Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: The Lesperance Family

Charles Lesperance (1840-1888), son of Antoine Lesperance and Marguerite Dufete
My great-great-great-grandfather

Alvina Mary (Lesperance) Pemberton (c. 1881-1961), daughter of Charles Lesperance (above) and Christine Goslin
My great-great-grandmother

L to R: Gilbert (1874-?), Alvina (c. 1881-1961), and Ignace "Enos" (1879-1968) Lesperance
Children of Charles Lesperance and Christine Goslin

Gilbert and Louisa Lesperance

Gilbert and Louisa Lesperance and children

Ignace "Enos" Lesperance and Elizabeth Groulx
Wedding Day - 11 Nov 1903
Note on picture says 17 Nov 1903, but marriage record says 11 Nov 1903

Thanks to Cousin Steve Frank for these pictures. Steve is the great-grandson of Enos and Elizabeth (Groulx) Lesperance.

UPDATE: As noted in the comments, I've been wanting to find more info on Gilbert and Louisa Lesperance. I knew Gilbert lived in New Westminster, British Columbia, when his sister, Alvina Mary (Lesperance) Pemberton died on 16 Jun 1961. His age of 7 on the 1880 US census suggested a birth year of 1872-1873, and family sources had given his birth year as about 1874. The only other thing I knew about him was that his wife's first name was Louisa. The first place I looked was the 1901 Canadian Census at I found a Gilbert and Louisa Lesberand with daughter Laura in Wetaskiwin, Alberta. Gilbert was born 12 Oct 1873 in the United States. Louisa was born 15 May 1881 in the United States, and Laura was born 21 Jun 1900 in Alberta. The family was Roman Catholic, spoke French, and Gilbert worked as a farmer. Gilbert had immigrated to Canada in 1898 and Louisa in 1899. This Gilbert was awfully close in age to my Gilbert, so I decided to look up a birth record for Gilbert in the "Michigan Births 1867-1902" database at FamilySearch Labs. Sure enough, I found a birth record for Gilbert L'Esperance, son of Charles L'Esperance and Catherine Gauslin [sic], who was born on 12 Oct 1873 in Ira, St. Clair, Michigan. I knew this was likely my Gilbert then in the 1901 Canadian census because I knew my Gilbert's parents were Charles Lesperance and Christine Goslin and that they lived in Ira Township! I tried searching the same birth records database for Louisa's birth record, but you can't search for an exact birth date; only a year. Without knowing her maiden name, there were too many results just for Louisa's born in 1881, and none seemed to match if I only searched St. Clair County, where Gilbert was born. I then found the British Columbia Death Index: 1872-1979 on I found a Gilbert W. Lesperance, age 87, who died 5 Aug 1961 in New Westminster. This gave an estimated birth year of 1874! And New Westminster was where my Gilbert lived in Jun 1961, just two months earlier, when his sister died! I also found a Mary Louisa Lesperance, age 94, who died on 5 Mar 1976 in Surrey, British Columbia, just across the Fraser River from New Westminster. This gave an estimated birth year of 1882! Again, close to my possible Louisa's age and in the approximate location of my Gilbert! The greatest thing is that these British Columbia death records have been microfilmed by the FHL, and even gave me the FHL (GSU) film number! Sweet! Now I will be taking another trip to my local family history center. Louisa's death record will hopefully reveal her maiden name. In the meantime, I'm going to keep trying to find them in the 1911 Canadian Census.


  1. What a fantastic group of pictures! Enjoyed looking at all of them.

  2. Thanks, Judith! I just wish I could identify Gilbert's children's names and his wife's maiden name. According to Alvina's obit, he lived in New Westminster, British Columbia, in 1961. I guess I need to look for his death record over there. I've tried to find a marriage record for him in Ontario and in Michigan but no luck yet.

  3. I agree! A terrific group of photos! I particularly love the hat on Louisa.

  4. Thanks, Linda! I think my favorite is Alvina with the cigarette. She just looks like a tough old lady that you don't want to mess with! Which jives with what my grandmother said her mother-in-law (my great-grandmother and Alvina's daughter-in-law) told her. What I find interesting is that my grandmother, Violet, did not remember Alvina (just what my great-grandmother, Mabel, said about her), though Violet joined the family in 1949 when she married my grandfather, John Peter, and Alvina didn't die until 1961. Alvina lived only 30 miles away from where John Peter, Violet, and Mabel lived. You would think Violet would have met her husband's grandmother for at least once in the 12 years she was in the family until Alvina died. Makes me wonder if Alvina and my great-grandmother, Mabel, were really on the outs, especially since Alvina's son, my great-grandfather, Jack, died in 1950, only one year after Violet joined the family. Maybe when he died, Alvina quit talking to her daughter-in-law and grandchildren. Maybe some kind of fight. I'm sure it didn't help that four years after Jack died, in 1954, Mabel married her ex-brother-in-law, Bob, who was divorced from Jack's sister and Alvina's daugther, Alvina Florence. My grandmother says she walked in once on Mabel and Bob kissing when Jack was still living and Bob was still married to Alvina Florence. Yeah, there's definitely got to be a story there. And all of these people are dead now, otherwise I would not mention all of this scandal. I'm definitely going to have to question my great-aunts and uncles about the relationship between Alvina and daughter-in-law Mabel some more. I think it also had something to do with Mabel not being Catholic. Funny thing was that Alvina's husband was not Catholic either. I guess it was okay for her not to not marry a Catholic but not her kids. Interesting stuff.