Family Names in 59 Ancient Regions of France, Belgium, Switzerland and Luxembourg
This database consists of a list of authors, book sellers and publishers containing the family names in the regions. Most of the books are in the French language.
The list contains several complete books online which can be downloaded.
For many of the regions there is a short description of the region.
For exmple :
The origin of the name auvergne comes from the Gallic people of the Arvernes. On the death of Charlemagne and then Louix-le-Pieux,the Carolingian empire was divided between his sons and Auvergne finally returned to Charles the Bald. In the 12th century the county of Auvergne was the subject of a conflict between William VII, the rightful heir returning from the Crusades, and his uncle William VIII. The county will eventually be divided between a new county of Auvergne and the Dauphiné d’Auvergne. This conflict will be in line with the war between France and England since the new county of Auvergne will depend on the Aquitaine and therefore the Plantagenêts,the Dauphiné d’Auvergne will take the side of the King of France. During the French Revolution, the territory formed the departments of Haute-Auvergne (then Cantal), Lower Auvergne (then Puy-de-Dôme), Haute-Loire and Allier and an accompanying map indicating the region.
About a year ago, my cousin and I were invited to luncheon with a distant family member who wanted to share her inherited Lindsay papers. The delicious luncheon filled our bellies and the precious family papers filled our souls. Among the papers were copious legible (!) handwritten notes by my great uncle, Stanley Bagg Lindsay, with some details of the lives of all three William Lindsays.
Why the second William (Burns) Lindsay (1796-1862) mantained two careers
In many families the eldest son often follows in his father’s footsteps when choosing a career. However, the second William Lindsay’s older brother died in 1817 when William was only 21.
Before then, in 1808, 12-year old William actually began work as an apprentice writer* in his father’s office, who was the recently appointed Clerk of the House of Assembly for Lower Canada. However, instead of eventually following in his father’s footsteps full time, William first pursued a career in banking.
William worked as one of three employees when the Bank of Montreal first opened in Quebec City in 18171. He began as the bank teller and eventually worked his way up to became an officer of the bank. During his time at the bank, William requested and obtained leaves of absence to attend to his duties at this father’s office during the Assembly sessions.*
At the age of 23, William married Maria Jones in Quebec City in 1819 and eventually they had 11 children. Their first son was his namesake, William Burns Lindsay, who would also continue the family tradition as the Legislative Clerk (see next story).
About ten years after they married, William’s father resigned from the Assembly in 1829 due to his failing health. (see The Three William Lindsays part 1) Not surprisingly, thirty-three year old William was unanimously appointed Clerk of the House of Lower Canada thus providing a fairly smooth transition and continuity of management. After 12 years establishing his own career in banking, he ultimately did step into his father’s political shoes.
At the time of his resignation from the Bank, “he had earned and obtained the good will and esteem both of his employers and of their customers, the merchants of Quebec.”* His unique combination of careers would have provided him with useful contacts with not only the elite “but young Canada’s most enterprising merchants and aspiring financiers”2 at that time. It must have placed him in a very powerful position indeed.
His work continued as Clerk of the Assembly right up until the 1837 rebellions (also known as the Patriots’ War)3, pitting the rebels against the colonial government of Lower Canada in an armed conflict, that had been brewing for nearly three decades. For the next few years, William commanded a volunteer artillery company*, until the restoration of order.
At this point, William was appointed Clerk to the Special Council4 set up to administer the affairs of Lower Canada until the Act of Union of 1840 when Lower Canada and Upper Canada were united into the one Province of Canada, as a result of these rebellions.
Lord Sydenham5,the first Governor General for the United Province of Canada, convened the first Parliament of Canada in 1841 in Kingston, Ontario6, and appointed William to be the clerk of the Legislative Assembly. Perhaps the Grand Trunk Railway enabled a commute between Assembly sessions while Kingston was the capital, as the 1842 census listed Quebec City still as his home.7 William held this office for the next 21 years until, according to his obituary, he died “almost in harness: for, though very unwell, he attended his place in the House … and within a few days of his death he signed official papers.”*
William died in Quebec City in 1862 at the age of 65 years.
The funeral took place from his residence in Quebec City while the flag on the Parliament Buildings flew at half mast during the funeral. An eloquent tribute to his worth was paid by the premier Hon. Mr. Cartier8 and the House of Assembly adjourned to testify respect to his memory. The members attended the funeral together putting any differences aside for that day. “As an efficient public officer, Mr. Lindsay was a very remarkable man…he was emphatically the right man in the right place … he never suffered himself to become a political partisan or to show more favour or grant more facilities to one side than the other.”*
Upon his death in 1862, William’s namesake (the third William Lindsay), succeeded to the clerkship of the Legislative Assembly thereby taking his father’s place and continuing the family history.
Next: Why the third William Lindsay gave up a promising career as a lawyer
As the family genealogist, I research my ancestors and write their stories. Recently, I found three generations of ancestors with the same name and the same role in an evolving Canada.
Their birth and death dates were vital as the first step to sorting them out. I noticed, however, that previous genealogists also struggled to sort them, as two of the three were sometimes labelled “Senior” and “Junior” (and sometimes in reverse order) and then “The Elder” and “The Younger” were assigned to another two. To keep things simple in my story, I will label them first, second and third – in the order of their births.
* Handwritten notes – Stanley Bagg Lindsay – dated March 1939
6Kingston was named the first capital of the United Province of Canada on February 10, 1841. While its time as a capital was short (ending in 1844), the community has remained an important military installation.
7The capital moved from Kingston to Montreal in 1844 and then alternated between Quebec City and Toronto from 1849 until Queen Victoria declared Ottawa the permanent capital in 1866.
“In 1755, the British authorities began to dismantle the former Acadian colony by deporting its entire population… unleashing a French-speaking exodus to various regions, including many areas of Québec”.
“At the time of the Deportation, many Acadians made their way into Québec, where they were granted farmlands.”
“It is estimated that today, among Québec’s population, more than a million (or more than 15%) people bear Acadian origins.”
This database focuses on the Historical and Genealogical Societies in Quebec counties and includes books by authors who have written about the various communities.
I have taken advantage of all the extra free time at home over the past year to write a family history book about my father’s ancestors. It has been the perfect pandemic project, but now it is almost time to launch it into the world.
This book brings together the many blog posts I have written about my father’s extended family over the past eight years for my personal family history blog, Writing Up the Ancestors, and for the collaborative blog Genealogy Ensemble. As someone once told me, a blog is a good cousin catcher, and indeed, blogging has allowed me to connect with cousins I never knew I had. Also, I got a lot of the research done and written up in small bites. But the stories about the Hamilton and Forrester families (my paternal grandmother was a Forrester) jump all over the place on the blog; in the book, they are in historical sequence and geographical context.
A book that you can hold in your hands and store on your bookshelf for years also feels more permanent. People read a blog post, then jump to the next shiny object on the Internet. You might only read part of a book, or look at the photos, but you can keep it for a long time and pass it on to the next generation. I’m dedicating this book to my grandchildren, in the hope that one day, maybe 50 years from now, they will sit down and discover all the astonishing things their ancestors risked and achieved.
I have called this book Reinventing Themselves: a History of the Hamilton and Forrester Families. These people reinvented themselves several times. Most male members of the immigrant generation grew up in lowland Scotland where they were weavers, stonemasons, tenant farmers and carpenters. When they landed in Upper Canada around 1830, they had to reinvent themselves as farmers in an unfamiliar climate. Members of the next generation retained most of their Scottish customs and religious beliefs, but moved on to a new landscape as they became grain famers on Canada’s western prairies. Their sons and daughters were the first to give up farming and forge careers in the city.
Many Canadian pioneer families followed similar paths, so what makes this story special? Part of its value is that it does represent the experiences of many 19th century immigrant families.
Luckily, many accounts of my ancestors’ unique experiences have survived. In a letter to his father back in Scotland, immigrant Robert Hamilton (1789-1875) recounted the family’s voyage across the Atlantic. Fifty years later, his granddaughter Maggie Hamilton (1862-1886) wrote a letter from Saskatoon in which she described baking bread for the government soldiers following the North West Rebellion in 1885. Fast forward another eighty years and Charles Forrester (1889-1984) wrote a book about life on the farm near Emerson, Manitoba, from hauling water for the livestock to singing Scottish ballads at family gatherings.
I used to envy people who were members of various ethnic groups. They seemed so exotic, while my ancestors were pretty boring. But writing this book has helped me appreciate the values these Scots brought with them: their deep sense of community and their competitiveness, their love of books and learning, their love/hate relationships with alcohol, and their strong work ethic.
The book also has its share of surprises, from the discovery of my great-grandmother’s illegitimate birth and the story of brothers who were globe-trotting plant collectors to the death of my father’s twin in the 1918 flu pandemic and my grandparents’ subsequent investigations into psychical phenomena.
The research, writing and editing are done. It’s too late now for changes, although I will always be itching to tweak something. The manuscript and many, many photos are in the hands of a book designer. I’ll let you know soon when and how to get a copy.
Historic Forts and Trading Posts of the French Regime
Click on the above link to enlarge the map.
The database has been divided into 3 parts.
Part 1 Historic Forts and Trading Posts of the French Regime in New France and the English Fur Trading Companies 1564 – 1759
It will be followed by Part 2 in Jacques’ next posting. It contains an extensive list of Authors who wrote about the fur trade and the explorers.
Part 3 will follow and it consists of the History of fur trading during the French Regime as seen through the eyes of Authors and Historical societies. It includes a lengthy list of libraries and publishers.
When I say that my grandfather, Thomas McHugh, worked as a cipher, Bletchley Park, MI5, and Russian spies immediately come to mind. He was neither a Russian spy nor did he work as a cipher during the war. His employer was the Bank of Montreal and it was his first job when he came to Canada in 1912.
The decision to immigrate to Canada was not easy for Thomas. He was in his mid-30s and already had seven children, between the ages of one and fifteen. For over 40 years, the jute manufacturers of Dundee, Scotland had been providing employment for his parents, aunts, uncles, siblings, wife, and for him. However, by the early 1900s, he was facing a precarious future for his children.
By the early 1900s, Dundee had suffered a serious decline in the textile industry and more significantly, the jute industry. Jute was imported from India, however, the mill owners realized that it would significantly lower the cost of production to open mills in India to prepare the jute and import the finished product to Scotland. Once mills were established in India, the jute production in the mills in Dundee decreased substantially.1
So when Thomas arrived in Canada, a little ahead of his wife and his children, he was eager and prepared to do any job so that he could. The Bank of Montreal had its headquarters in Montreal, Quebec. In the early 1900s, the bank had significant dealings with Great Britain and there were correspondence and banking instructions back and forth between Canada and Great Britain daily. These instructions were mainly sent by telegraph overnight. There were two reasons for this. Some of these instructions were confidential and it was preferred that they remain so. Overnight instructions reduced the number of people who would have access to them. Another reason was the time difference between Montreal and the United Kingdom. The banks in London and Edinburgh were open for business while Montreal was still asleep.
Even in those days, the banks were concerned about security, privacy, and confidentiality. The banking instructions and transactions were submitted by telegraph and were encrypted. It was the job of the cipher clerk to decipher them so that the bank staff could then ensure that the instructions were carried out as required.
To be a cipher clerk, one had to be reliable, meticulous, and honest, and ensure the confidentiality of the bank’s business. The cipher clerk used a cipher handbook to decipher the information. Also, the cipher clerk worked overnight, so it was a difficult job for a man with a family.
So while my grandfather, the cipher, did not work in espionage, I still think that his first job in Canada was rather interesting.2
Slavery in British Quebec and Lower Canada is the subject of this database. Various authors have given us insight into slavery in the Montreal area, the Eastern townships and basically what slavery looked like in Lower Canada in the late 1700s
The following quotations are taken fromA Short History of Slavery in Canada by Jean Bellefeuille
“Slavery became a common practice in New France and the Church became the largest slave owner.”
“In fact, the ports are the first places where slaves are put to work.”
“The historian Marcel Trudel has counted 4,092 slaves throughout Canadian history, of which 2,692 were Indians (the favorites of French settlers) and 1,400 Blacks (the favorites of English settlers) owned by approximately 1,400 masters.”.
May Wells and her daughter, Virginia and son, Thomas, my father-in-law. Don’t let the pic deceive you: May did not like boys and she often said so. She grew up in a female dominated family.
She was not your run-of-the mill granny, that’s for sure, my husband’s father’s mother, May
In fact, she was something of a catfish-out-of-water in 1940’s and 50’s Montreal, taking her skinny six foot tall frame for a tromp down Ste Catherine Street, sticking her head into Marshall’s to ask the price of a pretty fabric on window display only to slam the door shut with a “YOU KEEP IT” when she didn’t like the answer.
It didn’t help that she had a very loud, raspy voice with a pronounced Southern drawl that would draw attention anywhere let alone in a francophone city.
One day in 1944 in a pediatrician’s office, May made my mother-in-law shrink down into her chair when she exclaimed in her embarrassingly loud twang,“It’s plain to see, we have the only good-looking child in the room.”
Granny May was a strong-willed southern belle who came of age in Warrenton, Virginia in the Edwardian Era, the age of ‘the new woman.’ New women were brash and often broke the rules so it helped to be born into a wealthy family if one wanted to follow that route. And she was.
May was so proud of her southern heritage that for years she hid the fact she was actually born in the North.
Mary Pinkney Hardy Fair was born in 1880 in Wallingford, Connecticut to Robert J. Fair formerly of Galway, Ireland*1 and Elizabeth Hardy of the Virginia merchant class who grew up on a lavish Norfolk plantation, Riveredge.
Her mother, Elizabeth Mohun Hardy was one of fourteen children with long roots in Norfolk. Virginia and North Carolina. (No surprise, my husband gets this very ‘community’ on his DNA results.)
Elizabeth Mohun Hardy Fair (I assume as we have the original. Norfolk photographer. She looks a lot like her sister Mary Pinkney. Just check on the Net.)
One of Elizabeth’s sisters, Mary Pinkney Hardy, married Arthur MacArthur, a military captain and gave birth to Douglas, the future American general.
Elizabeth and Robert Fair married in Norfolk in 1870 but lived in Massachusetts and then Wallingford where Robert prospered in dry goods.*1 The couple had six children, three girls and three boys. Fair died young in 1885. The eldest son died soon after. Elizabeth moved back to Virginia and lived comfortably as a widow the rest of her life. The boys got Ivy League educations. The girls received a genteel, privileged upbringing, their social life chronicled in numerous society columns.
Thanks to the General Douglas MacArthur connection, May’s Hardy line has been traced by multiple genealogists: it goes back to the mid 1600s in Pembrokeshire, Wales and includes many generations of land-owners as well as Methodist Minister and a Sea-Captain who founded a trading post with the West Indies. *
May’s uncles fought in the Civil War for the South under Robert E. Lee. Two of them refused to attend the MacArthur wedding.
Two of May’s Uncles.
The many Hardy sisters of Norfolk, by all accounts, were tall and willowy, strong-willed and vivacious.
Every MacArthur bio has at least a short paragraph on the attractive Hardy women, but it’s an obscure epistolary volume from 1850 we own that suggests that these traits were inherited from the mother, Margaret Pierce*2
”Mrs. H is somewhat larger than myself; her complexion is a dark brunette; she has jet black eyes and her raven tresses nearly touch the ground. Some say she is a descendant of Pocahontas. I do love a real Southern character it makes one so cordial, generous and impulsive.”
Mary Pinkney Hardy Fair Wells of Westmount, Quebec was certainly impulsive. She tied-the-knot for the first time ‘on a dare.’ Her second marriage was to a handsome Italian whom she left because ‘he couldn’t have children.’
Somewhere, I have Thomas and Mary’s 1917 marriage certificate. The line “publication of banns” is crossed out, so it is likely, as May often hinted, that she didn’t get a proper divorce from one or both of these men.
As an ingenue May was thrown out of New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel for smoking a cigar in the lobby. Still, she was a more practical and mature 31 when she married the thrice-widowed Thomas G. Wells, 49, of Montreal.
When May first set eyes on the affable, much older Thomas Wells in Montreal sometimes prior to or during WWI, as her sister, Elizabeth, had married a Montrealer in 1911.*3 May told her sister, “If he is ever widowed again, call me.” When Thomas’ third wife passed away, May hightailed it up to Canada and made her successful play for “Tommy,” the President of Laurentian Spring Water. (Thomas’ favorite first wife, Maude Walker of Ingersoll, Ontario also had North Carolina roots, I have recently discovered. This fact might have been an icebreaker.)
Thomas recounted to his children the first time he ever noticed May. It was on a boat and she was seated and when she got up “she went up and Up and UP!”
Although Thomas was bringing in a hefty salary, it was May’s large dowry that allowed them to live the high life in Westmount. Tall and skinny, she could really rock the 1920’s flapper styles. Still, May, a typical wife of the era, spent most nights at home while her husband shmoozed at his elite social clubs. She liked it that way. She had servants and a singleton sister, Emily, to keep her company.
That Flapper Style
Later in life, Mary was somewhat frail herself. My mother-in-law said May kept scores of medicinal bottles on her bedside table. Her favourite medicine was by far the bourbon and it was kept this ‘southern comfort’ in a flask by her side at all times.
In the 1920’s the Wells family lived on Chesterfield Street in the dry Westmount section of Montreal where she routinely scandalized her friends by pouring booze into her afternoon tea. She didn’t let American Prohibition get in her way, either. The story goes that when travelling back to America by train with her two girls* in the 1920’s she hid bottles of liquor under their pillows. She also sewed pockets into her petticoat to hold small flasks.
The one time she did get caught, she attempted to bribe the border guard. She got plunked on Ellis Island. Thomas was so angry at her he sent his chauffeur out alone to bail her out.
A flask engraved EHF likely, my husband’s great aunt Emily’s. We have inherited quite a few silver flasks from that family 🙂
After Thomas passed away in 1951 (receiving a note of condolence bordered in black from Mayor Camillien Houde) May moved to an apartment on Coolbrook above Cote Ste Luc, where my husband, as a little boy, often visited her and where she lived until her death in 1967.
And, yes, she even managed to make a splash on that occasion. She passed away on her eldest granddaughter’s wedding day.
Apparently, my father-in-law was ashen-faced as he walked his first-born daughter (that good-looking baby) down the aisle, but no one else at the wedding had been told.
May is buried in her famously all-female family crypt in Norfolk, Virginia. Here’s the pic.
Well, Thomas Hardy Fair, her older brother is buried there, too.
Poor little rich boy: My father-in-law may have missed out on maternal affection but he didn’t lack for material comfort. Besides, his Aunt “OMIE” (Emily) took care of him, even taking him -against the law -to the movies in the late 20’s and early 30’s to a Verdun movie theatre that looked the other way when it came to kids.
1. According to an obit (May 17, 1885) I found online from a New Haven, Connecticut newspaper, Robert Fair, from Fair Hill Galway, Ireland, had got his start as a new immigrant with a cousin, Edward Malley who owned a successful department store in New Haven. The obit also said he ended up as a breeder of fine Jersey cows which makes it sounds as if he was so prosperous, in his early 40’s, he could devote himself to a gentleman’s hobby.
The obit doesn’t say that he first landed in Quebec. Robert’s sister Elizabeth stayed in Quebec and married a Samuel James Bennett, a lumber merchant, of St. Romuauld D’etchemin.
2. The book is Place in the Memory by S.H. de Kroyft New York John F. Thow 1850. It was given to Emily Fair my husband’s great aunt by her Mom. In pencil is written, “I wish my daughter Emily H. Fair to preserve this book carefully as a letter from Oyster Bay speaks of her grandmother and mother, who went for the Water Cure there in 1848.” A page later: “Page 13 speaks of your grandmother.”
On page 13 of the book is written “Tomorrow a lovely family Mr and Mrs Hardy and daughter of Virginia leave for their home and will be much missed in our social circle. Mrs. H is somewhat larger than myself; her complexion is a dark brunette; she has jet black eyes and her raven tresses nearly touch the ground. Some say she is a descendant of Pocahontas or Metoka as her father called her. I do love a real Southern character it makes one so cordial, generous and impulsive. Mrs. Hardy and myself have climbed these hill together, crossed valleys and traversed winding footpaths and waded the brooks, and plunged and bathed together till she almost seems a part of myself.”
This Mrs. Hardy was the former Margaret Pierce, also of the Norfolk merchant class.
3. Robert’s sister stayed in Quebec and married a Samuel James Bennett, a lumber merchant, of St. Romuauld D’etchemin. They had nine children, the eldest of whom, Benson, became President of the Asbestos mine in Thetford Mines and the first Mayor of that city. May and her two sisters often came up North to visit their many cousins, to escape the heat and, apparently,to scout for husbands.
James Fair’s sister’s marriage record on Drouin says that she is from Fair Hill, agreeing with his obit. . The Drouin record also says her father James (married to Bedelia Keyes) is ‘ecurie’ as far as I can decipher. From records online the Fairs were land agents for the Berminghams and Earls of Leitram and Rosshill in Galway. James in 1838, was a land agent for the Provost of Trinity College Dublin. He rented the land from them and sublet it to tenants. They raised potatoes and oats, so the upcoming potato famine couldn’t have been easy on their tenants and maybe that’s why James Fair, my husband’s great grandfather, came to Canada and then the US. Descendants of the Fairs in Galway run the Fairhill House Hotel and have a law firm Fair and Murtagh. Www.landedestates.ie
- 1.One MacArthur bio The General’s General, claims that the Hardy’s family were Scottish –and proud of it – and that’s why he fell in love with her. (The Hardy surname is Scottish or Irish. Pierce appears Scottish but, hey, we’re talking way back.) This book claims the Hardy’s dealt in fertilizer so came out of the Civil War relatively unscathed. Most other books say the Hardy’s dealt in cotton. MacArthur’s memoirs seem to leave that detail out. He calls them ____merchants. The Hardy’s had to leave their Riveredge plantation for a time during the Civil War when the Union Army took it over. Of course, they were slave owners.
2. May never took her son, Thomas, on trips. He stayed at home and played hockey on the Westmount rink. She wasn’t a total loss as a mother. She was a crack seamstress and made all over kids and grand kids fancy winter coats with fur trim. (She was scared of the cold Canadian winters.)Thomas wasn’t so keen on the fashion. It made him stand out at the rink.
3. As you can see, most of my stories of May come from my father-in-law, her son, and my mother-in-law. I am sure other family members have other stories that perhaps could put another slant on her personality.
4. My husband’s grandmother referred to Douglas MacArthur as “Dougie”. Watching a newsreel she might say “Dougie’s looking good.” Someone kept a stash of news clippings which I once had. I tossed them. May danced the first dance at his 1903 West Point Graduation Elizabeth the second. May’s dance card was donated to the MacArthur Museum. My husband’s aunt visited Douglas in retirement and she said that he was very bossy. LOL
5. May was embarrassed about being born in the North. She didn’t tell anyone until she absolutely had to. She had an older brother Thomas, who went to Cornell and studied engineering and died a widower, I think, in an Upper East Side apartment off Central Park. (My father in law claimed he was the private secretary to Dupont but I have found nothing to collaborate this.). She also had younger brother,
Charlie, who worked as a doctor for free (the story goes) but she clearly grew up in a comfortable female-run environment. I wrote about sister Elizabeth’s dizzying social life here.
Below: Thomas Hardy Fair, May’s eldest brother. It’s written on the back.
Of the 136 trees on Ancestry with Elizabeth Mohun Hardy Fair and Robert Fair, only two mention this son. This is what happens when you have no children. He liked to hunt in Canada. I have his hunting picture album. (Too many dead animals, but a few pics of women in their voluminous turn of the 20th century ‘white dresses’ posing on the porch of small log hunting shacks.)