Everything I know about Clemence Gelinas Bessette (which isn't a great deal).
The only place I've seen her name on record is on the marriage of Joseph Antoine Bessette, 38, of Port Huron, MI to Celina Mireau of Stanley twp, Huron County, ON in 1870, where he is identified as the widower of the late Clemence Gelinas.
My gggrandfather, Claude Gelinas Lacourse, had a daughter Clementine, born March 29, 1832 at Ste-Elisabeth, QC, with his first wife, Amable Mousseau. It is possible that she was known as "Clemence" and migrated to Ontario with her father and his second family in 1848, when she'd have been 16 years old (two years younger than Joseph Antoine Bessette senior). She could be Joseph Antoine junior's mother, if he was born between 1861 and 1864, but it seems unlikely that she wouldn't have married before the age of 29 (if Bessette's first marriage was in 1861).
Claude and his second wife, Flavie Bonin, had eleven children and for several years I could only identify four of them. A second cousin, who grew up in a household that included two elderly spinster granddaughters of Claude and Flavie, recited all eleven of them, apparently from memory, including a "Clemence", unidentified further even as to gender. Claude and Flavie married in October 1838; the first child I'm certain of was born in March 1841 ... they could conceivably have had a child in 1840. (But how firm is this birthdate for Clemence? The daughter born in March 1841, baptized Caroline, could as easily have been Clemence. I was surprised to discover, from her death certificate, that Flavie was baptized "Clementine"! What was Joseph Antoine junior's DOB?)
I think it's highly probable that Clemence Gelinas was connected to Claude, the only Gelinas in Huron County ON ... the French in Huron County all came from the same area in Quebec and married and intermarried in those early generations. Many of them had strong ties to Huron County MI ... two of Claude and Flavie's children were born at Port Huron MI ... and quite a number of them, born in Ontario, migrated later to the States, initially to Michigan then further west.
Wouldn't it be lovely if a record of Bessette's first marriage turned up? I'd dearly love to know where Clemence Gelinas originated!
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