Another change from plan, but could I do anything else ? My “E” post talked about this distant cousin’s transit in Ellis Island. It was a like a message in a bottle. I couldn’t imagine that the Atlantic Ocean was so narrow nowadays. A comment was dropped by another ChallengeAZ participant. And from his own posts, I understand he was able to put me on track, even build an assumption that turned out to be correct.
My « E » post talked about some Laure Lesoin’s crossing of Ellis Island that I had found by chance, while looking for something else (that is not uncommon in genealogy). I had been able to find out that she was a somehow distant cousin, and more or less living at the same time, of my great-grand-mother. My generous commentator, from Laval Quebec, put me on a track sending me to Canastota, NY and made the proposition that the grave of Laure Bourgoin was hers. He also gave me quite crucial information, and a proven one, saying that she was bound to her Wuilliez cousins place. I immediately linked this name “Wuilliez” to another one that I’ve seen many times: “Willay” as I’m linked both to the Coutiches Willays and to the Château-l’Abbaye(1) ones . I’ll come back on it.
And Wuilliez was the key, since I couldn’t be really sure that Laure Bourgoin was actually « my » Laure Lesoin, even if some serious signs were there since local press archives had track of Lesoin, Gaston and Gilbert as heirs. I made my mind and looked in Geneanet(2) for Wuilliez. And surprise, there is a tree with the whole branch, whose author is obviously from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. It has not been updated for a while, but it looks like another bottle to the sea sent by the American Wuilliez to some descendants of the ones who stayed in Europe.
I tried to connect the tree owner. This was a quick answer: the tree author is a descendant of Edouard Wuilliez and Florence Lesoin. So we are cousins through Lesoin(3). No surprise, this cousin tried to find more ! And as my first contact from this blog, she soon found track of Laure Bourgoin. But also a little more: Laure Lesoin married some Charles Bourgoin in Oneida, NY, in 1922. All this is reported in Mt Vernon Daily Argus articles from August 1931 to March 1932.
It happens that while Laure married this M Bourgoin, she just spent a night with him and flew away the next day. Charles seems to have been some French government employee who, at some point, lived in Mt Vernon. He has been injured during the war and happened to be incurably insane. So much that he was interned in an asylum in 1930. According to newspapers from that time, Laure’s attorneys travelled to France and got enough medical testimony so that Laure’s annulment was granted on March 16th 1932, first case in Westchester county under the then new « insanity law ». This being said, why has she been buried under her wife’s name?
The case is not closed, but progress had been made. We are reaching the limits of what may or may not be published: I’ve found track of Gaston in public records, he is Laure’s nephew. For Gilbert, records are not yet available online and I can only check the tables that are put together for each decade. Anyway, they will not be visible in my tree (4). And by the way, I have no evidence that the attorney who published the ad (see above) ever found them.
I made reference to the Coutiches Willay. It happens that the Wuilliez are indeed their descendants. I had already most of the components of that branch so I just had to find a few other ones to link ends. However, I had to go back to early 17th century to find shared ancestors. During the 19th century, I have found among Wandignies-Hamage Willays many spellings of the name.No surprise, they could not read and clergymen had to use some imagination to write names as they did not check previous records. Willay, Wuillay (with "y" and sometimes just “i”) and a new Wuilliez that pops up for Pierre Marie’s marriage, he was the father of Edouard who would immigrate to the USA. An assumption is that it was the first generation with reading and writing skills.
But I’m not finished yet with American cousins... Indeed, among the same cemetery graves, there is a Lydie Lervaque, that I immediately changed to Blervaque (it happens that her passing through Ellis Island is quoted above).
Blervaque is not an unknown name, but I did not expect to find it there. Furthermore, I already had a Lydie Blervaque in my tree, the daughter of Hypolite and Juliette Lesoin (yes, another Lesoin.. but there I’ve not been able to find the link as a cousin (5)).
I have Blervaque in my tree, but that’s from my father while Lesoin come from my mother. And my Blervaque are rather from Flines-lez-Râches or Bouvignies although I already known a family branch in Marchiennes (that’s close) from which I know Pierre Joseph, likely to be a member of the very first Légion d'Honneur(6). Indeed, Lydie Blervaque was the daughter of one of great-great-grandmother Eugénie Blervaque’s cousin. So a new and unexpected genealogical story was started. And maybe not… I just recalled that the Marchienne deat registries from the beginning if the 20th century are online (I used them to set the list of French soldiers killed in action during WWI) and thus, I found the Lesoin –Blervaque death record..
And so, it happens that Lydie Blervaque was Florence’s niece. Florence Lesoin, spouse Wuilliez. And thus, Alexandre Wuilliez’s cousin. She indeed married her cousin. Oh là là... And I’ll have to put that in my tree, not so easy with my own and home made tools.
And yes, all is linked.
- As far as I know, the link between the two branches has never been formally established but names quoted in documents show that the Château Willay originated in Coutiches. However, because of missing proofs, we have to make assumptions...
- I know that old fashioned genealogistes consider this site as imposture. I don’t share this opinion as genealogist have always discussed assumption and shared ideas and data. O course, copying without quoting is stupid . But if you put data online, you must expect to be copied. My opinion is that online trees are a source among others and that everything must be checked.
- Florence et Philomène (ma great gran mother) were cousins.
- Considering birth dates, it’s quite possible that one of them may still be alive.
- At least when I was writing it. Who said genealogy is frozen?
- He is unknown from archives (LEONORE database) but I think that one of his descendant found evidence.