The mystery of Olive Le Huquet
The form in the box on the right is a declaration completed by Olive Clara Le Huquet on her arrival in Canada in 1924. (Just click on the image to see a larger version)
It was sent to us by the husband of one of Olive's descendants in Canada, with this request:
- "I wonder if you could help me find an ancestor of my wife’s. Her name was Olive Clara Le Huquet and her father was named Albert W Le Huquet. She came to Nova Scotia in 1924 from the Jersey islands as a 13 year old pregnant woman. We believe she was sent away to a home for unwed mothers. I have included an arrivals form with important information. It appears from this form that her Grandfather was living on Lansit Lane, Pontae, Jersey CI. She never saw her family again after being sent away."
Close examination of the form immediately threw up some anomalies in the family's account. There were simple discrepancies in the grandfather's address, which is actually Causie Lane, Pontac. The much more serious error which emerged when we began researching the Le Huquet family in detail was that this C Le Huquet, if he is the same person the family believe him to be, could not possibly be Olive's grandfather.
The family's narrative in their request for information about Olive does not match the form, which is itself contradictory in two important respects. The form states that Olive was born in St John, Newfoundland in 1911, and left from St John, New Brunswick in December 1920 'in company with her grandparents'. She was returning to rejoin her parents, her fare paid by her mother, who is now Mrs N Richards, of 29 Sackville Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The contradictions are that Olive is described as a British citizen on the form, which also states that she had never lived in Canada.
In a further email we were sent copies of Occupation record card applications for Charles John Le Huquet and Rosalie Brochard.
A check of Jersey church registers showed that Charles and Rosalie were married in St Martin on 9 September 1901. Charles was born in St Martin, and census returns show that he was living at the family home with his mother in 1881, 1891and 1901, shortly before his marriage. There is no mention of his father, Philippe, a fisherman, in those three census returns.
Charles and Rosalie, who was born in Belleville, Manche, had three children, Charles Alfred (1903- ), Elsie May (1906- ) and Maud (1910- ). They clearly could not have been Olive's grandparents.
We then started searching Canadian records for more information on Olive, but failed to find any official records of her birth. She is mentioned in a few family trees on Ancestry Canada, and is shown to have married William Herman Munroe in 1931. Her father is given as Albert Wilfred Le Huquet, which ties in with the family information we received.
There is an Albert Wilfred Le Huquet in Canadian census returns. He was born in 1877 in Sandy Beach, Gaspé, Quebec, the son of John Francis Le Huquet and Sarah Jane Price. A family tree shows Albert Wilfred Le Huquet to have married a Marian Jean, but official records suggest that he married May Estelle Tuck on 29 June 1909 in Toronto. When he died in Vancouver in 1928, still living with his wife, his obituary suggested that they moved there in 1911.
This totally contradicts the suggestion that he was the father of Olive in Newfoundland - the opposite side of Canada - in the same year, or that Olive's mother remarried a Mr Richards and was living with him in Halifax when Olive returned from Jersey.
The family trees which identify him as Olive's father may be wrong. There may, of course, have been another Albert W Le Huquet, but there are no other Albert Le Huquets in Canadian census returns.
Le Huquet ancestry
John Francis Le Huquet and his wife were both born in Quebec province. Census returns show that John's father came from Jersey, and Sarah's from Guernsey. A family tree gives John's parents as John and Mary Le Mesurier. There is no record of such a couple marrying in Jersey, but they may have both emigrated to Canada and married there.
John Francis was baptised in Gaspe in 1851, but the online copy of the baptism record is so poor than no details of his parents can be made out. There is another anomaly in an online copy of the marriage certificate for his daughter Eleanor Maude in Toronto in 1922. John Francis' birthplace is given on the marriage certificate as Guernsey. The marriage certificate for his son Nicholas correctly shows his birthplace as Quebec.
John Francis appears in the township of Douglas, Gaspe, in the 1861 census, but there is no mention of his parents or any other family members. Individual households are not identified in the census but immediately before John Francis are John and Jane Le Four, from Jersey. The burial record of Jane in 1872 identifies her maiden name as Le Huquet, She was buried on 15 October, and one of the witnesses was John Francis, described as her nephew. The marriage of John Francis and Sarah Jane Price eight days later is the next record in the Sandy Beach register. The entry does not mention their parents.
However, a check of Jersey baptism records suggest that John Francis' father may have been Jean Le Huquet, baptised on 12 November 1825, the son of Philippe and Anne Henry, and his aunt would then have been their daughter Jane, baptised on 9 May 1832. The ancestry of Philippe can be traced back to Jean Le Huquet (1580- ) in St Martin records.
John Francis died in 1926, and his wife five years later, and they are buried in Toronto, Ontario.
As stated at the top of this article, our search through Jersey and Canadian records has raised as many questions as it has answered. It has demonstrated how information in official records can be misleading, or downright inaccurate. It has also shown that what a family believes to have happened to its ancestors is sometimes not born out by detailed research.
Olive Clara Le Huquet may be the descendant of Jean Le Huquet, born in Jersey in 1580. On the other hand, she may not.
And if, as we believe, the couple her descendants believe to have been Olive's grandparents, could not possibly have been, how can the details on the 1924 Canadian immigration form be explained?