The Missing Greniers Found!

Ancestry.com 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.

Ancestry.com 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.

3 Responses to “The Missing Greniers Found!”

  1. Susan Heaney says:

    I have read your posting re “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.” My friend – Terese Grenier Sneed is also looking for a connection with these two people. If interested, please email back at the above email address. Thanks, Sue

  2. Don’t know if they will give you my email, but I am on facebook so you could try there. I am not a member of Ancestry.com Thanks Sue

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.