Joseph Deneau was my fourth great grandfather. He lived in eighteenth century Canada. He was born 13 April 1733 in La Prairie, Quebec, New France, as Canada was known at the time. He was the son of François Xavier DENEAUand Marie SUPERNANT. He was the seventh of their ten children. He married Marie Veronique Guerin on 19 Feb 1759 in La Prairie, Quebec, New France. She was born 17 April 1738 in La Prairie.They had a sons, Augustin. Marie Veronique died and Joseph married Marie Joseph Rousseau on 10 July 1769 in La Prairie, New France. They had three children, Jean Baptiste, Charlotte and Josephte.
Over the course of his lifetime, Joseph witnessed the start of the Industrial Revolution. He might have fought in the French and Indian War and if he didn’t, he heard about it. He would have also witnessed the American Revolutionary War.
Writing this profile has shown me what is missing in my knowledge of him. The profile is mostly dates and facts. That’s rather dry. I need to find out more about the times in which he lived as well as the place where he lived. In short, I have a lot more research to do. I’ll probably start with his death date. I have no idea when he died or where he was buried. I could start with cemetery records in Laprairie, but which Joseph DENEAU would be this one?
That’s the main problem with death dates, you are never sure you have the right one. I can choose someone who died in the right area at about the right time. my first stop on this quest was www.findagrave.com which is a large, online collection of gravestone transcriptions. Sometimes it even has information on family members, which is useful to a family historian. Unfortunately, it didn’t have any information on where Joseph is buried. What I need to do is find access to the church records of Laprairie in Quebec. That’s my best option for finding him. Ancestry.com may be my best hope of finding it online there. If I knew precisely where he lived in Laprairie, I could search other online sites to find his grave, if the cemetery hasn’t been disturbed. I have family members from another line who were not moved from a cemetery that was flooded when they built the St. Lawrence Seaway along the St. Lawrence River. The family simply couldn’t afford to move the graves. That’s a different family line from Joseph though. I bring it up because it shows one way records can be lost.
I have other avenues of search and I will have to explore them. As I said, Ancestry is one of the best and FamilySearch.org is the other big one. Either of those sites could have the information I am seeking, now that I know what I need to search for. I will begin the search as soon as I can. I’m not going to leave Joseph’s story half told. I will research it more and add to it. If these profiles work out well, I may do an entire book of them. You never know what the future is holding for you.
However, it’s not enough to just find names, dates, and places. I would like to know what Joseph did for a living. I can’t just assume that he was a farmer. I had one ancestor who was both a farmer and mason. He helped build a cathedral in Quebec. Our ancestors are not just a collection of dates, they did things. I just need to tease those things out of the records, that’s all.