I was contacted by a very nice man from Winooski, Vermont who had found a photo at an antique store with some writing on the back. It just said “LaVigne Family, related to Cordelia Olivier”. He Googled that name and came across my blog. I’m actually related to two different Cordélie Olivier’s. One is my great-great-grandmother. The other is my great-great-grandmother’s niece… the daughter of her brother Henri Octave Olivier.
This second Cordelia (b 1867) is the one the photo means, as it turns out. She was my 1st cousin 3x removed, which means that her grandfather, Henri François Olivier was my 3x great-grandfather. I did some looking in my family tree and found out that Cordelia’s niece Luciena “Lucy” Olivier had married Napolean Joseph LaVigne in Burlington in 1916. So that was the connection between the two families.
The photo shows a middle-aged couple with five children around them. Almost immediately I suspected it was a wedding photo since the man and woman in the center are dressed like they are a bride and groom. Also, the bride has her hand on the shoulder of the woman. So if it’s a bride and groom, it’s likely her family and not his. It looks like the photo was taken around the turn of the century. I would have guessed between 1895 and 1905. It was taken in Winooski, Vermont. And it looks like the “mother” in the photo is older than the “father”.
After doing as much research on the LaVigne family as I could, I had all the ages of all the members of the extended family. It was easy to rule out this being Lucy and Napolean. It was taken too long ago to be them posing with their family. None of the ages worked out for it to have been taken at their marriage either. In 1916 no female member of the family was as young as the youngest girl in the photo.
In fact, the main issue was that nobody in the LaVigne family was even IN Vermont until 1911. Plus the LaVigne family that married the Olivier family was huge. There were 14 kids in Napolean LaVigne’s family. So I started looking around for other families that were related that might fit. After many permutations, I finally found the right answer, and was able to verify this subsequently using other photos. It is not a portrait of the LaVigne family at all.
[Click to enlarge or download]
The photo was taken at the wedding of Eugenie “Jennie” Olivier (1886-1965) to her husband Félix Joseph Baillargeon (1884-1958). The marriage was on 29 Aug 1904 in Burlington, Vermont. Some members of the family used “Badger” instead of Baillargeon, so many documents list them as Felix and Jennie Badger.
The people in the photo are (l to r):
Arthur Joseph Olivier (1890-1954), Jennie Olivier (1886-1965), Lucie Brasseur Olivier (1860-1928), Félix Joseph Baillargeon (1884-1958), Joseph Hildaige “Hildaige” Olivier (1865-1952), Aldea Georgianna “Leah” Olivier (1888-1975) and Luciena “Lucy” Olivier (1896-1984).
Lucy, of course, would eventually become Lucy LaVigne. I am guessing someone who was related to Lucy Olivier LaVigne knew this was in her collection, but didn’t know which side of the family it was from and assumed it was LaVigne.
Aldea, the teen girl second from the right, would marry Felix’s brother Moise “Moses” Baillargeon three years later in 1907. After Moses died in 1937, Aldea married Felix’s and Moses’s brother Leon Baillargeon in 1943! So the Olivier girls really liked the Baillargeon boys, apparently. Aldea and both of her husbands are buried together and on the same tombstone.
Hildaige, the father in the wedding photo, was the first cousin of my great-grandmother Delia Bacon. The man who sent it to me says there are more from the Olivier family. I’m in negotiations to have them sent to me.
By the way, the couple in the photo… Felix and Jenny.. they had 14 kids. I’m sure there are dozens of living relatives who will be very interested in this photo!