Our colonial ancestors are French Canadians

This post is for my family who is learning of their deep Canadian ancestry — but before I get started I want to give a great big shout-out of gratitude to the amazing researchers and storytellers who have gone before me.  This post is a lot more interesting for your efforts!


So I didn’t do this the right way.  I didn’t take my time and slowly build a tree one record at a time. Instead, I quickly grabbed every ancestor I could find on the public Ancestry trees — and then set out to see if what I found was right.  I believe in it enough now to share with you.  However, the tree  that I am showing you is still full of errors.  It is full of errors because this is my test tree.  I still haven’t moved most of what I discovered over to my “real” tree where I only keep what I know I got right.  Unfortunately if I showed you my “real” tree right now, it would end at Edward Greenwood’s father.  So let’s work with what we have….

Edward’s father was (Louis) Hubert Boisvert.  Look here for details on how I came to believe that this is true.  His death in 1866 (thanks Yvonne!) was probably what inspired his widow and 5 kids to move to Adams, MA.

This shows our family tree from Nanny’s mom up to the branches that will get us to our earliest ancestors in the Americas. Source: Screenshot of my Ancestry.com family tree.

This shows our family tree from Nanny’s mom up to the branches that will get us to our earliest ancestors in the Americas. Source: Screenshot of my Ancestry.com family tree.

Everyone you see on this test tree is ours.  I verified them using one of two methods.  I searched the birth, marriage, and death records of the Drouin collection to trace family up to the 1730s and from there I relied on secondary sources to confirm our line.  Tanguay — which is readily available online via both Ancestry.com and the free site open library — was the first genealogical dictionary of Quebecois families and the one I relied on most.

We are really lucky that the Louis Hubert line is from Quebec.  Finding the trail of Nanny’s grandmother, (Genevieve) Euphemie Leborgne, has been nearly impossible to do online — and might be nearly impossible to do period — because they come from Acadia, New Brunswick, and a tiny French hold-out off the coast of Canada, the Island of Miquelon.

I still have a lot of work to do in order to get my own sense of our ancestors.  So today I just want to show you around our family tree and share what other talented researchers have already discovered and shared about our earliest ancestors.

I am going to start at the end of Edward Greenwood’s great grandfather’s paternal family line and work my down (staying mostly in what counts as the 11th generation back from me.)

Edward Greenwood's great grandfather's family tree.  Source: screenshot of my Ancestry.com family tree.

Edward Greenwood’s great grandfather’s family tree. Source: screenshot of my Ancestry.com family tree.

Etienne Denevers and Anne Hayot (by 1650): This post at the collaborative genealogy site Geni.com details the story of their lives.  Anne Hayot is our earliest ancestor born in the new world (1640.)

Thomas Hayot and Jeanne Boucher (by 1638): This couple were probably our first ancestors to arrive in Quebec.  Jeanne Boucher was the sister of Marin Boucher, who came to Canada to help settle it with Samuel du Champlain.  A family historian has a write-up of the Hayot’s life here.

Michel Lemay and Michelle Dutost (by 1659): While most of our French Canadian ancestors were Catholic, Michelle is believed to be of Huguenot (Protestant) descent.  Here is a story of their life together.  And here is another one that claims Michelle was a “fille du marier.”  Fille du marier were women who took their chances at an improved life by migrating in search for husbands during the earliest period of French Canadian settlement.

Now let’s go up Edward Greenwood’s great grandfather’s maternal family line.

Pierre Pichet and Catherine Durand (by 1665): These folks have a colorful story.  At one point, their marriage was annulled for bigamy.   Catherine was a “fille du roi” — basically a young women sponsored by Louis XIV (he offered a dowry upon marriage) to settle in the new world.  You can learn more here.  You can also find out a bit about their married life together under the Dupres section of this family history website.

Nicolas Sylvestre  (by 1667): This site has great detail on Nicolas’ life.  There is even a bit on his daughter Anne (she is the fifth scroll in the graphic on the middle of the descendents’ page.)  You can use www.translate.google.com (cut and paste the text you are curious about), if like me you don’t speak French. He marries the eldest daughter of the couple below.

Jean Nepveu and Anne Ledet (by 1653): This site tells the story of how Jean comes to the new world, fathers two daughters, and was exhiled from Canada for bigamy.  Anne Ledet is our tree’s second “fille du marier.”  She went on to build a life with Gilles Pinel.  You can use the find function to locate her on this site.

Now we will take a look up Edward Greenwood’s great-grandmother’s line.

Edward Greenwood's great grandmother's family tree. Source: screenshot of my Ancestry.com family tree.

Edward Greenwood’s great grandmother’s family tree. Source: screenshot of my Ancestry.com family tree.

Joseph Biron (by 1723): He is the most recent arrival in this line, and no one has done any deep research on him that I could find.

Mathieu Choret and Sebastienne Veillon (by 1647): Their granddaughter married newbie Joseph Biron.  She is Robert’s daughter from his second marriage.  You can find out about Mathieu, Sebastienne and Robert if you click around on this site.

Jean Lerouge and Jeanne Poitevin (by 1650): Their granddaughter married newbie Joseph Biron. You can find out about Jean here.

That is the end of my family tree tour but if you would like to read up on what life was like for these early settlers, the Virtual Museum of New France is awesome!

Now study up, the test will be held soon …. 😉

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One thought on “Our colonial ancestors are French Canadians

  1. Kevin says:

    Great work Leslie!

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