The Truth of Nanny’s Stories in Memory and Fact

From my Nanny's family history book (handwritten by my Pop-Pop). I don’t know why there are so many commas, perhaps it was meant to be a poem.

My Nanny’s family history as hand-written by my Pop-pop.  I don’t know why there are so many commas, perhaps it was meant to be a poem.

This is the paragraph that begins my Nanny’s family history.  It is not the story of her father’s (Dobbins) line, it is the story that looms largest in her imaginings, it is her story of the Greenwood/Boisvert.  It is all untrue, except for the fact that her grandfather was born in 1814.

Let’s walk through it, line by line.

My great, great Grandfather, was born in France, the year is unknown.

Nanny’s great, great grandfather was born in Ste. Croix, a small farming village outside of Quebec, in Canada on November 6th, 1779.

Nanny’s great, great grandfather’s great, great grandfather was born in France in 1627.

Nanny’s great grandmother, Euphemie Leborgne, was born on a tiny French island off the coast of Newfoundland (France’s last North American holding.) Maybe her birth in 1820 led to the confusion.

He was a ward of Napoleon Bonaparte, who had him, sent to Canada for his safety.

He was not a ward of Napoleon. He was not sent to Canada for his safety.  His family had been nestled into Set. Croix for five generations after an initial 30 years outside Quebec at Sillery.

The closest his family comes to touching history was when his great, great grandmother arrived in New France during the 1660s as a fille du roi, or a single woman who sailed to a new life across the Atlantic ocean with a promise of a small dowry to be provided by King Louis XIV if she married there, which she did, to Pierre Pichet dit (or called) Lamusette, who turned out to be a bigamist, one of two bigamists in my Nanny’s great, great grandfather’s great, great grandmother’s family tree.

His name was Boisvere, he married and, had two sons.

His name was Antoine Boisvert. He had eight sons and a daughter. The first five boys were Joseph, Jean Baptiste Benoni, Godfroi, Louis Hubert, and Julian. Then Antoine and his wife started repeating names. The next two were Joseph and Jean Baptiste. Then, Augustin.  And finally a girl, Marie Adelaide.

One son, married a Indian Squaw and, moved to somewhere in the area that is now, the State of Michigan.

I have not yet been able to find the family member who makes this true.

But another story sets the family in motion. Cholera came to Canada for the first time in 1832. Antoine (53) and two of his sons (Julian and the younger Joseph, age 12 and 11,) caught it and died in 1834.

The other son… my great Grandfather, was born in 1814.

Nanny’s great grandfather, Louis Hubert, was born in 1814. Like many of his brother’s he left Ste. Croix to make his way in life.

He stayed in Canada, married, had three children, Edward, born 1830, another son, Fred, and a daughter, Angel.

Louis Hubert stayed in Canada, made a living in St. Felix de Kingsey as a blacksmith, married Euphemie Leborgne, and had six children: Eduoard, Alfred, Francois, Angelle, Antoine, and Marie. Eduoard was born in 1848.

Their parents died, when the children, were still very young, and the children were brought up, by their Grandparents, in Canada.

I don’t know who they, of “their parents”, are. Louis Hubert Boisvert died in 1866. His kids ranged in age from ten to eighteen. His wife, Euphemie Leborgne, moved with the kids to Adams, MA. Eduoard and Alfred got married there, to different women, on the same day in 1871. I am not sure who the noble grandparents could possibly be.

***

I found these truths through records made available by Ancestry, BaNQ, and the PRDH.  They are a story that is verifiable, documentable — but it doesn’t mean that I have stopped loving my Nanny’s memories.  For me, my Nanny’s stories live on besides our family’s new facts.

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5 thoughts on “The Truth of Nanny’s Stories in Memory and Fact

  1. I have had similar experiences with family tales. Once I started my research, many of the stories proved to be not strictly true. Glad that you were able to find the true behind the tales.

  2. C. Mueller says:

    Still trying to find my great, great grandfather’s family. He was born 1821, moved to Marionette, WI in 1837. He came through Vermont. He married Mary Labelle (Lebel) in 1850. His name on census 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880 is George Greenwood. Can find no evidence of relationship with the many Greenwoods in Wisconsin at that period. Children were named Eli, Rose Matilda, Olive
    , Ellen, Harriet, George, Irene, Charles Raymond, Almeida, Edward. Any ideas?

    • I wish I had an easy answer. You have quite a problem on your hands. I would use the censuses you have found to narrow your search — particularly to decide if he was French or English in origin (if French try international searches using Georges Boisvert), and to see if he became naturalized and when. I would also try to get my hands on George Greenwood’s 1850 marriage record because they almost always offer the parents name for both of the spouses. My guess is that you have already done this. And I deeply sympathize — I have not been able to budge my great, great grandmother Adele Coleman/Charbonneau (born 1854 in VT) an inch. Best of luck!

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