Has anyone seen a case like this?

+27 votes

Marguerite has burial entries in two different registers. The details and dates are identical in both. She died on 25 May 1843 and was buried on 8 October 1843. There are two curious things about this.

1) She apparently died the day before her daughter, Agathe was born. The birth is recorded as 26 May 1843. I suppose Marguerite could have died before midnight on the 25th and they cut her to remove the baby and the baby was born after midnight?

2) Marguerite wasn't buried for four and a half months. I can see this be the case if she died in the winter, but not in May. Definitely there is a story here we may never know.

As far as the errors report is concerned. I suppose this one will continue to show up? Is there some way I can record this one as a false error?

WikiTree profile: Marguerite Otsénat
in The Tree House by Dawn Ellis G2G6 Mach 8 (89.1k points)
retagged by Dorothy Barry
Gosh that is intriguing.  Only one small hiccup in my family tree, baptised baby showing her birth date, one month later she's baptised again, showing her birth date? I'll never know but it does niggle me 'why'?

Your case though is much more interesting - eek what to do with the body for several months.
My puzzle is child baptised 1833 Roman Catholic and six months later baptised CoE. Four other children later all baptised CoE.

I'd understand it more if it were the other way around.
Hi Martin,

One side of my family tree, one man married a woman, the daughter of a Minister.  It could be similar to that?  The rest of the family including siblings (babies/toddlers) all changed their religion. They were all baptised again.

That part of the tree, extremely well documented - they've hoarded every photo, bible, paperwork, artifacts.  The bibles are extremely interesting with inscriptions etc.

The one baptism I mentioned ^above - she was baptised in the same church - maybe the family or church lost her paperwork or????
In my case neither parent seems to have been RC. That is why I'm puzzled.
Maybe the death details were written down in numerically 5/10/2016 and officially recorded with month number being used as day and day number used as month?
I looked at both burial records. They are from two different parishes: Bonaventure and Paspebiac. Both records definitely say that she died on the 25th of May and was buried on the 8th of October. It is possible that she was initially buried in one cemetery, disinterred and reburied in another cemetery.
I have several ancestors that are on findagrave twice - once in Arkansas and then in Oklahoma.  All the dates are the same.  All the family names are the same and in the same order.  There are different photos for the stones.  I haven't researched it, completely, but it does look like an entire graveyard was relocated.
Also looking at the registers, one register could be the actual church register for Paspebiac and the other being the County register for Bonaventure, this would  explain why it's noted exactly the same in 2 different registers. While Paspebiac and Bonaventure are two seperate towns in Quebec they were both located in Bonaventure County.
Counties are not relevant to this particular item, it was a common practice for priests covering more than one parish/village to record things in duplicate, and Bonaventure/Paspébiac  is one such case in point, there was only one priest for the area and he records most things twice.  Records were NOT sent to the county but to the clerk of the city where such things were kept for the area, which may or may not have been the county seat.  This was true even before the English conquest.  Counties did not exist prior to that conquest.
1843 was one of the coldest years in North America.  The mean temperature that year was 20F below the overall average in the Great Lakes region.  One might expect the temps to be lower in Canada. The average temperature in Minnesota was 34F for that year.  Bitter cold temperatures were recorded from November '42 until May '43.  The ground was probably too hard to dig until late spring
Could have been buried elsewhere and then moved with the recommittal rites being performed. Though this is rare.
Two graves....My mom came from "unexplained events" . In order to cover events there was a grave marker with her name on it. When she died she she was cremated & buried buried. She has two grave markers. The validity of names on her birth certificate have never been confirmed . Its a unique last name and no one else but the listed with that name. (Last)  If it was a baby born due to an affair is unknown but then raises the question if listed name a husband or her actual father.
I have one like that!

9 Answers

+7 votes
My guess is that there were 2 different women here; one died the day before the baby was born and the other one 4+ months later.
by Rosemary Jones G2G6 Pilot (245k points)
The register entries are identical, same woman, same dates, same spouses name. Both death date and burial date are in both entries. The difference in location is understandable as the priest would have travelled to both locations. Definitely not two different women.
+12 votes
Without having looked at the detail of the sources, it may well be that at least some are transcriptions. It is not unknown for there to be errors in the copies. I've seen cases where part of one record gets into the following one.
by Living Hampson G2G6 Pilot (105k points)
+12 votes
The text of her funeral reads that the priest did supplemental rites to the funeral of Marguerite ''suppléé les cérémonies''.  The record is in both Paspébiac and Bonaventure, which is very frequent for this particular area.  Seems there was 1 priest travelling back and forth between those two places and he recorded lots of things twice.  So additional ceremonies in regards to her burial.  Could be she had been buried in unconsecrated ground and he corrected that part.

He may have gotten the death date wrong, since the actual burial is not recorded, which would explain the difference with the birth of the daughter.
by Danielle Liard G2G6 Pilot (492k points)

Thank you Danielle. I wonder why the priest didn't ''suppléé les cérémonies'' in August when Agathe was baptised though?

If the child was baptized in different location than where actual burial place was, he couldn't, is my surmise.
One reason why the priest didn't do the supplemnetal rites in August when Agathe was baptized would be becasue Agathe was baptized in  another parish that the priest was in charge of. This could have been becasue she was put to live with relatives or another family, in another town and was baptized while in their care. This was common when mother's died  and left young cildren and there were not older  children to help the father out.

The supplemental rite would then have been done on Margurite in October when the priest was visiting the parish where she was buried. Margurite was most likely buried right after she died however due to the fact that the priests had several parishs to look after the actual church funeral or supplemntal rites  would have taken place months after as would the recording of the actual funeral date/ supplemental rites. It is  rather confusing but I have seen it happen before in the same area.

As for  Margurite passing the day before her daughter was born, that could simply be an error in the recording of the dates. Agathe was most likely born on 25 May 1843 and Margurite died on 26 May 1843, whoever was recording the dates  could have just simply mixed them up. This could have happened for several reasons but most likely  due to a language barrier of some kind. If the person saying the dates was French and the person writing the information down  was English  vingt-cinq (25) and vingt-six (26) could have been misheard or mistranslated.
we will never know, all this is surmise at this point.  And the records were written in the same hand.
+13 votes
I have just came across this question and would like to give my idea of what has taken place here. I reviewed the parish record for Paspebiac and Bonaventure and upon reading some of the other entries have determined that these are both missions for a very large area. The entries are not in any direct date line, as is the case in most parishes, some entries for May are mixed with entries from July. A lot of the death entries are months after the actual death. This leads me to believe people had died without the benefit of a priest at the burial and were only given the proper graveside ceremony after the fact when a priest did visit that area. I do not see "de cette paroisse" (of this Parish) in any of the entries which also confirms the priest was travelling about ministering to the Catholics in a broad area. The same priest made both entries in both registers.
by Bob Ladouceur G2G6 (7.5k points)
yes Bob, the same priest covered a lot of territory, and actually recorded the same thing in both places very often.
+4 votes
I have an ancestor who has gravestones in two different cemeteries (I photographed them myself). One possibility is that his remains were moved. It's also possible that his remains are still where they were first buried, but the family wanted a second memorial in the cemetery where other family members were buried.

I agree that they wouldn't have delayed Marguerite's burial during the summer months. I like Celeste's suggestion: maybe the May burial was temporary (the family might not have liked the spot they had to use when she died unexpectedly), and she was moved to her permanent grave site a few months later.
by Ellen Smith G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)
+4 votes
OK, here's a plausible explanation.

May 25th Marguerite was dying. A minister was brought in to give her last rites. She dies while giving birth. Agathe is in trouble and they decide to baptize her expecting her immediate  death. What is recorded is her baptism not her birth.

As for 4 months later. 2 possibilities come to mind.DId the family move after her death?  Perhaps she was buried in a shallow grave, so she could be moved to their new home. Or perhaps the cemetery was moved. I have one whole family - 3 generations - all moved about 3 miles away.
by Susan Fitzmaurice G2G6 Mach 5 (57.4k points)
+9 votes
Those that are answering that one priest would travel and serve many parishes is correct. I have a copy of the Registers of L'Abbé Charles-François Bailly from 1768 to 1773. These were held in Caraquet, NB, but covered the area from the Gaspé peninsula (including Bonaventure and Paspébiac) through New Brunswick to Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. There were more priests later on in the period you're referring to, but they would still be responsible for large areas. People would even travel to meet the priest if they knew where he would be and have services done, whether baptism, marriage, or funeral.

Edited to add: This site http://www.originis.ca/paroisse_paspebiac_notre_dame_de_la_purification.html indicates that Paspébiac did not have its own priest until 1861. Until then, a missionary would visit.
by Denise Chiasson G2G6 Mach 2 (20.2k points)
edited by Denise Chiasson
Hi Denise, when you say you have a copy of the ''registres de l'abbé Charles François Bailly'', are you talking about photographs of original documents or other type of reproduction then?
It's from the Centre d'études acadiennes, Université de Moncton, transcribed under the directorship of Stephen A. White. It was published in 1978 (I've been at this for a long time!)  I also saw it online recently; it's exactly what I have in print...
thank you, not been doing much with my Acadian ancestry yet as I didn't have much in the way of sources for them.
Ya, I have that too...
+3 votes
Local disaster may have prevented burial . Living at top of the mountain relatives would be stranded if road washed out due to flood. Etc. Burial may have been delayed do to arrival of immediate family member. Mother may have passed then baby delivered after. Date may have been changed so the baby birth is not associated with the death.
by Amanda Bennett G2G Rookie (290 points)
the child would still have to be delivered immediately death occurred, so straddling midnight as has already been postulated is my guess. Or whoever recorded the two events, birth and death, had a slip of the pen on one of them.
+2 votes

All the burials use the same wording, and there's always a gap in the dates.

The entries in both registers seem to be the same, but the numbers aren't.

The Bonaventure register has a note at the front


and an index on the previous page, in different writing. It seems to be just 8 pages covering one year.  The next one starts the same way at image 324.  I think it's just a transcript.


by Living Horace G2G6 Pilot (573k points)
edited by Living Horace
No scratch that, most of the entries aren't the same.

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