Saturday, December 17, 2011
For anyone who has searched for ancestral surnames in both book indexes and online indexes, I think you'll agree that it's easier to find variant spellings when dragging your finger down the columns in a book index. The variations seem to jump off the page. However, when using an online index, one has to know the exact spelling (barring soundex or creative wildcard searches) in order to get results. It is very easy to miss potential positive hits.
Add to that the quirks of the French language. The sound of long o can be spelled a myriad of ways. When searching in an online index without soundex capabilities, each and every variation would have to be tried. Some variations might even change the soundex code, making any search even trickier.
With that in mind, I have tried to compile every way that I have found for spelling the surname Renaud, one of the earliest ways of spelling what became, here in
America, the name . If anyone has discovered other variants, please add them to the list: Reno
Renaud Renault Renaut Raineau Reneau
Monday, October 3, 2011
A very observant reader questioned why the first post said that John B. Reno "was buried in an unmarked grave," yet in the second post, there is a picture of his gravestone. That is because we had initially started this blog for an entirely different purpose. But then our bubble burst. Here's the story.
My cousin Lori and I met while independently researching the same family in Spencer. After comparing notes, we discovered that we had this Civil War veteran in common.
While visiting the local cemetery, we asked the caretaker to show us where John was buried. He took us to a blank patch of grass. Knowing the pain and suffering our ancestor had suffered in defense of our country, Lori and I, now joined by Jodie, decided that in this, the anniversary year of the start of the Civil War, we should honor him with a stone. Jodie downloaded an application for a free government-provided, period gravestone from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. Our plans were to contact the local newspaper to do an article on our ancestor and what we were proposing to do. We thought that by creating the blog, descendants would have a place to contact us. In the spring, near the anniversary of his death, we would have a dedication ceremony with many of his descendants present.
After getting all the paperwork together, I made an appointment with the cemetery caretaker to sign off on the government forms. After getting his signature, he casually remarked that he didn't understand why we were getting another stone when there was already a big one there. After the shock wore off, he took me to John and Dina's gravesite. There it was, a very large, granite stone!
So we quickly shifted the focus of our blog. We still hope it will be a gathering place for descendants, but without the pomp and circumstance we had hoped for.
Perhaps John would have preferred it that way.
Sunday, October 2, 2011
On John B. Reno's gravestone1, his portion of the inscription reads as follows: "John B. Reno, a member of Co. G 25th Inft, April 9, 1811 - April 10, 1882."
When I checked my genealogy database, I found that I had a couple different possible birth dates and birth places for Jean B. Which were the correct ones?
descendant, Peter Gallant Berlo, had compiled a family history back in the early 1990s. In his Reno Reno Family Descendants Genealogical List2, Berlo confirms (without sources) the birth date on the tombstone, and gives his birthplace as " This contradicts John's pension record, which states on the Certificate of Disability for Discharge3 that he was born in St. Antoine. On the 1870 census4, John's date of birth based on his age would have been closer to 1814. St. Pie, PQ, CAN."
So I went in search of Jean B. Renaud's birth/baptism record by browsing through the
, Catholic Parish Registers, 1621-1900 on www.familysearch.org. I went first to the records for St-Antoine-sur-Richelieu and scrolled through until I got to the year 1811. There I found a baptism for a Jean Baptiste Renault on the 15th of April 1811 instead of the 9th, but his parents were listed as François Renault and Melence[??] Gendron. Quebec
I then scrolled to
St. Antoine for the year 1814. On the 21st of March 1814, a Jean Baptiste Renault was born to Jean Baptiste Renault and Marie Josephte Guertin, the parents I had assigned to him in my database. Could I have the wrong parents?
It was time to go back through my data and double check. John's death record5 lists his parents as John and Joset Reno, whose marriage record can also be found in the
, Catholic Parish Registers, 1621-1900 at St. Antoine on 23 October 1809. Quebec
Since the parents listed on John B. Reno's death certificate match those of the Jean Baptiste born in 1814, it appears that the correct birth date on John B. Reno's gravestone should read March 21, 1814.
1 St. Mary's/
Holy Rosary Cemetery (now called Mary, Queen of the Rosary Cemetery), . Spencer, Massachusetts
2 Berlo, Peter Galant.
Family Descendants Genealogical List. (San Diego, CA: self-published, 1992). Reno
3 John B.
(Pvt. Co. G, 25th Mass. Inf., Civil War), pension no. S.C. 20,156, Certificate of Disability for Discharge; Civil War and Later Pension Files. Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15. National Archives, Reno Washington, D.C.
4 John B. Reno household, 1870 U.S. Census Population Schedule, Worcester Co., MA, town of Spencer, sheet 19, dwelling 404, family 649, National Archives Micropublication M593, roll 655.
Monday, August 8, 2011
Jean Baptiste Renaud left his homeland of
Quebec and moved with his family to in the early 1850s. One could assume he came for the reason that beckoned so many others - the chance for a better life. Yet he risked that dream in 1861 when he took on the challenge of defending his newly-adopted country. America
Jean Baptiste was born in St-Antoine-sur-Richelieu, Québec, Canada, on the 21st of March 1814, the son of Jean Baptiste Renaud and Marie Josephte Guertin.1 After marrying Dina Macé on the 30th of September 18392, the couple had at least six children while still living in Canada. Then in the early 1850s, the family moved to Massachusetts, where at least four more children were born. Times must have been tough for the family. John, as he was now known, was employed as a bootmaker.3 However, in 1855 and 1861, he received financial aid from the town of
On October 14, 1861, he answered his new country's call and enlisted in the Army as a private in Co. G, 25th Massachusetts Infantry.5 After spending a couple of months at Annapolis, MD, his unit moved on to North Carolina. There on February 8, 1862, he participated in the battle of
Roanoke Island, where "he was badly wounded by a musket ball" which passed through his left lung.6 He suffered from shortness of breath and was discharged from the army August 28, 1862.7 His suffering came to an end on April 10, 1882. Cause of death was consumption.8 He was buried in an unmarked grave at Mary, Queen of the in Spencer, Massachusetts.9 Rosary Cemetery
Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967 [database on-line]. Quebec : Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008. Provo, UT, USA
Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection). Quebec
3Melissa Renno Birth Record, Births 1843-1858, Marriages 1844-53, Deaths 1843-57, Town of Spencer, 28 Jun 1855, line 32 page 39, (recorded Jan 1856), Town Clerk's Office, Spencer, Massachusetts.
4Annual Report of the Finances of the Town of Spencer, from Mar. 1, 1855, to Mar. 1, 1856, with a List of Taxes Assessed in 1855, and Report of the School Committee for the Year 1855-6 (Worcester, MA: Henry J. Howland, 1856), p. 6; Annual Report of the Town Officers of the Town of Spencer, for the Year Ending March 1, 1862 (Worcester, MA: Chas. Hamilton, n.d.), p. 36.
5John B. Reno (Pvt. Co. G, 25th Mass. Inf., Civil War), pension no. S.C. 20,156, Certificate of Disability for Discharge; Civil War and Later Pension Files. Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15. National Archives,
6John B. Reno (Pvt. Co. G, 25th Mass. Inf., Civil War), pension no. S.C. 20,156, Application for the Increase of an Invalid Pension; Civil War and Later Pension Files. Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15. National Archives,
7John B. Reno (Pvt. Co. G, 25th Mass. Inf., Civil War), pension no. S.C. 20,156, Certificate of Disability for Discharge.
8John B. Reno entry, Deaths Registered in Spencer 1858-92, Book 2, line 35, 10 Apr 1882, recorded 1 Jan 1883, Town Clerk's Office, Spencer, Massachusetts.
Reno entry, Deaths Registered in Spencer 1858-92; information provided by Deacon Harry M. Sweet, Mary, Queen of the . Rosary Cemetery