Week 15 – How Do You Spell That?

The prompt at 52 Ancestors this week is … How Do You Spell That? Upon reading the prompt, I immediately thought about my maternal third great-grandmother Marie and the confusion around the spelling of her surname.

Marie Maillot

Marie Maillot, Myott, Mailhot, Myatt or Maiotte, has so far proven to be one of the most intriguing mysteries on my Jamieson line.

When I first started researching Marie, I discovered that many family trees on Ancestry.com had Marie’s surname spelled Myott. Her parents were listed as Scottish immigrants, Thomas Myott and Margaret Campbell, but the only record provided in support of this theory was a marriage record for the couple. Although this proved that a Thomas Myott and Margaret Campbell did in fact marry, it in no way connected them to my Marie. After extensive research I was unable to find any evidence to support this connection, therefore I concluded that my Marie was most likely French-Canadian, and I set out to prove this theory.

According to the individual record on PRDH, Marie Maillot was born around 1805. No information about her parents, her baptism or her burial were recorded on the record. The only additional information was the date of her marriage to Thomas Jamieson, my third great-grandfather.

Thomas and Marie were married in St Jean Church of England on 25 Aug 1823 in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Québec. The marriage record was signed by Thomas Jamieson, his father Hugh Jamieson, and George Miller. Marie Maillot signed with her mark “x” as she was unable to sign her name.

During their marriage Thomas and Marie had 11 children:

Margaret Jamieson 1823-1904
Hugh Jamieson 1824-1859
Amelia Jamieson 1825-1825
Agnes Ann Jamieson 1826 – 1909
Joseph Jamieson 1828 – 1904 (My ancestor)
Thomas Jamieson 1829 –
Peter Jamieson 1831 – 1856
Elizabeth Jamieson 1835 – 1856
Jane Orilla Jamieson 1837 – 1838
Thomas Mary Jamieson 1842-
William Jamieson 1846 –

Marie Maillot died 09 May 1855 in Roxton Falls, Québec. The burial record is from St Jean Baptiste Catholic Church. The signatures that I can successfully transcribe are Thomas Jamieson, Peter Jamieson, and Hugh Jamieson. An obituary for Marie in the Montreal Gazette confirmed her date of death.

The first step in my search for Marie’s true identity was to research and compile a list of Marie candidates, then rule them out one by one. As Marie was unable to sign any of the documents found, the spelling of her surname varied. I concluded the most likely spelling was the one from her death record (Maillot) as this was recorded in French. 

I knew Marie’s estimated date of birth was 1805. I examined every PRDH record I could find for Marie Maillot, born between 1800 and 1810, (five years either side of her estimated date of birth). I looked at the birth, marriage, and death dates of all the candidates and narrowed it down to one possibility:

Marie Maillot – Born 17 Aug 1802 in Chambly to parents Joseph Maillot and Marguerite Benjamin dit St Aubin. The document listed the birth, marriage, and burial dates for most of her siblings, but only Marie’s birth date was listed.

I had saved baptism records for most of the children born to Thomas and Marie, so I started looking for clues. As I looked over the saved documents, I noticed that I had saved two sets of baptism records for the two youngest children, Thomas Mary and William.

Upon closer inspection it appeared that the last two children born to Thomas and Marie had been baptised twice. First as Catholic shortly after their birth, then as Protestant many months later. It appeared Thomas was not present for the Catholic baptisms and Marie was not present for the Protestant baptisms. It seemed a very odd occurrence, but the names, places and dates were almost identical. The only discrepancies I could find was in the birth dates which were out by a day on one and two days on the other.

I’ll continue to research these births, but unless I can find proof of another couple with the same names in the same town, who gave two children born only a day or two apart the same names, then I’m pretty sure these double baptisms occurred.

Whatever the circumstances around the baptisms, the question now is why? What prompted Marie to have her last two children baptised Catholic?

The first possible clue was the use of the name Thomas twice for Thomas and Marie’s children. The first Thomas was born in 1829. I have not been able to find any other record of this Thomas, so did he die and if so when? A daughter Jane Orilla was born in 1837 and died in 1838.  Did Thomas and Jane die around the same time? And was that what prompted Marie to have her last two children baptised Catholic?

As I wondered what caused Marie to return to her Catholic faith, I also wondered what made her turn away from it in the first place. Was it the fact that Thomas and Marie’s first child Margaret was born only five weeks after their marriage? Although it will never be known, it is possible that her pregnancy was a factor. Not only did Marie fall pregnant outside of marriage but she married outside her faith and she married a Scotsman. These three things may not have met with the approval of her family.

The next question I asked was how do I tie my Marie to the Marie born to parents Joseph Maillot and Marguerite Benjamin dit St Aubin?

As the Protestant baptism records only had the parent’s names and dates, there were no useful clues. The Catholic baptism records contained the name of the “marrain” which is godmother in French. The godmother on both Catholic baptism records was Euphrosine Lebrun who was the wife of David Maillot, son of Joseph Maillot and Marguerite Benjamin dit St Aubin. I now had a connection to the suspected family.

Convinced that the records, although complicated, supported my theory of Marie’s identity, it was time to see where the DNA evidence would take me.

The first thing I did was add Marie’s suspected parents and four grandparents to my family tree on Ancestry.com. The idea was to wait for ThruLines to generate a few hints that I could use as clues. After 24 hours the ThruLines had been created and I had 64 possible DNA matches, who according to information from their trees, descend from Marie’s parents or grandparents.  Knowing that ThruLines are only as good as the trees that the information is taken from, I knew a lot of additional research would be required.

To date I have only analysed the top five or six matches, but so far, their research and trees seem sound. It looks like these matches and myself descend from ancestors that confirm my hypothesis – Marie was the daughter of Joseph Maillot and Marguerite Benjamin dit St Aubin.

As I’m working with my French-Canadian ancestry there is always the possibility that there are multiple ways we are related, but so far I’ve found nothing that would suggest a closer common ancestor or ancestor couple.

I will continue to research, but for now I am convinced that I have solved the mystery of the identity of Marie Maillot.

Sources

The following sources were used in my research:

Bibliothèque et Archives Nationales du Québec (BAnQ), Montreal, Quebec, Canada, https://www.banq.qc.ca.

Programme de recherche en démographie historique (PRDH), https://www.prdh-igd.com.

Québec, Canada, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), LAFRANCE Baptisms, Marriages and Deaths, https://www.genealogiequebec.com.

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