How I found information about Édouard…

I never could understand why my father acted the way he did with his children and with his family. When his father died on January 1, 1964, the whole Lagacé family died with him. Leo Lagacé Senior was my grandfather who we see here on this picture.

Léo Lagacé and two of his sons in 1933

Montreal 1933

Léo Lagacé Senior is with two sons, Léo Junior and Marcel. Marcel is in the wheelchair. My father is in the back. I believe my father loved his father a lot though he never told me. I loved my father a lot though I never told him…

This is why I write a lot and don’t talk to much about how I feel.

Leo Senior married once in 1912. I thought his first wife had died and that he had remarried with Juliette Métayer, Édouard’s daughter.

That’s what I thought.

Let’s go back to Édouard Métayer the man responsible for my quest about my ancestors. I knew he was a fire captain in Montreal so I contacted someone in the fire department. The man who contacted me was Mister Courtemanche, a retired fireman, working for le Centre d’histoire du Service incendie de Montréal.

He found the precious information I needed:  when and where Édouard was baptized. With that information the flood gate opened.

Next time, what I learned about Édouard. But before I leave, I will tease you with this picture…

55 Concorde Ste-Thérèse vers 1940

1940

Searching for my father… through his family tree

Well this is it…

This is the picture of my father…

Léo Lagacé

May 10, 1950

After spending two years searching for answers, I finally found peace with my father, and Édouard Métayer was the one who help me without knowing…

Before I talk about my father, I will talk about Édouard Métayer, the great-grandfather I never knew and I never met, and who never thought he was going to help his daughter’s grandson finding his father.

Édouard Métayer was born in l’Île d’Orléans in 1869.

For those not familiar with the province of Québec, l’île d’Orléans is near Quebec City.

I had never been there before, but, in a way, Édouard made me go there.

My wife and I were travelling to Quebec City two years ago and I decided to take a long boat to China and cross the bridge between Québec City and l’île d’Orléans.

I went to Sainte-Famille and took this picture of the church my great-grandfather was christened.

église Ste-Famille

Sainte-Famille Church

Édouard was the child of Édouard-Elzéar Métayer and Philomène Dupont.

How did I manage to find those information?

I will tell you next time.

It’s a beautiful story.

How it all started…

This is the picture that is hanging on the wall of my office.

Edouard

Édouard Métayer

It is the picture of Édouard Métayer. He was a fireman and made captain in 1911.

Édouard is the father of my paternal grandmother Juliette Métayer.

Édouard died on April 2, 1928, on the eve of his 34th anniversary as a Montreal fireman.

The only memory I had as a child was a framed picture of this fireman in an old apartment on Mentana Street in Montreal back in the 1950’s.

My grandparents were living there. My grandsparents were poor and I knew little about them.

My grandmother Juliette had told me that her father, Édouard Métayer, had died when he tried to stop the horses while responding to a fire alarm. The horses were scared by a train that was coming.

Édouard died a month later.

That is all I knew. At that time, I was around seven or eight years old.

Fifty years later, after a lot of research, I know a bit more… well quite a lot more…

Édouard Métayer 022

1928

And everyday now Édouard Métayer is smiling at me in my office.

Edouard

This man is the reason I started looking for my ancestors.

Next time, I will show you another picture.

Who is that James in Memphis, Tennessee…

James wants to keep a low profile.

I wanted to hide his identity by calling him Jim in my articles, but James prefers to be called James instead of Jim.

We have been exchanging e-mails.

He seems to be a nice fellow and I have fun making jokes about genealogy.

James thinks he is a serious amateur genealogist, and I agree with him.

James wanted to know more about people here in Quebec. I told him about “les dits”, kind of nicknames that people gave to others.

James sent me this question…

Hi Pierre,

Dites-moi:

Were these second names added later or were they given at birth?

I told him this…

They were given later at first, then… at birth

This came about to be able to distinguish people having the same given name.
Before, people had only a given name.

Then I told him this story I made up…

There was a James, and there was also a James living close by who had, of course, a son named James.

Then James emigrated with his son James and all the people were mixed up.

- Ah… This is James… the soldier who was carrying a rifle… we’ll call him La Gâchette.

– And this one.

- Oh… this is James. He likes flowers. We’ll call him La Rose.

- And this one…

- Well… he’s a lumberjack. We’ll call him La Forêt.

James the lumberjack had a baby boy and wanted to call him… You’ve guessed it… James.

So in the parish register they wrote…

On this date, we, priest, have christened James, son of James dit La Forêt. Godfather, James dit La Rose and godmother Marie, wife of James dit La Gâchette…

Instead of…

On this date, we, priest, have christened James, son of James. Godfather, James and godmother Marie, wife of James…

Have a nice day. I hope it’s sunny and warm in Memphis, Tennessee.

See you.

This is how this whole thing started…

This is what I got in my inbox… last month

M. Lagace,

Je ne parle pas francais, mais j’ai une question.  Parlez-vous anglais? I sure hope so. My wife’s grandmother was born in Spencer, Worcester County, Massachusetts.

I believe she is the granddaughter of Nicolas Renaud. If you can provide me with any information regarding the ancestry of Nicolas and Louise Renaud or direct me to a site that might have such information, I would deeply appreciate it.

Merci.

James B.

Memphis, Tennessee, USA

When I got the message, I was a bit puzzled…

I sent him lots of information and links to my Websites and I asked him where he got my e-mail. He wrote back…

Dear M. Lagace

How I found your email:  I stumbled upon a website while doing a Google search for Nicolas and Louise Renaud.

I have been finding whatever information I could about my wife’s ancestors on the Internet and through Ancestry.com.

When I moved the cursor over your name at the bottom of the website, your address appeared, so I took a chance and wrote you.

Many postings on the Internet are poorly done and unreliable, while others are excellent.  I was impressed by the thoroughness of your work.

My wife’s maternal grandparents were of French Canadian ancestry.

Her grandfather was a Joseph Menard, and her grandmother was Laura Gendreau.

Joseph Menard’s father was also named Joseph;  his mother was born Sara Loisell.

I have no information on Sara’s Loisell’s ancestry.

Another researcher many years ago traced back the Menard branch to one Pierre Menard b. abt 1660.  I have the lineage on the Menard side, plus the names of their wives, but no other information.  Supposedly this research was based upon church records, etc., but none of the documentation has survived.  It was while examining census data on the Gendreau branch that I discovered the Renaud connection.

You may or may not be familiar with the expression:  “Luck counts.”  Meaning that sheer luck can sometimes be as important as skill.

Of course, I have no problem with your mentioning our contact.

It is very kind of you to offer to pursue the Nicolas Renaud-Louisa Normandin link.

First let me see what I can find on my own.  It may be that my search will not be fruitful, but I don’t want to burden you with anything I could have done myself.  On the other hand, I will appreciate any information you think I would find useful, as well as any advice you may have.  I readily admit I am an amateur in this area, although I have tried to learn from others.

James

P.S. It is a beautiful day here in Memphis.   Blue sky, mild temperature.  The problems of the world seem far away.

A good day to make a new acquaintance.

Then I realized Jim was talking about this story…