Archive for February, 2009

The Missing Greniers Found!

Friday, February 20th, 2009 came through again!

I had been spending a lot of time on only a few people in my Tree lately, so I thought it would be good to go back, take a look at the outstanding threads, and see if there was anything I could add.  Im so glad I did. has a number of message boards where people can post their queries for others to read and, with a little luck, respond.  This has worked for me quite a few times in the past (see Orcutts, Curriers) so I thought I would try it again.  I posted a request for information on Mary Anna “Annie” Grenier (b1875 d1923) who married Napoleon Lamothe on 6/30/1896 in Providence, Rhode Island.  About all I know, I said in the post, is that Annie’s mother lived with the couple in Worcester, MA in 1900, was also named Mary, and was born in 1836.  Not a lot to go on, I know.

Not a lot, but apparently enough!

Roland Grenier responded to my query the same day I posted it with marriage details including Annie’s parents names: Maximilian Grenier and Zenaide Despres.  It is still a mystery to me how “Zenaide” got translated as “Mary” by the census taker in 1900, but neither Maximilian nor Zenaide spoke English, and while Maximilian could read and write, he could only do so in French.  I suspect another incident of “language barrier” struck.

The reason I seem to be taking this at face value is because I had earlier found a tentative result in the census of 1880 in Southbridge, MA detailing one Maximillian Grenier, age 47, and his family –> wife, Xener, age 44, and children Joseph, John, Henry, Samuel, Rose E, Albert, Mary A, and Marie (with her husband Joseph).  Note the listing of Mary A.  In 1880 her age is given as 5.  That matches exactly with what I already know of her.  Note too, the name Xener.  If pronounced with a French-Canadian accent, that would probably sound like “Ze-nay”.  Very, very much like “Zenaide” might sound to an 1880 American census taker’s ear!  Again, note that Zenaide could neither speak, read, nor write English.

In the 1900 census, Zenaide is listed as having given birth to 18 children, only 9 of whom were surviving.  Here are 8 of those children.

I now have entire new lines of searches to run!  I will keep you posted on the results.

More on Joseph Lamont, 549th NFS

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

An impromptu visit to Aunty yesterday yielded another priceless nugget!

Aunty had been going through her things looking for a letter mentioning Moses Orcutt she received many years ago.  She found that letter (the topic of another post) but also found a photograph of Joseph T Lamont!

Joseph T Lamont

The photo wasnt really a photo, rather it was the picture included in the news item published in the local paper when he was killed.  So, what I have here is a photo of a photo that was printed in the newspaper.  Hence the image quality is not exactly great.  Looking at the photo, though, it appears to be his “graduation” photo taken upon completion of Army basic training.  It is difficult to see, but there is definitely something on his lapel.  And his tie appears to be military style.  It could also be his high school photo, but he left high school early in order to enlist, so Im not sure if he had a graduation photo.

On that topic, the clipping referenced Joseph leaving St Rafael’s Academy in April 1943, 2 months before he was to graduate, to enlist in the Army.  He had completed enough of his senior year to graduate and he was awarded his diploma in abstensia.  Given that he was 20 when he died in 1945, he would have turned 18 in 1943.  My guess is he turned 18 that April and enlisted as soon as he could – not even waiting to finish his last year of high school.

I need to get a picture of the newspaper clipping itself.  Perhaps there are more clues buried there that a thorough reading will reveal.  In the meantime, I have sent the picture off to some of the surviving members of the 549th NFS to see if any of them might remember his face.

More coming on this topic as soon as possible.

Test Pictures

Friday, February 13th, 2009

Let’s see if I can get pictures to post properly

Francis Colby Orcutt and Alice Harris Orcutt

No captions yet, but I think I may go back and insert a few pictures into previous posts.  Just for a little color LOL

The Caribou Connection

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

Time for a quick “catch up” update.

Thomas Currier, father of Elizabet Currier (wife of Frank Hartwell Orcutt) was born in Canada.  He married Laura Gagnon of Maine, and their children were born in Maine.  I can not find a record of Laura’s birth, but I found the WW1 draft registration card of her brother, Thomas, Jr.  He indicated that he was born in Caribou, ME in November 1891.  Awesome!

 So, I checked online to research Maine birth records.  I discovered that Maine did not pass a law until 1892 requiring local towns to send their birth registries to the state.  Thomas was born 2 months too early to have fallen into that “new” requirement.  Argh!

I looked up the town of Caribou, ME and found they have a web site.  A little while later, I was on the telephone with their Town Clerk and their Librarian (both of whom were extremely helpful).  It turns out that record keeping was, shall we say, somewhat sketchy back then.  There are no records prior to 1892 for the Currier family.

Oh well.  Close but no cigar.  I will have to try other sources and see what I can find.

In the meantime, if any of you out there have any info on the Gagnons or Curriers of Caribou, ME, please feel free to contact me! LOL

Names Are So Confusing

Saturday, February 7th, 2009

“A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet”

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me”

William Shakespeare wrote the former; we dont know who wrote the latter, but of all the old sayings that have to do with names, I think Ben Franklin’s best applies to my situation.  Ben said, “What signifies knowing the names if you know not the nature of things?”  Well said, Ben.  What does it matter if you know what things are called, if that’s all you know about them?  Very true, unless you happen to be talking about genealogy.

There are a lot of examples in my search where I have been stymied, for longer or shorter times, by differences in names.  Whether they’ve been spelling differences (Lamont vs Lamonte), transcription errors in the records (Crowley vs Crowsley), or resulting from language barriers (Isaac vs Elzear) they’ve been issues to overcome.

The one that is most recent is whether Frank Hartwell Orcutt is really Francis Hartwell Orcutt.

Frank Hartwell Orcutt

I found a copy of the Birth Records for Abington, MA in 1884 in which his birth is recorded as “Frank.”  But, given that his father was Francis Colby Orcutt, could it be that the parents were calling him “Frank” instead of Francis to avoid confusion?  My new-found cousin, Sharon, is calling in some favors and trying to get a copy of the official birth certificate from the Town of Abington (being a published author and professional genealogist has its advantages!), so soon this mystery may be solved.

There are 4 or 5 others I already know about and just as many likely waiting to step up and cause problems!