52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks 2020 | Week 3: Long Line

January 15-21

On both sides of my family, through both my mom and my dad, I have long lines of documented genealogy going back to the 1500s. (And, really we ALL have long lines, don’t we?) Now, lest you think all this was accomplished through my own genealogy skills, I assure you, it was not. But, more about that as we come to it.

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My mother, Bula, circa 1922

On my mother’s mother’s side of the family, the Gards, I have already written about my DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) Revolutionary War Patriot, Jeremiah Gard. Jeremiah came from a rather well-documented family with roots back to Roger Garde (LeGard) and Phillippa Gist, who married July 4, 1610, in Devonshire, England. Both were born circa 1585.

I inherited quite a bit of genealogical material about this side of the family from my Nana Wells, born a Gard, who while never being very systematic about it all, thankfully kept the records.

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The earliest photo I have of my Gard ancestors. These are my great-great grandparents, William Perry and Phoebe Stewart Gard, 1861

Through my mother’s father’s family, the Wells family, I just learned a while ago that we go back to the Mayflower, and because of that, beyond. My ancestors who came over on that rickety little ship were John Alden and Priscilla Mullins. Their daughter, Rebecca (or Mary), married Thomas Delano, whose father Philippe Delano (DeLannoy) came to North America in 1623 from the Netherlands.

This line is a rabbit hole that I could easily fall down and not be heard from for days as a result. Because the Mayflower passengers, their ancestors, and descendants have been so thoroughly documented, there is a wealth of information.

I am confident of our descent because of the research of my third cousin, Judy, who shares great-great grandparents, Matthias Wells and Alberta Pettingill, with me. Just this past year, she proved her descent from John and Priscilla Mullins through Matthias and Alberta and was able to join the Mayflower Society. This year, 2020, is the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s arrival, and one of my genealogical goals for 2020 is to join the Society like Judy.

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Matthias and Alberta Pettingill Wells

On my father’s side of the family, I also have long lines through both his parents. His father was from Massachusetts, and his mother was French-Canadian Catholic. Both New Englanders and Catholics are wonderful record-keepers.

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My dad, Charles and his big sister, Elizabeth (Betsy), circa 1920

On my father’s mother’s, the Bergeron, French-Canadian side of the family, I have multiple ancestors documented well into the 1500s. Again, not through my own research, but rather that of my wonderful cousin, Peter, and the copious records kept by French-Canadian Catholics.

French-Canadians, through the history and records kept of early ancestors, especially the 700 or so Filles du Roi, are blessed with abundant information. Because of that, I have documented 41 Filles du Roi ancestors (women who arrived in New France 1663-1673), 28 Filles a Marier (women who arrived prior to 1663), and 11 Carignan Regiment (military men who served New France beginning in 1659).

Again, because these all were members of the Catholic church, the records are detailed and abundant, some going back to the late 1400s. A second genealogical goal for 2020 is to join La Société des Filles du roi et soldats du Carignan.

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My great grandparents, Osias Joseph and Marie-Amelia Gaumond Bergeron

Through my father’s father’s New England Keene side of the family, I have broken down a long-standing brick wall and now have evidence that we descend from John Keen, born about 1578, in England. There’s a blog post coming, so hang tight, Keene family!

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My great grandparents, George Augustus and Lydia Kent Keene

That’s it for today, dear readers. Thanks for hanging in there with me!

“Til later!

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks | Week 40: 10

I had every intention of populating this post with stories of our visit to beautiful Quebec. Perhaps pictures of ten of my French-Canadian ancestors’ homes and villages. Maybe ten monuments or  statues. At least ten stories; that should be easy, right?

But, no.

Here I sit at home, nursing an awful cold, complete with stuffy head and a sexy smoker’s voice. Without the cancer risk. That’s a win, right?

All that to say that Québec, with a cold, in rain showers and snow flurries, didn’t sound like a very good idea.

Don’t you worry, though; I have a new plan!

How many ancestors can I name 10 generations back?

Beginning with me, ten generations into the past equals my 8x great-grandparents, my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparents. In general, this brings us to the 1600s and to approximately 1,024 ancestors. Approximately, because, especially in small communities, as in New France, marriage between extended family members was quite common. This can result in pedigree collapse, decreasing the total number of ancestors.

Having ancestors from both New France and New England is an incredible leg-up for this family historian. Both cultures were fastidious record-keepers, and for the most part, those records have been very well preserved.

I won’t write about all the ancestors I know ten generations back, as I have a wealth of information. This post could turn into a book. A very long, and quite possibly boring, book.

Since this post began with my plan to write about my French-Canadian ancestors, that’s where I will stay. I have put in bold type the names of my 8x great-grandparents, those ten generations back. I have also separated with a line each couple from the next for easier reading.

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André Bergeron was born February 6, 1642, in La Rochelle, France, to parents Pierre Bergeron and Catherine Marchand.  A brother and three sisters were also born to the family while in France. He and his father immigrated to New France about 1665, and André was known to be working on the farm of Eustache Lambert in 1667. He died February 21, 1712, in St-Nicolas of Lévis, Québec.

Marguerite Demers married André July 9, 1673, in Lauson, Lévis, New France. She was born October 21, 1659, in Montréal, Québec, to parents Jean Demers and Jeanne Viody.

In 1681 census, André and Marguerite were noted as owning a farm with two cows. Eventually, the couple had 12 children, including my ancestor, Jean-Baptiste Bergeron.

Marguerite wrote her will on August 4, 1720, and her date of death is uncertain.

Baptism record of Marguerite Bergeron, 1687, daughter of André Bergeron and Marguerite Demers.

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François Ferland was born in France to André Ferland and Marguerite Bariteau on September 9, 1633. He appears in the records of New France for the first time in 1676, and his occupation upon arrival  was a servant. He died on September 25, 1713, at age 82. He was buried the following day at St-Pierre, Île-d’Orléans.

Jeanne-Françoise Miloy married François October 7, 1679 in St-Pierre, Île-d’Orléans. She was born January 19, 1652, in Québec. She passed away November 25, 1708 in St-Pierre, Île-d’Orléans. Her daughter Marie-Madeleine Ferland is my ancestor.

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Burial record for Jeanne-Françoise, 1708

 

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Guillaume Fournier was born sometime between 1620 and 1621, in Normandie, France. He was the son of Giles Fournier and Noëlle Gageut. He arrived in New France around the year 1651, based on the first record of him in Québec.

That record was his marriage, dated November 20, 1651. His bride was Marie-Françoise Hébert. He was 28; she was 13. Yikes!

Marie-Françoise was the daughter of Jean-Guillaume Hébert and Marie-Hélène Desportes. Marie-Françoise was baptized January 23, 1638 in Notre-Dame de Québec. Her father, Guillaume, was the son of the first French couple to settle New France, Louis-Gaston Hébert and Marie-Louise Rollet, my 10x great-grandparents.

Guillaume and Marie-Françoise had 14 children and were fairly prosperous farmers, according to census records. In the 1681 census, their property was listed as 3 rifles, 12 horned animals, and land worth 10 arpents, approximately 10 acres. I descend from their son, Simon.

November 21, 1703, Marie-Françoise was elected as a “wise woman” by the assembly of women in the St. Thomas parish. I find this remarkably touching. What an honor to be so highly esteemed. And how unusual for the women of this time to not only vote, but that their vote to be taken so seriously as to be recorded in the parish records. 

Guillaume was one of the founders of the St. Thomas parish church. He died in 1669 and was interred in the churchyard. Marie-Françoise passed away March 16, 1716, at the age of 86, and was also buried at St. Thomas.

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1651 Marriage record for Guillaume and Marie-Françoise

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Thomas Rousseau was born in Poitou-Charentes, France in 1632, to Honoré Rousseau and Marie Boillerot. He emmigrated to New France in the summer or fall of 1663, approximately age 30. On March 22, 1664, he received Catholic confirmation in Québec. I wonder if he had been a Huguenot? 

On October 5, 1667, he married Marie-Madeleine Olivier in Notre-Dame de Québec. He was about age 36; she was 30. Marie-Madeleine Olivier was born circa 1637, in Normandy, France, the daughter of Jean Olivier and Louise Prévost.

Marie-Madeleine arrived in New France September 25, 1667, on the ship Le St-Louis, which had departed from Dieppe, France. She married Thomas less than two weeks later.

By the time she emigrated, both of her parents had passed away. Which may give a reason for her decision to leave France. As an unmarried woman of 30 with no parents, her prospects in France were very dim. But, there was an opportunity for her to have a home and family in New France. Because Marie-Madeleine was part of the group of women known as Filles du Roi, or Daughters of the King.

At this time in New France, men outnumbered the women in the colony about ten-to-one. The king of France, Louis XIV, knew that without a healthy, growing population for defense, France was in danger of losing the territory to England. So, the Filles du Roi program was established, providing women with little prospects in France to have a opportunity for a new life in the New World.

Their ship’s passage was paid for by the government, and each woman was provided a small dowry. Upon arrival, they were most often housed in convents, under the supervision and protection of the nuns. But, the business of a Fille du Roi was to get married and have children. And, to that end, a sort of 17th century speed dating system was instituted. A meet-and-greet of sorts. At these events, introductions would be made, the men would plead their case, and the women could accept or deny any offer. The men who had a home ready and waiting would generally fare better than those who weren’t as prepared.

Thomas and Marie-Madeleine appear to have had a successful union, as they eventually had 12 children together. In the 1691 census, their property is recorded as being one rifle, four horned animals, and 15 arpents, approximately 15 acres, of land.

Marie-Madeleine passed away at the age of 53 on April 21, 1690 and was buried in Saint-Laurent, Île d’Orléans. I descend from their first child, Anne-Catherine.

Thomas married a second time in 1691, to Charlotte Bellanger, aged 41. They had one child together.

Thomas died at age 84, July 26, 1716, and was buried on the l’Île d’Orléans.

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1667 Marriage Record for Thomas Rousseau and Madeleine Olivier 

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There is nothing especially remarkable in the lives of the men and women I have listed above. They were ordinary people, living lives that now, to me, from the comfort of my modern home, seem incredibly difficult and exhausting. Today, these men and women seem like super-heroes, able to cross vast oceans in tiny ships, endure minus 30-degree winters without central heating, and craft a home with their bare hands.

And, the women! If they survived all the above rigors of daily life, many, many of them lived long enough to have ten or more children. All without pre-natal vitamins, epidurals, jogging strollers, and disposable diapers.

So, perhaps they were remarkable after all…

“Til next time.