November 22, 2013

Hélène Desportes

Hélène  Desportes is our first double grandmother.  Her first marriage was to Guillaume (William) Hebert son of Louis Hebert and Marie Rollett.  Guillaume was born in Paris in 1604 and emigrated in 1617 at the age of 13 with his parents and siblings.  He was the grandson of Nicholas Hebert apothocary to Catherine DeMedici.   His father Louis was an apothocary and friend to Samuel Champlain.  The circumstances of their arrival was deceitful.  Having been offered the position of physician receiving 200 pounds for 3 years he was met with a new contract that he would receive only one hundred crowns a year for three years and when the contract expired, he must serve the Company and Exclusively for nothing. He Was forbidden to engage in the fur trade and if he farmed, he must sell to the company at prices they would fix.  Having sold his apothocary business in Paris he was forced to accept.

Back to Hélène Desportes our double grandmother.  Hélène was born in about 20 July 1620 in Quebec who may or may not have been the first white child born in Quebec.  There is some dispute whether she was born in Quebec or France. Hélène was daughter of Pierre Desportes and Francois Langlais.  Her godmother was Madame Hélène Boullé, the wife of Samuel de Champlain. In his will, Champlain left her 300 livres (about $15,000 in 1997).  After the fall of Québec City in 1629, Hélène and her parents, along with Champlain were transported to London, and then back to France. Shortly after peace was restored in 1632, Hélène returned to Québec, possibly with Champlain who arrived back in Québec on May 16, 1633.

On the first of October 1634, Hélène married Joseph Guillaume Hébert, son of Louis Hébert and Marie Rollet. Joseph's family had remained in Québec during the occupation and had the first farm there. His father Louis Hébert had been involved in early expeditions to Port Royal with Champlain and others.  Helene and Guillaume had 3 children:  Joseph, Angelique and Marie Francois.   Marie Francois married Guilaume Fornier who were our 9th great grandparents down to our Great Grandfather Magloire Thibault.  Marie Desportes was our 10th great grandmother on this side of the tree.

After Joseph Hebert died in 1639, Hélène was left with three living children. She then married Noël Morin, a native of the parish of St-Étienne in Brie-Comte-Robert, a village near Paris, on January 9, 1640, in Quebec City. They had 12 children one of who was Agnes Morin who married Ignace Bonhomme dit Beaupre.  They were our 8th great grandparents down to our Great Grandmother Delia Beaulieu.  Marie Desportes was our 9th great grandmother on this side of the tree.

This makes Marie Deportes our 10th Great Grandmother on the Thibault side of the tree and our 9th great grandmother on the Beaulieu side of the tree making Delia and Magloire distant cousins.

September 11, 2013

First Catholic Mass Held in Town of Southbridge

Hugh Murphy and Elizabeth Owens Murphy were our 3rd great grandparents.  They were the first Irish family to move to Southbridge and held the first Catholic mass in their home.  They are parents of our 2nd great grandmother Mary Ann Murphy who married James O'Leary.  Pictured is Mary Ann's brother Hugh.

August 30, 2013

Presidential Relationships

When one thinks of being related to a President you might think it's through Mayflower passengers since it seems many Presidents are descendants of the Mayflower but I recently found that my husband is related to the Bush's through John Horton and Mehitable Garnsey. He is 8th cousin to the senior George and 8th cousin 1x removed from George Walker Bush. John Horton is descendant of one of the original Horton's to come from Mowsley, Leicestershire, England. Who are you related to?

August 1, 2013

Dead Ends Become New Roads

When you think you've discovered all you can you find out,  there are new leads.  If you think your ancestor came over alone, think again.   I was at a dead end, not knowing our great great grandmothers last name.  By the marriage certificate of our great grandfather James Arthur Keefe and Mary A. Lynch we knew his father was Arthur Keefe and his mother was Honora G.  No last name.  His death certificate provided no additional information as it didn't list his mother at all.  Dead end?  Nope.  We knew Arthur was born in Ireland and came over around 1871.  We knew he was born about 1850.  We knew where he married and where he lived and where he died.  Ok so what?  Well search Keefe born between 1845 and 1855 living in the two places that Arthur lived.  Plug in parents as Arthur Keefe and Honora.  Up pops a Margaret Keefe who died in 1904 who married a James Hartnett.  Look at her death certificate and her parents are listed as Arthur Keefe and Honora Grady.  Did we just find James' sister?  Look at her marriage certificate and she got married in the same town as James and Mary.   Looks like, indeed, we did find his sister and in turn found our Great Grandmother.

July 9, 2013

The more things change the more they stay the same

Marguerite Bouchard born 10 May 1674 to Michel Bouchard and Marie Trottain had 4 children, all by different husbands of which only one she married.  Who is Marguerite Bouchard?  She is the daughter of our 9th Great Grandfather and sister of our 8th great grandfather and our 8th great grandmother Ettiene Bouchard and Marie Madeline Bouchard.  Ettiene is ancestor of Joseph Beaulieu while Marie Madeline is ancestor of Emily Berube wife of Joseph.

Marguerite's first child Jean Pierre Gagnon was born September 17, 1693 son of Jean Gagnon our 8th great grandfather.  Jean Gagnon was accused of giving Marguerite drugs to induce a miscarriage and of rape.    Whether or not this was true Jean Pierre was born and Jean Gagnon was ordered by the courts of the time to provide for him.  It appears that Jean Pierre never lived more than 20 days with his mother and was raised by a Nanny until he was 20 paid for by Jean Gagnon.  An agreement was drawn up February 27, 1694 before the notary Chambalon.

On October 19, 1696 Marguerite gave birth to a baby girl named Marie-Francois Dubroc.  She was the daughter of Francois Dubroc a merchant of Bayone who Marguerite was not married to.  On July 29, 1697 Marguerite married Francois Dutartre after an agreement is signed before the notary Chambalon whereby Dubroc Dutartre was to pay 300 pounds in return for which the latter agrees to take care of the little girl as if she was his own daughter.  On May 11, 1698 Marguerite again gives birth to a son Francois Dutartre.  Dutarte, however, never knew he has a son as he abandoned her for France where he remained for the rest of his life.  On July 13, 1709 in what seems to be a case of debt Marguerite states that Francois Dutartre had been absent from the country for 12 years.  Francois never lived up to his agreement before the notorary.

Her last child Jean-Baptiste (Guillaume) Soucy was born born July 21, 1704.  His father was William Soucy, a single son of Jean Soucy dit Lavigne and Jeanne Savonnet.  Jeanne Savonnet was our 8th Great Grandmother whose second husband was Damien Berube our 8th Great Grandfather.

All this makes us wonder about Marguerite.  What motivated her.  We know her father was a barkeep and her mother Marie Trottain (Trotin) was convicted with 2 other women of spanking a man.  Marie was also a "Kings Daughter", one of many girls who were sent over from France as marriageable women for the Canandian colonists.

Her sister Marie Madeleine married Pierre Dancoss (Dancause) when she was 14 and had 8 children before Pierre died.  She was engaged to François de Serre (Cyr) September 22, 1699 and gave birth to a baby girl Marie Anne Bouchard de Serre on June 17, 1700.  Tanguay states that the couple were never married, however the baptismal record she is the "fille de ( ) de serre & de Marie Madeleinne Bouchard veuve de feu (widow of) Pierre Dancosse...".  No first name and no indication that they weren't married.  No further records exist of Francois de Serre.  Did he die?  Did he run off?  

June 7, 2013

Murder in War

On 28 February 1759, Lieutenant Hazen and about fifteen men arrived at Point Sainte-A nne. The well-armed group surrounded the first three houses of the village, perhaps with five soldiers at each house. They took some of the occupants captive, including Joseph Bellefontaine, the 64 year old son of Barthélémy's old friend Gabriel Godin and good friend of Michel Bergeron dit de Nantes. They also captured Joseph's wife, Anne Bergeron, his 26 year-old son Michel and wife Madeleine Guilbault, his daughter Nastasie and her husband Eustache Paré (a ge 25), and four of his grandchildren. The English tied Joseph and Michel Godin to trees and proceeded to slaughter their kin in front of them.

In 1774 Joseph Godin-Bellefontaine himself wrote a long mémoire and detailed the massacre of his family by Lieutenant Hazen and his soldiers. "Every human soul will be, as he, much affected by the horrible massacre of a part of his family, of which they had the harshness of making him a witness, he and his son Michel bound, their hands behind their backs and tied to some trees, they repeated to him over and over that he and all his family had to submit to English domination and to swear an oath of fidelity to their King. He persisted in the perseverance of his refusal, they took their rage to the point of massacring his daughter Nastazie, wife of Eustache Paré, crushing her head with a blow of the butt of a gun, his two children and a son of Michel, and splitting the head of the wife of the latter with a blow of a hatchet. During this barbarous scene, Anne Bergeron, his wife, and Eustache Paré, his son-in-law, each took one of the said Paré's children in their arms and only saved them from the fury of these cruel men by their flight into the woods with that which they had on their bodies , without having time to take old clothing or provisions or papers."

Joseph Godin-Bellefontaine is our 8th great uncle.


Maurice Godin of Namur, present-day Belgium, married Huguette Pampelune of Sedan, France, in c1560.  Their son Vorle married Brigitte Gouzier of Bar-sur-Seine, Champagne, in c1595.  Vorle's son Claude married Marie Bardin of Savolles, Champagne, before July 1624, when daughter Jeanne was baptized at St.-Vorle de Châtillon-sur-Seine.  

Claude's son Pierre, born at Châtillon-sur-Seine in May 1630, emigrated to New France in his early 20s.  He reached Montréal in September 1653 and married Jeanne, daughter of Louis Rousseliere, in October 1654.  Like his father, Pierre dit Châtillon was a master carpenter.  He and Jeanne left Montréal in 1664, lived at Charlesbourg near Québec, where they were counted in 1666, then at Québec, returned to Montréal in the 1670s, and went to Chignecto in Acadia probably with the sieur de La Vallière, the seigneur of Beaubassin, between June 1676 and June 1677 "to continue the construction work already under way."    Pierre died either at Port-Royal or Chignecto in the early or mid-1680s, in his 50s (only Jeanne, called "widow of Godin," and three of their children, appear in the Acadian census of 1686).  He and Jeanne had nine children, including four sons, three of whom created families of their own.  

The only branch of the Godin family in New France affected by the Acadian Grand Dérangement was that of Pierre dit Châtillon's second son, Gabriel dit Châtillon.  

Gabriel dit Châtillon, later sieur de Bellefontaine, born at Montréal in July 1661, married Andrée-Angélique, daughter of Robert JasneJeanne, or Joannes, at Québec in July 1690.  Gabriel lived at Charlebourg, Québec, when he was young and was counted at Port-Royal in the late 1680s.  He and his wife settled on Rivière St.-Jean  now New Brunswick, where French authorities had given Gabriel a seigneury.  He and Andrée-Angélique had 12 children on Rivière St.-Jean, including eight sons.

Oldest son Louis dit Bellefontaine, born in c1693, married a woman whose name has been lost to history, in c1736.  Louis died at St.-François-du-Lac, Québec, in February 1749, age 57.

Joseph dit Bellefontaine dit Beauséjour, born in c1695, married Marie-Anne, daughter of Barthélémy 
Bergeron dit d'Amboise, at Rivière St.-Jean in c1726. Joseph served as a major of the local militia during King George's War in the late 1740s. He died at Cherbourg, France, in December 1776, age 81. His daughter, daughter-in-law and grandchildren were brutally slain by Lt. Hazen.

Jacques-Philippe dit Bellefeuille, born in c1697, married Anne-Marie, another daughter of Barthélémy 
Bergeron dit d'Amboise, probably at Rivière St.-Jean in c1730. Jacques-Philippe died at Gentilly, Québec, in February 1763.

Pierre-Joseph dit Châtillon dit Préville, born in the late 1690s or early 1700s, married Marie-Josèphe, daughter of Alexandre Bourg, at Grand-Pré in August 1730.  Pierre-Joseph died in January 1745, before Le Grand Dérangement.  

Jean-Baptiste dit Lincour, born in the early 1700s, married Anastasie, another daughter of Alexandre Bourg, in c1729.  Jean-Baptiste died during Le Grand Dérangement, perhaps at Halifax, where British authorities counted his wife and four children in August 1763 and called her a widow.

Charles dit Bellefontaine dit Boisjoli, born in c1708, married Marie, daughter of Charles Melanson, at Port-Royal in August 1735.  British authorities counted him and his family also in the prison at Halifax in August 1763.

René dit Jean-René dit Valcour, born in the late 1700s or early 1710s, married first to Françoise Dugas in c1734, and then to Françoise, yet another daughter of Barthélemy Bergeron dit d'Amboise, probably at Rivière St.-Jean in c1743.  
Youngest son Bonaventure dit Bellefontaine, born in c1715, married first to a woman whose name has been lost to history, in c1739, and remarried to Marguerite, yet another daughter of Barthélémy Bergeron ditd'Amboise, probably at Rivière St.-Jean in c1740.  

Le Grand Dérangement of the 1750s scattered this large family from France to Louisiana

Living in territory controlled by France, the Godins of Rivière St.-Jean escaped the British round up of their fellow Acadians in Nova Scotia in the autumn of 1755.   In September 1758, British forces raided the Rivière St.-Jean valley and destroyed the settlements there, including Ste.-Anne-du-Pays-Bas with its church and 147 houses.  Gabriel dit Châtillon Godin's descendants survived the onslaught as best they could.  In February 1759, second son Joseph dit Bellefontaine dit Beauséjour and his family were captured by New English rangers, who forced Joseph to watch as they killed his daughter and children and his daughter-in-law.  After being held as prisoners of war at Halifax, Joseph and the rest of his family were deported to France in 1759.  Gabriel dit Châtillon's third son, Jacques-Philippe dit Bellefeuille, and his family escaped the British and fled north to the St. Lawrence valley.  Gabriel dit Châtillon's second daughter Marie-Yvette, wife of Michel Saindon, also dodged the British and returned to Rivière St.-Jean at the end of the war, but moved on to the St.-Lawrence valley, where she died in April 1795, age 86.  Meanwhile, Gabriel dit Châtillon's younger sons, Jean-Baptiste dit Lincour, Charles dit Bellefontaine dit Boisjoli, and Bonaventure dit Bellefontaine, and their families escaped the British and moved northeast to Miramichi  and then to Restigouche on the Gulf of St. Lawrence shore, where they joined other Acadian refugees.  Their sisters Marie-Charlotte, wife of Jean Dugas, and Angélique, wife of Pierre Part, also sought refuge on the Gulf of St. Lawrence shore.  In the early 1760s, British forces captured Miramichi and Restigouche and sent hundreds of Acadians, including the Godins, to prisoner-of-war compounds in Nova Scotia, most of them to Halifax, where they were confined for the rest of the war.  
After the war with Britain finally ended in 1763, descendants of  Gabriel dit Châtillon Godin settled near their cousins in the St. Lawrence valley and at various places in what became the Maritimes provinces.  

Names in Red are our ancestors

May 15, 2013

From Ireland to Massachusetts to Wisconsin

I had a small mystery on my hands and it involved why two brothers moved from Massachusetts to Wisconsin.  This family had immigrated to America from Ireland and in particular the Boston suburbs in the early 1850's but by 1867 two of the brothers married sisters and moved to Wisconsin.  Why?  It was after the Civil War and I wondered if that had anything to do with it.  A google search for what might have been going on in 1867 in Wisconsin turned up a unique immigration plan targeted on European immigrants.  Not only did they go overseas and distribute pamphlets about Wisconsin but also they went to the East coast and targeted the Irish and other immigrants to come to Wisconsin.  In 1855 Wisconsins were getting a little uptight about the foreigners and an end to the commission was brought about but it seems in 1867 that the commission was brought back and again in 1895.

Wisconsin government officials tried to encourage settlers to come to the state several times in the 19th century. They employed a commissioner or a formal board of immigration during the years 1852-1855, 1867-1887, and 1895-1901. In 1867 Gov. Lucius Fairchild persuaded Milwaukee author Increase Lapham to write a 38-page pamphlet entitled, "Statistics, Exhibiting the History, Climate, and Productions of the State of Wisconsin" to be distributed to prospective immigrants in the eastern states and in Europe. Lapham finished this pamphlet in July, 1867, and over the next several years, translations and revised editions appeared in German, Norwegian, French, Dutch, Swedish, and Welsh. More than 90,000 copies were published in all, some of them printed and issued directly in Germany, Holland, and England to save shipping costs.

The interesting thing is that if my Great Great Grandmother had left Massachusetts with her brothers I wouldn't be here and if they stayed their descendants wouldn't be here either.  

April 9, 2013

Double Cousins

My sister and I were "talking" the other day about cousins on my father's Irish side of the family.  In digging further we discovered that they are also cousins on our French-Canadian side, both French-Canadian sides, my Great Grandparents.  While being related on both sides of the French-Canadian tree is not unusual, it is unusual to be related at the same time on our Irish side.  On the Irish side they are 1st cousins 1x removed and though it's hard to figure out the exact relationship on the French-Candian side it's much futher back as we share 7th Great Grandparents through our Great grandmother Delia and 8th Great Grandparents through our Great Grandfather Magloire.  The world is definitely small.