The marriage record for my paternal ancestors Jean-Baptiste Guérard (ca 1814-after 10 Oct 1870) and Euphrosine Laronde (ca 1820-before 1861 census) does not seem to exist.
I started looking for this couple’s marriage over twenty years ago. I used published resources like Tanguay’s Dictionnaire généalogique des familles canadiennes and microfilmed ones like Loiselle Marriage Index.
Later, I searched a number of online resources when they became available on the Internet, including:
• “Drouin Collection” at Ancestry.ca
• BMS2000 [baptism, marriage, burial] database
• Généalogie du Québec et française d'Amérique
• Le Centre de généalogie francophone d'Amérique [Gedcom files]
• Mes aieux
I also turned to a firm of Montreal-based professional genealogists for help. Unfortunately, they didn’t succeed in locating a marriage record, but they sent me a report of the types of sources they consulted without success; for example, Fichier Fabien, the Archives nationales du Québec à Montréal, and various Répertoires des mariages.1
|Lake Allumette on the Ottawa River in Ontario (ca 1870)|
I might not know exactly when and where Jean-Baptiste and Euphrosine married, but I have it estimated to presumably before December 1840. That’s when their daughter Marie was born, according to her baptism, which took place in February 1841 on Ile des Allumettes.2
Thinking they might have married where their daughter was baptized, I searched the 1841-1851 mission register of St-Paul’s church in Aylmer, Quebec, which is available in the "Drouin Collection" at Ancestry.ca. (St-Paul’s was established in 1841 and started keeping records that year.) I didn’t find a marriage entry for them.
I looked at the register of nearby parish of St-Grégoire-de-Naziance in Buckingham, searching page-by-page from January 1839 through to March 1841. I didn’t find the marriage record.
I extended my search to parishes further afield, like the Pembroke, Ontario missions register for 1839-1842, but was unsuccessful. (Pembroke, which lies across the Ottawa River on the Ontario side, faces Ile des Allumettes.)
I was also not successful when I looked at Ottawa’s Notre-Dame Basilica for January 1835 to July 1841. (I didn’t search earlier than 1835, because Euphrosine, who was born about 1820, probably wouldn’t be younger than 15 years old at her wedding.)
I can think of three reasons why Jean-Baptiste and Euphrosine’s marriage is impossible to find.
#1 – The family lived on Ile des Allumettes in Pontiac County, a sparsely populated and more or less wilderness area in the 1850s. The island didn’t have a resident priest at this time and was served instead by missionary priests. Jean-Baptiste and Euphrosine's marriage record may never have made it into the sacramental register in the travelling priest’s home parish. If it did, it’s in a parish that I haven’t searched or considered.
#2 – Since Euphrosine was born in the Lake Nipissing region of present-day Ontario, she might have married there.3 If she was married by a missionary priest, he might have lost or mislaid the record before he reached his usual parish.
#3 – Euphrosine and Jean-Baptiste might have wed in a Native Indian ceremony with the event going unrecorded.4
So, after 20 years of looking, this is where I’m at – the same place as I was at the beginning of my quest.
Could it be that I’ve overlooked a particular parish? Could it be that my Guérard – Laronde ancestors’ marriage record doesn’t exist?
What about you, dear readers? How would you proceed?
1. Institut généalogique J.L. & associés inc., “Rapport de recherche en généalogie concernant le couple Guérard-Laronde”, prepared by Micheline Lécuyer, prés., Montreal, Quebec, for Yvonne Demoskoff, 10 September 1991; copy privately held by Yvonne Demoskoff, Hope, British Columbia, 2013.
2. St-Paul (Aylmer, Quebec), parish register, 1841-1851, p. 14 verso, no entry no. (1841), Marie Guéra[r]d baptism, 4 February 1841; St-Paul parish; digital image, “Quebec Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : 11 March 2008). Marie’s date of birth “dans le mois de décembre dernier” (in the month of December last) is stated in her baptism record. The baptism took place in the mission of St-Alphonse de Liguori on Ile des Allumettes, but recorded in St-Paul’s sacramental register.
3. Ste-Anne (Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue (aka Ste-Anne-du-Bout-de-l’Isle), Quebec), parish register, 1796-1846, p. 54 verso, no entry no. (1824), Euphroisine [sic] Laronde baptism, 28 July 1824; Ste-Anne parish; digital image, “Quebec Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : 4 March 2011). Euphrosine was 3 years old. Her baptism entry states she was born “au Lac Népiscingue” [Lake Nipissing].
4. Euphrosine’s father Toussaint Laronde appears to be the son of a French-Canadian father and an Aboriginal mother. Her mother Marie Kekijicoköe [Kekijicakoe], described as “une sau[va]gesse” in her daughter’s baptism record, was probably Ojibwa (Chippewa, Algonquin).
“Lake Allumette on the Ottawa River in Ontario” (ca 1870), by Alfred Worsley Holdstock (1820-1901), W.H. Coverdale Collection of Canadiana, Library and Archives Canada.
Copyright © 2013, Yvonne Demoskoff.