the family group sheet. That form, along with some other useful charts and forms, can be downloaded for free on the website. The family group sheet is handy because it collects all the basic information about a couple and their children in one place.

So far I've completed family group sheets for all of my direct ancestors on my maternal side. My paternal side will take a bit longer, but I think it will be worth it to finally have some kind of system.

Now I just need to figure out how to organize my papers once I've got them all filled out...

Friday, August 12, 2011

Names from my past

I thought I'd start out with a list of surnames in my family tree. This will give you an idea of my areas of research. Of course, the further back you look, the more names there are, so I've limited this list to about 5 generations (which still contain some gaps). The list is split up by which side of my family the names are on, and then alphabetised.

My paternal side, which is pretty much entirely French Canadian:
  • Bard
  • Daineault
  • Deshaies
  • Ducharme
  • Gagne
  • Lavoie
  • Levasseur
  • Ouellet
  • Paradis
  • Richard
  • Voyer
My maternal side, which is English, Scottish, and Swedish:
  • Angus
  • Aspinal
  • Fretwell
  • Jackson
  • Johnson
  • Pehrsson/Peterson*
  • Prince
  • Watts
If you are researching any of these surnames, I'd love to know about it! Leave a comment, or message me directly through my Contact Me page.

*Note: My great great grandmother, Alice Peterson, Anglicised her father's last name, Pehrsson. However, Nils Pehrsson was Swedish, so his father's name was not Pehrsson, but Pehr Andersson. I'll do a post on Scandinavian naming conventions later, but for now I just wanted to point out that with Swedish ancestry it's not as simple as tracing a surname.