52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #4 Emilie Tourville (née) Rousselle (1803-1863) ~ Find A Grave or Miracles do Happen

I have been looking for the death date and place of Emilie Rousselle, wife of Charles Tourville, for as long as I’ve been doing genealogy, so for more than 20 years believe it or not.

Emilie Rousselle was born in Florissant, Missouri in 1803, where she also married Charles Tourville (whose death I haven’t found yet) on February 11, 1822.

For a long time, the 1850 US census was the most recent proof of them being still alive in St. Louis but a couple of years ago I found a Supreme Court case for a daughter of Charles and he testified in 1855 stating that he was married and it was clear from what he said that his wife was still alive. I couldn’t and still cannot find them (or her) in the 1860 US Census.

While on the Website Find A Grave, working on Tourvilles in Missouri, I found an entry for Emilie Rousselle Tourville buried in the Old Saint Ferdinand Cemetery which is defunct since 1900. Florissant’s St. Ferdinand Catholic Church records are in the Drouin Collection but I think they are not all indexed on Ancestry as the burials for later years do not show up. I realize now I should have gone through all the pages index or not.

But no matter what, the most wonderful thing was not to find her burial death and place but a SOURCE for it:

“September the 13th Buried Emilie Rousselle 54 yrs wife of Charles Tourville.” ~ J. F. Van Assche, SJ

A couple of years ago, a member of Find A Grave, Sheila Kesterston, was looking for her ancestors in Florissant, Missouri and she found where the burial records were located. The entries for the cemetery come from this source as stated by Sheila:

“Registre des Sepultures faites dans le Cimetière De la paroisse de St Ferdinand, Diocèse de Louisiane, commencé le premier de janvier L’année mil huit cent vingt deux 1822” which translates to “Record of the Burials made in the Cemetery Of the parish of St Ferdinand, Diocese of Louisiana, beginning the first of January In the year one thousand eight hundred twenty two 1822.” Found at:

St. Louis County Library – Headquarters
Tier 5 (top floor)
1640 S. Lindbergh Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63131-3598

Old St. Ferdinand Burial Records
Roll 167, Item 5

It has 95 pages and runs from 1822 to July 1876.”

A warm “Thank You!” to Sheila who has decided to input all the names on that roll. I cannot thank her enough!

You may first consult the Find A Grave page for the Old Saint Ferdinand Cemetery should you want to check for your own ancestors and then browse the pages of the database on Ancestry.com if you want the copy of the image.

There seems to be two other Tourville members in that cemetery (one is named Tourvelle). I still have to figure out who they are as they are young children. As for Charles Tourville, well back to work. I will find him too. From my desk or by travelling to Missouri. 😉


St. Louis Cholera Epidemic in 1832

EarlyUSFrenchCatholicChurchRecordsDrouinCollecti_49997929 page 1

St. Louis Catholic Church Records for October 1832

The St. Louis Church Burial Records for October 22, 1832 indicate that both Toussaint Tourville Sr and Toussaint Tourville Jr were buried on that date.

I was always intringued by this entry and often wondered what happened to them. A few people asked me if I knew the cause of death and I didn’t. Of course, a quick look at the history of St. Louis might have helped me find out.

Not so long ago I found a document on the Missouri Digital Heritage Website pertaining to a land dispute between Sylvina Tourville and her husband William Petersen as the plaintiffs and Catherine Seig as the defendant.

The testimony of Charles Tourville, father of Sylvina, and son of Toussaint Tourville Sr has finally shed some light on this mystery. During his testimony, Charles mentioned that his father died during the first year of the cholera.

In fact, the cholera epidemic in North America started in Quebec City during the month of June 1832. It spreads to St. Louis via the Great Lakes. According to the Missouri Intelligencer in October and November, 1832, the cholera raged in the city during those particular months.

For more information on the cholera epidemics in St. Louis :