Follow the Godparents: Mixed Race Relations

My ancestors lived next door to the native reserve at Sillery during the mid-seventeenth century.  I have been wondering about how tight their relationships to native Americans might have been.  It looks like the answer might be found by following the godparents!

A while back I posted about using godparents as a way to put skin on the bones of distant ancestors’ lives.  In the Nepveu and Silvestre families, community ties were made and reinforced through god-family. Now I also have evidence of interracial relations as well.

Etienne Denevers dit Brantigni (the original Boisvert from France) was godfather to at least two namesake native godsons.  The first was the son of Kaouboukouchich and Kouekassouekoue, born 1650.

1650 baptism at Trois Rivieres. Screenshot of record

1650 native baptism at Trois Rivieres. Screenshot of record

The second was the son of Nicole Nemiouekoue and Pikouetching, born 1663.  I believe this Etienne’s mother was a Christian Indian (hence the mixed name) but that his father was not.

1663 native baptism at Mission St. Joseph de Sillery.  Screenshot of record

1663 native baptism at Mission St. Joseph de Sillery. Screenshot of record

Edward Roby, who provided a vital translation in the comments of this post, believes that Etienne Denevers later adopted this godson and raised him (Etienne Denevers dit Boisvert, @1661) as his own.

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2 thoughts on “Follow the Godparents: Mixed Race Relations

  1. Cindy Mueller says:

    My great grandfather is George greenwood born 1821. All census from 1850 show him born in canada. There is an immigration record for George greenwood leaving Vermont to manitowoc WI in 1836. This corresponds to death of Antoine in 1834 possibly. Some of his children’s death certs show him born in France but there are many George greenwood in Wisconsin at that time. He married Mary Flange Lebel in 1850. Children are Peter eli, ellen, olive louise, harriet, George jr., irene, almeda, Charles raymond, and edward. Have you ever found any info that might tie a George born 1821 into your tree?

  2. Thanks for stopping by Cindy. I don’t believe that George is related to Antoine who had sons Joseph born 1820 and Jean-Baptiste born 1823 (see post here:

    I am sure we are related somehow since your ancestor is French, but our common ancestor must be somewhere up the line. I hope you are able to find your connection to the early Boisvert. Do you have George and Mary’s wedding record? Often parents names are listed there. It might be a good place to start.

    And it gets easier to trace the trail as you move into the 18th century — so many people have gone before us.

    I would love to hear more about what you know about your Greenwood relatives. Feel free to contact me through climbinggreenwood (at) if you want to take the conversation off the blog.

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