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Twigs & Trees with Rhonda: Genealogist, Thy Name is Tenacity
by Rhonda R. McClure

April 10, 2003
See Rhonda's Previous Columns

In this week's Rhonda's Tips, a researcher wondered if a particular Genealogy.com User Home Page which could no longer be accessed was actually available. She was in need of information that she suspected was included in that Web page. I used the Family Finder to search for the individual and see what she was getting, I soon found myself sucked into, what I like to call, the genealogy vortex. That is when I have begun what I anticipate will be a simple search only to lose an entire day over the search.

I'm sure you've encountered the "genealogy vortex" as well. In this case, I was intrigued by a family line that wasn't even mine. I had expected to run a couple of quick searches to give the researcher a jump start since the page she needed was no longer available. When I couldn't find her family where it should have been, I asked myself that all important question, "Why?" I was frustrated that they weren't showing up where they should have been and then I became more determined to find out more about them. Genealogists are nothing if not tenacious.

In an effort to answer questions we often lose all track of time.

Setting the Stage

As I mentioned, the woman wrote asking about a User Home Page that should have been in the Community section of Genealogy.com, based on the search she ran in the Family Finder. Since she supplied me with the name of her great-grandfather, and her grandfather, along with his date of birth, I went off to see what I could find. Below is part of her message so that you know what I was looking for.

I am having a very hard time finding information about my great-grandfather, Alexander Cadeau. I believe he was born in Lotbiniere, Lotbiniere County, Quebec about 1851 and arrived in Ontario in the Port Severn area with two of his brothers, Simione (b. unknown) and John (b. unknown). He met and married Marie Louise or Louise Marie Charlebois from St. Elizabeth, Quebec in August 1869 in Port Severn. I found some information on a Genealogy.com User's Page titled "A Journey Through Time" but now when I go to find the page it is no longer available. Is there a way for me to find this page again?

I did a couple of quick searches online, expecting to find the family listed in one of the census indexes available online, only to discover nothing of the sort. I had already established that the user page in question was no longer available but discovered that the woman who created the User Home Page had also posted to a bulletin board. From here, I did a few things to help focus my research.

While Diane, the woman who had sent me the above e-mail message, had mentioned brothers Simione and John, the post by Sharon on the bulletin board mentioned a Simeone and Oliver, who may have been brothers to Diane's great-grandfather, Alexander Cadeau. I also got the impression from Sharon's bulletin board post that the individuals she mentioned (Alexander, age 20; Simeon, age 18; and Oliver, age 16 in 1871) was a reference to the 1871 Canadian Census. She also mentioned that they were in Penetanguishene, Ontario in 1871. This gave me something tangible to aim for and I could begin my search.

I went first to the Index to the 1871 Census of Ontario in 30 volumes (Toronto: Ontario Genealogical Society, 1986-1992) to volume 5 - Simcoe county, where Penetanguishene is located. Sure enough, on page 35 I found entries for Alexander, Oliver and Simeon. I also found entries for a Peter and Andrew. I went to the original census pages, as that index does mention everyone in the household, and found that Alexander was married to a Louise, age 22, and both were born in Quebec and were Catholic. That was good news since many of the Catholic parish registers are available on microfilm through the Family History Library.

Off to the Records

The first thing I did was to check out some of the dates and places that Diane had supplied, most notably the marriage of Alexander and Louise in 1869. In the Rita Robitaille's book Mariages, Lafontaine (Ste Croix) 1856-1982, Perkinsfield (St Patrick) 1909-1982, Penetanguishene (Ste Anne) 1835-1982 published in 1984, I found the following entry

CADAT, Alexis, (son of Alexis Cadat and Genvieve Gadouré) m. 16-08-1869 PENE to CHARLEBOIS, Louise (daughter of François Charlebois and Julie Donne).

This not only gave me the date of the marriage — 16 August 1869 — but also the names of the bride's and groom's parents. I decided to go looking through the index, which was unfortunately alphabetical by surname of the groom to see what other men of the CADAT and CHARLEBOIS surnames I could find with matching parents. I found two other entries

CADAT, Olivier (son of Alexis Cadat and Genvieve Gadoury) m. 01-02-1875 PENE to MESSIER, Agathe (daughter of Louise Messier and Angelique Gendron)

CHARLEBOIS, Israel (son of François Charlebois and Julie Donne) m. 26-11-1866 PENE to LAPLUME, Celine (daughter of Norbert Laplume and Elisabeth Bellehumeur).

In turning to the original parish records for Sainte Anne's Catholic church, I found that when Alexis Louise were married that they each listed their age as 21 and that they were born in Quebec. I looked up Israel Charlebois but didn't learn much more than what was included in the index. There were no ages for either party, though it did say that Israel was born in Quebec. The marriage for Olivier, though, offered many clues. First, another variant spelling of CADAS. It mentioned that he was born in St. Elizabeth, Joliette, Quebec and that he was 19, making him born about 1856, which fit with the Oliver found in the household of Alexander in the 1871 census. Unfortunately a search of the parish records for St. Elizabeth did not reveal much in the CADAS or CADEAU surname.

I returned to the 1871 census index for Ontario, given how close to 1871 Alexis and Louise were married, to try to find François Charlebois in Simcoe County. I found a 78 year old Françcois living one sub-district over from Alexander and Louise. He was listed as born in Ontario and widowed. There was a 38 year old Julia, also born in Ontario listed with him.

Given that Alexander and Louise were living in Ontario in 1871, I decided to search Sainte Anne's for baptisms of some of their children. I went through the 1867-1882, 1883-1901, and 1901-1914 indexes extracting all those with the spellings of CADEAU, CADIEUX, CADAT, and CADAS — and anything else I thought looked close. I then went to the actual parish records and began with Albert Telesphore CADAS, who I suspected was Diane's grandfather. I was correct. He was shown as born 10 April 1876 in Port Severn. His parents were listed Alexis CADAS and Louise CHARLEBOIS. With this to compare other records to, I began to go through the entries from the index, and came up with the following children for Alexis and Louise:

  1. Albert Telesphore Cadas, born 10 Apr 1876 in Muskoka (Port Severn)
  2. Delia Cadåt, born 8 Mar 1878 in Baxter
  3. Melina Cadåt, born 8 Mar 1880 in Baxter
  4. Olivier Cadat, born 6 Oct 1882 in Baxter (his sponsors were listed as Olivier and Agathe Cadat)
  5. Joseph Francois Cadat, born 10 May 1884 in Baxter (a further notation mentioned that he married Celina Brissette at St. Anne's on 28 Sep 1909).
  6. Francois Xavier Cadat, born 27 Jan 1886 in Baxter
  7. Moïse Cadat, born 15 Oct 1887 in Baxter
  8. AndréCadat, born 14 Sep 1889 in Baxter

I was unable to find Alexander, mentioned in the letter from Diane, in the index to the children. If Alexander is another child, that would bring the total of identified children up to nine. In going through the list from the index, I also found the following children for Oliver and Simeon.

Childre of Oliver Cadat and Agathe Messier:

  1. Albert Cadat, born 21 Mar 1878 in Port Severn
  2. Olivier Cadat, born 31 Oct 1879 in Port Severn
  3. Marie Frizalie Cadat, born 22 Sep 1885 in Baxter
  4. Elizabeth Cadat, born 19 Oct 1887 in Baxter
  5. Victoire Cadat, born 3 Dec 1889 in Baxter

And the children for Simeon Cadat and Georgina Mailloux:

  1. Marie Delina Cadat, born 7 Nov 1881 in Baxter
  2. Henri Cadat, born 29 Jul 1883 in Baxter
  3. André Cadat, born 10 Sep 1885 in Baxter
  4. William Cadat, born 14 Sep 1887 in Baxter
  5. Marie Odina Cadat, born 11 Apr 1895 in Baxter

Back to Louise

I searched St. Elizabeth as well as Lotbiniere (as mentioned by Diane originally) for a birth record on Alexis and had come up empty handed. I decided instead to see if I could have better luck with Louise. I did another search in the International Genealogical Index giving her a first name of Louise, and a birth of 1848 plus or minus 5 years. I came up empty handed. Another search, with the first name of Marie, though, was another story. I found an entry for her birth as 26 August 1848 in Saint Anicet, Huntingdon, Quebec.

Going through some of the records for Saint Anicet revealed the following children for François Charlebois and Julie Dunne

  1. Julie Charlebois, bap. 3 Jun 1835 in Saint Anicet
  2. Marguerite Charlebois, born 26 Mar 1838 in Saint Anicet
  3. Marie Charlebois, probably born ca. 1840 given that she married Stanislas Laliberté 20 Aug 1860 in Saint Anicet.
  4. Olivier Charlebois, born 6 May 1841 in Saint Anicet
  5. Israel Charlebois (may have overlooked him but I couldn't find him; he would have been born about here in the order of the children)
  6. Archange Charlebois, born 3 Oct 1846 in Saint Anicet
  7. Marie Louise Charlebois, born 26 Aug 1848 in Saint Anicet
  8. Henrietta Charlebois, born 23 Sep 1850 in Saint Anicet

Again not the 15 that Diane's family stories mention, but eight identified children for this couple. I did take a look for Alexis while I was in these records but again came away empty handed.

In Conclusion

While this search is far from over, I had to admit defeat and get on to other projects. Through this search, I realized again that genealogists must never lose site of the goal. We must doggedly attack all the possible records available. If we cannot find our ancestor in one town or parish, we should expand our search to include the towns where extended families came from. Sometimes we may get lucky. While not much more is known about Alexis Cadas and Genevieve Gadoure, it is possible that Diane is now armed with some additional names, dates and places — along with new spelling variations — that may help her discover where her great-grandfather came from.

See Rhonda's Previous Columns

Rhonda R. McClure is a professional genealogist specializing in celebrity trees and computerized genealogy. She has been involved in online genealogy for fifteen years. She is the author of the award-winning The Complete Idiot's Guide to Online Genealogy, now in its second edition. She is the author of four how-to guides on Family Tree Maker. In late 2001, she wrote The Genealogist's Computer Companion. She is a contributing editor to Biography Magazine with her "Celebrity Roots" column and a contributing writer to The History Channel Magazine. Her latest book is Finding Your Famous and Infamous Ancestors. She may be contacted at rhondagen@thegenealogist.com.

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