Sunday, January 24, 2016

Church Record Sunday: Pierre Janvry dit Belair’s 1852 Baptism Record

Today – 24 January – marks the 164th anniversary of the baptism of my paternal great-grandfather Pierre Janvry dit Belair. [1]

Baptism record of Pierre Janvry dit Belair
Pierre Janvry dit Belair baptism record (FamilySearch)

I recently downloaded the above image from FamilySearch, but I first saw Pierre’s baptism record about 30 years ago. I was on vacation in Ottawa at the time, and decided to visit the Archives nationales du Québec (Centre de l’Outaouais) across the river in Hull (now Gatineau), Quebec.

I chose a microfilm reel of baptism, marriage and burial records and hoped to find Pierre’s baptism, thinking he should appear under either “Janvry” or his dit name “Belair”. I knew that he was born in December 1851, so I concentrated on that month. I was puzzled when I couldn’t find him, so tried a second time and included January 1852. As I viewed that month, something caught my eye. The name in the sidebar on the microfilm was challenging to read, but it looked like “Peter Geanvrier”. I wondered if this person could be my Pierre Janvry, so I read the text and realized it was my ancestor. Pleased with my find, I immediately made a paper copy of the page.

When I began looking at those microfilmed records, it hadn’t occurred to me to keep in mind that Pierre’s name might be spelled differently from what I was used to. I imagine it must have been difficult for the officiating Irish-born Oblate priest Thomas O’Boyle to understand my French great-great-grandfather pronounce his surname. [2] Father O’Boyle might have figured that “Geanvrier” was close enough to “Janvry”.

The baptism record (above) reads in English:

On the twenty fourth day of January in / the year one thousand eight hundred and / fifty two, we the undersigned Priest / have baptized Pierre born the first / of December last of the lawful marriage / of Paul Geanvrier & Angèle Lalonde. / The Godfather was Joseph Clemens & / the Godmother Scholastique St Michel, who / as well as the parents cannot write. [signed] Thomas O’Boyle o.m.i.

One last note: although Pierre’s baptism record does not mention his parents’ place of residence, he was presumably baptized where he was born in Ste-Cécile-de-Masham (now La Pêche), with the event registered in the sacramental registers of St-Camillus church in nearby Farrellton, Quebec.


1. "Québec, registres paroissiaux catholiques, 1621-1979," digital images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 21 January 2016), Farrellton > Saint-Camille > Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1850-1876 > image 26 of 246; nos paroisses de Église Catholique, Quebec (Catholic Church parishes, Quebec).

2. Anne-Marie Ibell, “[Q-R] Father Thomas Boyle1820-1866”, QUEBEC-RESEARCH-L Archives, message board, 6 August 2003 ( : accessed 21 January 2016).

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

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