In my last post, I wrote about Jean Baptiste Bernardin and Marie Charlotte Taillefer, and their life in Lower Canada. Our direct ancestor is their daughter, Marie Louise Bernardin, born 24 Sep 1824 in Nicolet, Lower Canada, and baptized at the cathédrale St-Jean-Baptiste.
I am again indebted to the research of Professor Charles Bernardin who wrote a book about her, Louise Bernardin Girardin: Manitoba Pioneer. Through the generosity of another Girardin descendant I was able to obtain a copy of this most interesting publication.
Economic conditions in Quebec were hard, and the family struggled as Jean Baptiste supported his family with farming, and as a tailor. He was forced into bankruptcy in 1841, and the family moved to William-Henry (Sorel). By this time, they were also dealing with the death of three infant children. In 1844, after finally receiving compensation for losing his Grantham property, Jean Baptiste was able to purchase property in the village of Kingsey, where he lived and kept his tailor shop, as well as 126 acres of forested land outside the village.
As Professor Bernardin states:
“Although Kingsey was even more remotely isolated than Drummondville from the St. Lawrence River, living and farming standards were upgraded: the Bernardins now lived in a plank house; they now cooked over a stove, not a fireplace; and now owned a horse again, a barn, and other farm animals and fowl. The virgin soil improved their production of potatoes and other crops.”
It was in Kingsey that Louise married Paul Girardin on 15 Feb 1847. Paul had been born 14 Oct 1804 in Maskinonge, Quebec, to Charles Girardin and Josephte Lesieur. (I wrote about the Lesieur family here). Louise was 20 years younger than Paul.
In the 1861 Census for Kingsey, Paul is listed as a farmer, and his widowed mother is living with them. They had 10 children, two of whom died as infants:
Caroline born 1848
Unnamed infant born and died 1850
Napoleon born 1851
Charles born 1853
Marie Rosilda born 1855
Virgine born 1857 (died at 6 days)
Joseph Edouard born 1858
Oliver born 1861
Joseph Simeon born 1863
Jean Baptiste born 1866
Sometime after the birth of their youngest child, Paul and Louise made the decision to move to Massachusetts, a story I will continue in my next post.