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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.
Prior Weeks (click on a name to read the sketch)
Week #1 – Yvonne Marie (Roy) Billings
Week #2 – Pius/Paul Dost Roy
Week #3 – Marie Laura “Laura” Melanson
Week #4 – Docité OR Dosithée Roy
Week #5 – Victoire LeBlanc
Week #6 – Magloire Melanson
Week #7 – Ausithe/Osite Dupuis
Week #8 – Joseph Roy/Roi (King)
Week #9 – (Judith) Angélique Belliveau
Week #10 – Georges LeBlanc
Week #11 – Madeleine LeBlanc
Week #12 – Laurent Melanson
13. Pélagie Leger
Michael Melanson’s book, Melanson-Melancon: The Genealogy of an Acadian and Cajun Family, does not name Pélagie Leger’s parents, but mentions a birth date of 10 May 1833 in New Brunswick, likely taken from the 1901 census.
Many in cyberspace say that Pélagie, is the daughter of Jean Léger and Henriette Cormier, born 23 Jan 1823, Memramcook. It seems likely this Pélagie was single and buried in Saint Anselme, 1 March 1898, age 76. Parents are not mentioned, but the age at death implies a birth year of about 1822.
Pélagie, daughter of Pierre Léger and Henriette Cormier, born 13 May 1833 (very close to the date in the 1901 census), baptized 28 May 1833 in Barachois is likely our Pélagie.
When Stephen A. White reviewed my tree last summer, he called out several issues but made no mention of errors in this line.
[Yes, the spine of the image reads “Bouctouche”; according to Facebook researchers and Acadian genealogist/researcher Lucie LeBlanc Consentino (website here) in digitizing the parish registers, Jean-Pierre Pepin, somehow mixed up the spine image from Barachois to Bouctouche. From what I understand, this effects Drouin records dated 1812-1838. Ancestry.com has them indexed correctly as Barachois].
When Pélagie married in Memramcook, in 1853, she was said to be “of Dorchester”. Thus the 1851 census further corroborates this set of parents, as there is a Pélagie residing in the household of “Peter” and “Oriette” Leger, in Shediac Parish, very close to her future husband’s family (the Legers are on page 43, the Melansons on page 46). Since Firmin Melanson received a land grant in 1838 at Dorchester Crossing, we can likely assume both families were enumerated at “Dorchester” in 1851 and still resided there at the time of the marriage two years later.
Index card from the office of Stephen A. White
1851 census and siblings
Also in the household of “Peter” and “Oriette” Leger in 1851, are a 22 year-old-son Joseph and a 15-year-old daughter Rosalie.
A Joseph born to Pierre Léger and Henriette Cormier was also baptized in Barachois, just 5 years before Pélagie, in 1828. It mentions that Pierre being a farmer of Memramcook.
A Rosalie born to Pierre Léger and Henriette Cormier was also baptized in Barachois, just 3 years after Pélagie, in 1836; (record here); both further evidence that I have the correct Pélagie.
Other siblings named in this census include Henriette #2, Laurent, Modeste, Osite, Joseph and Casimir.
In time, I hope to identify all of her siblings. Baptisms in Memramcook include Marie, Henriette #1, Marguerite, Laurent, Modeste and a child who was not given a name (the image references are from https://www.genealogiequebec.com/en/, big thank you to Sébastien Robert who is working on indexing these records with the inclusion of parent’s names, he hopes to have an index online by year end!):
Of these, only Laurent and Modeste were included in the 1851 census. Henriette #1 and the unnamed child died young. I haven’t found Marie or Margurite’s death or marriage (neither was with the family in 1851). The Osite, Casmir and Henriette #2, all included in the 1851 census, have not been located in other records.
Something to work on before I get to the sketches of Pierre Léger and Henriette Cormier!
Pélagie’s Later Years
Pélagie married Laurent Melanson on Monday, 18 Jan 1853, at Memramcook; witnesses were Simon Léger & Apollonie Melanson (likely Laurent’s sister born about 1834).
Known children include: Maximin, Nazaire, Rosalie, Olive, Alexandre, Maglorie #1, Maglorie #2, Osite, Pierre, Madeline, Patrice, Marie-Exilda and Zelica. Lineages of these children are included in Michael Melanson’s book, so I won’t add them here. However if you are a cousin and would like to share your line, I would love to add you to my database! Please write!
Pélagie is included in the 1871 & 1881 censuses in the Shediac district, likely Dorchester Road, Scoudouc [see Laurent’s sketch]. Her husband Laurent died on 14 Sep 1881 in Scoudouc and was buried there 16 Sept 1881.
In 1891, Pélagie’s occupation is listed in the census as “general housekeeping”, she is a 56 year old widow, living on her deceased husband’s farm in Shediac Parish, likely Dorchester Road, with her son Magloire listed as head of household. Also residing there is Magloire’s wife and Pélagie’s children Pierre, Osite, Madeline, Marie-Exilda and Zelica.
By 1901, Pélagie, her four unmarried daughters Rose, Magdeline, Marie and Zelica, and two granddaughters (children of Magloire’s, who’s wife had died) Laura and Melesse are residing together on the family farm now run by her 27-year-old unmarried son, Pierre, at Dorchester Road. Next door (or close by) was Magloire’s deceased wife’s brother Phillas Dupuis, his wife, children and his mother, Nathalie (Boudreau) Dupuis. Other Melansons and Dupuis lived nearby, likely all related. Pélagie’s son Magloire’s whereabouts are unknown in the 1901 census year.
Scoudouc included the community of Dorchester Crossing which in 1898 was a farming and lumbering settlement with 1 post office, 1 sawmill, 1 grist mill and a population of 250.
In 1911, Pélagie continued to reside on the farm with her now widowed son Pierre and her six year old grandson, Joel. The location of the farm is further described by the census enumerator as at Malakoff in Scoudouc.
Pélagie died on 11 Oct 1918 in Malakoff, Scoudouc, age 87, of pneumonia after a seven day illness.