Photograph Showcase: In Uniform


DUVAL, Francis Cyprien on boat

Francis Cyprien Duval, on far right

Francis Cyprien Duval is my 2nd great grandfather.  He was born 3 October 1863 in Rimouski, Québec, Canada.  He was the first in our direct line to leave Québec after settlement from France.

Francis was an adventurer.  He was in Dawson, Alaska before the Gold Rush began.  He stayed throughout and did well.  He tried his hand at homesteading in Fairbanks.  He moved his wife and children back and forth between Alaska and California for many years.

Sometime after the death of his father-in-law, Henry Hyde, in Fairbanks in 1907, Francis and his family moved to Vancouver, BC and then finally settled in Lynn Valley, BC.

He lied about his age and joined the Canadian Expeditionary Forces during WWI.  That didn’t last long before he was sent back home.

He went on to work as a Forest Ranger.  He continued in that work until the time of his death at age 55 on 31 May 1919 in Vancouver, BC.

This photo is one of very few photos of Francis.  There are no notations on the back.  Based on what I know of Francis’ life, I would guess that this was taken during his service in WWI.  I did some google searching and his hat and collar seem to match the images of the uniforms during this time.

Francis died before he was a grandfather.  I descend from his son Francis Henry Duval.  Francis Henry was the father of two children – my Grandma Deane, who recently died, and my Grand Uncle Frank.

During the last two days of my Grandma’s life, the family gathered at her side.  In my conversations with Uncle Frank, he expressed disappointment that he hadn’t thought to ask his Dad about his Grandpa.

So, Uncle Frank, this one’s for you.




My Quebec Resources – A Growing List

Chateau Frontenac, Quebec City.  Image found here and used under the Creative Commons License.

Chateau Frontenac, Quebec City. Image found here and used under the Creative Commons License.

For the past few years I have been researching my Quebec roots.  I have relied almost completely on the Drouin Collection found on  I have supplemented that resource with the Quebec, Catholic Parish Registers, 1621-1979 browse collection found on  These two collections contain baptism, marriage, and burial records.  They are in French, and often difficult to decipher because of poor quality scans.  It has been an awesome adventure to learn how to read French records and piece my family tree together using these collections.

I got to the point that I needed to understand the other relevant collections for this area and how to use them and so began a journey that is still going on.  Below is a list of my Quebec Resources so far.

The Drouin Collection on contains baptism, marriage and burial records.  Most of it is indexed but the index is terribly inaccurate.  Rather than spend time searching the index, I page through the parish books and search the handwritten indexes found at the back of each year.  When I find a hit in the handwritten index I click through to the record.  Some years don’t have this handwritten index and require a record by record search of the book.  My family tended to live in small parishes so the books are typically 13-30 pages long.  Occasionally I’ll find a year that is more like 60 pages long.  The tricky thing about working this way is that when my family moves to a different parish, I can’t always pick them up in the ancestry index and I have some families in my tree with obvious gaps between children.  The images in this collection are often poor quality and difficult to read.

The Quebec, Catholic Parish Registers, 1621-1979 browse collection found on is part of a larger collection that contains a small portion of indexed records.  The majority of the records are not indexed and can be browsed like a microfilm, one page at a time.  The images are different from the images on ancestry.  The familysearch images are the original parish records and the Drouin Collection are the civil copies created each year for the courts, read more about this here.  Because the two collections contain the same records but different copies of the records it’s important to know how to use both collections so if you come across a record that is not legible you can try the other collection.  The familysearch collection is broken into much larger groups of years and takes a lot longer to search through.  In my experience though the images are so much better that it’s worth the time spent.

The Census collections found on ancestry and familysearch are great.

The PRDH.  This website has so much available and I’m only just beginning to understand how much.  So far these items on their website have been helpful for me:

  • The map of parishes.
  • This article on names.  Which, among other things, helps explain the “dit” names found in so many records.
  • This search box to check for “dit” names.
  • The free record search.  I have not yet paid for any records but I have used this record search to help me identify potential records and then I’ve found those records in the Drouin collection or the familysearch collection.
  • The Pioneer Page.  I have not yet identified my pioneers – the ancestors who traveled from France to Quebec – but eventually I’ll get there.  When the time comes, I look forward to using this search page.

This “dit” name list found on rootsweb.

The Facebook group Genealogy Translations has been essential for help translating certain records.  For the most part I can do it with the help of google translate, my french speaking friends and family, and various other online helps, but some records are just so crucial that I seek a translation from someone with more experience.

I recently joined the Facebook group Quebec Genealogy.  It has already been a big help.  Among other things, I have begun going through a list of online resources that is posted on the files page.  I look forward to finding more record collections and websites from this list.  I’m also looking forward to the help that will come from a community of people researching in the same area.

Maple Stars and Stripes is something I have just stumbled upon.  I can tell it is a gem of a website and have just signed up for their emails.

The last resource is not a Quebec resource but has helped me with my descendancy research on my Quebec lines.  This online collection of Ontario obituaries has been very helpful as several of my lines moved from Quebec to Ontario in the early 1900s.

I look forward to adding to this list.  I am fascinated by this part of my tree.  I actually have three different branches of my tree that go back to the early French settlers in Quebec.  I hope to eventually get back to France and understand why my family chose to come to Quebec.  In order to do that I want to make sure I know about the record collections and websites that might help me.

Do you have any Quebec ancestors?  What resources do you like?



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.



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!


Ancestor Story – Francis Cyprien Duval – 52 Ancestors

Francis Cyprien, Francis Henry, Elvera & Alice Hyde Duval, 1903 Oakland CaliforniaDuval Family – 1903 – Oakland, California
left to right: Francis Cyprien Duval, Francis Henry Duval,
Annie Marie Elvera Duval, Alice Hyde

Francis Cyprien Duval is my 2nd great grandfather.  His son, Francis Henry Duval, is my great grandfather.  I knew Grandpa Duval well as he lived until I was in college.  Francis Cyprien is a fascinating part of my family tree.  Let me tell you about him.

Francis Cyprien Duval

  • Born – 3 October 1863, Rimouski, Quebec, Canada.
  • Baptized – October 1863, Ste-Luce Church in Rimouski.  He was baptized Cyprien Duval.  His God parents were his father’s sister Arsene Duval and her husband Cyprien Chaurette.
  • Married – 12 November 1897, Dawson, Alaska to Alice Hyde.  He was 34, she was 17.
  • Death – 19 May 1919, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  He injured his foot while working in the Forest Service.  The foot became gangrenous and he refused to have it amputated.  The infection resulted in his death.  He left a family of five children ages 20 down to 4.

Francis Cyprien Duval is of French descent.  His line has a few branches that currently stop in the early 1700s but most of his lines were in Quebec prior to 1600.  The families moved around Quebec a little bit but he is the first in my direct line to leave Quebec.  He seems to have an adventurous spirit.  He set off on his own and settled in a gold mining town in Alaska where he met Alice Hyde.  After they married they moved back and forth between California and Alaska semiannually for a few years and eventually settled in Alaska and then British Columbia.

When I think about Francis Cyprien Duval I wonder about several things.  I wonder what he set out to find when he left Quebec.  Was he seeking riches, adventure, a new life?  I wonder if his family was excited for him or sad to see him go.  I wonder if he had contact with them after he left.  I wonder about the large age difference between he and his wife.  I wonder about his nomadic life with his growing family.  I wonder how different his children’s lives would have been had he allowed the doctors to amputate his foot.  I wish he had kept a journal, I would love to read it.  My musings on his life and choices makes me realize I need to be more thoughtful with my journal writing.  The why is something I don’t address nearly as often as the what.

What ancestor in your tree was an adventurer?  What would you like to know about them?