If one traces only the paternal ancestry for Mémère (Marie Emma Girardin), you find that the first male Girardin ancestor to come to New France was Joachim Girard (the surname would eventually evolve to Girardin). Joachim was born around 1641 in St-Cyr-du-Vaudreuil in Normandy, France.
I thought I’d include a map to show the town’s location in France.
Source for above map is http://www.weather-forecast.com/locations/Saint-Cyr-du-Vaudreuil/forecasts/latest
He probably arrived in 1659, and apparently worked for his uncle Jean Jobin, a tailor, who had arrived in 1651.
Joachim married Marie Halay whose father, Jean Baptiste Halay, had come to New France in 1655, probably as an engagé. Engagés signed contracts, usually for three years, to come over and work. The Virtual Museum of New France explains:
“In return for their work, they received room and board, clothing and a salary, in addition to being reimbursed for the cost of the trip to Canada. Sometimes, they received an advance before they left France. Employers were also responsible for covering the cost of their return,”
Jean Baptiste returned to his home in the Chartres area of France in 1658 to gather his wife Mathurine Vallet and his three daughters, and they settled in Quebec. Having survived three years, he felt that New France could provide the best future for his family.
Joachim and Marie were married on September 27, 1660 at Notre Dame in Quebec. One Hundred French Canadian Family Histories by Phillip J, Moore tells us that uncle Jean Jobin:
“gave a cow, two cauldrons, a mattress, two place settings, a pot, two platters , six dishes and promised to pay the passage of Joachim’s man and to feed his for one year of his two year contract.”
A generous uncle for sure! The Jobin family would have many close connections to the Girard family, which I will explain in another post.
Joachim and Marie had seven children.
Remember when I promised I had another miracle to share? Well, here we go.
Marie Halay was written up in the Jesuit Relations, Vol. 50 :
A very virtuous woman, who saw herself burdened with three children, the eldest of whom was but four years old, and who, moreover, lived at a great distance from the Church, was extremely hindered on Holy days in the discharge of her devotions. Yet she did not cease to come to the Chapel of Saint John and to attend the assembly of the Holy Family, with great punctuality, although always with much disquiet and fear for her children. One day when she had left them asleep in her house, she was greatly surprised, on her return, to see them upon their beds, very carefully dressed, and provided with breakfast, just as she was wont to give it to them. Upon asking her eldest girl who had thus dressed them in her absence, the child, who is very intelligent for her age, could tell her nothing about it except that it was a Lady clothed in white whom she did not know -although she knew very well all the women of the neighborhood; and that, besides, she had but just gone out, and her mother must have met her on entering.
Many have piously believed that the Blessed Virgin herself was pleased to calm this good woman’s anxieties, and let her know that, after taking the usual precautions for her children, she was to leave the rest to the protection of the Holy Family.
What renders such an opinion plausible is that the mother found the door of the house closed, just as she had left it on going out; that she did not see this woman dressed in white, who had but just made her exit when she entered; that everything was performed exactly as she was wont to do it herself; that this cannot be ascribed to any one known in the neighborhood or in the country; that the child is of an age little capable of a fabrication of this nature; and that, after all, God does sometimes perform such marvels on behalf of the poor. Finally, inquiries in the matter were prosecuted with great exactness by a very virtuous Ecclesiastic. That good woman is named Marie Haslé, wife of Joachim Girard, and this occurrence was on the 8th of July, 1665.”
Marie died sometime after 1671, and Joachim remarried to Marie Jeanne Chalut, and had another nine children.
Here’s our descent to Mémère:
1-Joachim GIRARD (abt 1641-bet 1708 and 1712)
+Marie HALAY (abt 1641-bet 1671 and 1676)
2-Antoine GIRARD (1664-1741)
+Agnes TROTTIER (bef 1672-1741)
3-Jacques GIRARD (1698-1747)
+Marie Clothilde BRISSON dite DUTILLY (1702-?)
4-Augustin GIRARDIN (1741-1810)
+Genevieve RIVARD-LORANGER (1744-1810)
5-Charles GIRARDIN (1773-1853)
+Josephte LESIEUR (1778-1864)
6-Paul GIRARDIN (1804-1878)
+Marie Louise BERNARDIN (1824-1912)
7-Napoleon GIRARDIN (1851-1929)
+Onesime ALLARD (1852-1896)
8-Marie Emma GIRARDIN (1878-1979)
When did the surname change from Girard to Girardin? We don’t know for sure. Joachim and Antoine only used the Girard name. Jacques Girard was baptized, married and buried under the Girard name. Both Jacques and his wife Marie Clothilde Brisson could sign their names. Not all our ancestors could do that. You can see their signatures on their marriage record.
Now here is where the name change appears to start. Some of Jacques and Marie’s children’s baptismal records are recorded as Girard and some as Girardin. The first instance of the use of Girardin that I can find is on December 2, 1728 at the baptism of Jacques and Marie’s son Joseph Thierry Girardin.
Augustin Girardin is the first ancestor I can find who consistently used the Girardin name.
Interestingly, when Napoleon Girardin and Onesime Allard married in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1873, the civil registration records the name as Jourdan!
Their first three children, all girls, born in Massachusetts, were born and buried as Girardins, but Emma was listed as a Girard!