For so long I have been complaining about the limitations of the wildcard search on Ancestry.com. The only thing you could do was type the first three characters and then enter either a “*” or a “?”. And then just last week without even thinking about it I tried to search with “*ville” and much to my surprise, it worked.
Isn’t it embarrassing?
Well kind of, because earlier today I found out that the new wildcard enhanced flexibility has been in effect since… 2010! Well, what can I say? That was way before my subscription to Twitter where I now get all the news about the genealogy community.
All this preamble to say that this wildcard search led me to discover that two French-Canadian brothers, Olivier and Amédée Tourville, were working for the railroad company in Newton, Jasper County, Illinois in 1880. How come? Because their names on the 1880 US Census were erroneously transcribed as “Tounville“. Hence the utility of a more flexible wildcard search.
When you think about it, no really big surprise here to have come upon the two men in Illinois as their brother Alphonse left for Chicago about the same year (he afterwards settled in Nebraska, in the late 1880’s).
Son of Médard Tourville and Émélie Moyen, born and baptized in 1848 in Lachine (part today of the City of Montréal), Olivier was just two years older than Alphonse. Their younger brother Amédée was born and baptized in December 1855 in Sainte-Thérèse-de-Blainville (today a Montréal suburb located on the North Shore). All their other siblings were born and baptized in Montréal.
The two brothers are listed on the census as being married: Olivier to Delia Coutu since 1873; as for Amédée, recently widowed, it is in July 1877 that he got married to Marguerite Johnson, who will die only ten months later, on May 6, 1878. As you may have guessed, the cause of death was childbirth, their daughter being born the day Marguerite passed away. Baptized as Marie-Joséphine, the baby only survived her mother by a little more than a month.
How long have Olivier and Amédée stayed in Illinois? This is rather difficult to assess because as Olivier didn’t have children from any of his two wives, there is nothing in the church records which allows us to follow him easily. For sure, they were back in Québec by 1887 as this is where Amédée married his second wife, Georgiana Vincent, in February of that year (besides, Olivier attended the wedding).
In 1891, both brothers, their wives and Amédée’s children are living in Saint-Damien, Berthier County, in Québec, where Amédée died just before the turn of the century. As for Olivier, he lost his first wife in 1905 and married Philomène Lachapelle in 1907. She passed away in Montréal in 1916 but Olivier’s death date is still to be confirmed. Also noteworthy is the fact that one Olivier Tourville died in Lachine in 1924 but his wife’s name is unknown to me. Maybe Olivier married a third time? No serious hint yet but a more thorough search is on my To-Do List.
To learn more about the railroad work history around Newton, IL for that period, just click here.