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This site is dedicated to my son, BRIAN GERO and his Giroux ancestors

I married into the Gero family of Kankakee Co. Illinois in 1969. I can only remember one visit that we made to my son Brian's great grandmother's house shortly thereafter. Her name was Ida Karoline Pontow and she was the widow of Fred Gero. I can vaguely remember a man being there whom I believe was her son Freeman. The only discussion I can ever remember taking place was that Fred Gero had another family in New York and it supposedly wasn't known until years later. No one seemed to know where in New York he was from or any details regarding his family. In a recent visit of Brian's aunt, Mary Ann, I started gathering any information that she could supply, which resulted in contact with Carol Ann Rainford Ruholl, the granddaughter of Fred and Ida Gero. Carol Ann contacted me and had in her possession many old photographs of the family members and she started filling me in with names and people that Ida used to go see and write to who lived in Malone and Syracuse, New York. If it hadn't been for Carol Ann's information I would NEVER found Fred Gero's ancestors, so I want to give a BIG THANKS to her for supplying me with the vital information.

Frederick Freeman Gero, Sr was born 1881 in Malone, New York. According to Carol Ann he was a logger. Many other members of the family were also involved in the logging business, including his own father, Andre Giroux aka Andrew Gero. His father was killed in the forest someplace near Malone, New York, and most likely in the Adirondack Mountains where many of the locals went to gather their timber.

It is believed that Andrew was killed when Fred was quite young, leaving his mother a widow with several young children at home. We don't know when Andrew died because we can't locate any burial records for him in the cemeteries around Malone.

Fred was born and raised a Roman Catholic, along with all of his ancestors who originally came from France.

At some point Fred married and had a family, prior to leaving New York. It is not known what time period he left New York, but from information gathered from Bernard Gero in Syracuse, New York, he was gone for some years before the family heard from him again. At this point, all we know is that he had been married previously and had children, but we do not know who his wife or children were. I have been unable to locate Fred in the census records in New York with any of his family or a wife, but have documentation from two of his brothers obituaries stating he was their brother. He apparently "ran away" and the next we know is that he married Ida Karoline Pontow in Crown Point, Lake Co. Indiana on 26 Jan 1915.

Shortly after Fred and Ida married they moved to Boy River, Cass Co. Minnesota where they spent the next few years. Fred worked in the logging camps and saw mills there. All of their children were born there. Sometime in the late 1920's they moved to Momence, Kankakee Co. Illinois where he ran a resort on the river. This was the meeting grounds for Fred's son, Lloyd Henry Gero and his wife, Mary LeCuyer, Brian's grandparents. They were neighbors on the river resort. According to Carol Ann, Ida's father had been quite abusive to her and she filed a lawsuit against him and probably the reason they left this area. Ida's family lived around the same vicinity and after Ida's father died in 1926 is when we think they came back to Illinois.

In a telephone conversation with Bernard Gero of Syracuse, New York, he could remember Fred and Ida coming to New York in the spring of 1946 with their son Freeman. That was the only time he ever saw Fred. We think he may have gone there to the funeral of his brother, Andrew Gero, Jr. who died 26 May 1946 in Syracuse. (Andrew Jr. was Bernard's grandfather) Ida would then go to New York in the later years (1960's) and she corresponded with many of the family members after Fred's death. Bernard could remember her coming to visit on several occasions through the years.

Little else is know about Fred's life. He died at age 66 in Momence, Kankakee Co. Illinois in August, 1947. He and Ida are both buried in the Momence Cemetery.

Children of Frederick Freeman Gero, Sr and Ida Karoline Pontow

Ida Gero stillborn 1915

Frederick Freeman Gero, Jr b 2 Jul 1917 d 13 Dec 1994 Bossier City, Bossier Co. Louisiana. Freeman didn't marry until 24 Jun 1972 to Mary Davis and they were later divorced prior to his death. He had no children

Lloyd Henry Gero b 6 Nov 1918 d May 1979 Arizona married Mary LeCuyer 15 Dec 1942. Their children: Lloyd Robert (Brian's father); Walter Henry; Mary Ann; Debbie; Tommy; and Daniel Albert. Many grandchildren from this family.

Norris Gero b 1920 still living married Eva Brownfield 11 June 1949. They had two sons Dennis and John

Melba Gero b 25 Jan 1924 d 4 May 1989 Benton, Bossier Co. Louisiana married Raymond A. Rainford 8 Dec 1842. They had one daughter Carol Ann Rainford who married Frank Ruholl. No grandchildren.



Joseph Giroux christened 29 Apr 1801 Saint-Philippe, Laprairie, Quebec, was the son of Jean-Baptiste Giroux and Marie Therese Beausoleil Normandin. He married Marie Josephte "Josephine" Hamelin 13 Oct 1823 Saint-Philippe, Laprairie, Quebec, daughter of Rene Hamelin II and Marie-Louise Vachereau dit Versailles. (more about the "dit" names later).

The above map shows the location of Saint-Philippe where Joseph, Josephine and their children were born. The purple dots indicate other locations that many of the Giroux families lived. Quebec is located just north of New York and was an easy path for migration to the United States. Clinton county is directly below this map and to the west of Clinton Co is Franklin County where Malone is located.

With at least 7 of his children he left Quebec in the late 1840's and settled in Malone, Franklin Co. New York. All of his children were born in Canada prior to the move. Joseph is found on the 1850 census in Malone, New York living with his family and the many other French Canadian families from Quebec. Malone is a huge settlement of French Canadians. Sometime in the 1850's Joseph dies, but I have not found any burial records for him as yet. Most of his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren are buried in the Notre Dame Catholic Church cemetery. We do know that many family members attended the Notre Dame Church, but I have not as yet searched the church records for baptismal records. Bernard Gero did tell me his father was baptized there. Most of the records are written either in French or Latin, so I will need to have someone translate the records for me once I get them.

After Joseph's death, Josephine raised her children alone. Nothing is known of the early life of this family. But as the perils of life go, they had to face living conditions in log cabins living in the wilderness of the Adirondack Mountains.

Josephine had at least three son's who fought for the Union during the Civil War. I haven't found Civil War service records for son Andrew as yet. But son's Joseph; Peter; and Camille all served.

Josephine never remarried and in her later years lived with their youngest daughter, Appolina and her husband, Israel Hamell. The last I find her is in 1880 and they were living in Saratoga Springs, Saratoga Co. New York. I haven't found burial records for her either in Malone, but she may have died in Saratoga Springs and may be buried there.

Children of Joseph Giroux and Marie Josephte Hamelin (I'm wondering if the name Hamelin became HAMELL in the U.S.)

Marie Josephte Giroux christened 8 Jun 1825 Saint-Philippe, Laprairie, Quebec. Nothing more is known of Marie.

Joseph Giroux Jr christened 13 Mar 1827 Saint-Philippe, Laprairie, Quebec died 25 Dec 1915 Axtell, Marshall Co. Kansas. Joseph left New York in the 1850's and went to Kankakee Co. Illinois, another large French Canadian settlement. There he married Fanny Philomene LaBarge (another Fr Canadian family) 31 Oct 1859 Kankakee Co Illinois. They had two children in Illinois Martine b abt 1860 and Elisha T b Apr 1867. They left Kankakee and moved to Axtell, Kansas where their last child Dellia Philomene Gero was born Sept 1871. Elisha never married, and I don't know who the girls married. Photo forthcoming on Joseph and Fanny, thanks to Carol Ann.

Andre Giroux aka Andrew Gero christened 13 Oct 1828 Saint-Philippe, Laprairie, Quebec died sometime between 1882 and 1900 Adirondack Mts. married about 1855 Malone, New York to Mary Bourcier/Boursier dit Nicklaw, daughter of Pierre Boursier and Josephte Rufiange dit Laviolette from Saint Joachim, Chateaugay, Quebec. Mary BOURCIER dit Nicklaw and Andrew GERO Andre Giroux are 5th cousins 1 time removed. Their common ancestors are Toussaint GIROUX and Marie GODARD. Their children Mary; Amelia; Leah or Lena; Josephine Belle; Andrew E; Peter Eusebe; William M. his French birth name Guillaume which is William in English; Salinda; Louisa; John; Frederick Freeman and Joseph. More about this family ****This is my son's direct line.

Olivier Giroux christened 30 Jan 1831 Napierville, Napierville, Quebec died 7 Feb 1831 Napierville, Napierville, Quebec. This is the beginning of their path of migration down from Saint-Philippe.

Peter "Pierre" Giroux/Gero b 9 Aug 1835 in Canada but haven't found the rest of the children's christening records yet. Peter served during the Civil War and died in Malone, New York 9 Feb 1876. He is buried in the Morningside Cemetery, Malone, Franklin Co. New York. He married Sarah A. ? and had children Appalona; Albert Freeman; Emma; Jennie E; James E; and there may have been others.

Camille Giroux/Gero b abt July 1837 Canada d 10 Jun 1909 Malone, New York buried Notre Dame Cemetery, Malone, Franklin Co. New York. He married Louisa Belair and had one son Joseph Gero. Camille served during the Civil War.

Alfred Frederick Giroux/Gero b abt 1839 Canada. I have not positively proven that Alfred was their son. On the 1850 census they did have a son Aseb male 10. He may have taken the name Alfred. He was 1st married I think to a Miss Trushaw and 2nd to Laura ?. By first wife had a daughter Alice Elizabeth; and 2nd wife Joseph; Nelson; Philena; Frederick; John; and Olive. Nothing more is know about him.

Appolina Giroux/Gero b Aug 1842 Canada d 12 Mar 1913 Malone, New York buried St. Helen's Cemetery, Chasm Falls, Malone, Franklin Co. New York. Appolina married Israel Hamell. They had children Israel F (may have been Freeman, as Israel's father's name was Freeman and where the name Freeman developed among the Giroux family); Florence; James; Alexander; Eliza J; Josephine; Nellie; Herman D.; Mary; Etty; and Pansy.

When I get my scanner working, I will be adding many photographs of family members. But for now I will put up a few that I do have that were sent to me by Barbara Benware Burt. Her Benware family ties to Andrew Jr's son Peter's wife, Marceline Benware and she had some photos of Peter's family. Peter is the brother of Fred Gero of Momence, Illinois.

Peter Eusebe Gero, son of Andrew Gero and Mary Bourcier dit Nicklaw, b 26 Jul 1865 Malone, NY d 22 Feb 1942 Malone, Ny buried Notre Dame Cemetery, Malone, Franklin Co. New York married 12 Feb 1900 Marceline Benware b 26 Apr 1874 Owls Head, Franklin Co. New York d 12 Aug 1921 buried same cemetery. They had childre Herman Louis; Edward William; Lawrence Joseph; Clarence Leo; Ernest A.; Wesley Peter; and Arthur Otis. Clarence, Wesley, and Arthur died as infants. These pictures were furnished to Barbara through Herman's son Herman Patrick Gero of Cleveland, Ohio. Below is Peter and Marceline's wedding photo.



Copyright 2 Jan 2005 Carolyn Whitaker

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