The French Canadian Heritage of Lucy Pinsonneault
Lucy Pinsonneault, my 2nd great grandmother, also known as (aka) Lucy Passino, was born June 17, 1836, in Rutland, New York to Gabriel Pinsonneault (aka Gilbert Passino) and Maria Emelie Meunier Lagace (aka Mary Passino).
For more than 15 years I have been researching the French Canadian ancestry of Lucy Pinsonneault. The difficultly of learning about her family began with the fact that her father and mother, both born in Canada, were illiterate and probably spoke little or no English when they first emigrated to the United States about 1830.
We know Gabriel and Maria were still in Canada in 1827 when a son Francis was born there, but they had emigrated to the United States and were living in Vermont by 1832 when their daughter Justine was born.
Lucy married John Galloway Brown January 23, 1861, in Philadelphia, New York. She died February 2, 1917, in Creston, Montana.
The photo above was taken about 1910 at the Creston, Montana homestead of John and Lucy Brown.
Preliminary notes for Lucy Passino
Lucy's son Abraham Lincoln Brown listed his mother's maiden name as Passneau.
Lucy Passino Brown's death certificate listed her father as Cassino, born in France.
The death certificate of George Pierce, Lucy's younger brother, listed his father as Gilbert Pierce, born Canada, and his mother as Mary Laggesie, born France.
Here's good place to comment on evidence given for a death certificate. The person the information pertains to is dead, so the supplied data comes from the often dim memory of a child or spouse. Worse yet, someone else is writing what they think they are hearing, and of course nobody is checking the spelling at the time of writing.
In her family history notes, Lydia (Brown) Bailey, Lucy's grand daughter, listed Lucy Passino Brown as the daughter of Gilbert Passino, born in France about 1815, and Mary Armstrong, born about 1817 in Canada.
Early public records for Gilbert, Lucy's father, had many different surnames
1850 US Federal Census, Rutland, Jefferson Co., New York:
Givarow Passinault, age 47 (1803), born Canada
Mary Passinault, age 40 (1810), born Canada
1850 New York Agriculture Census, Rutland, Jefferson Co., New York:
1860 US Federal Census, Wilna, Jefferson Co., New York:
Gilbert Passino, age 57 (1803), born Canada
Mary Passino, age 55 (1805), born Canada
1864 Wilna, Jefferson Co., New York Land Owner Map:
1870 US Federal Census, Wilna, Jefferson Co., New York:
Gilbert Pasnan, age 68 (1802), born Canada
Mary Pasnan, age 62 (1808), born Canada
1870 New York Agriculture Census, Wilna, Jefferson Co., New York:
1877 Obituary published in the Carthage Republican (New York):
1877 Headstone in Pierce Cemetery, Wilna (Fort Drum), Jefferson Co., New York:
Pinsonneau became Passino -- Getting on the right track
Published in the Press Republican (Plattsburgh, New York) November 24, 2002, a newspaper article written by Robin Caudell titled "French connection--From street signs to surnames: French-Canadian influence manifests itself in many distinct ways." He describes: "Remnants of a vibrant French Canadian past permeate the North Country. Franco culture echoes in family surnames, names of geographical places and streets. It is preserved in the architectural detail of private residences, commercial buildings and churches, and it’s savored in traditional recipes such as tourtiere and sliders. 'You have a sense that the culture as been fully assimilated, and there are relatively little current indications French Canadian culture existed here,' said Dr. Sylvie Beaudreau, a professor of history at Plattsburgh State."
[excerpt from a surname list published in the article] Current Name: Passino -- Original Name: Pinsonneau
Quoted source: "Volume III, Headstone Inscriptions, Clinton County, New York" by Clyde Rabideau Sr.
Breakthrough -- The death of ‘Mary’ Émélie Meunier dite Lagacé
Melanie Pierce, a distant cousin, wrote to me that she learned Mary Passino was, in fact, Marie Laggesie, and she sent me a copy of Marie's death certificate, which had been hand-written in French. To be honest I was doubtful, but I sent a copy of the certificate to a genealogist and Lagacé family researcher in Canada. The genealogist interpreted the document and advised me the certificate clearly states that Marie Émélie Meunier dite Lagacé was the wife of Gilbert Pinsonnault, of ( États-Unis) United States. She also confirmed that Pinsonneau was very likely changed to Passino.
Armed with that information I quickly found birth and marriage records for Gabriel and Marie Pinsonneau online at ancestry.com.
Pursuing Pinsonneau -- Church records for Gilbert aka Gabriel Pinsonneau
Birth: from Quebec Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967
Event Year: 1801-1805
Event: Naissance (Birth)
Place of Worship: La Prairie (Notre-Dame-de-LaPrairie-de-la-Madeleine)
Marriage: from Quebec Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967
Spouse: Marie Emilie Lagasse
Event Year: 1824
Event: Mariage (Marriage)
Place of Worship: Châteauguay St-Joachim
During the past two years I have traced the Pinsonneau and Lagacé families to the very beginning of Canada's history. I found over 200 French-Canadian relatives. Some of them were farmers and tradesmen; more than a dozen had been involved in the fur trade as either couriers de bois or voyageurs.
Maybe that explains my love of canoeing, and the silent places that can only be reached by paddle and portage. Photo from a 1987 rendezvous reenactment.
Gabriel Pinsonneau found on the 1830 United States Federal Census about Gabriel Painsam
Name: Gabriel Painsam; [Gabriel Painsoun]; [Gabriel Pinsawe]
Home in 1830 Vineyard, Grand Isle, Vermont
Free White Persons - Males - Under 5: 2 [Nelson Francis b. 1826 and Moses David b. 1827]
Free White Persons - Males - 20 thru 29: 1 [Gabriel b. 1803]
Free White Persons - Females - 20 thru 29: 1 [Maria b. 1808]
White Persons - Aliens - Foreigners not Naturalized: 4
Free White Persons - Under 20: 2
Free White Persons - 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 4
Total - All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored): 4
More information for Gabriel Pinsonneau aka Gilbert Passino...
1825 Lower Canada Census -- Gabriel Pinsonault found living in Chateauguay, Huntingdon, Lower Canada
Update May 14, 2015:
If there was ever a doubt about my Pinsonneau/Pinsonneault family heritage it has been dispelled by my ancestry.com DNA tests which have yielded dozens of links to early French-Canadian ancestors including shared ancestors.