From Montreal to Manitoba

Here are the descendants of Jean Beauchamp,  said pioneer which run down to my father who was in the first generation the first to be born in Manitoba. The descendant being the male on the top left of the first tables. Interestingly, there would be 3 Jean’s before we get to a different name.

Family Record Jean Beauchamp and Marie Jeanne Mulouin m1701.jpg

Jean Baptiste Beauchamp and Marie Josephe Filion family.jpg

Jean b. Beauchamp and Marie Anne Duquet Madry family.jpg

Nicolas Beauchamp and Apolline Charbonneau family.jpg

BEAUCHAMP, Joseph 1807- PRDH Individual Record 695464.jpg

Theophile Beauchamp Baptism PRDH.JPG

Damase from nosorignes.JPG

Joseph Frederick Beauchamp nosorigines.JPG

Birth- Edmond Beauchamp.JPG

I admit to being a bit messy with this but each website only has certain years these documents are available for. The first are from a venerable source,  The Programme de recherche en demographie historique (The Research Program in HIstorical Demography) at the University of Montreal.    The green tables are from “Nosorigines” an excellent website for linking families together, a little less formal. Of course, I had to revert to my father’s actual birth certificate until I find something else but here you have the line down from Jean Beauchamp, pioneer in New France to my father, Edmond Beauchamp.



The Intrepids

Canada would indeed not exist without the courage and persistance of a few intrepid souls. From the explorers Cabot and Cartier to Samuel de Champlain, founder of Quebec,  who himself went to the great Richelieu for help in establishing the foundling colony. The Canada that my ancestors came to was hardly different than it had been for hundreds of years. It was primarily inhabited by aboriginal peoples who had migrated here following the melting glaciers. As they came, they developed means of survival appropriate to their surroundings, fishing on the coasts, hunting first the giant mammoths and then the bison on the prairies, learning to cultivate corn in the east. Among them trade networks developed and wars were fought.

When explorers and fishermen sailed from Europe to Canada, they brought disease with them, measles, tuberculosis and smallpox which soon decimated the aboriginal populations. Rats poured off the ships and the seeds of foreign plants were carried in on the bottoms of shoes. In 1603,  Champlain arrived at Stadacona, later to be called Quebec and set up a small fort. The men soon got scurvy but were helped by the Montagnais, who brought them pine tea to drink. They also brought furs to trade which would keep the little company going. Champlain embraced the aboriginal way of life and was soon going with them on their travels. As he travelled he drew maps and pictures of what he saw.


                    Habitation at Quebec                            Charny-Wikimedia

In 1615, he travelled 1000 miles to the home of the Huron people. What he saw surprised him, the Huron people were farmers and they were settled. They grew squash, corn, beans and tobacco which they traded along the lakes and rivers of northern Ontario and Quebec. The Huron homeland was on a small peninsula on Georgian Bay, in Lake Huron where more than 20,000 people lived. This was the Huron Confederacy, a nation of matriarchal tribes. The women chose the chiefs.


The enemies of the Huron were the Iroquois which means “rattlesnake”,  a name given them by the Huron. They called themselves the People of the Longhouse. The Iroquois spoke the same language and lived the same lifestyle but were age-old enemies. Since the French had arrived they were fighting for control of the fur trade routes. Atironta, the Huron war leader,  had asked Champlain to fight alongside the Hurons to which he agreed since the colony was dependent on the furs brought to them.  The attack failed and Champlain was wounded in the knee but the French were now Huron allies. At the same time, Catholic missionaries started to come to Huron country looking for conversions, among them, Jean de Brebeuf.

Champlain was determined to make New France a permanent settlement believing it would bring wealth and honor to his King and country. Soon labourers, artisans and farmers began to arrive, among them Louis and Marie Hebert, the first settlers of Quebec. A sailor named Abraham Martin also arrived in 1620 and farmed where the Plains of Abraham stand. Soon, religious orders began to arrive, the Ursuline teaching  nuns and Paul de Maissoneuve founder of Ville Marie,  to whom my ancestors would be connected.

Champlain for his part was kept very busy up to his death in 1635, he was continually sailing back and forth to France looking for support from the King or to publish his books. His marriage to Helene Boullé, 31 years his junior had been made mainly to gain him respectability. She spent most of her life in France, spending only 4 years in Quebec after which she entered a convent. Champlain became known as the Father of New France.


    Samuel de Champlain           H.D. Holmfeldt

If your are interested in how the Woodland people lived you can watch this film.


Research Notes-June 10/2016

Yesterday, I listened to a podcast at Maple Stars and Stripes who was hosting Anne Mordell of The French Genealogy Blog. She pointed out that there has been so much research done on the original families of Quebec that it may possible that you will find all you need about your family without going over to France, though I would never let that little thing get in the way! They mainly covered the archives of France and how to approach them, most of the information which is contained in her book, French Genealogy from Afar.  The host, Sandra Goodwin, has a very American attitude though I believe her mother is French Canadian. Very forthright. I found the contrast between the two women’s personalities quite archetypal. Anne had mentioned how to approach the mayoral office of the small French communities by being prepared before you go and perhaps presenting them with a small presentation on your family. I thought I was going to hear a “what!” there for a moment. That being said I cannot help but siding with the Americans on one thing, if I am giving you my money YOU are the one who needs to be considerate of my wishes, barring rudeness of course. But we Canadians are known for our politeness anyway. It does make sense to be prepared otherwise you would be wasting your own money. My experience with genealogy is that it is still to some degree filled with that old moray of “my Dad’s better than your Dad”. I have been to so many meetings where the people, especially the older generation won’t even talk to you. I find the Americans to be much more open and willing than anywhere else.

That being said, Anne does have clinics on her website for your “brick walls” and said that if she gets enough of them she will return for a podcast. Which got me to thinking of the numerous brick walls I have. The French one being whether the family were indeed Protestant, which is hard to tell in Canada because you had to be Catholic to get into Montreal and there were workers hired who were Protestant. Most of the skilled tradesmen were Huguenot in France.

I thought I would just do another search for the last of the Beauchamp line, one Marc Beauchamp. Nothing on ancestry, nothing on Family Search. But after playing around with names I came upon a page that might have made the connection between the two names Deschamps and Beauchamp which seem to confusingly be passed back and forth the further back we go. This time it was a baptismal registration in Sedan, Ardennes, containing the names of Libauchamp and Deschamps. As below. Fairly far back as records show and another indication of Protestantism in that family.

Libauchamp-Deschamps Link.JPG

This below is a Protestant registration of Lea Deschamps daughter of Francois. Again, showing that name as Protestant.

Deschamps on the Protestant registry

So the question really is, did the Beauchamp family use St. Marguerite church in La Rochelle in place of their own church as was commonly done at the time? Time will tell. In the meantime, I am simply enthralled with the story of my ancestors. I can’t believe that they were present during much of what I am writing about. You get a sense of how bad it can be when people want to emigrate to a country where they are roasted on spits by the natives! Oh no, Canada was not the benign land it is today.



A Better Life

Canada was and continues to be a land of immigrants. Most Canadians share a sense of pride in their ancestors which is perhaps a little more real to them in view of the fact that this is such a young country. 148 years (Canada’s age) would cover approximately only 11 generations. There is a general consciousness of sacrifices made and things accomplished that lead to a strong sense of our identity. There is also an awareness of the things that drove people out of their countries, things that seem so far away. When I research my ancestors, I am always looking for a backstory and it has never failed to provide me with hours of entertainment

I am fairly certain the Beauchamp family would have lived through the seige of La Rochelle in 1627-28 and have found some evidence which leads me to believe the family was Huguenot (Protestant).

1) Jacques first son’s godfather was a Swiss Army Guard, they were known Protestants.

Jacques Jr. Baptism

2) Among isolated recorded names are the following:

Noms Isole

It is possible that the Jacques named above is the godfather in our Jacques birth record.

3) Jacques (our ancestor) had maternal grandparents, Elie and Marie who were married in the “Great Temple” in La Rochelle, the Huguenot Church.

Unless the family was split down the middle, I would be fairly certain they were Huguenot. They would not be granted entry to New France without converting to Catholicism so that creates another problem. They certainly were Catholic during their time here and in the foreseeable future. Another interesting thing is the spelling of the Jean’s name in his baptismal record, “Jehan” which is the spelling from the old French, showing that they were an old family indeed.

What brought them to Canada? Very likely poverty and just a little religious fervor. The family was from the country but most of them died in La Rochelle, showing that they would have gone there for work and if they were Huguenot, for shelter during the religious storm of persecution. But the Societe de Montreal was having serious problems getting people to stay. Once the 3 year contract was up, people were rushing back across the sea.

From Peter Moogk’s book, La Nouvelle France,

“……Immediate land grants and family ties were seen to be effective in keeping former indentured servants in the colony. The Montreal Associates applied the lesson in 1659 (the year of Jacques arrival) when they enrolled 109 people in France, 40 were women (12 wives accompanied by single women and a few nuns).Eight families had their passage paid for in turn for accepting a redemption bond that required payment in 2 years. Thanks to the presence of relatives and marriageable women, most of the people brought out in 1659 became settlers.”

We know that Pierre Beauchamp, the oldest brother of Jacques and Jean had come out but for some odd reason there is very little that would show an involvement with them. Perhaps he was a “canotier” like his namesake.

I doubt that Jacques and his wife , would have had any idea of what they were walking into ………

Notes on “La Nouvelle France” by Peter Moogk

I thought I would write a little about Peter Moogk’s book “La Nouvelle France” as one person’s point of view and findings on that place. I have found that the book is singularly hard to distill down because it is as much a statement of the author’s point of view as it is of the various and interesting facts he writes about.

Peter N. Moogk is currently Professor Emeritus (History) at the University of British Columbia, with a special interest in the history of New France. He starts his book talking about how our school system prepared students for the language and culture of Paris rather than French speaking Canada, a difference I also noticed when I first studied high school French. Everything in the texts seemed so polished and formal. It just didn’t seem relevant to our own culture. Moogk found a difference in political ideology and civil law, for instance, the fact that marriage contracts (prenuptial agreements) were the norm in Quebec and that genealogy and family ties found common threads in conversation. He also states that the distinctiveness of French Canadian culture was discussed in only a very general way in history books. After that, Moogk goes on to explain what the position of historian should be.

There is a difference between historical fiction and scholarly history. Complete objectivity is unattainable, yet a credible interpretation will appeal to the evidence and allow the reader to verify that there is a foundation for the writer’s view. All historical evidence is not of equal value, and the well-trained historian will appraise the veracity of surviving testimony, consider the context of the times, and produce an  account that is consistent with the best evidence.”

The author disputes the idea that the culture of New France was based solely on economics and states that most of the current histories of New France were based on the correspondence of French bureaucrats and not ordinary people. He states that the “colonists of French North America were social conservatives who were determined to preserve what they remembered of their homeland’s ways.” In other words, they did not just come here to make money, for example through the fur trade.

Moogk also states that  small samples of authoritative evidence are preferable to large bodies of information from questionable sources but this can present problems in itself if there is no authoritative evidence. Then he must create a composite picture out of selections from written sources and this is risky because it requires experience and informed judgement.

He than goes on to talk about how we cannot hope to understand the minds of our ancestors because what we consider appropriate now was not the same in the past. The French colonists were “proud, mutually suspicious and fearful people living in a dangerously unpredictable world.”  Moogk’s purpose was to look inside that world and find the source of the cultural differences in French Canada that exist even to this day.

As I talk about life for my ancestors in New France, I will be referring at times to this book.