Saturday, January 25, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #4, Célina (Cloutier) Rabideau

For ancestor #4, I'm going to depart from the pattern of previous profiles, and focus on an ancestor about whom I know very little: Célina Cloutier, my second great-grandmother, wife of Louis Rabideau. Célina represents one of my biggest brick walls – the only one of my eight maternal g-g-grandparents whose origin and parents I have not yet been able to identify. Almost everything about Célina is a mystery: her parents, her place and date of birth, where she is buried, and even her exact name.

The first inkling we have of Célina is in the 25 Sep 1869 record of marriage intentions1 in Milan, New Hampshire between "Lewis Robadeau," age 19, and "Cyntha Criaque," age 17 (implying birth ca. 1851-52), both residents of Milan and both born in "Lancristof."2 His parents are given (Lewis and Mary Robadeau), but hers are not. And while it may seem a leap to connect "Cyntha Criaque" with "Célina Cloutier", bear with me as I trace the connections.

Marriage intentions for "Lewis Robadeau" and "Cyntha Criaque", 25 Sep 1869
Not quite seven months later, their first child was born. A baptismal record from Saint-Michel-de-Sherbrooke Parish (Sherbrooke, Quebec) gives the baby's date of birth.3 Roughly translated, it says "The 11th of July 1870, we baptized Louis, born the 15th of April last of the legitimate marriage of Louis Robida, laborer, and Célina Cloutier. Godfather Louis Robida, godmother Marie St. Cyr..." The baby's godparents are Louis's parents, named in his marriage intentions. Baby Louis was not born in Sherbrooke, however; census and other records (including the 1870 U.S. census two months after his birth) all give his birthplace as New Hampshire. No doubt this explains the three-month delay between his birth and baptism: his parents waited until they could travel back home so the grandparents could witness the baptism of their new grandson.

Baptismal record for Louis Robida

Célina appears in just two U.S. censuses. In 1870, "Silena" Rabideau, age 21 (implying birth ca. 1848-49), is living in Milan with husband Lewis, age 20, and Lewis Jr., age 2 months, born in April in New Hampshire – matching the birth date from his baptismal record.4

Lewis Rabideau household, 1870 U.S. Census, Milan, Coos, New Hampshire
By 1880, "Loi" (age 31) and "Salina" Rabida have three more children, all daughters, and are living in Berlin.5 Despite a major discrepancy in "Salina's" age (she's again listed as 21, probably a slip of the pen for 31), and the odd spelling of several names, it seems fairly certain that this is the right family; "Loi" père et fils are both about the right ages, both parents were born in Canada, and all the children were born in New Hampshire
"Loi" Rabida household, 1880 U.S. Census, Berlin, Coos, New Hampshire
As far as I know, Célina died 24 Jan 1881 in Berlin, "a. 25 [sic]."6 Louis remarried (to Marie-Beatrice Croteau) almost immediately; the 1900 census indicates they had been married 19 years, and their first son, Thomas, was born in Feb 1882, followed by Francis and Melvin at three-year intervals.7

Lewis Rabideau household, 1900 U.S. Census, Milan, Coos, New Hampshire
So far I have located only one marriage record among Célina's children which names both parents, that of Adeline ("Allene" in the 1880 census), which gives her parents as Louis Rabida of Milan Corner, N.H., and "Marie Clouthier", deceased.8 (This is the only record where her name is given as Marie, but it was extremely common for Catholic girls in Quebec to be given Marie as a first forename; most likely she was baptized Marie Célina.)
Thomas Castonguay - Adeline Rabida marriage, Brunswick, Maine, 1899
Her brother Louis's marriage record, unfortunately, does not give his mother's name, and I have found no further records of Xalia or Marie. By the time he married, young Louis had become Peter L(ouis) Rabideau, probably to distinguish himself from his father.9

Peter L. Rabideau - Evie M. Taylor marriage, Berlin, New Hampshire, 1894

Finally, we come to my great-grandfather's obituary.10 Peter L. Rabideau was "born April 15, 1870 at West Milan, N.H., the son of Lewis and Cynthia Cloutier Rabideau." Here we have confirmation that Peter L. really is Louis/Lewis Jr. – his date of birth and his mother's surname – and the only other appearance of his mother's name as Cynthia, making it credible that the "Cyntha Criaque" of the marriage intentions is actually Célina Cloutier. The surviving sister and half-brothers mentioned also link him to Louis Rabideau and both his wives.

In summary, we know that:
  • Her name was probably Marie Célina Cloutier, sometimes called Cynthia.
  • She was born in Quebec ca. 1848-1852, possibly in Saint-Christophe d'Arthabaska.
  • She married Louis Rabideau after 25 Sep 1869, probably in Milan, N.H.
  • She had four children, Louis/Lewis Jr. (aka Peter L.), Xalia, Marie, and Adeline/Allene.
  • She died probably 24 Jan 1881 in Berlin, N.H.
Do any of my readers have any other information about Célina/Cynthia Cloutier, her parents, or her daughters Xalia and Marie? If so, please leave a comment, or contact me by email. I'd love to be able to fill in those blanks on my tree!

(Note: This post is in response to Amy Johnson Crow's "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" challenge at No Story Too Small.)

  1. Milan, Coos County, New Hampshire, Births, marriages, deaths 1854-1881, p. 45, "Lewis Robadeau" and "Cyntha Criaque", 1869; digital images, "New Hampshire, Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records, 1636-1947," FamilySearch ( : accessed 18 Jan 2014).
  2. This appears to be a corruption of "Saint-Christophe" with an "L" substituted for the "S"; in the script of time, the two capital letters are easily confused, though in this case the letter definitely appears to be an "L". The town clerk may have copied the information into the permanent register from a loose page written by someone else. Saint-Christophe-d'Arthabaska is a parish municipality in Arthabaska County, Quebec, close to the location where Louis Robida (Célina's husband) and his parents were enumerated in the 1861 Canada East census.
  3. Saint-Michel-de-Sherbrooke Parish (Sherbrooke, Quebec), Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1869-1874, pp. 140-141, baptism 146, Louis Robida, 1870; digital images, “Quebec, Catholic Parish Registers, 1621-1900,” FamilySearch, ( : accessed 18 May 2012).
  4. 1870 U.S. Census, Coos County, New Hampshire, Milan, p. 17 (penned) 135 (stamped), dwelling 137, family 130, Lewis Rabideau household; digital image, ( : accessed 18 Jan 2014).
  5. 1880 U.S. Census, Coos County, New Hampshire, Berlin, ED 29, p. 2-B, dwelling 11, family 16, Loi Rabida household; digital image, ( : accessed 18 Jan 2014). 
  6. Marshall Kenneth Kirk, comp., Ancestry of Kathleen Murphy Kirk, ca 1990, Kirk-Murphy Family Charts, privately held by the author, Virginia Beach, Virginia. This chart, inherited from the suthor's brother, gives the date and place of death (and quotes the age, which is almost certainly incorrect) and states that the death was "recorded at Holy Family [Church], Gorham [N.H.]." So far I have not found among his papers an actual document or copy from which the information was obtained.
  7. 1900 U.S. Census, Coos County, New Hampshire, Milan, ED 268, sheet 5-A, dwelling 96, family 97, L??is Rabideau household; digital image, ( : accessed 18 Jan 2014).
  8. “Maine, Marriage Records, 1705-1922,” database and digital images, ( : accessed 30 Jun 2012), Thomas Castonguay Jr. and Adeline Rabida, Brunswick, Maine, 1899.
  9. “New Hampshire, Marriage Records, 1637-1947,” index and digital images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 1 Apr 2012), Peter L. Rabideau and Evie M. Taylor, Berlin, New Hampshire, 1894.
  10. "Peter L. Rabideau" obituary, Lewiston (Maine) Daily Sun, 17 Dec 1946, p. 2; digital images, Google News Archive ( : accessed 28 May 2013).

1 comment:

King of Rochester said...

I remember Marshall telling me he was following a lead that the name may have been Kerouac (like the novelist). I by the way, have a documented Cloutier line.