Some of us research every person in a family tree. Some of us concentrate more on our direct line. Unless you\’re doing a One Name or One Place study, it really just comes down to personal preference. But even if you\’re concentrating on your direct line, make sure you are making note of your ancestor\’s siblings as well. Having those names will eventually come in handy.
The first obvious reason to record sibling names is to help find the family in census records. This is especially helpful when your ancestor has a common name, but their sibling doesn\’t. It\’s much easier to search for records for \”Beulah\” than \”Anne\”. But here is a more unusual problem where siblings came in handy.
Mt 2x great grandmother is Marie Victorine FERGUSON. On 24 November 1874 she marries Jean MALLAIS. In the Drouin Collection on Ancestry for the area of Tracadie, New Brunswick it has their marriage. The entry is written in French, but it states that \”…Marie Victorine Ferguson, fille majeur de David Ferguson et de defunte Charlotte Savoie…\”. This translates to Victorine is the daughter of David FERGUSON and the deceased Charlotte SAVOIE, and that she is at least 18 years old (the age of majority to marry). So what\’s the problem you ask? Seems pretty straight forward.
Well, the only marriage I can find for David is to a Julienne GAUTRAULT. This marriage takes place in the register for Caraquet in 1836. There is only one David Ferguson in the area at the time, so I know I have at least the right man. I cannot find a death for Julienne. I find a transcription for David\’s headstone on the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick (PANB). It says that he is the husband of Julienne GAUTREAU. I find David\’s burial in the Drouin. It states that he is the widower of Julienne GOTREAU. I look at a death certificate for Victorine and it states that the informant did not know who her parents were:
Next I take a look at census records for Victorine before she marries in 1874. In the 1871 census for Suamarez, Gloucester County, New Brunswick she is living with her widowed father and her younger brother Bernard. It states that she is born about 1851:
In 1861 she is living with father David and brother Bernard, as well as older siblings Esther, William, and Christina. It also says that her birth year is about 1847:
Unfortunately, the 1851 census records for Gloucester County have not survived, so that\’s the end of the trail by this route. But we now have the names of four siblings for Victorine. So I start to look at baptisms for the children in the Tracadie registers of the Drouin:
- Esther: baptized 5 December 1842 \”…of the lawful marriage (of) David Ferguson and Julienne Gotreau…\”
- William: \”Guillaume\” baptized 14 August 1843 \”…de legitime marriage de David Ferguson, et de Julienne Gotreau…\”
- Christina: none found
- Marie Victorine: none found
- Bernard: baptized 15 December 1850 \”…de legitime marriage de David Ferguson et de Julienne Gotreau…\”
- Anne: baptized 17 March 1838 \”…fille legitime de David Ferguson et de Julienne Gaudrot…\”
- Charlotte: baptized 11 January 1840 \”…ne le 24 novembre de David Fergusson et de Julienne Gautrault…\”
- Guillaume: baptized 7 March 1839 \”…ne le 20 novembre de David Fergusson et de Julienne Gautrault…\”
- His burial in 1877 says that he is the widower of Julienne.
- His headstone reads \”husband of Julienne Gautreau\”.
- David is listed as a widower in the 1861 and 1871 censuses.
- We have found no corroborating marriage record between David and a Charlotte SAVOIE.