A Canadian Family

Natives, French Canadians & Acadians

A Strange Thing Happened On The Way To Lewiston, Maine

Peter Lagasse is joining us once again today to share his information on a line of Lagaces who descend from  Basil Mignier/Lagace and his first wife Madeleine Leclerc/Francoeur. This time the accent is on the Lagasse/Ross connection!

Guest Post 4: Peter Lagasse

A Strange Thing Happened on the Way to Lewiston, Maine

As I have shared in an earlier post my father, Roland Paul Lagasse, was not born in the United States as he had thought. He had been born in St-Paul-des-Capucins, Les Mechins, Quebec, Canada and had been given the name Joseph Gaudiose Rolland Lagacé. At the age of 8 months his parents decided to return to the United States. However, instead of going to Manchester, New Hampshire, where they had been married, they decided to go to Lewiston, Maine, in July of 1910.

Before I continue I must share some information about my grandmother’s Marie Agnes Ross, grandfather Jean Baptiste Ross. Jean had married Zoe St Amant 7 November 1848 in St Luce, Quebec. After Zoe’s death Jean Baptiste married Marcelline Savard 27 Oct 1909 in St-Jerome, Matane, Quebec.

From the “Manifest of Alien Passengers” entering the United States on July 1910 via Newport, Vermont, we found my father and his parents (named Joseph, Albertine [another name for my grandmother] and Joseph) . Directly above their names were Marcelline Ross, her daughter, Mary (Marie) Ross, another daughter, Marcelline (Ross) Dion, and her 6 month old granddaughter Emma Dion. On the Manifest it stated they were all going to Lewiston, Maine to see Baptiste Ross. It stated Baptiste Ross was the husband of Marcelline Ross, father of Mary Ross and Marcelline Dion, and the grandfather of Emma. Apparently, since Marcelline Ross would have been my grandmother’s step-grandmother and since my grandfather, Joseph Guadias Lagacé, would have been the one asked how Baptiste Ross was related to him, he answered that Baptiste was a friend instead of some relationship like grandfather-in-law.

Heading from the left side of the double page of the Lists/Manifest of Alien Passengers …

List Heading

Extract from the left side of the double page of the Lists/Manifest of Alien Passengers …

rossfirstpage names

Extract from the right side of the double page of the Lists/Manifest of Alien Passengers …

extract2 for blog

All sounds quite reasonable until you search for Jean Baptiste Ross coming to Lewiston, Maine earlier to prepare for his wife and family. A strange piece of information was discovered during my research with the help of Evelyn (Yvonne Theriault). Jean Baptiste Ross had died nearly nine months earlier in St-Edouard, Les Mechins, Matane, Quebec on 27 October 1909. There was no Jean Baptiste Ross even in Lewiston, Maine waiting for his family. Everything is not always what it appears to be. Research needs to be done carefully and supported with as many sources as possible.

This story that began nearly 100 years ago had one more strange event. It just happened this month. Yes, this month! Once I discovered that Marcelline Ross and her daughters had come to Lewiston, Maine, I needed to find if there were any descendants still living in Lewiston. It is only a 40 minute drive from my home. Though I couldn’t find any descendants, I discovered that Marcelline Ross had been buried in St Peter’s Cemetery in Lewiston, Maine. I went to the cemetery and found her grave site! HeadstonerossBut there was something else. Something that kept the trip that started nearly 100 years ago still alive. There were flowers on the grave site!! Someone from her family was still in the area. But how would I ever find this person? Where did they live and what was her/his name?

I came home excited but with this nagging desire to find the other person who had also visited Marcelline Ross’ grave site. In just a week I received an email from the state of Georgia from someone who had found the information about Marcelline Ross on my ancestry site very intriguing. Through a few emails I discovered a relative related to Marcelline was living in Georgia and she knew the person who had placed the flowers on the grave site! It was the last living granddaughter of Marcelline Ross. She lives in Lewiston, Maine. We have spoken over the phone and will soon meet each other.

Strange coincidence? Maybe. But definitely exciting.

Related Posts:

Index: Mignier Lagaces | France – QC – NB

Peter Lagasse can be contacted directly at


July 30, 2009 - Posted by | . | , , ,


  1. Hi Peter… I am Sharon, and I am Diana’s cousin. I recently connected with her and she mentioned your name when sharing about her long geneology search. I have had an inner passion to find my roots, as my grandmother, Marie Ross Rennex (now known to me as Mary)would never share a thing about her early years, and I was inquisitive. As a kid, I just wanted to know about Canada, and her family. She was zipped about it, which I never understood. As I read the info Diana relayed, which she stated was extremely condensed, it seems much remains a mystery.

    I have no clue in geneology, but when I typed Marcelline’s name, your website appeared, but it wasn’t until I started reading did I realize it was yours.

    I wanted to introduce myself… I guess we’re cousins and your search amazes me. It is persistance at it’s best!

    I was born and lived most of my life in RI but hubby retired and we now live in FL…

    Wishing you the best as your continue your journey on your roots and geneology quest!

    My best to you,


    Comment by Sharon James | January 8, 2010 | Reply

    • Hi Sharon,

      I am delighted to meet you (via online). I would be willing to help you in your ancestry quest if you and Diana haven’t already figured out the information.



      Comment by Peter | January 10, 2010 | Reply

  2. Hi Peter,

    This is very interesting stuff. My name is also Ross. Actually, my first name is Ross, which is much more commonly a last name, and I was given this name by my father, George E. Rennex, because it was his mother’s maiden name. My paternal grandmother’s first name was Marie, and she was always referred to as Marie (for some reason the name Marie B. Rennex sticks in my mind). I never heard anyone call her Mary, but then I have always been very isolated from my family on both my mother’s and father’s side. I am one of the last few people in the USA today to carry the name Rennex.

    I remember visiting Marie with my father fairly routinely in the early 80’s at an apartment building in Massachusetts or Rhode Island, and thinking back it seems that this apartment was a retirement community. I was still a child, so the thing that sticks in my mind was that she lived on a pretty high floor, and I liked looking out the window at the people and cars below because they appeared so small from this height. This was her last residence before passing on.

    I also remember that no matter where we were, whether I lived in California or Massachusetts, she always felt cold. I remember her saying, “It’s cold as hell in here. Oh, wait, hell is hot.” I was playing with my wagon outside one day in the summer when I lived in San Jose, CA and she told me I should be wearing a sweater because it was too cold outside. It’s funny how some unassuming things that are said in passing stick with a person for life.

    She smoked cigarettes, but I never actually saw her smoking. I’m betting she was told not to smoke around the children. Of course, I could smell the smoke from her when she was near me, and every so often the bathroom smelled like a cigarette. I knew she had to be sneaking cigarettes in the bathroom, but I never told my parents about this because I didn’t want my grandmother to get in trouble. I was around 8 or 9 years old at the time and did not want to get my grandmother grounded, or at least that’s how I saw things at that age. I figured it must have been too cold for her to go outside to have a cigarette.

    I guess a little trip to Maine would be nice about now for something fun to do and to look around at some things related to my mysterious family. I’m currently living on the north shore of Massachusetts, so it’s actually a nice day trip. I rarely heard my family reminiscing about the old days, so I have little information about their past.

    Thanks for the informative post, 🙂

    Ross M. Rennex


    Comment by Ross | July 30, 2010 | Reply

    • Hi Ross,
      It has been 4 years since you wrote your comment in response to the article I had written for Evelyn of Montreal called “A Strange Thing Happened on the Way to Lewiston, Maine”. For some reason I never received your comment but while doing some research on John Baptist Ross. I came across your comment as I was looking at Evelyn’s website to see if she had a headstone of John Baptist Ross. He was your grandmother’s. Marie Ross Rennex, father. Your grandmother was my great grand aunt. I love what you shared about her since I never met her. I would love to hear more about your grandmother if possible. If I receive a comment back from you I would like to correspond by our personal emails. Look forward hearing from you. Sorry I never saw your comment until now.
      Peter Lagasse


      Comment by Peter Lagasse | September 14, 2014 | Reply

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