Picture of Dennis Prue

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 2017

Where Do You Look?

This is going to be a short column. The topic is finding christening records in out of way places.

Recently on April 1, 2017 I went to the Provincial Archives in Fredericton, New Brunswick. They had a new book in the Victoria County section.

“The Baptismal Records of Ste. Anne Catholic Church in Tobique, New Brunswick.”

Among those records, I found two children of William Michaud and his wife Phoebe Ouellette. This couple was the subject of an earlier “This Old Tree.” This was a surprise because there was no indication that William and Phoebe had ever lived in the Tobique area.

William & Phoebe, according to censuses, lived in Wallagrass in 1860, Mount Chase in 1870 and Fort Fairfield in 1880. They are always on the USA side of the border. But this couple and their children never had mentioned living in the Tobique area. In fact, both of the sons state that they were born in Fort Fairfield, Maine. The elder boy was a year old in 1877 when he was baptized and his younger brother was six months in the late 1879. Both were most likely born in Fort Fairfield.

The surprise is why the children are baptized in Tobique. There were a number of Catholic churches on the American side of the border; St. Bruno’s in Van Buren and Sacred Heart in North Caribou. It would not been a surprise if the two boys had been baptized in one of the two main Catholics Church over the border in the area; either in St. Leonard or in Grand Falls. Ste. Anne is really out of the way. The baptism records give no clues to where the parents were living at the time of baptisms.

It is true that many families in Aroostook County may have records on either side of the border. It’s a puzzle why when living in Fort Fairfield the boys were not baptized in the local church.

As a friend mentioned it could be that the Priest from Ste. Anne may have been covering for the local priest of Sacred Heart (which covered St. Denis of Fort Fairfield at that time).

If this was case the visiting priest took the baptismal acts back to record in his parish books because they were HIS records.

It was not unusual to have the visiting priest to record any acts, i.e. birth, marriage, or death record in his home parish books. I have found several acts like this when hunting for relatives. My 2nd Great-Grandfather Francois Gendreau was born in Cap-St.-Ignace, Quebec but his baptismal record is at St. Thomas Parish in Montmagy, Quebec.

The act clearly states that Francois was born and christened in Cap-St.-Ignace but the priest was from St Thomas in Montmagny. The reason is the Priest from St. Thomas was covering for the Priest in Cap-St. Ignace and took the act back to his home parish because it was his ministry.

Moral to this story is if the record is not in the local church where the family was living, it could be in a neighboring parish or even in neighboring state or country.

In my Virginia relatives I have to look at the nearby state of Tennessee. If your people live near a border, be it a state or another country, you need to look in those states or country for the missing acts.

Creative Commons License
This Old Tree, April 2017 by Dennis Prue is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at ac-gs.org.