Last week's blog challenge was about our most interesting ancestor. I know I'm late.
I considered posting about my great-grandmother, Annie McIsaac, who was a third-generation Scot born in the village of L'Ardoise, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. But I felt I didn't know enough about Annie, other than that she was reputed to have a large library, and that her daughter, my grandmother Sophie, used to translate her former Cape Breton neighbors' Sears orders from Gaelic and French into English.
That was interesting enough to me, because it meant Annie was smart. And so was my grandmother.
On the weekend, sparked by the challenge, I did some genealogical research on my Dad's family. I found someone more interesting than my great-grandmother, and that was her husband, Luc Patient Briand.
Turns out Patient (pronounced Passion, ironically enough), was kind of a randy dandy. Annie married him when she was eighteen, in 1886, and it seems she was already pregnant with my grandmother. In fact, they didn't get married until Sophie was born. In a tiny French-Scottish Catholic village like L'Ardoise, this would have been a disgrace. Then sometime around 1894 Annie disappeared, as did all the rest of the McIsaacs in L'Ardoise. I found an obituary which listed Roderick, her father's, death at age 90 in Sydney, Cape Breton, so I figured that's where the family went.
Annie had a baby in 1894 who died at six days old, and I don't know if she died in childbirth, or whether she merely left Patient. When she left, however she left, she abandoned her three other children, Marguerite Ann, Clarence, and my grandmother to their father.
I don't think he was a nice man.
Within a year of his child's birth and his wife's disappearance, he had a new woman, Minnie, who gave birth to their daughter, Sadie. Sadie registered her own birth many years later when she was a married woman, and she listed her parents as "married," but I don't think so. I saw the legal registration of Patient's and Annie's marriage, but there was nothing between that and the registration of his next legal marriage. In view of the timing of Sadie's birth, it would appear he and Minnie had been good friends while he was still married to Annie. The boy got around.
In 1901 Patient moved to Halifax and renamed himself Patrick. More English, and more acceptable in Halifax, where prejudice against the French was strong.
When Patient moved, he left my grandmother Sophie, aged fifteen, to come to Halifax on her own, with her brother, sister and half-sister. When she arrived in the city there was no one to meet her, and at first she had no way to find her father. Other relatives helped her.
Yup, he was a prize winner, all right.