Over My Shoulder

You might or might not like to think or talk about what your family’s personal traits were as you uncover your family history, but  there is no doubt that they affect you . My parents, Sheila Joy Richard Phillips  and Edmond Guillaume Daniel Beauchamp, were very lively characters, you can almost tell by their names. Both ran fairly close to the stereotype of their ancestors, Scots-Irish and  Canadien-Metis. Indeed, the way they grew up in very enclosed communities, propagated it.  There were few occurrences my mother did not have a saying for. Her favorite one was “you’ll meet yourself coming back”, her admonition about parenting.

It is strange, how one recalls things in spite of trying so desperately to be our own person. There is a corner in our town which has a beautiful grove of ancient poplar trees. When the wind blows the leaves turn to their underside and create a stunningly beautiful silver patch.  When this happens I hear my mother’s voice saying “Lan, it’s gonna rain”.  It inevitably does.

My father, raised by a strict Catholic mother,  was very intent on having me raised that way, absorbing all the rites and rituals of the church.  He had a huge picture of the Sacred Heart placed on a wall in our home and told me that ” a family who prayed together stayed together”. At night, he did not so much as tuck me in as terrify me of the evil that could befall when I was sleeping, to wit, he crossed my hands over my chest for protection. It puts me in mind of Don William’s song “Good Ole Boys Like Me“. Somehow, I grew into a very practical person but little things still happen that my daughters and I love to talk about, some might call it “feminine wisdom”.

Yesterday, I was in pursuit of  my voyageur ancestors and was trying to nail down the two brothers, Jacques and Pierre Beauchamp who were in Detroit in 1705, having gone on one of  Cadillac’s convoys.  (pg. 363   Le Detroit du Lac Erie 1701-1710 Vol. 1, Les Harnais and Sheppard 2016). In the Voyageurs Contracts Database of the St. Boniface Historical Society,  I came across a contract for  Francois Beauchamp which stated that he was the son of the deceased Jacques Beauchamp so I went off the see which Jacques it was. As it happens I scrolled down and saw the name Beauchamp highlighted again and beside it the name Edmond.  I thought “there was another Edmond back then? Then I noticed that it was not a voyageur record but a school record (keep in mind that my French is only intermediate). I made out 6e annee  and found that it was a school record for my father! I had only typed in the name Beauchamp in the search box to broaden my search and there he was, “mon pere” in his Grades 4,5 and 6 school photos! What are the odds? I do believe he is looking over my shoulder as I write this!

The Passing

Jacques Beauchamp, my 7th great uncle had passed away on the 8th of February, 1693. In her book, “Habitants and Merchants in Seventeenth Century Montreal”, Louise Dechêne describes the inventory of his clothing; “Beauchamps’ wardrobe consisted of the basics: a coat, a jerken, and because nothing was ever thrown out, a second wornout and worthless jerkin, a pair of hide hose, woollen breeches, a hat , a pair of shoes, stockings, four used shirts, and two nightcaps, worth altogether no more than 40 to 50 livres.” In the notarial record below we see an transaction between Marie Dardenne, Jacques’ widow, and her sons-in-law right after an inventory has been taken. (Line 2364).

Quittance from Marie Dardenne to sons in law

Jacques died the same year as Lambert Closse famed Indian fighter who disappeared in the bush. Sadly he missed the land grants in Pointe Aux Trembles.

45894_83024005508_1004-00241

The oldest brother Pierre died the following year apparently on February 8, 1693. I sometimes wonder if he even existed, there is little to no information on him. Then on May 4, 1700, Jean, my 7th great grandfather died.  He, like most of Montreal’s inhabitants, had lived largely in debt, borrowing money whenever he could to buy more land. In 1666, shortly after his arrival in Montreal, he had married Jeanne Loisel, whose parents were among the earlier settlers. First, a contract had to be signed.

Mar. Contract J. Beauchamp.JPG

The wedding took place November 23, 1666. Marr-Beauchamp Loisel.jpg

They had a family.

Jean Beauchamp Jeanne Loiselle.jpg

At the time of his death he had accumulated some land which was always a priority for future generations of the family. In Quebec, property was not inherited by the oldest son but was divided equally among all the children, a custom brought from France. Jean had been granted land on Rue St. Jean and Rue St. Francois in Pointe Aux Trembles. A year after he died, The Great Peace of Montreal was established with the Iroquois. Below, his death record.

Original D.Rec. Jean BEauchamp Full Image.JPG

Jacques “Le Grand” Beauchamp and Jean “Le Petit” Beauchamp are considered to be among the founding families of not just Montreal but Canada itself. They suffered privation and constant threat but helped to build this land with courage and enterprise. Their descendants number in the thousands. Both are buried in the Cimetiere St. Enfant Jesus in Point Aux Trembles, Quebec.

Inspiration and Incentive

What is the relevance of family history? Part of it is simply finding the names of your ancestors listed in connection with the main players and events in history. My maternal grandmothers name was Jane Gartshore Smith. Her parents were Marion Reid Gartshore and James Smith .These names were found in Kirkintilloch, Dunbartonshire, a place with some historical connection to Charles I, Bonny Prince Charlie and Robert the Bruce.

Kirkintilloch and Glasgow

Kirkintilloch and Glasgow

The name Gartshore (in the form Galfrud) was found on a charter of exgambion (land grant) from Alexander II and was written about in a book by Thomas Watson called “Kirkintilloch, Town and Parish” (1894).

Gartshore Land Grant

Gartshore Land Grant

Later on in the book he quotes :

Gartshore and King Charles I

Gartshore and King Charles I

I have not researched these families intensively yet but I did have an experience with a lady  who is related to the Gartshore family that came to Canada around 1800. They were an educated family of engineers and one of them, John Gartshore became well known in Canada for supplying steam driven pumping engines to the old Hamilton Waterworks. We have the same ancestors up to a certain period but then my “Two Brother” theory kicks in. That is based on the concept that every family will have two brothers who part ways and the fortunes of their families differ accordingly, either up or down. If you would like to read about the above John you will find a paper on him by his descendants here.  The Gartshore estate in Kirkintilloch passed into the hands of a Murray who took the name of Gartshore but it is now basically a pile of rubble.

What happened to my family up to 1800 I will have to find out. As far as I can tell they were miners and then iron-workers. As I say my grandmother was the first over in 1913. Her family were a direct product of the Industrial Revolution. Glasgow was the archetypal city of that era, calling herself “The Second City of the Empire”.

Watson also writes about James Smith as being one of the Covenanters,who is buried at the Martyr’s Stone outside of Kirkintilloch.

Martyrs Stone t.wat.

Martyr's Stone

Martyr's Stone (fjstuart)

Martyr’s Stone (fjstuart)

The two were found unarmed and made an example of but gave up their lives willingly.

The  MacDowall clan were part of the rising against Robert the Bruce.Their kin, the MacDougall’s were in possession of the Brooch of Lorn, said to be torn off of the Bruce’s cloak when they ambushed him at the Battle of Dalrigh. Today there is some question as to the authenticity of the brooch but it has been legend for many years. William McDowell was my 2nd great grandfather. His family went to Ulster during the Plantation of Ireland.

On the flip-side, my maiden name is Beauchamp. That side of the family is French-Canadian. William de Beauchamp, the Earl of Warwick, was Edward I’s best friend and lead military commander against the Welsh . There is a long history of chivalry and crusades in that family and a Coat of Arms.

Beauchamp Coat of Arms

Beauchamp Coat of Arms

Which would you rather, a colorful history or a page of names and dates? How much is YOUR ancestors life worth?

 

 

 

 

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