The Great American Dream | Yvonne Leger (Gen.9) & Rosaire Theriault (Gen.10)

In former posts I discussed my grandfather Rosaire Theriault‘s difficult childhood as he grew up in a very large family, tried to evade the  World War I draft, and then faced the Great Depression of the 1920s. After marrying my grandmother Yvonne Leger (Gen.9) ,  Rosaire  tried to support his growing family through various legal and illegal means. Finally, in 1924 he decided – after much urging and insistence from my grandmother – that they would try their luck in Schenectady, N.Y.

My grandmother Yvonne Leger had a great zest for life and of the two she was the one with strong ambitions for the family. She had Leger relations already in Schenectady and she knew that with the terrible depression there was no future for the family in New Brunswick.

This excerpt from the E.A Theriault (Gen.10) Family History Project, records my grandmother’s Yvonne Leger’s words as she describes the biggest challenge the couple faced in trying to move to the States. The story picks up in Montreal.1924

The next day we went to the Immigration Office. There we were told that we would no emigrate to the States until your father could read a certain card. We went back to our room and there I spent the whole night trying to teach your father to read that card. But it was no use, the next day when we went back to the Immigration Office, your father still could not read that card. So we went to Edmundston, N.B. and stayed with my sister Mina for a while, and later on with your father’s brother Alexandre. It was that then you were born (Eddie, the author). We were six months in Edmundston. I taught your father to read the card he had flunked in Montreal. We tried the Immigration Office in Edmundston and this time your father was able to read the card and we were able to move to Schenectady, N.Y.

Below: Excerpt from E.A. Theriault (Gen.11) Family History Project

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I found these related documents at Ancestry’s Immigration & Travel Historical Records. They record Rosaire and Yvonne’s crossing at Van Buren, Maine in 1924. The first is their “Primary Inspection Memorandum” while the second a “List or Manifest of Alien Passengers Applying for Admission”.

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