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Dennis Prue

Dennis has been researching family trees for more than 30 years. His expertise has been invaluable in helping to break through brick walls.


This Old Tree, April 2016

This month’s column is about “red herrings” in death records.My example is a real person that I have in a branch of my family tree. One of the members of our group had tried to find who the record belonged to and was not able to find the correct person.

The death record states the follow information:

Lizzie Laundry

  • Date of Death: 23 Feb. 1909
  • Place of Death: Fort Kent, Maine
  • Age: 71
  • Place of birth: Fort Kent
  • She is listed as female, white and a widow
  • Occupation: town pauper
  • Name of Father: none listed
  • Name of Mother: Margaruette Michaud
  • Birthplace of Father: Maine
  • Birthplace of Mother: Canada
  • Occupation of Father: none listed
  • Deceased was wife of:
    • First, an Ouellette;
    • Second, a Laundry
  • Cause of Death: Old Age

At the top of the record is a note that states: Maiden name – Angelique Wilds. The back side of the record states she died in the Poor House and had been an inmate for

8 days. Previous residence: Fort Kent.

There is another note from the town clerk that one of her son’s stated that Lizzie is just a given name, not a Christening name.

So who is Lizzie Laundry? Note saying that her maiden name was Angelique Wilds is in part, a “red herring.”

There was a Wildes Family in Fort Kent, Joseph Wildes and his wife Rebecca Ward. They do not have a daughter named Angelique.

The key to her identity is her last name, Laundry. Laundry is really Landry and a common name in greater St. Francois, New Brunswick; near Fort Kent, Maine.

I looked at the Canadian census for Victoria County, New Brunswick, and found no Lizzie or Elizabeth Landry, b. 1838 [based on age at death].

So I then looked at the 1900 census for Aroostook County, Maine, and found one Eliza Landry, wife of Simon Landry, living in Caribou, Maine. Simon Landry, age 48, b. March 1852, Eliz Landry, wife, age 62, b. Feb 1838 and stepson, Dorset Young aka Dionne, age 11, b. Feb. 1889. Simon claims to have been married 19 years.

So I looked at the census for St. Francois, New Brunswick, and found Simon Landry, b. July 31, 1853-d. July 18, 1903, son of Bruno Landry and Marie Louise aka Lizzie Oakes.

Simon was first married May 14, 1877 to Natalie Lang, 1855-1879. Simon married secondly to Elisabeth Nadeau, a widow, April 18, 1892. Both marriages took place at St. Francois, New Brunswick. The stepson, Dorset, cemented who Eliza aka Lizzie Landry was. Yes, Simon was his stepfather but Elizabeth was his real grandmother.

Docite Dionne, born Feb. 1889, was the son of Joseph Dionne and Marie Anne Ouellette. Marie Anne Ouellette died in 1891 in childbirth.

Docite aka Dorset, age 2, went to live with his maternal grandmother, Lizzie Ouellette Landry at her home.

Marie Anne Ouellette was the daughter of Joseph Ouellette and Angelique Thomas. Angelique Thomas used the nickname of Lizzie in some of the records of her children and in censuses.

Lizzie Thomas is called Elizabeth Nadeau because when she was born, her parents, John Thomas and Marguerite Nadeau were not considered married.

Therefore, Angelique and her elder brother Joseph were listed as children of unknown parents at the time of their births.

So when Elizabeth married Simon Landry in 1892 in the Catholic Church, she was called Elizabeth Nadeau (her mother’s maiden name was Nadeau).

Joseph Ouellette and Angelique had 3 children, one being Marie Anne, born and baptized at St. Luce in Frenchville, Maine. They move after 1857 to La Pocatiere, Quebec.

I found them in the 1861 census in La Pocatiere and in the 1871 census they are in St. Francois, New Brunswick.

There is still a mystery to what ever happen to Joseph Ouellette, Angelique’s first husband.

I did not find them in either the 1880 or 1881 censuses.

In 1881, Simon Landry is back home as a widower living with his widowed mother.

Joseph Ouellette had to have died before 1892 in order for Simon & Angelique to marry in the Catholic Church. But the 1900 census states that Simon was married for 19 years, not 8 years. So did Simon and Angelique run off together or was there a divorce from Joseph and a civil marriage to Simon?

This is a complex family. Angelique’s granddaughter, Elizabeth Ouellette, is married to Bruno Landry, Simon’s son and the only child from his first marriage.

The second “red herring” was Angelique’s mother’s name. She was Marguerite Nadeau, not Marguerite Michaud. You need a lot of paper, several pencils and a large erasure to keep the score on this family.

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This Old Tree, April 2016 by Dennis Prue is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at ac-gs.org.