Header image: Sunset shot of Ste. Flavie from the breakwater.
Above: This is the third church built at Ste. Flavie in 1948. The first one was built when the parish was founded in 1829, and a second church built in 1878 was destroyed by fire 70 years later.
We arrived in Ste. Flavie around 4:30p. on Monday, June 10th, our tenth day of driving from Snohomish. We were welcomed with bright sunshine and impressive cold gusts of onshore wind — much too windy to camp — good! Took a small room in the riverfront Hotel Gaspesiana, so charming, we worked a deal for three nights — a vacation from driving!
Called a number for the church President listed on the office door and a woman answered, Monique, as I came to learn, who struggled with English but came to understand that I wanted to photograph the baptismal record of my grandmother, and she said someone will be in the office tomorrow at 1:30p. Monique, the president’s wife, was leaving town in the morning but promised to find someone who spoke some English.
Francine, the church secretary we assumed, was alone in the office and while she was briefed to my showing up, Francine spoke no English, just French, as if I understood every word. I had written down Anne Marie Charette’s name and dates, plus her parents’ name in my journal to show her. Watching Francine copy a list of names on her laptop and send them to the printer, I left with a list of names of my relatives buried in the cemetery and understand now, Francine’s disappointment was because my grandmother was not buried in the church cemetery.
Falling under the long shadow of a tree the stone marker for Anne Marie’s parents: Zephrine Charette (1841-1900) and Sophia Larrivee (1845-1929) who were married in Ste. Flavie on July 31, 1866, and had six children.
Back at the hotel, I looked closely at the heading of the printout and recognized the word “cemetery.” It’s sad, with two years of college French, I needed help making myself understood and asked the Front Desk Manager, Dianne, what to do … she wrote a note below the list of names, explaining what I wanted and closing with her phone number.
Fortunately, Francine was still in the office when I returned with Dianne’s note which was understood immediately as Francine checked a directory on her laptop, opened the safe and removed a large ledger and in no time found Anne Marie’s baptismal entry.
Baptismal entry … translation coming soon.
Francine took off her red-framed eyeglasses for the photo, with them on she had an uncanny similarity to my sister.
Sara and our mother Maxine visited Quebec in November 1987, when they searched for Anne Marie’s baptismal record in the small town of La Malbaie — they did not have the advantage of the internet and the popularity of genealogical research, especially Family Search — where I found this picture of Anne Marie and her sisters: (From the left) Bernadette (1883-1953), Ernestine (1867-1938), Marie Elise (1870-1954), and Anne Marie (1883-1929). All four sisters migrated to Minneapolis around 1895, the estimated date of this picture.
A blury, undated photo of parents Sophie and Zephrine in the cart with brother Oscar standing — left behind in Ste. Flavie!
Photo postcard of Anne Marie and Bertha sent from Minneapolis, December 1907, to brother Baptist living in Ste. Flavie. Who is Bertha?
Raymond Sarazin (1887-1963) and Anne Marie Charette were married on September 2, 1910, in Minneapolis and had five children, our mother Maxine was the fourth, born in 1917; her mother died when she was 12.
Photo from our mother’s album noted on the reverse: “1928, Ouellette’s Uncle Phil’s visit,” who is pictured center. The sisters with their married names from the left: Marie Elise Beaulieu, Ernestine Ouellette (who hosted the gathering), Bernadette Gagnon, Clementine DuBeau (who immigrated later), and our grandmother, Anne Marie Sarazin, who died the following year. We, speaking for the sibs, remember only the Gagnon family, really just the son, Doctor Ed, a foot doctor with a farm (in the home movies), and showed me at the dinner table how to suck morrow from bones (not in the home movies).
Dashcam clip arriving in Ste. Flavie, music by the St. Helens String Quartet.
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