Saturday, May 17, 2014

I Love/Hate French Records

A family friend and fellow genealogy enthusiast recently showed me that he was able to use French records in the Drouin Collection to take Mary Rose Statuto’s family back another couple generations. This has been exciting and helpful. I’ve used the Drouin Collection when researching my Goulet ancestors, but I have always found them frustrating for two main reasons. First, they are in French. Second, they are often hard to read due to the condition of the documents. Still, thanks to my friend and these records, I am now going further back into my father’s family than I have ever been able to before. 

Mary Rose Statuto’s parents were Peter Statuto and Marie Therrien. On their marriage record, Peter’s family is listed as Carmenandonio and Carminella. Marie Therrien’s parents are recorded as Hubert Therrien and Mathilda Grondin. After finding this, I immediately searched for Hubert and Mathilda in earlier Canadian records. What I found was a family on the 1881 and 1891 Canadian census for Nicolet, Quebec, Canada.

Hubert and Emilie Therrien - Nicolet, Quebec, Canada 1881
As you can see, there is a problem. Hubert Therrien was listed, even an appropriately aged Marie was listed, but Mathilda was not. I saved the records until I could know more about the family, as I did not feel secure in just claiming these people as ancestors without more evidence. That evidence was shown to me last weekend. 

A friend sent me an email showing how he had used French-Canadian baptismal and marriage records in the Drouin Collection to connect the family in the census to the Hubert Therrien I had been looking for. I had come across only some of the records my friend pointed out to me and had put them aside because I could not read the French. However, now having taken the time to look at these records more closely I can honestly say I love/hate French records. 

 I had obviously used records in the Drouin Collection when researching my Goulet line, but most of the records I needed had English translations I could find. Goulet is a very well researched surname. Therrien is also a well researched surname, but I needed to connect my Therriens to other Therrien families in order to compare research. 

 As it turns out, Emilie Therrien (nee Boisvert) is the second wife of Hubert Therrien, which I would have seen if I had not embraced laziness and actually struggled to look at the French marriage records of Hubert. 

Hubert Therrien and the interestingly named Domithilde (not Mathilda) were married in 1870 in Quebec. Domithilde died in 1874. The very next year Hubert married Emilie Boisvert, who appears in the 1881 census. On the 1875 marriage record of Hubert and Emilie, it very clearly states “Hubert Therrien, veuf de Domithilde Grondin.” The term, “veuf de,” I came to learn meant “widower of.”
Enter Hubert Therrien, widower of Domithilde Grondin . . . .

I am still working on creating a direct translation of both of Hubert’s marriage documents. They are hard. In addition, I cannot really claim this discovery as my own. My friend had made the connection already and basically showed me. I have been inspired, however, to begin translating additional documents associated with this family.

I began with Marie and Hubert Therrien’s baptismal records. Using some Spanish, some online translating, and not a small amount of patience, I was able to (I think) correctly translate a good portion of these documents. I must admit, any corrections and additions to my translations are welcome. 

Marie Therrien - Baptismal Record

My translation of the above record:
The 20th of February
One Thousand eight hundred seventy (one?) We, priest …………………………have baptized Marie Euthichienne born the same day, of the legitimate marriage of Hubert Terrien (cultivator?) and of Domithilde Grondin of this parish. The godfather was Michael Terrien cultivator, father of (the father or brother of the child?) and the godmother was Angelique Bussiere grandmother of this ………………………………………….    ……………………………………………………………………………

Hubert Therrien - Baptismal Record

My translation of the above record: 
The 19th of November, one thousand eight hundred and forty four. We, priest …………….  have baptized Hubert born the day before of the legitimate marriage of Michael Terrien (cultivator?) and of Angelique Bussiere of Saint Zepharin. …............
…………Godmother Marie Louise Therrien …………………………………   …………… ………………… ……………………………………….

If I have the translation correct, I am assuming the occupation of cultivator simply meant farmer. Also, I am unclear if the godfather of Marie was her grandfather, who was named Michael Terrien, or an uncle of the same name. 

So, as I said, I love/hate these French documents. Obviously, they are a gold mine of family information. They carefully include parent names and godparents, who were generally related in some way. They also include birth dates, which can otherwise be hard to find. However, they are very difficult to read. Not only are they in French, which is not much of a hindrance in 2014, but they are extremely difficult to make out clearly. I showed them to the French teacher at my school and he said it was impossible.

However, I have absolutely taken a lot from these records. Not only the names of the previous generation, but the siblings of Marie Therrien. In my post concerning Peter Statuto's run-ins with the law, I came across a man named Philip Terien, who had stolen a chain and had stashed it in Peter’s basement. I had noted that a man with a very similar name appeared on the 1920 Census showing Mary Rose Statuto living with her sister Amelia Gilman in Pepperell. At the time, I wondered how the man might be related. Now, based on names listed on the 1881 census I can be fairly certain that Phillipe (or Philip) Therrein was the uncle of Mary Rose. 

Though I still don’t know the paternal ancestry of my grandfather, Peter Francis Daley, tracing his mother’s family is now the closest I’ve come to learning where my own father’s family came from. In my future research, I hope to trace the Therrien family back even further using these French records. I know my Goulet line came from Normandel to New France during the Percheron Immigration. The Therrien family probably has a similar history. I aim to find out.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Peter Francis Daley - Y DNA Test

Peter Francis Daley Sr.  - Age 5
This is one of my favorite pictures of my grandfather, Peter Francis Daley. He is perhaps 5 in this photo. Because he was adopted around the age of 3, this is probably the earliest picture we have of him. In it, I think he looks a lot like my father when he was a child. I even think he looks like my nephews, who are now six. 
Peter Francis Daley Jr - My Dad - What a handsome little guy!
Peter Francis Jr - Age about 6
My nephews (Nate and Jack) at my wedding  - Jack (left) really looks like Peter Sr.

My nephews - Nate (left) and Jack (right)
As I’ve written previously, my grandfather was born Peter Statuto in Pepperell, Ma in June of 1920. His mother’s name was Mary Rose Statuto and his father is still unknown. Peter was raised by John J. Daley and Ellen Tully in Dorchester, Ma. The reason for his adoption and how he came to live with the Daleys is still a bit of a mystery. With the permission of John J, Peter changed his surname to Daley as an adult. 

 In related news, my Y DNA test from Ancestry has become lost. I have now ordered and taken a Y-DNA test from Family Tree DNA. The results are due in early June. I hope the analysis can give me a clearer indication as to where my grandfather’s father came from and perhaps even some surnames our Y line is strongly connected to. I still have a couple avenues of research to follow up on to try to solve this mystery, but I hope the DNA will help.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Henry Felix Goulet and Leopoldine Devriendt

Henry Felix Goulet and Leopoldine Devriendt - 1910
Henry Felix Goulet was my great grandfather. He was the first generation of my Goulet line to be born in the United States. Henry Felix was born in Pawtucket, Rhode Island October 14, 1889 to Pierre Joseph Goulet (b. 1866) and Marie Cedulie Gagnon (b. 1866). 

 Like Pierre Goulet, Henry Felix was employed in the textile mills of Rhode Island. In October of 1910 Henry married Leopoldine Eugenia Devriendt (b. 1891, Roubaix France) in Fall River. Leopoldine was the daughter of Valentine Devriendt (b. 1861, Belgium) and Jeanne Meau (b. 1867, France).

The Devriendt family had only very recently immigrated to the United States in 1903. Leopoldine appears on the 1903 passenger list for the ship Vaderland with her mother and sister (also named Valtenine). According to this record, the whole family is identified as Flemish  or at least as being Flemish speaking. In addition, a note attached indicates that Valentine Denvriendt had already immigrated to the US with his son Alfred some months earlier. The two had settled in Norwood with a brother-in-law. The rest of the family was going to meet him.

Back two - Henry Felix Goulet and Louise Goulet. Bottom Three- Valentine Devriendt, Jeanne Goulet, Leopoldine Devriendt

In their marriage record Henry is recorded as being employed as a clerk and Leopoldine is recorded as a box maker. According to family members Leopoldine never really became confident in her use of English later in life. Therefore, I imagine one of the things that bonded Henry and Leopoldine was their shared native French language. Though I can’t speak for how the Flemish played in.

I don’t know much more about the origins of Leopoldine and the Devriendts. In Massachusetts the surname is somewhat rare, but many now distant relatives remain in the Walpole area. 

 Of my great grandmother’s sister, Valentine Devriendt (b.1888, Roubaix France), she married the brother of my great grandfather, a man named Leon Goulet (b. 1891, Fall River Ma). This must have made holidays convenient. Together, the couple had two daughters, Madeline Goulet (b. 1922) and Pauline Goulet (b. 1926). Both women, especially my great aunt Madeline, remain larger than life figures in my childhood memory.

I know somewhat less about my great grandmother’s brother, Alfred Devriendt (b. 1885, Roubaix France). Through records, I know he married a woman named Edith Balduf. The family had been living in Walpole during my grandmother’s life.

One of my goals is to learn more about the areas the Devriendts came from. Valentine Devriendt was from Belgium, but his wife and all his children were born in France. I also would love to know more about his wife Jeanne Meau. I know the names of her parents, but not much else. These are all future research goals.

By 1920 Henry Goulet and Leopoldine Devriendt had moved to Massachusetts and by 1930 they had moved to Walpole, where they remained for many years. Henry also switched careers. Where in previous censuses he is recorded as a factory worker or clerk for a woolen factory, by 1920 Henry is recorded as a salesmen in a wholesale meat market.

Henry continued to work in the grocery/meat industry as a butcher. My family even has several of his knives or cleavers. During his later years Henry and Leopoldine lived much of their year in Wareham and Cape Cod, where Henry was employed as a butcher at the 10 Acres Market on Main Street Falmouth.

Henry at the 10 Acres Market
Together, Henry Goulet and Leopoldine Devriendt had two daughters:
- Louise M. Goulet  - 1912 – 1927
- Jeanne Josephine Goulet – 1917 – 1998

Jeanne and Louise Goulet
Jeanne Goulet was my maternal grandmother, fondly called Grammy. Louise, my grandmother’s older sister, died at the age of 15. My grandmother only occasionally spoke to me about her sister. However, my family has many pictures of Louise, who was a very pretty young lady. 

 Henry and Leopoldine lived the rest of their lives in between Walpole, Plainville, and Falmouth. In Falmouth, they owned several houses, one of which remains in use by the family. My aunt Madeline and her husband Bruce even operated a bed and breakfast across the street from this house, so my family saw them often during the summer months. Henry Felix Goulet died in February of 1976, just before the birth of my sister. Leopoldine Devriendt died about 1966.

Although I never knew either my great grandfather or great grandmother, I love to hear stories about them. My father recalls Henry as  a strict taskmaster, who would put him to work at a moment’s notice. My mother and aunts recall that their grandmother mostly continued to speak French throughout her life. As children she would speak to them in French (which they then understood) but they would be allowed to answer in English (which she understood). My aunts also tell a story in which Leopoldine refused to evacuate from her house in Falmouth in the face of a severe hurricane, which sounds surprisingly like my grandmother Jeanne.

Although my family might now self-identify as primarily Irish, it has become so evident through this research that my French, Belgian, and even Flemish (who knew?) ancestry has played a large role in making us what we are today. French culture was obviously central to the Goulet/Devriendt family. I can’t say we retain much, other than our Catholic traditions. However, it’s fascinating to see how the choices and traditions of these families all combined to result in some of my most vivid memories. When I think back to my childhood, the first sets of images that come to mind are hot, sunny, days on a Cape Cod beach. My grandmother Jeanne sitting under her favorite deck umbrella at her beach house and her cousin Madeline bouncing across the street to say hello. None of this would have existed but for Henry Goulet and Leopoldine Devriendt.