Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Update: Moving Back to Louisiana and A Little Story About My Pippi

I just realized that I haven't posted anything in a whole month! A lot has happened since then. As the title of this post says, I am moving back to Louisiana in October! I have really enjoyed my stay in North Carolina, but I miss my husband and we've decided it is best for me to move back there rather than he move here, as originally planned. It is time for me to move on in my career and it will be really nice to be closer to family and friends again. Now that my sister and brother-in-law live in Arkansas rather than California, it will be nice to be closer to them too.

I am still studying for the CPA exam. I was supposed to take the audit part of the exam on 8/29, but Hurricane Irene had other plans for me. She shut down my testing center in eastern North Carolina and I had to reschedule for October since they they don't offer it in September and the other two days left in August were already booked up. Hopefully, I will be finished by the end of November.

In genealogy land, I have been working on the ever continuous cleanup of my sources in my RootsMagic database. I feel like I will never be done. I should probably start a goal sheet for the cleanup so that I can see the finish line, especially since I may be unemployed soon if I don't find a job in Baton Rouge right away. I have gotten the sources cleaned up for the families of my parents, sister and bro-in-law, both sets of grandparents, and all of my aunts, uncles, and first cousins. Right now I am looking at the sources for the parents and siblings of my second maternal grandfather (not my mom's biological father, but he is the only maternal grandfather I ever knew...he raised my mom and her siblings after their father died in 1970, and they all consider him their dad mentioned in previous posts, I prefer not to call him step).

And speaking of my second maternal grandfather, Clifford Robert Drouillard (1932-2009), I have been piecing together an interesting story. My grandfather was born and raised in Windsor, Ontario. At some point in his teen years (c. 1945), I believe he moved to Port Huron, Michigan, with his parents and siblings (not certain about the exact date). After my grandmother died in 2008, he told me a story about his time in the U.S. Marine Corps. He said that a friend of his from Bay City, Michigan, was supposed to go into the Marines, but due to personal reasons did not feel that he could make the commitment after he had already sworn in to go. My grandfather offered to "take his place" in the Marine Corps, so my grandfather pretended to be his friend from Bay City. I'm not quite sure how long the ruse lasted, but eventually, he and his friend were caught by military officials. I knew at the time he told me the story that he had divorced a lady named Ann in the 1950s in Florida (thanks to, but I had no idea who she was or why he had been in Florida. According to him, he married Ann, who was in the real estate business, because someone told him that if he married her, he could stay in the U.S. Apparently, he was going to be sent back to Canada for his wrongdoing. He soon found out that wasn't the case and he was deported back to Canada anyway. He and Ann divorced in Hillsborough County, Florida, in 1956.

Fast forward to 1964, and my grandfather and his second wife, B (still living so I will keep her name private), married in Port Huron, Michigan, and both gave residences as Michigan and birthplaces as Ontario on the marriage record. They had just had their fourth child one month before their marriage. The first three children were born in Ontario, but the last one was born in Michigan.

In 1965, my grandfather petitioned the Eastern District federal court in Detroit for U.S. citizenship. I found the entry in's naturalization index database. While I was searching, I decided to google his full name and the word "immigration" to see what I could find. I found that the USCIS seems to be citing my grandfather's case to further define "good moral character." Knowing the story about the military, I am now wondering if he had trouble getting his citizenship because of his past wrongdoings. Perhaps this is what the USCIS is alluding to in their footnotes.

I do know that he never received citizenship status. He was a permanent resident when he died in 2009. He was afraid to go back to Canada for a few years after September 11 when they started tightening the borders, and I'm wondering if it had something to do with his past. I am beginning to wonder if the only reason he received permanent residency was because he had a child who was only one year old in 1965 and who was an American citizen by birth. I did a little research on permanent residence status and learned that people with an American spouse and/or an American child under 21 years old are typically granted the status without too much fuss. 

In any event, I ordered the naturalization file from the National Archives branch in Chicago, and I will keep my readers posted. I hope that I am not disappointed and that it takes me one step closer to learning more about my grandfather. Sometimes, it's hard to remember that your parents and grandparents were people too before they were your parents and grandparents. I never thought to ask him questions about these things because he was just my "Pippi." He may not have been perfect, but a man who raised eight children that weren't his own as if they were his own has "good moral character" in my opinion.