All posts by Jacques Gagné

The Protestants of Paris in the 16th and 17th Centuries

Protestantism in Paris

The first national Protestant synod was held in Paris in 1559.  See the following French language text by Christiane Guttinger; scroll down the page for the English translation.

http://www.huguenots.fr/2010/09/le-premier-synode-national-protestant-reuni-a-paris-en-1559/

The City of Paris is home to splendid archives, libraries and societies in the repositories of which you may find partial answers to your questions about an ancestor who might have been a member of the Église réformée de France or l’Église luthérienne en France from as early as 1555 in the Paris region.

Some of the leading societies or repositories addressing Huguenots in the Paris region are: Société de l’Histoire du Protestantisme Français, Comité protestant des amitiés françaises à l’étranger (Paris), BnF – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris), Archives nationales de France (Paris), Archives de Paris, Archives départementales de Paris, Archives départementales – Essonne, Archives départementales – Eure-et-Loir, Archives départementales – Hauts-de-Seine, Archives départementales – Loiret, Archives départementales – Seine-et-Marne, Archives départementales – Seine-Saint-Denis, Archives départementales – Val-de-Marne, Archives départementales – Val-d’Oise – Archives départementales – Yvelines, Archives départementales – Yonne – Archives municipales of the region of Paris

If you are researching French Protestant ancestors who came to North America, you may find the following site of special interest: The Huguenot Refuge in America is an online museum and website in French, English and German.  See https://www.museeprotestant.org/en/notice/le-refuge-huguenot-en-amerique/

The following 45-page compilation in PDF format is designed to help you research Protestants in the Paris area in the 16th and 17th centuries. Click here:  The Protestants of Paris 16th, 17th centuries

This compilation includes various listings; a list of books and articles on the subject (many of these are in French; you can use an online tool such as Google Translate to help understand these texts); a list of historical societies concerned with Protestantism in France; a list of online archival resources including databases, libraries and museums; links to the national library of France, national archives of France, the archives of Paris and other departmental and municipal archives; links to historic Protestant newspapers; French genealogical links; a list of publishers.

See also the following related posts on Genealogy Ensemble:

Jacques Gagné, May 20, 2018, «How to Search for Huguenot Ancestors in Francehttps://genealogyensemble.com/2018/05/20/how-to-search-for-huguenot-ancestors-in-france/

Jacques Gagné, June 3, 2018, «Huguenot Family Lineage Searches,»  https://genealogyensemble.com/2018/06/03/huguenot-family-lineage-searches/

Jacques Gagné, May 13, 2018, «Researching Your French Ancestors Online,» (the attached updated PDF describes how to research in the Archives départementales de France, the country’s 95 regional archives)  https://genealogyensemble.com/2018/05/13/researching-your-french-ancestors-online/

Jacques Gagné, Jan. 27, 2019, «The National Archives of France, » https://genealogyensemble.com/2019/01/27/the-national-archives-of-france/

Jacques Gagné, Dec. 16, 2018, «BNF Gallica» (Bibliothèque nationale de France) https://genealogyensemble.com/2018/12/16/bnf-gallica/

Jacques Gagné,  Sept. 23, 2018, «Finding Ancestors in French Municipal Archives» https://genealogyensemble.com/2018/09/23/finding-ancestors-in-french-municipal-archives/

Searching for Loyalist Orphans in Quebec

The Loyalist Orphans of Quebec under British Military Rule and Lower Canada

United Empire Loyalists were people who remained loyal to the British during the American Revolution (1765-1783), and settled elsewhere in British North America after the United States became independent. In Quebec, the Loyalists settled in various places from the Mauricie to the Gaspé, but primarily in the Eastern Townships, southeast of Montreal and near the American border.

Most of these families were poor and had gone through very hard times fleeing their homes. The difficulties involved with rebuilding their lives, clearing lands and erecting barns and houses in Quebec often resulted in the early deaths of parents. Their orphaned children were usually assigned to other families in the three regional Judicial Districts of Montreal, Quebec City and Trois-Rivières.

If you suspect you had Loyalist ancestors who came to Quebec, but it appears they simply vanished, notarial acts dealing with these orphans might help you break through your brick walls. The notarial documents known as tutelles and curatelles (guardianships of minors) are most likely to be helpful.

The attached compilation is a list of notaries who served during this time period and these places, and whose tutelle and curatelle acts might shed light on the lives of the Loyalist orphans. Click here: Searching for Loyalist Orphans in Quebec

Thank you to the Heritage Branch of the United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada for this info, passed on in a 2014 conversation with a member of the executive.

Key Terms:

The following are notarial acts or notarial expressions used in official documents which you might want to consider in your notarial searches of your ancestors in Québec and Lower Canada (Bas-Canada).

Curatelle – Judicial acts – Authority given to an adult individual by the Justice system (Regional Court House) or by an assembly of family members in order for the selected person to be the administrator of all assets, funds, capital for those who are not capable of managing their assets.

Testament – Wills and testaments

Tutelle – Authority given to a person by law or by the wishes of a testator or by an assembly of family members in order for said person selected to be the guardian of said emancipated minor and for said chosen person to be the overseer and administrator of all assets, funds, capital obtained through a will from his or her parents.

See also: Jacques Gagne, Genealogy Ensemble, Feb. 10, 2019, “Quebec guardianship records can help resolve brick walls,” https://genealogyensemble.com/2019/02/10/quebec-guardianship-records-can-help-resolve-brick-walls/

Some Geographic Background:

The first Loyalist families under British Military Rule arrived in Québec in 1777.  Loyalists from the Mohawk Valley appear to have been the first to arrive, settling along the shores of the Richelieu River near the town of St. Johns (St-Jean-sur-Richelieu) and in Montreal.

In 1779, Governor Frederick Haldimand assigned Captain Daniel McAlpin with the King’s Royal Regiment to oversee the establishment of the Loyalist refugees in British Quebec.

In the Montreal region, Loyalist families settled in Pointe-Claire, Lachine, and Montreal.

Along the shores of the Richelieu River, in addition to St. Johns, Loyalist refugee camps were organized in Chambly, Sorel, St-Ours, Sorel being the largest refuge in the region. A few miles away in Yamaska, a small group of Loyalist families were present.

Across the St. Lawrence River from Sorel, in the townships of Berthier and Yamachiche, a much larger group of Loyalists families were given temporary lands. The hamlet of Yamachiche became known to Loyalist families as Machiche. It became the largest temporary Loyalist settlement in Quebec. The settlement of Machiche was organized from two seigneuries which were the property of Conrad Gugy, secretary to Frederick Haldimand, Governor of Trois-Rivières and later Governor of Quebec.

The seigneuries owned by Conrad Gugy were the Seigneurie de Grosbois-Ouest, also known as Petite-Rivière-Yamachiche. In 1771, Gugy purchased a second seigneury, Seigneurie de Dumontier, which adjoined the Seigneurie de Grosbois-Ouest where the Loyalist camp of Machiche was organized.

South of Quebec City, in present day Beauce County, there was a small and short-lived Loyalist refuge referred to as Nouvelle-Beauce. It was along the banks of the Chaudière River near present-day St-Georges-de-Beauce.

Just north of Montréal, in the townships of Terrebonne and St-Eustache, a few Loyalist families settled on farms alongside former German mercenaries who had fought with British Regiments during the American Revolutionary War.

A few Loyalist families also settled in the Lower Laurentians in hamlets such as Lachute, St. Andrews (St-André-d’Argenteuil) and more to the east in St-Gabriel-de-Brandon, within the present-day district of D’Autray in the County of Berthier.

In 1784, a large group of Loyalist families settled in the Gaspé Peninsula and organized communities such as New Carlisle, Bonaventure, New Richmond, Carleton, Port Daniel and the Matapedia region.

Finally, the largest group of Loyalist settlers in Quebec were the families who were highly instrumental in establishing the Eastern Townships and of the communities on the Upper Richelieu River at Bay Missisquoi.

Loyalists were present within the Eastern Townships in St. Armand, Stanbridge, Dunham, Sutton, Farnham, Granby, Shefford, Stukely, Bolton, Brome, Potton, Stanstead, Magog, Hatley, Oxford, Ascot, Eaton and Clifton townships and also Foucault, Bay Missisquoi and Noyan on the shores of the Richelieu River at the U.S. – Canadian border.

http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/gugy_conrad_4E.html

http://gaspesie.quebecheritageweb.com/article/loyalists-gaspesia-1784-1984

uelac.org/SirJohnJohnson/eastern-townships.php

Protestants in Quebec

Recently, the news media reported that Quebec Premier François Legault stated that “all” French Canadians are Catholic. While it is true that, historically, almost all francophone Quebecers were Catholic, today many are lapsed Catholics while others are atheists. There are also those who, for a variety of reasons, switched from the Catholic Church to a Protestant religion.

In my own case, I became a Protestant in my mid-forties. My father, Lionel Gagné, was also a Protestant. At a young age, he lost both his Catholic parents and was placed in a Catholic orphanage in east-end Montreal. At about the age of seven or eight, he was taken in by a Huguenot teacher and his wife, a Presbyterian from Massachusetts, who were teachers at a bilingual Protestant College in Pointe-aux-Trembles. This college was operated and financed at the time by McGill University and the Presbyterian Church of Canada.

Like many people, Premier Legault is probably not aware that a small minority of French Quebecers had Protestant ancestors, many of whom were forced to give up their religion when they settled here. Genealogist Michel Barbeau has estimated that about 320 Huguenots, or French-speaking Protestants, settled in New France between 1634 and 1763. See the database of names he identified as Huguenots: http://pages.infinit.net/barbeaum/fichier/index.htm). You can read more about the history of the Huguenots on Barbeau’s website Our Huguenot Ancestors, http://pages.infinit.net/barbeaum/huga/index.htm

Many of these people came to North America to escape from persecution in Europe, however, they did not find life much easier in New France. Many were forced to abjure, or renounce, their religion and others became Catholic after marrying in the Catholic Church. Those who remained Protestant were banned from certain trades, while some had their possessions confiscated.

Here are links to two of my research guides to the Huguenots of New France:

https://genealogyensemble.com/2014/04/02/huguenot-refugees/

https://genealogyensemble.com/2015/02/03/register-of-abjurations/

The following article describes the early Protestant churches of Quebec City:

https://genealogyensemble.com/2019/02/03/the-protestant-churches-of-quebec-city-1629-1759/

In addition to being a list of French-language Protestant churches and their ministers, the research guide below includes an excellent article by Réne Péron about the lives of Protestants in New France, a list of books and authors who have written on the subject, and contact information for the archives of Protestant churches where you can find church registries:

https://genealogyensemble.com/2015/11/22/french-protestant-churches-in-quebec/

The following research guide is a list of villages, towns and townships across Quebec where people from a variety of origins, including Huguenots, settled:

https://genealogyensemble.com/2015/04/08/british-irish-scottish-loyalist-american-german-scandinavian-dutch-huguenot-families-in-lower-canada-and-quebec-1760/

In 2020, I will be posting a series of articles about the Huguenots in Europe. The first will focus on the Protestants of Paris and surrounding region in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Notaries in Lower Canada

The Notaries of Quebec who Served among Loyalist, British, Scottish, Irish, Germanic and American Families during the British Military Period in Lower Canada

Beginning with the French regime (1635) and continuing after the British conquest (post Plains of Abraham,1759,) the people of Quebec were privy to a judicial system that guaranteed the setting down in writing of marriage contracts, wills and testaments, after-death inventories, business engagements, leases, sales, purchases of houses or farms, etc. Transactions of all types were recorded by notaries within the three judicial districts of New France: Quebec City, Montreal and Trois-Rivières.

Many of the post-conquest documents are available at the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) online or on microfilm.

After the British conquest of 1759, Governor James Murray at Quebec City, Thomas Gage at Montreal, and Ralph Burton at Trois-Rivières began the process of interviewing notaries who had been previously appointed under the French regime by Governor Pierre de Rigaud, Marquis de Vaudreuil-Cavagnal.

The majority of French-born notaries elected to return to France while most of the native-born notaries decided to stay. These native-born notaries were interviewed once again by the Chief Justice and Attorney General.

This research guide to British military period notaries in Lower Canada will guide you directly to the relevant BAnQ webpages containing biographies of these individuals, along with descriptions of the contents of their respective fonds.

Click here to see the attached pdf research guide: Notaries Loyalists British Scottish research guide

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Here are some of the many expressions you will encounter among notarial acts written in the French language:

Abandon – Action in which one renounces, relinquishes, or dispenses with a property, farm, house, barns, farm equipment, farm animals.

Acceptation – Action in which one agrees to accept the final transfer of rights or assets

Acte de dernières volontés – (final wishes) See Testament

Acte soussigné privé – Agreement reached by two parties (persons) without the intervention of a court official (public officer)

Adoption – Adoption

Contrat de mariage – Marriage contract

Curatelle – Judicial acts – Authority given to an adult individual by the justice system (Regional Court House) or by an assembly of family members in order for the selected person to be the administrator of all assets, funds and capital for those who are not capable of managing their own assets

Inventaire – After-death inventory

Jugement – Acte judiciaire – Judgement, verdict, decision, ruling, pronouncement

Partage – The allocation to a group of people (family members, in most cases) of assets, funds, capital, lands, farms, houses, barns, farm animals

Testament – Wills and testaments

Tutelle – Authority accorded to a person by law or by the wishes of a testator or by an assembly of family members in order for that person to be the guardian of a emancipated minor and for the chosen person to be the overseer and administrator of all assets and funds obtained through a will from the minor’s parents.

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Please note:   Some of the notarial acts can be viewed online, others can be accessed on microfilm or microfiche at various repositories of the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ). At the BAnQ, all files downloaded are free. All dossiers requested by email are also viewed for free. See details at the conclusion of this research guide.

In addition, some notarial acts of Quebec can be viewed online at Ancestry.ca (Ancestry.com), Généalogie Québec (Genealogy Quebec) or FamilySearch.org. The latter is free to anyone who completes the online membership request, giving access to all databases stored there.

The notaries included in the attached research guide are those who, throughout their careers, dealt with Loyalist, French, British, Irish, Scottish, German, Scandinavian and non-Loyalist American families in various regions of Quebec and Lower Canada. The selection process was carried out at the Grande Bibliothèque de Montréal, the Collection nationale du Québec (Bibliothèque nationale du Québec) and BAnQ Vieux-Montréal (Archives nationales du Québec).

You may encounter a Restriction de consultation (legal restriction) to certain notarial acts. Legal access restrictions are usually found among the notaries who served the elite families of Quebec during the British military period or the Lower Canada period. For example, if you count the fur barons of Montreal among your ancestors, you may encounter legal restrictions on many of the notarial acts that refer to them. Many of these restrictions were still in effect in 2019 and only direct family lineage descendants can access some of these notarized documents, such as wills (testaments), business transactions, after-death inventories and estate settlements. Over the years, some family members might have lifted such restrictions imposed when the acts were first recorded.

An asterisk after a notary’s name denotes an association with, or professional services rendered to, British governors such as Jeffery Amherst, James Murray, Guy Carleton, Frederick Haldimand, Lord Dorchester (Guy Carleton), or with British generals,  British administrators, Lieutenant Governors or Chief Justices. These include Conrad Gugy, Thomas Dunn, William Gregory, William Hey, George Suckling, P.A. Irving, Hector Theophilus de Cramahé, Henry Hamilton, Henry Hope, Alured Clarke, Adam Mabane, Walter Murray, Samuel Holland, François Mounier, James Cuthbert, Benjamin Price, Francis Massères and others.

 

Researching Quebec Loyalists at the BAnQ

Loyalist families settled in Quebec following the end of the American Revolution in 1783. At that time, Quebec was under British rule.

For a complete listings of United Empire Loyalists fonds which can be viewed at various repositories of the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ), go to the catalogue search page https://cap.banq.qc.ca/fr/ and search for the word Loyalist.

The collection includes books, theses, essays and papers. Some of the items in this collection have been reproduced on microfiche from old documents originating in other archives, libraries or historical societies in the provinces of Quebec, Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. A fair number of these papers were first published in the 19th century by historians, scholars, archivists and lecturers.

Between 60% to 70% of the material regarding the Loyalists stored at the various repositories of BAnQ in Montreal address Loyalist families who settled in Upper Canada (Ontario), Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. I am mainly interested in Loyalists who settled in Quebec

The compilation attached here, “Researching Quebec Loyalists at the BAnQ,” lists 168 books, historical documents and other material available at the BAnQ in Montreal concerning the Loyalists who settled in what is now the Province of Quebec. Quebec Loyalists at the BAnQ

Please note: In order to borrow books or CDs from the Grande Bibliothèque de Montréal, one must obtain a BAnQ membership card. It is free to all residents of the Province of Quebec. For researchers residing outside of Quebec, temporary memberships can be issued with limited borrowing options. See my post Genealogy Ensemble dated Nov. 17, 2019, Exploring la Grande Bibliothèque.

Only at the Grande Bibliothèque de Montréal can a visitor borrow a book or CD.

The other repositories of the BAnQ in the Montreal region are:  the Collection nationale (du Québec) housed within the same building as the Grande Bibliothèque de Montréal; BAnQ Vieux-Montréal (Archives nationales du Québec on Viger Avenue in Old Montreal); BAnQ Rosemont La Petite-Patrie at 2275 Holt Street and, opening in 2020, the Bibliothèque Saint-Sulpice at 1700 St. Denis Street near Sherbrooke Street (east). At these repositories, material can only be viewed on location.

   Contents of the compilation

Page 2   Grande Bibliothèque de Montréal

Page 3   Collection nationale

Page 10 BAnQ Vieux-Montréal

Page 11 BAnQ Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie

 Page 11 BAnQ Online Digitized Books

 Page 12 BAnQ – Sir John Johnson and the British Governors during and following the great Loyalist migration.

 

Exploring la Grande Bibliothèque

BAnQ

The Library and National Archives of Quebec, known as La Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ), is located at two separate locations in Montreal. The main library building (La Grande Bibliothèque) is situated in a sprawling, modern facility near the Berri-UQAM metro stop. The Archives de Montréal, one of the BAnQ’s ten archival centers in Quebec, is located on Viger Street in Old Montreal.

Click here to see what materials the archives contain: http://www.banq.qc.ca/archives/

Quebec’s Heritage Collection, known as La Collection Nationale, is kept in in two highly-controlled wood-paneled areas within the Grande Bibliothèque. Some of these precious materials are available for public viewing, but only on-the-spot. Click here for more information about this collection:

http://www.banq.qc.ca/collections/collections_patrimoniales/collection_nationale/

BAnQ’s vast collection include dossiers from the birth of New France in 1604 onward, and many other books and documents of interest to genealogists with Québecois ancestors.

Many of BAnQ’s  resources can be accessed online by anyone, anywhere, for free; other resources require a subscription. However, the family history section is available only in French.

http://www.banq.qc.ca/archives/genealogie_histoire_familiale/ressources/bd/index.html?language_id=3

When an English version of a page is available, you can click on the box in the upper right hand of the page for English. If a page is only available in French, you can copy and paste the text you don’t understand into an online translation tool such as Google Translate.

Membership at BAnQ is free to Quebecers, and available to anyone else for a subscription fee. However, only Quebecers can subscribe to online services requiring a log-in. When you join BAnQ, you will be given a membership card with a number on the back that can be used to log into library services online at MY ACCOUNT or to borrow books, view multimedia, etc. on-site.

Non-residents of Quebec can nevertheless join BAnQ and subscribe to all services by paying for a subscription ($50 for three months, $100 for a year). However, online access to digital resources requiring login, including the borrowing of e-books, is granted only to subscribers who reside in Quebec. You can find all rates by clicking Here.

To find out how to join the BanQ from a distance, or to ask any other question, see this page: http://www.banq.qc.ca/outils/nous_joindre/index.html

BAnQ’s collection includes books in the English language about the people of the British Isles, Germany, France, the Netherlands, the Scandinavian countries, the Baltic States, Switzerland, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal, France, Poland and other countries of Eastern Europe. Once subscribers have obtained their BAnQ subscriber’s card, they can take home as many as 25 books or CDs.

About the BAnQ

Some 8,000 daily visitors or 46,000 visitors per week visit this superb repository of books, documents and CDs that opened in 2005.

Approximately four million books or CDs are borrowed every year from the Grande Bibliothèque de Montréal.

In excess of two million books can be read on location or borrowed at this repository.

Click on the link below for detailed information on all the services that a BANQ subscription has to offer, including access to collections and equipment offered on-site at the Grande Bibliothèque, at BAnQ Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie and at the BAnQ archives facilities, and to use online services that require a log-in.

 www.banq.qc.ca/services/pret/carte/index.html?language_id=1

The Grande Bibliothèque is closed on Mondays and open 8am to 10pm on weekdays and 8am to 6 pm on weekends. For more detailed information, click here:

http://www.banq.qc.ca/aide/information_generale/faq/index.html?language_id=1

BAnQ  475, boulevard De Maisonneuve Est (Berri-UQAM metro stop)
Montréal (Québec) H2L 5C4

Telephone: 514 873-1100 (Montréal region)
or 1 800 363-9028 (elsewhere in Québec)
http://www.banq.qc.ca/accueil/

For more information, consult these posts on the Genealogy Ensemble blog:

https://genealogyensemble.com/2018/09/30/using-the-banqs-pistard-to-research-your-ancestors-life/

https://genealogyensemble.com/2018/09/16/searching-the-banq-for-books-and-documents/

The Fur Trade: A Wealth of Resources

Over the last few weeks, Genealogy Ensemble has posted a series of research guides on the merchants, ship owners and others who were involved in the lucrative fur trade based in New France. This week, I have put together a list of archives, web site addresses and other resources that you may want to consult as you dig deeper into your research on these merchants.

The first repositories on this list are Quebec’s provincial archives, la Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec. The links I have included will not only help you find the main archives in Montreal and Quebec City and other regional branches, but show you how to e-mail a question to an archivist.

Other archives with collections related to these merchants include Library and Archives Canada and various archives in France. I have written guides to several French archives in the past. See https://genealogyensemble.com/2018/10/21/researching-the-new-france-archives/ https://genealogyensemble.com/2019/01/27/the-national-archives-of-france/ https://genealogyensemble.com/2018/12/16/bnf-gallica/ and https://genealogyensemble.com/2018/05/13/researching-your-french-ancestors-online/.

To better understand the Canadian-based resources, see my posts https://genealogyensemble.com/2018/11/18/patrimoine-quebec-a-genealogical-library/ and https://genealogyensemble.com/2018/10/21/researching-the-new-france-archives/

Other resources on the list include university libraries and museums. I have also included links to various genealogy and history societies in North America and Europe. Several of these, such as the French-Canadian Heritage Society of Michigan, provide a great deal of background information on the fur trade era. Don’t forget that the merchants of New France were scattered from Acadia (in Canada’s eastern provinces) to Louisiana. Finally, I have included the names of several publishers and booksellers that could prove of interest.

Click here to see the list of repositories and publishers: Repositories of Documents Booksellers Publishers

This is the last post in the series. Previous articles in this series on the merchants, ship owners and fur traders of New France can be found at:

https://genealogyensemble.com/2019/05/05/the-merchants-ship-owners-and-fur-traders-of-new-france-part-1-a-g/

https://genealogyensemble.com/2019/05/10/the-merchants-and-fur-traders-of-new-france-part-2-h-to-z/

https://genealogyensemble.com/2019/05/26/the-trading-companies-of-new-france/

https://genealogyensemble.com/2019/06/02/french-seaports-and-new-france/

https://genealogyensemble.com/2019/06/09/books-and-articles-about-the-merchants-ship-owners-and-fur-traders-of-new-france/

 

 

 

Books and Articles about the Merchants, Ship Owners and Fur Traders of New France

Many books and articles have been written about the history of New France and the merchants who were involved in the fur trade there. If you discover one of your ancestors worked for a trading company, was a coureur de bois or owned ships that transported furs and goods across the Atlantic, these publications could be of interest to you.

To see the research guide to these publications, click here: The Authors

This is one of a series of posts on Genealogy Ensemble about the merchants, fur traders and ship owners of New France, the trading companies they were associated with and their ports of departure in France.

French Seaports and New France

During the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, the French competed with the British and Dutch for control of the fur trade in North America.

British merchants traded in Massachusetts and coastal New England from the 17th century until the American Revolution. The British also carried on trade in the Hudson River valley, and they controlled much of the trade out of Hudson’s Bay in the north.

Early on, Dutch merchants were in business in what is now the New York City area. Between about 1830 and 1842, the American Fur Company of New York City, owned by John Jacob Astor, monopolized the fur trade in the United States.

From the late 16th century until New France fell to the British in 1759, merchants from France, New France and Acadia (in today’s Maritime provinces) dominated the fur trade throughout a vast area. They were the leading fur trading merchants in the St. Lawrence River Valley, the Great Lakes region (Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin), the Missouri River Delta, the Mississippi River Delta and the Great West regions in present-day Canada and the American States bordering Canada. French merchants were also present in the Hudson Bay and James Bay regions of northern Quebec in the 17th century and early 18th century.

The French also exploited other resources, such as fish, in North American waters, and they supplied household goods to the farmers who settled in New France as well as goods to trade with the First Nations people.

The merchants who carried on this busy trade had operations at the ports of Quebec City, Montreal, Trois-Rivières, and Louisbourg in North America, and they were associated with fellow merchants at various port cities of France.

La Rochelle was one of the most important French ports for trade with New France, along with Bordeaux, Rouen and Caen. Saint-Malo was the home port of explorer Jacques Cartier, while Samuel de Champlain, recognized as the father of New France, was based at the port of Honfleur in Northern France. Other French port cities with connections to the new world included Brest, Calais, Cherbourg, Dieppe, Dunkerque, Fécamp, Le Havre, Lorient, Rochefort, Royan and Vannes, while a few ships sailed from Marseille in southern France.

The research guide attached below provides more information about these French ports. Some of the articles are in French, so if you have trouble following them, use an online translation tool such as Google Translate.

To access this research guide, click here: Ports of Departure

This is the fourth in a series of weekly posts about the merchants, fur traders and ship owners who did business with New France, from the time Jacques Cartier planted a French flag on the shores of the Gaspé in 1534 until the Treaty of Paris was signed in 1763 and New France became a British colony.

The series includes a pair of research guides focused on the individual fur traders, ship owners and private bankers involved in trade between France and New France. See https://genealogyensemble.com/2019/05/05/the-merchants-ship-owners-and-fur-traders-of-new-france-part-1-a-g/ and https://genealogyensemble.com/2019/05/10/the-merchants-and-fur-traders-of-new-france-part-2-h-to-z/

A research guide to the trading companies these merchants were associated with can be found at https://genealogyensemble.com/2019/05/26/the-trading-companies-of-new-france/

Next week I will post a list of authors and researchers who have written about this period, including links to some of their publications.

The Trading Companies of New France

The fur trade between the First Nations people of North America and the Europeans was central to the history of Canada and the United States. The commerce in furs made fortunes, it changed the lives of the First Nations people forever, it encouraged the French to explore deep into the interior of the continent, and it gave work to hundreds of people.

Cardinal Richelieu

The names of some of the companies that controlled the trade in beaver pelts are still remembered today. The early trading companies that operated as monopolies in the days of New France included the Compagnie des Cent-Associés (Company of One Hundred Associates), 1627-1645, and the Compagnie francaise des Indes occidentales (French West India Company), 1664-1674. Later, the North West Company, 1789-1821, and the Hudson’s Bay Company, 1670-1870s, competed for dominance.

The Company of One Hundred Associates was created in Paris in 1627 by Armand Jean Duplessis, better known as Cardinal Richelieu. Among the leading members of this trading company were explorers, fur traders, merchants, ship owners, bankers, governors of New France and Acadia. They included Samuel de Champlain, Martin Anceaume, Thomas Bonneau, Jacques Bulteau, Henry Cavelier, Antoine Cheffault, Sébastien Cramoisy. Charles Daniel, Jean David, Jacques Duhamel, Arnault Dumas, Thibault Dumas, Jean Guenet, Charles Huault, Pierre de La Haye, Gabriel Lattaignant, Claude de Launay-Razilly, Jean de Lauzon, Simon Lemaistre, Raoul L’Huillier, François de Magny, Adam Mannessier, Georges Morin, François Mouet, Antoine Nozereau, Jean Papavoine, Claude Potel, Guillaume Prévost, Isaac de Razilly, Claude de Roquemont, Jean Rozé, Charles de Saint-Étienne de La Tour, Jean Taffet and André Terru.

Perhaps your ancestor owned or helped to run one of these trading companies. Perhaps he was a coureur de bois who traveled by canoe into the interior of the continent to trade with the indigenous people, and perhaps he married an indigenous woman. Whatever your interest, the attached compilation can help you better understand the roles these companies may have played in your ancestor‘s life.

Click here: Trading Companies

Next week’s post will cover the ports of departure in France associated with the merchants who traded with New France. Following that, I will look at authors who have written about this period and archives where you can find more information.

See also:

“The Merchants, Fur Traders and Ship Owners of New France, part 1, A-G” https://genealogyensemble.com/2019/05/05/the-merchants-ship-owners-and-fur-traders-of-new-france-part-1-a-g/

“The Merchants, Fur Traders and Ship Owners of New France, part 2, H-Z” https://genealogyensemble.com/2019/05/10/the-merchants-and-fur-traders-of-new-france-part-2-h-to-z/

photo copyright Janice Hamilton