Translation Challenge: What does this say?

This 1663 Jesuit baptismal record shows Europeans acting as godparents to native children at the reserve at Sillery.  It is an unusual record in that most Jesuit baptismal records don’t record multiple baptisms in one entry.  I am having difficulty with it because of the thick ink, the old Latin, and the obscurity of the native names.  Anyone see this as a challenge and want to take a peek?

April 20th, 1663 baptism record at Sillery.  Source:

1663 baptism records at Sillery. Source:

I am primarily interested in the April 20 entry at the bottom, but have included three others for context and handwriting clues.  The first, second, and final (April 20) record are all in Father Bailloquet’s writing.  Entry 3 is in the very neat hand of Henri Nouvel.

If you don’t know Latin, googletranslate helps a lot!

April 20, 1663 baptism at Sillery.  Source:

April 20, 1663 baptism at Sillery. Source:

Line by line, this is what I think I see.  (Underlines mean word left out.  Parentheses mean my best guess at a native name.)

  1. I Father Bailloquet Society of Jesuits ______ baptize
  2. _____  ______  Sillery ______  ______ infant _____  ______  ______
  3. first child of mother Nicola (Nosnisaksa) and _____  of father (Piksachins)
  4. _____  ______  _____  (Nosnisaksa) born Gropius (Srxchelin)
  5. 3rd ______  born of mother Martina (Nigoty) and father ______ (Nikazhkasnt)
  6. ______  ______  Abenaki.  Stephen Brantigni ______ ______  ______  Stephen
  7. Godmother Trud 2nd & 3rd.  ______ Nicolas.

I believe that this is the baptismal record of three natives at Sillery.  Some believe it might be the baptism record of the founding Boisvert ancestor for whom no baptismal record has ever been found.  (Etienne Boisvert went by a dit name rather than his father’s name, not unusual in the era.)  In this understanding, the child in this record is later orphaned and raised by his godfather Etienne Denevers (called Brantigni here) as his own son.

What do you think?

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13 thoughts on “Translation Challenge: What does this say?

  1. chmjr2 says:

    All I can say is best of luck.

  2. Have you tried the Facebook group Genealogy Translations? It is a closed group but they accept anyone whose profile is normal and doesn’t look like a spammer. I have posted a handful of records on there and gotten quite good results. It may be worth a try. Best of luck!

  3. I like Ambley’s suggestion about the Facebook group! good luck!

    • I have signed up and posted — no response yet. Hopefully my luck with change!

    • Edward Roby stopped by here and gave an incredible translation (see below.) The Facebook group didn’t help — but that might have been poor timing and bad luck. I am thinking about reposting and asking the last question I have for the document. In Roby/Hebert’s translation, the word “quinquennem” seems to drop out and I am curious to know what it implies. Google translate tells me it means “fifteen.”

      • Edward Roby says:

        You’re right about the word dropping out. It’s vague, literally meaning a five (-year-old) but it can also simply mean a “couple” of years, hence a toddler. Another reason why orthodox genealogies waffle about that individual’s age by offering a choice of birthdates: “around 1660” or “around 1661”.

  4. Edward Roby says:

    Sillery baptisms 1663; entry dated (Nov. 20) “9bris 20”:

    “Ego Petrus Bailloquet societatis Jesu baptisavi(2) solemniter in
    eccl(esi)a Silleriancensi tres sequentes infantes, duos q(ui) primos
    natos ex matre Nicola Nemi8ek8e et unum ex patre Pik8etching(3),
    8etechemin, alterum ex patre Normamin, natione quoque 8etechemin, 3ium
    vero natum ex matre Martina Nig8tesi et patre Roberto Nekechka8at,
    natione 8abanaki. Stephanus Brentigni(4) nuncupavit 1um quinquennem
    Stephanu(m); Mathurinus Trud 2um et 3um Petrum et Nicolaum.”

    Léo-Paul Hébert in his Le Registre de Sillery (1638-1690) footnoted the identification of the first toddler’s godfather, Brentigni, written above the line calling him only Stephanus: “Brentigni: ajouté au-dessus de la ligne. Il s’agit d’Étienne Denevers
    dit Brentigny (TRUDEL, M. La pop. du Canada en 1663, p. 188).”

    Substituting the more common approximation „ou“ for the phonetic symbol „8“, the whole text may be rendered in English as: “I, Pierre Bailloquet, S.J., solemnly baptized in the Sillery church three young children in succession, of whom the first two were born to the mother, Nicole Nemiouekoue, the first being fathered by Pikouetching, Etechemin, the next fathered by Normamin, also of the Etechemin nation, the third from the legitimate birth to the mother, Martine Nigoutesi, and the father, Robert Nekchkaouat, Abénaquis nation. Étienne Brantigny gave the first one his name, Étienne. Mathurine Trud conferred the names Pierre and Nicolas on the second and third.“

    I’m glad you got around to following up my 2014 tip about this 1663 baptism, the only one that fits the profile of our mutual ancestor, Etienne Boisvert (~1660-1731).

    E. Roby

    • I am so glad you stopped by and wrote all of this out. Yes, it has taken me a while to get to your tip. My library wouldn’t interlibrary the book. And then one day I was in the Sillery records and decided to look around for the original. And then I couldn’t understand it. And then I posted it. And now you have deciphered and translated it. Thank you!

  5. Ellen Cook says:

    I am a relative of Etienne de Nevers,living in Colorado. I had my DNA done through My grandmother always said we had Native blood” but there were none in my DNA or my paper work but it makes sense that Etienne had adopted orphaned Pikoutching g. Maybe that is what my grandmother was referring to? Etienne was also godfather to Kaouboukouchich Jan 1650.

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