August 22, 2014

Sweet Genealogy Surprises

For the last month or two I have been working on research for the Bordeaux family that came to Washington state around 1871 from Canada. In the process, I have put together a picture, at least in my mind, of the family and their history. It is limited to what documentation I have found, but when I was researching Thomas Bordeaux I found that in 1921 he had applied for a passport. What a goldmine of information was found in that one document! (Clicking on the image will show it full-sized.)


First of all, this document shows that Thomas Bordeaux had become a naturalized citizen of the United States prior to 1921. In the section above, also gives the name of Thomas’ wife as Sarah Ester, even though in other records I have she is called Essie. Getting her full name, date of birth and that location are definite pluses. It also shows that in 1921 Thomas and his wife were living in Seattle, King County, Washington and in Shelton as they had been for many years.

Why would they live in two places? Because Thomas was the President of where Shelton is located, but he was also a very wealthy (in his time) lumberman and no doubt he had to entertain according to his station in life. Doing so in Seattle would have been easier than in Shelton, a much smaller town.

This next section might be a little hard to read, but it gives a very important clue as to where exactly he was born which was St. Isidore, Quebec, Canada. While it is not proof of it, it also gives the family researcher a good bet that Thomas’ siblings, Joseph, Virginia and Gilbert were probably born there, or near there too. The next gem of information is Thomas’ father’s first name: Theophile. Having that makes it that much easier to find the family in Canada. We know from this document that Theophile died before 1921.

Next, we see that Thomas states he sailed from Montreal to the United States in 1870. It is unknown if it was a short sailing and most of the trip thereafter might have been overland, but it pinpoints the year, and having the knowledge of that date, it qualifies Thomas as a Washington State Pioneer.

The next tidbit of information Thomas’ passport application gives us is that he was naturalized as a United States citizen in Olympia, Thurston, WA Superior Court on 19 July 1892.

The bottom section of this document states that his permanent address is in Seattle, that he in fact was a Lumberman, and that they would be sailing on the ship Imperator on April 25, 1921. (I sure hope he got his passport in time! ;) ) It looks like they had a very extensive cruise planned that must have cost a good amount of money, even in 1921.  Is this what they would have considered a “Grand Tour” in the day?

To me, the icing on the cake was finding one last and unexpected item on the document. It shows up on the facing page and here it is…. A lovely little photo of Sarah Ester Webb Bordeaux, Thomas’ second wife. While the Bordeaux family might have other photos with her in them, generations down the line might not know who she was if the photos don’t get labeled.

Sarah Ester Webb Bordeaux 1921

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Thanks! Also, please visit my other blog Pentimento for a little lighthearted doodle week art.

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