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Welcome back to Tenacious Genealogy! One of my goals for this year was to post more frequently than I did in 2018. As part of that, I’m doing Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge. While I’m playing catch up right now, I plan to post about 52 people in my family tree this year.
Week 2’s prompt was CHALLENGE, so I’m going to talk about one of my ancestors who has been a challenge for me to find – Louise Carufelle.
When thinking up who to talk about or what to write about this week, I had several ideas. Like most genealogists, I have LOTS of ancestors who are challenges. Either they have information that does exactly fit, they barely have any information, or they have information that they took with them to the grave. I also have genealogical challenges that aren’t specific to one ancestor. Those include: time, energy, being a mother, working, and everything else that pushes its way onto my list of things to do. But one of the goals that I have for this year long challenge is to explore my (very large) family and possibly meet other people that I am related to.
And that is why this week I’m focusing on Louise Carufelle/Carufel (I’ve seen it spelled both ways). She is one of my 4x great grandmother on my maternal side. There is very little that I know about her and the little that I do know seems to be shrouded in mystery.
The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Joseph Vil(l)andre AKA Louise Carufelle
The story of researching Louise Carufelle begins with a piece of paper, a ‘gust of wind’, and her daughter, Domitilde Vilandre. Back in late 2016, my mother-in-law was doing some temple work for me. Long story short, the work for Domitilde was paused due to the piece of paper with her name disappearing into a ventilation grate. (I explain the story more fully in my post on Domitilde.) This triggered a months long adventure of me tracking down every bit of information I could on Domitilde, including her family of origin. While other family members from Quebec were relatively easy to find due to some of the great records kept by the Catholic parishes there (shout out to The Drouin Collection), Domitilde’s parents – Joseph Villandre and Louise Carufelle were unusually hard to find.
In fact, the only record(s) I have of them connecting them to their children (Fabien and Domitilde) are the respective marriage records for each child. In doing my research for Domitilde, I found out a few interesting tidbits about the records kept in the Drouin collection (and why it is a boon for many people with ancestors from eastern Canada).
- First off, baptism and marriage records (at least for the first marriage) usually note the names of the parents of both the bride and groom. (Which is great for finding mothers’ maiden names!)
- Second, I learned that the parish of the different individuals was often noted, making it easier to find relatives (usually).
- Third, I learned what the terms ‘de feu‘ and ‘de defunct‘ mean in French language records. Both are terms used to refer to an individual who has died prior to the creation of the record.
Why were these three things important? Because all three are what started me researching Louise Carufelle (and Joseph Villandre). In both Fabien’s marriage record (10 Feb 1846) and Domitilde’s (22 Nov 1847), Joseph Villandre and Louise Carufelle are noted as the parents of Fabien and Domitilde. They are noted as being from the parish of Maskinongé and being ‘de feu‘ and ‘de defunct‘ respectively. This meant that it’s highly likely that both parents were dead prior to February 10th, 1846. If this is true, both Fabien and Domitilde were orphans when they got married (despite being well into their 20s) and that may be why they were still very close, even as they got older.
With this information in hand, I happily made my way to the records for the parish of Maskinongé to see if I could find any burial information or death dates for Louise or Joseph. However… despite the parish records for Maskinongé prior to 1846 being digitized, indexed and in fairly good condition, I came up with nothing. Which seemed really, really bizarre. To this day, I have yet to find any records confirming the information about Louise Carufelle or her husband that is in their children’s marriage records.
The Carufel Connection
So why Carufel/Carufelle? When doing some research on the history of the Maskinongé area, I found out that there was a large, prominent, landowning, family with the name ‘Carufel’ living there. As well a large ‘feudal estate’ that went by the same name in and around the area of modern day Saint-Justin, Quebec. During the late 18th/early 19th century (the most likely time for Louise’s birth), they had at least two sons who were of age to have children.
So one possible theory is that ‘Louise Carufelle’ was the illegitimate daughter of someone in the Carufel family and her parentage was an open secret. Another possible theory is that she took ‘Carufel/Carufelle’ as a surname to note where she was from. However… this Louise Carufel/Carufelle is noted as having several children prior to 1825. While one of her sons is Fabien, there is no record for her having a daughter named Domitilde. So while this Louise Carufel/Carufelle may be Domitilde’s mother, she also may not be. (I have yet to find a baptismal record for Domitilde, however that is another story.)
The Challenge Remains
So that is my CHALLENGE so far with Louise Carufel/Carufelle. Perhaps one day I’ll be able to visit that part of Quebec and find out more about that line. Until then, it’s Where did you come from and where did you go? Where did you come from, Louise Carufel?
Questions or comments about this post? Do you know any other tidbits about Louise Carufelle or the Carufel family? Curious about the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge? Let me know in the comments! And if you like what you’ve been seeing here on Tenacious Genealogy – please subscribe to our email list. Not only will you stay up to date with the latest blog posts, but you’ll also get access to freebies such as ’10 Tips for Starting Your Genealogy’ and other fun ‘subscriber only’ items!