I am Canadian – Alberta Bound

“Alberta Bound”

Alberta Foothills
Alberta Foothills
Oh the prairie lights are burnin’ bright
The Chinook wind is a-movin’ in
Tomorrow night I’ll be Alberta bound
Though I’ve done the best I could
My old luck ain’t been so good and
Tomorrow night I’ll be Alberta bound
No one-eyed man could e’er forget
The Rocky Mountain sunset
It’s a pleasure just to be Alberta bound
I long to see my next of kin
To know what kind of shape they’re in
Tomorrow night I’ll be Alberta bound
Alberta bound, Alberta bound
It’s good to be Alberta bound
Alberta bound, Alberta bound
It’s good to be Alberta bound
Oh the skyline of Toronto
Is somethin’ you’ll get onto
But they say you’ve got to live there for a while
And if you got the money
You can get yourself a honey
A written guarantee ta make you smile
But it’s snowin’ in the city
And the streets and brown and gritty
And I know there’s pretty girls all over town
But they never seem ta find me
And the one I left behind me
Is the reason that I’ll be Alberta bound

Alberta bound, Alberta bound
It’s good to be Alberta bound
Alberta bound, Alberta bound
It’s good to be Alberta bound
It’s good to be Alberta bound

by Gordon Lightfoot


10020-153 St, Edmonton, Alberta - 1945, the house my grandfather built
10020-153 St, Edmonton, Alberta – 1945, the house my grandfather built


1937 the jobs had dried up in Saskatchewan, so my grandparents, along with a few friends, packed up and moved to Edmonton, Alberta. The men got jobs right away and so they embarked on the next chapter of their lives. They looked with fondness back on those years in Edmonton. No one had much money and the neighbours all helped each other and got together for fun times. There was a great camaraderie going through the depression together. Gramps worked at Aircraft Repair during the war.

Historic Pictures of Edmonton



Edmonton is a big city now.

Night Skyline of Edmonton from photos.edmonton.ca
Night Skyline of Edmonton from photos.edmonton.ca

I am Canadian – Saskatchewan Bound – Part 2

My 99-year-old grandmother has tough Swedish roots. She’s still got all her sensibilities and is in good health. I sure hope she can hang in there to make it to her 100th birthday!

Me with my mom and gramma
Me with my mom and gramma

Gramma’s parents came from Kansas, but their parents were from Sweden. Both families came over in around 1869 and headed to Olsburg, Kansas where there was a fairly large Swedish population.

the Holm siblings - my great grandfather is the upper left man
the Holm siblings – my great grandfather is in the upper left

Olsburg was founded in 1880. The majority of the settlers were Swedes. I believe it was on the railway line, but later the train stopped going that way. Olsburg’s population is about 200 now.  Charles Holm built this house out of sandstone and it still stands in its original site in Olsburg. Charles and his wife Lovissa emigrated from Sweden with two older children in 1868. My great grandfather was born later while they were living in Kansas.


Charles Holm's house built in Olsburg 1876
Charles Holm’s house built in Olsburg 1876

My great grandparents were married 1896 in Westmoreland, Kansas

They had several children in Kansas all of whom died in childhood. After Frank’s parents died, he and two of his brothers moved to Nebraska. I guess Nebraska was good luck for them because the children they had there all survived and lived long healthy lives. My great uncle Eldon worked for Boeing in Seattle. My great aunt Helen lived in California. She and her husband owned a restaurant named Earl’s Restaurant.  Tate, Nebraska was another railroad stopping town and the Holm’s had a general store and hotel there.

My Uncle Eldon can tell the story better than I. He wrote it before he passed away.

Tate Nebraska was a little town consisting of a general store, a hotel, one grain elevator and a corn crib. The town was serviced and connected to the rest of the world by a Rock Island Rail Road spur track from Virginia, Nebraska and terminated in Tate about eleven miles away. The spur also had a small depot at the end of the line, and Frank, among other things, was the ticket agent and worked the turntable to head the locomotive around for the return trip to Virginia.  In addition to the store, hotel and depot there were two houses up on the hill from the single street through town. Frank was the proprietor of the store but had a man by the name of Neilson to manage it for him because he also operated the elevator and took care of the corn crib. Matilda managed the hotel with the help of Mr. Neilson’s daughter Mamie. Eldon was born in the hotel and Helen was born in the brown house on the hill, where the family moved before her birth. 
General story in Tate
Frank prospered in Tate, but in 1914, Rock island took the train off this spur because motor trucks were now handling deliveries to the door more efficiently than the train without door delivery. The elevator and the corn crib went out of business and the store lost business because the farmers shopped where they hauled their grain. Tate is no longer on the map.
When Frank closed out of Tate and moved to Virginia the partnership with brother Will led to going into the dairy business. Frank bought a farm just a quarter mile out from town. It was to be a model dairy complete with a milking machine and they would invest in some thoroughbred Holsteins and raise heifers of purebred stock. They secured two registered Holsteins, one from Scotland and one from France, at the outrageous price for that time of over two thousand dollars each. People came from all over the state to observe the milking machine and to see what a $2000 cow looked like. It really was a model dairy with sterilizing equipment to match. However, when the State, in about 1918, mandated that dairy cows must be tested for tubercular strain some of the cows tested positive and milk from this dairy farm could not be sold. Pasteurization was not on the horizon then and the dairy farm was out of business. Frank had to do away with the cows that tested positive, he sold some and kept two for their own milk. The partnership with Will dissolved and the Frank Holm family moved to Canada in 1920. By this time, another child had been born to Frank and Matilda in Virginia; Virginia Aileen Holm born in 1915.
Virginia Nebraska
Virginia Nebraska
Frank Holm's family
Frank Holm’s family
My grandmother Aileen is named after Virginia in Nebraska where she was born, but really the only home she remembers is their home in Saskatchewan.
In about 1918 Frank put the dairy farm up for sale including the milking machine equipment, the farm implements and the 140 acres of land. It took a year and half to find a buyer for the acreage and in the meantime  Frank heard about cheap land in Canada. The Canadian government was encouraging settlement in the prairies of Saskatchewan with cheap land, but wanted $15 per acre for roads and schools. Frank took a tour of the land with the White Land Company in Lincoln, Nebraska and apparently made a commitment on a section of land (640 acres). He came home to Virginia enthused about a new life in Canada. Late 1919, the 140 acres was sold and preparations were made to move.
Aileen (Holm) Sharples recalls they traveled by train in an immigrant’s car. There was a cook stove and the car was shared by several families.

An example of the Immigrant rail cars. This is what the Holms traveled on from Nebraska to Canada
An example of the Immigrant rail cars. This is what the Holms traveled on from Nebraska to Canada
The two families arrived at a little prairie town called Milden, Saskatchewan.
And so during a community dance my grandparents met. My grandfather from Wiseton and my grandmother from Dinsmore. They were married in 1932 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. When work got scarce in Saskatchewan they made a move to Edmonton. That finished their Saskatchewan chapter and it was the beginning of their moves west. That will be another post.




I am Canadian – Saskatchewan bound – Part 1

My maternal grandparents were raised in Wiseton and Dinsmore Saskatchewan. Both of their families, one set from Nebraska and the other set from Ontario, arrived in Saskatchewan expecting to make some good money by farming.

Immigration to the Prairie Provinces from Wikipedia:

In the 18th to 19th century, the only immigration western Canada or Rupert’s Land saw was early French Canadian North West Company fur traders from eastern Canada, and the Scots, English Adventurers and Explorers representing the Hudson’s Bay Company who arrived via Hudson Bay. Canada became a nation in 1867, Rupert’s Land became absorbed into the North-West Territories. To encourage British Columbia to join the confederation, a transcontinental railway was proposed. The railway companies felt it was not feasible to lay track over land where there was no settlement.

Back when the British first came to North America, Canada looked like this:

Rupert's Land 1670 extends over parts of Saskatchewan
Rupert’s Land 1670 extends over parts of Saskatchewan

The fur trading era was declining; as the buffalo population disappeared, so too did the nomadic buffalo hunters, which presented a possibility to increase agricultural settlement. Agricultural possibilities were first expounded by Henry Youle Hind. The Dominion government with the guidance of Clifford Sifton, Minister of the Interior in charge of immigration, (1896–1905)[5] enacted Canada’s homesteading act, the Dominion Lands Act, in 1872.

The borders looked like this in 1870. Saskatchewan is part of the North-West Territories.

Canadian provinces 1870-1871
Canadian provinces 1870-1871

An extensive advertising campaign throughout western Europe and Scandinavia brought in a huge wave of immigrants to “The Last, Best West”. (In 1763 Catherine the Great issues Manifesto inviting foreigners to settle in Russia,[6] and in 1862 the United States enacted a Homestead Act inviting immigration to America.[7]) Ethnic or religious groups seeking asylum or independence no longer traveled to Russia or the United States where lands were taken or homestead acts were canceled. The Red River Colony population of Manitoba allowed it to become a province in 1870. In the 1880s less than 1000 non-Aboriginal people resided out west. The government’s immigration policy was a huge success, the North-West Territories grew to a population of 56,446 in 1881 and almost doubled to 98,967 in 1891, and exponentially jumped to 211,649 by 1901.

Canada West poster
Canada West poster
Canada 1882
Canada 1882
CPR land sales ad
CPR land sales ad
Canada 1895
Canada 1895

Ethnic Bloc Settlements[9] dotted the prairies, as language groupings settled together on soil types of the Canadian western prairie similar to agricultural land of their homeland. In this way immigration was successful; new settlements could grow because of common communication and learned agricultural methods.

Census divisions 2005
Census divisions 2005 showing ethnicity spread over provinces

Canada’s CPR transcontinental railway was finished in 1885. Immigration briefly ceased to the West during the North West Rebellion of 1885. Various investors and companies were involved in the sale of railway (and some non railway) lands. Sifton himself may have been involved as an investor in some of these ventures.[10] Populations of Saskatchewan and Alberta were eligible for provincial status in 1905.

Canada 1905
Canada 1905

Immigration continued to increase through to the roaring twenties. A mass exodus affected the prairies during the dirty thirties depression years and the prairies have never again regained the impetus of the immigration wave seen in the early 20th century.

My great grandfather Alfred Sharples was one of those people who took out a homestead out in Wiseton, Saskatchewan. He had emigrated from Walton-le-Dale, Lancashire, England with his first wife in 1883. The family sailed on the SS Polynesian from the Allan Line. They left from Liverpool and landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

SS Polynesian of the Allen Line
SS Polynesian of the Allan Line

They settled in Brantford, Brant, Ontario and had three daughters.

Sadly, Alfred’s first wife, Lizzie, died in 1905 before they could make the move to Saskatchewan. We don’t know why or how, but Alfred was on his own with three children to raise. Needless to say, he was eager to find a mom for them. Somehow he wound up in the Zephyr Hotel where his next wife was the cook. Her father, William Bennett Foote, was the owner of the hotel. I guess Alfred liked her, Alfretta’s, cooking and decided she would be a good mother to his children. They were married 1907 in Toronto, Ontario.

By the time Alfretta and Alfred were married Alfred already had the farm in Wiseton. He went back and forth between Saskatchewan and Ontario until the land was ready for settling. When my grandfather was born in 1910, he was born in Zephyr or Uxbridge, Ontario. Between 1910 and 1920 they joined Alfred during the summer in Saskatchewan and went back to Zephyr during the winter. Once the farm was ready for the family Alfretta and Floyd joined Alfred in Wiseton full time. The family is living in Wiseton in the 1921 census record. By this time the older daughters were married and gone.

Young Floyd, my grampa
Young Floyd, my grampa in ringlets

About fourteen kilometers from their farm in Wiseton was the village of Dinsmore where my grandmother was living with her parents. I guess they had some community dances back then and that’s where they met. I’ll tell more about my grandmother in the next post.




I am Canadian – the Scottish Connection

I think this will be my last post for ancestors on my father’s side. John Bean is my 7th great-grandfather. He was born in Scotland and came to North America probably 1652 after the Battle of Worcester. He landed in Exeter, New Hampshire and is the progenitor of hundreds of thousands of people including Alan Bean who landed on the moon. So to end off this part of the Canadian chapter I will give you a little history on John Bean.


From Wikipedia

John Bean of Exeter, New Hampshire was born John MacBean before 1634, in Strathdearn, Inverness-Shire, Scotland. His father was Donald MacBean and his grandfather was Aaron MacBean – b. 1570 in Inverness-Shire. Strathdearn lies about ten miles south of the village of Inverness. These are pictures of Inverness nearby to Strathdearn.

Inverness on the River Ness
Inverness on the River Ness
Castle Inverness in winter
Castle Inverness in winter

John was one of 272 Scottish Prisoners of War from the Battle of Worcester who arrived in Boston on 2-24-1652 to be sold as indentured workers to pay for the cost of their transportation.

From Wikipedia

The Battle of Worcester took place on 3 September 1651 at Worcester, England, and was the final battle of the English Civil War. Oliver Cromwell and the Parliamentarians defeated the Royalist, predominantly Scottish, forces of King Charles II. The 16,000 Royalist forces were overwhelmed by the 28,000 strong “New Model Army” of Cromwell.

Oliver Cromwell at the battle of Worcester
Oliver Cromwell at the battle of Worcester
Boston was where John was destined after the Battle of Worcester
From Boston John made his way north to Exeter, Rockingham, New Hampshire
From Boston John made his way north to Exeter, Rockingham, New Hampshire

John d. between 1-24-1718 and 2-18-1718 at Exeter, NH. He is buried in the Church yard of the Congregational Church (Old Meeting House) in Exeter, NH.

John Bean's gravestone at the Congregational church in Exeter
John Bean’s gravestone at the Congregational church in Exeter
Water Street, Exeter New Hampshire
Water Street, Exeter New Hampshire


Here’s what is written on astronaut Alan Bean’s (my 7th cousin once removed) website:

The official records show that when Apollo 12 flew to the Moon, the crew was Pete Conrad, Dick Gordon, and Alan Bean. That’s true…as far as it goes.

We also represented the hopes and dreams of the scientists and engineers who designed the rockets, spacecraft, and experiments. Our skilled instructors and flight controllers were there, too, as were our families and friends and all the American taxpayers who paid the bill. I found out later that as I stepped on the Moon on the morning of November 19, 1969, I represented my forefathers of the Clan MacBean.

The first mention of the Clan MacBean in Scottish history occurred about A.D. 1300. The word “Bean”, at that time, meant “the lively one”, and the “Mac” signified “the son of Bean”. I think my mother would have agreed, when I was in my twos and threes, that she had a lively one.

The clan flourished in the Scottish highlands. John MacBean brought the clan to the new world, but not by choice. He was in the ranks, fighting for the Scottish King Charles II against Cromwell, the British dictator, at the Battle of Worcester. The Scots lost the battle and John MacBean was deported to Boston as a prisoner, arriving there on February 24, 1652.

John Bean (the ship’s clerk had anglicized his name) was sold as an indentured servant to a sawmill operator in Exeter, New Hampshire. The boss’s daughter quickly fell in love with him and, a short while later, they were married. Pete and Dick have laughed at this story and said, “The gift of great good luck was in the Bean genes even way back then.”

Editor’s note: A widely circulated story claims that Alan placed a piece of MacBean tartan on the Moon. We have the following from Alan, written on 30 April 2005: “As I remember it, I took Clan McBean Tartan to the moon and returned it to Earth. I did not leave any Clan McBean Tartan on the surface. I did, in fact, give a piece of the Tartan to the Clan McBean and also to the St. Bean Chapel in Scotland. And I’ve still got some of it in my possession. I did not, however leave any of it on the moon.”

Allan Bean
Alan Bean

Here’s how the line goes from me to John Bean of Exeter, New Hampshire:

me- my father – my grandmother, Rose Morrill – my great-grandfather, William Charles Morel – my 2nd great grandmother, Lucy Bean – 3rd great-grandfather, Joseph Bean – 4th great-grandfather, Samuel Bean – 5th great-grandfather, Samuel Bean – 6th great-grandfather, James Bean – 7th great-grandfather, JOHN BEAN of Scotland and Exeter, NH






The Founding of Boston

I am Canadian – Hartford, Connecticut – the New England Connection

One of my paternal 9th great grandfathers was John White. This is a little history from his line of the woods.

From the Society of the Descendants of the Founders of Hartford, Connecticut

The Founders of Hartford

Elder John White came in the ship “Lion” which sailed from London, June 22, 1632; arrived at Boston, Sept. 16. Settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts; freeman, March 4, 1633 ; townsman there, Feb., 1635. He sold the greater part of his land in Cambridge before June, 1636, and prob. removed to Hartford with Hooker’s company.

Model of the Lyon
Model of the Lyon

(From the Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Connecticut

Thomas Hooker

Representation of Hooker in Connecticut
Representation of Hooker in Connecticut

1586-1647, Puritan clergyman in the American colonies, chief founder of Hartford, Conn., born in Leicestershire, England. A clergyman, he was ordered to appear before the court of high commission for nonconformist preaching in England and fled (1630) to Holland. In 1633, Hooker immigrated to Massachusetts, where he was pastor at Newtown (now Cambridge). He had a dispute with John Cotton and apparently was discontented with the strict theological rule in Massachusetts. After a group of settlers had been sent ahead in 1635, he and many of his flock moved in 1636 to found Hartford, where he was pastor until his death. Hooker was one of the drafters of the Fundamental Orders (1639), under which Connecticut was long governed and which represent his political views. He also promoted a plan for the New England Confederation.)


He (John White) was one of the original proprietors of Hartford, and his home-lot in 1639 was on the east side of the highway now Governor St., and was about ten rods south of the Little River.

Map of settlements at Hartford - John White's plot is in the South Plantation area
Map of settlements at Hartford – John White’s plot is in the South Plantation area

He was chosen townsman, 1642, 1646, 1651, and 1656; he was also frequently a juror. His name is fifth on the list of signers of the agreement to remove to Hadley, Massachusetts, and he was one of the first townsmen chosen there, 1660, and again 1662, 1663, slid 1665 ; he and his wife returned to Hartford, were received to 2d Ch., Hartford, from Hadley, April 9,1671 ; ordained Ruling Elder, March, 1677. He d. Jan. 1683-4.

His wife’s name was Mary Leavitt, and she d. before him.-

Their children were:

i. Mary, m. Jan. 29, 1646, Jonathan Gilbert, of Hartford; d. in 1650.

ii. Nathaniel, b. about 1629 ; one of the original proprietors of Middletown ; deputy from 1661 to 1710, and held otherpublic offices; m. (l) Elizabeth-; d. Aug. 27, 1711, age 82; his 2d wife was Martha, widow of Hugh Mould, and dau. of John Colt, of New London.

iii. John, of Hartford and Hatfield; m. Sarah, dau. of Thomas Bunce, of Hartford ; d. in Hatfield, Sept. 15, 1665.

iv. Lieut. Daniel, b. 1634; settled in Hatfield; m. Nov. 1, 1661, Sarah, dau. of John Crow, of Hartford and Hadley; d. July 27, 1713.

v. Sarah, m. (l) Stephen Taylor, of Hatfield, who was buried Sept. 8, 1665 ; (2) Oct. 15, 1666, Barnabas Hinsdale, of Hatfield and Deerfield ; killed at Bloody Brook, Sept. 18, 1675 ; (3) Feb., 1679, Walter Hickson, of Hatfield. She d. Aug. 10, 1702.

vi. Ensign Jacob, b. in Hartford, Oct. 8,1645; settled in Hartford; freeman, 1668; surveyor of highways, 1670; townsman, 1682, 1687, 1691, 1696; m. before 1683, Elizabeth, dau. of Thomas Bunce, of Hartford; died in 1701.

“This holy man, having faithfully served the Lord in his place, and that also with good success through grace (He was a good man and God was with him), fell asleep in Christ, and went to receive his reward, Jan., 1683-4.”1


Colonial Days of Connecticut from Wikipedia

Dutch fur traders from New Amsterdam, now New York City, set up trade on the site as early as 1623, following Adriaen Block‘s exploration in 1614. The Dutch named their post Fort Goede Hoop or the ‘Hope House’ (Huys de Hoop) and helped expand the New Netherland colony, roughly analogous to the modern-day New York, New Jersey & Connecticut Tri-State Region, to the banks of the Connecticut River. Prior to the Dutch arrival, the Native Americans who inhabited the area had called it Suckiaug. By 1633, Jacob van Curler had added a block house and palisade to the post and New Amsterdam had sent a small garrison and pair of cannons. The fort was abandoned by 1654, but its neighborhood in Hartford is still known as Dutch Point.

The first English settlers arrived in 1635. Pastor Thomas Hooker and Governor John Haynes led 100 settlers with 130 head of cattle in a trek from Newtown (now Cambridge, Massachusetts) in the Massachusetts Bay Colony and started their settlement just north of the Dutch fort. The settlement was originally called Newtown, but was changed to Hartford in 1637 to honor the English town of Hertford the explorer also created the town of Windsor(created in 1633).These towns have been here for over 375 years.

The fledgling colony along the Connecticut River had issues with the authority by which it was to be governed because it was outside of the jurisdiction of the Massachusetts Bay Colony’s charter. Therefore, Thomas Hooker wrote the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, a document investing the authority to govern with the people, instead of with a higher power. Hooker stated May 31, 1638:

The foundation of authority is laid, firstly, in the free consent of the people.

Some historians believe Hooker’s concepts of self-rule were the forerunners of the United States Constitution. The Orders were ratified on January 14, 1639 and were transcribed into the Connecticut Colony records by future Governor Thomas Welles.


Colony of Connecticut
Colony of Connecticut

Stanstead, Quebec is an eastern township in Quebec where many people all over North America orginate. We call Stanstead the blackhole of genealogy. The records are scant mostly due to fire (1851 census records) and because most of the people who lived there were Protestants. Protestant churches were not well established so there were itinerant pastors who came through to do baptisms, burials and marriages and their records were kept at their parish very often somewhere in Vermont. It’s hit and miss to find any documentation for ancestors who sojourned through the eastern townships.

My father’s family moved out west from Stanstead, Quebec relatively late in the 1940s. My great great grandmother, Laura Jane Kenaston, married my great great grandfather William Wallace Austin and they lived in Vermont before moving into Minton, Stanstead, Quebec where Laura Jane’s parents were living. We can’t find many conclusive records for Laura’s father’s family but we do have very good records for her mother’s family. Her mother’s name was Ethelenday White. She was born in Tunbridge, Orange, Vermont to Simeon White and Eunice Cressy.

William Wallace Austin unfortunately has no paper trail, but DNA tests indicate he is descended most probably from Robert Austin of Rhode Island.

Here’s the trail from me to my 9th great grandfather, John White:

Me, – my father, Ivan Austin, born in Quebec – my grandfather, Percy Austin born in Quebec – my great grandfather, William Joseph Austin born in Quebec – my great great grandfather, William Wallace Austin probably born in Vermont + Laura Jane Kenaston born in Hatley, Stanstead, Quebec

My great, great grandmother, Laura Jane Kenaston- my 3rd great grandmother Ethelenday White born in Vermont, died in Quebec – my 4th great grandfather – Simeon White born in New Hampshire, died in Quebecmy 5th great grandfather, Henry White, born in Connecticut, died in Vermont -my 6th great grandfather, Thomas White – born and died in Connecticut – my 7th great grandfather, Jacob White- born and died in Connecticut – my 8th great grandfather, Nathaniel White- born in England, died in Connecticut- my 9th great grandfather, Elder John White – born in England, died in Connecticut

The bolded parts indicate when and where the movements of the family occurred. The fifth and sixth great grandfathers made moves first from Connecticut to Vermont, New Hampshire and then from those states into Quebec. Of course John White was born in England and died in Connecticut being the first generation to make the move from the old world to the new.

Conceptual Image of Elder John White, member of Rev Hooker's Comapny, and one of the founders of Braintree, Hadley, and Hartford.
Conceptual Image of Elder John White, member of Rev Hooker’s Comapny, and one of the founders of Braintree, Hadley, and Hartford.
State Street looking east in Hartford
State Street looking east in Hartford 1914
Old State House, Hartford - Charles Bulfinch (1763-1844), architect.
Old State House, Hartford – Charles Bulfinch (1763-1844), architect.






Sites, Seals and Symbols of Connecticut


the French Connection – Part 9 – the Women who Came to New France

There were two groups of women who came to New France early in the development of the colonies. The first group were the fille a marier or marriageable women. They came between 1643 and 1663. The second group were the Kings Daughters or Fille du Roi. They came later and had more benefits.

From the Many Roads website:

They (the marriage women) were promised nothing but the possibility of a better life. If they survived the perils of the crossing, they lived with the daily threat of death at the hands of the Iroquois. If they survived the Iroquois, they had to deal with the hard life of subsistence farming, harsh winters spent in a log cabin that they may have helped build, epidemics of smallpox and “fever” and difficult and often dangerous childbirth.

Cap Tourant - first farm in Quebec
Cap Tourant – first farm in Quebec

Crossing the Atlantic was a dangerous undertaking in the 1600s, and it is estimated that 10% of all passengers en route to New France died during the crossing. Sickness and disease were the main factors contributing to deaths at sea. Passengers were forced to share the hull with livestock that was either being shipped to the colony or served as meals during the crossing.  While the passengers may have been permitted on deck during good weather and calm seas, storms forced their confinement to the hull where they were shut in not only with the livestock, but also with the odor of latrine buckets, seasickness and the smoky lanterns used for lighting. The climate and close quarters fostered the rapid spread of diseases such as scurvy, fever and dysentery. Under such conditions, very little could be done for those who were suffering. The method for dealing with the dead was to sew them up in their blankets and throw them overboard during the night.

ships 1600s
ships 1600s

Most of the filles à marier belonged to the rural class and were the daughters of peasants and farmers. A small number were from urban families, the daughters of craftsmen, day laborers and servants, while an even smaller number were the daughters of businessmen, civil servants, military men and the petty nobility. Their average age was 22, and more than one-third had lost at least one parent. About 20% were related to someone who was already a colonist. Most were married within a year of their arrival in New France. While waiting to find a husband, many of the girls lodged with religious communities –either the Ursulines in Québec City or the Filles de la Congrégation Notre-Dame in Montréal– although about 100 filles à marier lodged with individuals.

Peter J. Gagné has defined the qualifications to be considered a fille à marier as follows:

  • Must have arrived before September 1663
  • Must have come over at marriageable age (12 thru 45)
  • Must have married or signed a marriage contract at least once in New France or have signed an enlistment contract
  • Must not have been accompanied by both parents
  • Must not have been accompanied by or joining a husband

[Source: Before the King’s Daughters: The Filles à Marier, 1634-1662 by Peter J. Gagné. Pawtucket, RI: Quinton Publications, 2002. pp 13-38]

the marriageable women
the marriageable women



Arrival of Les Filles du roi by C.W. Jeffreys
Arrival of Les Filles du roi by C.W. Jeffreys

In 1661, the population of New France consisted of about 2,500 souls, most of them men who were having a frightful time defending themselves against recurring attacks by Iroquois. French casualties were high and the settlers discouraged. A decision had to be made to support and defend New France with troops and emigrants or abandon the idea of colonization all together.

It was with the intervention of King Louis XIV, that beneficial change came about. In 1662, he sent out two ships with a hundred soldiers and nearly two hundred settlers to the colony. The following year, one hundred forty-nine more colonists arrived in Québec, of which thirty-eight were young women of marriagable age known as les Filles du Roi.  These women were the first of approximately 774 who would arrive within the next ten years.


Arrival of the brides by Eleanor Fortescue Brickdale
Arrival of the brides by Eleanor Fortescue Brickdale

From Wikipedia

The King’s Daughters (French: filles du roi; filles du roy) is a term used to refer to the approximately 800 young French women who immigrated to New France between 1663 and 1673 as part of a program sponsored by Louis XIV. The program was designed to boost Canada’s population both by encouraging male immigrants to settle there, and by promoting marriage, family formation and the birth of children. While women and girls certainly immigrated to New France both before and after this time period, they were not considered to be filles du roi, as the term refers to women and girls who were actively recruited by the government and whose travel to the colony was paid for by the king.[1] They were also occasionally known as the King’s Wards, where “wards” meant those under the guardianship of another.

The title “King’s Daughters” was meant to imply state patronage, not royal or noble parentage. Most of these women were commoners of humble birth. As a fille du roi, a woman received the King’s support in several ways. The King paid one hundred livres to the East India Company for the woman’s crossing, as well as furnishing a trousseau.[7] The Crown paid a dowry for each woman; this was originally supposed to be four hundred livres, but as the Treasury could not spare such an expense, many were paid in kind.[8] As was the case for most emigrants who went from France to New France, 80% of the filles du roi were from the Paris, Normandy and Western regions.[9] The Hôpital-Général de Paris and the St-Sulpice parish were big contributors of women for the new colony.[10

Royal standard of King Louis XIV
Royal standard of King Louis XIV
Arrival of the brides by Eleanor Fortescue Brickdale
Arrival of the brides by Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale




the French Connection – Part 8 – Trois Rivieres and Pierre Lefebvre

Trois-Rivieres c. 1700 by James Pichy
Trois-Rivieres c. 1700 by James Pichy

How many dang parts am I going to have in this French connection? I’m not sure. I’ve just been going along to see where it leads me. Trois Rivieres is a very significant city for my ancestors. I remember receiving my first package from a Quebec researcher. I gave her $50 and she gave me my French-Canadian family tree back to the 1600s. I was blown away. I had never seen anything like it. There were so many ancestors found in one fell swoop.  That’s the beauty of Catholic church records. Anyway, one of the most mentioned places was Trois Rivieres. My great great grandmother’s maiden name was Lefebvre and her ancestor, Pierre Lefebvre, was a founding settler of Trois Rivieres.

Trois Rivieres from the website of the Canadian Encyclopedia:

The regional capital of Quebec’s Mauricie region, is located on the west shore of the mouth of RIVIÈRE SAINT-MAURICE, midway between Québec City and Montréal. Its name derives from the 3-armed delta formed by the river’s islands at its mouth.

The fortified settlement built at Samuel de CHAMPLAIN‘s request in 1634 replaced the stockade abandoned earlier by the ALGONQUIN, who had likely fled the hostile IROQUOIS at the turn of the century. The former, who were allies of the French, lived for a long time in or near the small French village, whose major function was to organize the FUR TRADE in the interior. Following the administrative restructuring of NEW FRANCE in 1663, Trois-Rivières became the seat of local government, with a GOUVERNEUR, king’s lieutenant, major, court of royal jurisdiction and vicar general. This gave the settlement an importance which exceeded that of its size. At the time of the conquest in 1760 the town had 586 inhabitants.

The Rivière Saint-Maurice played a major role in Trois-Rivières’s history as a point of entry to the interior’s natural resources. It was first used to transport furs from the northern forests.


From Marjorie Lizotte at A Point in History:

An abbreviated timeline…

1541:  Jacques Cartier, while looking for gold and diamonds, found “a fine mine of the best iron ore in the world….”  However, it would be another 200 years before Canada’s iron ore mines were actually worked.  Politics and economics continually got in the way.

1617-1618:  Samuel de Champlain, projected an optimistic 1 million livres in revenues from the iron deposits found in the area.

1634: Under the orders of Champlain, LaViolette travels to the mouth of the Saint-Maurice River to found a fur trading post and build a fort on ‘le Platon’, a plateau situated on a hillock of land along the St. Lawrence River.  The fort would enclose a few homes and shops, and the settlement would become known as Trois-Rivières.  For a long time, this site will be one of the most advantageous for the activities of fur traders.

The First Fort in Trois Rivieres
The First Fort in Trois Rivieres – Pierre Lefebvre had lot 24

Map of Trois Rivieres
Map of Trois Rivieres – the Original fort was along the river amongst those purple dots in the lower part of the map


A history of Pierre Lefebvre, my 8th great grandfather from History of An American Family:

Pierre Lefebvre entered the world in the tumultuous 1600’s in Sceaux, a town just north of Paris. His destiny was to be hard work, adventure and prosperity. He took the dit name of Descoteaux, or “little hills” . Pierre probably arrived in Quebec in 1640 or 1641 as a contract worker. Old records say he was the master of his trade, without naming that trade.


Governor Huault de Montmagny granted Pierre land in 1644. Early in 1646 Pierre married Jeanne Aunois. In 1647 the Compagnie de la Nouvelle France ceded a tract of land to Pierre. It measured one kilometer by four kilometers, on the Saint Lawrence River, to the east of the Gentilly River. Those times were too precarious for him to develop his fief.

Charles Huault de Montmagny - first governor and lieutenant general of New France 1636-
Charles Huault de Montmagny – first governor and lieutenant general of New France 1636-1648

The paragraph below is from A Point in History website:

In April, 1647, la Compagnie de la Nouvelle-France, otherwise known as the Company of 100 Associates accepted Pierre Lefebvre as a member of the select class, if not as a Seigneur, then as one of the large land owners. It will be granting to him, as well as to Nicolas Marsolet, a piece of land at the mouth of the Gentilly River. The Domaine de Marsolat situated next to the Lefebvre property will be granted to him as a fief and Seigniory.  (Here’s old Nicolas Marsolet again)

Quebec Centre
Quebec Centre – Gentilly River is between Gentilly and Becancour. The St. Lawrence is running down the left side of this map. Trois Rivieres and Cap-de-la-Madeleine isare across the river from this area.

The year 1648 was rough for Pierre Lefebvre. On July 14, 1648 he was captured by the Iroquois. He left behind a pregnant wife and a small son. Such an event was usually fatal, but in October Pierre came back with a Mohawk Indian named Berger, who was a friend of the French. This is all we know of this event.

Pierre was captured by the Iroquois
Pierre was captured by the Iroquois

Rescued by a Mohawk Indian
Rescued by a Mohawk Indian

Pierre Lefebvre then eagerly followed the lead of Pierre Boucher, the Percheron, in building a solid stockade for Trois-Rivieres. Many disputed the wisdom of the project. In 1652, a new governor, Duplessis-Kerbodot, decided to lead a foray against the Iroquois. Pierre Boucher opposed this expedition and remained back in the stockade, as did Pierre Lefebvre. The Iroquois wiped out Duplessis-Kerbodot and twenty two of his men Pierre probably played his part in the heroic defense of Trois-Rivieres the next year when 600 Iroquois returned and laid siege.

Pierre Boucher - founder of Boucherville
Pierre Boucher – founder of Boucherville

In 1656 still interested in land, he bought nearly 40 arpents in Cap-de-la-Madeleine and Pierre Boucher granted him land at Point-du-lac. He continued living in Trois-Rivieres, where he was a civil official. In 1658 and again in 1660, the populace named him mayor. Pierre Lefebvre became church warden in 1663 and played a significant role in building the first church in Trois-Rivieres in 1664.

In 1666 the Jesuits gave him about an arpent of land in Cap-de-la-Madeleine, where he went to live for the balance of his life. He divided his property amongst his children in 1668 and died sometime in the next two years. Jeanne Auneau lived until 1697.


Another history for Pierre from “Our French Canadian Ancestors” by Thomas J. Laforest. There’s a little more detail about his capture by the Iroquois below:

Versatile and omnipresent are the words which best describe Pierre Lefebvre. Founder of the oldest Lefebvre family in America, this ancestor left his heritage with the families of the Denoncourt, Descoteaux, Lemerise, Lassisseraye, and with many of the Belisle, Beaulac, and Senneville, families.

Endowed with an uncommonly sharp intellect, this remarkable builder came from the Paris region. The son of Pierre Lefebvre and Jeanne Cutiloup, Pierre had come from Sceaux by 1642. His presence was first noted at Trois-Rivieres on April 11, 1643 in a case opposing the brothers Michel and Jacques Leneuf against Guillaume Isabel. The former were accused of kicking and beating the latter. The fact of his having been a witness to the charge must not have left the Leneufs with any rancor, because Jacques and Marie-Madeleine Leneuf were godparents to Pierre’s eldest son, Jacques, on January 12, 1647.

Some genealogists think that Pierre arrived in New France already married to Jeanne Aunois, but it is more likely their marriage was celebrated at Trois-Rivieres about 1646. No records have been found. However a contract recorded by Severin Ameau, dated September 2, 1663, indicates that Pierre was a native of Sceaux and that his father was named Pierre.

Pierre acquired his first land grant from Governor Charles Hualt de Montmagny, on August 15, 1644. According to historians, this plot had an area of thirty arpents and was bordered by land belonging to the heirs of Etienne Vien, to Jacques Aubuchon dit Le Loyal, and a third piece to the “savages”.

On April 16, 1647, the Company of New France ceded to Pierre a grant of a quarter league in frontage by a league in depth, whose southwest boundary extended to the mouth of the Gentilly River. On June 1, 1674, Montmagny bestowed another favor on Pierre. Along with Guillaume Pepin, Guillaume Isabel and Sebastien Dodier he allowed them to clear the Ile de Mileau, across from their homes.

The journal of the Jesuits reported that on July 4, 1648, Pierre Lefebvre was captured by the Iroquois. The incident was described as follows: “The next day, the fourteenth of the same month July, an Algonquin having discovered the trail of the enemy, advised Monsieur de la Poterie of it, who warned the inhabitants by the alarm bell and by a volley of cannon, the ordinary signal to be on one’s guard; five Hurons nearest to the place where the enemy were already grappling with two of our Frenchmen who were guarding the cattle, ran to their voices and the clamor of the combatants, they joined them, resisting the effort of more than eighty men. Due to this noise, two armed boats were sent by water, but before they arrived at the place of combat, the Iroquois had already killed a Frenchman and a Huron, and took two Frenchmen prisoners; they were nevertheless frightened, having seen several of their men killed and wounded by the Frenchman, so they fled, even though they were at least ten against one. One of the French prisoners was the nephew of Monsieur de la Poterie who was out hunting a little way off and found himself taken without knowing how it happened; the Huron was a good Christian, he had made his confession the preceding Sunday, as did the Frenchman; the two captives Hurons were not baptized; as for the French prisoners, we may render testimony to their good life, even if they were at fault to be so exposed with the knowledge that they had of the enemy.”

Pierre had three long months as a captive among the Iroquois and returned in October in the company of one of the latter who had managed to escape his guards at Trois-Rivieres earlier.

On June 14, 1650, Pierre acquired a pied-a-terre in Trois-Rivieres. It measured 20 toises in frontage by the same depth, near the palisade. On this land stood a house shared by him and Bertrand Fafarddit Laframboise. Thirteen years later in a lawsuit brought by Pierre against Jacques and Rene Besnard it was inferred that this house which would today be on Turcotte Terrace, had no roof for the past two years and was in a state of decay. A bit later Pierre became the owner of a small island named l’Islet, situated at the mouth of the St-Maurice River between the mainland and Ile de la Trinite.

The Lefebvre family could have begun to travel between Trois-Riviers and the Cap-de-la-Madeleine in 1656. On May 11 of that year, Martin Boutet administrator of the estate of Antoine Denys sold Pierre a piece of land with two arpents frontage by 20 in depth located in the Cap.

Pierre Lefebvre was the tririverine mayor in 1658 and 1660, then church warden in 1663. On November 26, 1664 we see him with Pierre Boucher and Jean Cusson, two other sagacious men of the era, arbitrating a dispute between Father Jacques Fremin and Pierre Couc dit Lafleur. Pierre also participated in the construction of the first church in Trois-Rivieres, in 1664.

Pierre and his family were mentioned in the census of 1666 and 1667 at Trois-Riviers. In those years they had three employees, 7 head of cattle and 80 arpents of land.

On January 30, 1666, Father Jacques Fremin administrator of the Jesuits gave a two arpent homestead to Pierre. It was across the river in the seigneury of Cap-de-la-Madeleine and it here where Pierre and his family moved and where Pierre died two years later.

In 1668, Pierre, probably feeling the end was near, put his affairs in order. He gave his fief at Gentilly to his son-in-law, surgeon Felix Thunaye dit Dufresne. Pierre also divided his other property among his seven children. He made his last testament in his home on July 16, 1668, and although we do not have the exact date of his death, we know from a later marriage contract that his wife, Jeanne Aunois was a widow on October 12, 1670.

In the census of 1681, Jeanne was a widow, 54 years old, with sons, Michel, Ignace, and Pierre living at home probably to help her raise her cattle and work her 40 arpents of cleared land. According to Jette, she died and was buried at Trois-Riviers on February 12, 1697.




the French Connection – Part 7 – Acadian Ancestors


The 1630s bring many new settlers from France to New France.


From Wikipedia:

Port-Royal was the capital of Acadia from 1605 to 1710. Initially Port-Royal was located on the north shore of the Annapolis Basin in the present-day community of Port Royal (note the Anglophone spelling), which is the site of the replica reconstruction of the original Habitation at Port-Royal. After its destruction by raiders from Virginia in 1613, Port-Royal was re-established on the south bank of the river 8 km (5.0 mi) upstream. The British renamed Port-Royal at this new location as Annapolis Royal following their conquest of Acadia in 1710.

Port-Royal was founded by Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Mons and Samuel de Champlain in 1605. The settlement was the first permanent European settlement north of St. Augustine, Florida. (Two years later, the English made their first permanent settlement in Jamestown, Virginia.) Approximately seventy-five years after Port-Royal was founded, Acadians spread out from the capital to found the other major Acadian settlements established before the Expulsion of the Acadians: Grand-Pré, Chignecto, Cobequid and Pisiguit.

The trading monopoly of de Monts was cancelled in 1607, and most of the French settlers returned to France, although some remained with the natives. Jean de Biencourt de Poutrincourt et de Saint-Just led a second expedition to Port Royal in 1610.[3] These settlers made families with the local natives, which resulted in many Acadians being Métis.

In October 1613, Argall surprised the settlers at Port-Royal and sacked every building.[13] The battle destroyed the Habitation but it did not wipe out the colony. Biencourt and his men remained in the area of Port-Royal (present day Port Royal, Nova Scotia). A mill upstream at present day Lequille, Nova Scotia remained, along with settlers who went into hiding during the battle.[14] (At this time, future Governor Charles de Saint-Étienne de la Tour migrated from Port-Royal to establish himself at both Cap de Sable (present-day Port La Tour, Nova Scotia) and Saint John, New Brunswick.


From a Point in History website

Early timeline for Acadia:

1603  Henry IV of France, granted a charter which, in part, stated that French settlers would be supplied and sent at the rate of a hundred a year.

1604  Two ships set sail from LeHavre, France in March 1604.  First Acadian settlement on Saint-Croix Island.  This first group of settlers suffered many hardships — disease and malnutrition reduced their number greatly. The next year more colonists were sent out, and Acadia had a beginning.

1605  First Acadian settlement in Port-Royal

1607  In the spring, the charter was revoked and in August of that year, the settlers had to leave Acadia and return to France.

1632  Treaty of St. Germain-en-laye.  Québec and Acadia are returned to France.  In July, Issac de Razilly departs from LaRochelle, France with Charles de Menou and 300 settlers.  The first lasting colony was established. Artisans, soldiers and some families were recruited. It is these people who are Acadian ancestors.


Scottish settlers, under the auspices of Sir William Alexander, established their settlement, known as Charlesfort in 1629 at the mouth of the Annapolis River (present site of Annapolis Royal). The settlement was abandoned to the French under the terms of the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye (1632). A second French settlement replaced the Scottish Charlesfort at present-day Annapolis Royal.[3] It was also called Port Royal and it developed into the capital of the French colony of Acadia. Port-Royal under the French soon became self-sufficient and grew modestly for nearly a century, though it was subject to frequent attacks and capture by British military forces or those of its New England colonists, only to be restored each time to French control by subsequent recapture or treaty stipulations. Acadia remained in French hands throughout most of the 17th century.

1636  The St. Jehan arrives on April 1st in Port-Royal with French settlers that includes both men and women.

Ship resembling Saint-Jehan


Some Early Settlers in my ancestry:

COMEAU…  First settler:  Pierre Comeau (Comeaux) arrived in Acadia from Puilly-en-Auxois, France, around 1641.  He was a barrel maker.

DOUCET… First settler:  Germain Doucet.   Although not actually a settler because he returned to France, he did leave two married children in Acadia who became settlers.

Germain Doucet arrived in LaHeve, Acadia in 1632 with commander Isaac de Raizilly.  In July 1640, Doucet was captain (keeper ?) of arms in the village of Pentagouet, Acadia… capitaine d’armes de Pentagouet.

Doucet returned to France after capitulating to the invading New Englanders (Bostonians) in 1654.  He left 2 married children in Acadia: Pierre, a mason, and ancestor Marguerite-Louise-Judith Doucet married to Abraham Dugas.  Not sure if Germain Doucet’s wife, Marie Bourgeois, remained in Acadia or was even alive in 1654.

DUGAST (or Dugas)…  First settler: Abraham Dugas, born in 1616 and a native of Toulouse, France, was a gunsmith for the king of France.  He was also lieutenant general serving in Acadia.  He arrived in Port Royal, Acadia, in 1640 where he married Marguerite Louise Judith Doucet, daughter of Germain Doucet (above) in 1647.  Eight children were born of this marriage, five of them are ancestors in both Lizotte (Sénéchal) and Camirand (Dargie-Turcotte) lines.

As a point of information, Louis Dugas, a fourth generation descendant of Abraham Dugast, was born in 1703 and with his family was deported to Connecticut.  Members of his brother Charles’s (born in 1712) family settled in Louisiana.  A third brother, Claude, born in 1712, and his family were deported to Massachuetts; later in 1772 they settled in Ste. Foy, Quebec.  Certain members of a fourth brother, Michel, born 1715, settled in Quebec and Rimouski.  None of the above-mentioned brothers are ancestors in my family.

GAUDET…  First settler:  Jean Gaudet arrived in Acadia about 1628 with his three children, Françoise, Denis and Marie.  He appears to have been a widower.  It is quite possible that he was part of the first expedition of Poutrincourt — one of the founders of Acadia.  In 1628, he married Nicole Colleson.  They had one child.

HÉBERT, E…  First settler:  Étienne Hébert was a laborer and a cultivator who married Marie Gaudet in 1650 at the age of about 21.  Étienne was from LeHaies-Descartes, Balesne, Touraine, France.  Chances are he arrived in Acadia in 1649 or 1650.

RICHARD, FRANCOIS… First settler:  François Richard was the son of a wine merchant in Auray, Brittany.  He was born about 1685 in Brittany and arrived in Acadia in 1707 as a bachelor.  François Richard was able to sign his name.   He would have arrived in the company (in the bosom of) a French naval unit.  Note:  PRÉFEN (www.unicaen.fr) states this: “Il serait arrivé au sein d’une companie franche de marine.”

In October 1710, he married Anne Comeau in Port Royal.

SAVOIE… First settler:  François Savoie (or Scavoie) arrived in Canada about 1643.  At the 1671 Acadian census, he was a 50-year old laborer with 4 head of cattle and 6 acres of land under cultivation.  François Savoie married Catherine LeJeune in 1650.  Catherine LeJeune dit Briard had also arrived in Acadia in 1643.  Together, they had at least 9 children


Painting by Claude T Picard of Early Acadia
Painting by Claude T Picard of Early Acadia

Most amazing blogger

A summary of the Plains of Abraham battle during the Seven Years’ War or The French Indian Wars on the North American continent from the perspective of a descendant of Abraham Martin, owner of some of the land around that area.

Our Ancestors

Not me…




Catch her here.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Plains of Abraham

The Seven Years’ War was a pre-modern world war which took place between 1756 and 1763, a war which involved much of Europe and the European colonies in North and Central America, Africa, India, and the Philippines. The prime movers were Great Britain and France, but the Prussian Hohenzollerns and the Austrian Hapsburgs were also heavily involved, along with Portugal, Sweden, Saxony, Spain, and the Russian Empire. Estimates of the fatalities involved range from 900,000 to 1,400,00, but whether that includes civilian casualties or only military personnel I don’t know.
In North America, the conflict is usually called the French and Indian War and involved, of course, the North American colonies of the warring European parties and the Native Americans who were allied with them. For those of us with Quebec French ancestry, the pivotal…

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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?