I don’t know a great deal about my great-great-grandmother aside from some dates and names but this picture that I inherited has always fascinated me. She is, I am told, the little bit of Irish in our family. If you know more about her, I would love to hear it.

Early Life

Joséphine was born on October 23rd 1872 in Dorchester, Québec. Her father Michael Kelly (1843-1893) was a farmer and a second generation Irish immigrant. Her mother was Joséphine Rousseau (1843-1926).

She had 8 full siblings: Sarah (1871-?), Marie (1873-1892), Dina (1875-1931), Joseph (1876-?), Rosanna (1878-1923), Ferdinand (1880-1936), Delima (1884-1917) and Patrick (1886-1931). They were all still single and living with their parents in April 1891.

She also had three half siblings from her mother’s first marriage to Pierre Gosselin (1836-1868): Delvina (1864-?), Damasse (Thomas?) (1867-1923) and Jean (1868-1914). They lived with the Kelly family until they married.

Despite her family’s origins, she was a francophone and a roman catholic. She and her sisters had attended school and could read and write.

According to the 1891 census, Joséphine and her sister Sarah worked as servants though it is not clear what household they served.

Married life

Joséphine stopped working shortly after the census was taken. She was married to Samuel Picard (1869-1931) on July 14th 1891 in Saint-Léon-de-Standon, Dorchester, Québec. She was considered a minor at the time but had her parent’s consent to marry. Her husband was a farmer as was her father. She turned her own efforts to raising a family.

Joséphine and Samuel had 12 children: Éva (1892-?), Samuel (1893-?),  Joseph Ephraime (1895-1969), Théodore (1896-1929), Émile (1899-1908), Patrick (1900-1920), Marie (1902-?), Salomon (1903-1921), Marie-Alfreda aka Rosa (1906-1921), Ernest (1908-?), Claira (1909-?) and Anna (1911-1921).

She lost her son Émile when he was only 9 years old. This was the first, though not last death in the family.

Two of her sons (Samuel and Joseph Ephraime) were drafted under the Military Service Act of 1917. It is not clear whether they ever saw combat but whatever the case, they were still alive at the end of the war. Three of her other children (Salomon, Rosa and Anna) died in 1921. Their cause of death is not indicated but quick succession of their deaths suggests an illness to me. Most of her surviving children were married and had children of their own. But Joséphine would never witness any of these events. She died on September 7th 1912, at the age of 39 and was buried 2 days later.

My link to Joséphine Kelley

  1. Joséphine Kelley (1872-1912) m. Samuel Picard (1868-1931)
  2. Joseph Ephraime Picard (1895-1969) m. Marie-Anne Ruel (1906-1936)
  3. Angéline Picard (1930-2007) m. André Ricard (1929-2003)

(Note: Living family members have been omitted for the sake of privacy.)