According to family lore, my GG grandfather Eduoard Boisvert once studied law at Harvard. It is possible, after all Harvard Law School did open its doors in 1817. However, I am pretty sure that this family story is a tall tale. And I haven’t even checked to see if the law school has kept admission records for the 1860s yet….
Why do I doubt? It is all in the records that I can find.
Eduoard’s paper trail tells the story of his work life…
- In 1870 he was a laborer (1870 US census.)
- In 1871 he was a blacksmith (his marriage record.)
- In 1874 he was a painter (his daughter Mary’s birth record.)
- In 1880 he worked in a tannery (1880 US census.)
- In 1881 he was a mill operative (his daughter Eugenia’s birth record.)
- In 1886 he was a laborer (his son Arthur’s birth record.)
- In 1888 he was a laborer (his death record.)
That is a whole lot of working with one’s hands for a man who studied law….
Plus, Eduoard was the son of a blacksmith. His dad, Hubert Boisvert, is recorded in both the 1842 and 1861 Canadian census as a “forgeron.” Even as Hubert migrated from Ste. Croix, Quebec to Arthabaska, Quebec, he kept the same trade.
Hubert died in 1866 when his eldest son was 18 years old – and four years later Eduoard was working as a laborer and living with his mother and four younger siblings in Adams, Massachusetts. It is hard to imagine that he took time off to study law while the family coped with Hubert’s passing with a move to the United States.
My grandmother also told me that as a little girl she enjoyed showing off Eduoard’s wooden leg to special friends. The leg was kept in a large wooden box in the attic. His original leg had to be amputated after he was kicked while shoeing a horse.
None of this screams Harvard lawyer to me.
I am sure that my family had its reasons for making this up. Now if I could only figure out how to document them….