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


Jana Iverson Last said...


I want to let you know that your blog is listed in today's Fab Finds post at

Have a great weekend!

Annette said...

Thank you very much! Just saw you comment.