LNAB quandary

+5 votes
My maternal 2nd great grandfather is Thomas Mushero? His children when they came to Maine, LNAB became Mushero. In Harcourt, New Brunswick 1861 census was Mushero, 1871 census could not find, 1881 census was Mershuro, 1891 census was Mersereau, 1901 census was Mushero again. Thomas died before the 1901 census. My grandmother Diana Mushero did not know her grandfather Thomas who died before she was born. She knew her grandmother Eleanor but did not know her LNAB. I have seen both Mushero and Mishou.

The New Brunswick Archives has about 12 versions of Mushero and Mersereau. I find the Mersereau name very interesting. They were loyalist from New York City who moved to New Brunswick during the American Rev.

Thomas was married twice and had many children. I would like to have a better grasp of the LNAB before I start adding them. This has stumped me for over 20 years and is my greatest brick wall..
WikiTree profile: Thomas Mersereau
in Genealogy Help by Francis Sibley G2G6 (7.3k points)
retagged by Francis Sibley

Hi Francis, 

I'm seeing the same information as you - and I agree that "native" means born in NB. Indigenous people were indicated by "Indian" (http://data2.collectionscanada.ca/1871/jpg/4396276_00248.jpg)) in the Census. 

I don't see this particular spelling in any families earlier than Thomas, so it does suggest a phonetic spelling of another name: could be Mersereau or Mazerolle, both are listed in First Families.

I also looked at Thomas' children listed in the census, I have often discovered more about the parents by looking at the whole family.  The names Abner and Gain are found in the Mersereau family tree - so its possible these are namesakes. But that family is located in Sunbury, I can find no record of a Thomas, or anyone in Kent.  Bit of a puzzle!

I also discovered that Eleanor's LNAB appears to have been Micheau.  You can see it in the marriage record for Thomas' daughter Fanny (it wasn't unusual to include a step-parent), and the birth record for Gainor - who is Gain and Gaynor in the 1881 and 1891 Census.

I wonder that this family was missed in the 1851 and the 1871 Census - do you think perhaps they moved back and forth between Maine and NB, or maybe their farm was off the beaten track? 

Very possible that he spent time in Maine. Fanny his wife was born in Maine. The 1881 census Eleanor shows as born in US. The 1891 census Thomas shows born in US. Then again there was no set border between Maine and New Brunswick until 1842.
Good point.  I also find the Census information to be pretty spotty for my family too, I guess it was hard to be sure you got everyone, in the days before satellites and computers!

3 Answers

+10 votes
I wouldn't think that the Census would be a reliable source for spelling of one's name -- last or otherwise.

Census takers are generally spelling (or misspelling) from what they hear, or think they hear. And they may not get their information first hand either (maybe from neighbors, or other family members).

Other government records might prove more reliable for name spellings, birth, death, military, etc. -- yet there can be errors in those as well, and often for similar reasons.

The best source is from the person themselves, if they can read and write. When they write letters, or sign documents, etc. Of course, these are the most difficult to find.

Often, you just have to make your best guess, based on the available sources you have at the time.
by Dennis Wheeler G2G6 Pilot (539k points)
I agree that census is not a good place to come up with the LNAB, but even the New Brunswick BMD records are all over the place with the spelling. Makes me wonder how the name was originally pronounced. Was it French?

Hi Francis, How goes the search for Thomas Mushero?  I came across your brickwall dilemna today and the name caught my eye as I used to have a work relationship with a gentleman named Mersereau. Not sure that I can be of much help as far as records go but I can share with you my experience. The Mr. Mersereau I worked with was a descendant of Violet Mersereau. The name (pronounced Mers-her-row or Mers-he-row and also spelled Mercereau, meaning "merchant") was definitely French and had ties to New York. I guess Violet was quite a famous actress back in the day. You can read about her here on Wikipedia:


Also, my ancestry is well established in Maine and occasionally crosses over into Canada. The spellings of the names in the censuses are more phonetic when looking at the crossovers. I have one branch that changed from Burgess to Bourgeois so when I hear your story I feel confident that your ancestor was likely a Mersereau, which I could see being pronounced and recorded as "Mers-hero". Or perhaps even "Mahs-hero" if you put a Yankee accent spin on it.smiley

+3 votes

You might want that for the Mersereau's. Best bet is to go by birth or death certificate and if there is more than one spelling, put that in "other last names"
by Steven Tibbetts G2G6 Pilot (340k points)
The Mushero family was Native American
ok, the Mersereau part definitely looks french though.
Census all say native. But you know how the white government back then treated non white people.  So what northern Maine tribes crisscrossed the border ?
1861 census native means born in New Brunswick.
+3 votes
I have a lot more info on the Mushero line - Thomas Mushero is my paternal 2nd Great-Grandfather, and we have data back to NY and then to France in the 1630s, where his ancestor was a French Huguenot who escaped in a wine cask.

Seems also that Thomas married his step-daughter, the first of Fanny, after he & Fanny divorced.

I have more - please DM me & can give Ancestry access.
by Steve Mushero G2G Rookie (290 points)

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