Karen Harrison first contacted me in August of 2015. Karen had a mystery she was trying to solve, and since her husband and my wife had a DNA match, she thought I might be of some help. In short, I was of no help. But let me back up a little and give you some detail on what Karen was searching for. It might just be you will have the key or that helpful suggestion she needs to open the door that is between her and the information she is after. Karen’s husband, Paul, and my wife Sandy share a common ancestor Francis (Francois) and Marie J Bergevin Monty. Marie, my wife’s 4th great grandmother, was to give birth to 16 children, most of whom lived well into adulthood between 1763 and 1782. To say there are many Monty descendants today would be an understatement. My wife’s line is through Francis and Marie’s son Joseph born in 1768, and Karen’s husband Paul is through the family line of John born 1774. It seems John’s son Lewis married Harriet (Sears?, Leware?, Lewave?, Wood?) whose last name is a mystery. We are reasonably certain that Harriet came from the Canadian province of Quebec when she married Lewis in 1838 in Clinton County, New York. The 1900 U.S. Census states her father was born in Germany and her mother in Canada, and that she came to the U.S. in 1830. I will not go into the list of records checked and research done by Karen, but it was exhaustive. I, however, had no new information I could give her. Below is the obituary for Lewis Monty Harriet’s husband, which shows her maiden name as Lewave.
After we exchanged emails in 2015, I did not hear from her until earlier this year. She had acquired a photograph album, which she believes to be possibly of the Lewis Monty family line. It has 33 photographs, of which only one was identified. Let me break from this story here to remind everyone to get their pictures identified and save future generations the task of trying to figure out who is who. She was trying to put names to these pictures, which are shown at the beginning of this blog post. She wondered if I could identify any of the people. I could not be of help but sent an email with an attachment of the photographs to my wife’s cousin Carl Gonya who has an extensive collection of Monty photographs. Unfortunately, neither of us could be of any help. Below you will again find these photographs broken up so you can have a closer look.
The one photograph that was identified is Lillis Monty, born 1854 in Clinton County, New York, to Lewis and Harriet Monty. She was to marry Samuel Parker Hayward in Massachusetts and eventually make their way to Bellingham, Washington, where Lillis died in 1936. I realize some of you know the frustration of having an album with just one or two photographs identified and the rest just one big question mark. I hope this blog post helps Karen if even a little in that regard.
One quick note on the marriage record below for Lillis and Samuel shows Lillis’s mother Harriet’s maiden name as Sears. Lewis and Harriet had 12 children. That would give anyone enough aunts, uncles, and cousins to research. Perhaps one or more of them will have those very same pictures or the proof of what was Harriet’s real maiden name.
As I was getting this ready to write up for my blog, I found in the records a Mrs. Freeman Bury. Mrs. Bury turns out to be the youngest child of Lewis and Harriet and, of course, Lillis’s sister. She was born Marie E Monty in 1866, Plattsburgh, New York. I did find her marriage record in Michigan, but the mothers’ maiden names were not asked for. As you can see from her obituary below that at the time of her death in 1946, she had one daughter, three grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. Perhaps one of those families has some of the answers.
Finally, below is part of a letter from Karen outlining her research and some of her problems.
The Missing Parents of Harriet LeWave Monty
Harriet LeWave was born in Lacolle, Quebec, on October 27, 1819, per online trees.
On various census records, when she gives her age and place of birth, it does align with this information, but I have not been able to find a baptism record in the Quebec records. I have her immigration date as 1830 at age 11, as she stated this in the 1910 census. The next important date is her marriage of December 26, 1838, to Lewis Monty, who was the son of Jean/John Monty, the son of Lt Francois Monty.
There is no documentation of the marriage in Clinton County records. I personally went to NARA and pulled her Civil War pension file, and Harriet attests to the fact she was married on that date and was never given a certificate of marriage. She also says her maiden name is Harriet LeWave!
Lewis and Harriet migrated to Berrien County, Michigan, after the Civil War (Lewis served in the 118th N.Y. Infantry).
Lewis died there in 1910, and Harriet passed December 27, 1914. Her death certificate also gives her maiden name as Seels, but I think the son in law informant meant Sears. He gave the wrong place of birth (N.Y.) also, so typical wrong information on a death certificate by an informant who is guessing.
1. The surname of LeWave: There is absolutely no such name in any
Quebec French record of a name like LeWave. In the 1800’s many people were illiterate and did not know how to spell. Based on the pronunciation of LeWave in French, searches were made under Lavoie (used first name possibilities also like Marie Henriette).
Then I looked under Sears/Cyrs because that name appeared in the marriage and death records of some of her children, the DAR records, and a county history. I also looked under dit names like Cyrs dit Lavoie or the reverse like Lavoie dit Cyrs/Sears. Harriet reports on census records her parents were both born in Canada also.
2. Census records: there should be a census records for 1830 prior to her marriage in our U.S. records, and I can’t find one. They may have migrated after the census was taken that year, so maybe that is easily explained. However, I would think there would be a census record with other siblings still at home for the 1840 census. Maybe she had no siblings, or she was the youngest child? I can’t find any parent candidates in Chazy area where the Monty family lived, and I have looked a bit further into Vermont and Maine even as I don’t know where she was living between 1830 and 1838. Many boys from Chazy and adjacent areas married gals from the neighboring states.
3. DNA: since she is the great-great-grandmother, she would only share 6.25 %, so that is getting more difficult to find matches to determine her parents probably. It is not impossible, but no definitive matches so far have contributed any good clues.
4. Legal documents like land deeds and wills have proven to be very difficult to obtain without knowing the actual names of her parents or location.
5. Burial and obituary: the obituary did not give any clues on her parents and no mention of any siblings.
She is buried in Berrien County, Mi with Lewis and no other older relatives in that cemetery plot/area are likely candidates.
There was never any indication anyone else migrated with them except Lewis’ brother Hiram Monty.
If anyone has suggestions, please comment below. I am sure Karen will be reading and hoping for a breakthrough.