Category Archives: New France

The tribulations of New France colonist Marie Michel

If my sisters and I have strength, persistence and a refusal to be victimized, we get it from our ancestor Marie-Madelaine Michel Gasnier DeRainville.

Over her 72-year lifetime, Marie left her family and friends three times, married twice, bore nine children, and raised eight of them to adulthood, marriage and their own children. She also lost her first husband to the Beaver Wars that lasted throughout her lifetime.

Jacques and Claire from Genealogy Ensemble also share Marie as an ancestor. If you have roots in North America, chances are, she’s one of your ancestors too.

Like many women, most of the records in which Marie appears focus on the men she accompanied. Many contain estimates about her data. The circumstances they show, however, hint at both suffering and forbearance. She never learned to write, but the strong ‘x’ she used as a signature indicates a woman who knew her worth.

My favourite resource for Marie’s life is a website created by Reverend John F. Gasnier in 2012.1 Gasnier excels at research. His detailed work provided me Marie’s parents’ names, the birth of her children and many of the dates in their lives.

I have begun to collect the original sources he used to compile this data, but so far, his work seems accurate except possibly her birth date. He estimates her birth date at 1620; another good site estimates 1619. Fichier Origine puts her birth at 1615, the date I’m using. Two of the three sites indicate that her birth took place in the village of St-Martin du Vieux Bellême, which Jacques tells me now sits within the modern-day Département de l’Orne. Both her birth town and Igé, the birthplace of her husband Louis, still exist in the now township of Bellême.

From the rest of the data, Marie’s life looks so sad. How did she live through so much suffering?

Her trauma began with the death of her first child sometime between his birth in 1639 and the family voyage from Igé, France to New France in 1644.

Two years before they left, the couple’s daughter Louise was born. By that time, Marie had reached her 27th year; her husband Louis his 30th. Perhaps her birth was the family’s chance for a new life.

It’s not clear why Marie and her husband decided to leave France, but emigration from the region started 10 years earlier, due to the recruitment by apothecary Robert Giffard and the Company of New France.

Giffard recruited many Percherons to New France until his death in 1669, except during the years when the Kirk Brothers occupied Quebec on behalf of England (1629-1631). By then, the colony of New France had 3,000 settlers, including Marie, her husband and their daughter.

In about forty years, 194 adults who had various jobs, often related to construction (mason, carpenter, brick-maker, etc), undertook the great voyage. Some returned to live and work in their native country but the great majority, despite the Iroquois threat, chose to settle on the banks of the Saint Lawrence River in order to clear and thrive the new territories. Their descendants are estimated today at 1.500.000 people in Canada and much more if we include the United States.2

When they undertook the voyage with their two-year-old daughter in July 1644, Marie was pregnant with their second daughter. Her namesake Marie became their first child born in the colony the following September.

Life couldn’t have been easy for the couple once they arrived in New France. It took them more than two years to lease a farm for their fast-growing family from the Saint-Joachim Seminary.

At that period of time, colonists to New France integrated into one of many manors set up under the seigneurial land management system brought to New France in 1627. New France then extended from the Arctic to Florida.

Under the manor system, the Compagnie de Cent Associés (Company of 100 associates) granted important people and groups, including religious ones like the Seminaire de St. Joachim, one by three league (5 by 15 km) land masses along major rivers, including the Saint Lawrence. The land was divided into 3 x 30 arpent sections perpendicular to the river so that everyone had access to boat transportation. (Note that each arpent measured 190 feet (58m).

Marie and her family rented La Ferme Saint-Charles in Cap Tourmente near the town of Saint Joachim for four years. They had two sons—Pierre and Olivier—during this period.

The family then moved back to Quebec while Marie’s husband built a new house in what is now St. Anne de Beaupré. While they waited, Marie had two more children, Louis and Anne.

Just after Anne’s birth, the family moved into a new house on a lot in the Seignerie de Beaupré (Beaupré Manor).

Part of the Beaupré Manor still exists today. Now run jointly by the l’organisme de bassins versants charlevoix-montmorency (obv-cm) and the séminaire de québec – seigneurie de beaupré, the territory covers a 20 by 95 km band north of the Saint Lawrence River. The territory spans 1,600 square kilometres west of Stoneham and east of St-Urbain in Charlevoix. Hunting, fishing and outdoors clubs share the space with loggers, Boralex and Gaz Métro/Valener.3

Back when my ancestors moved in, however, most of the action took place right next to the St. Lawrence River, where the village of Sainte Anne de Beaupré now stands. Marie’s husband Louis built a solid 22 by 20-foot home with 2-foot-thick walls on a cliff overlooking the river. There’s still a house built on the original foundations at 432 Cote Ste. Anne.

Things were good that year. Marie’s oldest daughter Louise got married and she and her husband established their home three lots away. Louis’s older brother Pierre arrived in New France from France with his pregnant wife and three sons. By 1655, he had established a property and house six lots away from his brother.

A year later, Marie gave birth to my six times great grandfather Ignace. The records indicate that Marie worried he wouldn’t live long. Jesuit Father Ragueneau rushed to the house on March 12, 1656 to baptize him. That could have been the first of three major tragedies, but he survived and married. (See my story What legacy stems from our Quebec pioneers?)

In May that same year, the second tragedy occurred. Louis’ older brother Pierre died of recurring fever.

The next three years went quickly, with all three families living in a small neighbourhood along the river. Marie’s namesake child married Andre Berthelot on January 26, 1659. Marie had her last child, son Joachim, a year later.

It would be the family’s last happy year.

In June the following year, 1660, the third tragedy occurred. Louis and seven other neighbourhood men got caught up in the politics of the era. They ended up being scapegoats in the Beaver War.

The Beaver War took place because the fur trade encouraged by British, French and Dutch colonialism pitted Algonquian and Wendat, who sided with the French, against the Haudenosaunee (called the Iroquois in Jesuit papers), who sided with the British and Dutch. Things became even worse after the British and Dutch decided to arm their First Nations allies with rifles. The French refused to supply weapons to theirs.

The weapons imbalance combined with over-hunting led to Haudenosaunee raids of the colonies. Marie’s husband became one of the victims. He probably died in Auriesville.

“Louis disappeared from the records, and it’s believed he was among a group of 8 people who were captured in a raid by some Iroquois on the morning of June 18, 1661. The settlers were forcibly taken to the tribe’s village near Lake Champlain in what is now New York. There the victims were tortured, then killed; one of them was known to have been beaten with “clubs and iron rods” before being scalped....4

Marie didn’t know for sure that her husband was dead until a notary arrived at her home a month later. At the time, she had two dairy cows, two heifers, an ox, two veal calves, nine pigs, a plow, a boat, two rifles, a pistol, an axe and household goods that included only three beds for Marie and six children.

Her son in law Claude guaranteed that she would take care of these goods for her children, her now dead husband’s heirs.

Yet still, Marie stayed strong. Five years after the tragic death of her husband, she remarried Paul DeRainville at 51 years old. Together, they raised my direct ancestor Ignace and his brothers, all of whom married and had Marie’s grandchildren.

By the time Marie died on November 12, 1687, peace still hadn’t arrived in New France. That wouldn’t occur until the Great Peace of Montreal in 1701.

Sources

1Website accessed on February 21, http://www.gagnier.org/p0000353.htm, originally published by Reverend John F. Gasnier on February 8, 2012.

2Website accessed on February 23, https://www.perche-quebec.com/, originally published by Jean-François Loiseau, a board member of the Association Perche-Canada in Paris, France in May, 2019.

3Séminaire du Québec, http://www.seigneuriedebeaupre.ca/, https://charlevoixmontmorency.ca/portraits-seminaire-de-quebec/, accessed October 21, 2020.

4 Website accessed on February 22, 2021: http://ancestorbios.blogspot.com/2018/05/probably-killed-by-iroquois-louis.html originally published by Laura M., Portland, Oregon, May, 2018.

The Three William Lindsays

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.

How the First William (Robert) Lindsay Founded a Public Service Dynasty

Like many first generation Canadians, my 4x great grandfather established an impressive personal and professional life in his adopted homeland. I can’t help but wonder, however, if he paid too heavy a price for his success.

In November 1828, a doctor confined him to his room writing that he needed more “rest, mentally and physically, than he has had up till now.”1

How could such a thing happen?

The First William Lindsay (1761-1834) came to Quebec, Canada from England in 1773 as a 12-year old boy to live with his uncle. Ten years later, at the age of 22, he opened a dry goods business with a partner near the St. Lawrence River harbour in Quebec City.2 At the age of 29 years in 1790, he married Marianne Melvin and they had nine children in 14 years.

While still operating his retail business, William also served as Justice of the Peace for the district of Quebec. Then he entered the public service in 1792 as clerk assistant of the new Lower Canadian House of Assembly, after the Constitutional Act of 1791 divided the British colony called the Province of Quebec,3 into Upper and Lower Canada.

William Lindsay’s Signature

In 1805, he assumed the role of registrar for the newly founded Quebec Trinity House which oversaw the safety management of the burgeoning port facilities and navigation in the harbour of Quebec.4 Also during this time, he held a position of Grand Officer with the Free Masons in Quebec, eventually becoming their Grand Secretary by 1807.5

And then life got really busy.

This first William was known above all for his role in the assembly. At the age of 48, and having gained sixteen years experience as clerk assistant since 1792, he was commissioned as clerk in 1808 and was the second person to hold that office in Lower Canada.

Initially, he received the oaths of allegiance of the members of the Legislative Council and the House of Assembly, revised and printed the rules and regulations as instructed and produced numerous reports.

Before long, his duties included purchasing needed items, hiring workmen and overseeing their work, collecting debts, and paying accounts. By 1812 the clerk’s job had become more administrative than secretarial. This new job description, however, did not include an increase in his salary.

By the time William finally received his requested wage hike three years later, he also had the added responsibility of overseeing a staff of extra workers needed to complete the required duties.

Ten years later, in 1824, when William’s obligations were already overwhelming, the salaries of all officials and writers were cut by 25 per cent and he had to enforce the work schedules as well as prevent his employees from attending to personal matters during working hours. A few years after that, William also became responsible for “filling the empty positions in the house.” However, the assembly members reserved the right to approve or reject appointments!6

Although William always managed to satisfy the members of the House of Assembly, there was a heavy price to pay. The stress from his job wreaked havoc on 67-year old William’s health. In 1828, his doctor ordered immediate bed rest, and delivered a medical certificate to the speaker.

Nowadays, we call it “burnout.”

The prestige of the job must have outweighed the ill effects on his health because, around this time, the first William recommended his son, William (Burns) Lindsay, to the assembly for the deputy clerk position. In September 1829, the second William Lindsay officially succeeded his father who then died five years later at the age of 73.

The first William Lindsay not only faithfully served the assembly for half his life but left a dynasty of loyal hard working clerks for, first his son and then his grandson, succeeded him in that very same public office.

Next: Why the second William Lindsay changed careers (to be published May 5, 2021)

1Yvon Thériault, “LINDSAY, WILLIAM,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 6, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed February 23, 2021

 http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/lindsay_william_6E.html.

2Yvon Thériault, “LINDSAY, WILLIAM,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 6, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed February 23, 2021

 http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/lindsay_william_6E.html.

3https://wiki2.org/en/Province_of_Quebec_- accessed 2021-03-04

The Province of Quebecwas a colony in North America created by Great Britain in 1763 after the Seven Years’ War. During the war, Great Britain’s forces conquered French Canada. As part of terms of the Treaty of Paris peace settlement, France gave up its claim to Canada and negotiated to keep the small but rich sugar island of Guadeloupe instead. By Britain’s Royal Proclamation of 1763, Canada (part of New France) was renamed the Province of Quebec. The new British province extended from the coast of Labrador on the Atlantic Ocean, southwest through the Saint Lawrence River Valley to the and beyond to the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. Portions of its southwest (south of the Great Lakes) were later ceded to the United States in the Treaty of Paris (1783) at the conclusion of the American Revolution although the British maintained a military presence there until 1796. In 1791, the territory north of the Great Lakes was divided into Lower Canada and Upper Canada.

4Ancestry, Canada – Quebec Past and Present: A History of Quebec, 1608-1876, in two parts, by J.M. Le Moine, (Augustin Cote & Co., 1876), 241.

5Ancestry, Canada – Outlines of the history of freemasonry in the Province of Quebec, Chapter V, “Ancient Freemansonry in Lower Canada”, by John H. Graham, (John Lovell and Son, 1892), 75.

6 Yvon Thériault, “LINDSAY, WILLIAM,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 6, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed February 23, 2021  http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/lindsay_william_6E.html.

Slavery in New France in the 17th & 18th Centuries

August 1, 2020, Emancipation Day in Canada

In 1734, a huge fire destroyed part of Montreal. Marie-Joseph Angélique, a black slave, was accused on setting the fire deliberately as she tried to escape from her owner. She was arrested and found guilty, then she was tortured and hanged and her body was burned.

Angélique was one of many slaves, some black, others Indigenous, in New France.  Slavery was legal in Canada for more than 200 years. The Slavery Abolition Act brought an end to chattel slavery throughout the British Empire, coming into effect on August 1, 1834 in Britain, Canada, and several other colonies.

The attached PDF  Slavery in New France   is a 23-page research guide to the topic of slavery in New France in the 17th and 18th centuries. It contains the following contents:

Page 2     A link to a complete online copy of the book L’Esclavage au Canada français – 17e et 18e siècles” (in French) Author: Marcel Trudel – 474 pages Publisher- Les Presses Universitaires Laval, Quebec, Canada 1960

Pages 3-17    A List of authors who have written about slavery in Canada

Page 17- 20       Repositories in Quebec

Pages 21-22     Various online sites

Pages 22-23     Publishers

 

My Prudhommes

How do you get to be you? First you must have your parents, then your grandparents and as you trace back through your family trees you find all the coincidences needed for people to come together at a time and place for you to be who you are.

When Louis Prudhomme arrived in New France around 1640 I am sure that he never thought his seven times great-granddaughter would live there almost four hundred years later. He was an early settler in Ville-Marie (Montreal), a brewer, churchwarden and a member of the Montreal Militia. I descend from Louis and his wife Roberte Gadois. This marriage almost didn’t take place. Roberte came to New France as a child with her parents Pierre Gadois and Louise Mauger. Then when just 15, a marriage contract was drawn up between Roberte and Cesar Leger with the ceremony happening four days later. After six years, the marriage was annulled, most likely because there were no children. The survival of the colony depended on couples having children. On the same day her first marriage was annulled, Roberte married Louis Prudhomme. This wasn’t a quick decision as their marriage contract had been drawn up a year earlier. Roberte proved her fertility by soon giving birth. Their first child, son Francois-Xavier Prudhomme (1651 – 1741) is my ancestor.

Finally, well into his thirties, Francois Xavier married Cecile Gervais, only 13 at the time. This marriage too might not have taken place. Cecile’s parents were Jean Gervais and Anne Archambault. Her mother Anne had previously been married to Michel Chauvin. Michel had owned the property next to Louis Prudhomme. Louis, on a trip back to France, learned that Michel had a wife and children still living there. On his return to New France, he accused Michel of bigamy and reported him to the Governor Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve. Michel, expelled from the colony, went back to France leaving Anne free to marry again and give birth to Cecile. Francois Xavier Prudhomme and Cecile eventually had nine children.

Their first child Francois Prudhomme (1685 – 1748) married Marie-Anne Courault. This couple appeared to have lead uneventful lives except for having eight children.

One of their children, Nicolas Prudhomme (1722 – 1810 ) married Francine Roy. This couple had at least five children before Francine died at age 34. Their youngest child Eustache was just two at the time so not surprisingly Nicholas soon married again.

It was the marriage with his second wife Helene Simone Delorme that produced Jeramie Marie Prudhomme (1766 – 1846) my three times great grandfather. Seven years had past before this child entered the world. Helene must have been busy raising her step children. In 1818 Jeramie is listed by the Sulpicians as one of the twenty family heads living and farming in Côte Saint-Luc, west of the original settlement but still on the Island of Montreal. He married Marie Louise Décarie (1769-1855), from another important farming family. Jérémie and Marie Louise had seven children. Their last child Sophie Marie Louise married Barnabé Bruneau. The Prudhommes had lived on the island of Montreal since the 1640s. Sophie left her ancestral home and moved south across the St Lawrence River to St. Constant.

It is with Sophie Marie Prudhomme that my direct Prudhomme line ended. Other branches of the Prudhomme family continued to flourish. My Great Grandfather Ismael Bruneau chose the middle name Prudhomme in honour of his mother.

Notes:

7th Great Grandfather Louis Prudhomme (1611- 1671) married Roberte Gadois (1628- 1716)

6th Great grandfather Francois Xavier Prudhomme (1651-1741) married Cecile Gervais (1671-1760)

5th Great Grandfather Francois Prudhomme (1685-1748) married Marie Anne Courault (1689-

4th Great grandfather Nicolas Prudhomme (1722-1810) married Helene Simone Delorme (1730-

3rd Great Grandfather Jeramie Marie Prudhomme (1766-1846) married Marie Louise Decarie (1769- 1855)

Two times Great Grandmother Sophie Marie Prudhomme married Barnabé Bruneau

Jean-Jacques Lefebvre http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/prud_homme_louis_1E.html accessed May 13, 2020.

https://www.geni.com/people/Fran%C3%A7ois-Xavier-Prud-homme/6000000002352538874 accessed May 13, 2020.

Making Lime: http://www.minervaconservation.com/articles/abriefhistoryoflime.html accessed May 24, 2020.

https://csllibrary.org/the-prudhomme-family/ accesses May 12, 2020.

How to Find Protestant Abjurations in Quebec

Over the past several years, I have posted several articles about the Huguenots, or French Protestants, who came to New France. Once here, many of them signed abjurations, or declarations in which they renounced their faith, and they became Catholic.

The act of ‘’abjuration’’ was the first step to be taken by a Protestant individual. The second step was an act of ‘’confirmation,’’ conducted by a Catholic priest at a local or regional parish or at a regional convent. Guy Perron in his superb blog refers to this subject as Confirmations.

Recently, the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) has replaced its online research tool Pistard with a much better search engine, Advitam, https://advitam.banq.qc.ca/ and this has made the task of finding these abjurations and confirmations much easier. The first six entries in the attached research guide were obtained by using Advitam.  See https://genealogyensemble.com/2020/04/19/banq-advitam/

Through BAnQ Advitam, BAnQ Numérique or BAnQ Ask a Question/BAnQ Poser une question, you can obtain an online download for free within days simply by searching for the ‘’cote #’’ (Shelf # at BAnQ) and an approximate date of an event.

The nine-page research guide attached here   Abjurations in New France   includes links to registers of abjuration, to the bulletin of the historical society of French-speaking Protestants of Quebec, to Guy Perron’s excellent blog, and to a list of books and articles on the subject.

Over the last few years, Genealogy Ensemble has posted three listings of Huguenot Family Names of New France and Quebec. The links to these lists are at the end of the PDF.

  • Huguenot family names listed by the Huguenot Trails periodical of the Huguenot Society of Canada prior to 2002.
  • Huguenot family names issued by Michel Barbeau, a retired genealogist. (Michel Barbeau’s work is highly precise but is a short list in comparison to other sources.)
  • Huguenot family names compiled by myself from books, essays, papers issued over four centuries by leading historians, academics, archivists, authors, librarians in Canada and in France.

This last list was compiled from books stored at the Collection nationale within the Grande Bibliothèque de Montréal, books and dossiers at BAnQ Vieux-Montréal and books which can be researched online at BAnQ Numérique and through various online sociétés savantes (literary societies) and finally from the online pages of Fichier Origine (www.fichierorigine.com.)

Over the past few years, I have posted a series of research guides to finding Protestants in France. Here are links to my articles about the Protestants who came to Quebec:

Huguenot Refugees, April 2, 2014, https://genealogyensemble.com/2014/04/02/huguenot-refugees/

The Trail of the Huguenots in Europe, the U.S.A. and Canada, April 4, 2014, https://genealogyensemble.com/2014/04/04/the-trail-of-the-huguenots-in-europe-the-u-s-a-and-canada/

Register of Abjurations, Feb, 3, 2015, https://genealogyensemble.com/2015/02/03/register-of-abjurations/

Huguenots – Index of Names, March 6, 2015, https://genealogyensemble.com/2015/03/06/848/

The Protestant Churches of Quebec City, 1629-1759, Feb. 3, 2019,   https://genealogyensemble.com/2019/02/03/the-protestant-churches-of-quebec-city-1629-1759/

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

Protestants in Quebec, Dec. 22, 2019, https://genealogyensemble.com/2019/12/22/protestants-in-quebec/

Also of interest: Marian Bulford’s articles about the Huguenots who immigrated to England. After the British Conquest of 1759 at the Plains of Abraham, British Governors James Murray, Guy Carleton, Frederick Haldimand, Lord Dorchester (Carlton) appointed chief justices, judges and a few lieutenant-governors and senior military officers who were at ease in the French language and all of the above were descendants of Huguenot families who had settled in the London region and also in Northern Ireland. These Huguenot administrators and military officers under Murray, Carleton, Haldimand, Dorchester attended the same churches mentioned by Marian.

Marian Bulford, Huguenot of England, Part 1, April 25, 2018, https://genealogyensemble.com/2018/04/25/the-huguenot-of-england-part-1/

Marian Bulford, Huguenot of England, Part 2, June 15, 2018, https://genealogyensemble.com/2018/06/15/the-huguenot-of-england-part-2/

For help finding Protestant families s in France in the 16th and 17th centuries, see my series of regional research guides, posted on Genealogy Ensemble in 2019-2020, as well as:

How to Search for Huguenot Ancestors in France, May 20, 2018, https://genealogyensemble.com/2018/05/20/how-to-search-for-huguenot-ancestors-in-france/

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

Researching Your French Ancestors Online, May 13, 2018, (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/

 

 

 

The Antoine Pilon Home

In the mid 1600’s New France welcomed many of my ancestors from France. Among them, Genevieve Gamache a ‘marriageable young woman’, contracted to marry. She is, a sixth great grandmother, who was privately sponsored. She settled in the Quebec City area.

At the request of Louis XIV who offered incentives for people to settle in a new country  Anne Thomas, also a sixth great grandmother, in 1665 along with 90 other ‘filles du roi’ (young women) boarded the ‘St. Jean Baptiste’ and sailed from Dieppe to Montreal.1.

At about the same time, in the town of Bayeux, Normandy, France, where the famous tapestry depicts the Norman Conquest of 1066, there was a young man seeking adventure. Antoine was born on the Feast of St. John the Baptist in 1664 (June 24th).2. His father Thomas Pilon, a butcher and his wife Madeleine Hugues dit  Rouault had 5 children.

At the age of twenty-four Antoine left his homeland to cross the Atlantic seeking a new life in what was then a fledgling country where he became a farmer and later a landowner.

hommage

 

Capture.JPG Pilon lease on a farm 1693

30 oct   no.2656   Notarial Record – Lease on a farm 3.

Shortly after his arrival in Ville Marie Antoine, my 7th greatgrandfather chose his bride to be, Anne Brunet. Michel Mathieu Brunet dit L’Etang and Marie Madeleine Blanchard brought Anne into the world on January 1, 1672.4. Michel was a farmer and a prosperous fur trader. At the time of Anne’s birth, the family was living near Trois Rivieres. The family moved to Lachine at a later date.

Antoine and Anne were married in Notre Dame parish church in Montreal on January 29, 1689. Their first child, Jeanne was born in Montreal, December 9th of that same year. Over a period of 24 years the couple had 14 children.6. The first 3 children were born in Montreal, two, in Laprairie and the others in Lachine and Pointe-Claire. In those days not all children survived, and they lost three infants. However, several of their children lived well into their 80`s.

Capture.JPG Marriage Church Record Notre Dame

Church record of the marriage of Antoine and Anne 5.

Translation:

On the 20 of January 1689  a solemn marriage between Antoine Pilon, son of Thomas Pilon and Madeleine Hugues, the father and mother on one hand and Marieanne (Anne) Brunet daughter of Michel Mathieu Brunet and Marie Blanchard, the father and mother on the other. Mathieu Brunet was a witness.

Capture.JPG Notarial act marriage Antoine Pilon and Marieanne BRUNET copy

1689   2 janvier    21551    Notarial record of marriage 5.

Antoine was not as fortunate as his children. He died at the age of 50 on February 24th, 1715.7. He is buried in St. Joachim Ancient Cemetery beside the church in the village of Pointe-Claire not far from the home he built.

Antoine Burial

Church Record of Antoine Pilon’s burial

During those early years Ville Marie, as Montreal was called at that time, experienced numerous Indian raids. One of them being the devastating Lachine Massacre in August 1689. Many lives were lost. During the next few years efforts were made to find a peaceful resolution.

The Great Peace of Montreal (FrenchLa Grande paix de Montréal) was a peace treaty between New France and 39 First Nations of North America. It was signed on August 4, 1701, by Louis-Hector de Callière, governor of New France, ….and provided 16 years of peaceful relations and trade before war started again.”.8.

After the signing of the peace treaty, the Sulpicians, administrators, and seigneurs of the land began conceding properties. Several of my ancestors were among those who benefited from this opportunity. They chose to move westward to what we now refer to as the West Island. The first, Sebastien Cholet dit Laviolette,  my 6th great-grandfather, a weaver started the trend along with his wife Anne Thomas, the ‘fille du roi’. He and his family settled in the community of present day Dorval. Their home lay  on the eastern tip of Valois Bay in a small cove that bears his name, overlooking Lake St. Louis.

Antoine Pilon my 7th great-grandfather also chose to settle west of Ville Marie, following in Sebastien’s footsteps, He also purchased land in Pointe-Claire with frontage on the shores of Lake St. Louis. 9.

map of Cholet cove copy

All the land transactions, from the original owner Pierre Sauvé to Antoine Pilon are all documented to the current date.10.

The Antoine Pilon House lies on lot 88 of the present survey, forming a part of lot number 154 in the original land registry of the Island of Montreal. Lot 154-D was conceded by the Sulpicians to Pierre Sauvé dit Laplante on November 24th,1698. Then, the size of the property was 3 acres of frontage and 60 acres deep, on the shore of Lac Saint-Louis.

Pierre Sauvé and his wife Marie-Michel sold this land to Jean du Tartre dit Desrosiers on October 27th, 1700. Two transactions took place on the same day, September 19,1706. DuTartre gave a concession to Madeleine LeMoyne, already in possession of the adjoining lot. She immediately sold lot 154-D to Antoine Pilon, having already purchased from her the adjoining lot 155-D.

Anne Brunet, Antoine’s widow, inherited the lot after Antoine`s death and she gave the land to her son Mathieu on January 22nd, 1729. The deed (acte de donation) indicates land of 5 acres of frontage to 20 acres deep, consisting of lots 154-D and 155-D. In this deed we learned that the lot contained a house, and a small barn, possibly built during the summer of 1707.

The house Antoine built remained in the Pilon family, passed on from his wife, Anne to their son Mathieu and then from father to son for 120 years.11. Remarkably it is still standing today. One can see the home when driving along 258 Lakeshore Road-Bord-du-lac near the entrance to Pointe-Claire village.

maison_antoine_pilon

Antoine Pilon House

      Footnotes:

  1. http://www.migrations.fr/ACTESFILLESDUROY/actesfillesduroy_index.htm
  2. http://www.piloninternational.ca/international/genealogies/bayeuxplus.htm
  3. Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec; Montréal, Quebec, Canada; Collection: Fonds Cour Supérieure. District judiciaire de Montréal. Cote CN601. Greffes de notaires, 1648-1967.; District: Montréal; Title: Saint Martin, Antoine Adhemar dit (1668-1699)com. Quebec, Canada, Notarial Records, 1637-1935 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016. Repertoire de notaires (Notarial catalogs), Montreal. Maugue, Claude (1677-1696)
  4. http://www.francogene.com/genealogie-quebec-genealogy/000/000796.php
  5. Ancestry.com. Quebec, Canada, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621- 1968[database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2008.Quebec, Canada, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1968
  6. http://www.francogene.com/genealogie-quebec-genealogy/005/005837.php7
  7. .Ancestry.com. Quebec, Genealogical Dictionary of Canadian Families (Tanguay Collection), 1608-1890[database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.Original data: Tanguay, Cyprien. Dictionnaire généalogique des familles canadiennes depuis la fondation de la colonie jusqu’à nos jours. Québec, Canada: Eusèbe Senécal, 1871-1890. Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Canada
  8. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peace_treaty
  9. http://www.genealogie.org/famille/cholette/eindex.html
  10. https://www.wikitree.com/photo/jpg/Pilon-239
  11. https://grandquebec.com/montreal-touristique/maison-antoine-pilon/

 

Quebec Windmills and Seigneuries 

Find an old windmill (moulin) in Quebec and you will find a trace of an old seigneury, or estate.

In 2005, a heritage society in the Montreal suburb of Pointe Claire was looking into restoring the local windmill, built in 1710, but realized no-one had the knowledge to repair it. So, the Société pour la Sauvegarde du Patrimoine de Pointe-Claire (SSPPC) formed a partnership with Quebec’s national archives, the BAnQ Vieux-Montréal, to do some research.  A team of archivists, librarians and clerks compiled hundreds of notarial acts dealing with windmills in Nouvelle France, and in Quebec after the British Conquest of 1759.

The old windmill in Pointe-Claire, overlooking Lac Saint-Louis. Claire Lindell photo.

The resulting document, “Actes notariés transcrits sur les moulins du Québec,” (see link below) reveals a great deal about the history of Quebec’s moulins-à-vent (windmills) and moulins-à-eau (watermills,) and about the seigneuries where they were located.

It includes transcriptions of acts made by notaries concerning windmills. These documents, such as leases, sales, inventories and various contracts involving millers, shine a light, not only on windmill construction, but many other aspects of their use. Some of these notarized agreements date back to the 1600s.

Until the 20th century, Quebec’s economy was based on agriculture, with corn and various grains being the most common products. Most windmills produced flour, although some powered sawmills or tanneries.

In New France, in Quebec under the British, and during the Lower Canada period, the majority of windmills were owned by the seigneurs, the owners of seigneuries, or large estates of farmland and forest. The seigneurial system of land ownership, tenancy and feudal-based obligations was officially abolished in 1854, but it took many years before it completely disappeared.

Here is the link to “Actes notariés transcrits sur les moulins du Québec” https://www.banq.qc.ca/documents/archives/genealogie/outils/moulins.pdf

Most of the transcriptions in this large PDF are in French, but you can copy and paste sections that are of interest to you and make use of online translation services such as Google Translate or DeepL.

Built around 1730, this former mill in Verchères is a museum. Joann Egar photo.

Some windmills were owned by censitaires (tenants), but these private windmill or water-powered mill operators had to pay annual fees to their seigneurs. The fees were based on the number of tonneaux (wooden barrels) of farine (flour) and grains they produced on a yearly basis.

Most windmills in New France measured their capacity of production of flour, grain and corn by the number of wooden barrels they could produce per day or week.

If you look at biographies of settlers posted on Fichier Origine (www.fichierorigine.com) or P.R.D.H. (https://www.prdh-igd.com/en/accueil) or within the René Jetté books of pioneers, you will encounter the word tonnelier, a carpenter who specialized in making wooden barrels for operators of windmills, seigneurs and farmers. Most seigneuries in New France had their own tonnelier and/or windmill operator and/or operator of a water-powered mill.

Recruiters of families from France in the 17th and 18th centuries, especially within the northwest regions of France — Normandie, Poitou, Perche, Bretagne, Maine, Aunis, Anjou, Touraine, Beauce — would always recruit one or two tonneliers and one or two operators of windmills or operators of mills powered by water among the citizens who boarded sailing ships from La Rochelle and other seaports, destined for the French colonies of America.

The Fleming Mill in LaSalle is designed in Anglo-Saxon style. Janice Hamilton photo.

To learn more:

Most of the province’s many windmills have disappeared, however, several remain in the Montreal area, including in Pointe-Claire, LaSalle and on Île Perrot.

Liste des moulins à eau du Québec:  https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liste_des_moulins_%C3%A0_eau_du_Qu%C3%A9bec

This is a less extensive list of windmills in English:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_windmills_in_Quebec

René Jetté, Dictionnaire généalogique des familles du Québec: des origines à 1730, Montréal: Gaetan Morin, 2003.  No longer in print but available at the BAnQ and at the Grande Bibliothèque de Montréal. Also available at many university libraries in Canada and at most French-language genealogical societies in Quebec, Ontario, and New England. Major libraries in Canada would also have a copy.

Gilles Deschênes, Quand le vent faisait tourner les moulins: Trois siècles de meunerie banale et marchande au Québec, Québec: Septentrion, 2009, https://www.septentrion.qc.ca/catalogue/quand-le-vent-faisait-tourner-les-moulins

Article on the seigneurial system in the Canadian Encyclopedia: https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/seigneurial-system

 

 

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.

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.