I would like to think that my husband and I have a monopoly on the greatest love story in our families. Perhaps this is true, but with hundreds of years of history unfolding in front of me as I research the branches of our family trees I know the love we are capable of come from somewhere and that there must be many romantic tales and acts of love which preceded us!
As genealogists it is not the names and dates which capture our imaginations and excite our research but rather the human stories we can draw from the facts–the thrilling events, the hardships and struggles, the long and difficult journeys, the relationships, and the romantic. Sometimes it is difficult to glean these stories from the bare bones data records often provide but if we read carefully, use atypical record sources, and look at all that we have collected as a collective whole we can piece together anecdotes and decipher our ancestors’ realities!
An account written by my father’s cousin in a local history book revealed the love and romance between my Great-Grandparents, Joseph Arthur Béland (1880-1973) and Dorilda Boulay (1889-1977). Married 12 Feb 1912 in the Roman Catholic church of Ste- Antoine de la Riviere-du-Loup in Ste-Ursule, Maskinongé, Quebec, Canada, my Great-Grandparents were married for 61 years and had nine children including my grandmother Bernadette Marie-Claire in 1920.
I suppose I never really considered what their relationship may have been like until reading the article “L’histoire de la famille Béland” by Diane Béland which appeared in “Raconte-moi ton histoire: Belle-Vallee et Judge 1909-2009” by Therese Renaud-Saintonge. My father’s cousin Diane recounted lovely family anecdotes but what struck me was this:
Back to the couple Joseph and Dorilda Béland. Between grandpa and grandma was a great love. It was not uncommon to see grandpa passing near grandma, giving her a kiss on the neck, a pat on the buttocks (bum) or to tease her by untying her apron. He never called her by her given name, I wonder if he’d rather forgotten it because he always said (called her): “mother”. (Translated by myself from the original French)
Though only a passing snippet of text in a short account taken from an obscure local history book it provides amazingly personal insight into the truly romantic and enduring love of a couple now passed! I felt joy in reading these few details. To know how much love passed between my Great-Grandparents was meaningful because it echoed the love my husband and I feel for one another today. The endurance of their romance into their advanced years is a promise of what could be in our future and is inspirational! I never knew my Great-Grandparents but I feel I know them now!
HAPPY VALENTINE`S DAY!