Friday, January 27, 2012

Movin' to the Big City...

Above is a photo of the family in taken on April 26, 1945. The reason why everyone is all dolled-up is that this was the 25th wedding anniversary of the parents (my grandparents) Leon Henri Auger and Diane Catherine Gagne.

Left to right back row:
Lucille Florence “Flo” Auger, Leon Marcel Auger, Alfred Dominic Auger and Gerald Henry Auger

Left to right front row:
Diane Catherine Gagne Auger, Leon Henri Auger, Oscar Edmund Auger, Louis Paul Auger

The family had moved to Lewiston from the Empire Road in East Poland, Maine in the late 1930’s and settled into a second floor apartment at 18 Maple St., which is where this photo was taken. The building is long gone, now replaced by a parking lot, but it used to sit on the corner of Maple and Lisbon St., across the street from where the Public Theatre (formerly the Ritz Theatre) currently is.

The location was convenient as Leon found work literally right around the corner at the Caron & Tardif Filling Station on Lisbon St.

Leon is on the far right, closest to Lisbon St with his arm around his son Gerald Auger (thanks Sister Sue for pointing that out!). I’m uncertain who the two other men are and when exactly the photo was taken. Caron & Tardif no longer exists and on the site now sits Kaplan University. As an aside a few years ago my office was in a building immediately in back of the “Esso” sign – so without knowing it until recently, I was in my grandparent’s old neighborhood on a daily basis.

The family lived on Maple St. until 1950 when Flo bought a house on Manley St in Auburn and Leon & Diane along with youngest son Oscar moved in with her.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Auger Family of East Poland - Part Two

Before following the Augers to Lewiston, I wanted to post a few additional photos of the family on the Empire Road in East Poland, but before doing so wanted to give a little context to the family first.

Leon Henri Auger was born on June 17, 1890 in Poland, Maine, the son of Louis Theophile Auger and Marie Virginie Laflamme. Leon had five older siblings who lived to adulthood: Artheline, who was the oldest child and went by the nickname of “Lena” ; Louis Mathias; Theodora “Dora”; Alfred Dominque; and Oscar.

Leon grew up on a 140-acre homestead farm in agrarian East Poland as his father Louis was a well-known local farmer and milkman. The farm was located on what is currently known as the Torrey Road, historically known as the Bray Hill Road. The house burned a number of years ago, the property was subdivided and newer dwellings now exist on the property.

Below is a photo taken at the old homestead on Torrey Road in 1916.

Left to right back row:
Theodora “Dora” Auger Provancher; Alfred Provancher (baby ); Arthelene “Lena” Auger Martin; Leon Henri Auger

Left to right front row:
George Provancher (Dora’s husband); Oscar Auger; Alfred Dominique Auger; and Virgine Laflamme Auger. The photo was taken by Alfred Auger's wife Sarah Hill.

Sadly, Leon lost his father at the young age of sixteen when Louis succumbed to stomach cancer in 1906. As the youngest child Leon continued to live with his mother Virginie until in 1920 he married Marie Diane Catherine Gagne on April 26th at Saint Peter’s & Paul’s Church in Lewiston.

Diane, as she was commonly known as, was born on December 4, 1893 in Lewiston, the daughter of Jean Evangeliste Gagne and Marie Celanire Voyer. Diane’s father Jean (known as John) was a prominent Franco-American businessman and served as tax collector for the City of Lewiston. In 1919, Diane suffered a fate similar to her soon to be husband, in that she was a young woman of only 25 when her father passed away.

Leon and Diane had their first child Gerald Henry Auger in 1921. Lucille Florence, who commonly went by her middle name, was born next, followed by Leon Marcel, Louis Paul and Alfred Dominic. Their sixth child Oscar Edmund came eight years after Alfred in 1937. As in many families it is interesting to see similar family names repeated from generation to generation and the Augers were no exception.

In 1926 Leon & Diane bought their own home on Empire Road in East Poland, just down the road from where Leon grew up on his parent’s farm and started to raise their young family there. The property had ample land for an extensive garden for Leon while Diane kept house for a busy household of eight including herself and Leon. Unfortunately, the Great Depression began soon after buying their home and beginning in 1930 Leon and Diane began having difficulty paying taxes on the property, which continued for several years. Eventually the family moved to Lewiston in the late 1930’s. The family retained the house on Empire Road until 1942 when it was sold to Edith Trafford.

As promised, here are additional photos of the family on the Empire Road in East Poland taken in 1931.

Leon & Diane on the farm:

Flo and Louis (Dad):

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Auger Family of East Poland

This is one of my all-time favorite family photos. Taken on the Empire Road in East Poland, Maine in 1930’s, during the Great Depression this is of my Dad and four of his five siblings just before the family moved to Lewiston, Maine.

Left to Right: My Dad Louis Auger, Alfred “Fred” Auger, Florence Auger, Leon M. Auger and the baby of the family Oscar E. Auger. Taken by Alfred Provancher (cousin to the Augers and the family historian of their generation)

One of the things that brings me such joy every time I look at this is my Dad’s smile. The family was obviously suffering through the tough economic times, but you never would have known that to look at my Dad’s face. Throughout his long life, Dad kept that smile and spoke so highly of his formative childhood days in East Poland. Years later as a ritual I would take him for a drive along the roads of his old neighborhood and he was instantly transported back to his youth. He’d recite the names of neighbors: Gale and Glen Torrey, Forest “Fort” Strout, Lester Bunker to name a few, which was always followed by a wonderful story and of course that marvelous laugh of his.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sunday Obituary - Mary "Polly" Felton Walton Hanson

Ok, I know this may sound a little strange (well, probably not to fellow genealogists…), but this obituary gave me such joy when I found it as there is so much information in it and it helps put just a little “meat on the bones” as to what her life was like going beyond just dates found of birth, death and marriage records. (source of obit: Mrs Polly F (Walton) Hanson, Lynn Daily Evening Item, Lynn, MA, 27 March 1913, Page 10.)

Mary “Polly” Felton Walton was my 3rd great grandmother and was married Andrew Hanson – they were the parents of Edward Augustus Hanson mentioned in earlier posts. Polly lived on Severance St. in Lynn, MA in her later years. I was unsure what the “Venerable Wyoma Woman, Dead” caption under her photo meant, although a Google search yields that “Wyoma” used to be (and perhaps still is) a neighborhood in Lynn. Further Googling places Severance St within the Wyoma neighborhood ( According to the Southern Essex District Registry of Deeds 38 Severance St still exists. I couldn’t locate a photo of the house from Google Earth, but did locate where Severance St is. I sense a future road trip…

From this obit I also learned that her grandfather Oliver Walton was a Revolutionary War Solider. I had suspected that from previous research, but this reference told me to keep searching for more info and I’ve since located a fair amount of information about Oliver. While there is more research to do on Oliver, it does appear that he was indeed a Revolutionary War private. More on that in another post after I’ve done more research…

The mention of General Hazen and Polly’s grandmother Mary Hazen Rugg (my 5th great grandmother) being his cousin is interesting. I assume they mean William Babcock Hazen, who was a famous Civil War Union general:

The obituary states that Mary Hazen Rugg attended George Washington’s funeral. Found this wonderful enactment video on C-span: I wonder if a list of funeral attendees exists? Perhaps Mary Hazen Rugg’s name might be on it? Looking forward to watching the entire video when I have an open block of three hours.

Lastly, the picture of Polly simply amazes me - I think I could look at it for hours. This is the first and only photo I've seen of her. When was it taken? What was the significance (if any) of it? Who took it? Do other photos of her exist?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wordless (Not Really) Wednesday - Louis Theophile Auger

This photograph is of my great grandfather Louis Theophile Auger who lived from 1848-1906. Stay tuned, you'll hear lots more about Louis in the future as he intrigues me to no end. I received the photo from a very helpful fellow researcher and relative (thanks Madelyn!). On the back of the photo was written by cousin Alfred Provancher: "Mom's father Louis Auger from Poland, Maine".

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Edward Augustus Hanson

While no known pictures exist of Sarah J. Randall, I have located three photos (thanks to my cousin Susan!) of her 2nd husband Edward Augustus Hanson (often called "Gus").

As I'm still having a issue locating photos exactly where I want them in my post (a rookie mistake I'm sure), here's a list of captions for the photos in order of their appearance below:

1) Edward A. Hanson. Unsure of the timeframe of this photo.
2) Edward A. Hanson. Obviously Edward is much older in this photo, but I'm unsure of the exact timeframe.
3) Left to right: Laura Estelle Kinnear Hanson, 2nd wife of Herbert Walter Hanson (known by middle name of Walter); Walter Hanson; Carol Jean Hanson (seated on Walter's lap) daughter of Walter & Laura; Edward A. Hanson father of Walter; unknown person. Carol was born in 1932 so this was likely taken in the mid to late 1930's. Edward died in 1938.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sunday Obituary - Sarah J. Randall

As my first attempt at doing one of the daily blogging prompts, I thought I’d continue with the couple I highlighted the other day, Edward A. Hanson & Sarah J. Randall and use Sarah’s obituary as my Sunday Obituary.

Sarah has long intrigued me as despite having numerous documents regarding her (census records, birth, death, marriage). I have no known picture of her (although would love one!). For years all I had regarding her obituary was a few non-specific lines:

Hanson – In Lynn, March 4, Sarah J., wife of Edward E. [A] Hanson, 71 yrs. 6 mos. 2 days.

Funeral services will be held at her late residence. 38 Severance Street. on Saturday at 10:30 AM. Relatives and friends invited.

I had obtained that obituary from the Lynn Public Library way back in 1998, which was unfortunately before I became a stickler for always wanting to know the source of my information, so I did not know what paper it came from. In late 2010 on a whim to try again for a better obit for her, Edward and Edward’s mother Mary “Polly” Felton Walton Hanson, I contacted the Lynn Public Library again and received the following article:

Sarah Jane Hanson obituary, Lynn Daily Evening Item, Lynn, Massachusetts, 5 March 1914, page 3, column 5. (my scan cuts off the final sentence which should read: “bly due to apoplexy.”)

My first reaction was joy at finding out more information. However I was quickly saddened to learn Sarah apparently had a mental illness, perhaps dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease or something else. This hits close to home as my Mom is afflicted with Alzheimer’s and I can appreciate the anguish Sarah’s family must have felt.

I also find it very interesting that her husband Edward was still working at the age of 66 (perhaps a sign of the times) and apparently could only find work far away from his wife in Rowley, MA (approx. 25 miles to the north). Like any good piece of information, this obit provides lots of tantalizing tidbits and additional questions to continue to work on.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The search for a gravestone - Edward A. Hanson & Sarah J. Randall

I’ve been delving into my Hanson line again lately after several months of putting it on the back burner due to a brick wall I’ve run into regarding my 5th great grandfather Andrew Hanson. As I’ve started to look at the information again, I’ve been reminded of a discovery made a number of years ago regarding my 2nd great grandparents Edward Hanson & Sarah J. Randall which always puts a smile on my face.

In 2008 I decided to take a genealogical road trip to Pine Grove Cemetery in Lynn, Massachusetts to locate the grave of Edward & Sarah. For those who have never been to Pine Grove, I cannot recommend a visit enough. Not only is it a large, old cemetery, but it also has the most beautiful trees lining its roadways and paths. While there, I became accustomed to seeing people strolling throughout the cemetery recreating and just enjoying the lovely landscape.

I quickly located Barberry Path where Edward & Sarah along with their daughter Harriett Kenyon are buried. The burial information I had received from the cemetery said their grave was at 23 Barberry Path so I slowly started walking down the path looking for their names on headstones

Before I knew it I was clearly at the end of the path and had not seen the headstone. So, I walked back to my starting point, thinking I may have missed it. No dice. I must have walked the entire path back and forth at least six times. What was further throwing me off was I didn’t see any clear open spaces that would signify a missing stone. The only space in between stones was a large shrub, however as it was right next to another stone I initially didn’t think much of it.

Finally after walking by the shrub several more times and not being able to locate the stone, I decided to peer into the shrub as a last ditch effort before calling off my search in frustration.
Much to my pleasant surprise, tucked deep within the cedar shrub was the headstone!

I was torn between seriously clipping back the shrub (and yes, I was lucky to have clippers in my car from stewardship activities earlier in the week) or just leaving it the way it was. In a way I felt the shrub represented my ancestors having perhaps having grown from their remains. In the end I compromised and opened it up just enough so other relatives could find the site, but left it overall intact out of respect for Edward, Sarah and Harriett.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Genealogical Goals for 2012

Being a task-oriented sort of guy, I figured I’d start out my blog by listing some genealogical goals that I have for this year (and beyond).     
1.       Write, write, write…
As I mentioned in my first post, I’ve wanted to write my family stories for a number of years, but always have gravitated towards doing more research because honestly it is much more fun for me, hence easier as well.  Well, the time for procrastinating is over!  I’ve started this blog which should hopefully help with the writing thingy…
2.       Get involved.
As Lucy Van Pelt of Peanuts fame once said to Charlie Brown: “you need involvement!”   I find myself often operating in a vacuum of sorts with genealogy, so I’m hoping get more involved with the greater genealogy community in 2012.    Towards this end I have reached out to the Maine Franco-American Genealogical Society to volunteer for them and have taken on an exciting, yet Herculean task of transcribing old Oak Hill Cemetery Records for the City of Auburn. 
3.       Continue to work on my research. 
I have a number of brick walls that I hope to chip away at in 2012 and will use this blog as a forum to talk about these road blocks and hopefully progress made.  More on this later…
4.        Organize. 
As the self-appointed family historian and overall genealogical geek I have accumulated all sorts of family history related materials from my Dad, Mom, brother and grandmother.  So, as I type I have 10 big grey tubs full of materials which I need to sort through.  My hope is to scan and record what is important to me and then distribute the rest when applicable.   

Monday, January 2, 2012

Here it starts...

Hello and welcome to my blog!
My name is Michael Auger and I’ve been involved in genealogy for about 20 years now.  However, the seeds were planted way back in the late 1970’s when my older brother Donald gave the family a copy of a genealogy report for our Dad’s side that he had researched and created.  Needless to say I was enthralled.    Beginning in the early 1990’s I started expanding upon Donald’s work and also working on my Mom’s side as well.    Fast-forward to today I continue to do genealogical research and have a strong desire to eventually do professional genealogy work and as a first step towards that goal in May of 2011 became a graduate of the Boston University Genealogical Research Program.
After a couple of years of gnawing on the idea, I’ve finally decided to take the plunge and become a blogger.   While genealogy research has always been fun for me, one of my biggest genealogical goals is to write family history stories based on my research, so at the most basic level, I’m hoping this blog will be the impetus to write more in general and also to connect with other genealogists and potential cousins.       
So, here it goes.  Now that post number one is officially under my belt, I’m looking forward to learning from fellow genealogists and to sharing information.