Monday, February 20, 2012

Family Stories - Blanchette of Quebec

A few weeks ago, I posted about the conflicts between using my cousin's family stories and using typical genealogical records in researching my Blanchette line.  Much of my proof comes from using collateral records of siblings, and to be honest, having a bit of an open mind when it comes to exact spellings and locations.

My ancestor, Louis Blanchette, which was anglicized to Blanchard, ended up in Chippewa County, Wisconsin in the 1860's under less-than-clear circumstances.  Cousin's stories suggest he had a difficult childhood and ran away.  Perhaps being the youngest boy, Louis headed out on his own to find his calling.  We may never know the truth.  What I can show are some of the records showing the locations he and his sister Julia did live.

The birth records of both Louis and Julia from the Drouin collection of Quebec church records read:

 Birth of Julie Blanchette, 7 Sep 1832, in Parish of Baie-du-Febvre, Yamaska (?), Quebec
Father is Seraphin Blanchette, journalier (day laborer)
Mother is Marie-Edesse Dionne

Birth of Louis Blanchette, 19 Jun 1838, in Parish of Baie-du-Febvre, Yamaska (?), Quebec
Father is Seraphin Blanchette, journalier (day laborer)
Mother is Marie-Edesse Dionne

Clearly, there is no dispute that these two children, Julie and Louis, are brother and sister.  It would be helpful to see them together in Baie-du-Febvre, Quebec, Canada.  The 1831 census of Canada does have the household of Seraphin Blanchette listed with the correct number and age ranges of children.  The family members are not named individually.  There does not appear to be a filmed version of the 1841 or 1851 censuses of this portion of Quebec or the parish of Baie-du-Febvre.  

Here is my family group sheet of Seraphin Blanchette and Marie-Edesse Dionne:

The next evidence we have of Julie and Louis is the 1860 census record from Saugatuck, Allegan County, Michigan, showing Julia with her husband Charles Richards, and a male laborer called "Lois Planchet".  I am certain this is my family.

Charles Richards, 36, Farmer, Prussia
Julia Richards, 26, Canada
Mary A. Richards, 8, Michigan
Joseph Richards, 6, Michigan
Charles Richards, 4 Michigan
George Richards, 2, Michigan
Jacob Richards, 3/12, Michigan
Charles Westfield, 28, Day Laborer, Prussia
Lois Planchet, 20, Day Laborer, Canada 1860 census, Michigan, Allegan County, Newark Twp, Saugatuck, p 93, lines 12-20

I will show you how I was finally comfortable with the evidence of this family.  This is what I love about genealogy research - slogging through the data and seeing everything come together in a "this really is my family" moment.

To be continued...