Friday, August 24, 2012
THE FRENCH CANADIAN CONNECTION: ONCE UPON A TIME…. THESE POMEROYS WERE PONTBRIANTS
By Barb Dix & Lee Connolly
For over a year the families of Jeremiah Pomeroy and Lewis Pomeroy of Onondaga and Oswego counties in New York have languished in our unlinked database, so far unconnected to the Eltweed line. There they accumulated many descendants, but no identified parents.
What we knew was, according to the 1850 federal census, a Jeremiah Pomeroy, age 32, and wife Harriet and children lived in Syracuse in July. Luckily for data collector lovers they moved to Lysander in the same county in a timely fashion to be caught in a second census taker’s net that November. [i]
Another Pomeroy family unit, headed by Lewis Pomeroy, age 48, listed as a salt packer, and wife Louisa and their children were also in the July census taker’s records for Syracuse. They too were also recorded in the November census. [ii] A recently married young Lewis, age 20 and wife Virginia lived near to this household that same month. [iii]
We could follow these families forward, but not backwards into the ever expanding American Eltweed line. That is why we keep a database of “unconnected” or “unlinked” Pomeroy individuals and households; hoping some day to see if these far-flung migrations continue to run parallel or converge somewhere.
In the 1860 federal census both Lewis Pomeroy families were located in Oswego County, in the town of Granby, later Fulton, where their descendants increased and multiplied. [iv] Jeremiah Pomeroy, variously recorded as Daniel or James, did a ten year stint in neighboring Oneida and Madison counties as boatman and butcher before returning to the land, this time in Cicero, along the south shore of Oneida Lake. [v]
And so it went.
THE ESTATE PAPER CLUE
This past April, staff member Barb Dix, town historian in Schroeppel, and the village of Phoenix in Oswego county, and I, began doing research on the Granby Pomeroys. We went to the Surrogate office and our spirits were buoyed by a stack of estate papers for Louis Pomeroy (the younger), who died in 1908. There we noticed a surprising series of additions. Each time his name was cited, written in ink was the addition of “also known as Louis Pontbriant.”
We looked through various NYS census records, and found the 1875 record which, unlike other years, recorded the older Louis Pomeroy household in Granby under the name Pontbriant.
While we have Canadian Pomeroys linked to the Eltweed line who had migrated through New York in the early 1800s, we had not come across a line of Pomeroys that were French Canadian, until now.
In July, Barbara received a phone call from the Oswego County historian Justin White, who told her Mary and Susan Pomeroy from Ottawa had stopped in his office while doing their family history research. They left a phone number. Barb was soon in communication with Mark Pomeroy in Ottawa who researching his Pomeroy family line and who had reached a roadblock here and there. He was surprised at what we had discovered, and quickly set about seeking his French Canadian connection with the Pontbriants in New York.
THE DROUIN RECORDS
It is my good fortunate to be skilled in using the French dictionnaire while examining the Drouin Quebec Vital Records posted on Ancestry.com databases.
This data gave me entrance to baptismal and marriage records. I finally had enough information to deduce that Lewis/Louis Pomeroy and wife Louise in the 1850 census records for Syracuse and Lysander, were likely Louis Pontbriant/Pontbriand and Marie Louise Preville, second wife, married in St. Barthelemy, Quebec in 1843. [vi]
Thus, in the census records that followed, with the exception of the 1875 NYS census, and the probate file we found in Oswego, all the male descendants took on a new name and were recorded from thence on as Pomeroys. Since it was the common cultural practice of dropping one’s “maiden” name at marriage, the female “Pomeroy”/Pontbriant descendants therefore had this second obscuring layer to their birth/baptismal identity.
None of these descendants, from what we currently know of this lineage, will tap directly into the Eltweed Pomeroy line, unless they marry a partner of that descendancy, though they certainly gain a rich French Canadian heritage.
Such intermarriages have taken place. In fact while researching this family, we came across a marriage of John Pomeroy to a Harriet Pomeroy. No Eltweed connection was established however, as John was the son of our elder Louis Pomeroy/Pontbriant, his mother being of the first wife Louise dit Pelland, and his bride was Harriet, daughter of his uncle Jeremiah (believed to be Germain) Pomeroy/Pontbriant. [vii] So a Pomeroy to Pomeroy marriage, or if the birth identities had been retained, Pontbriant to Pontbriant.
So far we have located the burial site of Louis Pomeroy, also known as Louis Pontbriant, and his wife Virginia, and some descendants, in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Fulton, New York, though we have not as yet found the parents, Louis and Louisa, who likely were buried in this vicinity. [viii]
Their descendants have migrated from Syracuse to Granby and Fulton, across county and state lines for generations. Some know of their French-Canadian heritage, but many do not.
We have a similar puzzle of another Pontbriant who may have changed his name to Pomeroy between 1850 and 1860. An interesting coincidence. He was Peter, an 11 year old child in Clinton County, New York in 1850 son of a Pontbriant father. In 1860 we find a 21 year old Peter Pomeroy living in Illinois, as an individual. The family descendants have a story that their “Peter” stowed away on a boat as a young child and came to Illinois. We are on the trail now, and descendants are calling us now to learn more, and contribute the fruits of their own searches. We will keep looking for clues.
NBC’s TV program “Who Do You Think You Are?’ asked a pertinent question. Genealogists ask it all the time in their investigations. Here, we found individuals of the diverse strands of Quebec Pontbriands who seem to have taken, or been given, the name of Pomeroy. They migrated from Onondaga and Oswego County (likely Clinton County, also) and settled in Frankfort, Herkimer County, NY, Saginaw Michigan, Youngstown, Ohio, Illinois, Kansas, and far beyond. Perhaps you are one of them.
[If you would like to share information about these families please contact Alethea Connolly at firstname.lastname@example.org ]
[i] Jeremiah Pomeroy. 1850 U. S. Census. Syracuse, Ward 1, Onondaga County, New
York, P 27. Dwelling 394, Family 394; 1850 U. S. Census, Lysander, Onondaga County, New York, P 509B, Dwelling 742, Family 743.
[ii] Lewis Pomeroy. 1850 U. S. Census, Syracuse, Onondaga County, New York, P 34,
Dwelling 503, Family 503. Also 1850 U. S. Census, Lysander, Onondaga County, New York, P 509, Dwelling 738, Family 739.
[iii] Lewis Pomeroy and Virginia. 1850 U. S. Census. Syracuse, Ward 1, Onondaga County, New York, P 34. Dwelling 394, Family 497; Also 1850 U. S. Census. Lysander, Onondaga County, New York, P 509. Dwelling 739, Family 740.
[iv] Louis Pomroy, 1860 U. S. Census, Granby, Oswego County, New York, P 14, Dwelling 95, Family 103; Also Lewis Pomroy. 1870 U. S. Census, Oswego County, P 492, Dwelling 456, Family 489.
[v] Jeremiah/Daniel Pomeroy. 1860 U. S. Census. Verona, Oneida County, New York, P 813, Dwelling 778, Family 764. Also Ancestry.com U. S. IRS Tax Assessment Lists, 1882-1918 [database on-line] See: 1864, 1866, 1867. Provo, UT, USA. Ancestry.com Operations Inc. 2008; Also U. S. Census. Cicero, Onondaga County, New York, P 68. Dwelling 641, Family 633.
[vi] Ancestry.com- Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967, Records for Louis Lonbreanl Dil Sausrezel (Louis Pontbriand/Pontbriant dit Sans regret) 1828, Berthierville, image 10 [This document records the marriage of Louis Pontbriand to Marie Louise Martin dit Pelland; they are the parents of Louis who in the 1850 U. S. census record in Syracuse and Lysander is married to Virginia. Variations on the spelling of Pontbriant/Pontbriand surname, sometimes Pontbrilliant, are noted through various records in the Drouin collection, and legibility issues are challenging] See also in this collection the birth of Louis baptized in Berthierville, Quebec on November 8, 1830 whose parents were Louis Pombrilland and Louise Pellan. See also in this collection, the second marriage of Louis Pontbrillant, his wife Louise Pellan/Pelland of Sorel having died, to Louise Preville of the parish of St. Barthelemy, Berthier Co, Quebec. She is the Louisa in the 1850 census record in Syracuse and Lysander.
[vii] Our deduction that Jeremiah was baptized Germain is based upon a reading of the Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967, at Ancestry.com. When the record for Germain Pontbriand (in French) titled “Enterrement (Burial)” in the 1816 book of records for Bertheirville, Quebec is examined, the letter “S” precedes the entry. Generally this signals a burial, but the language of the entry is that of a baptism, citing the common form for stating a baptism, as the child baptized being born of the legitimate marriage of Jean Pontbriand and Marguerite Lambert, and citing the god father and god mother. These are the same parents of the elder Louis, cited in footnote [ii]. The Drouin record collection cites his baptismal date in 1807 (July 14) to these same parents in Yamaska Co.
[viii]. Section 3, page 30 of St. Mary’s Cemetery Index, Fulton, NY, transcribed from Cemetery Index at Oswego County Records center, Oswego, NY.