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!

Still more moves

I’ve written about the various moves the Girardin and Bernardin families made in their quest for more economic opportunities. What determined, hard-working people our ancestors were! To move from Quebec to Massachusetts to St. Daniel (Carman) to St. Alphonse/Bruxelles… and they weren’t finished yet.

Farming conditions had not been very favourable in the 1890s in the prairies, and wheat prices were not high. For various reasons, the families were choosing to move again. Many of Louise Bernardin’s brother Joseph’s family moved to Elie, Manitoba, a new community about 30 km. west of Winnipeg. There’s a fascinating local history book, Treasures of Time: The Rural Municipality of Cartier, 1914-1984, that has a great deal of information about the Bernardin family. Joseph’s son, Louis, married Lea Dufresne, whose father, Elie Dufresne, was one of the town’s first settlers. Apparently the town was named after him.

After Onesime Allard’s death, Napoleon Girardin moved his family to La Salle ( a subject for another post).

At some point, Louise Bernardin’s daughter, Caroline Girardin Hamel, moved to Ste. Anne. In 1915 she married Damase Dion.

Here’s a map showing all the places in Manitoba where the families homesteaded.

Manitoba places
The most surprising move to me, however, was that of Louise Bernardin and her second husband, Bruno Charbonneau, who left Manitoba to go back to Worcester, Massachusetts, about 1898!  Louise was 74 and Bruno about 71. They lived at 6 Southgate Street, and Bruno did find employment, according to the Worcester, Massachusetts City Directory.

 

Worcester City Directory 1898

Worcester City Directory 1898

It’s likely that once in Massachusetts, Louise would have occasion to visit, or receive visits from, family members such as her son Charles, and her daughter Rosilda, who lived in Massachusetts. Perhaps she also was able to visit with her sister Marie Elyse who still lived in Warwick, Quebec.

Tragically, on December 16, 1904, Bruno died suddenly of a heart attack.

Massachusetts, Death Records, 1841-1915 from Ancestry

Massachusetts, Death Records, 1841-1915 from Ancestry

By 1907 Louise had returned to La Salle to live with her son Napoleon. There would have been several great-grandchildren by this point.  My Dad would be born in 1909, so Louise would have had the opportunity to hold that great-grandchild.

Louise Bernardin died June 2, 1912 at the age of 87, having outlived two husbands.  She is buried in the La Salle Cemetery, in the same plot as her grandson Arthur. Although her gravestone gives her year of birth as 1825, her baptismal record states 1824.

 

Grave of "Grandma Louise" La Salle Cemetery

Grave of “Grandma Louise”
La Salle Cemetery

And this is the descent from Louise to Mémère:

1-Marie Louise BERNARDIN (24 Sep 1824-2 Jun 1912)
+Paul GIRARDIN (14 Oct 1804-29 Sep 1878)
2-Napoleon GIRARDIN (8 Apr 1851-16 May 1929)
+Onesime ALLARD (20 May 1852-29 May 1896)
3-Marie Emma GIRARDIN (23 Jun 1878-28 Aug 1979)