Thursday, September 9, 2010

More Than You Ever Wanted to Know About the LeBeau Family

St. Charles Borromeo Church, in St. Charles, Missouri, is the third oldest Catholic parish in the State of Missouri.  It was dedicated in 1791:

… Don Manuel Perez visited the village of Les Petites Cotes, or the "Little Hills." As the Spanish lieutenant governor of Upper Louisiana, Perez signed a petition granting inhabitants of the village permission to build a church. According to area historical records, the meeting took place at the home of French Canadian fur trapper Louis Blanchette, who founded the village in 1769. The church Perez authorized was San Carlos Borromeo, later anglicized to St. Charles Borromeo. When Perez dedicated the church on November 7, 1791, he named it after the Cardinal of Milan, Charles Borromeo. At the same time, he changed the name of the village to San Carlos, which then became St. Charles in 1803.

Although Perez represented the Spanish government in Upper Louisiana, most of the residents of San Carlos del Missuri were of French Canadian ancestry and spoke French.  The district of St. Charles extended from the Missouri River north to …. well, no one knew.  At least as far as Dubuque, where Julien Dubuque was granted land by the governor of Upper Louisiana (or Ylinoa, as it was known in Spanish records).  And it extended west as far as … well, no one knew.  It was a Big Country.  And although the principal settlement was San Carlos, its population was less than 100 families prior to the cession of Louisiana to the United States.

The first survey of the town of St. Charles was ostensibly made by Auguste Chouteau, one of the founders of St. Louis, although no copy of the survey has ever been found.  He was assisted in this endeavor by Louis Barada, from whom I am descended. Louis had moved, with his family, from St. Louis to St. Charles and his daughter Marguerite had, by 1800, married Jean Baptiste LeBeau, the son of Bapt. LeBeau and Marie Louise Jourdain. 

Although the original survey does not exist, the church records of St. Charles Borromeo Church do exist.  They are written in French (mostly) by hand and are difficult to interpret.  At some point, some industrious souls translated them into English and typed up the translated transcriptions.  Then more industrious souls indexed the transcriptions.   So, today, if you are looking to find one of your Lebeau ancestors (or any ancestor who lived in St. Charles who might have been Catholic, which was most residents at the time) you would first consult the index of Baptisms (1792-1851). 

After my writings this summer about the LeBeau Family I was contacted by two people who turned out to be distant relatives.  That was quite exciting!  Yes, we are about 6 generations removed but we are related.  One of them was descended from a sister of Marie Louise LeBeau but the other was unsure exactly how we were related (if it turned out we were related).  He had traced his line back to a woman baptised at St. Charles Borromeo Church in 1837. 

Rosalie Corbeille

1837, the 30th of December, I have supplied the ceremonies of baptism to Rosalie Corbeille, daughter of J.B. Corbeille and Louise Toussaint LeBeau, born the 5th of the current month. 

J.B. Bourdeaux
Lucille Pequin

J.B. Smedts

Who, he wondered, was Marie Louise Toussaint LeBeau?  The St. Charles County Historical Society had done some research for him and sent him the pages from the  index to baptisms of St. Charles Borromeo Church, 1792-1851 that listed the persons baptized by the name of LeBeau.  Among the 32 LeBeau baptisms that were listed were the following:

Name   Birth Baptism Father Mother
Le Beau Louise 10/23/1806 11/30/1806 Jean Baptiste Marguerite Barada
Le Beau Louise 2/20/1808 6/10/1808 Toussaint Marie Le Frenet
Le Beau Marie Louise 6/13/1811 7/31/1811 Jean Baptiste Marguerite Barada

By virtue of his ancestress’s marriage date he had eliminated Marie Louise as being too young.  But which of the other two was “his” Louise Lebeau.  Or was she someone else?

Of course, logic dictated that the name “Toussaint” in Louise Toussaint LeBeau’s name probably meant that she was the daughter of Toussaint LeBeau.  But logic is not proof.  I knew I was descended from Marie Louise LeBeau, born in 1811, the daughter of Marguerite Barada and I knew that Toussaint and Jean Baptiste were brothers.  I also knew that they were both children of Marie Louise Jourdain and the mysterious Jean Baptiste/Jacques LeBeau.  I could document those facts.  So whether or not he could ever prove the name of the mother he would know from whom he was descended on the father’s side. 

But of course he wanted to know which Louise was “his” Louise.  Was she the daughter of Jean Baptiste and Marguerite or was she the daughter of Toussaint and Marie Le Frenet?   This was the mystery.

I looked through all of my papers and could find nothing helpful. And of course I enlisted my dad’s help.  He looked through all of his papers and could find nothing helpful.  We both felt sure that we had eliminated the Louise LeBeau born in 1806 from contention of being “our” Louise when we did our history and were positive “our” Louise was the Marie Louise born in 1811.  But we couldn’t remember why we had concluded that or find any documentation.  Maybe the first Louise had died prior to 1811?  That would provide an answer to the mystery of Louise Lebeau the mother of Rosalie Corbeille. 

So my dad, the intrepid researcher, said he’d look into it the next time he was at a library with records from St. Charles Borromeo.   A few days later he called me with a hint of glee in his voice.  He had an answer.  Or at least he had one answer. 

The Louise LeBeau born in 1806 to Jean Baptiste LeBeau and Marguerite Barada hadn’t died before her sister Marie Louise was born in 1811.  She had never been born!   Or at least, “she” had never been born.   In the fully transcribed records of St. Charles Borromeo baptisms my dad found a heading for Louise LeBeau.   The birth date was 1806.  He copied it.  He then found a heading for Louise LeBeau.  The birth date was 1808.  He copied it.  He found some other things he was looking for, copied them, and headed home.  Then he started to look closely at what he had copied.

Louise Lebeau

The year 1806, the 30th of November, I baptized Louis LeBeau, legitimate son of Jean Baptiste LeBeau and Marguerite Barrada, born the 23d day of October. The godfather was Etienne Quenel and the godmother Eulalie Barrada, in the faith of which I have signed presently after the godfather and godmother have made their ordinary mark.

his mark  Etienne Quenel
her mark  Eulalie Barrada

Thomas Flynn      cure

Louise LeBeau

The year 1808, the 10th day of June, I baptized Louise, born the 20th of February of the legitimate marriage of Toussaint LeBeau and Marie LeFrenet, his wife.  The godfather and godmother were Jacques Filtou (Filteau) and Marie Royou, in the faith of which I have signed with the godfather.

Jacques Filteau
Marie Royou

J. Maxwell    cure

Eureka!   The first Louise wasn’t a Louise.  The header was wrong.  And then the index transcriber had transcribed the incorrect header and not checked the name in the record, just looked for the dates and names of parents.  These things happen.  Transcribing is a hard lot and the people who do it are volunteers. 

But Louise was Louis and she wasn’t a daughter, she was a son.   Probably named after his grandfather, Louis Barada.  So, by process of elimination that left the only available Louise LeBeau as the daughter of Toussaint LeBeau and Marie LeFrenet.

Of course it isn’t definitive  proof but it is very good evidence.   I looked in the records of the other local church – St. Louis King of France - because I knew there was another, apparently unrelated, LeBeau family in the area at the time.  But they had baptized no “Louise” in that time period.  So unless Louise Toussaint LeBeau, the mother of Rosalie Corbeille, had arrived out of the blue from somewhere else with no family, she was the same Louise LeBeau who was baptized on June 10, 1808, the daughter of Toussaint LeBeau and Marie LeFernet.

I sent all my information on Toussaint’s family to my new long-lost-relative.  But now he has to figure out the history of Marie LeFernet.   But that’s the fun of genealogy, figuring things out.

And I remind you of the advice I gave in my post, Investigating Mr. LeBeau:  records aren’t always correct.  Never assume.