The census of 1666

In 1666, Jean Talon, newly-appointed Intendant of New France, ordered the first census of New France to be taken. Of course, this was a count of only the European population in the colony, not the native population.

The total population of settlers is usually presented as 3215. However, Quebec historian Marcel Trudel, in his book La population du Canada en 1666: recensement reconstitute, puts the number at 4219. I believe that is much more likely. He uses an analysis of records that show people for whom we have church and civil records that prove their residence in New France at that time, but who do not appear in the official record.

I have been able to find 145 of our Hogue/Girardin ancestors in the official census. Our 13 Carnigan soldiers weren’t included, soldiers being considered “transients”. Plus, I have identified 31 people that records show were in the country, but are missing from the official census. That gives us 189 ancestors. No matter which figure you use, our ancestors counted for about 4 to 5 % of the population.  (Plus we have at least 16 ancestors who had come to New France and died BEFORE this census was taken!)

Stats Can tells us:
“Talon conducted his census on the de jure principale – that is, counting people where they normally reside. And he did much of the enumeration himself, going door-to-door. Talon’s census recorded everyone in the colony by name and included age, occupation, marital status, and relationship to the head of the family in which they lived.”

Below is a digital image from Library and Archives Canada
for the 1666 Recensement du Canada. It shows our Hogue ancestors Zacharie Cloutier, Marie Madeleine Emard, and Barbe Cloutier,  along with Barbe’s siblings Rene, Xaintes, Genevieve, Marie, another Marie and Charles. They are living in Beaupre, and Zacharie is described as a carpenter and habitant.

Page from the 1666 New France census for Beaupré Source: Library and Archives Canada/Fonds des Colonies/ DAFCAOM03_G1_460_18R /P. 35

Page from the 1666 New France census for Beaupré
Source: Library and Archives Canada/Fonds des Colonies/ DAFCAOM03_G1_460_18R /P. 35


My analysis of the official 1666 census shows that our ancestors made up 71 family groups, including 6 widows. The majority of the men are listed as habitants. There is a common misconception that a habitant in New France was a farmer. To quote Suzanne Boivin Sommerville, writing in the magazine Késsinnimek – Roots – Racines:

“In reality, a habitant was an inhabitant of New France who had chosen to remain and be a free citizen, to pursue whatever occupation or trade that became available.”

13 men are not living with their own families, but are listed as domestics or other trades. These men were probably engagés who had signed contracts to come to New France to work.

Among the occupations listed for the men (women of course are only listed as wife, widow or daughter) we have:

1 Royal Judge (Michel Leneuf du Herisson)
4 carpenters
3 masons
1 cabinet maker
1 salt maker
1 cook/baker
1 brick maker
1 tanner
1 hatter
1 weaver
1 tailor
1 cobbler
1 shoemaker
1 toolmaker

1666…348 years ago.

189 people.

How deep are roots go back!





Francois Belanger and Marie Guyon

Francois Belanger, a Hogue ancestor, was born around 1612, probably in Normandy, France.  He was a mason by trade, but we don’t know exactly when he came to New France.  He was certainly here by July 27, 1636 when he was a witness to the marriage contract between Robert Drouin and Anne Cloutier.  On July 12, 1637 he married Marie Guyon, daughter of Jean and Mathurine.  This was the first double wedding in New France, on the same day as Robert and Anne’s wedding.

By 1641 Francois had land on the Beaupré coast as seen in this map, where he is next to another ancestor Zacharie Cloutier (junior).

Map of Beaupré and Orléans Island, made by Jean Bourdon in 1641. D'après le facsimilé reproduit par Mgr Cyprien Tanguay dans son Dictionnaire généalogique des familles canadiennes, Province de Québec, Eusèbe Senécal, Imprimeur-éditeur, 1871-1890.

Map of Beaupré and Orléans Island, made by Jean Bourdon in 1641.
D’après le facsimilé reproduit par Mgr Cyprien Tanguay dans son Dictionnaire généalogique des familles canadiennes, Province de Québec, Eusèbe Senécal, Imprimeur-éditeur, 1871-1890.

Francois was apparently an educated man and became very successful in New France.  He was appointed Assistant Administrator for Longue Pointe in 1653.  Civil records document numerous lawsuits indicating that he “earned a reputation as an honest but hard man with whom to do business”. (Source: Our French Canadian Ancestors by Thomas John Laforest  (Palm Harbour, Fla. : LISI Press, c1983, Vol. 6 page 22).

In 1669 a militia was formed to defend the colony, and Francois was named Captain of the Beaupré coast.  In 1677 Frontenac, the Governor of New France, made him a Seigneur, and granted him the Seigneury of L’Islet-de-Bonsecours, about 100 km east of today’s Quebec City.

We don’t know exactly when he died but it was between October 1685, when he gave property to one of his sons, and 1687, when Marie signed a document that indicates she was a widow.  Marie died October 1, 1696.

Francois and Marie had twelve children.  We descend from Charles who married Barbe Cloutier, a granddaughter of Zacharie Cloutier and Xainte Dupont.  Two other siblings also married grandchildren of Zacharie and Dupont.  You see how intertwined these families were!

Here is our descent from Francois Belanger to Pépère:

Francois BELANGER (abt 1612-bef 1687) + Marie GUYON DION (1624-1696)
Charles BELANGER (1640- 1692) + Barbe CLOUTIER (1650- 1711)
Francois BELANGER (abt 1666-1721) + Catherine VOYER (abt 1673-?)
Francois BELANGER (abt 1708-1774) + Marie Catherine NADON dit LETOURNEAU (1712-1779)
Marie-Josephe BELANGER (1740-1775) + Joseph Amable HOGUE (1734-?)
Louis Amable HOGUE (1769-?) + Marie Anne LABELLE (1776-?)
Louis Amable HOGUE (1796-1858) + Marguerite TAYLOR (1805-1885)
Thomas HOGUE (1840-1924) + Philomene MCMILLAN (1848-1923)
Thomas Joseph HOGUE (1879-1955)

Anne Cloutier and Robert Drouin

In my previous post I wrote about Zacharie Cloutier, from whose daughter, Anne, our Girardin line descends, and from whose son, Zacharie, our Hogue line descends.  Given how small the population of New France was at this time, it is no surprise that we find other family connections.  Cloutier’s son Jean married Marie Martin who was the daughter of our ancestors Abraham Martin and Marguerite Langlois.

Now I will tell you a bit about Anne and her husband Robert Drouin. Robert was born in 1607 in Le Pin-la-Garenne in Perche, France. At this website you can see a picture of the restored home where he grew up, and of course, another plaque!

Robert was a brick maker, and part of the Perche migration.  He worked for Seigneur Giffard in Beauport, and lived in the Cloutier household.  The marriage contract drawn up between Robert and Anne is the oldest surviving marriage contract drawn up in New France. It was signed in the home of the previously mentioned Seigneur Giffard on July 27, 1636 and Anne was only 10 years old at the time of the contract!  The wedding took place one year later, but with the provision that relations were not to take place for two years.  Their first child was born in 1641 and died less than a week later.  Anne would have six children, only two of whom survived. Anne died at the age of 22 on February 3, 1648. Robert married again and died at the age of 78 on June 1, 1685 in Château-Richer.

The Jesuit Relations, Volume 32 describes her funeral like this:

“This same Day, Drouin’s wife, daughter of Master Zacharie, died; she was brought to the hospital on the 4th, where two Fathers, with the usual Church Choristers, went to say vespers for the dead; and at the end of vespers, they held the Ceremony over the Body, which was then carried to the Cemetery. They did not wish to draw it on the sledge; they were constrained to bear it two by two, because of the narrow roads. We sent from the parish church 4 tapers, 4 torches, the Cross, and the Psalter. The next day, a high Mass was said at the parish church; but the relatives were notified that they should go and Invite Poisson, an Artisan, to help say Mass, together with Pierre, who was a workman of the settlement, thereto appointed. We draped the Altar in black, and lighted 4 tapers; there were none of our brethren to serve mass.”

Anne’s two daughters Genevieve and Jeanne (our ancestor) were raised by their grandparents Zacharie and Xaintes, apparently because they (the grandparents) did not approve of Robert’s second wife.

Genevieve, the daughter who is NOT our ancestor had a grandson, Claude Trepagnier, who was with Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville’s army in 1701 solidifying France’s claim to Louisiana. Claude is considered one of the founding colonists of New Orleans.

On his original property in the French Quarter of New Orleans, sits Muriel’s Jackson Square Bistro.  If you ever get to New Orleans be sure to visit the restaurant  and raise a glass to Memere’s cousin 8X removed!  And think how different your life would be if our ancestors had moved to Louisiana.  Of course, then I’d have to change the name of this blog!