I am Canadian – the French Connection

Although the Vikings are credited as the first Europeans to land in Canada or North America, it was the french who were the first to set up a lasting settlement. Around 1000 AD, Leif Ericsson, the Norse explorer, landed at L’Anse Aux Meadows in the province of Newfoundland. People say that the Vikings went home after briefly setting up a settlement, but have you ever heard of a First Nations person with blond hair? My husband is a barber by trade. He was cutting a mans hair who appeared to be First Nations but had blond hair. He was looking for his dark roots and didn’t find any. He asked him if it was his real hair. He responded, yes, he was an Indian and it was his natural hair. ‘Must’ve been a viking in my ancestry, eh?’ He was from eastern Canada. hhhmmm


L’Anse Aux Meadows, Newfoundland

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Four hundred years later the western countries of Europe started sending out explorers to find a passage to Asia. While Spain was busy with their lands in the Caribbean, England and France were sending their ships to the north. First to arrive was John Cabot in 1497, an Italian, sailing for Henry the VIII of England. He probably landed in Newfoundland and he reported back about loads of fish. Soon the Portuguese, Spaniards, French and Irish were there to fish cod. The Basque whalers were the first to open an industrial station at Red Bay in Labrador to process whale oil, which was in high demand in Europe.  The next explorer to come to Canada was Jaques Cartier in 1534. He established a post at the Iroquois village of Stadacona, later to become Quebec City. In 1541 he attempted to start a new colony, but after a year of hardships the survivors returned to France.

ships of the time

Raising the cross in the new world
Jaques at Hochelaga later Montreal
Jaques at Hochelaga later Montreal
Nice shorts


In 1599 Nicholas Marsolet, my 8th great grandfather, became an interpreter for the court of King of France, Henry IV.

Henry IV, King of France

Around 1613 Nicholas went to Quebec and stayed at the trading post Tadoussac. He worked with the native Indian populations, such as the Montagnais and Iroquois and acted as interpreter for the Jesuits who were trying to evangelize them.

Tadoussac today
Tadoussac today

After many years working in Tadoussac, he settled in Quebec City, married, and had ten children. His daughter Louise Marsolet married Pierre Lemire and they are my great grandmother’s ancestors.

My father was born in Quebec in the eastern townships. These townships were mostly English speaking when he lived there in the 30s and 40s. They lived in Minton, Quebec near the city of Sherbrooke.


Minton Methodist church
Minton Methodist church. My great grandparents lived across the street from this church
NH Carte blog
Minton was within North Hatley district


South of the border is Vermont, New York and New Hampshire
South of the border is Vermont, New York and New Hampshire Between Sherbrooke and Lennoxville was North Hatley and Minton
eastern townships map
Look for Sherbrooke and Lennoxville, North Hatley and Minton

eastern townships townships


In 1946 they decided to go west. They packed everything into a big truck and drove non-stop to B.C. My grandmother’s sister had already moved to Summerland B.C. in the early 1900s. They were fairly early pioneers of the small community. I have to say I’m thankful my father made the trip to the west. I think Quebec is a great place, but I’m happy to be from B.C.


the Okanagan Lake




Here are some pictures from the Austin’s home and other areas of Summerland, B.C.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.



Links for further information on Quebec, Newfoundland, Nicholas Marsolet, Canada’s page for explorers, Jaques Cartier, old paddle wheeler ships,  and Summerland.











30 thoughts on “I am Canadian – the French Connection

  1. Homestead Ramblings

    The Vikings are such interesting folks, I wish there would be more artifacts and remnants of their life left behind for us to get a really good view of what they were like. I started to read the Viking Saga’s once, and it was so neat to see a glimpse into their world. Your grandparents home reminds me of my grandparents home – there are many similarities.

    1. The Vikings are a fascinating people for sure. I’ve read short bits of the sagas, but would like to read them all. It blows my mind that they sailed over those seas to get to Iceland first, the Greenland and onto Canada. God put the desire to keep exploring.
      Yes, I liked looking at the old style of their home. I never was in that house. They had moved to a smaller one when all of the kids were gone. It’s still there. Thanks for commenting. Have a blessed day!

      1. Pierre Lagacé

        See what you have done..,
        Your comment led me to this great post that I just commented on, and I reblogged it on Our Ancestors.

      2. Thank you ever so much! I enjoy telling history/ancestry stories and it’s a pleasure to find another who enjoys as much if not more.

    1. Thanks Sue. Yes, once I started looking for pictures of Quebec city I was amazed at how beautiful the city really is. I want to visit there again some time. Have a good day!

  2. Pierre Lagacé

    Reblogged this on Our Ancestors and commented:
    Sometimes I stumble upon a blog which has an underlying message, and just have to let the world know about it.

    À l’occasion je découvre un blogue qui cache un message subliminal et je me dois de le partager avec le monde entier.

  3. Pierre Lagacé

    Jaques Cartier is Jacques Cartier…

    but your message get across perfectly.

    I just love your caption about “nice shorts”…
    I do that sometimes on my blogs about genealogy, one in French and Our Ancestors its English version.

    As a footnote

    Did you know that Jacques Cartier kidnapped chief Donnacona?


    A sad story I did not know about until I read something about Donnacona whose name is immortalized by a little town where there is a federal prison.




    How can someone who captures someone else with his two sons and use deception can be treated as a famous person in history books?

    As a footnote to this footnote…

    I live in Ste-Anne-des-Plaines where there is also a federal prison. The worst criminals in Canada are kept here in a super maximum security section.

    P.S. I am not in prison.

    1. Pierre Lagacé

      Please correct the typo…

      but your message get across perfectly.

      but your message GETS across perfectly.

      Have a nice day

    2. Hello Pierre,
      Thank you for the spelling and I’m glad you found this interesting. I knew that Jacques had done that with the chief. Those explorers did some nasty things to the native populations. Every culture seems to immortalize their ancestor or historical character. Before they used to make them gods, now we idolize them still. It’s a crazy romantic idea about those first people to the new land. It’s interesting that you live near the maximum security federal prison and I’m happy to hear you aren’t in prison! 🙂 I will look at Ste-Anne-des-Plaines on the map. Thanks for all of your comments!

      1. Pierre Lagacé

        That was the only spelling mistake. I thought it was important to correct for “history sake”.

    3. You know we probably have some ancestry in common. My father was born in Minton, Stanstead county near Sherbrooke. His mother was of French ancestry.

      1. Pierre Lagacé

        There is always some interesting facts when you start looking for ancestors.

        You will probably comment some more when you find one of my posts that will pique your curiosity.

        Have a nice day. Here it’s 5h20 in the morning.

      2. Pierre Lagacé

        Start small, start slow… I have more than 700 posts just on Our Ancestors.
        More than 1200 on Nos ancêtres.
        See how much I miss television.

      3. Pierre Lagacé

        I have more blogs, but those are paying homage to service men who were in WWII.
        Aviation and history were and still are another passion.
        Writing blogs is like teaching although the classroom is much larger as well as the numbers of students.

        The fun part is no discipline to handle and no homework to have to correct…

        When you are through with all the different stories on Our Ancestors, I will let you in on a secret my wife’s uncle had.

      4. Wow! I found you through gpcox’s blog. I saw you had relationship with him through the ward history and stories. I love his blog too.
        Yes, writing blogs can do the teaching without all the negatives. It is a great way to get all of the stuff we know out there for ourselves and others. And the cool thing is it goes to the whole world. It is fun!
        Look forward to reading more.

      5. I’m not sure what I might need help with. We have a membership with ancestry.com, so have access to quite a bit of online data, but I know there are lots of documents in Quebec that we can’t access and also Vermont is another place of interest to me. Anyway, thank you for your kind offer. I will take a look at what I’m lacking in documentation. Hope you’re having a great day!

      6. Pierre Lagacé

        I mostly specialize with people with French-Canadian names like Dague which is Daigle or Newcity which is Villeneuve. It’s easy for me to spot variations.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s