Roy, Bire and a miracle

Continuing the stories of our first ancestors to come from France, I will write a little about Mathurin Roy and Marguerite Bire, ancestors in both the Hogue and the Girardin lines.  They were from the area of La Rochelle and were married January 27, 1637 in France in the Chapel of Sainte-Marguerite.  They had three children born in France, and then we find Mathurin mentioned as a witness to a marriage in Quebec city in 1647. He must have come alone, and then returned to France, as the couple had another child born in 1650 in France.

I do not know exactly when the family came here permanently, but it was by 1654. Here is how we know that date. Mathurin, like many of our ancestors, was a master mason and in 1654, according to the Dictionary of Canadian Biography he, along with Paul Vachon,

“ was entrusted with the building of the chapel and the sick-ward of the Hôtel-Dieu of Quebec”.

One can assume he was involved in the construction of many other buildings in Quebec city.

On June 10, 1659, the last of their children, a daughter Catherine was born.

And now we have our first miracle! In 1664 Marguerite broke her leg in four places, and it could not be set.  She was miraculously cured when she went to Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré Basilica.  She threw away her crutches and walked to the altar.  Read about it here in The miracles of Beaupre: a collection of the most remarkable cures wrought at the far-famed Shrine of Ste. Anne de Beaupre, compiled by a Redemptorist.

An interesting side-effect (depending on your point-of-view) of claiming Mathurin and Marguerite as our ancestors is the fact that it makes us distant cousins of Justin Bieber, Ryan Gosling and Avril Lavigne.


As I mentioned in a previous post, numerous famous cousins are commonplace for those of us with French-Canadian ancestry.

Here’s our descent to Pépère:

1-Mathurin ROY (abt 1610-?)
+Marguerite BIRE (abt 1616–?)
2-Marie Catherine ROY (1659-1734)
+Thomas PAGEAU (1642-1706)
3-Marie PAGEAU (1678-1705)
+Joseph GUILBAULT (1672-1738)
4-Charles GUILBAULT (1702-1760)
+Marie CROQUELOIS dit LAVIOLETTE (1712-1796)
5-Marie Rose GUILBAULT (1747-1778)
+Jean Jacques Baptiste LABELLE (1743-1816)
6-Marie Anne LABELLE (1776-?)
+Louis Amable HOGUE (1769-?)
7-Louis Amable HOGUE (1796-1858)
+Marguerite TAYLOR (1805-1885)
8-Thomas HOGUE (1840-1924)
+Philomene MCMILLAN (1848-1923)
9-Thomas Joseph HOGUE (1879-1955)

And our descent to Mémère:

1-Mathurin ROY (abt 1610-?)
+Marguerite BIRE (abt 1616- ?)
2-Marie Catherine ROY (1659-1734)
+Thomas PAGEAU (1642-1706)
3-Anne Elisabeth PAGEAU (1686?-)
+Jean Baptiste ALLARD (1676-1748)
4-Francois ALLARD (1719-1801)
+Barbe Louise BERGEVIN-LANGEVIN (1724-1794)
5-Pierre Francois ALLARD (1746-?)
+Marie Marguerite Rosalie ALAIRE (1755-1825)
6-Charles ALLARD (1787-1862)
+Magdeleine LUSSIER (1795-1832)
7-Joseph Pierre ALLARD (1826-1875)
+Marie BONIN (1827-?)
8-Onesime ALLARD (1852-1896)
+Napoleon GIRARDIN (1851-1929)
9-Marie Emma GIRARDIN (1878-1979)

Croxegnols update

I have just found two more references to “de croxegnols”.  One is in the novel When Alice lay down with Peter by Manitoba author Margaret Sweatman. You can read the reference here, courtesy of Google Books.

Croxegnols are also mentioned here in the book Red River runs north! a history of the Red River Valley by Vera Kelsey.

This Christmas I made them myself for the first time.  I used lard instead of shortening, and fried them in lard also.  They were very tasty, but they are filling!  There is definitely a knack to figuring out how much water to use, and the amount of baking powder makes them puff up so quickly that I found it hard to roll the dough thinly. Despite that, it is a tradition I want to continue, even if I end up eating them all myself!

Filles à Marier

In some previous posts I have mentioned female ancestors whom I have described as being “filles à marier”.  This translates into “marriageable girls”, a rather vague term, but one which has a very specific meaning in the history of New France.  It refers to those women between the ages of 12 and 45 who immigrated to New France between 1634 and 1662. The majority of course were single, but a few were widows.

During this time period the population of the colony was very small and consisted of mostly single men.  There was a need for more women if the colony was to flourish.  262 “filles à marier” have been documented, and 25 of these were Hogue or Girardin ancestors.

Unlike the better-known King’s Daughters or “Filles du Roi”, these immigrants did not come with a dowry but were simply taking a chance on a better life. They were recruited and chaperoned by religious groups such as the Société Notre-Dame de Montréal, or individuals such as Jeanne Mance and Monsieur de La Dauversière, who had to assure and account for their good conduct.

Peter J. Gagné  has done extensive research on these female immigrants and published his findings in Before the King’s Daughters: The Filles à Marier, 1634-1662 (Quintin Publications, c2002).

I have already written about Jeanne Auneau who arrived in 1645, the first of our filles à marier to come here, and also Catherine Delavaux and Marguerite Maclin.

Other Girardin ancestors who were filles à marier are:

Anne Achon

Marie Marthe Arnu

Marie Gillette Banne

Marie Elisabeth Camus

Marguerite Charlot

Marie Madeleine Cousteau

Marie Nicole Duchesne

Marie Ferra

Marie Francoise Jobin dit Lajeunesse

Jeanne Lerouge

Genevieve Longchamp

Susanne Migaud

Marie Pacrau

Marie Francoise Pomponnelle

Marie Pontonnier

Suzanne Rocheteau

Jeanne St. Pair

Marie Valade

Hogue ancestors in this group are:

Marie Chefdeville

Catherine Crampon

Jacqueline Lagrange

Marie Lorgueil

They all have stories to tell, but I will share just one right now.

Gillette Banne immigrated around 1649 and married Marin Chauvin.  They had one child, but Gillette was widowed before the child was one! In 1653 she married again to Jacques Bertault.  The couple settled in Trois Rivières and had six children.  They ended up being hung for the murder of their son-in-law!  What happened is this:  their daughter Elisabeth Isabelle (not our ancestor) was married at the age of 12 or 13 (not uncommon) to a soldier aged 30, who turned out to be a drunk, and an abusive man.  Jacques and Gillette were trying to look out for her, provide food, etc. They plotted to poison him, but that didn’t work.  They ended up beating him to death.  They were tried and hung on June 9th, 1672 in Quebec City. But not just hung!  They were stripped to the waist, and led, with cords around their necks, to the church to kneel and ask forgiveness.  Here’s what Peter J. Gagné  writes about the punishment:

“In addition, Jacques was to have his arms and legs broken with a rod, which Gillette and Elisabeth were forced to witness before Gillette’s execution.  After his execution, Jacques’ body was to be displayed on a wheel at the Cap-aux-Diamants to serve as an example.”

Although Elisabeth was also found guilty of assisting in the crime, the Sovereign Council took pity on her because of her young age.

Here’s our descent from Gillette Banne to Mémère:

1-Marie Gillette BANNE (abt 1636-1672)
+Jacques BERTAULT (abt 1626-1672)
2-Suzanne BERTAULT (1657-1739)
+Jacques BRUNEL (abt 1645-?)
3-Jacques BRUNEL (1680- 1723)
+Marie Jeanne BERNARD (1685-1752)
4-Joseph BRUNEL (1708- 1750)
+Marie Josephe SENECAL dit LAFRAMBOISE (1712-1776)
5-Jacques BRUNEL (1739-?)
+Marie Louise FUGERE dit CHAMPAGNE 1742-1798)
6-Marie Charlotte BRUNEL (1774-1806)
+Christophe LUSSIER (1773-?)
7-Magdeleine LUSSIER (1795-1832)
+Charles ALLARD (1787-1862)
8-Joseph Pierre ALLARD (1826-1875)
+Marie BONIN (1827-?)
9-Onesime ALLARD (1852-1896)
+Napoleon GIRARDIN (1851-1929)
10-Marie Emma GIRARDIN (1878-1979)


The Iroquois Threat

When Champlain came to New France he established trade alliances with the Huron, Algonguin and Montagnais.  In 1609 at the Battle of Ticonderoga, his use of firearms against the Iroquois, enemies of the Huron, succeeded in fostering a long war between the Iroquois Confederacy and the French.  The Iroquois traded with the Dutch in New York and thus obtained their own firearms.  They became an almost constant threat to the colonists at Montreal, Trois Rivières and Quebec. At times they threatened the very existence of the settlements.

Some of our Girardin ancestors experienced this threat in a very direct way.  I will tell three of their stories.

Pierre Lefebvre came to New France around 1642 and settled first  in Trois Rivières and then at Cap-de-La-Madeleine. In 1648 he was captured by the Iroquois.

The Jesuit Relations, Vol. 32, tell us:

“During this whole month of July, several events occurred at 3 rivers which concerned the yroquois, and will be found in the letters among the Archives or in the relation,—among others, the capture of two of our Frenchmen, pierre le Febvre,…and a nephew of Monsieur de la Poterie.


Of the three yroquois who escaped on the 6th, who were captives at 3 rivers, the one named le berger came back, and brought with him Pierre le febvre, a captive among the yroquois”

So, a happy ending for Pierre.

Pierre married Jeanne Auneau, another fille à marier, who at the time of Pierre’s capture, had an 18-month old son and was pregnant!  One can only imagine how she felt during the three months of his captivity.  They would eventually have seven children.   Pierre was an important person in Trois Rivières, becoming a syndic des habitants (as sort of trustee) in 1658 and a churchwarden in 1663.

Here is our descent from Pierre to Mémère:

1-Pierre LEFEBVRE (1623-bet 1668 and 1670)
+Jeanne AUNEAU (abt 1624-1697)
2-Marie Catherine LEFEBVRE (1648-1705)
+Antoine TROTTIER DESRUISSEAUX (1640-1706)
+Marie Charlotte Charles MERCEREAU dit LASAVANE (1685-1715)
4-Marie Catherine TROTTIER DESRUISSEAUX dit POMBERT (1708-1788)
+Louis SICARD CARUFEL dit DERIVE (1705-1783)
5-Genevieve SICARD dit DERIVE (1728-1798)
+Pierre LESIEUR (1700-1761)
6-Madeleine LESIEUR (11 Mar 1756-?)
+Joseph LESIEUR dit LAPIERRE (1754- 1813)
7-Josephte LESIEUR (1778-1864)
+Charles GIRARDIN (1773-1853)
8-Paul GIRARDIN (1801-1878)
+Marie Louise BERNARDIN (1824-1912)
9-Napoleon GIRARDIN (1851-1929)
+Onesime ALLARD (1852-1896)
10-Marie Emma GIRARDIN (1878-1979)

My second story is about Jean Chicot who came to Montreal in 1650.  He was scalped by the Iroquois in 1651 but survived.

In the book Montreal:under the French Regime William Henry Atherton gives this account

“on May 6, 1651 : On this day, Jean Boudard had left his house with a man

named Jean Chicot when suddenly they found themselves surprised. by eight

or ten Iroquois. Chicot ran for safety to a tree recently cut down and hid

himself there, but Boudard, making headlong for his home, met his wife,

Catherine Mercier, not far from it. Asking her whether the dwelling was

open she replied: “No, I have locked it!” “Ah!” cried he, “then it is death

for both of us ! Let us fly at once.” In their flight, the wife could not keep

pace with him and, being left behind, was seized by the Indians. Hearing her

cries the husband returned and attacked them with fisticuffs, so violently that, not

being able to master him otherwise, they massacred him on the spot. The

cries and confusion aroused three of the settlers, Charles Le Moyne, Archambault

and another, who, running to render assistance, were seen falling into an

ambuscade of forty Indians behind the hospital. Discovering their mistake they

made a retreat to the front door of the hospital which luckily was open, having

escaped a brisk fusillade, as Le Moyne well knew by the hole in his hat. With

the captive woman, the Indians who had surprised Boudard then sought the

hiding place of Chicot.  He defended himself with his feet and hands so vigor-

ously that fearing, lest he should be assisted by the Frenchmen they now saw

approaching, they took his scalp, taking a piece of his skull with it. This they

carried with them as a trophy, as well as the head of Boudard, who was com-

monly known as “Grand Jean.” Jean Chicot did not die, however, till nearly

fourteen years later”

In 1662 Jean married Marguerite Maclin, another fille à marier.  She came to New France as an orphan in 1659 and lived under the protection of Marguerite Bourgeoys. Marguerite Bourgeoys, Maisonneuve, and another ancestor, Gilbert Barbier, were witnesses at their wedding on October 23, 1662.

Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), Montreal, Basilique Notre-Dame, 1642-1681, image 131 of 233 accessed on

Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), Montreal, Basilique Notre-Dame, 1642-1681, image 131 of 233 accessed on

Jean and Marguerite were only married for five years before Jean died, leaving Marguerite with two children under four years of age.  She quickly remarried and had another ten children with her new husband.

Here is our descent from Jean Chicot:

1-Jean CHICOT (1627-1667)
+Marguerite MACLIN (abt 1647-1733)
2-Jean Baptiste SICOT dit LALIBERTE (1666-1757)
+Marie Madeleine Anne LAMOUREUX (1680-1758)
3-Marie SICOT DIT LALIBERTE (1698-1738)
+Louis BABIN dit LACROIX (1694-1756)
4-Marie Madeleine Anne BABIN dit LACROIX (1720-1758)
+Charles DAUNAIS dit LAFRENIERE DELAUNAY (1711-1766)
5-Marie Josephe DAUNAIS dit LAFRENIERE DELAUNAY (1742-?)
+Jacques TAILLEFER (1733-1769)
6-Jean-Baptiste TAILLEFER (1765-?)
+Marie Angelique DEBONNE (1766-?)
7-Marie TAILLEFER (1801-1872)
+Jean Baptiste BERNARDIN (1784-1857)
8-Marie Louise BERNARDIN (1824-1912)
+Paul GIRARDIN (1801-1878)
9-Napoleon GIRARDIN (1851-1929)
+Onesime ALLARD (1852-1896)
10-Marie Emma GIRARDIN (1878-1979)

The last story concerns Pierre Garman dit Picard who came to New France about 1639 with his wife Madeleine Charlot and their two daughters.  They lived in Quebec (city), Trois Rivières and Cap Rouge.  Madeleine died sometime after 1643.

From the Jesuit Relations, Vol. 38:

“June 10, 1653: The Iroquois, having appeared at Cap rouge, kill there françois Boulé, having pierced him with three gunshots,—in the stomach, in the groin, and in the thigh,—and having removed half of his scalp. . . . Besides, they lead away alive Pierre Garman, called “le Picard,” and his son Charles, 8 years old”

Pierre was presumed dead. Some websites claim that the son, Charles, married an Iroquois woman, had one daughter baptized and then disappears from all records. I’ve been unable to prove this one way or another.

And here is our descent from Pierre Garman:

1-Pierre GARMAN dit PICARD (?-10 Jun 1653)
+Madeleine CHARLOT (?-bef 1652)
2-Florence GARMAN (abt 1626-?)
+Francois BOUCHER (1617-bef 1681)
3-Marie BOUCHER (1652-1713)
+Antoine CHAUDILLON (abt 1643-1707)
4-Catherine CHODILLON (abt 1673-1745)
+Francois NEVEU dit LEMON (1666-?)
5-Marie NEVEU dit LEMON (Sep 1689-1747)
+Jean Baptiste BANLIER dit LAPERLE (1682-?)
6-Marie Madeleine BANLIER LAPERLE (1721-1795)
+Michel LANGEVIN (1718-?)
7-Marie Madeleine LANGEVIN (1749-1822)
+Louis LUSSIER (1749-?)
8-Christophe LUSSIER (1773-?)
+Marie Charlotte BRUNEL (1774-1806)
9-Magdeleine LUSSIER (1795-1832)
+Charles ALLARD (1787-1862)
10-Joseph Pierre ALLARD (1826-1875)
+Marie BONIN (1827-?)
11-Onesime ALLARD (1852-1896)
+Napoleon GIRARDIN (1851-1929)
12-Marie Emma GIRARDIN (1878-1979)

Life was not easy for our early ancestors, and I will have many more stories to tell.


For a change of pace, I am participating in Geneabloggers Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories. Today’s theme is Christmas Recipes.

Croxegnols are a type of pretzel.  All through my childhood these were a special treat at Christmas time, and I believe, but I could be wrong, that it was Mémère’s recipe.  Lately my brother has been making them and sharing with me.

Here’s a pic of my brother and his grandson with the finished pretzels.

Christmas pretzels

In the past I asked my Mother how to properly spell the word, but she wasn’t sure. A search on the internet didn’t produce any information that indicated the same recipe with a spelling that seemed at all similar.  It seems to be a type of bannock, but I’ve never seen a recipe for bannock that called for the pretzel shape.  Was it a French-Canadian tradition or a Métis tradition?  And how on earth did you spell it?

So you can imagine how excited I was when reading The last buffalo hunter by Mary Weekes, a book about Norbert Welsh, to find this passage:

“But de croxegnols.  There was something!  We made that always for the New Year’s celebrations, and on special occasions only.  It was a dough mixture.  Flour and fine tallow mixed with water.  First the dough was rolled smooth, then cut in squares.  Then each square was slit into five divisions, like fingers, and these fingers were twisted into fancy shapes, all criss-crossed.  Then these were thrown into boiling fat.  Some of them were very funny looking shapes when they were cooked, and they appealed to the fancy of the Indians. Many the good buffalo robe I was able to buy at a right price after my Indians had had a good feed on my wife’s de croxegnols!  De croxegnols were something very special.  I remember that out on the plains on New Year’s eve, the children used to get on top of the traders’ houses and run long sharp sticks down the chimneys and spear the fine brown croxegnols out of the pots of boiling fat.  They did this once to my wife, and what a surprise she got, when she saw that her fine brown croxegnols had disappeared.  She was beginning to believe that spirits were around the place.”

That must be it!  The recipe is similar , and the name fits.

Now why was I reading The last buffalo hunter?  Norbert Welsh is not a direct ancestor, but his second marriage was to Pépère’s first cousin, a Marguerite Hogue, who was the widow of a Jean Joseph McDougall, and the daughter of Joseph Hogue and Pelagie Turcotte.  The book is a fascinating oral history of life in the old North West during the late nineteenth century.

Now for the recipe.

4 cups flour

8 teaspoons baking powder

¼ cup shortening (or lard)

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup water (or as much as needed)

Mix dry ingredients.  Cut in shortening, until it is the size of peas and add water to make a sticky dough.  Roll out on floured board to 1/4” thick.  Cut into 1/2” wide strips.  Twist and drop into deep fat.  Let turn to a light golden color, then flip on other side for a second.  Drain on paper towels. Salt and serve.  Can be frozen and reheated.


Gilbert Barbier dit Minime

Another Girardin ancestor whose name is on the Founders Obelisk in Montreal is Gilbert Barbier dit Minime, a master carpenter whose dit name implies that he was small in stature. However, we can find this ancestor mentioned in several books, suggesting he loomed large in the history of Ville Marie.  Dollier de Casson wrote in his book  A History of Montreal:

“ he (Barbier) was by no means the least either in fighting or in his trade; we owe the acknowledgement of this truth to his courage and to the services he has rendered on this island, whose buildings have nearly all been made by his hands or by those whom he has taught.”  

In William Henry Atherton’s book Montreal, 1535-1914, Volume I: Under the French Regime we read:

Under the French Regime

Robert Prevost in his book Montreal:a history (translated by Elizabeth Mueller and Robert Chodos: McClelland & Stewart, 1993) states:

“Twelve men came to augment the initial contingent, including Gilbert Barbier, known as le Minime, a skilled joiner to whom La Dauversiere entrusted several artillery pieces to consolidate the defence system of the palisades.  Eight years later, Sieur de Maisonneuve would grant Barbier the first parcel of land located outside Ville-Marie, in Point Saint-Charles”

Gilbert married Catherine Delavaux on November 14, 1650 and Maisonneuve was a witness at their wedding. Catherine was one of the “filles à marier”, a topic I will expand on in another post. Catherine had been brought to Ville Marie under the care of  Jeanne Mance.

Gilbert was appointed to serve as the procureur fiscal (a sort of lawyer) for Montreal in 1657 and 1662.  He died in 1693 and Catherine in 1688. They had eight children.  We are descended from their daughter Marie Adrienne who married Etienne Trudeau.  Former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau is descended from this same couple, meaning that Mémère was a 7th cousin to the Prime Minister!

Here’s our descent:

1-Gilbert BARBIER MINIME (abt 1619-1693)
+Catherine DELAVAUX LAVAU LAMINIME (abt 1620-1688)
2-Marie Adrienne BARBIER MINIME (1652-aft 1721)
+Etienne TRUDEAU (1641-1712)
3-Charles TRUDEAU (1684-1742)
+Marie Madeleine LOISELLE (1694-1748)
4-Marie Josephe TRUDEAU (1717-1762)
+Paul LUSSIER (1711-1773)
5-Louis LUSSIER (1749-?)
+Marie Madeleine LANGEVIN (Sep 1749-1822)
6-Christophe LUSSIER (1773-?)
+Marie Charlotte BRUNEL (1774-1806)
7-Magdeleine LUSSIER (1795-1832)
+Charles ALLARD (1787-1862)
8-Joseph Pierre ALLARD (1826-1875)
+Marie BONIN (1827-?)
9-Onesime ALLARD (1852-1896)
+Napoleon GIRARDIN (1851-1929)
10-Marie Emma GIRARDIN (1878-1979)

Several of Gilbert’s other children provide us some fascinating hints of life in New France:

Son Gabriel was with René-Robert Cavelier de La Salle, the explorer of the Mississippi. Gilbert died tragically in Texas at Fort St. Louis. You can read about him here.

Daughter Marie became Marie dite de l’Assomption, the first Montreal-born woman to join the Congrégation de Notre-Dame de Montréal, whose founder was Marguerite Bourgeoys.

Son Nicholas Charles was killed by the British August 11, 1691 at the Battle of La Prairie (near Montreal). The French won the battle but incurred heavy losses.

Son Charles Henri was killed June 8, 1691 by the Iroquois in a fight near Repentigny.