Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sentimental Sunday: The Franco American "Little Canada" Memorial - Aiken St., Lowell, Mass

Demolished in the 1960's to make way for Urban Renewal, Little Canada is where my ancestors once lived, loved, worked, worshiped, and played. I wish I could have had a chance to walk it's streets and listen to it's voices before they were erased.

I think I'm going to do a rogue planting here next spring.
 
"EN SOUVENIER DES CANADIENS DE LANGUE
FRANCAISE ET DE LEURS DESCENDANTS,
LES FRANCO-AMERICAINS, QUI ONT VECU
ICI, NOS COEURS N'OUBLIERONT JAMAIS
LEUR COURAGE, LEURS SACRIFICES, LEUR
FOI, LEUR FIERTE

1875 - 1964

ON THIS SITE GREW THE HEART OF THE
FRANCO-AMERICAN COMMUNITY. HARD
WORKING FRENCH CANADIANS CAME TO
FILL THE MILLS OF LOWELL AND BUILD
A TRADITION OF FAITH, GENEROSITY,
AND PRIDE.

LE PEITE CANADA - LITTLE CANADA
AIKEN - CABOT - CHEEVER - COOLIDGE - HALL - MELVIN- MONTCALM - PAWTUCKET - PERKINS - SUFFOLK - TUCKER - WARD

JE ME SOUVIENS - LEST WE FORGET"

"1977

ERECTED BY 
THE FRANCO-AMERICAN PEOPLE
AND
THE OBLATE FATHERS OF

ST. JEAN BAPTISTE PARISH

THIS STONE COMES FROM ONE OF THE
LAST BLOCKS OR LARGE WOODEN
APARTMENT HOUSES TO BE TORN DOWN"

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Lewis Wickes Hine: Child Laborer Photographs from Lowell Mass

In 1908 Lewis Hine was contracted by the National Child Labor Committe as an investigative photographer. His job was to document child labor practices within American industry in an effort end the practice. Mr. Hine, who I believe visited Lowell in October of 1911, took several photographs of the children that were employed in the mills within the city, many of which, were Franco-American. I browse through the collection, there are many surnames that are familiar to me, Courtois, Therrien, and Boucher, are just a few.

You can view the NCLC photographic collection online at the Library of Congress PPOC, just type Lowell into the search bar.

On November 1st, at 7:00 pm, historian, author, and genealogist, Joe Manning, will be giving a presentation at the Lowell National Historical Park Visitor Center Theater, as a part of the Moses Greely Parker Lecture Series, entitled “The Lewis Hine Project: Tracking down the Lives of Child Laborers”
“Whatever happened to that child worker?” Motivated by this question, Joe
Manning has identified some of the more than 5,000 child laborers
photographed in the early 1900s by Lewis Hine, and has tracked down and
interviewed their descendants. Manning will show some of Hine’s historic photographs, tell the stories of the children in them, and talk about the exciting process of searching for descendants, most of whom were not aware of the pictures of their parents and grandparents
http://www.parkerlectures.com/?page_id=1

I'm looking forward to attending this presentation.

Here is one of my favorite photographs from the collection.
# Title: Alexander Durand, 35 Tucker Street, next boy in middle of picture appears 12 years old. Is in mill room No. 2. Joseph Courtois, 33 Tucker St., at the right Alex. appears about 13 years old. Works in the spinning room. Majorie Bonclair, at left of Alex. see 2592. Location: Lowell, Massachusetts.
# Creator(s): Hine, Lewis Wickes, 1874-1940, photographer
# Date Created/Published: 1911 October.
# Medium: 1 photographic print.
# Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-nclc-02378 (color digital file from b&w original print) LC-USZ62-97581 (b&w film copy negative)
# Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.
# Call Number: LOT 7479, v. 4, no. 2593 [P&P]
# Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/ncl2004002422/PP/#

Friday, October 14, 2011

Correction: Jerome Robillard decede en Lowell, Etats-Unis. Yes, he died in Lowell!

How do I say this? Ok, I got it... Simply speaking,  I ef'd up. Yup, I did, and big time too.  And, just how did I ef up, you ask? Well, last night when I was messing around at Find A Grave, (have I ever mentioned that I love Find A Grave) adding a few new memorials and what not, I was checking the info that I was entering at FAG against information that's available in the Massachusetts Deaths (1841 - 1915) database at FamilySearch, and when I had finished at FAG, I decided that I would, just for shits & giggles, mind you, revisit my Robillards in that database at FamilySearch. Maybe there was something new there that I hadn't seen before, or something that I had  previously overlooked. So, I typed my surname in the search field and began looking....  And, at first glance, I didn't believe my eyes, I was like wtf is this? But then, I remembered... I didn't even have to look at the image to know what it was that I had found, I already knew.

What I found was an 1884 register entry from the city of Lowell, Massachusetts for the death of my great-great-grandfather, Jerome Robillard. Yes, the same Jerome Robillard (Louis, Marie Genevieve Riberdy) who was the husband of Sophie Moussin dit Lajoie. The same Jerome Robillard who was the husband of my great-great grandmother, Sophie Riberdy, and father of  Sophie (1848), Marie Henriette (1850 - 1919), Jerome Alfred (1852 - 1853), Marie Philomene (1854), Joseph Jerome (1856), Joseph Charles Omer (1857 - 1857), Louis Octavien (1858 - 1933) Marie Melanie Lea (1860), Marie Louise Parmelia Cordelia Amanda (1861), Louis Joseph Anselme (1863 - 1863), Marie Louise Melanie (1864 -1864), Emelie (1864 -1864), Joseph Arsene (1865 - 1866), Louis Gaspard Alfred (1866 -1914), Louis Arsene (1867), Joseph Arthur (1867 - 1937), Marie Louise Leontine (1868 - 1911), Marie Amanda (1870 -1897), Pierre Jerome Gaspard (1871), Joseph Gustave Alcide (1872 - 1873), Joseph Octave Zenon (1874 - 1875), Joseph Napoleon (1876 -1876), and Louis Joseph Zenon (1877 - 1918).

The same Jerome Robillard that I have in my database, and plastered all over the web, as dying in Ste-Melanie. Joliette County, Quebec on 16 Nov., 1884.

Well, HE DIDN'T,  according to this register entry, JEROME ROBILLARD DIED IN LOWELL, MASSACHUSETTS on 16 Nov., 1884. I guess I could claim ignorance on my part, because I had never, before this day, laid my eyes on this register entry from Lowell, but I won't. Because, somehow I knew...

When I read Jerome's burial record back in 08, I knew something wasn't right, and I asked for translation help, but.... Well, there's no one to blame but myself. Live and learn, I guess. The big whoop dee doo in all of this is the misinformation I so graciously propagated, it's all over the frikken place. Needless to say, I have a mess to clean up. Thank goodness it is only a small one (well, smallish), but it's still a mess. So, before I go off traipsing all over the web trying to fix the error of my ways, let's examine this newly found register entry a little, shall we?.

If you look at the familysearch index information  for this register entry it has the event place as being in Canada, and I can only say that this has got to be wrong. Because, if you look at the actual registry entry (below) and the column that reads "RESIDENCE AND PLACE OF DEATH, and BURIAL (if elsewhere)", you will see two little apostrophes followed by the word Canada,  well this " " is a ditto mark, and means that he was buried in Canada. Just look at the first entry in this column,  and you'll see. Also, in this register entry his parents are documented as being Louis and Mary, this is partially correct. His father was Louis, yes. But, his mother was Marie Genevieve Riberdy.  Could she have been referred to as Mary or Marie by who ever the informant was, it's possible, but I believe she went by the name of Genevieve. And lastly, you will see that it documents Jerome's parents as being born in France. This too, is wrong. Jerome's father, Louis Robillard, was born in St-Sulpice, L'Assomption, Quebec,
[PRDH, bapteme no.674684; Louis Robillard]
and his mother, Genevieve, in St-Cuthbert, Berthier, Quebec
[Gabriel  Drouin, Institut Généalogique Drouin, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Le Fonds Drouin 1621-1967, Quebec Vital Records: database online, ancestry.com, http://ancestry.ca/default.aspx, The Generations Network, Inc., Provo, Utah; 1805, St-Cuthbert Co-Berthier, PQ, p.6, B. M. Genevie Riberdy, Register Photocopy of the Greffe of Joliette. ancestry image6/40].

Now, this Lowell register entry has me curious,  who was the informant?. I would also like to know exactly where in Lowell Jerome died.  It states he died from fatty degeneration, so was he in the hospital when he died?. Had he come to Lowell to be treated for an illness? I don't know. But I certainly want to find out.


I guess I'm glad I found this Lowell register entry. It has taught me to be more careful when reading the parish registers from Quebec (one must pay attention to grammar, when it's used), and to research questionable information more thoroughly. I can't say if the Lowell register entry was online back in 08 when I did my initial research, but I should have at least explored the possibility that he could have died here in Lowell. Because, it was, after all, right there in his burial record. I just couldn't see it.


[Gabriel  Drouin, Institut Généalogique Drouin, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Le Fonds Drouin 1621-1967, Quebec Vital Records: database online, ancestry.com, http://ancestry.ca/default.aspx, The Generations Network, Inc., Provo, Utah; 1884, Ste. Melanie D'Aillebout, Co-Joliette, P.Q., pg. 15, S.29 Jerome Robillard, Register Photocopy of the Greffe of Joliette. ancestry image 15/18.]

My extraction & transcription
S.29ieme
Jerome Robillard
Le dix-neuviemes jour de Novembre, mil huit cent quatre vingt
quatre, nous pretre cure sosusigne, avons inhume dans la cave
de l'Eglise de cette paroisse le corps de Sieur Jerome Robillard,
legitime epoux de Sophie Riberdy, de Lowell, E. U., decede le
seiziem jour de ce mois age de cinquante neuf ans trois mois
et vingt sept jours. Ont ete temoins Gaspard Robillard fils
du defunt et Hermenglide Bourgeault instituteur, de cette
paroisse, et tous deux soussigne. Lecture faite

/s/ H. Bourgeault Inst
/s/ G. Robillard
/s/ F Jeannotte Ptre cure.
& my translation:
S.29ieme
Jerome Robillard
On the nineteenth day of November, one thousand eight hundred and eighty
four, I the undersigned parish priest, did bury in the cellar
of the church of this parish the body of Mr. Jerome Robillard, 

lawful husband of Sophie Riberdy, of Lowell, U. S., who died  
on the sixteenth day of this month at the age of fifty nine years three months
and twenty seven days. Witnessed by Gaspard Robillard son 
of the deceased, and Hermenglide Bourgeault schoolmaster of this 
parish, both undersigned. Reading made.

/ s / H. Bourgeault Inst
/ s / G. Robillard
/ s / F. Jeannotte ptre cure.