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The search for Valsin Giroir

Many years ago, I set out in search of my great-great-grandfather’s fractured family.

Augustin Giroir was just 6 when his father died around 1874. I’m not sure of the exact death date or even what killed Eulice Edmond “Ulysse” Giroir. The story passed down was that he died when his youngest child was just a baby. That caboose was Valsin – or Valcin.

In less than 10 years of marriage, Ulysse and his wife, Anaise, had five children: Augustin, Augustine, Marie, Alice and Valsin. Valsin was named for Anaise’s father. Because he was born on Christmas Day, he was given the middle name Noel.

When a parent died young back then, families tended to splinter. Anaise couldn’t have provided for all of her children. She seemed to have kept the two boys with her. The girls went to live with relatives. They were split up but lived not far from each other.

Augustine moved in with a Landry family and married Jean Baptiste Arretteig. At first, they lived in Gibson, where they lost a child before moving to the Lafayette area. Like her mother, Augustine was widowed fairly early in life. Her youngest child was just 15 when Jean Baptiste died. Augustine’s children would do well. They attended college and went into the medical field. The only girl became a nun. Augustine died of a stroke at age 56.

Marie was listed as an orphan on the 1880 census even though her mother was still living. I really didn’t know what had happened to Marie after the 1880 census until I stumbled across her grave in a St. Mary Parish cemetery. She had been buried under her maiden name. Years later, I discovered that she married at age 22 to Placide Bourke, had eight children and died in Lake Charles at age 86. Her children buried her in Patterson, near where she was born and where she started her family.

Alice was said to be 101 when died. She wasn’t. She was only 91. As a young girl, she moved in with her father’s sister Elizabeth when the family fractured. I suspect another aunt’s death brought her to Gibson. She was there in 1900 living in the household of her mother’s deceased sister Lizzie. No doubt, she was helping care for Lizzie’s children since she was listed as the cook. Alice stayed in Gibson, where she married and adopted a child.

Finally, there’s the caboose. Valsin was living with his mother in 1880. Also in the household was a male carpenter and an orphaned child. I don’t know what the story was on that. It looks like Anaise’s mother-in-law was living nextdoor. Perhaps Anaise was running a boarding house?

Valsin married in 1898 to Marie LeBoeuf. They had at least two children: Robert and Lillian. On the 1910 census, Valsin was listed as Charles (his grandfather’s other name). It’s possible Valsin’s real name was Charles Valsin Noel since his grandfather’s full name was Charles Valsin. Valsin is listed as a sewing machine salesman. Then, poof. Valsin and Marie vanish. Their children later turned up in Texas, where they married and died.

Court records tell me Valsin sometimes got himself in trouble. He was caught trespassing in 1908.

He engaged in a property sale in the town of Franklin a year earlier.

And he ignored court summons. It was a busy two years.

What happened to Valsin is beyond me. I can’t find him in further court records or burial records. It’s like he vanished.

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