Marie Rosilda Girardin was the sister of my great-grandfather Napoleon Girardin, and thus an aunt of Mémère’s. At first she was a bit of a mystery to me, as it was hard to find many records for her.
She was baptized 10 Feb 1855 at St-Félix-de-Valois in Kingsey, Canada East (Quebec).
In 1861 she is in the census in Kingsey with her family. We know the family lived in Massachusetts for awhile before most of them emigrated to Manitoba. Rosilda however did not. We don’t know why, at only 23, she decided not to follow the family to Manitoba. She wasn’t married, but she must have had a strong independent streak.
After 1861 there is a 40-year gap before I find her again! French-Canadian names were often terribly mangled in official records. I can’t find Rosilda (Rose) in the 1870 U.S. census, nor the 1880, and the 1890 census was almost completely destroyed in a fire.
I finally found her in the 1900 census living in Haverhill, Massachusetts. She is single, living in a boarding house, and works as a shoe stitcher. Perhaps she is working in the same shoe factory as her brother Charles? She gives her date of birth as February 1854.
She’s not in the 1910 census. However, I did find a record of her marriage on 18 Apr 1911 to Louis Arthur Gourdeau.
He was a widower and this was his 4th marriage. It was a first marriage for Rosilda, and she claimed to be 43. She was actually 56! How I wish I had a picture of her! After 1900 she consistently “fudges” her age.
After this date I can track her living in Somerville, Massachusetts with her husband. She was widowed in 1922, but I can find her in the 1920, 1930 and 1940 census records, as well as many city directories.
I confirmed her death by ordering her death record from Massachusetts Vital Statistics. She died 20 Oct 1944 in the Westborough State Hospital. The Certificate of Death lists the following details:
Gourdeau, Rose M. (Gerardin)
Residence 38 Chandler, Somerville, Mass.
Age given as 76. (She was actually 89).
born in Canada
father’s name Paul Gerardin/maiden name of mother cannot be learned
Informant Westborough State Hospital Records.