A Family Court Dispute Found in Google Books

Covering all your bases when doing a search for your family should also include a great resource that Google has called Google Books. How to find this treasure trove of information is by using the Google search bar and either typing in ‘Books’ or on the Google toolbar is a More button which creates a drop-down menu, pictured below.Screen_Shot_2017-09-24_at_11_05_45_AMEither search will bring you to another search bar that will just search Google Books . I have tried numerous combinations to see what can be found about my family. One search I did was the maiden as well the married name and location of my great-grandmother to see what if anything would appear.

Screen Shot 2017-09-23 at 10.02.31 PMAnd the results were a little shocking –

Jordan_Norton_Google_books_search_resultThe first three results all were about my family and a court case that had taken place in Chicago…WHAT? What was I seeing, I quickly clicked on the links to see what more I could find out about this case. Not much more information was available

Screen Shot 2017-09-23 at 10.01.51 PMI was not able to access the full entry, but it was enough information for me to hire a researcher to dig into the records held in Chicago.

What was found was over 50 pages of depositions from my great grandmother Carrie Jordan, her husband and daughter as well as from her brother James Norton and his family. It seems that after James & Carrie’s aunt Harriet (Laprise) Milligan had died and there was a dispute about her will as she had incorrectly named James Norton as Richard Norton.

The depositions describe numerous visits by aunt Harriet to Quebec City and Montreal where the Jordan and Norton families were living. I was able to get a feel for the relationships between family members, Peter Jordan describes taking the train with Harriet and how they talked about her sister Hannah Pozer Jeffery. I wish I had been in on that conversation, but sadly the person asking Peter the questions didn’t ask as much about the family as I would have liked! The focus of the questioning wasn’t about family history per say, more about names in the family and confirming that James and Richard were the same person and just an error made by Harriet in her will.

Really this is one of THE best finds I have had and it was all thanks to Google Books.

I would like to encourage you to give Google Books a try and use many combinations in your searches, you may discover something unexpected about your own family!

Jordan, Carrie w:friend

Harriet Milligan(?) with Caroline (Norton) Jordan c.1920



Elizabeth Jeffery

This is the fourth installment of the Jeffery sisters blog series about Caroline, Margaret, or Hannah. There will be one last installment in this series.

Elizabeth was the youngest of the Jeffery sisters to survive to adulthood. She was born in 1834 in the district of Beauce where her father was working as a mason for George Pozer.

Elizabeth’s baptism took place at the Aubigny, Quebec* in 1835, a year after her birth. Her parents are the only ones who signed the baptism register.

In the 1852 Canadian census, Elizabeth is living with her mother at St. Ursule Street where together they are running a boarding house.

Elizabeth’s first marriage was to George Robertson which took place at St. Andrew’s Church on the 17 of March in 1853.

Jeffery-Robertson marriage Quebec Chronicle Mar 23 1853

Quebec Chronicle Mar. 23, 1853

After her marriage, Elizabeth and George’s story has been hard to uncover. I did discover a baptism in the Catholic Church for their daughter Elizabeth in 1863, five years after her birth. Later censuses indicate that the daughter Elizabeth Robertson was born in French Canada so there is more to be found.

George Robertson dies between 1858-1861, cause unknown and burial location as of yet unknown.

Elizabeth’s second marriage takes place in 1861, to a Catholic Frenchman, Alfred Samuel Dagneau dit Laprise. The witnesses to their marriage were Germain Daugneau dit Laprise, Samuel’s father, and Elizabeth’s brother Robert Jeffery. Samuel’s occupation is an Hotelier. The Jeffery family tended to marry into English Protestant families so her marriage along with one of her brothers was outside the norm.

Notary records flourish for Elizabeth and Samuel, I count just under twenty records that I have yet to order. The ones I have ordered so far include wills for both Samuel and Elizabeth and numerous dealings for his work as a restauranteur. Samuel for a time was the Proprietor of the British American Hotel located on Cul-de-Sac Street in the heart of Old Quebec City.

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Advertisement in the Quebec City Directory 1864-1865


Samuel’s business life seemed had some controversy and for a time his wife had Notary papers drawn up for a legal separation of property to protect her interests. I do struggle with the legal documents that are in French so I do not have a full picture of everything that happened.

During the tumultuous time of running a Hotel in Quebec City, Elizabeth had three children, a son Alfred who had a short life that began and ended in 1863. Alfred’s baptism took place on the same day as His half-sister Elizabeth Robertson at the Notre Dame Church, Quebec City.

Their daughter Harriet was born in 1864 and a son George who also lived less than a year.

In 1870, a decision was made to cut their losses and the Laprise family packed up and moved to Chicago, Illinois. In Chicago, Samuel switched careers from a Hotelier to a Cooper (barrel-maker).

Again City Directories were helpful to me, as I was able to learn where the family was living and Samuel’s occupation.

Covering all my bases I did a search on Google Books for Samuel Laprise and sure enough, his name appeared. There were three court cases that he was involved in. The full information is not available on Google Books so the next step is to hire someone to help me locate the cases mentioned in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.


LAPRISE, SAmuel court Chicago

One of the search results for Samuel Laprise in Google Books


Another resource that can’t be overlooked is newspapers. Since Samuel seemed to not mind legal dealings I looked for his name on the site Newspapers.com and sure enough, a few small articles showed up like this Letter to the Editor, which shows Samuel’s concern for being over-charged for a case against the Prussing Vinegar Works.

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Chicago Tribune 1875


It seems Samuel was quite vocal as I also found another article about him advocating for Coopers and their industry. A large issue that Coopers were facing in 1877 was the that prisons were having their inmates making and selling barrels. This, in turn, was hurting the market for the independent businesses. Samuel hosted a meeting at his Cooperage and this meeting was reported on in the Chicago Tribune.

Back to family matters, their daughter Elizabeth Robertson married in 1877 to Daniel Simonds, a florist.

In 1891, their other daughter Harriet married a few months after her father’s death to George Milligan a painter/decorator.

Elizabeth was a widow for seven years after Samuel died, living in Chicago until her death in 1898. Samuel and Elizabeth Laprise both died in their fifties and are buried together at the Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago. There is no marker on their grave.

*Levis, Quebec was originally called Augbiny

** Again I have to acknowledge  Sharron Callaghan for her help with my Quebec research. I truly would be lost without her. 









Genealogy Serendipity

Genealogy serendipity seems to be quite common, almost everyone has a story to tell. Although not the first time I have had this sensation and probably not the last, I had one of those moments today that could be described as coincidental or maybe something more.

Recently I have been getting assistance with my Quebec research from a kind and patient soul. This has me reviewing and reading through my research, exploring my records and assessing what I have and what I am missing. I also have been going through Quebec City Directories looking at addresses for my ancestors. Once I have located the addresses I have also been getting familiar with the maps of old Quebec, located also on the BAnQ website. This process is what I was working on when I realized that I had recently walked by a location of a relative’s restaurant.

Samuel Laprise married my three times great grandmother’s sister Elizabeth Jeffery at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Quebec City on March 17, 1853. Elizabeth was the widow  of George Robertson and already had a daughter Elizabeth.

Samuel was running the British American Hotel and later the London Coffee House on the Cul de Sac in old Quebec City. These were located in Directories Marcotte of Quebec and their predecessors, 1822-1976.

Discovering these locations I next went to Google Earth to see where it was and found them on the street below that I highlighted in orange.



Cul de Sac found on Google Earth.


Once I saw this location on Google Earth I was instantly reminded of the trip I had recently taken to Quebec City in June and a very particular picture that I took.


Fudge shop.png

16 cul de sac was the location of the British American Hotel in 1864 and is now the Fudgerie a chocolate shop.


I had walked this street many times during my vacation and had been drawn to this location. I had photographed the street and added it as my Facebook cover picture. When you think about how many pictures I took during the trip of countless locations and monuments the fact that I selected this one to represent my trip on Facebook has some significance to me.


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Information the London Coffee House that was owned by George Pozer. This information was found on the website.


Samuel and his wife along with their three children left Quebec City in 1868, relocating to Chicago, Illinois. Samuel had his fill of restaurants, once in his new home he worked as a cooper. They did not return to Quebec City and they are buried together in Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago.


With help from my friend I hope to learn more about Samuel and Elizabeth’s business located on the Cul de Sac in Quebec City.