|For many years, I was just certain that my great grandfather Seymour Peppan was from the planet Mars.|
Those learned genealogists had been right all along.
|Simeon Peppin married 1 April 1878, in New Westminster district, Emma Huston.|
I was so excited, I shared the news with anyone who would listen -- including all the local stray cats.
Once I got around to sharing the information with individuals who could truly appreciate it, a cyber-friend up in British Columbia offered to get me a copy of the marriage certificate -- an easy thing to find, once I knew how the Official Entities had spelled the family name. (Thank you, Marilyn Inglis!)
With the exception of the signature of the By whom married, this is what that copy of the hand-written original had to say:
|Residence when married||New Westminster District|
|Place of birth||Langley, BC|
|Rank or Profession||Labourer|
|Name of parents||Etienne Peppin & Elizabeth, A Native Woman|
|Residence when married||Burrards Inlet|
|Place of birth||New Westminster|
|Spinster or widow||Spinster|
|Name of parents||Frederick Huston & Sophia, a Native Woman|
|Name of witnesses||David Depuis & Emma, a Native Woman|
|Residence of witnesses||New Westminster|
|Date of marriage||1st of April 1878|
|Religious denomination of bridegroom||Roman Catholic|
|Religious denomination of bride||Roman Catholic|
|By whom married||(looks like) Edward M. I. Harris OMI|
|By banns||By Banns|
|Remarks Registered||29th April 1878|
Armed with confirmed locations, and new names and dates, I went searching, and found two Etienne Pepins.
One was Etienne Pascal Pepin, born in Yamaska, Quebec, son of Etienne Louis Pepin and either his first wife, Catherine ST GERMAIN, or his second wife, Agathe ROCHE dit LaLancette. The other was a Hudson's Bay Company employee Etienne Pepin.
Which brings us back round to Simon.
I am amused that Simon and Emma had married on April Fool's Day. Whether they did it on purpose, or if it just was The Day the preacher was available, I'll never know. I kinda like to think it's the former and an indicator of the nature of my great grandparents' sense of humor, a sense of humor that may well be as hereditary as the pigheaded stubbornness that had delayed this discovery. Then again, I have also heard that April 1st is a Roman Catholic Holy Day of sorts, important to the French.
The main branch Seattle Public Library is known for its genealogy section . . . and its helpful staff. Besides helping me with the census, they directed me to the Polk's 1901 Seattle City Directory I found, on page 928, my great grandfather listed thus:
Peppan, Seymour, blcksmith, Heckmann & Hanson res ss Broadway 1 e 6th Ave E. Ross
What this all translates into is that Simon worked as a blacksmith for Heckmann & Hanson, marine architects & builders, in Ballard, Washington, and he lived in a house on the south side of Broadway, 1 block east of the intersection of 6th Avenue and East Ross Street. Due to the growth of Seattle, and the subsequent creation of the Montlake Cut, the intersection of 6th Avenue and East Ross no longer exists.
The same city directory also yielded the information that two of Simon's sons, Frank and Charles, boarded with their father, both were employed at the Stimpson Mill Company as laborers.
And it was the Polk's Seattle City Directories that helped me narrow down when Simon died. Family stories say his death in a Puget Sound area sawmill was "no accident". Unfortunately, no one can say for certain where that saw mill was, but the most commonly mentioned location is Port Ludlow, Washington. That his death occurred somewhere around 1906 is supported by entries in the Polk's Seattle City Directory between 1905 and 1907.
1905 lists Seymour Peppan
1906 lists Emma Peppan (wid Seymour)
1907 lists Emma Peppan
By 1908, Emma was married to long time friend and neighbor, Frank McFarland, a Spanish-American War veteran.
To try and narrow down Simon's death date, on 16 February 2000, I contacted Polk's customer relations department and talked to Stephanie and Debbie.
I asked if they knew when the 1906 directory went to the presses. Though neither Stephanie or Debbie could answer that question, they did know that, back then, Polk's went door-to-door, taking anywhere from 1 to 2 months in a given area -- depending upon how large the area was -- compiling data, then it was at least another 6 to 8 weeks before the info was ready for the presses.
Going on this bit of info, my guess is that Seymour died somewhere in the latter half of 1905. Pre-computer, the Polk's directories were compiled by hand, and then typeset, and then printed, so the info gatherers would have just about had to start gathering the info for the 1906 sometime around June of 1905 to be released in the timely manner that has kept Polk's in business for better than a century.
Thank you, Stephanie. Thank you, Debbie. (I hope I spelled your names right.)
For so very long, everything that I knew about my great grandparents lay between the years 1895 and 1908, and all was in Washington state. So when I got Simon and Emma's marriage certificate, and THEN the Fort Langley information, I felt as though I, personally, had just run and won the Triple Crown.
The topper to all of this is the discovery of Simon's baptismal record in the old parish records held at St Andrew's Cathedral in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. The entry reads:
Simon fils naturel de Etienne Magice et d'une femme Quyslen (Papin); parrain P Renaud, cet enfant a été légitimé par le mariage subséquent de parents.
Fort Langley 29 Juin 1856
If you don't read French, what this says is that Simon was the natural son of Etienne Magice and his Quyslen wife Papin, and was baptised on 29 June 1856 at Fort Langley. In his parent's marriage record, Simon's date of birth is recorded as 8 May 1855; the marriage record links the name Magice with that of Pepin, showing Etienne Magice as the son of Michel and Marguerite Pepin of St-Michel-de-Yamaska in Quebec, and the Quyslen wife Papin as Isabelle, a Keitosé woman. Isabelle's name undergoes a metamorphosis and becomes Elizabeth on Simon's certificate of marriage, and Etienne Magice becomes Etienne Peppin.
Just to make things a little more interesting, there may have been another woman in Etienne's life before Isabelle: the mother of Simon's older sister and brother, Marie and François. In the baptism records for Marie and François, dated 4 September 1841, their parents are recorded as Etienne Maillé and a Uiskwin woman. On Marie's marriage record, however, her parents are recorded as Etienne Pepin and a woman of the Mascoyennes [Maskagonné]. However, it's also possible that this Uiskwin/Mascoyennes woman was also Isabelle, but the jury's still out on that.
Anyway, all of this confirmed one of my early fears -- that my great grandfather had been named something other than Seymour Peppan at birth -- but it wasn't as bad as I had feared. I mean, I had found all the paperwork linking his many names together. It goes something like this:
started life as Simon Magice
was married as Simeon Peppin
was naturalized as Seymour Pepin
is listed in a half dozen Seattle City Directories as Seymour Peppan
and, as far as I know right now, died as Seymour Peppan
Simon's death certificate is the final missing puzzle piece. But now that I have a selection of surnames that I know are connected with Simon's paternal line, it should make the search for this last piece of vital data a little easier.
You see, the family has always been a bit vague about dates, like birth days, anniversaries, and such. What info had been accumulated over the generations was lost in a house fire in 1957. The only things salvaged were a box of pictures and a three large oval portraits; that my then-15-year-old cousin had had the presence of mind to save them will always be a wonder to me (Thank you, Bridgie).
The three oval portraits went into the attic at my parent's house and the box of pictures found their way to Daddy's sister, my Aunt Toots.
Years later, after Aunt Toots died, I became the Keeper of the Pictures. In that small box of pictures, I found another clue: a postcard that my Great Aunt Lizzie sent to her sister Susan:
I will send you one of
|Mrs. DE Johnson
827 Salmon Street
Lizzie and Susan are daughters of Simon and Emma. "Tootsie", I figured, could only be my Aunt Toots, and because she was born November 3, 1925, I figure the date the postcard was written and sent was probably between 3 to 8 years after that.
Regarding that small box of pictures
I've finally gotten all those pictures scanned onto a CD. An online photo album is now in the works.
Pictures will be divided into three groups: the Identified, the Tentatively Identified, and the Unidentified. The Identified photos will be presented in family groups, along with the Tentatively Identified; I'm still working on how to present the Unidentified.
In my search for Simon's relatives, at the local LDS Family History Center, I found a Social Security Death Index listing for a William Peppan, born February 29, 1912, died August 1967 in Garden City, Kansas.
"Ah-HAH!" I thought, "a new lead."
Simon and Emma had a son named William, born in December of 1891. The William Peppan from the Social Security Death Index, born in 1912, could be the son of my Great Uncle Willie -- the math worked.
Right about this same time, after submitting my family tree research to the World Family Tree Project, I found there was another Peppan researcher out there! Submitter #3986, on volume 2 of the World Family Tree Project.
There, I found the 1912 William Peppan -- but he was the son of a fellow named Joshua Acon Peppan. Joshua was born 4 Aug 1862 in Samsul Missouri. This meant the 1912 William was NOT the son of Great Uncle Willie. I was bummed out.
But then I realized something: There was another family out there who spelled their last name like ours -- PEPPAN.
I got even more excited when I found out that the 1912 William Peppan -- aka Satch -- had a sister named Bessie. That's Satch and Bessie there on the left.
Finally -- after discovering that one must own the very latest version of Family Tree Maker to even exist in the eyes of the Family Tree Maker people -- I got in contact with the compiler of Joshua Peppan's family tree.
Chuck Morley -- grandson of Joshua, nephew of William "Satch" Peppan, and son of Bessie -- was having just as tough a time with his family tree as I was. Chuck doesn't know who Joshua's parents are, only that they were French-Canadian, nor does he know how many siblings Joshua may have had.
Chuck and I have exchanged pictures of our "alien" ancestors; perhaps it's wishful thinking on my part, but I can see a resemblance between Joshua and Seymour. In exchanging family trees, I've noticed that the birth and naming patterns in the two families are quite similar. And, after exchanging only a few emails, there's a similarity in the sense of humor. If Chuck and I aren't related, we should be.
Personally, I think that perhaps Chuck's grandfather, Joshua Peppan may be a descendant of one of the Pepin men who headed south from Yamaska. And on March 28, 2002, I found what maybe a census listing for Joshua's parents.
In the 1860 Federal Census, film M653, Roll 630, page 98/917, Livingston County, Missouri, 11 July 1860, Dawn Post Office, lines 16 through 20 read:
16 696-697 AKen Peppan 44 M Farmer Missouri 17 Delila 42 F Tennessee 18 Bathinde 12 F Missouri 19 Elizabeth 6 F Missouri 20 Rachel 2 F Missouri
Seeing as how this man's given name and Joshua's middle name are at least phonetically the same, that this is probably Joshua's family and Bathinde, Elizabeth, and Rachel are Joshua's big sisters.
Chuck has a great deal of info on his assorted family lines, most of which center in and around the Missouri/Kansas area. If you're curious about Chuck's family, check out his page here, and/or drop him a line; his email address is: email@example.com
The following is NOT an endorsement of the World Family Tree Project, it is simply my own personal opinion.
In regards to the World Family Tree Project:
I'm submitter #4416, on Volume Two of WFTP's vast catalog of "reasonably priced" genealogy products, and not long ago, Chuck submitted an updated version of my research to WFT, so my research is on yet another of their "wonderful" CDs. In both cases the research has changed, as has the contact info for Submitter #4416 -- me -- and once WFTP burns the CD ROM, the info can't be changed -- but a web site can.
And, just between you, me, and the fence post, part of the reason this web site was created is to counter balance all those other web sites that ask for money for information that is publicly available -- or ask genealogists to donate their research and then sell the sum total back to those very same researchers (and I'm not the only person who feels this way; "customer satisfaction" . . . ? HA!). I got no gripe with somebody making a living, but there are limits.
This page updated 21 August 2002