I have never looked into my daughter-in-law’s genealogy, but would like to do that now. Sarah is Portuguese and French Canadian. It would be nice to get back to Portugal and Canada with her heritage and find out some more about it. Sarah’s recent ancestry is in New Bedford. My ancestors were also immigrants to New Bedford but from England.
Starting Sarah’s Genealogy
I didn’t have to add a new tree for Sarah. I just added her onto my existing tree at Ancestry:
This is how far I got yesterday working through Ancestry on my phone. I blurred out some of Sarah’s mom’s information. I’ll have to ask Sarah more about her maternal grandparents. Sarah has roots in New Bedford as both her parents were born there.
I lifted Ken’s parents from another Ancestry tree that focused in on the Mendes side. I checked with Sarah and it was right. Ken was born when his parents were older. Here is Ken’s father’s Joseph’s World War II Draft Registration:
He lived on Coffin Ave in New Bedford and named his mother as a contact.
The house on the right has a 194 on it.
Joseph worked at the Nonquitt Mills:
There was also a Census in 1940:
This Census tells us that Joseph’s parents were born in Portugal and that they owned their own house. There were two more children on the next page, so a total of 7 kids in 1940.
It looks like Manuel was a barber and Joseph was a cleaner at the factory in 1940.
Here is Joseph’s service record:
Sarah’s Mother’s Side
Sarah’s mother’s side is French Canadian. Sarah’s mother’s father was Joseph Roland Vezina. Here is young Roland in the 1940 Census:
He was living at 1012 Victoria Street in New Bedford. His father Roland was listed as a salesman for a baking company. The Census also says that Roland and Beatrice lived in Fall River in 1935.
This is the photo that Google maps has for that address:
Roland Vezina Sr
I’ll quickly jump back to Roland Vezina Sr. As per above, he was born in Fall River in 1910:
Both of Roland’s parents were born in Canada. Roland was from a large family:
They lived at 698 South Main Stree in Fall River in 1910:
Roland’s father George was listed as a tea merchant.
A Tale of Two George E Vezinas
George was born in Canada. Here is one page of his Naturalization records:
The good news about this record is that it gives his birth place. I think that he was from L’Ange Gardien. My first search for this place came up with this:
I may be way off on this based on the 1871 Census:
This shows George in St Michel, North Bellechasse.
That means that it would be a good idea to figure out where the place is listed on George’s Naturalization papers. Here is the 1881 Census:
I assume I have the right George here. It would help to have a marriage record or birth record for George. Fortunately, I found George’s baptismal record in L’Ange Gardien in 1862:
That means that the Census that I had for 1871 and 1881 showed the wrong George Vezina. Here is the right one in Salem in 1880:
Here is 144 Congress Street:
Further, we learn from George’s baptismal record that his mother’s full name was Marie Zoe Lefrancois.
Where Did the Vezinas Live in Canada? Looking for L’Ange Gardien
All indications point to L’Ange Gardien, but where exactly was this place? Here is a death record for an Albert Vezina. I assume that he was a priest:
He gives his birth place as Danville, Canada. Google Maps show Danville next to Asbestos Quebec:
Another trick is to look at the beginning of George’s baptismal book. This is a short book of about 12 pages:
This tells me that George was baptized in Montmorency. I had trouble finding a map of L’Ange Gardien.
This place is close to a tourist area which is the Montmorency Falls at Boischatel. I believe that Sarah’s husband, my son, has been there. L’Ange Gardien looks like a large place but it is not really. It is just highlighted on the map. Here is the view of L’Ange Gardien from the St. Lawrence River:
My French teacher wife tells me L’Ange Gardien means Guardian Angel.
Here are the Montmorency Falls:
In real life, they are more dramatic.
Here are some of Sarah’s ancestors so far:
I tried to pixelate some of the information for Sarah’s mother and grandmother as they are still alive. This shows out to two of Sarah’s third great-grandparents: Regis and Zoe.
More on the Vezina Family
Things are going pretty well, so I might as well see how far back I can get on the Vezina Line. Here is an 1860 marriage record for Regis, transcribed by Ancestry as Pregis – probably due to the handwriting.
This seems like a longer than usual marriage record. Right now, I’m just following up on the Vezina line to see where it takes me. This marriage record gives the parents of Regis as Pierre and Elizabeth Côté. Here is Regis’ intention to become a citizen of the US:
Regis was a carpenter. Sometime between 1880 and 1887, the family moved from Salem to Fall River.
On the marriage record above, Pierre is listed as Regis’ father. Here is Pierre’s marriage record from 1823:
This marriage took place at Chateau Richer:
According to Google Maps, Chateau is a small town not far from L’Ange Gardien:
At the time of Pierre’s marriage, he was a farmer.
Vezina in the 1700’s
From the marriage record above, Pierre’s father was also a Pierre. Pierre Vezina and Marie LaBerge married in 1795 in good old L’Ange Gardien:
This Pierre was the son of another Pierre Vesina. If the Pierre from the marriage record was 25 when he married, he would have been born around 1770. His mother’s name appears to be Marie-Anne Morray.
Next Pierre Vesina
Here is another marriage made in L’Ange Gardien:
This is the transcription. Here they have Marois for Marie Anne instead of the Morray I had guessed at from their son’s marriage record, but I think that is pretty close. I’m not coming up with a good guess for this Pierre’s mother:
However, I am getting Jean for the father. I have been waiting for the point where some of this information is written into books. This may be the point:
This shows Pierre as Pierre-Francois. The mother’s name that I couldn’t figure out was Marie Bernadine Roy. Notice that Vezina has gone to Vesina and now to Vesinat. It is not clear to me how the Tanguay Collection works, but my guess is that Francois was the father of Jean and another Pierre was the father of Francois. [Note: After further review, it appears that Pierre would be the father of Bernadine.]
Tracing Vesinats Back to the 1600’s
Now I am spoiled by the Tanguay Collection:
It looks like Francois who was born in 1681 had several children. This couple married in 1703:
That must be Francois’ signature above.
Here is the next Francois going back:
Here is another listing:
Now I see that the 1679 in bold must be the marriage date. I am not sure why there are two entries here. Here is some information from a website called Geni:
I assume that the reference to Cadet means the younger Francois as there appear to be two brothers named Francois.
LaRochelle is an interesting place:
My understanding is that La Rochelle was a holdout of Protestant rebels. These rebels were besieged by the French government and starved. There was a TLC TV show called Who Do You Think You are? that highlighted this historical event. The show was about the ancestry of Tom Bergeron in Season 6, Episode 6. Here is one link that discusses the episode. Basically, Bergeron was surprised to find that he had a Protestant ancestor from La Rochelle. This ancestor converted to Catholicism amidst pressure and became a fille du roi. These were daughters of the king but not literally. They were women recruited to go to New France (Quebec) to help with the shortage of women there. It would be interesting to delve into Sarah’s La Rochelle connection sometime.
My Wife’s Vesina Connection
It turns out that my wife is connected on the Vesina side also. Her dad’s mother was French Canadian. Here is my wife’s paternal grandmother’s mother’s tree:
On the right is Marie Anne Vesina. Marie-Anne’s father Pierre was different than Sarah’s ancestor Pierre:
However, Pierre’s father was Francois Vesinat. Pierre Vesinat and Jeanne LeTartre married in 1701:
Two Francois Vesinats?
My interpretation of this Tanguay book is that there were two Francois Vesinats. My wife, Marie must be descended from the first (although I don’t see Pierre listed as a child) and my daughter-in-law descends from the second. The other thing is that both of these Francoises had Jacques as a father. That means that either there were two Jacques Vesinats or one Jacques who had two sons named Francois.
Here is one interpretation at Geneanet:
Putting It Together
My best guess is that Marie and Sarah are 10th cousins once removed going back to La Rochelle France.
That’s a lot of history.
Summary and Conclusions
- I started with some basic genealogy on Sarah’s Portuguese side.
- I quickly switched over to Sarah’s French Vezina/Vesina/Vesinat history. By the way, my wife tells me that an ‘s’ between two vowels is pronounced as a ‘z’. Perhaps that is why the Vesina name changed to Vezina.
- Sarah’s Vezina family has deep roots in L’Ange Gardien, not far from the Montmorency Falls NE of Quebec City.
- The first Vesinat to come to Quebec from France to Quebec was Jacques Vesinat. He was a master barrel maker which I am sure was an important trade in Quebec.
- By using someone else’s work, I was able to get the Vezina Family back to La Rochelle, France. This was a hotbed of Protestantism. The French King squelched this movement for religious and political reasons in a brutal way.
- I tried to connect Sarah’s genealogy to my wife’s as she has a Vesina in her ancestry. I ran into problems due to two apparent brothers both named Francois Vesinat. I came up with a likely connection for Sarah and Marie.
- It would be a lot to fill out all of Sarah’s French Canadian ancestry. Sarah has two Frenh Canadian grandparents. At the level of Jacques Vesinat she would have over 2,000 French ancestors.
- I’d like to look more at Sarah’s Portuguese ancestry to try to find out where in Portugal her ancestors lived.