Friday, August 22, 2014

52 Ancestors: #34 Joseph Léveillé

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 34th week of this challenge, I chose Joseph Léveillé (1839-1922).

Joseph is my maternal great-great-grandfather and is number 26 in my ancestor list.

Joseph Léveillé born 1839 died 1922
Joseph Léveillé

Early in my research, I found sources that stated Joseph was born about 1839 or in 1842 in New Glasgow, Quebec. It wasn’t until I got a subscription to Ancestry that I eventually found his baptism record. It showed that my great-great-grandfather was born and baptized on 23 August 1839 in St-Lin, L’Assomption County, Quebec. [1] Granted, New Glasgow and St-Lin are near each other, but not near enough to be the same place.

Joseph was a younger son of Jean-Baptiste Léveillé and Adélaïde Coderre. He had four older brothers, Jean-Baptiste, François-Xavier, Louis and Joseph (the last two died as infants), and two sisters, Marguerite and Marie Mélina (who also died as an infant).

The Léveillé family is enumerated on the 1851 census in L’Assomption (at that time Leinster) County in Quebec. Ten years later, Joseph and his parents are living in Russell County, Ontario, according to the 1861 census. It’s possible they were there as early as 1857, because a local history book names a Jean-Baptiste Léveillé and a Xavier Léveillé among some of the first settlers of Embrun. [2] These men could be Joseph’s father and brother, or his two eldest brothers, who paved the way, so to speak, for the rest of the family to join them in this part southeastern Ontario.

In October 1862, Joseph married as his first wife Marguerite Gauthier in Embrun. [3] The couple had one child, a daughter, before Marguerite died. Despite my searches, I haven’t found her burial record or her death registration. I also haven’t found his second marriage, to Cordélia Racette, in the sacramental registers of St-Jacques parish of Embrun. Fortunately, though, the 1871 census helps out by giving a date: November 1870. [4]

In the late 1980s, a distant cousin wrote to me about our mutual ancestors Joseph and Cordélia. He told me about the time he visited their youngest daughter Florida and how she had shared with him many details about her family, as well as photos of her parents. Florida appears to be the source for her parents’ marriage date and place of 10 November 1870 Embrun, Ontario and for the photo of Joseph seen above that was sent to me by my correspondent.[5]

Joseph and Cordélia, who were third cousins, had eleven children, born between 1872 and 1896: Mélanise (Mélanie), Joseph (who died young), Léonie, Clémentine (my great-grandmother), Adeline, Amanda, Adélaïde, Odilon Dominat, Louis, Florida and Eugène.

Joseph, who was a laborer and farmer all his life, died presumably in October 1922. He was buried on 21 October 1922 in the parish cemetery of St-Viateur in Limoges, Russell County, Ontario. [6] Unfortunately, his burial record doesn’t give his date or place of death. I didn’t find Joseph's death registration in’s “Ontario, Canada, Deaths, 1869-1938 and Deaths Overseas, 1939-1947” database or in “Ontario Deaths 1869-1947” at I even searched the microfilmed death registration records at the Archives of Ontario when I was in Toronto last May, but didn’t locate Joseph. I also checked the "Le LAFRANCE" database at Géné in case he died in the province of Quebec, but there weren’t any candidates. Finally, Joseph’s death wouldn’t be registered in that site’s “Mariages et décès 1926-1997” database, because the records begin in 1926, five years after he passed away.


1. St-Lin (St-Lin-des-Laurentides, Quebec), parish register, 1839, p. 21 recto, entry no. B.102, Joseph Léveillé baptism, 23 August 1839; St-Lin parish; digital image, “Quebec Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, ( : accessed 22 August 2008).

2. J.-U. Forget and Elie-J. Auclair, Histoire de Saint-Jacques d’Embrun (Ottawa: La Cie d’Imprimerie d’Ottawa, 1910), 19; digital image, Our Roots ( : accessed 21 April 2013).

3. "Ontario, Roman Catholic Church Records, 1760-1923," digital image, FamilySearch (,221046001,221030802,221049401 : accessed 27 March 2012), Russell > Embrun > St Jacques > Baptisms, marriages, burials 1858-1869 > image 62 of 187, Léveillé – Gauthier marriage.

4. 1871 census of Canada, Russell Township, Russell County, Ontario, population schedule, subdistrict d, p. 27, dwelling 95, family 95, Joseph Léveyer [sic] household; digital image, ( : accessed 22 August 2008); citing Library and Archives Canada, Census of Canada, 1871. The enumerator wrote “November” in Column 16 (Married within last twelve months), indicating that Joseph and Cordélia married in November 1870.

5. Paul Lavoie to Yvonne Belair, letter, 7 January 1988; privately held by Yvonne (Belair) Demoskoff, 2014. Paul, a great-great-grandson of Joseph and Cordélia (Racette) Léveillé, spoke with their daughter Florida (Léveillé) Leroux in Vars, Ontario in 1974.

6. St-Viateur (Limoges, Ontario), parish register, 1911-1927, p. 294, entry no. S.15, Joseph Léveillé (written as Léveillé, indexed as Laville) burial, 21 October 1922; St-Viateur parish; digital image, “Ontario, Canada, Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1747-1967”, ( : accessed 22 August 2008).

Copyright © 2014, Yvonne Demoskoff.

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