A rose by any other name…

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.


Allard Almeria b1869 baptism

Quebec Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com. St-Denis-sur-Richelieu, 1869, B36

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.

Allard Almeria b1869 death

“Rhode Island Deaths and Burials, 1802-1950,” database, FamilySearch , Amelia Dumouchelle, 24 Mar 1950; citing Burrillville, Providence, Rhode Island, reference 1484; FHL microfilm 2,229,197.

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.

Allard Almeria b1869 gravestone

Find A Grave Memorial# 101007225

And the research into the Allard family continues.



Marie Bonin

More than a year ago, I blogged about the fact that I could find no death record for my great-great grandmother Marie Bonin. Marie was born to Jacques/Jean Bonin and Amable Dupre and baptized at St. Ours, Lower Canada on 28 July 1827.  She married Joseph Pierre Allard 30 January 1849 at St-Denis-sur-Richelieu. She had 15 children, at least 7 of which died in infancy. Her husband died in 1875.  Until now, I hadn’t been able to trace her past the 1881 census when she was still in St-Denis.

Yesterday, October 30th, I posted a query on the Quebec-Research list and quickly found my answer.  A “genealogy angel” found her death record in Millbury, Massachusetts on 26 October 1895.  She died of pneumonia.

Obviously, sometime after 1881, she moved to Massachusetts!  At least 2 of her sons, were there, although my great grandmother Onesime Allard had already emigrated to Manitoba.

She was not buried in Massachusetts however.  Her body was sent “home” to St-Denis where she was buried on…..wait for it…October 30!

Bonin Marie burial

St-Denis-sur-Richelieu, 1895

She definitely wanted me to find that record!

I have no photo of her grave, if it even is a marked grave after all this time.  However here’s a picture of the beautiful church, built in 1796.

Église St-Denis-sur-Richelieu


Onesime Allard

Onesime Allard was Mémère’s mother. Marie Bonin was Onesime’s mother. Yesterday I was trying to find out when Marie died.  I know when she was born, when she married, and the dates of birth for all 15 children.  However, I lose track of her after the 1881 census.  I’ve never been able to find a burial record for her.

Sometimes you come across the most interesting finds when you’re not even looking  While checking the church records at St.-Denis-sur-Richelieu (at Ancestry and FamilySearch),  I came across the marriage record of Marie’s eldest daughter Marie Allard to Jean Baptiste Leblanc on February 9, 1869.

There I found the signature of Onesime Allard, who signed the church register as one of the witnesses to the marriage of her sister!


It’s a little thing, but I was still pleased to find it.  Interestingly she appears to have signed as Onezime, rather than Onesime. Or perhaps that’s just the way she made an “s”!  I have no other specimens of her handwriting to compare.

And I still haven’t discovered a date of death for Marie Bonin.  The search continues.