What’s Next?

I’ve come to the point where I’ve blogged about all my direct ancestors for whom I have solid (and sometimes semi-solid) information, including quite a few collateral relatives. Right now, I feel the need to slow down a bit on the blogging. If I have more time for research, I’m sure I will come up with material for future stories.

In fact, one of my ideas is “u-turn” posts where I would return to discuss new discoveries (already there have been a few). I may also share some cool things learned during #genchat. Maybe I can get some inspiration from various blog prompts, too. These are just a few ideas.

Bottom line, I’m not going anywhere, just slowing down a bit. Stay tuned!

How to Create a Find-a-Grave Virtual Cemetery

On Memorial Day, I tweeted a link to a virtual cemetery I created on Find-a-Grave to honor my military family members. Twitter friend Melanie McComb of The Shamrock Genealogist asked how I did this and I answered over the course of a few tweets. Then I realized that this would make a really good blog post. After all, others may want to create virtual cemeteries as well!

A virtual cemetery is simply a collection of Find-a-Grave memorials that you put together. It can be any theme you want (not just genealogy) and can include any memorials that are anywhere on Find-a-Grave. Some of my virtual cemeteries include: Direct Ancestors, Descendants of George & Emma Pleau, and Military Family.

All you need to create a virtual cemetery is a Find-a-Grave login. If you don’t have one, click here and follow the instructions on the screen.

Once you are signed in, click on your name in the upper right corner of the screen. This will bring you to a screen like this (the Contributor Tools tab):

Screenshot, findagrave.com

To start a new virtual cemetery, look at the “Customize” list in the lower left and click the “Edit” button after “My Virtual Cemeteries”. This will bring you to your personal Virtual Cemeteries page. (Once you’ve created a cemetery, you can get here from any Virtual Cemeteries link on the Contributor Tools and Profile tabs.)

 

Screenshot, findagrave.com

Click on the “Add New” link in the upper left of the screen. Give your cemetery a name and, if you want, a description. You can also choose to make this public or not (the default is public). Then click on the “Add This Virtual Cemetery” button on the bottom.

Screenshot, findagrave.com

Now the fun begins – adding the memorials! Go to a memorial you want to add to your cemetery. On the lower left side of the memorial, you’ll see a link that says “Edit Virtual Cemetery info”.

Screenshot, findagrave.com

Click on that, and you’ll see a page similar to this:

Screenshot, findagrave.com

Put a checkmark in the box of the virtual cemetery you want, click the “Save Changes” button, and you’re ready to add another memorial!

To log out of Find-a-Grave, just click on the “Log Out” link at the bottom of the actions column on the left.

Here is a link to the cemetery we’ve created today. I hope you enjoy creating your own virtual cemeteries!

The Pleau Line

My Pleau family line past Edouard starts to get kind of sketchy. The following is his paternal line as far as I know:

Joseph Pleau was born circa 1780; he married Marguerite Proulx on November 15, 1802 in Nicolet, Quebec. The following are his children that I was able to find:

  • Andre, born around the time of his parents’ marriage.
  • Edouard, born March 18, 1807; died January 7, 1808.
  • Edouard, who I’ve written about here.
  • Antoine
  • Emmelie, born circa April 1825.

Joseph and his family lived in Trois Rivieres as early as 1825. I found two occupations for Joseph: one, a “navigateur” (which I believe is some kind of traveller), and the other (in the 1851 Census) is “Pilot Branche”. I have no idea what this is, but the handwriting is impeccable, so I don’t think it’s misspelled. Joseph died on January 16, 1857 and was buried at the Cathedrale de l’Assomption.

Louis-Joseph Pleau dit LaFleur was born March 30, 1755 in Les Ecureuils, Quebec. (In case you’re wondering about the “dit” in his name, it’s like an alias and is quite common in early Quebec. The Maple Stars and Stripes Podcast covers dit names.) He married Marie-Madleine Chaille dit Maturin on January 10, 1780 in Cap-Sante, Quebec.

His father was also named Louis-Joseph Pleau dit LaFleur. This Louis-Joseph was born circa 1726 in Neuville, Quebec. He married Marie-Francois Gueret dit Latulippe and Marie-Madeline Lefebvre (mother of the younger Louis-Joseph).

Francois-Ignace Pleau was born January 15, 1697 in Neuville. He married Marie-Madeleine Gaudin on February 4, 1722 in Neuville. He later died January 1759 in Les Ecureuils.

Pont de Châtillon-sur-Loire (bridge). The Loire River is the original Beautiful Water! Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

The immigrant Pleau was Simon Pleau dit LaFleur, born circa 1641 in Chatillon-sur-Loire, France. He married Jeanne Constantineau on November 28, 1680 in Neuville. (As far as I know, she is not a Fille de Roi.) Simon died October 7, 1711 in Neuville.

Simon’s father is said to be Etienne Pleau, born circa 1615. He married Martine Audebert in Notre Dame de Chatillon-sur-Loire, France.

Obviously, there is much more to be learned about this family!

Honor Roll Project: Norwalk, CT – World War I (part 2)

In recognition of those who have served our country in the military, Heather Wilkinson Rojo of the Nutfield Genealogy blog started the Honor Roll Project. It’s an opportunity to publicly document the names on military memorials around the world, thus making them easily searchable on the internet for people who are looking for them!

WWI Memorial on the Norwalk Green. Author’s collection.

This is a continuation of the names on the World War I memorial on the green in Norwalk, CT. Below is the second panel and its transcription. You’ll note that the first group of names are women!

Second panel of WWI memorial. Author’s collection.

1917 – THE WORLD WAR – 1919

 

BALL HAZEL J. ANDERSON EINAR BARRETT FRANCIS J. BETTS DANIEL ALLEN BROWN ROBERT E.
BETTS MARY BISSELL ANDERSON FRED BARRY JOHN J. BISHOP W. FRANKLIN JR. BROWNE GORDON W.
CALLAHAN MARY G. ANDERSON HAROLD E. BARRY THOMAS E. BLACKMAN J. WILBUR BRUNDAGE EVERETT W.
CAVANAUGH MAE E. ANDERSON HOWARD S. BARRY WILLIAM J. BLAKE GUY F. BRUNDAGE RALPH W.
COLLINS MARY J. ANDRESSINI FRANCESCO BARTLIFF FREDERICK L. BLASCK BENJAMIN BRUNJES GEORGE R.
CROCKETT MARION ANDREWS WILLIAM H. BARTO EARL B. BLAUVELT WALTER BUCKLEY CLIFFORD H.
DOWNES EDITH ANDRULICS GEORGE BATES GORDON BLOOM HAROLD A. BUCKLEY FRED W.
GRAY ETHEL LOUISE ARENA ANTHONY BATES HARVEY R. BLUNT JOSEPH BUCKLEY JAY S.
HAND MOLLY ARMATO FRANK BATES PERCY W. BOBROWSKY JOSEPH BUCKLEY JOHN
HIPSON ANNA TRANT ARNOLD CHARLES BATES RALPH BOOTH ARTHUR JOSEPH BUNDONIS JOHN
MACKENZIE ALICE ARNOLD JOHN BATTERSON ALBERT H. BOOTH RUBEN THOMAS BUONO LAWRENCE
MILLER ANNA ARTELL SAMUEL BAYLISS WILLIAM BORST ELBRIDGE L. BURGESS WILLIAM E.
MILLS GLADYS ASHBEY FRED P. BEACH ROWLAND M. BORST HENRY J. BURNES FRANCIS J.
ROBERTS GRACE ASHE A. ALEXANDER BEATTY JOHN T. BOSSING THEODORE L. BURNES MATTHEW E.
RUMMLER JOSEPHINE ALICE ASHWELL JOSEPH A. BECKER ARTHUR H. BOTTONE LORENZO BURNS SARSFIELD
VAN COVERING JEANNETTE ASHWORTH CHARLES BECKER FREDERICK V. JR. BOUTON ARTHUR I. BURNS WILLIAM JOHN
WELD MARGARET M. AUMACK HARRY BECKETT HARRY BOUTON CHARLES A. BURR HORACE G.
A AXON ERNEST BEDELL CLARENCE L. BOWKER JOHN POWELL JR. BURR JOHN GOULD
ABBOTT CHARLES E. JR. B BEDIENT CHARLES E. BOWMAN WILLIAM E. BURT CHARLES W.
ACKERLY WALLACE C. BABIN PROVOST BEEBE WILLIAM

BEERS AUGUSTUS H.

BOYLE CLARENCE E. BUSCH WILLIAM J.
ACQUINO FREDERICK J. BAILWITZ EARL G. BEERS JAMES LLOYD BRACKEN LYMAN G. BUTLER FRANK J.
ADAMS LEWIS H. JR. BAKER EARLE E. BEERS MILTON C. BRADLEY JOHN E. BUTTERY CHESTER W.
AHEARN WILLIAM JAMES BAKER HOWARD D. BEESKOW ALBERT F. BRAMLEY FRED HAROLD BUZZARD ARTHUR R.
AIKEN GEORGE E. BALDWIN HERBERT E. BEESKOW ALFRED BREDICE MICHAEL H. BUZZARD CHARLES
AIKEN JOHN H. BALDWIN STANLEY H. BEESLEY JAMES H. BREISLER ALFRED J. BYINGTON CHARLES
AKOS JOHN BALESTRIERE GLACOMO BELL CLAYTON M. BRENNAN ALBERT D. BYINGTON FLOYD I.
AKOS WILLIAM BALLARD ISAAC BELT A. PARKER BRENNAN EDWARD J. BYINGTON RUSSELL I.
AKSTIN ANTHONY BANINGOSA JOSEPH BENEDICT ELMER R. BRENNAN ERNEST J. BYRNES JOHN T.
ALEXANDER SAMUEL BANKS LESLIE J. BENEDICT HOWARD M. BRENNAN EUGENE I. BYRNES THOMAS FRANCIS
ALGARA FRANCIS A. BANKS WILLIAM J. BENEDICT SEELEY L. BRITTO ALBERT F. BYXBEE ALFRED A.
ALLEN JOHN L. BANYAI STEPHEN BENELISHA ARCHIBALD BRITTO HAROLD F. BYXBEE EDWARD R.
ALLEN VINCENT BANYARD JOSEPH BENELISHA WALLACE BRITTO HARRY BYXBEE MORRIS F.
ALLINGTON WILLIAM H. JR. BARBOUR GEORGE W. BENJAMIN WILLIAM E. BRITTO VINCENT A. C
AMBLER ARTHUR W. BARDOS DANIEL BENNETT CHARLES H. BROADWAY ELWOOD CAHILL JOHN A.
AMBLER TRACEY B. BARDOS JOSEPH BENNEWITZ CHARLES BROPHY EDWARD CALLAHAN JAMES F.
AMUNDSEN CHARLES J. BARDOS STEPHEN BENNEWITZ CHRISTIAN BROTHERTON JOSEPH F. CALLAHAN JEREMIAH J.
AMUNDSEN CLIFFORD A. BARHAM JOSEPH T. BENTON HARRY STACEY BROTHERTON THEODORE I. CALLAHAN JOHN
AMUNDSEN GUSTAVE A. BARKER ANDREW BERNARD EDMUND J. BROWER WILLIAM E. CALLAHAN JOHN J.
AMUNDSEN OSCAR L. BARKER HARRY DELVIN BERNARD PRESTON N. BROWN GEORGE E. CALLAHAN LAWRENCE
ANDERSON ALFRED L. BARNARY GEORGE BETTS ARTHUR S. BROWN GEORGE W. CALLAHAN WILLIAM C.

“WE HONOR THOSE WHO DO US HONOR”

Third Great-Grandfather Edouard Pleau

I have not yet been able to find Edouard Pleau’s christening record, so I don’t have conclusive evidence of his birth date. However, census records indicate that he was born around 1812-1813. My guess is that he was born in or near Trois-Rivieres, Quebec (although I saw one unsourced place online that said he was born in Berthier). As best as I can tell, he was the fifth of the six children of Joseph Pleau and Marguerite Proulx, the fifth son and the second Edouard! If he wasn’t born in Trois-Rivieres, the family did eventually live there by the time he was an adult.

Trois Rivieres, probably when the Pleaus lived there. From The New York Public Library. https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47da-222c-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Edouard married Julie LaMothe (sometimes spelled Lamotte) on May 30, 1835 at Cathedrale de l’Assomption in Trois-Rivieres. He became a shopkeeper, but owned 76 acres, 46 of which were gardens and orchards. Perhaps he sold some of his own produce.

As best as I can tell, the children of Edouard and Julie were all born in Trois-Rivieres. They are:

  • Francois Edouard, born November 28, 1835; married Sophie Danfousse on February 13, 1860 at Notre Dame de Montreal (maybe this is the connection by which my great-great grandfather George met Emma LeClair?); married Marie Alphonsine Rebecca Gagne on September 2, 1884 at Cathedrale de l’Assomption; died May 24, 1916 in Trois-Rivieres; buried May 16 at Cathedrale de l’Assomption.
  • Antoine, born April 12, 1839; no record of him after 1871 – I think he may have immigrated to the United States, but have no records one way or another.
  • George, born October 1841, died December 9, 1842 in Trois-Rivieres; buried December 12 at Imaculee-Conception Church.
  • George, born August 2, 1843, who I wrote about here.
  • Jean Baptiste, born February 1846; married Marguerite Olivine Boucher on November 10, 1868 at Notre Dame de Montreal; died August 26, 1913; buried August 27 at St. Louis Cemetery.
  • Marie Julie, born April 7, 1849; married Jean Baptiste Micheline on January 14, 1872 at Cathedrale de l’Assomption.
  • Joseph Louis Philippe, born May 27, 1851; married Marie Louise Gagne on September 2, 1879; married Marie Anne Henriette Gerin-Lajoie on July 11, 1896 in Yamachiche, Quebec; married Claire Mathilde Durand on November 25, 1902 in Loretteville, Quebec; died January 4, 1930 in Loretteville.
  • Marie Flore, born on or before May 12, 1853; died April 12, 1869; buried April 13 at Notre Dame de Montreal.
  • Louis Edouard, born May 2, 1855; died May 14, 1855.

Edouard died on February 1, 1882 and was buried two days later on February 3 in the St. Louis Cemetery in Trois-Rivieres (as recorded in the church records of the Cathedrale de l’Assomption).

Great-Great Grandparents George and Marie Emma E. (LeClair) Pleau

When I first started this blog, I began with the story of my great-grandfather George Edmund Pleau and continued with all his siblings. It’s high time that I return to that family line, starting with his parents.

I assume that my great-grandfather was named after his father, George Pleau (though I don’t know if my great-great grandfather had a middle name). George Pleau was born on August 2, 1843 in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec. He was the fourth child and fourth son of Eduouard Pleau and Julie LaMothe (their third son was also named George, but died as a baby in December 1842). He was baptized at the Cathedrale de l’Assomption on the day of his birth. George grew up to be a shoemaker, which was his life-long occupation.

Marie Emma E. LeClair was born and baptized on February 18, 1849 in Montreal, Quebec. Her baptism was at Notre Dame de Montreal. Emma, as she was commonly called, was the daughter of Joseph LeClair and Marie Julie Charpentier and had at least one brother named Joseph Napoleon.

I have no idea how George and Emma could have met, but on November 27, 1866, they were married at her home church. In 1869 they made their move to Rochester, Monroe County, NY, where they proceeded to have their family:

  • Napoleon Charles (who went by Charles), born March 30, 1870 (click here for his story).
  • Cordelia, born January 1874 (click here for her story).
  • George Edmund, born December 27, 1875 (click here, here and here for his story).
  • Albert Joseph, born January 30, 1878 (click here, here, here and here for his story).
  • Eugene Jule, born February 19, 1881 (click here, here and here for his story).
  • Evelyn L, born February 1883 (click here for her story).
  • Ida, born 1885.
  • Ella Jane, born March 10, 1888 (click here for her story).
  • Lucy, born 1890 (click here for her and Ida’s story).

I do see that George was enumerated with his parents in the 1871 Canada Census (between Charles and Cordelia’s births), but I assume the stay was for a short time. He was in Rochester to stay, and the Pleau family lived at many addresses throughout the central Rochester area.

There seems to be a blip in George and Emma’s marriage: the 1892-1893 City Directories show them as living apart. For whatever reason they were separated, they were back together again for the remainder of their lives.

George’s live seemed pretty quiet, but I found Emma’s name in the newspaper a couple times: once in 1899 when she was representing their son Eugene in court after the train wreck he was in, and another time in 1913 when she wrote to the mayor of Lowell, MA via the newspaper The Lowell Sun, searching for her uncle John Savard, who she had been corresponding with. (This tells me that Emma was literate.)

As their children married (and sometimes re-married), George and Emma never had an empty nest; the family (particularly the sons) came and went, and George and Emma themselves spent their last years living with daughter Evelyn and her husband Charles. George died on September 13, 1914 and Emma on February 8, 1918. I can’t find any accounts of George’s funeral, but Emma’s was held at Our Lady of Victory Church, which (being French Catholic) I assume was their home church. Both are buried at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Rochester, where I was able to find their gravestones easily first online, then in person.

Found in Section M: George and Emma Pleau’s graves in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery! Author’s collection.

It was an amazing moment for me to stand at their graves, connecting with a family whose name I had but only recently had gotten to know them through my research.

Third Great-Grandparents Adam and Elisabeth Valek

I know very little about Adam and Elisabeth’s life prior to the 1910 census. So for what it’s worth, the following is to the best of my knowledge!

Both Adam and Elisabeth were born in Lithuania (the censuses sometimes say Russia, which makes sense, considering the constant border changes). Adam was born on March 15, 1858 and Elisabeth (sometimes enumerated as “Eliza” or “Lizzie”) was born around 1862. The ages of their children indicate that they must have married when they were teenagers. All of their children, except for their last, were born in Lithuania, but I don’t know where. (My grandmother had photographs of relatives in rural Lithuania, but she had no idea where the pictures were taken.) Adam and Elisabeth’s children were:

  • John, born in 1886; I have conflicting evidence whether he died before 1942 or not.
  • Antone George, born circa 1887 (though that conflicts with Anna’s birth, unless they are twins); married Theodora Pulaski circa 1910.
  • Anna M., who I wrote about here.
  • Alice E., born June 11, 1890; married Martin Aksten circa 1910; died April 1974; buried at St. John the Evangelist Cemetery in Riverhead.
  • Joseph, born circa 1893; married Margaret, circa 1919; died 1965; buried at St. John the Evangelist Cemetery in Riverhead.
  • Mary, who married a Mr. Wesselau (I’m not even sure of the spelling, since the source for this had botched the spellings of her sisters’ married names).
  • Frank, born 1901 in New York state; left home around 1919 and was never heard from again.

Thanks to Suffolk County’s naturalization records, I was able to find Adam’s declaration of intention paperwork! I know that he immigrated from the port of Bremen, Germany to New York, NY in May of 1893. Unfortunately, he did not remember the name of the ship! But that is enough information to narrow it down to about eight ships, so I will need to carefully comb each ship’s manifest for his name.

Based on immigration dates in census records, it looks to me that Adam immigrated first and the rest of the family later (it looks to be 1899), like so many immigrants did. The Valek family eventually settled on a thirty acre farm on Manor Lane in Riverhead, Suffolk County, NY. Most of the children soon married and settled nearby. It seems that Adam sold the farm in late 1921, according to a newspaper announcement. Perhaps with Frank’s disappearance and the other children married with their own property, it was just too much for Adam to maintain. I know that Adam later lived with his son Antone, so I assume that is where he and Elisabeth moved once they sold the farm.

Elisabeth died sometime between 1921 and 1925. I don’t think she ever became a U.S. citizen. Although Adam filed his declaration in November 1921, he is still marked as an “Alien” in the 1940 census, so I don’t know if his naturalization was ever completed.

Elisabeth Valek. Author’s collection.

Adam passed away on September 26, 1942 and his estate (which netted about $7,000) seemed to be settled in 1943, divided among his children. I do not know where he or Elisabeth were buried, but I assume it was in one of the nearby Catholic cemeteries.