Names lost in Vermont, Part 25: Geno and Yando


MRS. GENO’S OBELISK, St. Dominic’s Cemetery.

While on a seek-and-find mission for Loso gravestones in St. Dominic’s Cemetery in Proctor [Lost Names, Part 24], I photographed two other stones that propelled me to dig deeper into the identity of two women whose families belonged among other lost French-Canadian names. The first name, “Mrs. Geno,” was inscribed on one side of a three-tier marble obelisk, but the framed area below the name where her birth and death dates should have been engraved was mysteriously left blank. The opposite side of the monument disclosed more information: “J Geno/Died May 9 1904/Aged 83 Years.” Was J Geno Mrs. Geno’s husband? Proctor’s 1900 census revealed J Geno as Joseph Geno, age 75, born Canada, with wife Philomen, age 65, born Canada, mother of 13 children, of whom 9 were living. This family moved from Canada to Vermont around 1865, as documented in the 1870 Pittsford census in the village of Sutherland Falls that later separated to form the Town of Proctor. 

PHOTO OF JOSEPH Geno posted on Ancestry.

“Mrs. Jeno” did indeed prove to be Joseph’s wife. “Filliman” Geno outlived her husband by sixteen years and died on December 16, 1920, age 84. Her detailed obituary in the Rutland Herald edition of December 20, 1920 claimed she was the oldest resident of Proctor. Her descendants included 64 grandchildren, 52 great-grandchildren, and one of the fifth generation. The six pall bearers were all fellow French-Canadian immigrants: Albert Fredette, Frank Lorette, Fred Blanchard, Joseph Eno, Felix Loso, and John Pocket. One son, Samuel Geno (1858–1920), who was described in his obituary as owning “considerable property in Rutland” and as the “developer of city park,” predeceased his mother by two months. I am left to wonder why, in a family with so many descendants in the area, that not one completed Mrs. Geno’s inscription? 

Who were the Genos before they came to Proctor? Once again, Québec Catholic registers provided answers. 

PHOTO OF PHILOMENE Geno posted on Ancestry.

Marie-Philomène Boucher wed Joseph Juneau on February 1, 1853, a month before her sixteenth birthday, at the parish church of St. Gabriel-de-Brandon, Berthier County, Québec. Many Boucher families who came from Canada spelled their name as Bush[e]y. More on those families another time! Our J Geno was Joseph, son of Raphael Juneau dit LaTulippe and Louise Goyet— likely baptized with the first name of Jean-Baptiste at St.Paul-de-Lavaltrie, Québec, on October 19, 1819. No other record survives of a baptism for a baby named Joseph to the same couple, but Joseph Geno’s age, 84, on death certificate, [a year off from the monument] fits the identification. [The informant did not know the names of Joseph’s parents]. Geno descendants have posted pictures on The ones of Joseph, near the end of his life, and Philomène in widowhood are notable for being full-length images and likely taken in Proctor. 

Paternal ancestry of the Geno family in North America reaches back to Pierre Juneau/Jumeau, an immigrant from France who, with his wife Anne, was counted in the 1667 census at Petit Cap de la Madeleine.

The simpler gravestone of Mi[a]lvina Yando, “daughter of J. and M. Yando,” who died in her 24th year, took me on a similar quest.  A news item in the Rutland Herald indicated she died of consumption, after being in poor health for a year. Her parents Joseph (1833–1896) and Mary (Lavallée) Yando (1838–1917) presented a challenge in finding their Québec roots because the usual gateway of a marriage record for them, circa 1853, has not survived. Baptisms of two of their children at the church of Ste-Cecile-de-Milton, near Roxton Falls, Québec, reveals the true Yando surname as Riendeau dit Joachim. The young family touched down in present-day West Rutland in 1860, back to Canada during the early Civil War years, and then returning to Vermont by 1870. The 1880 census places them in Rutland, actually West Rutland before it separated into its own town in 1886. Descendants researching this family had been stymied by incorrect information on Joseph Yando’s death certificate which listed his parents as Joseph Yando and Maggie Valyer. Maggie Valyer could not have been Joseph’s mother because she was about his age. So, how did I find Joseph Riendeau’s parents?

MILVINA YANDO’S GRAVESTONE in St. Dominic’s Cemetery.

The baptismal record on December 16, 1854, at Ste. Cecile-de-Milton of Joseph and Mary’s eldest child, Louise, named her godparents, Joseph Riendeau and Henriette Quintin dit Dubois. Remembering the French-Canadian custom that grandparents often served as the eldest grandchild’s godparents led me to verify this couple as Joseph Yando [Riendeau]’s parents. Joseph Riendeau, baptized on September 20, 1833, at Varennes, Québec, matches perfectly to the man who settled in Proctor. Other members of this family also moved from Varennes to Ste. Cecile-de-Milton, Québec. The Riendeau family goes back to a couple named Joachim Reguindeau who married Madeleine Haneton at Boucherville, Québec on January 6, 1669. She was a Fille-du-Roy [literally daughter of the king], a group of young women recruited by Louis XIV and sent to New France to find husbands and thereby propagate descendants for the colony. Madeleine arrived on a ship aptly named La Nouvelle France on July 3, 1668, one among of hundreds of women who fulfilled their destiny and whose progeny today must number in tens of thousands.

Once again, these gravestones have served as wonderful portals not only in deciphering lost names but also in discovering their histories. 

1870 CENSUS FOR “Jeno.”

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