Archive | July, 2013

Louis Philippe Dulac: From Berthier to Waterbury and back again

25 Jul

Well it has been a harsh few weeks, especially in this heat wave, so many apologies for not posting any new stories recently but I was much more comfortable cooling my feet at the pool than in front of my old laptop. Nevertheless, I always keep a couple of blog ideas as drafts so I can quickly scan what story inspires me and write about it. So, on this not-so-cool Swiss morning of July the 25th, I present to you my great-grandfather, the carpenter, Louis-Philippe Dulac.

Louis Philippe Dulac : At his daughter's wedding, Clara Dulac, in 1925.

Louis Philippe Dulac : At his daughter’s wedding, Clara Dulac, in 1925.

Louis Philippe was born on September 2nd 1868 in Berthier, Montmagny, Quebec. He was the second son of Emilien (also known as Maxime or Maximilien) Dulac and Emilie Genereux. On his baptism certificate, he also wears the surname Aubuchon. The fact that he bore two surnames made my research a little bit more difficult, I had already identified this when I researched his son, Louis-Philippe the watch-maker. On January 13th 1891, he married Marie Louise Lafontaine (dit Dubord), daughter of Prosper Lafontaine and Exilda Leclerc. I found him on the 1891 Canada census, living next to his father and his sister Malvina Dulac (married to Anthime Robillard).  His older brother, Maxime Arthur, immigrated to Waterbury, Connecticut around 1885. According to his great-granddaughter, whom I am in contact with, he corresponded regularly with Louis-Philippe back in Canada, probably telling him about the jobs available there in carpentry (Maxime was also a carpenter). I think this is what prompted Louis-Philippe to pack his bags and go south with his family around 1897.

Now before I jump to Connecticut, let me tell you a bit about his children with Marie-Louise. According to my godmother, they had 14 children, I managed to identify 11 of them including, of course, my grandfather Lucien.

  • Marie Louise Aurore Dulac, born 1892 in Berthier, died 1896
  • Louis Philippe Azellus Dulac, born 1894 in Berthier, died 1895
  • Marie Louise Alberta Dulac, born 1895 in Berthier, died after 1957. She married Giuseppe Termini in 1918 and Modeste Aubin in 1923.
  • Louis Philippe Dulac, born 1897 in Berthier, died after 1960.
  • Marie Aurore Catherine Dulac, born 1898 in Waterbury, Connecticut. She married Ernest Aubin in 1926.
  • Ernest Dulac, born 1900 in Waterbury, Connecticut, elusive grand-uncle no. 1
  • Wilfrid Dulac, born 1901 in Waterbury, Connecticut, died 1948 in Waterbury. He married Elizabeth Woodruff.
  • Eugene Dulac, born 1903 in Waterbury, Connecticut. He married Elzire Seguin in 1936, he died after 1962.
  • Clara Dulac, born 1905 in Waterbury, Connecticut. She married John Richard Oliver in 1925. She died in 1990.
  • Joseph William Gerard Dulac, born in 1908 in Montreal, Canada, died in 1926.
  • Jean-Pierre Maximilien Lucien Dulac, my grandfather, born in 1912, he died in 1985.

I truly wish I could have access to Connecticut birth records online so I could gather more information about my great-uncles and aunts in the US.  But back to my story: Louis Philippe and his family moved to Waterbury in 1897. This is attested by a US Census record in 1900. As you can see in the image below, it was quite the challenge to identify him as the census clerk wrote his name as “Dolan”. Note to self: Soundex and wildcards are your best friends.

Year: 1900; Census Place: Waterbury, New Haven, Connecticut; Roll: 148; Page: 22A; Enumeration District: 0437; FHL microfilm: 1240148.

Year: 1900; Census Place: Waterbury, New Haven, Connecticut; Roll: 148; Page: 22A; Enumeration District: 0437; FHL microfilm: 1240148.

His children Alberta, Catherine and Louis-Philippe are also present. His occupation is listed as “carpenter employee”. Now, much to my delight, I also managed to find a record in the city directories of Waterbury for him and his brother Maxime Arthur in 1900.

Waterbury city directory record for Louis Philippe Dulac and Arthur Dulac

Waterbury city directory record for Louis Philippe Dulac and Arthur Dulac

They were both employed by the Tracy Brothers [sic] construction company (George and Cornelius) who erected and renovated many buildings in the area. I have yet to discover more information about them and if they are still around today. So far, life seemed to be good for my great grandfather, in fact he even applied for naturalization in 1902.

Naturalization Record for Louis Philippe Dulac in 1902

Naturalization Record for Louis Philippe Dulac in 1902

Around 1905-1906, he even founded his own little jobbing company of carpentry and stair-building. His brother Maxime did the same. Again, city directories are a useful tool in your family tree research, they yield quantities of information on occupations, houses, companies and relatives.

Advertisement in Waterbury city directory, circa 1905 for Louis Philippe Dulac

Advertisement in Waterbury city directory, circa 1905 for Louis Philippe Dulac

So, if everything was going so well it’s a wonder that in 1908 Louis-Philippe packed his bags again and came back to Canada. His son Gerard was born in 1908 in Montreal and judging by his second name “William”, you can still see the American influence on this family. In french William is also Guillaume so it’s maybe a reference to Louis-Philippe’s ancestor Guillaume Aubuchon (married to Marguerite Savoie)?! Nevertheless, a couple of years more in the US, I would have either been American or my grandfather Lucien and my grandmother Yvette would never have met.

Back in Montreal, Louis-Philippe and his family appeared in the 1911 Canada Census, living on Fullum Street and still working as a carpenter. I found him in the Lovell Montreal directory from 1912 onwards, sometimes confusing him with his son Louis-Philippe.

Lucien Dulac at his sister's wedding in Montreal in 1925.

Lucien Dulac at his sister’s wedding in Montreal in 1925.

He married his daughter Clara to Richard Oliver in 1925, a family picture was taken (I cropped Louis-Philippe at the beginning of my post) and was sent to me by the granddaughter of Clara last year, you can imagine the emotions that gripped me when I discovered this tiny little man in glasses… my grandfather Lucien.

Louis-Philippe died on the 29th of April 1930. He is buried in one of the largest Montreal cemeteries, Notre-Dame des Neiges (you can locate deceased persons on their website) with his wife, sister, mother and many other extended members of the family. When I go back to Montreal for a visit, I’ll make sure to stop there and pay my respects to this elegant, hard-working man from whom I probably inherited my love of wood-working.

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