As explained on the Ste Luce
Parish register main page, this is one of three databases of
information from the parish register abstracted on the Upper St.John
Valley website. This particular database contains information on all
baptisms performed at Ste Luce church during the time of Father Henri
Dionne, January 1843 to January
1860. In that period, 2,520 baptisms were recorded at
Ste Luce parish.
Canon law of the Roman Catholic church requires that priests
keep a record of each baptism. The following information is supposed to
be recorded by the officiating priest: "the names of the baptised, the
minister, the parents, the sponsors and, if there were such, the
witnesses, and the place and date of baptism. He must also enter the
date and place of birth." Most of the baptismal records recorded by
Father Dionne include all of this information, as well as the
occupation of the father of the baptized.
Information included in the
Each baptism was numbered consecutively, beginning each year
with B1. In the margin of the register is the name of the baptized. The
text of the records is formulaic. Here is a typical baptismal record:
Le douze Janvier, milhuit cent
quarante quatre, nous prêtre soussigné, avons
baptisé Régis, né aujourd'hui du
légitime mariage d'Amable Dubois cultivateur et de Lucie
Beaulieu de cette paroisse. Parrain Régis Martin, marraine
Esther Trudel, qui n'ont su signer. H. Dionne, ptre.
The twelfth of January, one thousand eight hundred forty four, we the
undersigned priest, baptized Régis, born today of the
legitimate marriage of Amable Dubois, farmer, and of Lucie Beaulieu, of
this parish. Godfather Régis Martin, godmother Esther
Trudel, who did not know how to sign their names. H. Dionne, priest
We see in this record a number of pieces of information:
Name of the baptized person.
In a few cases, when the child is illegitimate, there is no last name
listed for the child. In all other cases, baptized persons have the
same last name as their fathers.
Date of the baptism. A couple
of baptisms are described as "sous condition," or
conditional. This means that the priest is not sure if the person has
already been baptized, perhaps by parents at the time of birth for
Date of birth. The information
in this column takes one of two forms: either a specific date, or a
description of how long before the baptism the person was born.
Most baptisms took place shortly after the birth.
If the birth is described as taking place on the same
day as the baptism (ce jour, aujourd'hui,
le même jour), I have included
the actual date.
Sometimes the priest would give an exact date, either
in the form of "the 4th of the present month", or "the 27th of last
November", or rarely the entire date with year. In those cases, I have
transcribed that date into the birth field.
Other than these cases, I have transcribed exactly the
description of the birth date. Commonly they are:
hier = yesterday
avant hier = day before
depuis x jours = x days ago
depuis x semaines, mois, ans =
x weeks, months, years ago
In the database results you will usually see under birth these phrases
rather than specific dates. I used them directly rather than figuring
out the exact date for a few reasons. One is 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 baptismal record.
Relationship of the parents.
The terms here have very specific meanings:
= legitimate marriage, means the couple was married by a Roman Catholic
= marriage, means the couple was married by a non-Catholic (usually
protestant) minister or civil authority, (In one case Fr.
Swéron uses the term "mariage illégitime"
= living together without benefit of marriage at all, common law
for some people there is no description of the
relationship; it seems that in those cases the couple was married but
not by a Catholic priest, usually in a Protestant ceremony.
Information on the parents.
In a few cases the register notes that the father's name is unknown. In
those cases I have noted this in the "Parish Register Notes" field.
For the vast majority of cases up until about 1858, the occupation of
the father was included. Most were either described as "cultivateur",
farmer, or "journalier", day laborer. Others
include forgeron (blacksmith), instituteur
(teacher), menuisier (carpenter), meunier
(miller), cordonnier (shoemaker), sculpteur
(wood carver). bedeau (beadle, church warden).
For translations, see the
The mother's name is given in the form of her maiden name. In fact, in
all church records in this period women are named by their maiden
names, which was apparently the custom in that time and place. The only
consistent exception is the name of some anglophone women; in a few
cases their married names are given rather than their maiden names.
Occasionally a child is baptized whose parents
are unknown. In this case, the register notes
"de parents inconnus", and I have included that in the Parish Register
The register will usually note if a child is illegitimate
("illégitime"), that is, born of a mother who is not
married. Again, if so, that will be in the Parish Register Notes.
Home parish. The vast majority
of parents are described as "from this parish" (de cette
paroisse). However, over the course of time there were a few
missions set up within Ste Luce parish, kind of like sub-parishes.
This is the home parish of most people baptized there. If the record
indicates that the people are "de cette paroisse",
I have put "Ste.Luce" in this column.
(or St François Xavier, in its full form), covered the far
western edge of the parish. and is mentioned from October 1846 up until
St François became an independent parish in January 1859.
The exact area included in "St.François" changed over time.
(or St.Joseph de Portage, in its full form), covered the southwestern
edge of the parish, in what became Eagle Lake, Portage Lake,
Wallagrass, etc. It was apparently established at the start of 1859; it
was first mentioned in January of that year. In 1890 St.Joseph's would
finally become an independent parish, in Wallagrass.
the mother parish of Ste Luce. A small number of people from this
parish had their children baptized at Ste.Luce, for reasons unknown.
was the home of a large Malisseet community, located south of Grand
Falls in New Brunswick, quite a distance from Ste Luce. A number of
people from Tobique, many of them apparently Maliseet, were baptized at
Ste Luce. My guess is that they were visiting family in the Maliseet
village in Madawaska (on the site of today's Edmundston).
included here are Fort Kent
(for a few soldiers stationed at the Fort); Rivière
Noire, or the Black River, for a few families
who were apparently settled on that river, a ways upstream from the
St.John; Fish River,
for some families settled upriver from the St.John; Lac
Temiscouata, for a few families that lived
along that lake (described as living "au Détour du
Lac Temiscouata", which is now Notre-Dame-du-Lac,
Québec); one from Isle Verte,
in Canada (Québec); and another in Deglee
(which I believe is actually Dégelis,
located at the southern tip of Lake Temiscouata in Québec).
Godparents. The names of the
godfather and the godmother. This information is of interest for two
First, godparents are usually people who are related to
or close friends of the parents. They are thus a way to help establish
Second, the presence of a person as a godparent may
help determine the date of their death.
Whether the godparents could sign their names.
With two or three exceptions, none of the godparents knew how to sign
their names, and the register notes that fact at the end of each
record. (The people in this entire community who could sign their
names, apart from Father Dionne, were Prudent Gagnon, John Lynch,
Joseph Gauthier, and Narcisse Legendre.) A few of the fathers also
signed (Edouard Guy). If anyone signed, or if Fr. Dionne noted that
they signed, I have noted that in the Parish register notes section on
the "details" page (I have also often included images of the
signatures). If it is not noted, they were described as not knowing how
Other information. If one or
both of the parents were Protestant, that was almost always noted in
the register. Also noted was whether they were members of a native
people or first nation ("sauvage"); whether the children were twins
(jumeaux); illegitimate (illégitime). Any of this additional
information has been included in the "Parish register notes" on the
Priest. Almost all of the
baptisms were performed by Fr. Henri Dionne. Beginning in 1858 he was
joined by another priest, Charles Swéron, who seemed to
serve those families in St François. Swéron
became the pastor of St. François when it became an
independent parish in January 1859, and he succeeded Fr. Dionne as
pastor of Ste Luce when Dionne left in February 1860. There are several
other priests who officiated at baptisms, but none performed more than
one or two. A few baptisms in March 1858 are not signed by any priest;
it seems however that they were probably performed by Fr. Dionne.
Things we learn from the register. One
of the things we learn is that it was very common to name the child
after the godfather, less often after the godmother. Godparents are
usually not married couples, and often there is one godparent from the
father's side and one from the mother's side of the family. In general,
the further away from the church itself a family lived, the longer the
time between birth and baptism.
You can use the simple search form to search by last name of the person baptized
and of his/her father and mother; you can search with either the names or with
the soundex codes (More information on soundex).
Clicking on the "Search" button will produce a table of names, ordered
alphabetically by name of baptized 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.
The Advanced Search Form allows you to search by the following fields:
Names. You can search by first name
and/or last name of baptized person, parents, and godparents.
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.
Dates. You can also search by
baptism date: exact (in the format 1 Jan 1858;
months are abbreviated as the first three letters of each month,
without a period) or part ("contains," for
example, just year, or just year and month, or just month).
Sex. I have included a "sex"
field, though in the record itself there is no explicit mention of
whether the child is a son or daughter. The only indication of the sex
of the child, apart from the first name, is the French word for born:
for boys it's "né", for girls "née".
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.
Home parish. There is a
pull-down menu from which you can choose the home parish. See "A note on parishes."
Parish register notes. Here
you can search by some of the common terms used in some of the entries:
illégitime; twins or jumeaux; Protestant; parents unknown;
sauvage (for Indians). This is a "contains" field, meaning the search
will bring up any record where the Parish register notes field contains
any part of what you type into this box.
Soundex. You can use soundex
to search for the last name of the baptized person (in all cases the
same as his/her father), and of the mother. 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.
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; please use another
You can use either of the "search" buttons on the form, they
are the same.
Advanced Search results
Clicking on the "search" button brings you to the advanced 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.
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 baptismal records". At the top is a
key that translates the date of birth terms used in the records, as
well as terms used in the relationship of parents.
that the search results page does not include all
of the information from the record. To access that you must click the
link "details" at the end of each record.
Clicking on "details" brings you to a new page that will give
you all of the information from that record, including father's
occupation, relationship of parents, priest who officiated, any
additional information included in the record (in the Parish
Register Notes field) and the soundex codes of the baptized
person and his or her mother.
In the field labeled "Comments (not from register)"
I have included additional information about the person that is not
from the parish register, for example the correct spelling of last
names, as well as links to those people (or their parents) for whom I
have set up web pages, most of whom are directly related to me.