the French Connection – Part 6 – the Percheron Immigration (and how I’m related to Angelina Jolie)

I’ve found a great website for French-Canadian ancestry called a Point in History.

It’s full of great information on early settlers of Quebec, so I’m going to use a lot of the information from this website in my post. Why re-invent the wheel? So here we go.

A brief chronology up to the Percheron Immigration

1608: Champlain sets up an “Habitation” at Quebec as well as alliances with the Algonquin, Huron (Wyandot), and Montagnais (Innu) tribes for control of the fur trade.

1611: A European colony is established by Champlain on the Island of Montréal (Ville Marie).

1617: Louis Hébert and his family settle at Quebec.

1627: Cardinal Richelieu creates the Company of One Hundred Associates.

1628: In the spring, Robert Giffard of Normandy sails for New France with the first group of about 300 settlers along with supplies for the new settlement. The vessel he is traveling in is intercepted by pirates in the pay of the English. He and the settlers have to return to France. 

1629-1631: Quebec is in English hands, and most settlers return to France.

1632: The Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye enables France to regain possession of Canada.



A timeline for the early Percheron immigration

1634: In January, the Company of One Hundred Associates grants the seigniory of Beauport to Robert Giffard.  He recruits his first settlers. In March, Robert Giffard leaves for New France with his wife and children and about thirty settlers. These include Jean Guyon, master mason, Zacharie Cloutier, master carpenter and Robert Drouin, a tile maker and native of Pin-la-Garenne. In early June, the ship reaches Quebec.

1635: At Quebec, Samuel de Champlain dies: the colony now has 132 settlers, of whom 35 are from le Perche. The village of Mortagne witnesses the departure of more settlers, including Gaspard Boucher with his wife and children.  One of them is Pierre, born at Mortagne in 1622 and now aged 13. The first organized settlement of new France is under way. Most of the departures from le Perche occurred during the period 1634-1662.

1641: Arrival at Quebec of Guillaume Pelletier from Bresolettes. The colony’s population stands at 300 souls.

1647: Arrival at Quebec of 17 young people from the Tourouvre area.

1653: Pierre Boucher defends Trois-Rivières against the Iroquois.

1662: Pierre Boucher returns to France and solicits the support of Louis XIV and Colbert to save the threatened colony from the Iroquois. He returns to New France with a large group of settlers.

1665: Arrival at Quebec of the Carignan-Salières Regiment.

1668: Robert Giffard dies in Beauport. The colony has 3,000 inhabitants.


The following is a list of my ancestors from this region of Normandy.

François BOUCHER … single … 1634 … 17 … arrived with his father, Marin Boucher, step-mother, and half-siblings.

Gaspard BOUCHER … husband … 1634 … abt. 41 … furniture maker … arrived with his wife and 8 children.  Gaspard Boucher is a brother of Marin Boucher listed below.

Nicole LEMÈRE … wife of Gaspard BOUCHER … 1634 … 39

Marin BOUCHER … husband … 1634 … 45 … mason … arrived with wife and 3 children including above listed, François Boucher

Périnne MALET … wife of Marin BOUCHER … 1634 … 28

Jean CLOUTIER … single … 1634 … 14 … arrived with his parents Zacharie Cloutier and Xainte Dupont, and siblings including his brother, Pierre-Zacharie listed below.

Pierre-Zacharie CLOUTIER … single … 1634 … 17 … arrived with parents Zacharie Cloutier and Xainte Dupont, and siblings.

Zacharie CLOUTIER … husband … 1634 … 44 … carpenter … arrived with wife, Xainte Dupont, and 5 children including sons, Jean and Pierre-Zacharie Cloutier listed above.

Xainte DUPONT … wife of Zacharie CLOUTIER … 1634 … 38

Thomas HAYOT … husband … 1636 … abt. 35 … arrived with wife and 3 children

Jeanne BOUCHER … wife of Thomas HAYOT  and sister of Marin BOUCHER… 1636 …35

Map of France showing the Perche area
Map of France showing the province names and the are of Perche is circled red


Even if the Percherons represent only 4% of the French immigrants to Canada in the 17th and the 18th centuries, most of the French-Canadians have Percheron blood. So that tiny little red circled province is a pretty important place for French-Canadian ancestry.

Now for the part about Angelina Jolie. If you look at Zacharie Cloutier’s page on Wikipedia you will find a long list of notable descendants of his, including, but not limited to: Angelina Jolie, Celine Dion, Madonna, Hilary Clinton, Avril Lavigne, Alannis Morrisette, and Shania Twain. This one man has thousands of descendants.

Map of le Perche
Map of le Perche

 Mortagne-au-Perche is the origin of the Cloutier and Boucher families. For more on the Percheron Immigration, step back to 1627 through excerpts of the translated narrative given by Michel Ganivet, Secretary General of the Perche-Canada Association in France on the occasion of a visit to France by the then Prime Minister Jean Chrétien in June 2000.

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So there you have it. The Mortagne-au-Perche connection to your French-Canadian ancestry. Anybody out there descend from these guys?







14 thoughts on “the French Connection – Part 6 – the Percheron Immigration (and how I’m related to Angelina Jolie)

    1. Hahaha, ya she’s related to so many people. Go back far enough, eh? I haven’t written her a letter yet, but maybe I should. 🙂 I had heard she had French-Canadian ancestry, but I didn’t know exactly how it worked. Now I do. It’s fascinating to think of how many people there are related to those few people who started everything in New France. Thanks for checking it out Sue!

      1. That would be fun. I should write to Celine Dion too. There a lot of musicians that descend from Zacharie Cloutier. It’s all so interesting to me.

  1. Pierre Lagacé

    Almost everyone with French-Canadian roots has Zacharie Cloutier as an ancestor.
    This is a well-known fact.
    But how many people are descendants of Kinogenini Mentosaky an Ojibwe woman?
    Stay tuned…

    1. Yes, I guess it was a rather silly question. I was having so much fun discovering all of this for the first time! I look forward to your post on the Ojibwa woman. That’s quite a name. It’s great to be in touch with you, so I can learn so much.

      1. Pierre Lagacé

        I think I came across it once.
        This is the main reason I reblogged your post… The link to Angelina Jolie was okay also.
        It reminded me of the woman who wanted to know if she was related to Emeril Lagasse, the cook.
        There was much more to the Lagacés than Emeril who is only a 8th cousin of mine.

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