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Article Published April 11, 2003
Finding Your Ancestors (Quebec, Canada)
By: Marielle A. Bourgeois, M.A., C.F.A. Biography & Archived Articles
One day, I wondered if I could find my ancestors who were from the Richelieu River Valley area, in the province of Québec, Canada.
I decided to visit cemeteries, surrounding the oldest churches of Québec, along the Richelieu River. I knew that my paternal grandparents, by the surname Bourgeois, had been born, lived, and were buried in the cemetery of the parish of St-Mathias sur le Richelieu, one of the oldest parishes in Québec and an historical monument.
I walked in the cemetery of the parish to St-Mathias, and that of a few surrounding parishes, reading the stone inscriptions. I did not find stones marked Bourgeois, other than that of my grandparents. I found stones marked Cournoyer, which was the surname of my maternal grandmother. A priest who saw me taking notes said "I suggest you take the ferry, go across the river to the parish of St- Roch, where the priest there is a professional genealogist". I thanked him.
At St-Roch cemetery a man, dressed in plain clothes, with a smile in his face, approached me. When I looked at him, I thought "This man has the same facial expression as my brother". He asked me for my parents' names. He smiled when I answered him. He was the curé and was named father Georges-Henri Cournoyer. He invited me for dinner saying "we are family". He turned out to be a third degree cousin of mine, on my mother's maternal side, a professional genealogist at the service of the Province of Québec Health Department. He gave me a file which contained my Cournoyer genealogy from my mother's name all the way back to France, in 1620. I gave Father Cournoyer a hug, tears of joy in my eyes. I had located over 350 years of ancestors in one evening.
With this gold mine of information in hand, I decided to review the Cournoyer family file I had been given. (The Cournoyer surname in Québec today is very familiar thanks to Yvan Cournoyer, a famous hockey player who represented the Montréal Canadiens, from 1963 to 1979. Thanks also to Gérard Cournoyer, Québec Minister of Transports and Communications, in the 1960's, and to Jean Cournoyer, the well-know Québec Minister of Public Function, Minister of Labor, and finally Minister of Natural Resources, in the 1960s-1970s.) After many happy hours going over the records I thanked father Georges-Henri and left.
I then asked myself, "Suppose I never met Father Cournoyer, how would I have traced my ancestors?" With that question in mind I wrote out the following guidelines.
Jeanne Baillargeon, who became Paul Hus' wife, was taken as a hostage of the Iroquois, for about three years - from ages 8 to 11 (see photo).
The King of France Louis X1V, paid money to the Iroquois Indians, through his Québec intendant and representative, in order to get Jeanne back into the European colony. This proved the high value placed on girls, the soon to be young ladies of marriageable age, who could as mothers help populate the new colony.
Jeanne and Paul had 14 children and left numerous descendants in Canada and the United States. The surname of some of their descendants could have become: Beauchemin; Capistran; Corporal; Cournoyer; Latraverse; Laventure; Lemoine; Millé; Millet; Millette; Millier; Paul; Paulet; Paul-Hus, Paulhus and some have become English versions of those names.
Marielle A. Bourgeois, M.A., C.F.A., Biography
Founder of the French/ European Ancestor Group,
P. O. Box 31172,
Santa Barbara, Ca. 93130,
Tel. 805 683 7768, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Web page: http://searchancestors.com
© April 11th, 2003 M. A. Bourgeois. All rights reserved.
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