Tag Archives: Genereux

Paul Emery Genereux charged with manslaughter in 1923

16 Sep

There seems to be an endless supply of skeletons in the Genereux family I have been researching in Massachusetts. After Alfred Genereux and his stealing habit, his oldest son Paul Emery Genereux had his share of misdemeanor.

Paul Emery was born on the 2nd of July, 1892 in Somerville, Middlesex to Alfred and Mina Etta. Two years later, the young Paul got thrown in the air… by a cow!

Source: Boston Evening Transcript 5 Jun 1894, p.3 on Google News Archive

Source: Boston Evening Transcript 5 Jun 1894, p.3
on Google News Archive

He did get better and apparently suffered no serious mishap from this adventure. He married Estelle Courtney Snow on the 24th of August 1911 in Lynn, Essex. At the time, he was a clerk in a periodical store. For some unknown reason, they separated before 1920 as she remarried Dr Carolus Melville Cobb in 1919. Dr Cobb even adopted their only daughter, Courtney Estelle who was born in 1912.

But back to Paul: in 1918 he got drafted in WWI for a duration of about six months and in 1920, he is found living with his parents in Lynn where he is a professional photographer. I found many city directories entries for him in Lynn however starting in 1926, he was with a wife named “Anna M”. I had no record of their marriage but a quick look at the Massachusetts, Marriage Index on Ancestry revealed that they married in 1925.

While I was researching articles about him, I mangled his surname on purpose and fell on this article:

Source: The Boston Sunday Herald, 27 May 1923, p. 6 on Genealogybank.com

Source: The Boston Sunday Herald, 27 May 1923, p. 6
on Genealogybank.com

He was teaching his future wife to drive and they ran over a small child in the street. Now, I manually re-ran searches for Paul in the Lynn city directories from 1923 to 1926 and I couldn’t find any so does this mean that Paul and Anna were imprisoned? I’m still unfamiliar with the U.S. Court system and the mention “grand jury” speaks of trial and prison for me, am I wrong?

Whatever happened to them between those years, they remained married and living in Lynn on Gertrude street.  He became a mason, in Damascus Lodge of Lynn in 1948. He also registered in the WWII “Old Man’s Draft” in Lynn. Paul eventually became a commercial photographer of some renown: he is cited in several gardening photography credits from the 1950’s till 1970. He eventually died on the 19th of October, 1977. Anna survived him by 11 years, she died in 1988.

Source: Boston Herald American, 22 Oct 1977, p.23 on Genealogybank.com

Source: Boston Herald American, 22 Oct 1977, p.23
on Genealogybank.com


Alfred Genereux: from crime in Boston to fame in Lynn

14 Sep

Alfred Genereux: a 13-year old burglar

I love old newspapers, I mean I really do, especially being so far away from my country I really appreciate the fact that I can research my family history (or just history in general) from the comfort of my own home nestled in the French Alps countryside.  I have discovered several articles about my ancestors who went stateside in the late 19th century that helped me flesh out their lives in New Hampshire, California and Massachusetts.

Here is one individual that gave me plenty of hours of research in newspapers: Alfred Genereux, son of Paul Genereux. He was born on the 9th of November, 1862 in Quebec city. He moved with his family to Boston around 1869. He married Minnie Etta Cash (daughter of Charles Emery Cash 1832-1907 and Elisabeth Chapman 1835-1886) on the 1st of March 1892, in Lynn, Essex, Massachusetts. But before he was married, Alfred was a very naughty boy.

In the space of ten years, he got arrested at least three times for burglary and theft. On his first attempt Alfred was only aged 13!

Source: The Boston Post, 18 May 1875, p.3 on Newspapers.com

Source: The Boston Post, 18 May 1875, p.3 on Newspapers.com

Source: The Boston Daily Globe, 5 Jan 1876, p.5 on Genealogybank.com

Source: The Boston Daily Globe, 5 Jan 1876, p.5 on Genealogybank.com

Source: The Boston Herald, 8 Oct 1884, p. 4 on Genealogybank.com

Source: The Boston Herald, 8 Oct 1884, p. 4 on Genealogybank.com

Luckily, he put a stop to his youthful enthusiasm for shiny things and married his Etta. They had four children :

Alfred went on to become a Century Road Club Centurion for the region of Lynn, he won several bicycle races and became involved in local fraternities such as The Improved Order of Red Men, the Odd Fellows Society, the Knights of Pythias as well as local cycling clubs.

Source: Boston Globe, Sep 8th 1926, p.10

Boston Globe, Sep 8th 1926, p.10


Online Newspapers Archives Quick Tips

There are so many newspapers archives out there that it can seem a bit daunting so I’m sharing (again) a few tips for researchers out there who want to get the best out of newspapers.

  • Start your research by identifying a location (state, county, city, etc) that might have an online archive of newspapers. I use the U.S. Newspaper Directory from the Library of Congress to locate specific newspapers (online or not) and publication dates.
  • Don’t spell properly : OCR is not infallible so whenever I search for a surname (especially foreign ones), I use wildcards (they are your best friends in online research). A “*” to replace a given letter in a word and a “?” to replace the ending of a word.
  • Search for addresses and locations, names of businesses, neighbors you have found in census records, clubs and fraternities, etc. Anything that might be connected to the individual you are researching.
  • Check out Kenneth R Marks, the Ancestor Hunter’s Beginners Guide to Newspapers Research for Genealogy: this is the best info and updated lists of links to several newspaper archives in the U.S. and Canada

There is one thing missing out on big newspapers archives databases: the possibility to create alerts for a specific individual, newspaper or time frame in a given region. That would certainly help my research instead of having to crawl through the websites every so often to search for a reference.

Paul Genereux (1833-1883): The saloonkeeper in Boston

24 Aug Corner of Lewis and Fulton street, around 1855

Since I’ve started working on my family history more than 10 years ago, I have always envisioned that my ancestors were adventurous and hard-working people, the kind of people would take any chance available at having a better life and never looking back on the past.

Paul Genereux, my 2nd great-uncle is one of those individuals. He was born in Berthier, Quebec to Paul Genereux (1803-1881) and Marguerite Lippe (1804-1886), his sister Emilie Genereux was married to my 2nd great-grandfather Maximilien Dulac (1825-1900), the navigator from Berthier. In fact, two other sisters of Paul, Philomene and Lina got married in the Dulac/Aubuchon family as well.

Paul was born in a rural area, Berthier (also know as Berthierville at the time) where most people would work the fields and raise cattle for the rest of their lives. Paul wasn’t one of those. In 1860, he married Catherine Johnson (1838-1906) in Quebec city, at Notre-Dame de Quebec parish. On his marriage certificate, he is mentioned as a “merchant”. Paul stayed in Quebec working as a trader/merchant for about 8 years. I’ve located him using the online “Annuaires Marcotte“, historical directories from Quebec city. He lived on 90 Richelieu street, in Saint-Jean, until 1867.

In the meantime, he had two living children born there: Louise Alexina Genereux and Alfred Genereux. Paul Eugene was their third child but he didn’t make it a year. I don’t know if this is what prompted his departure to the USA but nevertheless when I found entries in the Massachusetts, Marriage Records, 1840-1915 database on Ancestry.com for both Alexina and Alfred marriages, I knew he had decided to settle in Boston for a while.

Let’s backtrack a bit: I’ve used traditional sources to retrace the steps of Paul in Quebec, he is found on the 1871 Canada census (Census Place: Berthier, Berthier, Quebec; Roll: C-10038; Page: 8; Family No: 23), living with his father, mother and spouse Catherine, in Berthier. His family might have told the census clerk that he was still living in Berthier when he was in fact in Boston, Massachusetts. How do I know this? Because I found Paul living on 148 Fulton street, Boston in 1867 through 1870 in Boston City directories working an oyster saloon (a what??).

Paul Genereux in 1868, oyster saloon.

Paul Genereux in 1868, oyster saloon.
Source: Boston City directories

To prove my point, I tried to locate Paul and his family in the 1870 US Census for Boston but with no luck, I know this is typical of some ancestors moving to the US that they couldn’t (or wouldn’t) be found on censuses. But I had other evidence proving that he was there at the time.

The first is an article from the “Boston Journal” (Boston, MA), 6 December 1869, p.4 (viewable on genealogybank.com), here’s the transcript:

“Augustine Grossire reports at the First Station that he either lost or had stolen from him Saturday $358 in bank notes, while at the saloon of Paul Genereux, 148 Fulton street.”

I was wondering what the North End in Boston was looking like at the time, there are several online digital collections that helped me flesh out the neighborhood in the 1870’s and 1880’s. There’s the Bostonian Society where you can search for photographs & manuscripts, and also the Boston Public Library on Flickr where I found these images :

Altlantic ave at the corner of Eastern ave, around 1891

Altlantic ave at the corner of Eastern ave, around 1891
Source: The Bostonian Society http://rfi.bostonhistory.org/boston

Fulton Street around 1880

Fulton Street around 1880
Source: The Bostonian Society http://rfi.bostonhistory.org/

Corner of Commercial and Fleet Street in Boston around 1880.

Corner of Commercial and Fleet Street in Boston.
Source: The Bostonian Society http://rfi.bostonhistory.org/

Paul stayed on 148 Fulton street for a while, still using Boston city directories, he was renting the space to Mr. Blanchard a french-canadian who also had a saloon on 146 Fulton street. I’ve used the Massachusetts, Boston Tax Records, 1822-1918 on Familysearch to locate tax rolls and I found that Paul had another saloon in 1874 on 76 Broad street in Boston. I thought that life was getting good for Paul so I continued researching him and his family throughout several documents. Using the Library of Congress historical newspaper collection “Chronicling America”, I landed on this mysterious information in a German newspaper in Baltimore:

Der deutsche Correspondent, January 04, 1875

Der deutsche Correspondent, January 04, 1875 Source: Chronicling America

Now I don’t know about you but my German isn’t necessarily up to speed, the only words I could decipher from this where “Boston” “Paul Genereux” and “morden” which… stank of death to me! I went hunting for Boston newspapers at that date, I have to tell you that this wasn’t easy because OCR (Optical Character Recognition) is not perfect. Here are a few tips to help with your research :

  • Don’t use exact names (especially if they are foreign sounding), use wildcards like “*” which will replace a letter inside a keyword or “?” which will replace the ending of a keyword. For example, I’ve used “gene*eu*” several times in my research because Paul’s surname would get a beating in most records I found;
  • Use date-ranges instead of keywords. In my case I’ve tried locating the major newspapers of Boston in January 1875 and looked through them, one by one;
  • Use addresses instead of surname keywords. For this I’ve used “Broad st” or “Fulton st” combined with a date range to narrow my results.

Using those techniques, I found an short article in the “Boston Daily Advertiser”, 4 January 1875 which left me astounded:

Attack on Paul Genereux

Attack on Paul Genereux

The Wild West wasn’t far, we were in a saloon and shots were fired! Eventually Paul got better and he moved from Broad st. to 19 Eastern Ave. where he can be found on the 1880 US Census still working as a saloon keeper. His surname was “Genevaux”, again wildcards are your friend. During that time, another son was born to Paul and Catherine in Boston, Arthur Genereux (1873-1909) and an infant daughter Mary A Genereux (1872) who lived only a few months.

Paul died on 20 February, 1883 of the Brights disease leaving his wife Catherine in charge of the family and their income. You can also view the original record in the Massachusetts Deaths 1841-1915 database on Familysearch.

Newspaper obituary

Newspaper obituary

Catherine lived until October 1906, changing the saloon to a boarding house. In the 1900 US Census, she is found staying with her son Arthur, who became a plumber, and a couple of sailors staying at her boarding house on Eastern Ave. None of the family members ever came back to Quebec, they had stayed in Boston for better or worse. In further posts, I will reveal the lives of Paul & Catherine’s children in the USA and their descendants in the McGurk, Cook & Volz families.

I dedicate this story to Jim Simon, an excellent historian and researcher of the Genereux family pioneers,  who has been working on the Genereux family for more than a decade, I’m more than happy to contribute!


  • Boston’s North End: Images and Recollections of an Italian-American Neighborhood (Google Books)
  • Historic Taverns of Boston: 370 Years of Tavern History in One Definitive Guide (Google Books)
  • The Saloon: Public Drinking in Chicago and Boston, 1880-1920 (Google Books)
  • The Boston Directory, Volume 64 (Google Books)
  • Boston’s North End (Google Books)
  • Oyster Bar (Wikipedia)

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