Does baby Dorothy belong in my tree?

gg - george eliot quote

Francis Cyprien Duval & Alice Hyde are my 2nd great grandparents.  They are pictured above with four of their five children who survived birth and infancy.  Their oldest son, Francis Henry (back left), is my great grandfather.

I have known about 5 of their children for years.  Slowly I have been finding little tid-bits that indicate there were additional children.

These are the five children who are well known to me:

  • Annie Marie Elvera Duval, 1899-1979
  • Francis Henry Duval, 1901-1996
  • Leon Howard Duval, 1907-1941
  • Dolores Lenore Duval, 1909-2005
  • Alexander Valmore Duval, 1916-1997

Notice the gaps?  Six years between Frank and Leon, and seven years between Dolores and Valmore.  Those are pretty big gaps for a Roman Catholic like Francis Cyprien Duval.

For a few years now I have known of two other children.  The first is a baby boy who was not named.  He was born and died on 15 February 1915 in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

The second child is referenced in the 1910 census for the family while they are living in Fairbanks, Alaska.  Alice is listed as the mother of 5, with 4 living.  That means that there is a child who was born and died prior to 10 February 1910.

So my revised list of children looks like this:

  • Annie Marie Elvera Duval, 1899-1979
  • Francis Henry Duval, 1901-1996
  • Unknown Duval, born and died prior to February 10, 1910
  • Leon Howard Duval, 1907-1941
  • Dolores Lenore Duval, 1909-2005
  • Baby Boy Duval, 1915-1915
  • Alexander Valmore Duval, 1916-1997

It seems likely that the child I learned of from the 1910 census belongs between Frank and Leon in that 6 year gap, but that is just speculation.

It now appears there may be an additional child.


A baby girl named Dorothy.

The Western Call, a BC newspaper, has a death and funeral announcement found in their 14 October 1910 issue that reads:


The death took place Wednesday morning of Dorothy, the infant daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Duval, corner of Twenty-sixth avenue and Martha street.  The funeral was held Thursday morning at 9.30 o’clock from the residence, Rev. G. A. Wilson Officiating.

Could this Mr. and Mrs. Frank Duval be my Frank & Alice Duval?

Most likely.


I know from an interview of their son Frank in the late 1970s/early 1980s that Frank and Alice left Alaska sometime after Alice’s father Henry died in 1907.  They were still in Fairbanks when the 1910 census was taken in February of that year.  I know that after they left Fairbanks they lived in Vancouver for a short time before moving to Lynn Valley, BC where they all lived until sometime after Francis Cyprien Duval’s death in 1919.

So once again, I revise my list of children for Frank and Alice:

  • Annie Marie Elvera Duval, 1899-1979
  • Francis Henry Duval, 1901-1996
  • Unknown Duval, born and died prior to February 10, 1910
  • Leon Howard Duval, 1907-1941
  • Dolores Lenore Duval, 1909-2005
  • Dorothy Duval, died 12 (or 11th) October 1910
  • Baby Boy Duval, 1915-1915
  • Alexander Valmore Duval, 1916-1997

Does baby Dorothy belong in my tree?


I think so.  I need more records to be sure.

But now I am wondering… how many other children are missing?



Note:  THANK YOU to Teresa from writing my past for suggesting I check out this BC newspaper site where I found the obit for baby Dorothy.  Of course that led me to additional searching including this site for BC City Directories.  I love the genealogy blogging community.  Our collective knowledge and sharing make genealogy SO MUCH better.  Thank you Teresa!




Ancestor Story – Prudent Therien – 52 Ancestors

U.S., Indexed County Land Ownership Maps, 1860-1918 - Iroquois, Illinois 1884.  The two grey boxes on the right side of the map are for a P. Therien and P. Theren.

U.S., Indexed County Land Ownership Maps, 1860-1918 – Iroquois, Illinois 1884. The two grey boxes on the right side of the map are for a P. Therien and P. Theren.  Possibly my Prudent Therien?  Map accessed on

Last week I sat down to my computer and felt like a change.  It’s not that I was bored.  I just wanted to tackle a genealogy task that was completely new and fresh for me.

So, I dove into a line that years ago my sister and I decided would be the line she would work on.  She worked on it extensively for a few years.  Over the last several years she has not had much time for family history.  In the spring she was laid up recovering from surgery.  During those weeks, she was able to dig back in to this line and research.  She told me she had made a few awesome discoveries here.  I decided to check it out.

I went to my current end of line individual – Prudent Therien.

Prudent is my 4th great grandfather.  We knew about the latter half of his life.  He settled in Illinois with his wife and children.  They had more children there.  He lived many years in Illinois.  From the census we knew he was born in Canada, as was his wife and oldest children.  One of my sister’s discoveries was his marriage record.

Prudent married Adeline Perrault in Lachenaie, L’Assomption, Québec, Canada on 11 August 1846.  I was really excited when I saw that she had found this certificate.  I am quite familiar with French, Catholic records from Québec.  I know that in this time period they list the names of the parents of the bride and groom.  I opened the document thinking I was a few keystrokes away from adding another generation to my tree.

Are you sensing a ‘but…’?  Because there is one.

That marriage record held a few surprises.  First of all, Prudent was listed as ‘Prudent’.  No last name.  What now?  I had never seen that before.  Second, he was listed as a ‘middling boy’.  It was explained to me that this likely means, “I think in this sense, he was average and was probably under the usual age of marriage.  It is unusual that the marriage did not name his parents, it may be possible he was abandoned as an infant and left as an orphan but sometimes, priests did omit parents.”  Third, no parents for Prudent.

Hmmm.  Head-scratcher.

I decided to look for a possible baptism record.  I began in the same parish in which the marriage occurred.  I used the birth information from the 1900 US Census as a guide – January 1820.  I began looking in 1819, nothing there.  Then I checked 1820, nothing there.  I was a bit worried.  I checked 1821 – finally some luck!

I found a baptism record for a child listed as ‘Prudent – Illegm’.  It follows what I know of Prudent.  No last name, born in January, one year different from the 1900 census.  Born in the same parish in which he was married.  There were no other Prudents born in the previous two years.  Unfortunately the record does not list parents.  It does list god-parents, godfather – Amable Dupont, godmother – Hypolite Garispy.

Now I was wondering where the last name Therien came from.  Out of the air?

I still don’t know the answer to that.  I know that Prudent and Adeline’s first child was a boy whom they named Prudent Terrien.  He was born and died in 1847.  His baptism and burial records list his parents as Prudent, again no last name, and Adeline Perrault.

Prudent and Adeline’s next child was Marie Anne Terrien.  She was born in 1848.  Her baptism record lists her parents just like her older brother’s, father Prudent, no last name, mother Adeline Perrault.

The third child was Louis Ludger Therrien, born and died in 1850.  Louis’ baptism record is the first record in which Prudent has a last name.  His name is listed as Prudent Therrien, a name he uses on the remaining documents of his life.

I am still working on this family.  I have so many questions.

  • Where did the last name Terrien/Therrien/Therien come from?
  • Who raised Prudent?
  • Who were his parents?
  • Are there any records that will help me solve the mystery of his parentage or is Prudent a true BRICK WALL?  That would be a serious bummer.
  • Nine children have been identified for Prudent and Adeline.  The 1900 and 1910 census list Adeline as the mother of 11 with 6 children living.  Who are the two missing children?
  • When exactly did Prudent immigrate to the US?
  • When and where did he die?
  • What is the history of illegitimacy in this area?  Was he abandoned?
  • How do I properly list Prudent in my tree?  With no last name?  With the last name of Therien with a note?  This is new territory for me.
  • Who are Prudent’s god-parents?  I know their names, but why were they chosen?  Who chose them?

My work with Prudent is far from over.  As always, one answer leads to SEVERAL more questions.  I’m glad I decided to wander over to this section of my tree.  I’m really enjoying my digging.



John Costello – Alien File Update

Young and CostellosYoung & Costello Families
Left to right: John & Mary Costello, Andrew Young, Catherine and James Young, Alexander (Sandy) Young, George Young. Front row: Mary & John’s three children – Virginia, Dan and Vince.

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about my great grandfather John Costello who is currently a brick wall.  Brick wall?!  More like a steel reinforced concrete wall surrounded by razor wire.  Well, maybe not really.  But it feels like it somedays.

Last Saturday a copy of his Alien File arrived from the National Archives in Kansas.  I was soooo excited – giddy really.

And then I opened it.

The slender, four page file had seemed like such a wonderful possibility.  And as I looked at each page my giddiness slowly faded until at last it sputtered out completely.

The slender file of possibilities in fact held very little.

There was a physical description – Height – 5’9″,  weight – 165 lbs., Black hair, & Brown eyes.  This was new-ish.  I knew some of it and could have guessed at some of it.

It does say that he arrived in Philadelphia in the winter of 1914 – different from what his children have shared with me.

I did learn that he claims he was a passenger on the ship but can’t remember the name of the ship.  Okay.

He claims that he entered the US under the name John Costello and has used that name all of his life.  Interesting – some of his children claim his name was Juan Castilla and that he changed his name to John Costello.  The file itself has two documents that he signed.  Look at these John Hancocks – what do you see?

COSTELLO, John, Signature, 1COSTELLO, John, Signature, 2

Is it just me?  Does that second signature look like it says ‘Juan’?

Well, the Alien File was not what I had hoped – not at all.  I still have a few ideas I plan to try out.  I hope one day to knock down, blow up, utterly demolish the brick wall that is John Costello.  While of course not damaging the memory of the man or his family.  🙂

Below are the images from the four pages of his file.

COSTELLO, John, Alien File, 1 COSTELLO, John, Alien File, 2 COSTELLO, John, Alien File, 3 COSTELLO, John, Alien File, 4

I guess the bottom line is that I turned over another stone.  I may not have found what I was looking for – but I have one less stone to turn over.  And that, well it’s something at least.


Ancestor Story – John Costello, Man of Mystery – 52 Ancestors

Scanned Image 101200097John Costello is the patriarch of the family, front and center, looking away – Christmas 1950

I find it frustrating, strange, and utterly ridiculous that John Costello, my great grandfather is a brick wall.  But he is.  My mom knew him.  His three children are still living.  He is just right there – one generation away from my oldest living ancestors and yet I can’t seem to grasp his story.  I have tried many things.  I am in the process of trying a few things.  I am happily taking suggestions if you have them.

This is an outline of John’s life.  Some items have been proven, others have not.  Italicized items are so far, unproven:

  • John Costello
  • Born:  14 February 1893, Barcelona, Spain
  • Parents:  Vincenzo Costello/Castilla and Amelia Pallina
  • Immigration to US:  1915
  • Marriage:  1 January 1919, Spokane, Washington, to Mary Brown Young
  • Residence:  1920 – Spokane, WA, 1930 – Mead, WA, 1940 – Mead, WA
  • Death:  30 May 1966, Spokane, Washington
  • Burial:  Holy Cross Cemetery in Spokane, Washington

Here are the records I have been able to find:

COSTELLO, John & Mary Brown Young, Marriage RecordMarriage Record – This record puzzles me a bit.  The record lists the marriage date as 1 January 1918 and the filing date as 4 January 1919.  Family records list the marriage date in 1919.  I believe 1919 is correct and the Officiant hadn’t gotten used to writing 1919 yet as it was the first day of the year.

COSTELLO, John 1920 Census1920 Census – John’s father’s birthplace is listed as Italy and his mother’s birthplace is listed as Spain.   His year of immigration is listed as 1915, status – Alien.  His occupation is listed as Junkman in his own shop.

COSTELLO, John 1930 Census1930 Census – John lists both of his parent’s birthplaces as Spain.  He lists his year of immigration as 1914, status – Alien.   He lists his occupation as Express Driver of a Proprietor Wagon.

COSTELLO, John 1940 Census1940 Census – His occupation is listed as Operator of a Retail Tire Shop.

COSTELLO, John, Selective Service Card - frontCOSTELLO, John, Selective Service - backThis card was given to my mom by John’s daughter.  She said it is the only document she has about him.

COSTELLO, John, ObituaryObituary clipping found among family records – no date or paper name included.

COSTELLO, John - Funeral NoticeThe Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Washington), Wednesday, 1 June 1966, page 9

John Costello, headstoneHeadstone photograph

Family Lore about John gathered from his three living children:

John was born in Barcelona and raised on a farm.  His parents may have raised bulls.  It is believed that he had three sisters – no names are known.  When John was a young man he decided to go to America for a better life and to escape farming.  His family was happy for him and had a big party to celebrate his future.  His two uncles each gave him a ring at the party.  He and his family were not literate and had not had the opportunity to attend school.  John left for America and apparently came through Boston {can’t find a record for this}.  Upon arrival he may have changed his name from Juan Castilla to John Costello.  His children disagree on this point.  John worked his way across the United States.  Somewhere around Ohio he spent some time working on a farm.  The farmer taught him the basics of reading and writing – his first experience with literacy.  Eventually he made it to Spokane where he lived out the remainder of his life.  No one is aware of any contact with his family back in Spain.  None of his children seem to have any more information and no helpful records.  The only document of any kind kept by the family is the above card.

Possible Leads:

COSTELLO, John, Alien File Number

I am hopeful that this Alien File is in fact John’s Alien File and I have begun the process of requesting a copy.  Hopefully it is filled with good details, the most important being the name of the Parish in which he was born and raised.

Catholic Church Records – John was raised Catholic.  He and Mary were married in a Lutheran Church.  He was buried in a Catholic Cemetery.  At some point Mary joined the Catholic Church so she could be buried by John.  I am trying to find the record of her baptism.  I am hopeful that their marriage was blessed in a Catholic Church and that part of that record may contain the name of the church in which John was baptized.  I am also seeking any Catholic Church records regarding John & Mary’s children with the same hope.

Church Record from Marriage – I have contacted the Lutheran Church where John & Mary were married to request any record the church has for their marriage and subsequent membership in the parish.  I had a nice phone conversation with someone but I have not received a reply and need to make contact again.

Possible DNA Tests – John has two living sons and two living grandsons {of his sons}.  I am considering having all four men take DNA tests to help me identify some cousins and possibly narrow down a more specific location in Spain in which to search.

And that is John Costello, my great grandfather – a man of mystery.

Do you have any recent brick walls like this one?  Do you have any ideas for me?


Ancestor Story – Helen Boles – 52 Ancestors

LanarkRoadCarlukeCarluke is the setting for parts of this tale.  Image found here.

On one of my very first visits to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City I found a record that started my journey of learning Helen Boles Muir’s fascinating story.  Helen is my 3rd great grand aunt.  I attribute many of my genealogical detective skills to her – her story forced me to gain some tricks in a hurry.

This is the story of Helen Boles.

Helen Boles is the daughter of James Thomson Boles & Isabella McLaren, my 4th great grandparents.  I first discovered Helen in the 1851 Census of Carluke, Lanark, Scotland.  She was 3 years old at the time of the census.

BOLES, James Thomson & Isabella McLaren, 1851 Census

Helen is not listed with her family on the 1861 Census.  When I discovered this, I wondered if she had died before 1861.  While searching for birth and death records in Carluke for any children of James & Isabella Boles, I came across this death record for Janet Boles.

BOLES, Janet, 1869 Death Record

Janet Boles is the illegitimate daughter of a Helen Boles.  The informant is a James Boles who is the father of Helen Boles.  When I found this record I thought it was very likely that this was my Helen but I needed to find more information.

The next record I found was the 1871 Census of Carluke, Lanark, Scotland.  The household members include James & Isabella, four of their children, and a grandson named James B. McLauchlan age 6.  The family is living at the same address that Janet Boles died at.  Maybe Janet is indeed the child of Helen.   But who is James B. McLauchlan?

James & Isabella Boles, 1871 Census

I was very curious about this James B. McLauchlan.  I went searching for a birth record.  What I found was a birth for a James Boles.

BOLES, James, 1865 Birth Record

James Boles is the illegitimate son of a Helen Boles.  I wondered if this could possibly be my Helen and the James B. McLauchlan of the 1871 Census.

Next I found the 1881 Census of Dalserf, Lanark, Scotland.  The household members include James & Isabella and their grandson listed as James Boles.  His age and birthplace match both the possible birth record and the 1871 Census.

James & Isabella Boles, 1881 Census

Let’s go back to Helen for a minute.  I began using the scotlandspeople website so I could search from home.  {Incidentally, this is my favorite website.}  I looked for a death record for Helen Boles.  I found this record {bottom entry}.

Helen Boles Muir, 1935 Death Record

Hot dog!  Helen lived to ripe old age of 87.  She had been married to a man named John Muir who died before she did and she must have had a child because the informant on her death record was James T. Boles, grandson.

This record sent me hunting for Helen’s marriage record.  Found it {second entry}.

Screen shot 2014-01-24 at 5.30.21 PM

Helen was married to John Muir on 1 December 1882 in Dalserf, Lanark, Scotland.  She is listed as a Dairymaid with her usual residence at Ashgillhead in Dalserf.  This is the occupation listed on Janet’s birth record and the address of James & Isabella on the 1881 Census.

I decided to make a loose assumption that the James Boles from the birth record & census record, and the James B. McLauchlan from the other census record were all the same person and that he was the son of my Helen.  Assuming all of this, I went looking for a marriage record for James Boles and this is what I found.

James T Boles & Isabella Crow Macdonald, 1891 Marriage Record

James T. Boles married Isabella Crow Macdonald on 31 December 1891 in Dalziel, Lanark, Scotland.  He lists his father as James Thomson Boles, coachman, deceased and his mother as Helen Boles, maiden surname McLaren.  This path was getting rather twisty for me.  I know that illegitimacy was a big deal during this time period and something to be covered up.  Knowing this I looked at this record and wondered if James was hiding his illegitimacy in a few twisted truths by listing his maternal grandfather as his own father and his mother as his mother but with her mother’s maiden name – so that she would have one.

I wondered if James’ death record might clear anything up.  I found this.

James Thomson Boles, 1937 Death Record

James Thomson Boles died on 13 January 1937 in Dalserf, Lanark, Scotland.  The informant on the record is his son James who is living at the same address that Helen was living at when she died 2 years earlier.  On the record he lists no father and as mother Helen Boles, domestic servant, deceased.  When I read through this record I felt a tremendous sense of completion and connection.  Finally at his death his family was able to be honest about his parentage – at least the part that they knew.

I found several more records for Helen, John, & James.  The most important to this story being the 1861 Census of Culter, Lanark, Scotland.

Helen Boles, 1861 Census

Helen Boles is a domestic servant.  Among the other servants we find Mary & Agnes Muir.  Possibly sisters of Helen’s future husband John?

After assembling these and other records this is the timeline of Helen’s life:

  • Helen Boles
  • Born – 1 June 1847 in Cambusbarron, St. Ninians, Scotland.
  • Baptized – 27 June 1847 in Gargunnock, Stirling, Scotland.
  • 1851 Census – Resides with parents in Carluke, Lanark, Scotland.
  • 1861 Census – Domestic Servant for William & Marion Aitken in Culter, Lanark, Scotland at the age of 13.
  • 1865 – Helen gives birth to James Boles in Carluke, Lanark, Scotland.  Helen is an 18 year old Farm Servant at the time.  No father is listed on James’ birth record.  James is illegitimate.  We learn from this record that Helen is illiterate as she signs the record with an x as her mark.
  • 1868 – Helen gives birth to Janet Boles in Carluke, Lanark, Scotland.  Helen is a 21 year old Farm Servant at the time.  No father is listed on Janet’s birth record.  Janet is illegitimate.  She is likely named for Helen’s younger sister who was born and died ten years previously.  We learn from this record that Helen can now sign her name.
  • 1869 – Helen’s daughter Janet dies in Carluke, Lanark, Scotland at the age of 14 months.  Cause of death is listed as Epilepsy, 3 weeks.  The informant is Helen’s father James Boles.
  • 1871 Census – Cook for Thomas & Margaret Stodart in Walston, Lanark, Scotland.  Her son James is living with her parents in Carluke.
  • 1881 Census – Dairymaid at the Mauldslie Dairy, living as the head of household with another Dairymaid named Elizabeth Noble.  Her son James is living with her parents in Dalserf.
  • Married John Muir – 1882 in Dalserf, Lanark, Scotland at the age of 32.  John was 10 years her junior.  This is important to note as he could not have been the father of her two children.
  • 1891 – her son James married Isabella Crow Macdonald.
  • 1891 Census – Living in Lesmahagow with her husband with no occupation listed.  Her son James is living in Bothwell with his new wife.
  • 1901 Census – Living in Lesmahagow with her husband with no occupation listed.  Her son James is living in Dalziel with his wife and their four living children.
  • Widowed sometime between 1901 and 1935.  I have been unable to find John’s death record or an entry for John or Helen in the 1911 Census.
  • Died – 1935 at the age of 87 in Dalserf, Lanark, Scotland at the same address listed on several records of this time period for her grandchildren and her son James.  This leads me to believe that Helen may have lived with James and his family or one of his adult children after the death of her husband John.  Helen was the grandmother of 9, 6 were still living at the time of her death.



My heart goes out to Helen.  She began working outside her home as a servant by the tender age of 13.  She had two illegitimate children at a time when illegitimacy was a big deal.  She suffered the death of her infant daughter.  She eventually marries at the age of 32.  She has no more children that I can find.  By the end of her son’s life, the sting of his illegitimacy no longer prevents the informant from being truthful about his parentage.  Helen’s story had come full circle.

I have a very tender place in my heart for Helen and her life.  While researching her life and the lives of her descendants, I felt her influence many times.  I had a distinct feeling that she wanted her story told and told accurately.  When I had pieced everything together, I remember re-reading through all of the records.  As I read Janet’s death record and was reminded that Helen’s father James Thomson Boles was the informant of Janet’s death and that he had registered her death the very day she died, I had a clear image in my mind’s eye of a grandfather walking down the road, head down in sorrow.  By image I do not mean that I was able to imagine this happening.  For just the briefest of moments I saw a heartbroken grandfather walking to the registrars office.  This family is very real to me.  They have my heart.

Note: In order to streamline this story for the reader I left out many records that helped me reach my conclusions.  Also it is interesting to note that so far in my research, every individual with the surname of Boles from Lanark County in Scotland is related to this family.  With such an uncommon surname for this location, researching has been especially easy enjoyable.  Okay, both.


Puzzling: Ebee Duval

La Malbaie Bertrand LemeunierA nocturnal view of La Malbaie by Bertrand Lemeunier from here.

I have a Family History Puzzle I haven’t been able to solve.  Maybe you can help me.

The person who is puzzling me is Ebee or Ebes Duval.

What I have:

  • I have this baptism record which can also be viewed here {bottom right image on the page}.  The record is for the baptism of Ebee {possibly Ebes} Duval in October of 1829 in St Etienne Parish, La Malbaie, Charlevoix, Quebec.  The parents and Godparents are listed.  I have ‘read’ through this record over and over again and can’t find a gender word.  I am not a French speaker.  I have developed a French Family History vocabulary but the words I know and usually find are not in this record.

Ebee Duval - baptism

  • I have this burial record which can also be viewed here {middle of the left page}.  The record is for the burial of Ebes Duval in November of 1847 in Ste Luce Parish, Rimouski, Matane, Quebec.  The parents are listed.  I believe this person is a male.  I see the word ‘fils’.  I believe this person was 18 at the time of death, I think I see the phrase ‘dix-huit ans’.

Ebes Duval - burial

What I know for sure:

  • Both records are for children of Francois Duval & Marie Gauthier – my 4th great grandparents.
  • That’s it – short list.

What I am trying to figure out:

  • What is the gender of the child in the baptism record?
  • Is the name in the baptism record Ebee or Ebes?
  • Am I reading the age and gender correctly in the burial record?
  • Do these two records belong to the same person?  If I am reading the age correctly in the burial record, then the dates work for these records to be about the same person.

Anyone want to weigh in?  I would love some help!