Louise Bernardin and Paul Girardin

In my last post, I wrote about Jean Baptiste Bernardin and Marie Charlotte Taillefer, and their life in Lower Canada. Our direct ancestor is their daughter, Marie Louise Bernardin, born 24 Sep 1824 in Nicolet, Lower Canada, and baptized at the cathédrale St-Jean-Baptiste.

I am again indebted to the research of Professor Charles Bernardin who wrote a book about her, Louise Bernardin Girardin: Manitoba Pioneer. Through the generosity of another Girardin descendant I was able to obtain a copy of this most interesting publication.

Economic conditions in Quebec were hard, and the family struggled as Jean Baptiste supported his family with farming, and as a tailor. He was forced into bankruptcy in 1841, and the family moved to William-Henry (Sorel). By this time, they were also dealing with the death of three infant children. In 1844, after finally receiving compensation for losing his Grantham property, Jean Baptiste was able to purchase property in the village of Kingsey, where he lived and kept his tailor shop, as well as 126 acres of forested land outside the village.

As Professor Bernardin states:
“Although Kingsey was even more remotely isolated than Drummondville from the St. Lawrence River, living and farming standards were upgraded: the Bernardins now lived in a plank house; they now cooked over a stove, not a fireplace; and now owned a horse again, a barn, and other farm animals and fowl. The virgin soil improved their production of potatoes and other crops.”

It was in Kingsey that Louise married Paul Girardin on 15 Feb 1847. Paul had been born 14 Oct 1804 in Maskinonge, Quebec, to Charles Girardin and Josephte Lesieur. (I wrote about the Lesieur family here). Louise was 20 years younger than Paul.

In the 1861 Census for Kingsey, Paul is listed as a farmer, and his widowed mother is living with them. They had 10 children, two of whom died as infants:
Caroline born 1848
Unnamed infant born and died 1850
Napoleon born 1851
Charles born 1853
Marie Rosilda born 1855
Virgine born 1857 (died at 6 days)
Joseph Edouard born 1858
Oliver born 1861
Joseph Simeon born 1863
Jean Baptiste born 1866

Sometime after the birth of their youngest child, Paul and Louise made the decision to move to Massachusetts, a story I will continue in my next post.

The Lesieur Connection

This post will be about our Girardin ancestors, the Lesieur family, and it is a rather tangled story.

Charles Lesieur arrived in New France around 1670. He was born in Ozeville, Normandy. In 1671 he married Francoise de Lafond, the thirteen year old niece of Pierre Boucher, Governor of Trois-Rivières. (see my previous post about this family here). Needless to say, that was a very advantageous marriage, and Charles became a wealthy landowner, a notary, and a “procureur fiscal” (financial attorney) . He sometimes went by the “dit” name of Lapierre. He and Francoise had nine children and settled in Batiscan. Unfortunately he died at the age of 50 in 1697, leaving Francoise with a family whose youngest was only two years old. She remarried six years later, but did not have any more children. Francoise died in 1717 and was buried in Montreal.

We are descended from three of Charles and Francoise’s children, Charles, Joseph and Francoise.

First is Charles Lesieur, the younger. A few years after his father’s death, Charles and his brother Julien were granted the seigneury of Grosbois-Est , which would become the town of Yamachiche. Charles married Marie Charlotte Rivard dite Loranger in 1700, and they had seven children, including our ancestor Pierre, who married Genevieve Sicard dite Derive in 1746. Pierre was co-seigneur of Yamachiche, as noted on this burial record in 1761. Genevieve was pregnant with the last of their seven children when Pierre died. The child died the day it was born. A year later, Genevieve married again, this time to a man with almost the same name, Pierre Lesieur dit Duchesne! He was a first cousin, once removed, of her deceased husband.

Pierre had a brother, also called Charles, NOT our direct ancestor, who was involved in the fur trade.
In Heather Devine’s book The People who Own Themselves: Aboriginal Ethnogenesis in a Canadian Family we learn:

“The Lesieurs were a prominent family who had held the seigneury of Yamachiche, near Trois-Rivières, Quebec for several generations. Charles Lesieur, the seigneur of Yamachiche during much of the eighteenth century, presided over a large family active in the fur trade. One of his sons, Toussaint, was one of the earliest Canadien traders in the Athabasca region, an associate of Peter Pond, and later Benjamin and Joseph Frobisher. However, two other Lesieur sons, Francois and Joseph, chose to seek their fortune in Missouri…they were credited as the official founders of the trading post and satellite community later known as New Madrid.”

Secondly, we have Joseph Lesieur, born in 1688, who was also involved in the fur trade. He was trading in the Illinois and Wisconsin area and married an Illinois Indian, Madeleine Adouin. They had one child, a son, Jean Baptiste, born around 1721 in Pays-d’en-Haut. (That refers to the country upriver from the colony of New France, i.e. present day Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and along the Mississippi.)  Joseph was killed by Indians in 1723 at the age of 34. F.L. Desaulniers who compiled a book Les vieilles familles d’Yamachiche: vingt-cinq genealogies  in 1900, tells us of the existence of a letter from the Jesuit Father DeKereben giving details of the death of Joseph and of Jean-Baptiste Lafond.

I do not know what happened to Madeleine, but by 1747 her son Jean Baptiste is in Yamachiche getting married to HIS FIRST COUSIN Francoise Rivard dite Bellefeuille! Tragically, this couple both died the same day, in 1756, possibly of smallpox, leaving behind three young children, ages 8, 5, and 3. Presumably they were raised by other members of the Lesieur and Rivard families.

Thirdly, we come to Francoise Lesieur, born in 1695, and married to Louis Joseph Rivard dit Loranger. They had eight children . When Louis Joseph died, Francoise was left, as her mother had been, with a family whose youngest was only two years old! She did not remarry.  (Louis Joseph was the brother of Marie Charlotte who married Charles Lesieur the younger). The Lesieur and Rivard families were very closely linked, which I touched on in another post (here).

Charles, Joseph and Francoise are all ancestors of Joseph Baptiste Lesieur dit Lapierre and Madeleine Lesieur, who are Mémère’s great-great-grandparents.

If you are thoroughly confused by now, here’s our descent:
1-Charles LESIEUR (1647-1697)
+Francoise DE LAFOND (1658-1717)
2-Charles Julien LESIEUR (1674-1739)
+Marie Charlotte RIVARD dit LORANGER (1680-1744)
3-Pierre LESIEUR (1700-1761)
+Genevieve SICARD dite DERIVE (1728-1798)
4-Madeleine LESIEUR (1756-1841)
+Joseph Baptiste LESIEUR dit LAPIERRE (1751-1813)

2-Joseph LESIEUR (1688-1723)
+Madeleine ADOUIN (?-?)
3-Jean Baptiste LESIEUR (bef 1721-1756)
+Francoise RIVARD dite BELLEFEUILLE (bef 1727-1756)
4-Joseph Baptiste LESIEUR dit LAPIERRE (1751-1813)
+Madeleine LESIEUR (1756-1841)

2-Francoise LESIEUR (8 Sep 1695-1758)
+Louis Joseph RIVARD dit LORANGER (1684-1740)
3-Francoise RIVARD dite BELLEFEUILLE (bef 1727-1756)
+Jean Baptiste LESIEUR (bef 1721-1756)
4-Joseph Baptiste LESIEUR dit LAPIERRE (1751-1813)
+Madeleine LESIEUR (1756-1841)
5-Josephte LESIEUR (1778-1864)
+Charles GIRARDIN (1773-1853)
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)