Wednesday, July 24, 2013

What Does Your Future Hold For You?

It is the year 1910, you are 21 years old, and you wake up one morning and make a decision to embark on a voyage by ship to leave your homeland country for the very first time to go visit family/friends in a foreign land, and you can't speak their language. You don't realize it yet, but the choice you just made will, in a few short years, be life-changing, and will determine your future. Our lives and the lives of our ancestors have always been about choices; good, bad, or otherwise. When we get older, we mentally look back on our lives, and sometimes we wonder how different it might have been, had we consciously chosen a different path to follow. And the question to ask yourself at that point is, "How different would my life have been, or would I have even existed, had my ancestor not made the choice to take a very brave step to leave his own homeland?".

My paternal Pipe` (Grandpa), Andre` Cyrille Guerin faced that decision. He sailed from France on the Sicilian, leaving out of Port Le Havre, on 11 Jul 1910 and arriving in Montreal, P.Q., Canada, on 20 Jul 1910. Based on the Border Crossing document shown below, Andre's father, Narcisse` (Nelson), had previously sailed on ahead of his son and made contact with, and arranged for a place for both he and his son to stay in P.Q., Canada with friends. Having this contact, provided an opportunity for Andre` to earn himself some spending money in the amount of $200, which he would need when he reached his ultimate destination, which was in Sweet Grass, Montana to visit his older sister, Blanche M. and her new family. Their visit would last a total of 8 months, starting in Oct. 1910, and ending in May 1911. 

This is page 1 of the Sicilian Ship Manifest for the 1910 voyage.

This is page 4 of the very same ship manifest, and if you look on line 17, you will find my Cyrille Andre` Guerin.
It would be 14 months later, before Andre` sailed on his 2nd adventure from France to Forget, Saskatchewan, P.Q., Canada, arriving on 8 Jul 1912. The ship was again the Sicilian. Upon arrival, he was met by and was graciously hosted by a good friend named Emile Dechiel. This time his stay would last for 6 months, before Andre` once again crossed the Canadian Border into the U.S. on 31 Dec. 1912/01 Jan. 1913. Just as the manifest card below shows, this time Andre` entered into Mooers Forks, N.Y., where he then stayed with a second friend named Joseph Snide and Joseph's wife Maureen. Andre` had only $40 to his name this time around.

Even after my 13 years of intense research, I still don't know if the plan was already set in motion before Andre` set sail from his home in Souzy, France in the fall of 1912 or not; but it had become a one-way trip based on the records that I have so far. I don't know if Andre's friends played match-makers, or if possibly their meeting was by accident, but almost exactly 1 year later, my Pipe`, Cyreal Andre` (Andrew) Guerin would get married to my Mime`, Mary Burnadette Bulriss on 21 Jan. 1914. The wedding was held in a quaint little Roman Catholic Church, named St. Ann's, located in the heart of the very small farming community of Mooers Forks, N.Y.

This is an exact copy of their marriage record.

Here is an external pic of St. Ann's Church

When we grow up and leave the family nest for the 1st time, and we step out into the big scary world as young naive souls, many of us are still wearing that pair of
Rose Colored glasses when we make those first choices. The plan is to do whatever it takes to realize our hopes and dreams. This is all happening long before we learn that there are other forces out there such as life, karma, and fate who have other plans for our lives. I am quite sure that when my Pipe`, Cyrille Andre` Guerin first stepped off the Sicilian and onto vast new land in Quebec, Canada, many plans and thoughts were racing through his head. As humans, we all like to believe that we are in control; that is until the other forces begin to step in to remind us that is not the case. I believe that our lives are the end result of a mix of our own personal choices, fate, karma, and choices made by our ancestors. What truly was the motivating factor that drove Andre` to leave his childhood home in Souzy, France to chase a dream in the new country of America? We may never know. Andre` had no idea what his future held for him when he made his journey; but thankfully because of it, I am here to write about it!

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