Large French-Canadian Family in Massachusetts

Francois Gervais was born in St. Roch (near Montreal) in 1847. He later moved to Worcester, Mass., and found work as a carpenter.

He and his second wife, Marie Louise, became the parents of 21 children within their first 20 years of marriage, according to a New York Times article from 1895 about “Francis” and his family. At that time, only 9 of the children were living:

  • Frank, 18 years old
  • Arthur, 17
  • Roch, 14 (called Rodrique elsewhere)
  • Henry, 10
  • Louise, 9
  • Eugene, 5 (middle name George)
  • Edward, 4
  • Eva Marie, 3
  • Albert, 1.5

I’ve only been able to track down two of their non-surviving children, Josephine (b. 1889) and Joseph W. (b. 1893).

After the article came out, Francois and Marie Louise had several more children, but it looks like only one survived:

  • Joseph and Marie, twins, b. 1896, died of “infantile weakness”
  • John, b. 1898, survived
  • Dorila, b. 1899, died of diphtheria

Francois also had triplets with his first wife, Melvina, but the babies didn’t survive, and Melvina died a few years later.

Source: “Twenty-One Children in Twenty Years.” New York Times 23 Jun. 1895: 21


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