So I broke away from all the other toys to actually do some hard genealogy. I’ve written many times about Record Search at FamilySearch Labs. I noted awhile ago that I had found there the records of the Catholic Diocese of Belleville, Illinois, which includes an area of my research interest, the village of Prairie du Rocher in Randolph County, Illinois. That’s location from whence come the Micheau/Mischeaux family that I’ve been studying.
A few months ago, I translated and transcribed a number of the records relating to St Joseph’s Church in Prairie du Rocher as well as Our Lady of Lourdes Church in nearby Sparta. It took a combination of skills that I’ve honed doing indexing for FamilySearch and my certainly imperfect recall of church and law Latin and the bits of genealogical French that I’ve picked up in the last few years. But I think I’ve got it right.
Having translated and transcribed some of the relevant records, I have now put them to some use.
I’m interested in the origins of the Micheau/Mischeaux line in French Illinois. Early in my research, I traced a line of present day family members back to George Micheau (1852-1942). That wasn’t very hard because still-living family members recall him vividly. He was born in Potosi, Washington County, Missouri, lived in Prairie du Rocher, and died in St Louis. According to family members, he was married twice: first to Emma Roy, and then to someone the living family members recall simply as “Grandma Rosie.” I also knew from the 1870 census that George Micheau appears that decade in the household of a senior George Micheau (their names were spelled “Misho” in that census). The 1870 census did not explicitly show relationships, but presumably, George was the son of George. I cannot find the family at all on the 1880 census.
So what did the church records add to my knowledge of this family? First, I found a death notice for Emma Roy. I had known that she was born in 1855, but not much more beyond that.
Death Registration, Mary Emma Roy, page 120, Liber Defunctorum, Ecclesia St Joseph, Prairie du Rocher, 1864-1956, Records of the Catholic Diocese of Belleville, Illinois (retrieved from Record Search Pilot, http://labs.familysearch.org)
Die 12a Julii 1900 obit Maria Emma Micheau uxor Georgii Micheau, annos circa 46 nata, ejusque corpus sequenti tumulatum est.
And I translated it:
Maria Emma Micheau, wife of George Micheau, died on July 12, 1900. She was about 46 years old. She was buried in the general burial ground.
We learn her full name and her date of death. There is also a death notice for “Grandma Rosie,” but it is in English:
Death Registration, Rosine Micheau, page 199, Liber Defunctorum, Ecclesia St Joseph, Prairie du Rocher, 1864-1956, Records of the Catholic Diocese of Belleville, Illinois (retrieved from Record Search Pilot, http://labs.familysearch.org)
Now we know a bit more about Grandma Rosie, including her maiden name. Then, a curiosity: recall that Rosine was George’s second wife who he married after the death of Emma Roy. But when he died in 1942, here’s what the priest wrote:
Death Registration, George Micheau, page 221, Liber Defunctorum, Ecclesia St Joseph, Prairie du Rocher, 1864-1956, Records of the Catholic Diocese of Belleville, Illinois (retrieved from Record Search Pilot, http://labs.familysearch.org)
Moving on to the elder George Micheau we find notice of his death too, on page 136 of the same set of records, also in English. The page follows another which is headed “1906.”
Died May 13th George Micheau, the oldest colored member of the parish in his 94th year, as verified by the following extract of the baptismal record of 1813, viz.:
[Click to enlarge]
Baptismal Registration, George Micheau, unnumbered page included with Records of St Anne du Fort de Chartres, 1721-1765 Records of the Catholic Diocese of Belleville, Illinois (retrieved from Record Search Pilot, http://labs.familysearch.org)
Le vingt deux fevrier mil huit cent treize a ete baptiste George ne de Julie esclave de fem Mv LaChange ont ete parrein Ignace et marrein Marguerite tous deux esclaves de Mde Ve D’Amour.
July 26, 2008 Saturday at 3:34 am