Wednesday, June 21, 2017

French Canadian Ancestors: Surprising finds, and pronunciation counts

Painting at the Orsay Paris

Focusing on reading the documents related to French Canadian ancestors in lines leading back to Paris I've discovered some interesting information, such as ancestor Gervais Lambert was a Churchwarden, and other ancestors living into extreme old age. Also found an ancestor who was an edge tool maker. Found something surprising at the end of today's search.

Aurelie Lambert certainly had many Parisian ancestors on her tree! I haven't found any in the Masson line so far. Appears she had 4 filles du roi ancestors from Paris, and 1 male ancestor who migrated from Paris to Quebec. Today I'm documenting Anne Perrault's ancestry. Anne migrated to Quebec from Paris as a fille du roi.

I've gone over Aurelie's family documentation in my previous two blog posts. This time I'll start deeper into her tree, with Grandmother Madeleine Lamy, who married  Joseph Lambert Sr.. Her marriage record states her parents were Joseph Lamy and Madeleine decotaux .There is no marriage record for a Madeleine Decotaux and Joseph Lamy. We slam into a wall immediately, again. Online trees give this Madeleine's full name as Madeleine Genevieve Lefebvre Decoteaux. Sounds like we are dealing with dit names again.

There is a marriage record for Madeleine Lefebvre and a Joseph Lamy. I need to verify this is the correct couple by confirming Decotaux is one of Madeleine's names. Her marriage record to Joseph Lamy on 10 February 1749, in Louiseville, doesn't confirm this. It actually gives Madeleine's name as Magdeleine Lefaivre, a phonetic spelling of her surname. Her father's name is Pierre Lefaivre.

I now look to her birth record to see if it confirms Decotaux as one of her names? Yes it actually does! Her birth record states her father's name was Pierre Lefebvre dit Decoteaux, phonetically the same as Decotaux. Obviously his daughter Madeleine used the same dit name.

Assured that I have the correct marriage document I can now use the names listed to go another generation back. I now follow Madeleine Lefebvre dit Decotaux's husbands line, which leads back to Anne Perrault. His parents are given as Etienne Lamy and Marguerite Blay. To document Anne's line I need to follow the Blay line. A problem crops up because many online trees state the name is Blais, not Blay. This could be a phonetic spelling as the name Blais may contain a silent "S"? This video confirms the "S" is silent

Joseph Lambert's baptismal record gives his mother's surname as Blay.  His godmother is also a Blay. He was baptized 21 March 1723 in Berthier, at St-Gabriel and Kildare.

Joseph's mother Marguerite Blay or Blais died 6 May 1765 in Yamachiche, Quebec. Bringing this family into the area where all my lines meet. Her name is again spelled similarly as Blaye, her husband's name is given as Etienne Lamy.

Unfortunately the marriage record in the Catholic Church records for Etienne Lamy and Marguerite Blay or Blais hasn't survived. A marriage contract dated 11 February 1714 has survived. It gives Marguerite's name as Blais, and her father is named as Pierre Blais. Her mother's name is given as Anne Perreau, instead of Perrault. This is another phonetic spelling as both are pronounced the same way. We find Anne's surname spelled Perrot, Perrault, Perreau etc, all are pronounced the same in French. Aux, eau, and ot  endings are all pronounced O. Even the ault ending is pronounced O. Now I need the marriage record for Pierre Blais and Anne Perrault, or a similarly pronounced spelling.

There is indeed a surviving marriage record for Pierre Blais and target ancestor Anne Perrault. They were married in St-Famille, Quebec in 1668. It confirms her family Parish as St. Sulpice, Paris. Anne's name is spelled Perrot here.

I was very surprised to find that Anne Perrault, Perrot etc., died the same day my ancestor Marguerite Blais  was born, on 29 June 1688 in St-Jean, Quebec. Evidently dying in childbirth.  Anne was 45 when Marguerite was born, which may have led to complications with the birth?  Marguerite's baptismal record states Anne was defunct when she was baptized. She was probably baptized on the day she was born.

Sadly I've reached the targeted ancestor Anne Perrault only to find out my ancestor never got to know her Parisian mother Anne. Pierre Blais married again soon after Anne's death. Hopefully Marguerite was well treated by her stepmother?

So far I'm finding my "French In Action" studies have helped me read the dates on the documents. These documents are easy to read once you pick up on the key words, and phrases used. There were standard phrase used in these documents. These documents can contain interesting insights into the lives of our ancestors. I encourage everyone to read them.

Painting Louvre Paris

Saturday, June 17, 2017

French Canadian Research: The importance of godparents and notarial records

Still reading through the actual Quebec Catholic Church records that link the generations. I'm focusing on lines that go back to Parisian origins. I have copied hundreds of supposed ancestors from PRDH. I have not read through every document for the 200 or more ancestors I've found at PRDH. I have been slowly reviewing these records. I've posted copies of the documents for some of my lines on this blog before. I'm focusing on those with Parisian links since I just returned from Paris.

Today my target line is Lambert. My goal is to prove fille du roi Elisabeth Aubert is a direct ancestor.  She was also a Parisian before migrating to Quebec. Like Catherine Clerice her family lived in the St-Sulpice Parish. She is also an ancestor of Aurelie Lambert.

Now I begin with Aurelie Lambert once again.

Looking at Aurelie's parents' marriage document we see that her parents were Joseph Lambert and Marie Ferron who married 15 August 1808 in Yamachiche This time following the Lambert line back we focus on the parents of Joseph Lambert. In order to take the Lambert line back we need his parents marriage record to get Aurelie Lambert's grandparents' names.

I was able to find an original marriage record for Joseph Lambert and Marie Ferron. Joseph Lambert's parents names are given as Joseph Lambert and Antoinette Lami, according to the marriage record. I searched for their marriage record. I couldn't find one for them. Already we hit a brickwall.  There are family members listed on the Lambert/Ferron marriage document. According to the document Joseph had a brother named Augustin Lambert, and an uncle named Gervais Lambert. I found an Augustin Lambert who married an Angelique Dessert in Louiseville, Quebec. Louiseville borders Yamachiche. This Augustin's parents are Joseph Lambert and Madeleine Lamy, not Antoinette Lamy. Augustin Lambert and Angelique Dessert married on 1 September 1806. Both of his parents are said to be dead. Both of my ancestor Joseph's parents are said to be dead when he married in 1808. Sounds like Antoinette isn't the correct first name? There are no marriage records for an Augustin Lambert with a mother named Antoinette either.

Looking at Gervais Lambert records he married a Madeleine Lamy 02 October 1775 Yamachiche, Québec (evidently a cousin of Joseph Lambert's wife). This appears to be the Gervais described as the uncle of Joseph Lambert? His parents are Gervais Lambert and Marie Paul.


A Gervais Lambert and Marie Paul married in Sorel, Quebec on 20 May 1748 (Gervais occupation was churchwarden). Gervais Lambert's parents are said to be Michel Lambert and Louise Grenier.

The marriage record at the online PRDH for Michel Lambert and Lousie Garnier Grenier states they married in the Chapel of St. Croix, Lotbiniere on 29 November 1708.

To establish a link between my ancestor Joseph Lambert, married to Marie Ferron, I now looked into the possibility that Antoinette wasn't Joseph's mother's name. I found a Joseph Lambert born to Joseph Lambert and Marguerite Lamy. He was born in Louiseville, Quebec on 9 March 1777. Looking for information on his mother I found she was born in Yamachiche where there is indeed a street currently named Lamy.

Joseph's father was born 29 September 1750 in Louiseville, Quebec. He was born to Gervais Lambert and Marie Paul as stated in the marriage record.

To try to find even more circumstantial evidence for a connection between Joseph Lambert and these families I looked at the baptismal records for all of his children. I was interested in the godparents of his children. This paid off because a sister was a godparent. One of the keys to establishing a link to Joseph and Madeinline Lamy was a baptismal record for Marie Felicite Lambert. She was said to be the daughter of Joseph Lambert and Marie Ferron, in her baptismal record. Her godmother was Marie Euphrosine Lambert, the record states she is her tante, or Aunt, her husband was recorded as Francois Bourre.

Euphrosine Lambert married Francois Bourre in Louiseville, Quebec on 21 January 1799. Her parents are said to be Joseph Lambert and Madeleine Lamy. This seems to confirm Joseph's mother was Madeleine and not Antoinette, since the baptismal record indicates Marie Euphrosine is his sister. Madeleine died when her son Joseph was about 10 years old. It's possible he didn't know her name, or someone else provided the name Antoinette?  There is more evidence that Joseph was son of Joseph Lambert and Madeleine Lamy. Another child's baptismal record also provides a clue. Tarsile Lambert was another child of Joseph Lambert and Marie Ferron. The child's godmother was Marguerite Crevier the second wife of Augustin Lambert. This Augustin was the son of Joseph Lambert and Madeleine Lamy (oddly Tarsile was again baptized a year later? Maybe there was a falling out with Augustin and his wife?)

Here is the marriage record for Augustin Lambert and Madeleine Crevier explaining that he was a widower. His first marriage record states his parents names. Augustin and a Gervais Lambert appear on baptismal certificates for the children of Joseph Lambert and Marie Ferron.

How do we further establish a tie with the Lambert family of the Louiseville area, and the family of St-Croix, Lotbinaire? Gervais Lambert and Marie Hus Paul had another son named Eustache Lambert. He was born in 1856 in Louiseville, Quebec. His godfather was Eustache Lambert. I assume this is Gervais' brother? According to the elder Eustache's marriage record his parents were Michel Lambert and Louise Grenier of St. Croix, Quebec.

I feel the circumstantial case for my Joseph Lambert being the son of Joseph Lambert and Madeleine Lamy is strong. The fact his uncle is Gervais Lambert son of Michel Lambert and Louise Lambert is also a strong link. Eustache's marriage record naming St-Croix as his parents place of origin further strengthens the ties.

Taking the family line further we also run into some disagreements with existing compiled genealogies. Joseph Lambert Sr.'s parents would be Michel Lambert and Louise Grenier, as stated on his marriage record. According to Father Ciprien Tanguay, lived 1819-1902, compiler of  "Dictionnaire généalogique des Familles Canadiennes depuis la fondation de la colonie jusqu’à nos jours " a genealogical dictionary of early families, Michel Lambert was the son of Pierre Lambert and Marie LeNormand. This was a guess on Fr. Tanguay's part because the marriage record he would have seen didn't contain the names of Michel's parents. Since then additional research has uncovered a notarial record naming Michel's parents. This is a partial transcription of Michel Lambert and Louise Grenier's marriage contract from Wikitree "Michel Lambert fils de Aubin Lambert et de Elisabeth Aubert ces père et mère habitant Dem(eurant) en pa parr(oisse) de Saint nicollas."

To further prove this line we turn to the marriage record of Aubin Lambert and Elisabeth Aubert. They married 29 September 1670, Quebec.

Aubin Lambert's dit name was Champagne, as stated in the above marriage record. Michel Lambert's dit name was also Champagne as seen in this baptismal document. This is a baptismal record for Michel Lambert and Louise Grenier's daughter Angelique. Michel's dit name is recorded here as Champagne. Further proof that Aubin Lambert dit Champagne is his father.  .
The marriage record for Aubin Lambert and Elisabeth Aubert brings me to todays target Parisian ancestor. Elisabeth Aubert's parents parish is recorded as St-Sulpice, Paris. She was not baptized there however. Elisabeth was baptized on 13 April 1648. At that time the new St-Sulpice church was just being built. She was instead baptized at Saint-Jacques-de-la-Boucherie. Only the beautiful tower of that church still stands. The church was built in the 16th Century in the flamboyant gothic style. When I was in Paris a couple weeks ago I didn't realize the church had a family connection. I walked over to the old church tower thinking it would lead to a church. Instead I just found the lone tower standing by itself. It really is beautiful, and towers over the lower buildings in the area, making it easy to spot.


 According to some information posted at Wikitree the Aubert family lived on the  Pont au Change near the Conciergerie in Paris. Yes, people actually had houses built on this bridge. A flood wiped out the bridge in the 1600's and it was rebuilt at the expense of the occupants. I assume that is why the names of the occupants are known? I loved spending time looking at the river when I was in Paris. A walk or boat ride along the beautiful Seine is a highlight of a visit to Paris. I suspect the river wasn't very nice when the Aubert family live on that bridge?

In closing godparents names, and Notarial records can resolve problems and fill in gaps in French Canadian Catholic Church records.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Reviewing My French Canadian Research After Visit To France

I visited Paris for the first time in early June of this year. I was primarily there as a tourist sightseeing. I decided to take a look a couple of the churches in Paris with ties to our family. My ancestors Jacques Lussier and Catherine Clerice were from Paris. They migrated to Quebec in the 17th Century. Catherine Clerice was a fille du roi. Filles du roi were single French women imported into Quebec in order to marry. There was a shortage of  marriageable women in New France. Orphans and women with limited opportunities for marriage in France were offered free passage to Quebec.
Now that I'm back from France I'm taking another look at the documentary proof I have for my relationship to my Parisian ancestors. Here I begin with Jacques Lussier and Catherine Clerice.

Going over my documentation to prove my relationship with Jacques Lussier and  his wife Catherine Clerice I begin with Aurelie Lambert born 1813 in St-Leon, Quebec.

 I already have firm documentation up until Aurelie. I had difficulty finding her birth record, and just found it recently. I found Aurelie Lambert and Pierre Masson's marriage record many years ago. Pierre Masson and Aurelie Lambert married 7 Jan 1833 in St. Leon, Quebec. According to that record Aurelie's parents were Joseph Lambert and Marie Ferron. This is the beginning of the line leading to Jacques Lussier and Catherine Clerice.

Aurelie's birth record also confirms her parent names, which are the same as her marriage record.

So far so good. We go back another generation by looking for a marriage for Aurelie's parents. There is a surviving marriage record. Even though Quebec has many great surviving Catholic church records sometimes pages are seriously damaged, or are missing. In this case the page is still legible, and hasn't been removed. This record names the parents of Aurelie's mother Marie Ferron. Jospeh Lambert and Marie Ferron married 15 August 1808 in Yamachiche. It's Marie Ferron's mother Therese Noel's line that links to Jacques Lussier and Catherine Clerice.

The next step is to check Marie Ferron's parents marriage record to find the names of her maternal grandparents, which will lead to Jacques and Clerice's line. There is a marriage record for Claude Ferron and Therese Noel still surviving. Claude Ferron and Therese Noel married 30 September 1782 in Yamachiche. Yamachiche, where Aurelie Lambert's parents, and grandparents, married bordered St. Leon. Apparently Aurelie and husband Pierre Masson lived on the border with Yamachiche, in St Leon as there is a street named Rue Du Masson near Yamachiche, and a nearby street in Yamachiche with another family name Lamy.

From here I follow Aurelie Lambert's maternal line grandmother, and Marie Ferron's mother, Therese Noel's line. Here we hit a snag because there are no marriage records for the couple named as Therese's parents? According to the above marriage record her parents were Francois Noel and Agathe Texier. The family couldn't be extended any farther back if not for notarial records. These records fill in the gaps that can occur when the Catholic church records fall short.
There is a marriage record for a Francois Midelet and Agathe Tessier, however. This couple married 5 Mar 1764 in Berthier-en-Haut, Quebec, Canada. This parish is 24 miles from Yamachiche. This is the closest match, but a link must be established. Since the French use dit names, which are additions to the family name, Midelet may be a dit name? They were often used to separate family lines. These names could be descriptive of the place of origin in France the person was from, or a personality trait. The dit names can be passed down. A person or family can change their dit name, it isn't fixed. The dit name may also become the family name, then becoming a fixed name. Dit names create confusion when trying to follow someone in documents.
Midelet may have been a dit name? It appears Francois Noel and Francois Midelet are indeed the same person. A notarial record links Francois Noel, of Yamachiche, and Geneveive Forcier, the mother of Agathe Tessier listed in the marriage record. Later records list Francois Noel dit Breton, so he may have picked up another dit name associated with the place in France he came from. There is only one record in the thousands of pages of records for Quebec with the name Midelet, and that is the marriage record I've referred to. It would appear that was a mistake, a dit name was changed, or there was an intentional effort to mislead? I can't find the Parish he was supposedly from in France either?
"In 1765, Geneviève Forcier widow of Ignace Tessier, ratified an agreement with François Noël (who dropped the name of Midelet), a farmer from Yamachiche, husband of Agathe Tessier (National Archives of Quebec in Montreal, notary's office Barthélemy Faribault, April 1765). " French version: "En 1765, Geneviève Forcier veuve d’Ignace Tessier ratifie une convention avec François Noël (qui laisse tomber le nom de Midelet), farinier de Yamachiche, époux d’Agathe Tessier (Archives nationales du Québec à Montréal, greffe du notaire Barthélemy Faribault, 22 avril 1765)." This information regarding a notarial record appears on a website forum called site L'Autochtone de référence en généalogie Amérindienne au Québec.

I can now document the line further. I now need to switch to the paternal line of Agathe Tessier. Her father Ignace Tessier's line links to the Parisian line. I need the marriage record for Ignace Tessier and Genevieve Forcier, parents of Agathe Tessier. There is a marriage record indexed under these names, but the actual record says Pierre Tessier and Genevieve Forcier? Not Ignace. They married married 7 Jan 1732 in Saint Michel, Yamaska, Quebec. The first couple of children born in Yamaska after the marriage have baptismal records with parents named as Pierre Tessier and Genevieve Forcier. The records of  their later children name their parents as Ignace Tessier and Genevieve Forcier. Could be his name was Pierre Ignace Tessier? In many cases I see either of two, or even more names, used interchangeably in the records by many of these early settlers. They can switch between first and middle names in records.

His name is recorded as Ignace Texier in his death record. He died 18 Jan 1764 in Berthier-En-Haut, Quebec, Canada 16 miles from where he married and several children were born. Berthier-En-Haut is the same place where his daughter Agathe Tessier married Francois Midelet Noel.


I'm confident that the Pierre Tessier and Genevieve Forcier, as listed in the marriage record, are my ancestors. So now I need to verify Ignace Tessier Sr. and Marguerite Lussier's parents. Lucky there is a marriage record for this couple. They were married 23 May 1703 in Repentigny, Quebec, Canada. Repentigny is closer to Montreal than the other locations mentioned above. Jacque Luissier and Catherine Clarisse are named as parents of Marguerite in a birth record also still surviving. I've now documented the line down to this couple. The names are a better match. No doubts regarding this connection.

The baptismal certificate for Marguerite seems to state her parents are Jacques Lhussier and Catherine Clerice. Not easy to read.

The final record connecting Jacques Lussier and Catherine Clerice to their Paris parishes is their marriage record. It states Jacques' parish was St. Eustache, Paris, and Catherine's family parish was St. Sulpice.


I don't have a copy of the notarial record for Francois Noel and Genevieve Forcier. This record is essential to establishing this line. I will enquire into getting a copy of this document if that is possible? If anyone has a copy they would be willing to share I would appreciate it.

Here are the pictures I took of St. Sulpice a parish which several of my ancestors originated from including Catherine Clerice. The current church was being built while Catherine was living in Paris. The only part complete during her time there was a chapel within the church. Catherine left France in 1671 from the port of Dieppe.

This is the oldest part of the church. It was remodeled in the 18th century.

St-Eustache Church, the parish of Jacques Lussier, is much older than Ste-Sulpice. Built between 1532 and 1632. Below are some of the pictures I took of the interior.
Ste-Eustache photo from creative commons