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.

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This Old Tree, May 2017

This month I would like to remind all the readers, especially those that are just getting started, to not forget the female side of your ancestry. Many of the women are just facts and figures without a lot known of their individual lives in many trees.

Many people focus on doing a straight line to the earliest known ancestor and often the wives are recorded but not much attention is paid to their family or the lines. This is a mistake.

A good friend reminded the guys in a group that if it was not for their mother and other female ancestors, they would not be here. It takes both men and women to help with creating the bloodline that is your ancestry. This is not to knock families that are not traditional or created by adoption. Those families are also important in creating families that can be just as loving as the next. No family is perfect but most try their best.

Since it recently was Mother’s Day weekend, I reviewed my own tree. Sure, I want to learn more about a lot of the females in my family. What were their lives really like? I can only wonder but do not really know.

The one person that jumped out at me was Marie Catherine Gamache, born 25 June 1784 in Cap-Saint-Ignace, Quebec, and died 26 July 1829 at St. Basile, New Brunswick.

Catherine was the sixth and youngest child of Pierre Gamache and Catherine Gagne. Marie Catherine had 5 older brothers and no sisters. When Catherine was not yet 11 months old, her mother died. Catherine Gagne Gamache’s six children ranged from Pierre 10 and half years to Catherine 10 and half months old. Pierre Gamache, her husband, did not remarry.

I am sure that Marie Catherine’s life was hard with all those older brothers. She was probably lonely because she didn’t have any sisters and was the only female in the household. I know my own sister was the only girl with three brothers. But my sister had lots of girlfriends but missed not having a sister.

Marie Catherine would grow up and marry 4 Nov. 1804 to Pierre Gendreau b. 26 Nov. 1766 Cap-Saint-Ignace, Quebec–d. 12 Oct. 1836 Ste. Anne La Pocatiere, Quebec. They both were born and raised in the small town of Cap-St.-Ignace, Quebec, Canada.

Sometime after the birth of their 13th child, Pierre, on 5 April 1826, the family moved to the St. Basile, New Brunswick area.

Tragedy would strike this family. On the 11th of June, 1829, Catherine gave birth to her last child named Scholastique. Scholastique was baptized the next day June 12th but Marie Catherine did not recover from this birth. She would die 45 days after Scholastique’s birth. The other sad thing was there is no record of whatever became of Scholastique.

Pierre then moved back to Cap-St-Ignace, Quebec. He would die on the 12th of Oct. 1836 at Sainte Anne La Pocatiere, Quebec. Most of his children would return to the St. Basile and St. Francois, New Brunswick areas as they came of age.

When Marie Catherine died, two sons had already died as infants, and since no one knows what happened to Scholastique, that left 11 children to be cared for. The eldest child was a girl, Marie Catherine but she had already married in St. Basile in 1828. So Gregoire, the oldest of the boys, presumably helped his father raise the younger children and took over as head of household after his father’s death.

Rosalie, the second daughter, was 17 when her mother died. She stepped up to help with the younger children also while putting her life on hold. She would later return to St Basile and marry at the age of 33.

Gregoire was the only one to stay in Cap-St.-Ignace and he would not marry and start a family until 1841, at age 34.

So Marie Catherine was raised without her mother. Her known living children ranged from Marie Catherine age 23 to 3-year-old Pierre at the time of her death. Pierre would most likely not remember his mother. But her nine children that married would live long lives and see their own children and often their own grandchildren be born.