September 5, 2012

In Memory of my lost found cousin William Dumais dit Goodrich
August 2, 1937 - August 23, 2012
 Raquel (Rachel) Del Castillo Dumais

On January 10, 2010 I blogged about Raquel/Rachel Del Castillo who was my great aunt. I think she was also one of my mother's favorite aunts through marriage.  From the time I was quite young I remember my mother talking about "ma tante Rachel" (aunt Rachel). 

My mother spoke often of her and she thought she was one of the most stylish women she had ever known and she loved her for the wonderful person she was.  

The difficulty I encountered in doing our family genealogy and history was that I never knew how she fit into the family until I had a get-together with some of my mother's first cousins (my first cousins once removed).  Their mother was my grandmother's sister thus Dumais sisters so I figured they might be able to tell me something about the Dumais side of the family that I did not yet know.

While sharing and chatting, my cousin Rita asked if I had ever found information about Napoleon Dumais and his wife Raquel Del Castillo! Though only 5 years old when they returned to Lawrence from Cuba, now in her 90's, Rita remembered them and over the years wondered what had become of them. Wow!  I finally had a connection that I could dig into!

In my blog of January 10th I asked that if anyone knew anything about Rachel/Raquel Del Castillo to please contact me.  Lo and behold toward the end of June while I was painting our bathroom, I received a phone call from Florida.  Thinking it might be a telemarketer I almost did not pick up.  Then I decided I should so that this "person" would not keep calling.  I was floored when I heard the caller say "Hi, I believe we are related - Raquel Del Castillo was my great grandmother" - stunned, I asked her to repeat what she had just said... I was totally elated to have finally found this lost part of our family and our history.

This second cousin was none other than Adrianna Goodrich Blanco. She was excited.. I was excited.. and we had a difficult time putting our words together!  She told me that her uncle Bill Goodrich would call me later as he had been doing the family history.

  Cousin Bill Goodrich and his father Danilo Goodrich

Since that wonderful June 28th after Cousin Bill Goodrich called, we have exchanged photos and a good deal of information.  His son Jimmy has taken up the baton of family historian and I will share with him all of the information that I have on the Dumais family going back to the first progenitor, Jean Dumais who married Marguerite Richard in 1695 in France.

We have lots of ground to cover after all of these years!

Next:  Part 2: How Dumais becomes Goodrich - what happened to Napoleon Dumais, Raquel Del Castillo and their children.

 How Dumais became Goodrich

After many email exchanges and a couple of conversations with cousin Bill Goodrich, no one really knows how this name change occurred or why.  One can only assume it might have had to do with work or business relations in Cuba.

Cousin Bill told me that had his father not told him about the Dumais name he never would have known.  It seems that Napoleon Dumais had gone to Cuba and was working as a civil engineer of sorts, this information based on a ship's list that I also found.  I've no idea what kind of engineer he might have been as the Dumais children had no more education than when they arrived with in Massachusetts from Ste-Anastasie de Lyster, QC, Canada where they were all born.

 Raquel Del Castillo and Napoleon Dumais
 What became of Napoleon, Raquel 
and their Children?

Napoleon Dumais was born 21 August 1884 to Georges Dumais and Sara Demers in Ste-Anastasie.  He was the ninth of thirteen children and the fifth oldest of children who were still alive at the time of the family's migration to Lawrence, Massachusetts. According to a notebook I inherited from my grandmother Arthemise who was Napoleon's sister, the family arrived in Lawrence in 1891. That means that Napoleon was only seven years old at the time.  He was only thirteen years old when his mother died in 1897.  It had to be a difficult time for Napoleon and the family.

As a young adult he made his way to Cuba - it looks like we might never know the why of it all though I hope that someday we might find some clue.  I interviewed two of my elderly cousins whose mother was Napoleon's sister Beatrice.  Rita who is in her 90s was a little girl at the time but she remembers Napoleon and then his wife Raquel visiting their home often.

With the help of Cousin Bill Goodrich in Florida and the research I've been able to do, Napoleon and Raquel Del Castillo would have married abt. 1910 in Cuba.  While there, they had four children:  Noel Joseph, Gobley, George and Danilo who was Cousin Bill's father.  After their arrival in Lawrence two more children were born:  Gladys Marie Rachel and Norma Ida Clementine.

 Gobley, Noel, Danilo Dumais-Goodrich

According to the family history Cousin Bill was told, Napoleon was entrepreneurial.  It seems he would have been the first to bring dry cleaning operations to Cuba. The family seemed to think he was in the dry cleaning business in Lawrence but I've not been able to find any proof of that.  What I have found is that he worked as an insurance agent for Liberty Mutual. This was what he gave for his employment/employer in the WWI U.S. Draft Registration.

 George Dumais-Goodrich

Be that as it may, it seems that one day little George drank some cleaning fluid and died shortly thereafter. Napoleon was never the same after that. At some point he became very ill and died in 1923 at the age of thirty-nine.  His wife Raquel and the children returned to Cuba after saying their goodbyes to husband and father.

 Dr. Roman Del Castillo and Clementine Rodriguez

Back in Cuba, Raquel seems to have provided well for herself and her children.  Born abt 1889 to Dr. Roman Del Castillo and Clementine Rodriguez she apparently received an excellent education both in Cuba and in the United States.  She died in 1949 in Cuba.

Interestingly, though Raquel retained the name of Goodrich when she returned to Cuba, while living in Lawrence, Massachusetts the family had resumed the name of Dumais - Dumas is the spelling I found in the 1920 Federal 

Napoleon Dumais Genealogy

Napoleon Dumais 1884-1923 married circa 1910 Raquel Del Castillo abt. 1889-1949
Georges Dumais 1839-1903 married 1871 Sara Demers 1853-1897
Narcisse Dumais 1808-1834 married 1829 Marguerite Marquis1813-1873
Joseph Jean-Pierre Dumais 1764-1831 married 1790 Marie-Anne-Françoise Plourde1777-1816
Pierre Dumais 1714-1803 married 1755 Catherine Michaud abt. 1716-1755
Jean Dumais 1626----- married 1695 in France Marguerite Richard 1695
My sincere thanks to Cousin Bill Goodrich of Florida for providing all of the truly amazing Goodrich and Del Castillo photos I did not have.  He has a treasure trove of family photos and lots of good family history. 

N.B.  Later this week, I will post what I've learned about Cousin Bill and his family as well as the many messages we've exchanged since we first connected.

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Lucie's Legacy
Lucie LeBlanc Consentino