Category Archives: Other Arborists

Lorie’s Greenwood Family

Adolphus Charles Greenwood (the first of Lorie's Boisvert line to be born a Greenwood) and his wife Mary Paradis.  Source: Lorie's family pictures

Adolphus Charles Greenwood (the first of Lorie’s Boisvert line to be born a Greenwood) and his wife Mary Paradis. Source: Lorie’s family pictures

My grandfather talked about being a Boisvert.

Today I want to share a bit about Cousin Lorie’s family history.  Lorie and I met through the internet and we are both Greenwood descendants of Etienne Denevers dit Boisvert.  Etienne was born @1661 at Sillery and raised his family in nearby Ste. Croix.  He had five sons and two daughters.  I descend from his son Louis (1693) and she descends from Joseph (1697.)  I believe these brothers married Picher sisters — and then later their grandsons married Houde sisters.  So our trees are distantly, but intricately, tied up together.

Her family left Ste. Croix two generations before mine did (in my line Louis Hubert born 1816 left, in hers Louis born 1735), but both lines headed for the United States within a few years of each other. Our 2G and 3G grandfathers (Eduoard and Antoine Delphis) were the ones to make the move and to Anglicize the Boisvert name to Greenwood.  Eduoard moved to the city (Pittsfield, MA) as a blacksmith and Antoine Delphis acquired a series of farms in New Hampshire where he pursued logs and logging.  There is no reason to believe that they knew each other — it is just a fascinating example of the tides of history at work. Individual lives and choices adding up to a historical trend.  In this case, both lines of the family were part of the wave of French Canadian migrants to New England that left when it became difficult to continue farming in Canada.

The chart below shows Lorie (right) and my (left) Boisvert lineage down to the generation that was born Greenwood (my great grandmother, her great, great grandfather.)

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When I meet new cousins, I always ask: when did you learn about your Boisvert ancestry? Did you always know? What stories did your family share? Where did your line go? Do you know why they moved? Were there any stories of native ancestry?

The Greenwood farm in Bath, New Hampshire.  Source: Lorie's family photos

The Greenwood farm in Bath, New Hampshire. Source: Lorie’s family photos

Like many of us, Lorie’s stories go back to the things she heard from her grandparents.  This is what she heard about her ancestor who came to the United States.

The story I heard from my grandparents is that Antoine Delphis (aka Adolphus, born 1849) came down to the U.S. in 1867 to either NH or VT thus meeting his future wife, Sophie Newell. I’m assuming he came down to the States to work. The family story goes that Adolphus and Sophie met at a logging camp where Sophie was the camp cook. He changed his name to Adolphus Greenwood upon moving to NH. He had a farm in Monroe, NH and then Bath, NH, and also lived in Haverhill, NH. My great, great, great grandfather not only owned a farm but he also worked for the railroad. He died instantly in a railroad accident in 1911.

Lorie’s great, great, great grandfather’s fourth child, Adolphus C., was a larger than life character in the family stories.

When my Gramp was a kid he would spend the summers with his grandfather on their farm in Bath. His grandfather was Adolphus C, the son of the Adolphus who came down from Canada in the 1860’s.  Adolphus grew up, worked the farm and married a girl of French Canadian descent, Mary Jenny Paradis. My Grandpa told us stories about how his Gramp was really strong and could turn the handle of the ice cream maker crank when all the farm boys (sons -they had fifteen kids) had quit because it got too thick. He was tall and could also throw a 50 pound bag of grain clear into the back of the barn from the doorway. The boys would haul the bag back out when he went up to the house and take turns throwing it to see who could do it like he did.

Adolphus Charles Greenwood (the first of Lorie's Boisvert line to be born a Greenwood) and his wife Mary Paradis as young parents.  Source: Lorie's family pictures

Adolphus Charles Greenwood (the first of Lorie’s Boisvert line to be born a Greenwood) and his wife Mary Paradis as young parents. Source: Lorie’s family pictures

His wife, Mary Paradis, is famous for bad toast.

My Gram says Adolphus’s wife would burn the toast because she had to make it on a wood stove. But on the other hand, she had 15 kids (15!!!) not all lived, but maybe running a house, being pregnant all the time and having numerous kids had something to do with the sub-optimal toast.

Lorie doesn’t know what was behind the moves her Boisvert line made, though they settled in the Becancour area after leaving Ste. Croix.  She learned this with the help of the Boisvert Family Association.  Like me, she assumes all the moves had some sort of economic or family reason. And like my line, her grandparents had some sort of vague knowledge of family ties to native Americans.

My dad says my Gramp also told him we were part Native American and that Gramp took us up to St. Francis. I remember being in Canada on one trip with a lot of Native American boys around us when I was a kid, but I didn’t see that trip as seeing “family”. As a genealogist I’ve looked further into St Francis, but researching Native Americans is not easy and I haven’t found any records. Looking back, I know historically the French were much more willing to marry into the Native population than the English were, so there is a possibility we are part Native American, but I was never told any names of specific Native American women that married into the Boisverts.

Thanks Lorie for sharing your stories!

Adolphus Charles Greenwood (the first of Lorie's Boisvert line to be born a Greenwood) and his wife Mary Paradis in their later years.  Source: Lorie's family pictures

Adolphus Charles Greenwood (the first of Lorie’s Boisvert line to be born a Greenwood) and his wife Mary Paradis in their later years. Source: Lorie’s family pictures

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Defined: Descendancy Research

I came across a young blog that has a great graphic comparing ancestral research with descendancy research (going up with going down). The concept of descendancy is new to me and I like it. I like the idea of taking a first in the family and working down from origins into the family story (though I doubt I would have the patience to tease out more than three generations at a time.) Descendancy offers a fascinating opportunity to look into what opportunities were taken and what kind of lives were made and what kind of luck was had. It connects our family stories into the web of historical possibilities.
I also like this concept of descendancy because it is another form of glue between me and the people I meet through genealogy with whom I share an ancestor. I am fascinated to learn how far flung we are and the similarities and variations of our lives. When you only look up — never out or down — you miss a lot of magic.

thegenealogygirl

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Turn of the Century Pittsfield in Purple Prose

Postcard @1910.  Source: Wikipedia

Postcard @1910. Source: Wikipedia

My GG grandmother, Adele Charbonneau, moved to Pittsfield in 1896.  Her eldest son, Edward A., was starting a new life with Julie Gironard in Manchester, NH — but her youngest four children: Minnie, George, Eugenia, and Arthur moved with her. I do not know if it was the scenery or the manufacturing jobs that drew her.

What was Pittsfield like then?  Katherine F. Mullaney starts her 1897 book, Catholic Pittsfield and Berkshire, with this description:

Amid a vast amphitheatre of Berkshire’s famous hills, like a queen upon her upland throne, sits Pittsfield, fairest of cities.  Gem-like lakes gleam with dazzling radiance upon her bosom, and the wilful Housatonic rippling its mazy way to the “mighty deep,” broiders the emerald velvet of her robe with liquid silver.  The graceful outlines of the circling hills are carven against the misty blue of serene skies with cameo clearness, whilst distance drapes their rugged forms with a royal robe of purple mist.  Upwards, against the sunny glory of the Summer heavens, the smoke of Progress ascends from towering chimneys and speeding train, bespeaking the onwardness of this our thriving city.

This description is a classic example of overwrought purple prose today — but I imagine that my GG grandmother (who changed her name to fit her circumstances frequently) would have felt similar to Ms. Mullaney about her new hometown in 1896.

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