In this day and age, when we have government-issued identity cards such as birth certificates, social insurance cards, and drivers’ licenses, it can be hard to get your head around the fact that our ancestors’ names may not have been standardized. When looking at census records, church documents, or civil records, you can find many variations on the spelling of not only surnames, but given names as well. There may be a variety of reasons for this, including the literacy level of your ancestor, the difference in ethnic background of the ancestor and the official record keeper, poor handwriting by a clerk, or just personal whim.
This was very apparent as I continued my research into the Allard family. In my last post I shared my excitement in having found the date and place of death for Marie Bonin, married to Joseph Pierre Allard. Previous to the help I received from a “genealogy angel”, the last record I had was for the 1881 census in Quebec. Learning that Marie had died in Massachusetts, I started searching for any record of the unmarried daughter who had also been in that 1881 census household.
The daughter in question was baptized as Marie Almeria Allard on June 11, 1869 at St-Denis-sur-Richelieu in Quebec. My great grandmother, Onesime Allard, who was 17 years old at the time, was godmother.
In the 1871 census Almeria is “Meria”, and in 1881 she is “Elmeria”. Hmm. You can see where this is going!
Searching Massachusetts records took some time, but I found a marriage record for an “Amelia” Allard, d/o Joseph Allard and Marie Bonin. This looked promising. The groom was listed as Samuel L. Dumonchelle. The marriage took place May 20, 1889 in Oxford, Massachusetts.
Confirming that Amelia was the person I wanted meant tracking the couple via census records and checking the birth/marriage/death records of their 7 children. When a maiden name of mother was listed, it was always Allard, except for once when it was Allord.
Here are all the names I found for Marie Almeria in the records:
Amelia (obviously the one she preferred)
Lydia. This was a surprise but if you say it quickly you can see how it could be misheard.
As for her husband, who was listed as Samuel L. Dumonchelle on the marriage record, his name was actually Dumouchelle. He was born in 1863 in Massachusetts, and died November 16, 1922 in Rhode Island.
Here are all the variations of that surname I discovered as I searched the records for this family:
They had 3 children while living in Massachusetts:
Amelia, born 1890, never married, died 1976 in Rhode Island
Josephine, born 1892, never married, died 1974 in Rhode Island
Joseph Samuel Arthur, born 1894, died 1895 in Rhode Island
After their move to Rhode Island in 1894/95 they had 4 more children:
Aldia Eva, born 1897, who became a nun, taking the name of Sister Mary Amelia, and died 1962 in Kentucky
Napoleon, born 1900, married, and died 1962 in Virginia, buried in Rhode Island
Alfred, born 1905, married, and died 1976 in Minnesota, buried in Massachusetts
Alphonse, born 1908, married, and died 1977 in Rhode Island
The death record for Amelia Dumouchelle, provided more documentation that this was the right person.
Samuel, his parents, Amelia, and 3 of their children are buried in St. Patrick’s Cemetery, Burrillville, Providence County, Rhode Island. Find A Grave has a picture.
And the research into the Allard family continues.