Tag Archives: suzanne nepveu

Was Suzanne Nepveu a Meti child?

PH raised this question a while back. I still don’t have the definitive answer but think that Suzanne probably wasn’t the daughter of an European-native union because of the conventions I see used in the documents surrounding her birth.

During the 1650s when Suzanne was born, the Jesuits operated a native reserve at Sillery.  The reserve bordered the St. Lawrence River and consisted of a stone fort that surrounded the Jesuit residences, their oven, their brewery, and their chapel — and the Terres des Sauvages where Christian Indians lived.  Behind the native lands, the Ursaline nuns ran a school and medical clinic.  In the 1650s, Europeans were given permission to settle to the west of the mission as a buffer against Iroquois attack. Suzanne’s father, Jean Nepveu acquired his land there in November 1652.

Map of Sillery, 1663 from Marcel Trudel's Le Terrier Du Saint-Laurent En 1663.

Map of Sillery, 1663 from Marcel Trudel’s Le Terrier Du Saint-Laurent En 1663.

Sillery was definitely a crossroads of European and native life in the 1650s.  Father Bailloquet, of the thickly-inked, tight scrawl below, baptized many natives at Sillery.  At least 8 baptisms are captured in the screen shot below.

1655 native baptisms at Mission St. Joseph de Sillery.  Screenshot of familysearch.org record

1655 native baptisms at Mission St. Joseph de Sillery. Screenshot of familysearch.org record

In the Sillery records, the native and the European births were usually kept separate.  However, Suzanne Nepveu’s baptism record defies expectations because it is in an unusual mixed list.  Still, the way her baptism was handled makes it likely that she was European in origin.

Suzanne Nepveu and others' baptisms at Mission St. Joseph de Sillery. Screenshot of familysearch.org record

Suzanne Nepveu and others’ baptisms at Mission St. Joseph de Sillery. Screenshot of familysearch.org record

In the list above, both European and native baptisms are present — but the European baptisms (Suzanne Neveu, Hyancith Charland, Margarita Guillebout, and Ignace Denis) all have their names listed in the margins.  The native child is not extended that courtesy — just as in the native-only baptism list above.

Suzanne’s older sister, Barbe, was baptized at Notre Dame de Quebec a couple of years prior.

Babe Nepveu's 1653 baptism at Notre Dame de Quebec. Screenshot of familysearch.org record

Babe Nepveu’s 1653 baptism at Notre Dame de Quebec. Screenshot of familysearch.org record

She was also granted margin recognition for her record.

Understanding these documents isn’t easy.  The handwriting is often poor, the documents are often in Latin, and the information is utilitarian.  For now, I am confidant in my hunch about margin recognition as a signal of pure European heritage.  However if I had a Meti (mixed race) baptism record (or few) for comparison, I might be inspired to change my mind.  If you have one from the 1650s, please share!

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It was there all along!

Gilles Pinel was the godfather of Suzanne Nepveu! This means that he did know Suzanne’s mother, Anne Leodet, when she was married to her first husband, Jean.  Gilles was a part of their lives.  Before.

He knew Anne before her first husband was convicted of bigamy and she was left with two newly illegitimate daughters to raise on her own.

Even better, Gilles continued to be a part of Anne’s life after.  He married her in 1657, just before Suzanne turned two-years-old.

Source: Screenshot from Ancestry.com

The phrase that troubled me. Source: Screenshot from Ancestry.com

Last week I was trying to make this link with Suzanne’s baptism record but I couldn’t.  I was frustrated because Latin and inkblots made the record indecipherable to me.  I couldn’t be sure that “patrinus fuit [a???diuf] [inkblot] Pinel” said “the godfather is Gilles Pinel.”  It was too big of a leap for me.

But this week I saw a teeny tiny excerpt from an online preview of Le Registre de Sillery, 1638-1690, edited by Leo-Paul Hebert that mentioned “conjugibus [married couple] Aegidio Pinel et [and] Anna Ledepte.”  And it jogged my mind.  That scribble that started with an “A” could be Gilles, not the inkblot that looks like it might start with a “G.”

I confirmed it using Google translate.  Aegidio (what I saw in the excerpt) and Aegidius (what I now see in the baptism record) both translate in Latin as Giles.

Source: screenshot of Google translate

Source:

Ahh.  It is so nice to have another mystery solved!

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Scribbled Latin Obscures the Truth

I have been thinking about my 9G grandmother, Anne Leodet, and what happened to her after her husband Jean Nepveu was convicted of bigamy and exiled from Canada.

Records show that Anne went on to marry Gilles Pinel – and that after their marriage, her life seemed to go on without skipping a beat.  I assume that this is true because Anne had eleven children over the course of her lifetime.  She always had her children two years apart, with only two exceptions.  Twice she had children three years apart — once between husbands, and later between her seventh and eighth child.   She was nothing if not regular about childbearing.

But what stumped me was how Anne managed to meet Gilles in the first place.  After the bigamy episode she was a woman alone with two young daughters and a sordid past.

And then the PRDH gave me a fascinating clue – Gilles is listed on her second daughter’s baptism record.  So Anne and Gilles probably knew each other before her first marriage came to its dramatic end.  Anne and Jean might have even selected Gilles to act as their daughter’s godfather.  And if they did, he merely changed roles in the family.  Way to look out for his goddaughter’s life!

I wanted to settle my suspicion that Gilles had been a family friend by confirming his role as godfather on the original record, and that is where I got stuck.

Photot: Screenshot of Suzanne Nepveu’s baptismal record from the Druoin Collection via Ancestry.com

The record is scribbled in non-standard Latin.  I tried translating the document using the Latin word list from Family Search.   Unfortunately, I could only get as far as my handwriting interpretation skills and imagination would allow.  For example, the first few words “Ego patrus Bailloquet …” I translated as “I, Father Bailloquet …” – even though I couldn’t find the word “patrus” on the word list.  I made the guess because I could find:

  • Parochus (parish priest)
  • Pater (father)
  • Patruus (uncle – father’s brother)

I decided that patrus doesn’t seem that far off for father/priest.

And happily, the word “patrinus” or “godfather” does show up in the third line of the record.  But nothing here is easy.  Patrinus is followed by fuit, or “he was” by [unclear word] [inkblot] Pinel.  It looks like the blot could start with a G – but that might just be wishful thinking.

Does anyone have Latin or handwriting interpretation skills to share?

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This is how I have interpreted the record so far ….  Everything here is an educated guess at best.  I copied it line by line.

Record: Talli baptinati in ecclesia Sillesiana ab anno dominin 1655, 11 Octobris

Me: List of baptisms from the church of Sillery October 11, 1655 AD

Record: Ego patrus Bailloquet soietatis jesu sacerdos vice agent partchi babtizane

Me: I, Father Bailloquet of the society of Jesuit priests ___ have officially baptized

Record: Sol danifer in sa ville silleranno pullileu bedl nafum de Joeanneu dide et

Me: Sun _____ in her village of Sillery, child born of Jean ___ and

Record: Anne Ledette consigibus patrinus fuit asoidius ___ pinel, matrina Suzanna

Me: Anne Ledette married couple, godfather was ______ ____ Pinel, godmother Suzanna

Record: Barbet hac fanto nomde duo suzannan nuncopauit

Me: Barbet ,the latter ____ by the name of her ____.

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