**Note: The details from this French-Canadian genealogy research project are shared with permission from our client.
Recently we were contacted by a client who requested we begin researching her direct paternal ancestor. This ancestor was named John Lucy, of Ontario, Canada, and was allegedly of Irish heritage. Our client explained that her father had recently died and that he would have loved to know the history of his name. She had been trying to trace the Lucy line herself and was not having success. Though she wished she had begun the research before he passed, she felt this was a way for her to honor her father’s life. She was also planning a trip to Ireland soon and hoped to visit her ancestral towns. She said “I would be so happy to just make the first connection back to the UK. That is what my father always wanted to know.”
A survey of Canadian censuses between 1871 and 1901 established that John Lucy was born in Cumberland, Ontario in the early 1840s, and was Wesleyan Methodist by way of religion. However, neither John Lucy nor any of his children appeared in the Wesleyan Methodist baptism records in the Cumberland area. At this point, research temporarily halted as we had reached the end of a project.
In the meantime, the client located a Wesleyan Methodist marriage index entry for a John Lussiers and Ann Hannah who married in Cumberland on 22 August 1864, and she requested that we recommence researching the Lucy family. In the marriage record, John was reportedly born in Cumberland and was the son of “E[xe]brus and Delia Lussiers.” The name “E[xe]brus” was obviously a poor transcription of an unknown name, as we knew these marriage registers were the result of several subsequent handwritten copies. An immediate concern with correlating John Lucy and John Lussiers was the apparent French spelling of his surname. We knew from previous research that John Lucy’s ethnicity was consistently identified as Irish after 1871. However, learning this new possible spelling and ethnicity led us to recognize John in the 1861 census:
14-year-old John Lucier lived in the R.P. Lindsay household. They lived in Cumberland – the same place John Lussiers listed in his marriage record. We were surprised to see that John Lucier was identified as Roman Catholic, unlikely for someone who would only three years later be married in a Wesleyan Methodist Church. Upon closer inspection, we developed a hypothesis which would explain the apparent conflict. John was listed as one of three non-family members in the household of a Church of Scotland minister. This young boy may have been taken in by Rev. Lindsay when his parents died or were otherwise unable to care for him. So, although John Lucier was a baptized Roman Catholic, he was living in a house where everyone else was a member of the Church of Scotland. He would have become familiar with – and was probably following – the Presbyterian tradition.
John may have had mixed ancestry, with his father having been French and his mother Irish. He may have then chosen to more closely identify with his Irish roots, particularly since his wife was Irish. To test this hypothesis, we turned to John Lucy’s children and found that they indeed frequently identified themselves as having French lineage. By analyzing the later records concerning two of John Lucy’s children, we gathered evidence that the family likely had both French and Irish heritage. This supported our hypothesis that John Lucy was also known as John Lussiers and that he married Ann Hannah in 1864.
A search for John Lucy/Lussiers in the 1851 census did not yield any positive results, most likely because the surviving 1851 census is not complete, so we returned to the 1861 census for more clues. Interestingly, there were two Lucier families in 1861 in Cumberland. The families of Frances Lucier and Baptist Lucier appear next to each other in the census. Of note, Frances Lucier’s wife was named Adelaide and they had a daughter, Delia. The similarity of Adelaide to John’s mother’s name – Delia – was compelling. Moving to French Catholic parish records, we discovered the baptismal record for a John Lucier, son of Francis Lucier and Adelaide Dirmont/Diamond, born in Cumberland on 30 August 1844 and baptized on 12 November 1844 at the parish St. Gregoire-de-Nazianze in Buckingham, which is just across the river from Cumberland.
The Catholic Church records of Quebec and some areas of Ontario are a fantastic collection. The French-Canadian church records served as civil registration records until the beginning of the twentieth century. Copies of all the church records were thus sent annually to the appropriate courthouse. In the 1940s, L’Institut Généalogique Drouin (The Drouin Genealogical Institute) microfilmed these records at courthouses across Quebec and in other areas with high French-Canadian populations, and can prove a valuable resource in French-Canadian genealogy.
In addition to this Drouin collection, an extensive, seven-volume genealogical reference was developed by Father Cyprien Tanguay in the late nineteenth century. The Genealogical Dictionary of Canadian Families from the Foundation of the Colony to the Present Day, also known as the Tanguay Collection, is considered one of the most comprehensive resources for French-Canadian genealogy.
Using these excellent resources we were quickly able to track John Lucy’s paternal line back 200 years to the immigrant ancestor, Jacques Lussier, son of Jacques and Marguerite (Darmine) Lussyé of St. Eustache, Paris, France, who married Catherine Clerice (also born in Paris) on 12 October 1671 at Notre Dame du Quebec, Quebec City, Quebec.
Our client was thrilled. Of her father, she said “I know he would be ecstatic.” She continued, “I am so impressed with the level of work that you have done. That cannot have been easy at all but it looks like we made a breakthrough this time. That is so exciting.”
There is nothing more satisfying than breaking through genealogical brick walls and helping our clients realize their heritage, perhaps especially when it is different than the family always believed. Our client may not be able to visit the Lucy ancestral village in Ireland this summer, but they may now be considering adding a stop in Paris!
If you have a brick wall ancestor that has you stumped, our professionals can help. With genealogists specializing in all different types of research and onsite agents worldwide, we can help you track down those elusive records that might provide the clue(s) needed to extend your family line. Contact us today to discuss which of our projects would work best for you.
 1861 Canada Census (population schedule), Cumberland, Russell, Ontario, ED 1, p. 12, [R.P.] Lindsay household, http://myheritage.com, subscription database, accessed January 2017.
 1861 Canada Census (population schedule), Cumberland, Russell, Ontario, ED 1, p. 7, Francis Lucier household, http://myheritage.com, subscription database, accessed January 2017.
 Quebec, Canada, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1968 (index and image), baptism of John Lucier, 10 November 1844, Buckingham and Grenville, Québec, http://ancestry.com, subscription database, accessed January 2017.
I have a PEI ancestor who is causing a lot of headaches. A couple of years ago I paid a Canadian researcher $70. She copied my tree at ancestry and sent it to me as her “research”. I know it was my tree because there are very few of us working on this branch and her report followed my time line at ancestry word for word. And no, she didn’t progress any farther than I did.
About how much did this research cost? Over $1,000? Under $500? We would have to go in together on hiring someone. After my last experience I hesitate to involve others pouring money down the drain.
Amber Brown says
I understand your hesitation, given your poor experience with a “professional” genealogist in the past. I encourage you to read some of our reviews from past clients, which may be found on the BBB website here: https://www.bbb.org/utah/business-reviews/genealogists/legacy-tree-genealogists-in-salt-lake-cty-ut-22008456/reviews-and-complaints
Our pricing may be viewed at legacytree.com/services. We do offer a FamilyFunding option that allows multiple family members to contribute to the cost of research. To request a free quote, please complete the form at legacytree.com. Thank you!
How much does it cost I’m looking to see if I have someone in my family with an Indian card
Amber Brown says
Hi Cindy- we would love to help you research possible Native American ancestry!
Our pricing may be viewed at legacytree.com/services
What is an Indian card?
Amber Brown says
Hi Toni. A Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood or Certificate of Degree of Alaska Native Blood (both abbreviated CDIB) is an official U.S. document that certifies an individual possesses a specific degree of Native American blood of a federally recognized Indian tribe, band, nation, pueblo, village, or community.
Carol A. Preece says
Here is a free tip for you. The name “Delia” is used in Ireland as a nickname for “Bridget”See Marie Daly’s book on Irish-American genealogy from the New England Historic & Genealogical Society.
Carolyn - Legacy Tree Genealogists Project Manager says
L. Adams says
Sounds like a similar situation to mine. A Mary Monk ended up in Quebec where she married a John O’Fay. Except that his surname is spelled Iffay on the marriage record. One of their sons ran for office in Leadville, CO and his opponent claimed he was a “froggy” and not Irish as James O’Fay claimed. Both James & his brother Hugh were born in Quebec according to the census, but I don’t know where. And unfortunately there is not enough money to hire a researcher. The big mystery though is what happened to Hugh’s family that my grandmother was placed with her grandmother, Mary Monk O’Fay and her schooling paid for by her uncle, James.
Amber - Legacy Tree Genealogists says
Solving “family history mysteries” are our specialty! If you’d like to hire our team to help you break down this brick wall, you can get started by requesting a free quote here: https://legacytree.com/contact-us.