Photo Story: Dad and A Mystery Solved

(Original Image and Text, Copyright (c) 2011 Cynthia Shenette) My mom grew up in the Vernon Hill section of Worcester.  My dad also grew up in Worcester.  

This is the only photo I have of my dad, Henry Albert Shenette (1916-1985), and his siblings as children and young adults.  This photo was taken in 1929 and includes six of my dad's seven siblings.  Sibling number seven hadn't been born yet when the picture was taken.

While I have hundreds of photos of my mom's family I have very few of my dad's family. Why is this?  I believe there are a number of reasons.  Money was tight for Dad's family.  My grandfather Frank Shenette (1873-1945) is listed in the census and the Worcester city directories as a painter or a house painter.  If you compare the economic downturn of today in relation to the Great Depression, painting is something that you can often do without when money is short.  My grandmother, Marie Louise (Comeau) Shenette (1890-1959), was busy with the children, giving birth approximately every two to three years between 1907 and 1929.  The family moved around a great deal, probably due to work and the cost of rent.  From the time my dad was born in 1916, until he left home for the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1934, the family lived in eight different places in Worcester. My dad also spent many years traveling in the military.  Finally, there were eight children to divide up the existing photos.

I posted this photo back in February of this year.  At the time I listed the names of all of the siblings, but I didn't know the identity of the older woman in the group.  I remember asking my dad years ago who she was and all he said was that she was an aunt. I speculated that the woman might have been Frank's sister Josephine (1876-1952) who I mention in my post, The Death and Funeral of Charles Senecal - Amanuensis Monday.  The woman resembles members of the Chenette family.  Josephine lived in Worcester, and would have been about the age of the woman in the photo.  I am happy to report  that I have discovered the identity of the woman in the photograph.  The mysterious "aunt" is Lena (Chenette) Potvin (1882-1961) Frank's youngest sister.  I initially discounted Lena as she lived in St. Albans, VT at the time the photo was taken. I had the right side of the family, but the wrong sister.  Special thanks goes to my cousin Roger LaFerriere who found my blog online, took the time to contact me, and solved the mystery!

The siblings in the photo are Leo A. (1907-1973), Edward F. (1911-1991), Margaret M. (1913-2004), Richard R. (1922-1980), Dad, Bertha L. (1910-1991), and Raymond F. (1925-1990) sitting in Lena's lap.  You may notice that throughout this post I use both the Chenette spelling and the Shenette spelling.  The spelling varies between records and even between siblings.

Other Posts You Might Like:

What's In A Name? (An Ongoing Series): Chenette
Tombstone Tuesday: Francois Chenette, Civil War Soldier
Wordless Wednesday: Dad, Somewhere Cold
Postcards From the Edge: Genealogy Road Trippin'

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