Let’s set the stage first. My great-great-great grandfather Maximilien Dulac (married with Emelie Genereux in 1858, Berthierville) had a younger brother Elie Dulac (also known as Aubuchon-Dulac). Elie married Emelie’s older sister Louise Adeline Philomene Genereux in 1855 in Berthierville. Their first son Aristide Dulac was born in 1857 and married Caroline Robitaille in 1877 in Richelieu, Rouville, Quebec.
Now Aristide and his wife Caroline had many children, one of the them Alberic died in the Great War in 1918. The individual I’m interested in is Horace Dulac, younger brother of Alberic. Horace was born in July 1884 in Richelieu, Rouville. He enlisted as well in the first World War in the 2nd Quebec Regiment.
He left for England soon after that and, that’s the most interesting bit, I found a record of him coming back in 1919 from Witley Camp. Now this was a training facility in Surrey with mostly Canadian soldiers during the two great wars. I have no idea yet if Horace participated in any military operations but since he left after May 1918, I think that he was probably part of a reserve battalion training in England when the war ended.
So when “J” Wing was disbanded in 1919, Horace boarded the “Olympic” in Liverpool and came back to Montreal on the 16th of May.
I told you earlier about Horace’s father Aristide and his many children right? Well Horace had a brother, Arsene Dulac. Arsene had a daughter called Maria Dulac, she was born in 1903 in Richelieu, Rouville. So, a couple of months back from England, Horace married his niece on August 16th 1920 in Sorel. At first, I thought this was a mistake or a clerical error so I had a closer look at the mariage certificate:
I am not expecting my readers to all be fluent in french but here is basically what the record says: a Papal [bull] dated from March 1919 authorized Horace and Maria to get married even though they were uncle and niece to each other. The vicar of the parish of Sorel proceeded to the wedding and we can also read that both their parents did not consent to this wedding and they were not present for signing the register. However, Horace & Maria’s wedding did legitimize a daughter born out of wedlock a couple of days earlier, Maria. She did not survive the year 1920. They had two more children, Emile born in 1921 and Horace in 1930 who did not live a year as well.
When I discovered this, I have to admit that I was quite shocked. I mean marrying first cousins was not an uncommon fact in Quebec in the 19th century, my Goulet grand-parents were cousins themselves…. but uncle and niece? I can’t quite get over the fact the Roman Catholic Church authorized this when they are usually the first to remind us of sin and fornication. I can only imagine that it was authorized for the child that was born and not for the “sins” of the parents.
So, what about you? Did you ever discover some skeletons in your family tree? How did you deal with the revelation?