Saturday, December 24, 2011

Thinking of trying something new

Ok, a while back was running a promotion where they would allow access to a handful of World Collection databases for free. One of those databases that was open was the Drouin Collection. For those who aren't familiar with this, it's a set of Catholic church records from primarily Quebec (though I understand there is a sprinkling of records from Ontario and other denominations included on the original film though not in the ancestry collection). The records stretch as far back as the 17th century and go all the way into the 20th. It's a huge, huge collection of the births, marriages, and deaths of French Canada and this was the first time I was able to take a look at any of it since I don't have a subscription to the World Collection, and my French is a little rusty. What happened though, is that my interest turned towards my Dellibac French Canadian ancestors and now I'm thinking I might try and run with it. There are some issues though that have been and/or will prove to be a bit sticky....and I'm not just talking about the fact that it's been more years than I prefer to count since I took high school French. Here's what I know so far:

The Run-Down-

Moise Dellibac first appears in the 1855 Illinois state census living in Iroquois County. He appears to be the head of a fairly young family with himself aged 30-40, a female aged 20-30 (presumably his wife, Anastasia Mombleau), and two males under 10. In 1860, the family is found in Kankakee County (which was formed from part of Iroquois County) with "Moyse" aged 35, his wife age 27, and three boys Frs H 4, Henry 2, and Charles 3 months, all born in Illinois. Illinois took another state census in 1865 where "Moses" is shown in Kankakee County, as of 40 and under 50, a female of 30 and under 40, and three boys 10 and under. In 1870, they are again in Kankakee County; Moise 45, Anastasie 38, F Xavier 15, Henry 13, Charles 11, Moise 4, Narcisse 2, and Josephine (my Great Great Grandmother) 1 month. The last census appearance for Moise is in 1880, where the family is again in Kankakee County. Moise is now 61 years old and his wife "Nestage" is 50. They have 6 children living with them; Xavier 24, Henry 22, Moses 14, Narcisse 11, Josephine 10, Carine 7.

Where the problems begin-

Moise's death: Anastasia was living alone as a widow in 1900 and most family members show that Moise died in Illinois (probably Kankakee County) in 1896. This information is unconfirmed and unsourced. An attempt to find a death record was attempted earlier this year, but there is no record of a death for him at the county courthouse for anytime before or after 1896 and he is not listed in the pre-1916 death index for the state.

When they came over: Through the range of all of these enumerations, the children are listed as having been born in Illinois but both parents were born in Canada. No passenger list has been found for either Moise or Anastasia (with her maiden name or as Moise's wife). No marriage for Moise and Anastasia has been found either in Kankakee or in the Illinois Statewide Marriage Index. This doesn't necessarily discount their marriage however, since the marriage records of Iroquois County for the period covering the 1850s and early to mid-1860s were burned in a courthouse fire in the late 1860s. They could have come separately, perhaps with their parents or siblings and then married in IL or come together as a newly married couple from Canada and started their family once they got here. Either way, there is no marriage record found and no passenger list for either of them.

Names: Also, the names are an issue when searching for this group. Moise is often found as Moses, Dellibac can be spelled any number of ways (including Delibac, Delliback, Deliback, De Lubac, etc.). Anastasia is found with all manner of weird spellings, both for the full given name as well as for a shortened version, like Nestage, sometimes with a random "z" thrown in for no reason. When trying to search for her family, to look for relatives who may have lived nearby, Mombleau could be Monbleau, Mombleaux, Montbleau or Montbleaux, etc. Also, let's not forget that since they were French Canadian, there may be what's known as a dit name that I'm not aware of. I've heard these French call names in several of the NGSQ articles that are case studies for primarily Louisiana families but since I haven't researched anyone of French ancestry before, I've never had to figure this part out. But this may be an issue here and without knowing what that dit name might have been, I don't really know what name they could be under, especially where the passenger list search is concerned.


Anastasia is found in Kankakee County in the 1900 census living alone as a widow. She is shown as the mother of 10 children, 5 then living, and her immigration year is given as 1848. She is still there in 1910, no immigration year is given, and thanks to I can see that she died in Minnesota in 1919 (her son, Moise/Moses was living there at the time of the 1920 census so presumably she had gone to live close to family right before her death). While this record has been indexed on that site, very little information is shown and it is undetermined whether information was included on the original and just not transcribed onto the website or if the pertinent information regarding birth was omitted by the informant. Either way, I need to order the record just for confirmation of her death, if for nothing else. But that still doesn't help me too much with figuring out when they came to the U.S. and where in Quebec Moise had come from.

For Moise's place of birth, it may be helpful to track down the marriage and death records for the children. However, several of them died between 1855 and 1900 so I will definitely need to comb the death records to find out who died when and then go into the marriage records to find out when the girls married and who they married. The marriage records might end up being the most helpful since place of father's birth was on the marriage registers in Kankakee County around this time. Though Josephine's marriage records (she married a couple of times) don't get much more specific than Canada or French Canada, she was one of the youngest children so it would be worth going after the vital records for the older kids to compare. For all of this, the fact that the family was Catholic might end up helping me pinpoint all of the vital records, if I can find out which church they attended and then whether the records are still extant.

Also, though no death record was found for Moise, he may have had a probate case opened up. When I was in Kankakee earlier in the year, just for a brief look around, I was able to take a look at Dellibac land transactions in the deed books for the years around that questionable 1896 death date for him. There was some activity in that pre-1900 time frame to suggest that something might be going on, but I would like some additional time to see if a probate file was opened. If not, more time to go into what was happening with the land to help me narrow down when he could have died.

Another big thing with this group is that they were constantly living near extended family members. A family group with an older Dellibac is shown directly below Moise on the IL census enumeration sheet of 1855. Alex and Felicite (Gaudreau) are presumed to be Moise's parents by family members, though again, no one has presented any sourced information on this. His first appearance on census enumerations also happens to be the sheet of the Iroquois County IL census of 1855, which could be an indicator that they might have come over together though, like Moise, no passenger list has been found for him. A Joseph Dellaback is also shown on that 1855 census page in close proximity to Moise and Alex as a male age 20-30 with a female the same age. He cannot be found on schedules after that.

So I think that's the full round-up of info for now. I'm not sure if I want to jump into this, it's going to be a lot of work, and I'm not sure how successful I'll be since there are a few things here that will be new to me. But I really would like to be able to at least narrow down when Moise died a little better, and find out when he might have come over, whether it was as a married man or single and he married in Illinois, where in Quebec he came from, and whether Alex and Felicite were really his parents.

...And this all snowballed from one free week of access to one of the World Collection databases on Kindof hard to think that if all this happens from one database, what would happen if I had full access to the collection? Yikes!

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