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 what she was saying. 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 expressed disappointment that 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.
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.
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.
Dashcam clip arriving in Ste. Flavie, music by the St. Helens String Quartet.
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