Thursday, September 24, 2015

A stone all on it's own - work in progress

So I took the kiddies out to Port Burwell and we took the long way home along Lake Erie.  As we meandered, I saw this sign, which of course I passed but couldn't pass by.

I turned around to check it out. The cemetery was well back of the road and most of the stones were on top of what appeared to be a small mound.

Once I got to the top, I discovered that the cemetery was much bigger than I expected.  I walked around looking for something interesting.  I took a few pics and as I was walking back to the van, along side a pond, I came across this stone:

It was well away from all of the other stones in the cemetery.

  I decided that these were the two people I wanted to get to know.

  I found Joseph and Louisa fairly quickly in the 1891 census living in South Walsingham West in Norfolk County.  Joseph was 36 and like his parents, he was born in Quebec.  He could neither read nor write.  Louisa was 31 and like her parents were born in Ontario.  She could read and write.  They had 5 children at the time:
Lundy - aged 9
Crellon - aged 6
Myrtle - aged 4
Beatrice - aged 1
The boys could read and write.

  The 1901 census finds the family in Port Rowan with one more child, Pearl born 2 Nov 1895.  This census gives Joseph's date of birth as  9 June 1854 and Louisa's as 5 June 1859.  The tribal origin of everyone in the family is French and their religion is Methodist.  You would think this will help narrow down the search for Joseph's baptism record, but it was not to the case.
  Luckily I found their marriage record.  Joseph Reauso married Louisa Brisseau on 7 December 1878 in Port Rowan.  Joseph's parents were Mitchel and Margaret.  Louisa was the daughter of Sylvester  and Jane.  Their witnesses were T.L and Jane Hollywood.
  Louisa proved to be much faster to research.  She appears with her family in the 1861 census with her brother Damos.  They lived in a one storey frame house.  The Reauso family appears above them but Joseph is conspicuously missing. Mitchel and Margaret appear with their children Samuel (14), Hannah (12), Eugene (4), and Delmer (2).  Seems Joseph should appear somewhere between Hannah and Eugene. Mitchel was born in Canada East and Margaret was born in Canada West.  They lived in a one storey log cabin.
 Louisa appears with her family again in Walsingham in the 1871 census but the Reauso family seems to have moved.  In this census, I can see that her father is Roman Catholic and her mother is Baptist.  Neither parents can read or write.  All the children attend school.
  As is almost always the case, sometimes the only way to move forward is to first move sideways.  I started to search Joseph's siblings.  I managed to find Delmer in some census records with his son.  He seems to have been a widower at a young age.  He remarried at age 63 and in this record, I got his mom Margaret's maiden name: McLean.  Argh.  Way too common a name to help narrow down my search.  From all my sideways research it appears that the Reauso family all decided to change their last name to Russel in the 1890s.  In the Voter's list they appear as Reauso but in later census records, everyone from Margaret to Delmer change to Russell.

Updates on Jan 27/28
  I've been holed up in bed sick and decided to do a little research to pass the time.  I returned focus to this family.  I've been trying to figure out a couple of things, more information about Joseph's parents and why I can't find census records for anyone in the family in 1871 & 1881.  I decided to do an eyeball search of the 1871 census for the family, based on the neighbours they lived near in 1861, specifically the Underwood family.  I found that family no problem but not the Reauso clan.  I tried 1851 and they weren't there either and based on information about birthplaces, it appears that Mitchel and Margaret had one child in Ontario and the rest in Quebec, before returning back to Port Rowan.  I believe Mitchel Reauso's real name is Michel Rosseau.  I looked around the Drouin records and may have found his baptism in Quebec, but I can't really  make any sort of confirmation until I find his marriage record and hopefully the name of his parents.   The first sibling I focused on, was Delmer because of his unique name.  I had no luck in the Drouin records.  I did find his son's birth record which records Delmer's wife as Ellen Poole, nice find but not very helpful.  Then stumbled across a border crossing into Michigan when he was 64.  Hmm.  I turned to Michigan and found Delmer's marriage record.  Both he and Ellen were reportedly born in Rowan Mills.   According to this website:, Rowan Mills is about 7.2 km from Port Rowan, so maybe Delmer and the siblings weren't born in Quebec...  The marriage record gave me a big although contradictory clue.  His mother's maiden name was Underhill.  I'm not sure why his two marriage records are not aligning...   I turned to Eugene next to see if I could find his marriage record.  Like Delmer, he seems to have gone to Michigan.  I found him in the 1900-1930 censuses living in Marion, Michigan, He's married to Sarah and living with children. It states that he immigrated in 1881/1882.  The 1930 census states he was first married at age 27 and his father was born in France!  Another interesting tidbit, the family did not own a radio :)
  Next I'll see if Mitchel and Margaret took the kids to Michigan between 1871-1881.

Updates Jan 31
Well, I had no luck finding the Mitchel in Michigan.  I can't find his death record, nor a specific mention of his birthplace.  I decided to take a step back and look into Michel Rousseau.  I've hit the jackpot on that one.  He was baptized in Notre-Dame Quebec City to Charles Rousseau (Monsieur) and Marie Louise Langlois.  Charles married Marie Louise on 8 May 1810 in the same church.  His father Charles had already passed away at the time of the marriage, but his mother Josephete Monfet was alive.  Charles was their oldest son.  Marie Louise,  was the oldest daughter of Louis Langlois and Therese Gagner.  Charles married Josephete on 5 Nov 1782 in St-Foy.  I have yet to find his baptismal record but a couple of his brother's were born in St Vallier.  Charles' parents Jean-Baptiste Rousseau and Marguerite Valliere were married in Quebec City on 7 Jan 1754.  Jean-Baptiste was born to parents Rene Rousseau and Violete?  Frechete in 1728.  At this point I stopped.  I can build quite the family tree for the Rousseau's but I've already gone a little too sideways.  My hope now is that I can find Joseph.  If Mitchel/Michel returned to Quebec for a few years, I suspect it will be in the Quebec City area.  How to narrow this down however will be difficult.

Norfolk County Genealogy website:

Sunday, September 6, 2015

A Canadian serving in the U.S Civil War

was recently up in Innisfil, Ontario at my parent's cottage.  Early one morning, I did my Tim Hortons coffee run in Stroud and decided to do a geocache in the nearby St James Cemetery.  As usual, I became interested and started to walk around and read the stones.  There was one that caught my eye, ok well a few.

This one interested me for a few reasons:
-Someone took pains to ensure that this person was not forgotten by erecting a plaque and not damaging the original stone.
-He was a Canadian who served in the Civil War.
-He was only 16 when he died.
-My parent's cottage in Innisfil is a few houses away from Warnica Avenue. The Warnica family were prominent and early settlers in Innisfil, which explains the street name.

Charles Manson Warnica was born to George Frederick Warnica and Phoebe on 1 June 1849.  He was baptized by Rev. Rice in Barrie on July 29th of the same year.(1)
In the 1861 Census he was living with his parents, older sister Abigail (age 14), and older brother Alfred (age 16) in a brick home.  He was attending school. His father was born in the US and his mother in Upper Canada. (2)  According to his father's death registration, George was born in Salina (Syracuse) New York.

At the age of fifteen, Charles walked from Barrie to Detroit, Michigan to join the Civil War.  He enlisted in Company G, Michigan 15th Infantry Regiment on 05 Apr 1865 as a private. He was mustered out on 25 Jun 1865 at Washington, DC.
The 15th was a volunteer regiment and he took the place of Clark Knowland who was drafted for service. His fee to replace Mr. Knowland in the war was $269.70.  (3) Note: Sources are not cited for this information.  According to, the historic standard of living value for this income in 2014 is about $4040.00 USD.

I did a little digging about the 15th.  The regiment moved to Louisville, Kentucky and stayed there from June 1-6.  They moved to Little Rock, Ark on June 28 and stayed  there till August 13. They were mustered out August 18, 1865.  The regiment lost 3 Officers and 60 Enlisted men, who were killed and mortally wounded.  Four Officers and 268 Enlisted men were killed by disease. (4)

Poor Charles was one of the 268 who succumbed to disease. On 25 June 1865 he died of typhoid fever in Louisville, Kentucky.  His obituary appeared in the Barrie Examiner on 10 Aug 1865, page 3.
His siblings John Lyon and Abigail paid $270.05 to have Charles Manson Warnica reinterred at the Stroud, Ontario St. James Cemetery on 7 Sept 1865. (5) Note: Sources are not cited for this information.

During my research, I discovered that there were two other Warnica men who joined the war, Charles' uncle and cousin. Both joined Company E of the 1st Regiment Engineers and Mechanics, Michigan and both held the rank of Artificer:
Joseph G Warnica Sr (6)
Joseph Warnica Jr. (7)
I wonder if the thought of them serving further encouraged Charles to join the war.

Other interesting Warnica history web pages that I came across during my research:

Andrew Hunter my favorite Simcoe County historical author wrote a book about Charles' parents: Brief Memoirs of the late George F. Warnica and Memoirs of George and Phoebe Warnica, Pioneers of Innisfil, which is available at the Simcoe Archives

(1)Wesleyan Methodist Baptismal Register  -