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In 2007, I joined Ancestry.com. It never occurred to me that online, unsourced trees were inaccurate. I essentially “copied” my entire Acadian family from potentially erroneous public trees and never looked back. Although my newer entries are sourced, a visit to Stephen A. White, at Moncton University’s Centre d’Études Acadiennes [Center for Acadian Studies] in 2014, revealed a number of errors. I am determined to start from scratch, and verify that I have all available records beginning with the 30 direct ancestors, connected to my maternal grandmother. This includes her parents, grandparents, g-grandparents and g-g-grandparents.
To keep the project manageable, I will write of one ancestor each week.
Week #1 – Yvonne Marie (Roy) Billings
Week #2 – Pius/Paul Dost Roy
Week #3 – Marie Laura “Laura” Melanson
4. Docité OR Dosithée Roy, son of Joseph Roy/Roi and Angélique Beliveau, was born on 29 Jul 1857 and was baptized the following day at Saint-Jean Baptiste Catholic Church in Bouctouche, Kent, New Brunswick, Canada. His godparents were Agnes Roy (paternal aunt) and Pacifique Beliveau (maternal uncle).
Docité was Joseph’s fifth known child and Angélique’s first. He joined the following siblings:
(1) Cyrille – Joseph’s son from his first marriage to Henriette Legere, baptized 20 November 1847, St-Jean Parish in Bouctouche.
(2) Pierre – Joseph’s son from his first marriage, baptized 30 November 1849, in St-Jean Parish in Bouctouche. Godparents were Pierre Hebert and Marie Roi.
(3) Libie (Lébée/Lybie?)– Joseph’s daughter from his first marriage, baptized 28 Dec 1851, in St-Jean Parish in Bouctouche; godparents were François Roy and Vénérande Savoie (Docité’s paternal grandparents) It is possible that she died young, was adopted and/or the name “Libie” is in error, as it is not a “typical” name of the place/time. To date, she has not been found in other records.
(4) Hippolite – Joseph’s son from his first marriage, baptized 9 Feb 1853, in St-Jean Parish in Bouctouche; godparents were Louis Legere and Olive LeBlanc. He was not living with the Roy family in any census year and according to his marriage record, was adopted after his mother’s death by Eustache Poirier and his wife Cecile Legere (daughter of Simon Legere and Marie-Rose Arsenault and his mother Henriette’s biological cousin). He resided with them in 1871 in Grande-Digue and was enumerated as Hyppolyte Poirier. It is unknown whether he had a relationship with his biological family, nonetheless, with the exception of this census, all records seem to indicate that he used the Roy surname for his lifetime.
Although the church pictured in 1893 is in the same location as the 1857 church, the actual church where Docité was baptized, was struck by lightning and burned to the ground in 1886. It was rebuilt only to be destroyed again by fire on 18 December 1921. This is a beautiful spot, overlooking the cemetery where many Acadian ancestors are buried, offering picturesque ocean views, as they walked to attend church services (albeit chilly in wintertime).
After the second loss, the parish had a difficult decision to make. The convent, church, priest’s residence and the cemetery had been the center of the village life, even though the village was located some two kilometers away. Family members were buried in the cemetery and many didn’t want to “abandon” them. Others argued that the spot was subject to very severe climate and attending services was becoming more difficult. Finally the parishioners made the difficult decision to rebuild the church and priest’s residence in a calmer spot in the village.
The first priest’s residence of Bouctouche, (left in top photo) has been converted to a lovely (reasonably priced) country inn called Auberge le Vieux Presbytere; where I stayed for two nights in 2014.
1861 Canadian Census
In 1861, 4-year-old Docité and his family resided on a farm in the Parish of Wellington, Kent County (which included the area of St. Mary’s Parish until 1867) and used the surname King (English translation of Roy); they were Roman Catholic.
- Joseph, junior, age 31, farmer [Docité’s father]
- Angélique, age 29, wife [Docité’s mother]
- Ceril, age 14, son [likely Docité’s half-brother, Cyrille, from his father’s first marriage to Legere, baptized 20 November 1847]
- Peter, age 12, son [likely Docité’s half-brother, Pierre, from his father’s first marriage to Legere, baptized 30 November 1849]
- Docité, age 4, son
- Cephor, age 3, son [likely Sifroi, baptized 12 November 1858, St-Jean Parish in Bouctouche. Godparent was Charles Maillet]
- Onriette, age 1, daughter [likely Henriette, baptized 2 December 1860, St-Jean Parish in Bouctouche. Godparents were Jean C. Maillet and Marraine Henriette Bastarache]
Next door (or on a farm nearby) are Docité’s likely paternal relatives:
- Frank, junior, age 63, widower, farmer [Docité’s grandfather, Francois – According to Stephen White’s “La généalogie des trente-sept familles, hôtesses des « Retrouvailles 94 » – SAVOIE , his wife, Vénérande, died in Bouctouche 27 May 1858, when Docité was still an infant]
- Olive. age 39, daughter [likely Docité’s aunt]
- Onyez [Agnes ?], age 37, daughter [likely Docité’s aunt and godmother]
- Frank, senior, age 92, lodger [likely Docité’s paternal g-grandfather – Francois]
Docité’s father had 33 acres, of which 20 had been improved, valued at $150, with other farm machinery valued at $20. He had no employees. Docité’s grandfather’s farm was quite similar (details in a future sketch).
His dad Joseph’s animals included: two horses; two milk cows; two working oxen; four sheep; and six swine/pigs.
He reported slaughtering 400 pounds of pork; netted eight pounds of wool; and created $20 of cloth (or similar manufactured products). Eight acres of land was dedicated to production of hay (he netted three tons). The farm produced 30 bushels of wheat (from three acres), eight bushels barley (from 1/2 acre), 50 bushels oats (from four acres), twelve bushels buckwheat (from one acre) and 300 bushels potatoes (from three acres).
The farm was likely situated in Bouctouche in the area labelled “Francis King” on the map (No100) below. Docité’s paternal grandmother, Vénérande, died in Bouctouche in 1858; this further strengthens the case that they resided there.
Land deeds for Docité’s parents and grandparents have not yet been examined. The known grantor/grantee indexes for the Roy/King surnames in Kent County from 1827 to 1941 can be found here: New Brunswick Roy deeds
The census reported that none of the children had attended school the prior year. When Docité was a child, schooling was largely through traveling teachers who served many villages at once. It was not until the time of the Canadian Confederation, in 1867, that the Acadians were able to re-establish some semblance of their pre-expulsion society. At that time, schools were founded (although education was not highly valued in many areas and the offerings were not ideal for several decades) and the people began taking an active part in political life (as Catholic’s they were previously denied the right to vote or participate in the legislature). Although many continued to lived in abject poverty; a contributing factor being that Acadian farmers primarily held land along the coast, in less fertile areas.
On 8 July 1867, a week after the Confederation, Le Moniteur, the first French newspaper of the Maritimes, began to be published weekly in Shediac (although its start was a bit bumpy, and there were a few stops and starts along the way, it was published until 1926). This aided with Acadian efforts to improve their situation by providing a platform for them to express ideas to aid in solving the problems they faced, it’s motto being “Notre langue, notre religion et nos coutumes” – “Our language, our religion, our customs”.
1871 Canadian Census
In 1871 Docité and family were enumerated (with four additional children) in the newly formed parish of St. Mary’s in Sainte-Marie-de-Kent (Olivier born 1870 was the first Roy child baptised in Ste Marie at Mont-Carmel), which in 1871 had a population of 100. Docité’s parents were unable to read or write (this question was only asked of those over age 20) but presumably no one in the family could read or write as none of the children were attending school.
- Joseph, 42, cultivateur (farmer), can not read or write
- Angelique, 40, can not read or write
- Docitée, 13
- Sylvain, 9 [ baptized 12 December 1861, St-Jean Parish in Bouctouche. Godparents were Sylvain Maillet and Marraine Jeanette LeBlanc. Joseph’s middle name is given as Francois]
- Cécile, 5 [baptized 4 June 1866, St-Jean Parish in Bouctouche. Godparents were Cyrille Roy and Cecile Allain]
- Vitál, 8 [likely baptized 30 March 1868, St-Jean Parish in Bouctouche. Godparents were Edouard and Marraine Genevieve Belliveau. Note that his mother is recorded as “Julie”, this was the only record in the parish that was likely the correct baptism for Vital, perhaps Julie is in error and it was meant to be Judith. His marriage record names Judith as his mother, and when he travels to the US in 1916 he gives a contact in Canada as a brother Sylvain.]
- Olivier, 10 months [baptized 5 June 1870, at Ste. Marie de Mont-Carmel. Godparents were _____ Maillet and _____ Richard]
Joseph’s sons Cyrille and Pierre are residing together nearby, in Saint Marie, with Agnes Roy [sister of Joseph]. No other members of the King/Roy family were found nearby in 1861. A widowed Frances Roi, of the correct age to be Docité’s grandfather was found in Wellington residing with the family of Joseph & Mary Ferware (enumerated as Jerway in 1861 and two census pages away from the Roy’s in Wellington), perhaps Fougere?
Docité’s father, in 1871, seemed to own significantly more acreage than he did in 1961. He had 125 acres of which 30 were improved and 12 were pasture (they did not have a garden). There were two dwelling houses on the property, one of which was uninhabited. They had one barn or stable, two carriages or sleighs, 2 cars/wagons or sleds and one plough or cultivator.
Animals included: one horses over 3 years old; two working oxen; three milk cows; one “other horned cattle”; six sheep – 6 (one was killed or sold for slaughter/export); five swine/pigs (one was killed or sold for slaughter/export)
The farm produced eight acres of wheat crops on which he netted the followings bushels – 30 of spring wheat (sown in the spring and is harvested in the fall), seven of barley, 60 of oats and 90 of buckwheat. He had four acres of potatoes which netted 125 bushels. He had two acres of hay which netted three ton of 2,000 lbs or bundles of 16 lbs of hay and 40 bushels of apples. The sheep netted 20 pounds of wool which produced 60 yards of home-made cloth or flannel.
Joseph did not appear to be involved with fishing, forestry or mineral products. It is possible that he was involved with steel/iron as a Blacksmith “Ouvrages et réparations de Forgerons en tout genre” (Works and Repairs of Blacksmith of all kinds). The schedule has a line through his name, it is unknown if the enumerator crossed this out or if it was done later – he was only involved in the business for 1/2 a month and although he had $40 in capital only made a few dollars. It could be a business that was discontinued that census year but was perhaps run in years prior.
Sixteen people died in St Marie the prior year, most from consumption, malaria or diarrhea. There were two Roy cousins of Docité – schedule here. Docité’s grandfather, who had lived near them in 1861, Francois Roy, died 25 April 1875.
Docité became a Cultivateur [farmer]. He married first, on 2 Feb 1880, at Ste Marie de Mont Carmel, Genevieve Cormier daughter of the deceased Aimé Cormier and deceased Henriette Roy after being granted dispensation for the 4th degree of double consanguinity (meaning they were 3rd cousins two different ways – 3rd cousins share 2nd g-grandparents).
The Catholic Church required couples to gain permission prior to marrying a relative, as the offspring of consanguineous relationships are at greater risk of certain genetic disorders and they considered marrying a close relative immoral. The dispensation was granted for the degree of consanguinity without distinguishing between half and full siblings or “spiritual” relatives (i.e. if your father married a second wife who had her own offspring, then you were technically related to the second wife’s children from her first marriage and would require dispensation for the degree of affinity).
Genevieve died six months later, at age 19 (cause unknown), on 24 Aug 1880 and was buried 27 Aug at Ste Marie de Mont Carmel.
1881 Canadian Census
In 1881, Docité continues to reside in the parish of Sainte-Marie (his parents have one additional child):
- Joseph, 52, cultivateur (farmer)
- Angelique, 51
- Silvin [Sylvain], 19
- Aurietta [Henriette], 20
- Cecille [Cécile], 15
- Vitál, 13
- Olivier, 11
- Jude, 7 [baptized 24 June 1873, at Ste. Marie de Mont-Carmel. Godparents were Dosite Roy and Domtilda Cormier]
- Docitée, 23 was listed as a widower and enumerated separately [the day after the remainder of the family was recorded, see margin notes], it appears that he resided on the same farm.
Jude and Vital were attending school (Olivier, age 11, was not marked as in school which may have been an enumerator error, although 1901, 1911 and 1921 censuses specify he can not read or write).
The first Acadian National Convention was held 20/21 July 1881 in Memramcook. About 5,000 Acadians participated, although in reality only about 200 actively participated in discussions. They spoke of many things including emigration, religion, education, political issues, trade, farming and industry. There they selected the Acadian Holiday – 15 August, the day of the Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.
According to Wikipedia, The flag of Acadia was adopted on 15 August 1884, at the second Acadian National Convention held on Prince Edward Island with nearly 5,000 Acadian delegates from across the Maritimes. It was designed by Father Marcel-Francois Richard, a priest from Saint-Louis-de-Kent, New Brunswick. The Musée Acadien at the Université de Moncton has the original flag presented by Father Richard to the 1884 Convention. It was sewn by Marie Babineau.
On 18 August 1881, Docité sold eight acres of land, in the Parish of St Mary’s, to Maxime and Louis Cormier (Book A-2 page 175) for the sum of $25. The land was on the South side of the Bouctouche River, on the East bounded by Thomas Nowlen and in the South land owned by Dennis Cormier and Thomas Allain. No deed (or land grant) has been found documenting how Docité originally acquired this land (perhaps through his grandfather or deceased wife).
On 3 Sept 1883, Docité’s parents sold him 25 acres of their land on the South side of the Bouctouche River in Ste Marie for $25. The land is described as: On the South by land occupied by the family of the late Laurent B. Cormier; on the East by a certain road on the South by said owned and occupied by the named Joseph Roy and on the West by said owned and occupied by William Nowlen. In 26 April 1884, he sold this same land to Peter Fabien Arseneau for $75.
On 12 May 1885, Docité married second, Victorie LeBlanc, at Ste Marie de Mont Carmel, daughter of George LeBlanc and Madeline LeBlanc.
1891 Canadian Census
Docité, his wife Victorie (the only family member who is listed as being able to read), now with three children Pius/Paul, (5 years) Marie Albina, (3 years) Mathilde (8 months) continue to reside in Sainte-Marie. His parents and several siblings live nearby.
As mentioned in week #2 (Pius’ sketch), known children born to the couple include: (1) Pius/Paul, (2) Marie Albina, (3) Mathilde, (4) Marie Emma, (5) Aurelie, (6 & 7) Dieudonné #1 and Joseph Hector (twins), (8) Edmund and (9) Dieudonné #2
Sadly, four of the children likely died in 1899. Joseph Hector, 1 Jan 1899 [cause unreadable], age 4 months; Marie Albina, 13 April 1899, age 10, of consumption [likely influenza]; and a week later, 20 April 1899, Dieudonné (7 months) of la grippe [likely influenza]. No further record of Aurelie has been located, he likely died in the same time frame.
1901 Canadian Census
By 1901, Docité had moved the family from their rural community to the “big city”, Lancaster (today part of Saint John), New Brunswick where he worked as a Millman. He was an employee who had worked for seven months that year and made $200. He could not read or write, and spoke both French and English (French was his native tongue).
Pius also worked as a Millman (likely with his father) for five months that year and made $50 (he was 14). He was not in school. Interesting articles on employment conditions, child labor and a portrait of a young girl growing up in rural New Brunswick in St John in 1900: 2012-34-Spring-e
A few years earlier, in 1898, Lancaster was known as Fairville, a station on the Canadian Pacific Railway, a lumbering and manufacturing village with 1 post office, 25 stores, 2 hotels, 1 brewery, 1 sawmill, 1 pulp mill, 2 carriage factories, a provincial lunatic asylum, 5 churches and a population of 1,500.
In 1902, son Edmond’s birth record (registered in 1967) names a birthplace of Randolph (a neighborhood in the West Side of Lancaster which in 1967 became known as St John West) his father was listed as a mill ride.
It seems Docité, Victorie, Mathilde, Emma and Edmund (Pius left for Gardner, Massachusetts, likely for work) returned to Ste Marie, as Dieudonné #2, was born 17 May 1906 and baptized at Mont Carmel (a community within Ste Marie; in 1904 Mount Carmel was a farming settlement with 1 post office, 4 stores, 2 churches and a population of 250); 3 years later, 2 Sep 1909, he died from measles at St Mary’s.
Docite’s mother, Angelique, noted as a farmer’s wife, died on 13 March 1907 at age 77, the cause was “decline”, she had been ill “all winter”. She is likely buried in St Mary’s.
1911 Canadian Census
In 1911, Docite, a Cultivateur, was living in Puellering, Kent, New Brunswick with his wife, sons Edmond and Pius and Pius’s wife Laura Melanson. His widowed father, Joseph and brother Jude were also part of the household. Edmond had been in school for 4 months that year and he and Laura were they only family members who could read and write.
- Docitée, 53, cultivateur (farmer)
- Victorie, 46
- Pius, 24 [my g-grandfather]
- Laura, 19 [my g-grandmother]
- Joseph, 83, retired
- Jude, 47
Daughters Mathilde and Emma had relocated to Massachusetts; both married in Gardner – in 1910 Mathilde married Cyrille Allain son of Mélème Allain and Marie Leblanc; in 1912 Emma married Frederick LeBlanc son of Calixe LeBlanc and Anastasia Tazie Cassie.
Docite’s father Joseph died suddenly on 26 May 1913 of “old age” and is likely buried in St Mary’s; he was 84 and a retired farmer.
In about 1918/19, Docite sold land in St Mary’s Parish to Calixte Richard (land deed book I-3 page 166 – image not available online). He perhaps relocated to Moncton around this time.
1921 Canadian Census
Docite was not identified in the 1921 census likely because there were large portions of the Moncton census, where the enumerator did not capture resident names (he just wrote “Westmoreland” next to each). He was likely at 70 Pearl St., Moncton, the address that he, his wife and son Edmond all list as their home address when they immigrated to the United States the following year.
At age 63, he was described as 5’7″, 135 pounds and having a fair complexion, gray hair and blue eyes and could not read or write , when he immigrated “permanently” to Gardner, Massachusetts from Moncton in May 1923. It was Docité’s first visit to the United States. His wife and three of his four living children had previously immigrated to Gardner.
The following year, 1924, Docite’s young daughter Emma (wife of Frederick LeBlanc), age 32, died in Gardner, leaving five young children, Joseph, Ernest, Lauretta, Albert and Viola LeBlanc, all of whom were living on Parker Street, Gardner with their widowed father in 1930.
Sadly, six of his children were now dead, leaving just three: Pius/Paul, Mathilde and Edmund.
Docite and Victoire are listed in the 1924 Gardner city directory on Parker Street (the same address as his son Edmond and his first cousin Calixte Roy); his occupation is Clerk. Many other Roy’s are listed nearby, including sons Pius and Edmond. Docite was not found in other online city directories, including the 1926 Gardner directory.
It is unknown why/when he and Victorie returned to New Brunswick, however his death was recorded there on 16 Nov 1932 in St-Antoine, Ste Marie, Kent, New Brunswick. According to his death certificate, he was buried at St-Antoine. He died from Lobar Pneumonia, a form of pneumonia that affects a large and continuous area of the lobe of a lung. He was 75. His daughter-in-law, Laura Marie (Melanson) Roy (my g-grandmother) had traveled from Gardner to New Brunswick several days before Docite’s death, and may have been at his bedside. A obituary has not been located.
Kent County probate records do not survive, it is unknown if he had an estate. There are some land index entries for a sale of land in Pellerin by Edmond Roy around this time period which may or may not be the sale of land belonging to Docite (the actual deeds are not online; PANB holds microfilms of Kent County Registry Office Records for the years 1846-1973 which include copies of deeds, leases, mortgages, liens and other land transactions, a number of wills – those which transfer title of land are also found in this series – on my list to track down!)