Genealogy, Quebec

Lead Crystal

My grandmother was seventy-one, barely five feet, less than ninety pounds, and very frail. She lay propped up with pillows as family hovered around her hospital bed. Her eyes were rimmed with purple with the bruise spreading down across her cheeks. Her arm was in a cast and her smashed glasses had not yet been replaced. At nine years old, I could only stand and stare in horror.

I’m sure the mugger had thought Jean was an easy mark – a quick shove, grab the purse and run. But the mugger didn’t know my grandmother. She had fought for years to keep food on the table and she was not going to relinquish her grocery money without a fight.

My grandmother was born Jean Jamison Brodie (1884-1971 , the daughter of wealthy Quebec City flour merchant. She was sickly as a child and, strangely, given into the care of her mother’s spinster sister. In 1902, Jean trained as a teacher at MacDonald College in Montreal. Controlling students bigger than she was proved to be too strenuous and she gave up teaching after only a year.

In 1911 Jean married James Rankin Angus (1878-1964) from Glasgow, a naval carpenter who immigrated to Canada. James opened The Angus Bookstore within the walls of the old city. The couple had two boys a year apart, Colin (1912-1943) and Oswald (1913- 1977), and a third son, Ian (1918-2003), five years later.

Their home was a spacious flat on Fraser Street. Jean’s aunt moved in with them, the boys grew, and the book store prospered. All was comfortable until the stock-market crash of 1929, the year the two oldest boys graduated from high school. James struggled to keep the bookstore afloat, adding a branch store in a more affluent part of town to attract new customers. He downsized his family’s living quarters. Colin and Oswald found jobs and contributed to the household finances. Jean learned to be very frugal. She walked miles to save five cents on a bunch of carrots. My father Ian claimed his mother could create a dinner with five chicken wings and make it look like a feast.

In 1935, the inevitable occurred. Both bookstores were lost. My grandfather joined the ranks of the unemployed.  But not my grandmother!  One would think, given her frailty, she would simply collapse from the weight of the stress. Instead, the desperate situation seemed tgrandparentso galvanize her strength.  She collected the books from the bankrupt stores and set about running a lending library from her home.

It was not easy for Jean to deal with the public – she was a  private person and the family’s financial downfall was very humiliating. How difficult it must have been for her to collect dues, particularly late payments, and suffer petty complaints from  customers who, once her equal, now looked down on her as merely a sales clerk. But she had a family to feed and so she persevered.

Twenty years later, in 1955, Jean was mugged on the way to the grocery store. By then, my grandfather had found employment, the children were grown and had children of their own. Jean no longer had to worry about money for the next meal. Still she refused to give up her purse. Never would she allow herself to become a victim.

 

Notes:

  • Birth certificate of Jane Jamieson Brodie – on file with author
  • Certificate issued to Jean Jamieson from the McGill Normal School – on file with author
  • Wedding Announcement, Quebec Chronicle Telegraph June 1911 – on file with author ; Quebec Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection) 1621 – 1967
  • Death to the Ashes. A self-published memoir  by Elizabeth Craig Angus, daughter-in-law to Jean Brodie Angus, in which she reminisces  on various incidents in the life of the Angus family.
France, french-canadian, New France, Quebec

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.

Aboriginals, France, french-canadian, New France, Quebec, voyageur

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

Montreal, Quebec

John Clark, 19th Century Real Estate Visionary

Clark Street in Montreal’s Mile End neighbourhood features two-storey row houses, most of them red brick or grey stone, set back a few feet from the sidewalk. Two hundred years ago, this now densely populated street was just a gleam in the eye of my four-times great-grandfather John Clark (1767-1827), who owned that land. Today, Clark Street looks remarkably similar to the way he envisioned it.

John must have foreseen that his farmland would someday get swallowed up by the expanding city. He wanted to see it developed properly, and he wanted his descendants to profit from it. Thus, he carefully outlined his development vision in his last will and testament.

A native of County Durham in northeast England, John Clark1 immigrated to Montreal with his wife, Mary Mitcheson, and their young daughter around 1797, and he became a butcher and an inspector of beef and pork.

He probably had a nest egg of cash because he soon bought property here. In 1799, he purchased a property on Montreal’s La Gauchetière Street. Perhaps the Clark family lived there. When he sold it 11 years later, the deeds showed it to be a double lot including two houses and several other buildings..2

Between 1804 and 1814, John purchased several neighbouring farms north of the city limits of Montreal.3 He purchased these properties from French Canadian farmers, then named them Mile End Farm, Blackgate Farm and Clark Cottage Farm.  The land, including several houses, barns, stables and outbuildings, was on the west side of Saint Lawrence Street, now known as Saint-Laurent Boulevard and one of the city’s major arteries. At the time, this was the main road to the countryside, leading past the eastern flank of Mount Royal to the Rivière des Prairies on the north side of Montreal Island.

Mile End Lodge

The area was rural, consisting primarily of fields of wheat, oats and peas, as well as pastureland, fruit orchards and woodlots. Both John and Mary had grown up in rural England, so they preferred to live in the countryside rather than in the crowded city. The Clarks’ grey stone house, called Mile End Lodge, was built around 1815 on Saint Lawrence Street, between what are now Bagg and Duluth streets. They had few neighbours: most Montrealers, especially recent immigrants from Britain like them, lived in town.

Land ownership was important. It conferred social status, it carried the right to vote, and land was a financial tool, commonly used as security for loans. I do not know for sure why John purchased so much land, but even in the short term, it was a smart decision: the soil was fertile and the area was close to the city, where there was a growing demand for meat and produce. John no doubt wanted to graze his own cattle on that land, and to grow timothy hay for them. Meanwhile, in 1816, he placed an advertisement in the Montreal Herald saying he was willing to pasture cattle on his property for between eight and 10 shillings per cow.4

John probably collected rental income from these farms. It was not uncommon for members of the city’s elite, and for skilled tradesmen such as John, to purchase land and rent it to local farmers. He went one imaginative step further and, in 1810, leased a two-storey house on the Mile End Farm to father and son Phineas and Stanley Bagg to operate as a tavern.5 The building was located at a major intersection on St. Lawrence Street, so it was in an excellent location for thirsty travellers.

Phineas and Stanley ran the Mile End Tavern until 1818. The following year, Stanley married John’s daughter, Mary Ann. As a wedding present, John gave them a lot on St. Lawrence Street, including a two-storey house he named Durham House, that he had purchased in 1814.6

John may have had an emotional attachment to the Mile End Farm and Durham House, but he certainly saw his land as a long-term investment. The population of Montreal had increased from about 6000 in 1780 to 20,000 in 1820, and he foresaw this area would eventually be developed.

The names of modern streets have been superimposed on this diagram; computer graphics by Justin Bur. Plan for proposed subdivision of a part of Mile End Farm.

In 1825, at age 58, John wrote his will, leaving his properties to Mary Ann and to his young grandson, Stanley Clark Bagg.7 He added a codicil a few months later that included a plan for housing lots on St. Lawrence Street and on the yet to be created Clark Street, one block west. He specified that the lots should be 44 feet wide by 90 feet deep, and that the buildings should be built of stone or brick and set back from the road.8

John’s codicil also specified that the sale of the lots were subject to a rente constituée, meaning that, in addition to the initial cost of the property, the buyer was to pay the vendor an amount every year, usually about 6% of the property’s value. This was a common practice in Quebec, designed to provide funds to the seller’s family members for several generations. However, when Clark Street was finally developed decades after John’s death, buyers were not interested in this old-fashioned practice and the rente constituée was eliminated.9

Meanwhile, most of the property lines and all of the street rights-of-way shown on the plan in John’s will are still in effect today. Also, the specifications for building quality were respected, and similar conditions were imposed by neighbouring landowners.

 See also:

“Mile End Tavern,” Writing Up the Ancestors, Oct. 21, 2013, http://writinguptheancestors.blogspot.com/2013/10/the-mile-end-tavern.html

“A Home Well Lived In”, Writing Up the Ancestors, Jan. 21, 2014, http://writinguptheancestors.blogspot.com/2014/01/a-home-well-lived-in.html

“John Clark, of Durham, England,” Writing Up the Ancestors, May 29, 2014, http://writinguptheancestors.blogspot.com/2014/05/john-clark-of-durham-england.html

“A Freehold Estate in Durham,” Writing Up the Ancestors, May 3, 2019, http://writinguptheancestors.blogspot.com/2019/05/a-freehold-estate-in-durham_92.html

Image Credits:

Mile End Lodge, watercolour by John Hugh Ross, copyright Stewart Museum, 1970, 1847

Codicil to the last will and testament of John Clark, December 1825, BAnQ, CN601 S187.

 Notes and Sources:

  1. John Clark is usually identified as an inspector of beef and pork. There was another John Clark, a master butcher, living in Montreal at the same time. That John Clark made a will in 1804, while my John Clark made a first will in 1810 and a final one in 1825.
  2. Thomas Barron, notarial act #2876, “Deed of sale John Clark to William Scott,” 18 Oct. 1810, BAnQ.
  3. These properties are listed in John Clark’s will, (Henry Griffin, notarial act #5989, “Last Will and Testament of Mr. John Clark of Montreal,” 29 August 1825, BAnQ) and in the inventory of his grandson’s estate (Joseph-Augustin Labadie, notarial act #16733, “Inventory of the Estate of the Late Stanley Clark Bagg Esq.” 7 June, 1875, BAnQ.)
  4. Jennifer L. Waywell, “Farm Leases and Agriculture on the Island of Montreal 1780-1820,” Dept. of History, Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research, McGill University, 1989, p. 88; https://central.bac-lac.gc.ca/.item?id=TC-QMM-59553&op=pdf&app=Library (accessed May 14, 2019)
  5. J.A. Gray, notarial act, “Lease for five years John Clark to Phineas and Stanley Bagg,” 17 Oct. 1810, BAnQ.
  6. Records for lot 110, Saint-Laurent Ward, Montreal, p. 395, Registre foncier du Québec online database.
  7. Henry Griffin, notarial act #5989, “Last Will and Testament of Mr. John Clark of Montreal,” 29 August 1825, BAnQ
  8. Clark Street as laid out in the plan attached to John’s codicil ran from just south of the city limits (Bagg St. near Duluth) to Saint Catherine Road (now Mont-Royal Ave). Clark Street was developed in segments throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, with the first part, around Mile End Lodge, subdivided in 1873. In the early days, a section of Clark Street was called Mitcheson Street (Mitcheson was John’s wife’s name), but by 1912, it became Clark Street along its length.
  1. The rente constituéewas often used in France, England and French Canada. In those days, there was no modern money-lending system, so people could rent land for an annual sum. The borrower/purchaser could redeem the rent, however, the capital value of the property was not reduced by previous rent payments. John Clark and his grandson Stanley Clark Bagg complicated things by using testamentary substitutes to require that their real estate be subject to such arrangements far into the future. Their wills specified that the actual beneficiary was three generations down, while the intervening generations were responsible for keeping the estate in good shape for their children. When the Bagg and Clark properties were subdivided in the late 19th century, the Quebec legislature passed an act to end the substitution.

Further Reading:

Justin Bur, Yves Desjardins, Jean-Claude Robert, Bernard Vallee and Joshua Wolfe, Dictionnaire Historique du Plateau Mont-Royal, Montreal, Les Éditions Écosociété, 2017.

Yves Dejardins, Histoire du Mile End, Québec: Les éditions du Septentrion, 2017.

Justin Bur, “À la recherché du cheval perdu de Stanley Bagg, et des origins du Mile End,” Joanne Burgess et al, Collecting Knowledge: New Dialogues on McCord Museum Collections, Montreal: Éditions MultiMondes, 2015.

Sherry Olson and Patricia Thornton, Peopling the North American City, Montreal 1840-1900. Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, 2011.

Alan M. Stewart, “Settling an 18th-Century Faubourg: Property and Family in the Saint-Laurent Suburb, 1735-1810,” Dept. of History, Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research, McGill University, 1988, http://digitool.Library.McGill.CA:80/R/-?func=dbin-jump-full&object_id=64109&silo_library=GEN01 (accessed May 20, 2019).

This article is also posted on https://writinguptheancestors.blogspot.com

 

France, french-canadian, New France, Quebec

The Merchants and Fur Traders of New France, part 2, H to Z

In the days of New France and Acadia, a merchant, fur trader, private banker or ship owner was sometimes called a négociant, or dealer. Some négociants were based in Canada, but most had their headquarters in France, especially in La Rochelle, Bordeaux, Rouen and Caen. Other French port cities with connections to the new world included Brest, Calais, Cherbourg, Dieppe, Dunkerque, Fécamp, Le Havre, Lorient, Rochefort, Royan, Saint-Malo and Vannes, while a few ships sailed from Marseille in southern France.

Rich merchants from La Rochelle, Bordeaux, Caen and Rouen often sent young family members to the French colonies of New France, Acadia and Louisiana to manage their North American investments.

Most such dealers, especially those who settled in New France and Acadia, were Catholics. Some were Protestants (Huguenots or Calvinists) and a few from the city of Bordeaux were Jewish. Following the 1759 British conquest of New France, the number of Huguenot merchants increased slightly, at least in Montreal and Quebec City.

These négociants were the people who opened communications between Europe and ports located in the American colonies. Many of the French traders also dealt with associates in South America, Africa, the Middle East and the Far East.

Hundreds of dealers were in business over the approximately 250 years that New France existed. In the compilation attached below, I have only selected a fraction of them, addressing primarily the French traders who dealt directly with family members or associates in New France, Acadia or Louisiana. In regard to the fur traders, I have tried to identify those who had a place of business in Montreal, Trois-Rivières, Quebec City or Louisbourg. I have also included a few well-known explorers who were associated with merchants in these four towns.

Many of the French traders who were associated with Quebec, Louisiana or the Great Lakes regions are profiled in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography. If your ancestor was a fur trader, banker or ship owner, you may find a great deal about his life in this publication, available online or in many libraries. See http://www.biographi.ca/en/index.php or http://www.biographi.ca/fr/index.php for the French-language edition.

This post is the second in a series of compilations focused on these négociants during the period of colonial New France in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. The series will include brief biographies of these merchants, background on the French port cities where they were based, information about the trading companies they were associated with, the names of historians and other researchers who have written about this people, and a list of archives where you can obtain further information.

To see last week’s post introducing the merchants, fur traders, private bankers and ship owners of New France with last names beginning A to G, go to https://genealogyensemble.com/2019/05/05/the-merchants-ship-owners-and-fur-traders-of-new-france-part-1-a-g/

To read this week’s compilation on the merchants, fur traders, private bankers and ship owners of New France and Acadia with last names beginning H to Z, click on this link: Merchants, Fur Traders and Ship Owners of New France, H-Z Merchants, Fur Traders and Ship Owners of New France, H-Z

Genealogy, Quebec, Scotland

Throwing Rocks

My Swiss grandfather became enthralled with curling when he came to Canada. Curling is a game invented by the Scots but my Scottish ancestors never took up the sport.

René Raguin came to Canada from Switzerland in 1910 to teach school. He knew all about winter and cold weather sports. He had skied, sledded and climbed in his homeland. Once, he cut his leg on a bobsled runner and didn’t realize the extent of the injury until until he was at the bottom of the hill. All of his trips down hill weren’t on sleds with sharp runners, some for fun were on metal trays. I am sure he thought throwing “irons” on ice would be easy when he first tried curling in Trois Rivière. 

IMG_9695
Rene Raguin on the right with some of his curling buddies. Well pinned!

Curling is a game played on a sheet of ice where rocks are thrown from the hack to the rings at the other end and one tries to get closer to the centre or button than one’s opponents. Lakes and ponds hosted the first games, played with granite stones which were plentiful in Scotland. The stones are now carved and polished so they glide over the ice and a twist of the handle gives the curl.

The Grand Caledonian Curling Club was formed in 1838 to regulate this ancient Scottish game. Apparently many rules were needed for throwing rocks on ice. The club later received its royal charter from Queen Victoria and became the Royal Caledonian Curling Club (RCCC), the mother club of the sport.

It is generally accepted that the 78th Fraser Highland Regiment brought curling to Canada in the mid 1700s. The soldiers melted cannonballs to make iron curling “stones” and curled in Québec City. Curling then moved to Montreal where men first played on cleared patches of ice on the St Lawrence river before it moved indoors. Quebecers continued to curl with “irons” until the early 1950s while the rest of the country played with granite.

When René moved to Montreal he didn’t give up curling. He first joined the St Laurence Curling Club, downtown on St Urbain Street and when he moved to Dixie, now part of Dorval, he joined the Lachine Curling Club. There he stayed. He played in bonspiels at clubs all over Quebec, Ontario and the North Eastern United States. Bonspiels are tournaments with many games played over a number of days and lots of drinks to celebrate the winners and the losers. Curlers collected pins from all the clubs where they played. Some would cover their their jackets or their hats with their pins. My grandfather had a coffee table that intrigued me as a child. Under its glass top sat many curling pins of all shapes and colours.

IMG_9647
A Squirrel Pin from The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts

He excelled at curling and skipped teams in many matches. He could easily take out his opponents stones and slide his rocks to the button. He gave back a lot to the sport which resulted in him being elected President of the Canadian Branch of the Royal Caledonian Curling Club in 1939. René was then honoured at a dinner with speeches praising his curling, his character, his tact and diplomacy with many toasts to his good health!

IMG_9623

He never traveled to Scotland but hosted the Scots on their curling tours of Canada. He became an honorary vice-president of the RCCC, the highest office available to a Canadian, for his promotion of all the traditions of curling and especially for the expansion of the game into the northern United States.

IMG_9694
The Scottish Curlers in Canada in 1950s

René enjoyed curling for the camaraderie, the skill needed and the drinks after the games. In out of town excursions he was said to be the life of the party. His son would drive him to all the area curling clubs for the New Years Levees where he would have a drink with the members and toast the coming year, “Good health and good curling.”

Notes:

https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/sports/bonspiel-history-curling-canada/Pages/curling-canada.asp

The minutes of the occasion of the election of Rene Raguin to the office of President of the Canadian branch of the Royal Caledonia Curling Club December 15, 1939 by J.J. Sophus.

The History of the Lachine Curling Club http://www.lachinecurling.com/history_en.php

Cartoon by Bill Cunningham in The Montreal Gazette in 1940.

The Heading photograph is of the Lachine Curling Club taken in 2019 by the author.

Some of Rene Raguin’s family curled a few times but I am the only family member to take up his game.

France, Genealogy, New France, Quebec

The Merchants, Ship Owners and Fur Traders of New France, Part 1, A – G

There are a couple of versions of this story: in 1539, someone told the King of France that explorer Jacques Cartier had found gold and silver along the shores of the Saguenay River. Another source says that Cartier had only suggested there might be gold and silver in the Saguenay region. (It turned out to be fool’s gold.)

According to both sources, however, Cartier suggested that trading beaver pelts and other wild animal furs could become a great source of income for the king. Needless to say, the fur trade turned out to be a lucrative business that lasted for almost 250 years.

Eventually, many types of traders established operations at the ports of Quebec City, Montreal, Trois-Rivières, and Louisbourg. All these merchants were associated with fellow merchants at various port cities of France, including La Rochelle, Bordeaux, Rouen and Caen. And in the days of Louis de Buade, Count of Frontenac and Governor of New France between 1672-1682 and 1689-1698, merchants in New France and its territories held a special place among the elite of the French colony.

Some of these traders married in North America, or brought their wives and children with them. They became the ancestors of many French Canadian or Acadian families, but, as of today, few family history researchers have searched for these early merchants, traders, private bankers, ship owners or tannery operators.

If you think you might have merchant ancestors, and you enjoy research online in France and Canada, try searching for the following term: Name of Ancestor (family name only, négociant du 17ème et 18ème siècles en France et Nouvelle-France. You can also try replacing Nouvelle-France with Acadie. This may bring you surprising search results.

First, however, you must determine on the spelling of the family name in France in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. For example, my Gagné brothers who settled Château-Richer near Quebec City in the 17th century were Gasnier in France – same pronunciation, different spelling.

This is the first in a series of weekly posts about these merchants, fur traders and ship owners during the period of Colonial New France (until around 1760.) It will include:

two compilations including very brief biographies of these merchants and usually including their wives’ names;

links to information about the port cities in France with which they traded;

links to information about the trading companies they were associated with;

a list of authors, historians and academic researchers who have studied this period, with links to some of their publications;

a list of the archives and other repositories where you can learn more about this subject.

Click on the link to read Merchants, Ship Owners and Fur Traders A-G

 

England, Genealogy, Quebec

To the Lighthouse – Part 1

A fictional homage to my father – and his northern English genealogy

whitehaven to st bees cliff walk

Plaque at St. Bees (from http://josweeney.net/the-cliff-path-from-st-bees-to-whitehaven/ 7 miles to Whitehaven but this is the start of a 192 mile Coast-to-Coast walk that will take you all the way to Robin Hood’s Bay in North York.

(Sound Effects)  heavy breathing, feet pounding earth.

I am Peter N F Nixon, scholar at St. Bees Prep School in Cumberland, and I am running, running away back in time.  So stated the boss-eyed academic in the school library last evening, the guest lecturer from the Northern England Geological Society.

“If you take the coastal path,” he said, “from St Bees Head to Whitehaven Lighthouse,  it is as if you are going back in time as the youngest rocks are at Seacote. Early Triassic Age, just 250 million years old.”

Funny how I remember that. I was preoccupied with next week’s big rugby match against the tough cads from the colliery. The geordies.  The coal miners. I attended the lecture only because I knew there’d be a fire lit in the library. Although it’s my right as head prefect to sit on the radiator in my freezing dorm room (with windows always open) it is slim consolation this early in spring.  I could see my breath as I crossed the quad last night to get to the library.

Yes, funny how the geology lecture is all coming back to me as I run and run back in time along the windy coastal path to the lighthouse at Whitehaven on the Cumbrian coast where the seabirds are engaged in their noisy mating rituals.

I am leading a penal drill with a few miscreant lower classmen who flung their gas-masks out the window to celebrate the war with Hitler being over.  Who told them the war was already over, just a few months after it was declared?

I am the house prefect and it is my duty to drill good sense into my younger charges’ heads by making them run long distances, whatever the season.  It’s no punishment for me – mickeying-off like this – or for most of them, to be honest. We are battle-hardened prep school pupils here at St Bees. Classes in the morning and sports in the afternoon, every day, rain or shine or snow.

We all wear short pants at St. Bees. It’s our uniform. I run and run and run in my short pants.17 years old, 6 foot 3 and a half  and still in short pants.

myfatherugby

Senior XV Rugby 1938-39. Webpage of the Old Beghian Society (see link below). My father is top row, 4th from left.  The scarf must represent his house.

I’m far ahead of the pack.  Truth be told, I am no leader of men. More of a loner at heart. So, I leave the kids to their own pace. I get no pleasure in being a prefect.  I don’t like minging on them. I don’t look for trouble or for a reason to cane.

Let’s see, what else did the lecturer say? “ North of St. Bees there are carboniferous-age coal outcrops and limestone outcrop, south of St. Bees permo-Triassic red sandstone. Moulded through the eons by glacial processes. Glacial means slow, doesn’t it?  Very slow.

I want it all to slow down. This war, despite the rumours to the contrary, is just starting. I can sense it. I am to turn 18 soon. I will have to sign up.

I am running back in time to slow things down, geologic time, historical time – but at a good clip, leaving my younger charges behind. I am one of the school’s finest middle distance runners, but the county record holder at javelin. Vice Captain of the Senior Rugby. I can swim with the best of them, but it’s golf I really enjoy, though, alone on the links of our school’s golf course.

I am running, running into the past.

The Normans, the Norse, the Anglo-Saxons, the Romans, the Briton Voltadini and the Celtic Brigantes tribes. Castles up, monasteries down, crusades to the east, crusades to the north. Saint Bega, for whom our school is named, founding the religious site about 1000 years ago by fleeing a forced marriage in Ireland. Or so the story goes.  And then 100 years later the Lord Egremont, the Norman, building the Benedictine Priory, the town parish, over it.

All around me there are fossilized strips of former medieval field systems and other remnants of the ghostly, gory, glorified past. It all weighs one down. Wouldn’t it be nice to live somewhere new with no past, no history, no weight?

If I never hear another lecture on Emperor Hadrian and his infernal wall I will be thrilled.  That meandering  Roman monument has only unfortunate connotations for me. I can still hear my grandfather, the Reverend John Forster, a self-educated farmer’s son, berating me at 6 years old for slacking on a long walk, “You are no Border Reiver, no bairn of mine if ye can’t walk the 7 miles from Brampton to the Birdoswol Roman Fort.”

Wouldn’t Gramps be surprised to see me now, one of the school’s most respected athletes, as I run and run, away, swiftly back in time with the myriad sea birds swirling over head riding the fickle coastal air currents coming off the Irish sea on the rugged, austerely beautiful coast of Cumberland, at St Bees Head?

This place is truly in my blood. I have border reiving ruffians on both sides of my family tree, my mother’s Forster and my father’s Nixon side. Brave scoundrels and fearless outlaws, they were raiders of cattle and sheep at the Scottish border in late medieval  times and beyond. Grandfather Nixon bragged about some outlaw Nixons hanged at Carlisle Castle back when he was a boy.

Geologic time, historical time, genealogical time, family memory and family myth.

It was my first week at St Bees. Mr. McFayden, the history teacher, asked me what my middle initials N.F. stand for. “Nesfield and Forster, Sir,” I replied, embarrassed to be singled out. “Ah, Nesfield, he says. “You are then descended from Dagobert, the Merovingian Prince who married Imagne de Nessfield, a Saxon landowner. By the 17th century they were living in Yorkshire. You are then related to William Andrews Nesfield  who designed the gardens at Castle Howard and Kew.”

I wrote home to my mother, in Malaya, all bristling with pride but she failed to take the bait. “Your great-grandmother, Anne Nesfield was the cook in the home of a Yorkshire solicitor, I think.”

Oh, the sin of pride.

Her father, John, socialist and pacifist – and a despiser of comfort  and weak grandchildren– taught her well.

Yes, I can see and hear the seabirds swirling and dipping overhead, over those formidable yet fragile orange sandstone cliffs, home to many colonies of breeding gulls: razorbills, cormorants, guillemonts, fullmars and kittiwakes.

It’s the start of nesting season.  I run and I am comforted by the birds’ loud squawking. I do love nature, her apparent simplicity here on the wild Cumberland coast; not like the bountiful Malayan landscape where I spent my first five years, as my father is a rubber planter, where there was so much fabulous flora and fauna to admire- and to fear – where I once confronted a leopard cat while tricycling near the tennis courts with my little sister.

St Bees. Wikipedia. Photo by Doug Sim

I am running, running back in time which is better than going forward in time.  It is May  9, 1940 and war was declared in September, 1939. The beach is cordoned off with barbed-wire. They have installed radar at the Whitehaven Lighthouse and barrage balloons in the town. I’ve lost 2 stone with the rationing.  New students from London are pouring into St Bees, because they feel it is a relatively safe place to be.  But, everyone over 18 has had to register for this war.  I turn 18 in October.

I am far ahead of the pack now and I like it that way. I am a loner at heart, not a leader of men. And I will soon have to sign up.

I really doubt the war is already over. I suspect it has just begun.

my father and denise

My father and his sister, Denise, in 1978, sent to England to go to school in 1926, as many colonial children were. She was the one who told me the story about the leopard cat.

 

PeterNixonandme

January 1954

 

To Be Continued..
On May 10, 1940, Germany attacked France and the Low Countries.

 

School boy lingo, specific to St Bees (apparently)

 

Minging: Prefect looking for trouble

Boss-eyed: cross-eyed

Mickeying off: to run away

Geordies: Miners

Cad: village boy

 

 

 

Resources :

 

http://www.st-beghian-society.co.uk/Picture%20Gallery.htm

St. Beghian Society Magazines

 

http://josweeney.net/the-cliff-path-from-st-bees-to-whitehaven/

7 Mile Walk from St. Bees to Whitehaven with many wonderful photos of the Cumbrian Coast.

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/stories/47/a3856647.shtml

Growing up in WWII Cumbria BBC

 

https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/29816760.pdf

William Andrews Nesfield bio

 

Border Reivers and Sir John Forster

https://wwwborderreiverstories-neblessclem.blogspot.com/

The Geologic Story of West Cumbria

http://www.westcumbriamining.com/wp-content/uploads/26-Geological-Story_C.pdf

 

Genealogy, Quebec

Popular Early Notaries in Quebec

If you are looking for the notaries who prepared documents such as leases, wills and business agreements for your ancestors, the best place to start might be the notaries with the biggest practices. The notaries listed below are the notaries with the largest clientele in New France & Quebec under the British.

I have reviewed 551 notaries and I have selected, by judicial districts, the notaries with the largest number of notarial acts (minutiers) written.

The notarial acts of the notaries listed below are available on microfilm at the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) in old Montreal, or the BAnQ in Quebec City, or branches of the BAnQ in Sherbrooke, Gatineau or Trois-Rivières. Check before you visit. Meanwhile, more and more acts are being digitized and can be found online on the BAnQ’s website, on Familysearch.org or on Ancestry.ca.

Their clients were varied. Prior to 1760, they included primarily French Canadian and Acadian families. After the British Conquest, they included French Canadians and British, Scottish, Irish families and soldiers, Americans, Loyalists, Germanic soldiers and their families, Dutch Loyalists and Scandinavians & Baltic States immigrants.

Montreal Judicial District

>> Antoine Adhémar dit Saint-Martin 1677-1714 – 13 microfilms

>> Michel Lepailleur & François Lepailleur dit LaFerté – 1700-1739 – 14 microfilms

>> Jean-Baptiste Adhémar dit Saint-Martin – 1714-1754 – 10 microfilms

>> Charles-François Coron – 1734-1767 – 10 microfilms

>> Simon Sanguinet Senior & Junior – 1734-1786 – 13 microfilms

>> François Simonnet – 1737-1778 – 12 microfilms

>> Antoine Foucher – 1746-1800 – 13 microfilms

>> Jean-Baptiste Daguilhe – 1749-1783 – 10 microfilms

>> Joseph Lalanne & Pierre Lalanne – 1752-1792 – 12 microfilms

>> Pierre de Méru Panet & Pierre-Louis Panet – 1755-1783 – 10 microfilms –

>> François Leguay Senior & Junior – 1770-1807 – 10 microfilms

>> Edward William Gray & Jonathan Abraham Gray – 1777-1812 – 12 microfilms

>> Joseph Papineau – 1780-1841 – 11 microfilms

>> Edme Henry – 1783-1831 – 10 microfilms

>> Louis Chaboillez – 1787-18213 – 21 microfilms

>> Peter Lukin Senior & Junior – 1790-1837 – 10 microfilms

>> Jean Mondelet – 1794-1842 – 11 microfilms

>> Pierre Lanctot – 1809-1850 – 12 microfilms

Quebec City Judicial District

>> Gilles Rageot & François Rageot & Charles Rageot – 1666-1753 – 10 microfilms

>> Edme Jacob, Étienne Jacob, Joseph Jacob – 1680-1750 – 12 microfilms

>> Louis Chamballon – 1692-1716 – 15 microfilms

>> André Genest 1738-1783 – 13 microfilms

>> Jean Antoine Panet & & Jean-Baptiste Panet & Jean-Claude Panet – 1744-1783 – 20 microfilms

>> Antoine Crespin – 1748-1782 – 12 microfilms

>> Charles Voyer & Jacques Voyer – 1787-1842 – 14 microfilms

>> François-Xavier Larue Senior & Junior – 1788-1865 – 17 microfilms

>> Roger Lelièvre – 1793-1847 – 27 microfilms

>> Barthélemy Faribault – 1796-1821 – 23 microfilms

>> Louis Guay – 1806-1843 – 12 microfilms

Trois-Rivières Judicial District

>> Jean-Baptiste Badeau – 1765-1796 – 12 microfilms

>> Antoine Gagnon – 1792-1824 – 12 microfilms

>> Joseph Badeau – 1798-1835 – 21 microofilms

Richelieu Judicial District (Richelieu River Valley)

>> Henry Crebassa – Richelieu – 1795-1843 – 16 microfilms

Beauce Judicial District

>> John Walsh – 1803-1845 – 10 microfilms

>> Jean-Baptiste Bonneville – 1819-1871 – 12 microfilms

>> Jean-Olivier Arcand – 1832-1868 – 16 microfilms

Iberville Judicial District (Richelieu River Valley)

>> François Médard Pétrimoux – 1798-1849 – 13 microfilms

>> Louis Decoigne Senior & Junior – 1807-1857 – 15 microfilms

>> Laurent Archambault – 1820-1859 – 13 microfilms

Montmagny Judicial District (Lower St. Lawrence)

>> Nicolas-Charles–Louis Lévesque – 1752-1795 – 10 microfilms

>> Augustin Larue & Abraham Larue – 1804-1847 – 20 microfilms

Kamourasksa Judicial District (Lower St. Lawrence)

>> Louis Cazes – 1780-1798 – 10 microfilms

>> Augustin Dionne – 1797-1821 – 12 microfilms

Beauharnois Judicial District – (North of New York State)

Louis Sarault – 1805-1861 – 11 microfilms

Godfroi Chagnon – 1825-1862 – 11 microfilms

St. Hyacinthe Judicial District

>> Pierre-Paul Dutalmé – 1798-1821 – 10 microfilms

Charlevoix (St. Lawrence’s North Shore)

>> Charles-Pierre Huot – 1817 -1865 – 11 microfilms

Joliette Judicial District

>> Louis Raymond – 1796-1829 – 14 microfilms

 

Genealogy, New France, Quebec, Research tips

Royal Notaries of New France and in Quebec under the British

For family researchers looking for ancestors in Quebec, notarial acts are much more than marriage contracts or wills. A notarial act can offer a detailed overview of all the members of a particular family through documents such as notarized after-death inventories.

In order to pinpoint where and when an ancestor settled within a particular region of Quebec, notarized land grants and land purchases, sales and leases can provide family lineage researchers with answers to their research stumbling blocks.

If your ancestor was a business person, notarial acts can describe the types of business activities your ancestor carried on, and the names of his partners or competitors.

All types of transactions that seigneurs carried on with their tenants in New France, between 1612 to 1760, and under British rule, from 1760 to 1854, were recorded by notaries. These records are a must for those with ancestors in rural districts of New France and British Quebec up to 1854.

In order to find the notarial documents relevant to your family’s activities, you first need to know the name of the notary who prepared these documents. Unless the notary’s acts have been digitized, you will need to scroll through his index to find the dates and act numbers so you can find the documents themselves.

In New France, there were three types of notaries: public notaries, also referred to as regular notaries; seigneurial notaries, appointed by the owners of vast territories called seigneuries; and royal notaries. In most cases, royal notaries were well-educated individuals who were considered to be of high integrity, and to have exemplary behaviour in family relationships and with business associates.

This is the group of notaries we wish to introduce to family history researchers in Canada and in the United States.

Royal notaries were appointed by representatives of the French Crown in New France, known as indendants. An intendant was an administrator appointed by either Louis XIII, Louis XIV or Louis XV, kings of France from 1621 to 1760, and by the kings of England during the reigns of George III and George IV.

The French intendants who appointed royal notaries were Louis Robert (1663-1665), Jean Talon (1665-1668 & 1670-1672), Jacques Duchesneau (1675-1682), Jacques de Meules (1682-1686), Jean de Champigny (1686-1702), François de Beauharnais (1702-1705), Jacques Rondot (1705-1711), Michel Bégon (1712-1726), Claude Thomas Dupuy (1726-1728), Gilles Hocquart (1731-1748) and François Bigot (1748-1760).

Following the British conquest of 1759 at the Plains of Abraham in Quebec, the authorities who appointed royal notaries in British Quebec were: Governor James Murray (1760-1768), Lieutenant Governor in Montreal Thomas Gage (1760-1763), Lieutenant Governor in Trois-Rivières Ralph Burton (1760-1766 and 1763-1766 in Montreal), Governor Guy Carleton (1768-1770 & 1774-1778 & 1786-1796), Lieutenant Governor Hector de Cramahé (1770-1774) and Governor Frederick Haldimand (1778-1784).

One of the best experts on royal notaries was André Vachon, a university professor, author and archivist. Born in Quebec City in 1933, he was archivist at the Archives de la Province de Québec (the precursor of the Archives nationales du Québec) from 1956 to 1961. For nine years, he was a professor at Université Laval and Université de Sherbrooke, and from 1971 to 1976, he was curator at the Archives nationales du Québec. He was also historian and managing director of Les Presses de l’Université Laval.

From 1967 onward, Vachon wrote 15 books, one of which should be considered of exceptional value to family lineage researchers. It is called L’Histoire du Notariat Canadien (The history of the Notaries in Canada)

In addition, Vachon contributed a series of excellent articles that were published over many years by the Revue d’histoire de l’Amérique française. These are available online through Erudit, the largest French-language research platform in North America. Many of his texts addressed the subject of notaries in New France from 1621 to 1759, as well as notaries under the British regime.

For more details on Vachon’s career and the Andre Vachon Fonds at the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec, see http://pistard.banq.qc.ca/unite_chercheurs/description_fonds?p_anqsid=201402101331371539&p_centre=03Q&p_classe=P&p_fonds=840&p_numunide=835866

The following articles, researched and compiled by Vachon and his associates, describe most of the royal notaries of New France and those who served as royal notaries under the British regime in Québec.

https://www.erudit.org/revue/haf/1955/v9/n3/301728ar.pdf

https://www.erudit.org/revue/haf/1956/v9/n4/301791ar.pdf

https://www.erudit.org/revue/haf/1957/v11/n1/301806ar.pdf

https://www.erudit.org/revue/cd/2013/v54/n1/1014289ar.pdf

https://www.erudit.org/revue/haf/1957/v11/n2/301835ar.pdf

https://www.erudit.org/revue/haf/1957/v11/n1/301806ar.pdf

If you want to find out which notaries served your ancestors in Quebec, the websites of Parchemin (Archiv-Histo) and of the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) are the best places to look. These sites list notaries who were described as royal notaries or as public notaries (regular notaries) or as seigniorial notaries.

Archiv-Histo (Parchemin) (https://archiv-histo.com/assets/publications/2015-Notaires-liste-Chrono-Tablo.pdf ) provides a research tool on the notaries who served in New France. There were 206 notaries working in New France from 1634 to 1759, and 2,086 notaries served in Quebec from 1760 to 1899.

 Bibliothèque Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) (http://bibnum2.banq.qc.ca/bna/notaires/) offers readers a tool to research notaries by regions of Québec who served during the 19th century and a few within the 18th century in all regions of Quebec. These regions can be found on the left side of the front page under the heading of Par region.

These regions were:

>> Montreal Region

Island of Montreal plus Saint-Hyacinthe – Richelieu River Valley – Iberville – Joliette – Terrebonne – Beauharnois – Longueil – Laval – Labelle – Bedford

>> Quebec City Region

City of Québec plus Montmagny – Saguenay – Beauce

>> Central Region of Quebec (Mauricie et Centre du Québec)

City of Trois-Rivières plus Arthabaska County – Drummond County – St. Maurice County

>> Eastern Townships (Estrie)

City of Sherbrooke plus St. Francis Judicial District (Sherbrooke, Stanstead, Richmond, Compton, Wolfe Counties) – Bedford Judicial District (Missisquoi, Brome, Shefford,Counties plus the Upper Richelieu River Valley (Missisquoi Bay)) – Megantic County

>> Western Quebec (Outaouais)

District of Hull-Gatineau plus Gatineau County – Pontiac County – Labelle County – Papineau County under Hull-Gatineau District

>> Lower St. Lawrence (Bas-Saint-Laurent)

Regions of Rimouski and Rivière-du-Loup plus Kamouraska District, Gaspé County, Bonaventure County

>> Saguenay – Lac-St-Jean

Regions of Chicoutimi (Saguenay today) plus Roberval, Alma

>> North Western Quebec (Abitibi-Témiscamingue-Nord-du-Québec)

Abitibi County, Témiscamingue County

>> St. Lawrence Lower & Upper North Shores

Baie-Comeau & Sept-Iles regions from Tadoussac to the Labrador Border along the north shore of the St. Lawrence River

Please note: All articles by André Vachon and his associates on the Érudit site, as well as the content of Parchemin (Archiv-Histo) and of the BAnQ are in the French language only. Try using Google Translate, or another online translation service.

See also:

Jacques Gagné, “Finding Quebec’s Early Notarial Records,” Genealogy Ensemble, Jan.1, 2017, https://genealogyensemble.com/2017/01/01/finding-quebecs-early-notarial-records/

Jacques Gagné, “Notaries of Lower Canada, 1760-1848,” Genealogy Ensemble, April 29, 2018, https://genealogyensemble.com/2018/04/29/notaries-of-lower-canada-1760-1848/

Compiled by Jacques Gagné

gagne.jacques@sympatico.ca