Friday, May 23, 2014

52 Ancestors: #21 Ménésippe Meunier

Amy Johnson Crow at No Story Too Small has issued herself and her readers a challenge for 2014. It’s called “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks”, and as Amy explains, the challenge is to “have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor”.

For the 21st week of this challenge, I chose Ménésippe Meunier (1829-1883).

Ménésippe Meunier is my paternal great-great-grandfather and is number 18 in my ancestor list.

He was born on 26 February 1829 in Ste-Anne-des-Plaines, northwest of Montreal, in Terrebonne County, Quebec and baptized there that day in Ste-Anne parish church.

Ménésippe was the seventh child of Jean-Baptiste Meunier and his wife Adélaïde Larose. He had seven brothers (four died as children) and three sisters.

During my search for records about my 2x great-grandfather, I encountered interesting spelling variations of his name. Examples include:

• Ménazime (at his baptism in 1829)

• Ménésippe (at his daughter Angélina’s baptism in 1855 and at his children Angélina, Léocadie and Ménésippe’s marriages in 1879, 1880 and 1882)

• Menazipe (on the 1861 and 1871 censuses)

• Ménazipe (on the 1881 census)

• Ménézique (at his burial in 1883).

His surname is usually spelled Meunier, but occasionally appears as Munier (at his marriage in 1853) and Munié (on the 1881 census).

In my files, I standardize his name as Ménésippe Meunier, but include a note about the variations.

If Ménésippe’s name isn’t a mystery, his presence on the 1851 Census of Canada is. (I’ve found him on the 1861, 1871 and 1881 censuses.) He’s not living in Ste-Anne-des-Plaines with his parents or his married brothers Jean-Baptiste and Moïse. He’s also not residing with his married sister Adélaïde in the town of Terrebonne. I even checked Ste-Cécile-de-Masham in Gatineau County to see if had relocated there, where his future wife lived, but no luck.

I estimate that Ménésippe moved from home in Ste-Anne-des-Plaines in the mid- to late-1840s. He probably settled in Ste-Cécile-de-Masham in the early 1850s, presumably after the 1851 census. Here he made the acquaintance of Pierre Drouin (Derouin) and his family, who were also recent arrivals to Masham.

I wonder if Ménésippe was aware that he and Louise (Eloise), Pierre’s younger daughter, shared common ancestors and were fourth cousins when they courted. It doesn’t look like a dispensation due to consanguinity was required when they wed on 4 October 1853 in Masham, because the priest did not record this fact in the sacramental register.

Ménésippe and Louise were the parents of eleven children, seven sons and four daughters. The eldest child was my great-grandmother Angélina. I’ve written about her for 52 Ancestors; see her story here.

After twenty-nine years of marriage, Ménésippe died on 24 January 1883 in Masham; he was not quite 54 years old. He was buried there two days later in the parish cemetery.

Copyright © 2014, Yvonne Demoskoff.

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