The marriage of my maternal grandparents Joseph Lagace and Elizabeth Doucet on the 26th of June 1894.Witnesses were Jerome Daigle and Mary Jane Lagace.
Ste-Therese Parish, Robertville
Arthur P. Theriault
14 Feb. 1902 – 1928
Decede le 15 juillet
age de 2(?) ans
A la memoire de Alexandre Doucet decede le 23 av. 1931 age de 81 ans & de Marie Doucet decede le 27 jan 1920 agee de 75 ans. RIP Translation: In the memory of Alexandre Doucet who died on April 23rd, 1931 at the age of 81 and Marie Doucet who died on January 27th, 1920 at the age of 75. Rest in Peace.
I came across the couple memorialized on this tombstone while researching my own grandmother Elizabeth Doucet(m. Joseph Lagace) who is the daughter of a couple named Alexandre Doucet and Marie Roy. Both couples lived in the same approximate area and time period, and since my ancestors are also referred to as Alexandre and Marie Doucet, I am trying to untangle the two family trees. I would greatly appreciate help from anyone familiar with either of thse two lines.
This would seem to be the couple Alexandre and Marie Doucet who were married on November 19th, 1872 in Bathurst, New Brunswick in Ste-Famille Parish in the presence of James and Helene Doucet.
In my first two posts I described some of the steps I had followed in trying to determine who my great-grandmother Elizabeth Doucet’s parents were. After comparing data on all the “Elisabeths” that she could be, I’d arrived at the conclusion that she was probably the daughter of a certain Alexander Doucet of Robertsville and that was as far as I could get.
I also left a note asking anyone who knew more about these Doucets of the Bathurst, New Brunswick area to contact me. Well – as so often happens when we share our family research online – I got lucky and was contacted by someone researching the same lineage – Janice Cushman. Janice is building her son’s line and he descends from Elizabeth Doucet through her son Arthur Legacy, one of my grandfather Adelard Lagace’s brothers. Janice told me that Arthur Lagace immigrated to western Canada – something which was a complete surprise to the hundreds of Lagaces living here in Montreal and back in New Brunswick!
Coming back to Elizabeth – while researching this line independently, Janice had also arrived at the conclusion that Elizabeth was the daughter of Alexander Doucet of Robertville, but she had one more piece of the puzzle – a copy of Elizabeth Doucet’s death certificate which proved that Elizabeth’s parents were Alexandre Doucet and Marie Roy. She’s given me permission to share it with you, so here is an extract with the crucial detail: Continue reading
I’m writing this series for my immediate family so that they can see some of the process I follow when I research our family tree, but if you’re interested in the Doucets of northern New Brunswick – or if you know something about my Elizabeth – I’d be delighted to hear from you in the Comment Box below.
* * *
In my first post I described how I had reached a brickwall with one of my great-grandmothers Elizabeth Doucet. I had confirmed her 1894 marriage to my great-grandfather Joseph Lagace dit Mignier with several secondary and tertiary sources but I still didn’t know who her parents were. One thing I did know (through family lore) was that my Doucets were from one of the old founding families of Acadia – but I couldn’t seem to connect to any specific line.
In fact, the first Doucet in Acadie was Germain Doucet, son of the French Sieur de la Verdure. He arrived in Acadia in 1632 with commander De Razilly and held various important posts including eventually Commander of Port Royal. It’s been quite frustrating to know where our line begins, but not to be able to make the definitive link!
My partial breakthrough came when I was able to access the original marriage record of my maternal great-grandparents Joseph Lagace and Elizabeth Doucet. It confirms the marriage date of June 26th, 1894 at the Mission in Gloucester, New Brunswick. They were married by Father W.E. Sormany in front of Jerome Daigle and Mary Jane Lagace. Unlike just about every marriage record I’ve ever found, this one doesn’t have the parents listed! Continue reading
I’m writing this series for my immediate family but if you’re interested in the Doucets – or if you know something about my Elizabeth – I’d be delighted to hear from you in the Comment Box below.
When I began writing our family history over a decade ago I was able to develop a lot of information using a wide variety of resources and approaches such as:
- Genealogical reports prepared for family members
- Parish registers and local histories at McGill University and other librairies.
- Genealogy trips to Gloucester, New Brunswick and the Gaspe and Matapedia Valley in Quebec
- Researchers I was able to contact directly (e.g. Fidele Theriault of Les Familles de Caraquet)
- Online information from government databases etc.
Now that I’ve honed my skills and can access more primary documents, I’m going back over our lines with a fine tooth comb – and taking a second look at some brickwalls. Some of you mentioned that you’d like to learn more about how genealogy is done, so I thought I might let you take a peek over my shoulder as I desperately seek Elizabeth!
Elizabeth Doucet of Gloucester, New Brunswick
I first found out about Elizabeth when I asked my mother who her grandparents were. She gave me their names (Joseph Lagace and Elizabeth Doucet) but said she didn’t remember anything else about their ancestors. However she did offer to get me a professional genealogy report that one of her brothers had ordered.
The genealogy report turned out to be from the venerable Insitut Drouin and what I received a few weeks later was a hefty, red three-volume edition of the Dictionnaire National des Canadiens Francais and a hand-calligraphed Arbre Genealogique (family tree) tracing our Lagace lines from the twentieth century back to the 1600s.
I was in seventh heaven – this was going to be easy! And in some ways it was. I learned to navigate through the red Drouins and then moved on to other sources and various parish registers. The early French-Canadian period is quite well covered in many different publications and I was able to progress quite rapidly. I was in for a surprise though – the closer I got to the present, the more difficult it became to document my information – and I finally hit a brickwall with my great-grandmother Elizabeth Doucet.
According to my Drouin family tree, Elizabeth Doucet married Joseph Lagace on June 26th, 1894 in Ste-Therese, Gloucester, New Brunswick.
So far, so good – but Drouin didn’t include her parents. I faced two challenges. Most of the materials I’d been working with covered Quebec, whereas my Lagaces had migrated to New Brunswick in the 18th century and my local librairies didn’t have local parish histories or registries for New Brunswick.
What I quickly learned was that the New Brunswick government has some wonderful online resources at their Vital Records website. As you can see at the left, Elizabeth and Joseph’s marriage is in their index (although their surnames are written differently) and the marriage date was the same as on the Drouin reports – but her parents’ names still didn’t appear. I know now that what I should have done next was to request written documentation from the New Brunswick Provincial Archives but I was a “newbie” so I just posted a few queries on a message board, made no progress and promptly moved on to greener fields!
The 1911 census shows a Joseph J. and Elizabeth Legacy who were living in Bathurst, Gloucester County, New Brunswick with their children Adelard, Amanda, Lorette, Arthur, Martina, Francis, Joseph, William and Mary. We know this couple as Joseph Lagace and Elizabeth Doucet and in our lineage, they are the 8th generation of Lagaces in Canada.
The census confirms what we already knew– that the Lagaces were Catholic, French-speaking New Brunswickers living in a rural area near Bathurst, but I’ve also learned that they understood two languages (French and English) and that they could read and write.
Something else we knew was that Joseph was working as a labourer at the Bathurst Lumber Mill and that he earned his living there for most of his adult working life. What we didn’t know, however, was that his son Adelard was already working there even though he was only 16 years old.
In addition a closer inspection of the document shows that Adelard and his son worked 60 hour work weeks. It’s hard to imagine doing such hard work for that many hours per week and I wonder whether the work was distributed over a five or six day work week? The census form doesn’t have that information but it does tell us that in 1910 Joseph worked only 20 weeks at the mill, whereas his son worked 32 weeks. I notice also that many of their neighbours worked twice as many weeks (in 1910) so it would be interesting to know whether Adelard and his son worked less hours by choice. You might wonder how much Adelard and his son earned for their labour. According to the census record their total earning for the year 1910 were: Joseph – $210 and Adelard – $192. Continue reading