In 1995, identifying my ancestry to the first of the Canadian colonists who bore my patronym intrigued me. Populating my Franco-North-American history with real life people, I had been told, was not difficult to do.
Following my Franco-North-American history
Because New France was a royal colony, reports were filed every year in Québec and Paris of births, marriages, deaths, contracts, court proceedings, and more. In addition, the Jesuits laboring among Indian populations or among the colonists sent yearly reports (the Jesuit Relations) to their superiors in Québec who then redacted these reports and sent copies to Paris. What the official records missed of Franco-North-American history is often picked up in these Relations.
That first evening of research resulted in identifying a line of Ledouxs that ended in Louis Doux who was present in May 1668 on a Confirmation list of people who received the sacrament from Bishop Laval.
Since ships did not begin arriving in Québec until June at the earliest, a May date indicates an arrival the previous year at the latest. Subsequent to this first mention of Louis, he appears on a number of records—further suggesting that he came in 1667.
This genealogy is easy, I thought. Why not follow my matronym to the first ancestor?
So the following week, I returned to the Maine Franco-American Genealogical Society and, that evening, found Barthélémy Verreault who arrived on November 5, 1662. He married Marthe Quittel in September 1665. When had she come? So…
Why not learn about her?
I had to admit to myself: I was clearly smitten!
Three years later
Eventually, I had identified 6,000 of the 8,000 ancestor possibilities one has at the thirteenth generation. (Obviously, in small population one finds many duplicates.) The majority of those who comprise my Franco-North-American history were now known.
What was missing, and was soon to follow, was a deep dive into the history of the first generation: customs, struggles with turning forests into arable and pasture lands, Indian wars, birthing, community organization, etc.
Thus resulted in reading dozens of histories both in French and English.
In this category, I offer you snippets of my findings of my Franco-North-American history. The book Here to Stay is not yet published in the summer of 2021. I hope to do so in the coming years.
As was the custom in the colony, the wedding was set for a date soon after the contract signing. These were exceptional times. Winter was just three months away, and if Barthélémi and Marthe were to survive the long, cold months at the new farm in Chateau-Richer, there was much to be done. Until she […]
During his first decade in Canada, Louis did not marry. While his friend Adrien Sénécal was growing a family, Louis remained single, paying (one presumes) the bachelor tax. In the early 1670s, Louis moved from one settlement to another, but, by the end of the decade, he had become an habitant in Varennes where he […]
It is unlikely that either Barthélémy Verreault or Marthe Quittel, my maternal ancestors, came to their marriage with an expectation of romance. Marriage was a state of life, a way of surviving, of producing children who could take care of you in your old age. So much the better if the proposed partner was attractive […]
The “daughters of the king” were introduced to prospective husbands at the Ursuline convent in the Upper Town of Québec
Among the eight filles du roi aboard the Marie-Thérèse who were coming to find husbands was a woman from Normandy, Marthe Quittel, a Protestant from Rouen.
Realizing the role of women in increasing the population from within (vs. migration from without), Louis XIV encouraged female wards of the state to migrate to Canada by offering them incentives. Known as the daughters of the king…