On Genealogy: My Relation to the First Colonists to New France. The First Documented Marriage Between a French Settler & Native American Woman and My relation to Louis Joliet, the French Explorer
I can be quite obsessive at times. My latest past time is genealogy – I’ve been working on my family tree for years – but now I obsessively work on it, almost daily. My interest is both historical and philosophical: Where do I come from? How am I here? — literally and figuratively.
I think people have a basic desire to know where they came from and how they got to where they are today. The knowledge that my ancestors had great inner strength is a powerful motivator for trying to understand my place in the world. I mean if it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be here today typing these words.
I look at genealogy as history on a personal scale. It’s truly a journey of many lifetimes and lifelines from the past to the present and onto the future. It’s about discovering your heritage, creating a story about your family and leaving the most amazing legacies for future generations. At this stage of their lives, my children really don’t give a hootenanny about our roots, an in all honesty nor did I at their ages, but, as I’ve aged and gone through life experiences I wondered more and more.
Some lines I have been able to trace them back to the 1500/1600’s -> back to England and France, then who came to settle the New World. As a result, and through different lines I am part Algonquin in different lines, and therefore Métis. One of my ancestors was a Filles du roi – Kings Daughters. I have a relative who was an explorer and helped to chart the mighty Mississippi River. Family who founded the eastern parts of the US, while others who lived in Salem Massachusetts during the Salem Witch Trials. I had a great uncle who was KIA in the Great War. I have my great grandfather’s and my grandfather’s military records and their units war diaries, I have been able to track them through their battles in both WWI and WWII. I’ve found my grandmother’s arrival records on the Aquitania from when she arrived in Canada in 1946 as a War Bride. I’ve found so many interesting things in my family history on both sides, down all 4 lines … It makes it all that more interesting when you know you have a personal connection to these people.
A few weeks ago I submitted my DNA to Ancestry (the genealogy website I am using to work on my family tree). Genetic genealogy, is a way for people interested in family history to go beyond what they can learn from relatives or from historical documentation. Examination of DNA variations can provide clues about where a person’s ancestors might have come from and about relationships between families. They’ve confirmed it being received – now, all I have to do is wait patiently for another 6-8 weeks (it took them about 4 weeks to acknowledge receiving it) for the results. Stay tuned!
We inherit from our ancestors gifts so often taken for granted. Each of us contains within this inheritance of soul. We are links between the ages, containing past and present expectations, sacred memories and future promise. – Edward Sellner
I have so many cool things to share with you all, but today I am going to share the story of my relation to one of the founders of our great nation – (Canada, for those of you reading this in another country). Now, I can only be a certain percentage proud of this, since no European actually “discovered” North America – the natives were here long before any European or otherwise made their claims.
Ok, put on your history caps folks – we are going to take a trip back to the 1600’s. I bet you don’t remember much about grade school history – but you may recall a bit about some of the explorers like Jacques Cartier, Louis Frontenac or Étienne Brûlé, maybe you remember the name of the famous French explorer, Samuel de Champlain who founded Québec City? Now, the super cool thing is that I do. Being French Canadian – we learned all about this stuff in elementary school, and I’m sure if I dig hard enough through my boxes of childhood memories I have stuff on learning this – we learned about Les Premiers Colons, Marguerite Bourgeoys, les Amerindians, les seigneuries, les Jésuites. And yes, I most certainly remember learning about Samuel de Champlain and les premiers colons.
The first of my ancestors to come to la Nouvelle France/New France was a contemporary of Champlain’s. Olivier Le Tardif (sometimes spelled just Tardif), he was my 12th great-grandfather in the Lamothe line — but I can also trace him back in the Duchesne line via his son Guillaume.
A bit about Le Tardif: (abt 1603-1665), the son of Jean Le Tardif and Clemence Houart, born at Estables, a seaside village on St. Brieuc Bay, in Brittany, France. He embarked at Honfleur on May 24, 1618, onboard a ship of the Company of the merchants which was bringing back Samuel de Champlain to the colony. Le Tardif became the interpreter for Champlain in the languages of the Huron, Algonquin and les Montagnais. When Québec capitalizes, it is Le Tardif, elected by Samuel de Champlain, who gives the keys of the city to the brothers Louis and Thomas Kirke.
While Olivier Le Tardif is the general clerk of the Compagnie des Cent-Associés/Hundred-Associates in Québec, and while his 1st wife, Louise Couillard is still alive, he adopts Marie-Olivier Manitouabe8ich who is first documented Native America to marry a French settler – she marries Martin Prévost, in 1644 — now this is where it gets good —- she is also my ancestor from another line! You’ll have to read on for that relation.
Sticking to this story – it’s from Le Tardif’s second marriage on May 21 1648 to Barbe Émard/Aymard (while he was back in France) from which I descend. Barbe was the widow of Gilles Michel. Olivier’s first wife , Louise Couillard, died seven years earlier. He brought his new bride to Château Richer to live. They had three children together.
I actually descend from TWO of their children as these lists show BUT on TWO different sides of my family – my maternal grand-mother and my maternal grand-father’s sides (who ended up marrying one another!)
Gen 1: Barbe Delphine LE TARDIF (1649-1702) + Jacques CAUCHON DIT LAMOTHE (1635-1685)
Gen 2: Jean Cauchon + Anne Bollard
Gen 3: Francois Cauchon dit Lamothe + Marie Francois Houde
Gen 4: Francois Cauchon dit Lamothe +Marie Laroche Rognon
Gen 5: Pierre Lamothe + Marie Anne Senet
Gen 6: Magloire Lamothe + Seraphine Gauthier
Gen 7: Joseph Lamothe + Marie Louise Charron
Gen 8: Emile LAMOTHE + Marcella Houle
Gen 9: Clifford LAMOTHE + Desneiges Duchesne
Gen 10: Mona Lamothe + Patrick RICHARDS
Gen 11: MOI — Tina RICHARDS
Gen 1: Guillaume LE TARDIF (Jan 30 1656) + Marie Marguerite GAUDIN (Mar 1665-?)
Gen 2: Charles TARDIF + Marie Genevieve Le Roy
Gen 3: Jean Roch TARDIF + Marie Louise Grenier
Gen 4: Jean Baptiste TARDIF + Marie Felicite Rancourt
Gen 5: Brigitte Tardif + Charles BINET
Gen 6: Philomène Genevieve Binet + Charles BINET
Gen 7: Philomène Adelphine Binet+ Honore TRUDEL
Gen 8: Leda Trudel + Mederic Duchesne
Gen 9: Palma DUCHESNE + Laurette Allard
Gen 10: Desneiges Duchense + Clifford LAMOTHE
Gen 11: Mona Lamothe + Patrick RICHARDS
Gen 12: MOI – Tina RICHARDS
Now to add to this story and where these lines intersect and cross further.
Roch Manitouabeouich was a Native who worked as a scout and interpreter for Olivier Le Tardif, who as we know was an agent for Samuel de Champlain representing la Compagnie des Cent-Associés involved in the fur trade. There is a heated debate whether he was Huron or Algonquin. He was also a friend to Le Tardif. As an Abenaki married to a Huron, it is likely that Manitouabeouich knew several native dialects, making him invaluable to Le Tardif who was himself an interpreter to Champlain and instrumental in expanding the fur trade in New France. Roch Manitouabewich had been converted to Christianity by the French missionaries. The baptismal ritual included the given Christian name of Roch, in honour of Saint Roch, the patron saint of dogs, falsely accused people, bachelors, and several other things.
Roch and his wife, Oueou Outchibahanouk. had a daughter, the Jesuits baptized the baby girl with the name Marie and according to the records, Marie was an “Algonquin Manitouabe8ich Abenaquis”. Le Tardif became Godfather to the baby girl, and in accordance with the custom of the times, Le Tardif gave the girl his own name of Olivier. In addition to the name Marie Olivier, the Jesuit missionary performing the baptism gave the girl the name Sylvestre, meaning “one who comes from the forest” or “one who lives in the forest”. (Thwaites, The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents, volume 11: 1610-1791) http://puffin.creighton.edu/jesuit/relations/relations_01.html
When Marie Olivier Sylvestre was ten years old, Olivier Le Tardif adopted the young Indian girl as his very own daughter but she never carried the family name of LeTardif. This enabled her to be educated and reared in the same manner as a well-to-do French girl. First he placed her as a “live-in boarder” and student with the Ursuline Nuns at Quebec, and later he boarded her with a French family (Sieur Guillaume Hubou) where she was privately tutored. Marie Olivier Sylvestre met and married Martin Prévost, friend of the Hubou family and a very personal friend of Olivier LeTardif. This marriage was to be the first marriage of record between a Native girl and a French colonist mentioned in Canadian historical records. The marriage took place in 1644 in Quebec. Recorded as witnesses to the ceremony were Olivier LeTardif and Quillaume Couillard, Le Tardif’s father in-law.
Olivier Le Tardif died at Château Richer in 1665 after a period of premature senility. He had moments of lucidity to the very end. He was buried January 28 under the church of Notre Dame de Bonne Nouvelle in Château Richer.
Marie had 9 children with her husband Martin Prévost. Three of their children died in 1661 – Ursule, Marie Madeleine, 6 and her brother Antoine, 4 died on the same day – March 16, 1661. Marie died at 37 years old after giving birth to her last child Therese. Her Marriage certificate to Martin Prévost indicates that she was born in Huron territory, Sillery. There are no records of the death of her parents.
Martin Prévost was one of the pioneers of Beauport near Quebec; b. 1611, son of Pierre Prévost and Charlotte Vien, of Montreuil-sur-le-Bois-de-Vincennes (now Montreuil-sous-Bois), near Paris; d. 26 Jan. 1691 at Beauport. Prévost’s presence at Quebec is referred to in the documents of the notary Piraube as early as the year 1639.
So, this is how I descend from the 1st documented marriage between a Franc settler to the new colony and a Native is as follows — follow along carefully because the lines cross here too!
- Roch Abenaki Manitouabeouich + Outchibahabanouk Oueou
- Marie-Olivier-Sylvestre Manitouabeouich. + Martin Prévost
- Jean-Baptiste Prévost + Marie Anne Giroux
- Catherine Prévost + Charles Petitclerc
- Charles Petitclerc + Marguerite Meunier
- Joseph Trudel + Magdelaine Langlois
- Joseph Trudel + Josephine Proteau
- Honore Trudel + Philomène Adelphine Binet
- Leda Trudel + Mederic Duchesne
- Palma Duchesne + Laurette Allard
- Desneiges Duchesne + Clifford Lamothe
- Mona Lamothe + Patrick Richards
- MOI – Tina Richards
Now, if you’re following along, you’re understanding how really cool these connections to history are and how the early lines of my ancestors are crossing … but let’s take it one step further even …
Until his death, we find Martin Prévost settled at Beauport as an “habitant,” or farmer. Prévost had had at least nine children by his first wife, Marie-Olivier-Sylvestre Manitouabeouich and we know she passed away shortly after giving birth to her daughter, Therese. He was married a second time in 1665, to Marie d’Abancourt, the widow of Jean Jolliet and of Gefroy Guillot.
From her marriage to Jean Jolliet, she had a child Louis. Is the name Louis Joliet sounding at all familiar? Well it should, this is the explorer I was telling you about!
In 1673, Joliet embarked on an expedition with Jacques Marquette, a missionary and linguist, to be among the first Europeans to explore what was called by Native Americans the “Mesipi” river and ascertain where it led to, with hopes of finding a passage to Asia. After meeting in the Michilimackinac region, the men started their journey by canoe on May 17, 1673, to what would be known as the Mississippi River.
While Hernando De Soto was the first European to make official note of the Mississippi River by discovering its entrance in 1541, Jolliet and Marquette were the first to locate its upper reaches, and travel most of its length, about 130 years later.
Jolliet’s acclaim as an explorer was diminished somewhat when his records and maps were destroyed at the end of his trip. Anxious to reach Montreal, Jolliet decided to shoot the rapids of Lachine on the St. Lawrence instead of portaging around them. His canoe was toppled over, killing the Chief’s son and was rescued after clinging to a rock – all records of the mission were lost. Although he later produced another report and map from memory, much of the detail was missing. Thus, Marquette’s journal became the accepted authority on the trip.
Joliet’s main legacy is most tangible in the Midwestern United States and Quebec, mostly through geographical names, including the cities of Joliet, Illinois; Joliet, Montana; and Joliette, Quebec (founded by one of Jolliet’s descendants, Barthélemy Joliet.
So how is that for a little piece of family history? Who said history or genealogy is boring?
Do any of you have any cool family connections or of historical significance? I’d really be interested in hearing some …