From the Archives: Petit Manuel des associés de l’Union de prières et de La Bonne Mort (1873)

Was one of your ancestors a member of the Union de prières et de La Bonne Mort [Union of prayers and of the “good death”]?

Founded in 1851 in Montreal, this association’s objective was to prepare their members for the after-life and help them save their soul. In 1873, it has no less than 50,000 members. Continue reading

Great Find on the Web: Extract of the Official Book of Reference of the Parish of Montreal (1872)

Your ancestor lived in the Montreal parish in 1872? Maybe in Hochelaga, Côte de la Visitation, Côte St. Louis, Côte St. Jean Baptiste or Côte-des-Neiges? Would you like to know if he owned his home or not?

Then, you might be interested by this book I found on the Web.

Extract of the official book of reference of the parish of Montreal : including the incorporated villages of Hochelaga, la Côte de la Visitation, la Côte St. Louis, St. Jean-Baptiste, and la Côte des Neiges / prepared and published by L.W. Sicotte (1872)

It indicates for each lot the name of the owner and the dimensions in the villages mentioned above. The number before each name is the official lot number. If you download the PDF version, you may easily do a search in the document.

extrait officiel

For those who are wondering about the streets mentioned above, they are named today Rachel, Hôtel-de-Ville, Duluth and de Bullion

When compared to the 1871 Canadian Census, this book might be very useful.

I found the names of Honoré Tourville, who lived in the village of St-Henri as well as Élisabeth Lamoureux, widow of Louis Tourville, her son Médard as well as two of her sons-in-law, Denis Barrette and Napoléon Gauvreau who lived in St-Jean-Baptiste village.

Happy Searching!


52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #13: Louis Tourville (1844-1912)

Charles Tourville and Sophie Arpajou had eight children who made it to adulthood, four sons and four daughters. Let’s continue with one of their sons, Louis Tourville, a Civil War veteran.

Louis was born on September 30, 1844 and baptized 6 days later, on October 6, in St-Hughes, Québec. His father Charles was absent at the baptismal ceremony which led me to believe that he was perhaps working in Addison County while Sophia was waiting for Louis’ birth at their house in St-Hughes.

As I explained in previous posts, it seems that around 1850 Charles, then a widower, went on to live with his sister Catherine, brother-in-law and nephews in Chateaugay, NY to get some help from Catherine to raise the younger children. By the end of 1851 or beginning of 1852, we can assume that both the families of Louis’ siblings, Charles Jr and Sophia, moved to Chateaugay after living a few years in Addison County, VT. His brother Joseph and sister Julia seemed to have spent all their lives in Clinton or Franklin Counties after their mother’s death. A decade later, around 1862-63, two other siblings, Peter Stephen and Philomena, also moved from Vergennes, VT to Franklin County, NY with their spouse and children. Nettie will be the only one who will stay permanently in Vermont with her family.

What about Louis? In 1860, he was living in Vergennes within the household of a lawyer. According to the census, at age 15, he attended school during the year which is a little bit surprising to me. Was he working there as a servant as well? Because another boy in the same household was a servant and had also attended school that same year at age 17. Maybe there are some research to do about that lawyer, George W. Grandey. We know for sure that Louis was educated because he knew how to sign his name.

One year later, on September 6, 1861, Louis enrolled in the Civil War. He was mustered in on September 20, fighting with Company F, in the 2nd Regiment of Vermont. Some hints about his appearance: he was 5′ 6″, had black hair and dark eyes. You can read the organization and service of Louis regiment here.

Some important dates concerning Louis’ Civil War Service:

  • He survived the Battle of Gettysburg, PA, which occured July 2-4, 1863.
  • He was mustered out on December, 20,1863 but re-enlisted the following day at Brandy Station, VA.
  • He was wounded from a musket gun shot in the right thigh at the battle of the Wilderness, VA, on May 5, 1864, which lasted 3 days. The ball entered on the inside about 6 or 7 inches above the knee joint and exited nearly opposite its entry. He was admitted at Campbell General Hospital, in Washington, D.C. on May 11, 1864.
  • On May 16, 1864, Louis was furloughed. He returned to duty on August 1, 1864.
  • He was struck in the left thigh by a piece of an exploded shell at the Third Battle of Winchester, VA, on September 19, 1864.
  • He was hospitalized in Montpelier, VT General Hospital and during the following months he is listed as present at the Fort Wood Station, on Bedloe’s Island, in the New York Harbor. By November 1864, he was back with his regiment.
  • He was promoted Corporal on January 1, 1865.
  • He was mustered out with the rest of the regiment on July 15, 1865, in Washington, D.C. although some papers in his Pension file also mentioned July 20 as his discharge date.
Louis' Hospital Card in Washington, DC

Louis’ Hospital Card in Washington, DC

Shortly after his service, on September 20, 1865, Louis married Matilda LaQuire (or Lequin in Québec) in Ferrisburgh, Vermont, before a Methodist minister. Matilda was no stranger to Louis as she was the cousin of Joseph St-Germain, his brother-in-law. The couple quickly moved to Chateaugay, NY as Matilda gave birth there to daughter Mary Jane on December 6, 1865 and baptized on January 1, 1866 at the local St. Patrick’s Catholic Church.

You people out there did notice the dates and did the math. I suppose that Louis did her a favor. I have no proof that he was back in Vermont nine months or even seven months before the birth of Mary Jane. I also noticed that Mary Jane stated her birth year as 1866. She was probably told that she was born in 1866. You can change a birth date but not the timeline of the Civil War.

At the end of the summer of 1868, the couple welcomed another daughter, Lizzie. A few months later, the family moved to Grand Haven, MI. On August 19, 1869, Lizzie died at age 1, from teething. On December 23, 1869, a third daughter was born, Clarissa.

I know from various Grantor/Grantee Indexes that a land was purchased from Louis in 1866, 1868 as well as in 1872 in Chateaugay, NY but I haven’t seen the documents. Only very recently have I found the birth of another child, George, who was born on March 17, 1872 in Ferrisburgh, VT. He was baptized 4 days later at the Charlotte Catholic Church. I think there is a possibility that his brother Peter Stephen was living on the land as it was sold to Peter by Louis in 1884. The family probably returned to Grand Haven shortly after George’s birth.

I tried everything to find Louis and Matilda in the 1870 US Census in Michigan without any luck. Same thing for Louis sister’s Philomena and her husband Dwight Daniels who also lived in Grand Haven at the same time.They were left out.

According to the 1880 US Census, Louis was living in Grand Haven, working in a livery stable, with his wife Matilda and their two daughters, Mary and Clarissa. So his son George either died in Vermont or in Michigan. On January 1, 1883, Louis’ name appeared in the 1883 Michigan Civil War Pension Roll as a resident of Grand Haven. Also the Grand Haven G.A.R. Post #75 1883 List states that he was a sailor. His daughter Mary Jane was married in 1883 to Marinus Kamhout and his daughter Clarissa was married in 1886 to Edward Palmer, both in Grand Haven. Clarissa’s father-in-law, Philander Palmer, a physician, was also a Civil War Veteran and was a member of G.A.R. Post #75 with Louis.

Clarissa is high on my “Missing People” list. Edward Palmer married his second wife in 1892 but I have no idea what happened to Clarissa. In fact, Clarissa’s marriage is the last trace I found of Matilda as well as she was the witness for the bride.

By 1886, Louis moved to Minneapolis, MN. He occupied all kind of jobs there: hackman, laborer, hostler, groom, teamster. For a time, he was working at E.C. Butts & Sons. E.C. Butts was a native a Vermont and had also a business in Grand Haven. I often wondered if Louis left Grand Haven because his wife died. Or had he left with her and she died in Minneapolis? Or has he simply left his family? A questionnaire sent to the veterans in 1898 concerning the family members of the veterans only states: “Wife dead”  written by Louis’ hand. No mention of his daughters.

By 1896 Louis was back in Grand Haven as he was working as a porter at an hotel there. In 1907, he declared that he then lived in Chateaugay, NY. His name is not in the 1905 NY State Census so we can assume he came back to Chateaugay around 1907. We found him there in 1910, living with his nephew Albert.

In order to receive his pension, Louis had to go through a biannual medical exam from what I gathered.The first one was in Malone, NY in 1867. The doctor declared him one half incapacitated and the disability was permanent. Louis complained of rheumatic pains in the leg which became aggravated after much fatigue. The next exams were in Grand Haven, MI, in both 1873 and 1875. In 1877, the exam was made in Grand Rapids, MI. The later exams were in Minneapolis in 1890, 1891 and 1892. His pension was first at the monthly rate of $4, then went down to $2. He did challenge the amount but he had to wait until 1907 to get a monthly rate of $12 due to his age (over 62). His medical reports also showed his weight gain. From 145 lbs at age 29 to 165 lbs at age 45.

Louis died on March 27, 1912 in Chateaugay. At the time, he was living with his nephew Albert Tourville. He was buried in St. Patrick’s Catholic Cemetery, in Chateaugay, NY. All these long trips accross the country and he died where he grew up as child.


Louis Tourville Obituary - March 29, 1912 - Chateaugay Record and Franklin Democrat

Louis Tourville Obituary – March 29, 1912 – Chateaugay Record and Franklin Democrat

52 Ancestors / 52 Weeks is an idea proposed by Amy Johnson Crow. Link on the image for more details about it.

52 Ancestors / 52 Weeks is an idea proposed by Amy Johnson Crow. Link on the image for more details about it.

Voyageur Contract Database: A Gold Mine for Genealogists and our Family

A few months ago, I discovered the Voyageur Contract Database on the Web. This database is really a gold mine for genealogists looking for their French-Canadian ancestors. It includes data from approximately 35,900 fur trade contracts passed before Montreal notaries between 1714 and 1830. It was at first an initiative of the Société historique de St-Boniface, Manitoba.

For those earlier years, in absence of censuses, it allows us to keep track of people, some individuals having honored more than one contract. Looking for descendants of your ancestors and can’t find them? This database might give you a clue about their whereabouts.

The great thing about this database is that you can also do a search by parish. If your ancestor came from a small village, you can easily find relatives or neighbours leaving with him. And if your ancestor bear more than one surname and his name was mispelled by the notary, looking by parish might help you find other contracts for him.

The database can be found here for research as well as the history of the project and all the parameters for research.

The Voyageur Contract Database and the Hubou-Tourville Family

With the help of this database, I have located these contracts with various notaries:

As you can see, more work for me! 😉


52 Ancestors: #3 Guillaume Hubou (? -1653)

20121115034504!GlobeThe Pioneers from Mesnil-Durand, France

We have identified five persons who came from Mesnil-Durand in the 17th Century: Guillaume Hubou (about 1627), Barbe Hubou (1639), Mathieu Hubou (1641), Nicolas Goupil (1642) and Françoise Hubou (1662).

Here is the story of Guillaume Hubou.


Let’s climb up to the top of my tree! My direct paternal ancestor, Mathieu Hubou, came to New France around 1642 to join his uncle Guillaume Hubou on his journey that had begun 15 years earlier.

From Mesnil-Durand, in Calvados, France, as was his nephew, Guillaume probably arrived before 1627 as historian Marcel Trudel mentioned that he was not listed as a migrant in 1627 nor 1628. Married to Marie Rollet, widow of Louis Hébert, on May 16, 1629 in the presence of Samuel de Champlain, he stayed in Québec with Marie when the Kirke brothers took possession of the city that year. Most of the French people who were sent back to France came back to Quebec in 1632.

In the parish registers of St-André du Mesnil-Durand, I have found the baptism of Katherine, a sister of Mathieu, baptized on December 29, 1622. Guillaume Hubou was his godfather. This document is the oldest proof of the existence of Guillaume. Son of Jean Hubou and Jeanne Goupil, some reference books estimated he was born around 1600, but II have yet to find a source document to prove it. The names of his parents is known through the marriage of his sister Barbe who arrived in New France around 1639 to be his servant under a contract until 1642, year of her marriage.

Guillaume Hubou was granted a land in the Sault-au-Matelot “fief” in 1634. Several contracts were signed by Guillaume over the years. One seems to be very interesting: the list of movables from Guillaume Hubou after the death of Marie Rollet in 1649. I intend to get a copy of it on my next visit to the Archives and make a transcription (or at least try!).

Guillaume Hubou was buried 13 May 1653 in Québec, an “old inhabitant of the country,” wrote the priest.

I am closing my post with a little mystery. Would you please help me with the transcript of Katherine’s baptismal act? 😉 You may click on the image to enlarge it.


  • Hervé Pencalet suggested Katherine Vauquane de la Berniere.
  • Claire Burman suggested Katherine Vauquenu de la Berniere.
  • Hervé has found Vauquanu (spelled Vaucanu today).
  • I found out a village near Mesnil-Durand is called La Brévière. Katherine Vauquanu de la Brévière (of the village named La Brévière!). Thanks everyone!
 Translation of the baptismal Act

Katherine Hubout daughter of Nicollad was baptized on the twenty nine of December (…) by me Louid Mavia (?) priest, godfather and godmother, Guillaume Huboult & Katherine Vauquanu de la Berniere.

katherine hubout fille de nicollad fut baptisé le vingt neuf jour de decembre (…) par moy louyd mavia(?) pretre vicaire (…) ses parrain & marraine guillaume huboult & katherine banquanne (???) de la (…)??

52 Ancestors: #2 – Louis Tourville (1838-1895)

As part of the 52 Ancestors Challenge, I promised my Facebook friends that I would alternate between Quebec and the United States for members of the Hubou-Tourville family. So Louis Tourville is not a direct ancestor of mine but mind you, a 3rd cousin 3 times removed. 😉

I cannot imagine the emotional roller coaster the family of Louis Tourville has endured after his tragic death on that Sunday, May 12, 1895, in Chicago Post-Graduate Hospital.

All began the previous Wednesday when Louis Tourville was working on the drainage canal. He was employed for some time by Hendenreich Company Contractors. As reported in the Chicago Tribune of May 17, 1895: “…while at work near one of the dumps (…) he was caught by a cable rope which elevates cars and was jerked into the air with great violence.” Louis suffered from internal injuries and was badly bruised. They probably thought it was not that serious since they brought him back home but he was later rushed to Post-Graduate Hospital where he died four days later.

 View of O.C. Farrington [verify], standing in the excavation site of the new Chicago Drainage [Sanitary and Ship] Canal. "Construction proceeds on the Sanitary and Ship Canal...much of the 28 miles was through solid rock underlying the continental divide." 1896. Original size and material: 4x5 inch glass negative Digital Identifier: CSGEO8770 Part of the Illinois Urban Landscapes Project:

View of O.C. Farrington [verify], standing in the excavation site of the new Chicago Drainage [Sanitary and Ship] Canal. “Construction proceeds on the Sanitary and Ship Canal…much of the 28 miles was through solid rock underlying the continental divide.” 1896.
Original size and material: 4×5 inch glass negative
Digital Identifier: CSGEO8770
Part of the Illinois Urban Landscapes Project:

Afterwards, on May 14, just as the family was preparing for the funeral and burial in Mt. Calvary Cemetery, it was stopped by Coroner McHale and the body of Louis was put in a vault until an inquest could be conducted. It was suspected that the death certificate issued by Dr. Kuraeff of Post-Graduate Hospital was not in accordance with the real facts.

The coroner’s inquest was held on May 16, 1895, 4 days after Louis’ death. The verdict issued by the jury concluded that “(…) from the evidence presented (…) the said cable was not properly protected to avoid accidents and ensure (…) Hendenreich Company Contractors for not doing so.” The jury also blamed the doctor for issuing a burial certificate not in accordance with the cause of death. The jury also recommended that the “(…) proper authorities take steps to remedy such cases in the future.”

Looking at the coroner’s inquest form, the list of witnesses included Louis Tourville, a moulder, living at 270 Forquer St., which can only be Louis’ son. So that means that Louis has witnessed his father’s accident…

Louis Tourville was born in Lachenaie, Quebec, in 1838, son of Louis Tourville and Elisabeth Lamoureux. His family moved to Montreal during the late 1830’s. Just a few Tourville families were living in Montreal at that time. Lucky enough, we actually can find them in the 1842 and 1851 Canadian Census in Montreal. Census for these periods are very incomplete.

Louis Tourville married Suzanne Bélec on September 13, 1858 at Notre-Dame Church in Montreal. The couple had 11 children, all born in Montreal, 9 making it to adulthood.

Carpenter and moulder by trade, Louis and his family moved to Chicago probably in October 1880 (according to the U.S. naturalization record of his son Victor). An economic recession that started in 1873 might have triggered him to move to Chicago where the economy was flourishing in the 1880’s. His nephew Alphonse was already there since about 1878.


52 Ancestors / 52 Weeks is an idea proposed by Amy Johnson Crow. Link on the image for more details about it.

52 Ancestors / 52 Weeks is an idea proposed by Amy Johnson Crow. Link on the image for more details about it.

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 :




What’s in a name?

In the past and more recently, some of you have asked me about the name Hubou-Tourville. When I was a little girl, looking in the dictionary, I was of course convinced that Anne Hilarion de Costentin Tourville, a count from Normandy, in France, was my ancestor. Well, unfortunately, such is not the case.

Anne Hilarion de Costentin, count of Tourville (1642, Coutances – 23 May 1701, Paris)

In 1975, we had the opportunity to ask for our genealogy tree to be made for free from a special program from the ministry of culture (Québec). It took us one year to get a response. I was too young at the time, but looking back, knowing that it would be so easy in our case (it would have taken me 30 minutes), I would have liked to do it myself. When we actually received our genealogy tree, my father said with astonishment: “Hey, I just remembered that my father once told us that our real name was Hubou!” What amazed me is that if my father wouldn’t have seen it that day, he would have probably never told us about it.

In New-France, many people had a “dit” name which I could translate by a.k.a. It was often descriptive. For Americans looking for their French-Canadian ancestry, the task can be a little more difficult, not to mention the anglicization of some names (Boisvert to Greenwood for example).

Mathieu Hubou, our ancestor, came to which is now Québec City around 1642. Later on, he also adopted a “dit” name which was Deslongchamps. His two sons, Jean-Baptiste and Mathieu were also called Hubou dit Deslongchamps. All the descendents of Mathieu kept the name of Deslongchamps, which that means that the Deslongchamps and the Tourvilles do have the same ancestor.

However, the son of Jean-Baptiste, Augustin, was called Hubou dit Tourville. The “dit” name Deslongchamps is easy to figure out. In a contract, Mathieu Hubou is said to be living in the place called “des longs champs” (the place where there are long fields). However, the “dit” name Tourville is not descriptive. The first mention of this surname in the church or notary records is at the time of his marriage in 1712.

Could it be possible that Augustin adopted it because he admired the Count of Tourville? I think this could be an explanation. The count of Tourville died in 1701 in France and by the time Augustin was an adult (he was born in 1691), he had surely heard about the victories of Count Tourville’s battles against the English and Dutch fleets.

Another family in New France adopted the Tourville name as a “dit” name. Some Dutaut-Tourvilles also emigrated to the United States (mainly to Minnesota) but that family is not related at all to the Hubous even we have the same surname. The first mention of the surname of Tourville for the Duteaus is in 1720.

If you want to know more about the count of Tourville:

If you want to know more about the “dit” name custom