This database contains information extracted from the Ste
Luce Parish register, and includes information on all burials performed
in Ste Luce parish while Father Henri Dionne was pastor, from January 1843 to
February 1860. In that period, 659 burials were recorded in the parish register.
While the Roman Catholic church does require that burials be recorded in the
parish "book of the dead", it does not specify the information to
be recorded. Father Dionne's records include the name of the deceased, the date
of death, age at death, date of burial, date of service, names of parents, or
of spouse, home parish or community, as well as other information (see details
Information included in the burial records
Each burial was numbered consecutively, beginning each year with S1 (S for
sépulture, French for "burial). In the margin of the register is
the name of the deceased.
Here is a typical record of a child:
Le douze Février milhuit cent quarante quatre, nous prêtre
soussigné, avons inhumé dans le cimetière de cette
paroisse le corps de Marie Anastasie, décédée avant
hier, agée de trois semaines, enfant de George Guéret, cultivateur
de cette paroisse et de Flore Picard. Présents Baptiste et Israël
Ouellet qui n'ont su signer. H. Dionne, ptre.
On February 12, 1844, I the undersigned priest buried in the cemetery of
this parish the body of Marie Anastasie, died the day before yesterday,
at the age of three weeks, child of George Guéret, farmer of this
parish, and of Flore Picard. Present were Baptiste and Israël Ouellet,
who did not know how to sign their names. H. Dionne, priest
Here is the record of a married adult:
Le dix-sept Février milhuit cent quarant quatre, nos prêtre
soussigné, avons inhumé dans le cimetière de cette
paroisse le corps de Susanne Martin, décédée hier,
agée d'environs vingt-six ans, épouse de Jean Guéret,
cultivateur de cette paroisse. Présents Basile Lagassé et
Baptiste Ouellet, qui n'ont su signer. H. Dionne, ptre.
On February 17, 1844, I the undersigned priest buried in the cemetery of
this parish the body of Susanne Martin, died yesterday, at the age of about
twenty-six years, wife of Jean Guéret, farmer of this parish. Present
were Basile Lagassé and Baptiste Ouellet, who did not know how to
sign their names. H. Dionne, priest
We see in these records a number of pieces of information:
Name of the deceased person. A number of infants were identified
as "Anonyme", or anonymous. These are infants who died
before they were baptized, and therefore did not receive a name. Every case
of an "anonyme" is an unbaptized child. In a few cases
Fr. Dionne did not include a name for a child. In these cases he did not know
the name. In all cases, the deceased persons all have the same last names
as their fathers. Married women were listed by their maiden names, and are
entered into the database with that name.
Date of burial or service.
Burials. The vast majority of entries are
recordings of the burials themselves.
Services. In some cases, the body had been
buried earlier, and the date recorded in the register is the date on which
Fr. Dionne said prayers or conducted the funeral service at the grave.
In these cases I have put an asterisk (*) after the date. Occasionally
these records do mention when the person had been buried; in this case
that is listed in the "details" page. I've also included the
exact wording used by Father Dionne to describe the service along with
an English translation; these are also found in the "details"
Place of burial.
The large majority of burials took place in the Ste.Luce
church cemetery, described in the records either as "dans la
cimitière de cette paroisse" (in the cemetery of this
parish), or "dans le cimitière du lieu" (in
the cemetery of the place).
78 of the burials were in the cemetery at St.François
chapel (apparently on the location of today's St. François Xavier
de Madawaska); often the date in the record of these burials is that of
the service rather than the burial itself, since Father Dionne had to
travel to St.François. (As noted above, these are marked with an
There was one burial at St.Joseph chapel (today's St.Joseph
parish in Wallagrass).
In the record of 24 burials, no place of burial is indicated. Sometimes
it seems clear from the context where the burial probably took place;
I have noted that in the "Comments" section, on the details
page. In others though it is not clear whether the burial was at the church
cemetery, or somewhere else. My guess is that all of the burials were
in one of the cemeteries, but since I'm not certain -- especially in cases
of infants who had died more than a few days before the services -- I
have left this field blank in those cases.
Date of death. The information in this column is usually
a description of how long before the burial (or service) the person died.
A translation of those terms is on the Terms in
the Ste Luce burial records page. Most deaths took place two days prior
to the burial (avant hier). Some were more approximate (a few days
ago); in a few cases there was no date. In the database results you will usually
see under "Date of death" these phrases rather than specific dates.
I used them directly rather than figuring out the exact date for a few reasons.
One is that it is more accurate to put "yesterday" or "four
days ago"; if I were to try to calculate the actual date it's likely
I'd make mistakes; it would also add a lot of time to the transcription process.
I leave it to the user to calculate the exact date based on the information
in the burial record.
Age at death. Almost every entry includes the age of the
deceased at death. For infants the age is expressed in days (jours),
weeks (semaines), months (mois). Some infants are described
as having died "just after his birth" or "just
after her baptism". For older children and adults the age is expressed
in years (ans). Sometimes the age is approximate; in those cases
the age is preceded by "env.", for environs, which means
about. In a few cases there was no age given.
Relationship. With a couple of exceptions, every deceased
person is described in relation to other family members.
Children. For children, father and mother
are listed. In addition, in many cases children are described as the "legitimate
child" (enfant légitime) of a couple, or the child
of the legitimate marriage. The term "legitimate" has a specific
religious meaning, and indicates that the parents were married by a Roman
Catholic priest. If the term used is "enfant", or child
(without legitimate), it does not mean that the parents were
not married by a priest; Fr. Dionne was not consistent in his use of this
term. Older teenagers and single young adults are described as the son
(fils) or daughter (fille) of their parents.
Spouses. For adults, if they are married,
they are described as the husband (époux) or wife (épouse),
or widow or widower (veuve, veuf) of their spouse. If
they are unmarried, their parents' names are listed.
For some adults not from the area, Fr. Dionne noted where the parents
lived, even if he did not know their names.
"feu" and "défunte":
If the parent is deceased, this was indicated by the word feu
(or feue, or défunte, for women), placed before
their name. Thus "feu Charles Guéret"
means "the late Charles Guéret". Occasionally a spouse
is also described as "deceased" (most often however the person
is instead described as a widow or widower).
Occupation. In some of the records the occupation of the
father or husband of the deceased is included.
Home parish. The record notes the parish where the parents
or spouse lived.
Ste.Luce. In most cases, the parents or spouse
of the deceased were from described as "de cette paroisse",
or from this parish. In those cases I have put "Ste.Luce" in
There were also two missions of Ste. Luce, and a number of parents/spouses
were described as being from those places: St.François
Other places also within the parish of Ste.Luce but identified specifically
were Rivière Noire and Petit
Rivière Noire (the Black River and the Little Black
River), which were locations, not parishes.
There were also people from other specific parishes in the St.John Valley:
A number of persons' parents lived in Lower Canada (Bas
Canada), now the province of Quebec. These places included
Cacouna, Ste.Anne de Lapocatière,
St.Roche des Aulnaies, St.Jean Port
Joli, Isle Verte, St.André
(Kamouraska) , Deglee (actually Dégelis),
Metis, Bonaventure on the Baie
Other places were not necessarily parishes, but places. These include
Prince Edouard Island (l'Isle du Prince Edouard);
and Pays-Bas and Bathurst,
Witnesses. Unlike baptisms, at burials the names of the
witnesses were rarely relatives, and almost always the church warden. The
church warden (bedeau) at Ste. Luce was Jean Baptiste Ouellet (sometimes
listed as just Baptiste Ouellet). He was the witness at the majority of burials,
along with a number of his sons. Others were people who lived near the church.
In the case of St.François, the church warden there was Pierre Landry
until about 1852, when Alexis Levêque became warden. They were the witnesses
at burials at St.François, the other witness being other people who
lived near the cemetery. Occasionally friends or relatives would be witnesses.
Most burials records include the names of two witnesses; very occasionally
Fr. Dionne notes that also present were "several others" (plusieurs
Other information. Burial records occasionally included
other information, including if the person had drowned (noyé),
and often where they drowned; if they were Indians (sauvage) or twins
Priest. Almost all the burials were performed by Father
Dionne. A few were performed by Father Charles Swéron. A few in 1858
were not signed by any priest, so the priest column is blank for those records.
You can use the simple search form to search by last name of the deceased person
and of his/her father, mother, or spouse; you can search with either the names
or with the soundex codes (More information on
Clicking on the "Search" button will produce a table of names, ordered
alphabetically by name of deceased person, that fit your search criteria. At
the end of each row is a link, "Details." Clicking on that link will
bring you to a page with all information for that particular record.
Names. You can search by first name and/or last name of the
deceased person, as well as of parents or spouse.
A note on the spelling of names. I have transcribed
the names from the parish records exactly as they are spelled in the original.
This spelling was not always consistent, so you should be aware of a few
facts when searching:
French names. Father Dionne was from La
Pocatière in Quebec, the region of origin of many of his parishioners.
He was therefore very familiar with their names. However he was not
always consistent in spelling. Thus for example Roy may also show
up as Roi; Lagacé as Lagassé. Names ending in -ette
today were consistently spelled -et by Fr. Dionne (thus Ouellet, Charet,
Guéret, etc.) First names also have variations; Artémise
is sometimes written Artemie. Be sure that your search criteria are
wide enough to capture all possible spellings. (French
name spellings in the parish register.)
English names. Fr. Dionne apparently did
not know the English language. His spelling of English names was phonetic;
for example Mullins was written Molanse; Oakes was sometimes written
Ikes. It is thus a challenge to search for English names in the parish
register. Sometimes a soundex search will help but not always. When
I have been able to identify the actual spelling of the last name
I have included it in the "comments" field. (English
names in the parish register.)
Search criteria. You can search by exact spelling (exact);
by the first few letters of the name (starts with); or by a few
letters in the name (contains). Given the inconsistent spelling
it's worth trying a few different versions of each.
Sex. I have included a "sex" field, though in
the record itself there is not always explicit mention of whether the person
is male or female (unless they are described as son, daughter, wife, husband,
widow, widower). For children ("enfants") the only indication
of sex , apart from the first name, is the French word for deceased: for boys
it's "décédé", for girls "décédée".
But even here Fr. Dionne was not always consistent, occasionally using the
masculine form for girls. Because many of the French names used at that time
are not familiar to anglophones today, I've included this field, which is
also searchable. In a few cases of "anonymes", there is
no indication of sex; in these cases I have left the sex column blank.
Date of burial. This searches the date of the burial (or
the service at the grave if the person was not buried by Father Dionne). The
field is a "contains" search, which means you can search by any
part of a date: the year; the month (in the format of the first three letters
of a month, eg, Jan, Feb); the month and year; the day and month; etc. You
can also search for dates that are of services rather than of burials by entering
an asterisk (*) into the box.
Place of burial. The pulldown menu allows you to search
by the three cemeteries listed in these records: Ste.Luce, St.François,
Soundex. You can use soundex to search for the last name
of the buried person (in all cases the same as his/her father); of the mother;
or of the spouse. The first Soundex box on the form is for the name of the
person buried. The other boxes are labled "Soundex (Spouse's last name)"
and "Soundex (Mother's last name)". Soundex is a method of searching
for names that sound similar to each other. These soundex codes were not part
of the original record, I have added them in to aid in searching. More
information on soundex.
Relationship. Using the pull-down menu you can search by
whether the buried person was the child (enfant, enfant légitime,
fils, fille) or spouse (époux, épouse, veuf, veuve)
of the other people mentioned in the record. For explanations of these terms
see "Relationship" above in the description of the parish register
Home of parents or spouse. This is another pull-down menu,
and includes every place mentioned in all of these burial records as the place
from which the parents or spouse of the deceased person came from (in the
form "de cette paroisse"--from this parish; or for example
"de Ste Anne de Lapocatière, Bas Canada"-- from
Ste Anne de Lapocatière, Lower Canada.
Spouse's name. If the deceased is described as the spouse
or widow(er) of another person, that person's first name and last name will
be searchable, again by exact spelling (exact); by the first few
letters of the name (starts with); or by a few letters in the name
(contains). You can also search by the Soundex code of the spouse's
last name (see note above on Soundex).
Parents' names. If parents were listed in the record, you
can search by their first and/or last names; you can also search by Soundex
code of the mother's last name.
Parish Register Notes. This field includes miscellaneous
other information contained in the record of burial. This includes whether
the person was an Indian (sauvage); whether they drowned (noyé).
I've also included in this field a few other pieces of information:
If a name is missing, I note that fact, for example: [mother's first
name not given].
If the date of the record is of the prayers at the grave rather than
the burial, I include in this field the actual description that Father
Dionne used in the record, along with the English translation.
You must enter a value into one of the fields for
the form to work; if you do not you will get an alert. (Note: the form does
not seem to work with Netscape 6; if you use Netscape 6 you
will have to use another browser to access the database.)
You can use either of the "Search" buttons on the page, they are
Advanced Search results
Clicking on the "search" button brings you to the search results
page. Here you will see all of the records that fit your search criteria. The
results are listed in the order in which they appear in the register. (Some
records were entered out of chronological order by Father Dionne.)
The data is organized in rows and columns. The column heads are all self explanatory.
For information on each of them see the above section on "information included
in the burial records."
The search result table does not include all information from the record. For
that you must click on the "details" link at the end of each line
(see below for explanation).
Above the results table is a key that translates some of the French terms used
in the register. For those that do not appear on the results page, there is
a link that will take you to a page that translates
all French terms used in these records into English.
At the end of each line you'll see a link that says "details." Clicking
on this link brings you to a new page that gives you all of the information
from that record, including occupation of father or spouse, priest, the parish
register notes, and the soundex codes of the various names.
In the field labeled "Comments (not from register)" I have
included additional information about the person that is not from the
parish register, as well as links to those people (or their parents or spouses)
for whom I have set up web pages, most of whomo are directly related to me.