For all the Mothers and Grandmothers

It’s Mother’s Day.  Time to honour all the Mothers and Grandmothers who came before me. How I wish I had pictures of ALL my female ancestors! Here are the ones I do have. Strong women, every one!

Louise Girardin nee Bernardin 1824-1912

Louise Bernardin Girardin 1824-1912

Louise, my great-great grandmother, died at the age of 87, having outlived two husbands, born 10 children, and emigrated four times, from Quebec to Massachusetts to Manitoba, back to Massachusetts, then finally back to Manitoba.

Onesime Girardin nee Allard 1852-1896

Onesime Allard Girardin 1852-1896

Louise’s daughter-in-law, my great grandmother Onesime, emigrated twice, first from Quebec to Massachusetts,  where she married (and buried her first three daughters), and then  to Manitoba. She died at the age of 44, pregnant with her 14th child.

Girardin Emma b1878

Emma Girardin Hogue 1878-1979

Onesime’s daughter Emma, my grandmother (Mémère) died at the age of 101, having raised her siblings after her Mother’s early death, born 8 children, and outlived her husband and all her siblings.  She had emigrated from Massachusetts to Manitoba as a child.

Margaret McMillan nee Dease 1818-1905

Margaret Dease McMillan 1818-1905

Margaret, my great-great grandmother, one of my Metis ancestors, died at age 87 having born 9 children and outlived her husband. She lived most of her life in the Red River Settlement.

Philomene Hogue nee McMillan 1848-1923

Philomene McMillan Hogue 1848-1923

Margaret’s daughter Philomene, my great grandmother, died at 75, just months before her husband.  She had 9 children.

Marie Anne Vaillancourt nee Girard 1881-1975

Marie Anne Girard Vaillancourt 1881-1975

Marie Anne is my maternal grandmother who died at the age of 94, having born 9 children and outlived her husband by 40 years.  She moved from Quebec to Alberta, back to Quebec, then back to Saskatchewan, and eventually Manitoba. (As an aside, this is the ONLY picture I have in which she’s smiling!)

Madeleine Hogue nee Vaillancourt 1916-2006

Madeleine Vaillancourt Hogue 1916-2006

And here’s my Mother, Madeleine, who died at the age of 90, having outlived Dad by 24 years, and born 5 children.  She was born in Quebec and moved to Saskatchewan as a child, and then to Manitoba. Still “talk” to her everyday.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom!

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A Spanish connection

A catchy title, right?  It’s not that we have any Spanish ancestry, but, having returned from a holiday in beautiful Spain, I did come back with a picture to share.

General Castanos

General Francisco Javier Castaños

One of the many museums we enjoyed on our trip was the Museo Historico Militar in Seville.  I admit my husband was a bit more interested than I was.  However, remembering that my great-great-great-grandfather, Jean Baptiste Bernardin, a Napoleonic soldier, had been captured in Spain, I kept my eyes peeled for any mention of that specific French-Spanish conflict.

I was not disappointed.  The picture above shows a bust of General Francisco Javier Castaños, who was the head of the Andalusian Army that was victorious at the Battle of Bailen on July 19th, 1808.  That’s the battle in which Jean Baptiste Bernardin was captured.  You can read my post with his story here.

New Year’s Day Levée

levee

On New Year’s Day my husband and I attended the Lieutenant Governor’s New Year Levée, held at the Manitoba Legislative Building. I knew it was an annual event, one of those things I told myself that we should attend…someday.  Since 2017 is a special year, the celebration of 150 years since Confederation, I decided that this would be the year.

According to news reports, about 1300 people attended this year’s celebration, and judging by the number of cars parked in the area, that seems about right.

I stood in line to shake Lieutenant Governor Janice Filmon’s hand, as well as other dignitaries. Fruitcake, cookies and punch were served.  Musical entertainment was provided. I came away with a Canada 150 flag and pin, as pictured above.

A levée is a reception held “to mark the advent of another year and to provide an opportunity for the public to pay their respects.” You can read more about the levée here.

The tradition of a New Year Levée has a long history in Canada. The first recorded one was hosted in 1646 by the Governor of New France, Charles Huault de Montmagny, in the Château St. Louis in Quebec City.

chateau_saint-louis

Château St. Louis From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository

 

We have many ancestors that were in the Quebec City area in 1646 and may have attended the Levée.  There is no way to know for sure, but perhaps these ancestors  paid their respects to the Governor: Abraham Martin, Olivier le Tardif, Jean Guyon , Zacharie Cloutier, Robert Drouin. You’ll notice that these are all men, as women were not ALLOWED to attend until World War II, when female members of the Armed Forces were permitted to join the event!

On the wonderful website Manitobia, I found a description of the Manitoba Levée of 1873.

capture

capture2capture3

Again, we can’t know if any of our ancestors and relations were in attendance.  However, the Mr. Beauchemin, MPP (Member of the Provincial Parliament) who is mentioned, would have been Andre Beauchemin, uncle of Jean Baptiste Beauchemin who was married to my great-grandmother Philomene McMillan’s sister Marguerite.

During the time of the fur trade, a New Year’s celebration was the custom at the various forts. These seem to have been less subdued occasions. In the book Making the Voyageur World: Travelers and Traders in the North American Fur Trade by Carolyn Podruchny, excerpts of which are available on Google Books here, we learn:

“Feasting, drinking, and levees, or paying courtesy calls on masters (particularly on New Year’s Day), were characteristic of celebrations in fur trade society.”

Undoubtedly James McMillan, John Warren Dease and Amable Hogue would have partaken in these festivities.

I seem to remember my Mother mentioning that in La Salle, it was the custom for families to visit the grandfathers on New Year’s Day.

I enjoyed attending the Lieutenant Governor’s New Year Levée of 2017, and it resulted in a brief moment of “fame”.  That evening on Global News as we watched their coverage of the event, my husband and I walked into the frame!

 

Happy New Year Canada!

2017 is a special year for Canadian history buffs, as it marks 150 years since Confederation.  All sorts of special celebrations are planned throughout the coming year.

You can read about some of the official planned festivities here.

Check here for a database of community and volunteer projects.

Library and Archives Canada will be informing us of a daily “today-in-history vignette highlighting a significant event that shaped our society” at http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/onthisday/Pages/introduction.aspx

As the title of blog suggests, and my posts confirm, I am fascinated with the historical and social events that surrounded the lives of our ancestors.  Whether blogging about the first Girardin ancestor, Olivier Le Tardif who was in New France by 1621 (read about him here), our Hogue ancestor James McMillan, Chief Factor with HBC, who traveled with the explorer David Thompson (read his story here), our Napoleonic soldier Jean Baptiste Bernardin, who arrived on our shores via the War of 1812 (his story is here), or the fascinating story of our Metis ancestor, Margaret/Marguerite Taylor, country wife of Sir George Simpson, and the person whose story ignited my passion for genealogy, I remain in awe of the fortitude and courage shown by our ancestors, as they built their lives in this country we call home.

As the festivities of Canada 150 unfold, I hope to share more stories that make up our history.

Happy New Year everyone!

 

 

A childhood Christmas memory

My Dad was a talented home handyman.  When I was a teenager he made me a gigantic desk which I still used until a few years ago when it was damaged by some basement flooding.  I have in my “office” a fifties style bookcase (probably from a Popular Mechanics plan)  that’s crammed with genealogy and history books.  Someone else in the family has the matching desk.

But the item I remember most is the wooden giraffe he made me for the Christmas I was 4 years old.  I remember that for several weeks before Christmas, I was told NOT to venture into the basement of our house at 411 Marjorie.  Being a perfect, obedient child I did as I was told!

On Christmas Day, beside the tree (it was too big to go beneath) was a wooden giraffe that you could sit on, with a chalkboard in front. It was blue with orange spots. I was delighted, the way only a 4 year old can be.

I don’t have a picture of it, but I found this picture which is very similar.  Perhaps adding the chalkboard was Dad’s own idea.

giraffe

When I outgrew the giraffe it was passed over to some cousins.

Merry Christmas to all relatives, friends and readers who take the time to read my musings.

 

Ville-Marie

A newspaper article caught my eye this morning.

“After years of research, officials at Montreal’s archaeology and history museum say they’re now able to pinpoint the precise location of the city’s first European settlement.”

The settlement was known as Ville-Marie and, of course, some of our ancestors were there!  I have blogged about them  before.  See here and here.

You can read more about this discovery at CBC.