Francois Vadnais & Marguerite Petrin Houle

In an earlier post I listed all of my paternal 3rd great-grandparents; Francois and Marguerite are on that list.  As I was imagining what their lives must have been like, it dawned on me that this generation of the family watched many of their siblings and children leave for the United States knowing that they would never see them again.  With life in Canada under British rule becoming more difficult for French-Canadian people, in all likelihood the parents and siblings wished for only the best for those family members that ventured elsewhere.  Even so, I am sure that family moving so far away was heartbreaking.

Francois was born on January 7, 1798 at Saint-Cuthbert, D’Autray, Quebec, Canada and baptized the following day.1  His mother, Genevieve (Coulombe), was 26 years old and his father, Francois Vadnais, was 30 years old.  Francois was the 5th of 13 children born to Francois and Genevieve.  His 2 older brothers, Jean Francois and Joseph died before Francois was born, leaving only the 2 older sisters, Genevieve Josephe and Marguerite at the time of his birth.  Genevieve’s and Francois’ 13 children: 5 boys and 8 girls were born over a span of 22 years with the first born in 1789 and the last in 1811.  Nine, possibly 10 (I cannot find much information on one of them), of Francois’ siblings lived into adulthood.2

Pierre and Jean Baptiste (of Lake Vadnais), 2 of Francois’ younger brothers, would eventually immigrate to Minnesota and not return.  With his two oldest brothers having passed away before his birth, he was the only male child in the family that remained in Canada.

1798 Saint-Cuthbert baptismal record for Francois Vadnais


Francois Vadnais

On the eighth of January, one thousand seven hundred and ninety eight, I the undersigned priest baptized Francois born yesterday from the legitimate marriage of Francois Vadnais farmer — in this parish and of Genevieve Colombe, the godfather Francois Poront, the godmother Genevieve —- and the father have declared that they have not signed it.

                                                                                          (signature of priest)

End of translation.

Francois’ future wife, Marguerite Petrin Houle was born January 30, 1802 at Saint-Michel d’Yamaska, Pierre-de Saurel, Quebec, Canada to Joseph Petrin Houle age 34 and Jeanne Loiseau (Cardin) age 27.  She was baptized the following day.3  Marguerite was the 4th of 11 children (8 girls, 3 boys) born to Joseph and Jeanne.  Marguerite’s younger sister Marie Anne would eventually marry Francois’ brother Pierre.4

1802 Saint-Michel d’Yamaska baptismal record for Marguerite Petrin



Marguerite Petrin

The year one thousand eight hundred and two on the thirty-first of January per month, the undersigned Marguerite priest was baptized Marguerite, born yesterday, daughter of Joseph Petrin, farmer of this parish and of Jeanne Cardin, his wife, the godfather was Antoine Petrin and the godmother Rosalie Leblanc who declared not knowing how to sign today ——.

                                                            Father Chrisotome Dugart priest (I’m not sure that his name is correct)

End of translation.

Francois and Marguerite were married at Saint-Michel d’Yamaska on January 24, 1820.5  Francois was 22 years old and Marguerite was just 6 days shy of her 18th birthday.

1820 Saint-Michel d’Yamaska marriage record for Francois Vadnais & Marguerite Houd [Houle]


M (marriage)

Francois Vadnais & Marguerite Houd [Houle]

On the twenty-fourth of January one thousand eight hundred and twenty, the publication of the three marriage banns made at the parish mass between François Vadnais, farmer, adult son of François Vadnais and Geneviève Coulombe of this parish on the one hand; and Marguerite Houd, minor daughter of Joseph Houde dit Petrin and the late Jeanne Cardin also of this parish on the other hand, who discovered no impediment to said marriage. — priest after having —-mutual the consent to the marriage gives them the nuptial blessing with the ceremonies of the sixty prefects of the Romanesque church François Vadnais, father of the husband and Pierre Vadnais uncle at the end and Joseph Houde father of the wife — – said they only know how to sign the spouses. Reading done.

End of Translation.

Family PRDH #137992 for Francois Vadnais and Marguerite Petrin Houle (with additions)6

Marguerite was 19 years old when her first child Joseph was born and she was 42 years old when her last child Nazaire was born.  She gave birth to 11 children: 6 boys and 5 girls.  Five of these children died before turning 5 years old.  The remaining 6: Marguerite, Francois (my 2nd great-grandfather), Anne, Louis, Marie Celina and Nazaire lived well into adulthood.  However, Francois and Marguerite would also say good-bye to 3 of these children because daughter Marguerite and son Francois eventually immigrated to Minnesota and daughter Marie Celina immigrated to Maine.  I do know that Marguerite and Francois never returned to Canada.  I don’t know if that is true of Marie Celina.

Francois and Marguerite are enumerated in the 1871 Canada census record as renters residing with their daughter Marie Anne, her husband and 7 of their children at Saint-Theodore d’Acton.7  I didn’t see a date on the census record, but it must have been taken before May because Marguerite passed away on May 2, 1871.  She was 69 years old (her burial record states 71 years old).  She was buried at Saint-Theodore d’Acton cemetery on May 3, 1871.8

1871 Saint-Theodore d’Acton burial record for Marguerite Houle


S8 (the 8th sepulture (burial) at Saint-Theodore d’Acton in 1871)

Marguerite Houle

wife of

Francois Vadnois [Vadnais]

On the third of May, one thousand eight hundred and seventy-one, we, the undersigned parish priest, buried in the cemetery of this parish, the body of Marguerite Houle, wife of Francois Vadnois [Vadnais], farmer of this parish. Died the day before at the age of seventy-one. — present Nazaire Vadnois [Vadnais] and Louise Benoit who did not know how to sign.

                                                            Jean Baptiste Marcotte priest

End of translation.

The 1881 Canada census shows Francois as widower living with his son Nazaire, his wife Catherine and 8 of their children at Saint-Theodore d’Acton.9  On June 3, 1881, after the census had been taken, Francois passed away at 83 years old (his burial record states 84 years old).  He was laid to rest on June 6, 1881 at Saint-Theodore d’Acton Cemetery.10

1881 Saint-Theodore d’Acton burial record for Francois Vadnais


S39 (The 39th sepulture (burial) at Saint-Theodore d’Action in 1881)

Francois Vadnais

Today, June 6, one thousand eight hundred and eighty-one, we, the undersigned vicar priest [assistant priest], have buried in the cemetery of this parish the body of Francois Vadnais, who died on the third of — month at the age of eighty-four, widower of the late Marguerite Houle.  Present at the burial Paul Ethier and Francois Lemarne, who did not know how to sign.

End of translation.

Marguerite, Francois, Anne, Louis, Marie Celina and Nazaire all survived their father Francois. 

Thanks for visiting, come back soon,

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