DROUILLARD, JOSEPH LOUIS (father of Walter Drouillard) started out, to me, as my great-grandfather, William. My great-grandmother was Hattie Brunet. This information was told to me by my father and uncle. Other bits of information told to me were they are buried in St. Joseph Cemetery in River Canard and that they once lived on Malded Road and Spring Garden Road. That farmhouse on Malden Road is still standing. I've not found any further information about William.
Hattie was once the housekeeper at St. Paul's Church on Malden Road for Fr. Paul Beneteau. (Fr. Paul Beneteau was the nephew of Alice Beneteau who married Alphonse Drouillard - my grandmother's line). She was also a talented seemstress who crafted all the linens, table cloths and drapes in the Church. Take a look at the picture of my dad's and uncle's first communion. Hattie tailored their suits from an old army overcoat that belonged to Nil Gignac. Nil was married to Jeanette Drouillard, my grandmother's sister.
I began my search for William and Hattie in the St. Joseph's Parish Cemetery. I found their Headstones side by side; Drouillard, Willie J., 1877 to 1952 and Drouillard, Hattie, 1892 to 1953.
At this point I really had no idea what types of resources were available for researching one's family history. From the cemetery I went to the Local History Department at the Windsor Public Library...the first of many trips.
Where I started my search was basically directed by the Canadian Privacy Act.
All birth, marriage and death records after 1910 are not public information.
I had to start with either their marriage or their births. It made more sense
to start with their births since I at least knew the years.
In 1877 there was only 1 Drouillard male born, Joseph Louis, 21 May 1877. This was a late registration so the full record showing his parents wasn't available on any of the films. I made note of the information anyway and looked up Hattie. I found BRUNET, M. H., born 21 May 1892. This was probably her, however, this was also a late registration so it too was not available. Did you notice their birthdays were the same?
Next I went to the Church of Latterday Saints in Forest Glade. Since Willie and Hattie were both buried in St. Joseph Cemetery, I looked through the St. Joseph Parish Records for their baptisms.
I didn't find a William Drouillard baptized in 1877 but I did find Joseph Louis Drouillard, born 21 May 1877, baptized 22 May, 1877... The same Joseph Louis as in the Government Records. His Parents were listed as Joseph Drouillard and Emelie Lapointe. Still no link to Willie J. though.
The only Brunet I found baptized in 1892 was Artemise Brunet, born 21 May 1892, baptized 22 May 1892. Her parents were listed as Joseph Brunet and Rose Chappus. No real link to Hattie.
A marriage record usually states the parents of the bride and groom so that's what I concentrated on next. Estimating the approximate marriage age of Willie and Hattie to be somewhere around 1892 for Willie and 1907 for Hattie, I began reading through the parish records starting with the year 1907. I found on 30 May 1910 a William Drouillard married an Artemise Brunet. No parents were listed. The witnesses were noted and may have been a clue but no relationship was noted...Joseph Drouillard and Joseph Brunet. So it was back to the library to check out the Government Registration of this marriage.
30 May, 1910, William Drouillard, age 33, son of Joseph Drouillard and Emelie Lapointe...Same parents as those noted in the baptism of Joseph Louis. Could William and Joseph Louis be the same person?
Artemise Brunet, age 18, daughter of Joseph Brunet and Rose Chaput.
Note their age difference. 33 - 18 = 15 years. The age difference from their headstones was 1892 - 1877 = 15...Could Artemise and Hattie be the same person?
By this time I had learned about the Online 1881 census, found on the Church
of Latterday Saints website, and the other census' found on microfilm at
the Windsor Library. Here, in short form, are the entries I found for the names
mentioned so far.
1881, Joseph, Emelie, Laurie, William (Age 4)
1891, Joseph, Emilie, Laura, William (Age 13), Arnest
1901, Joseph, Emily, Willie (Age 23), Ernest
It appeared that Joseph and Emily didn't have a son named Joseph Louis, but William in the census records was the correct age.
The Church of Latterday Saints in Chatham had a complete collection of Government records that included "Late Registrations". I had to see the birth records for Joseph Louis Drouillard and Artemise Brunet to either prove or disprove they were Willie J. Drouillard and Hattie Brunet.
Birth Registration #205948, Joseph Louis Drouillard, listed his parents to be Joseph Drouillard and Emilie Lapoint. Birth Registration #501238, Marie Hattie Brunet, listed her parents to be Joseph Brunet and Rose Chappus. Hattie didn't register her birth until 1949.
One more bit of information I wanted was their actual death dates. Without any idea of these dates, I started reading obituaries from the Windsor Star microfilms starting 01 Jan 1952 for Willie and 01 Jan 1953 for Hattie. I eventually found obituaries for both.
William J. Drouillard died at the age of 75 on 05 May 1952.
Hattie Brunet died at age 61 on 09 October 1953.
Both listed their children to be Walter (my grandfather) and Harry.