Abraham Martin dit l’Écossais

Abraham Martin from Don ancestry tree Avore21411

Monument to Abraham Martin on the Plains of Abraham














Picture courtesy of Don from his ancestry tree Avore21411


Abraham Martin dit l’Écossais was another 9th great-grandfather in the Girardin line, and one of my earliest ancestors to come to New France.  There is no definitive explanation of his nickname of “the Scot”. It may indicate the street he lived on in Dieppe, Normandy, France.  By the way, “dit names” or nicknames are a common occurrence in the population of New France. PRDH explains it this way:

“…the use of nicknames, often referred to as “dit names”, because they are introduced in French by the word “dit” meaning “said”,  which abound in the nominative history of old Quebec. They have many origins: military nickname, sobriquet related to a physical characteristic, immigrant’s place of origin, name of fief for nobles, mother’s family name, father’s first name, and so on. Some go back to the ancestor, while others are introduced by descendants; some are transmitted, others not; some belong to an entire family line, while others concern only a single branch.”

He is believed to have been born about 1589 in Normandy, France. He and his wife, Marguerite Langlois, arrived in 1620, and became one of the first families to settle near Quebec City.  Martin was a river pilot and high seas fisherman. Champlain was the godfather of their daughter Helene. Helene would later marry Medard Chouart Desgroseilliers, the famous Canadian explorer who, with Radisson, was responsible for convincing King Charles II of England to grant a charter to the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1670.

Back in 1629 England and France were still fighting for control of the North American lands. In that year the Kirke brothers captured Quebec for England.  Champlain, Letardif, Martin and Langlois sailed to France, returning to Quebec in 1633 when Quebec was once again under French control. PRDH has 9 children recorded for Abraham and Marguerite, but there is a gap between 1627 and 1635.  Fichier Origine  indicates that they also had a child in 1616 in France before they arrived on our shores, and then another in 1630 when they were back in France.

We descend from their daughter Anne. 

Martin Anne baptism 1645

Baptismal record from Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967, Québec, Notre-Dame (baptêmes 1621-1679) image 10 of 93, accessed on Oct. 15, 2013 at ancestry.ca

Abraham “The Scot” MARTIN DIT LESCOSSOIS (abt 1589-1664) + Marguerite LANGLOIS (?- 1665)
Anne MARTIN (1645-1717) + Jacques RATE (1630-1699)
Genevieve RATE (1678-1732) + Jean SICARD CARUFEL 1664-1750)
Louis SICARD CARUFEL DERIVE (1705-1783) + Marie Catherine TROTTIER DESRUISSEAUX POMBERT (1708-1788)
Genevieve SICARD DE RIVE (1728-1798) + Pierre LESIEUR (1700-1761)
Madeleine LESIEUR (1756-1841) + Joseph LESIEUR DIT LAPIERRE (1754-1813)
Josephte LESIEUR (1778-1864)  +Charles GIRARDIN (1773- 1853)
Paul GIRARDIN (1801-1878) + Marie Louise BERNARDIN (1824-1912)
Napoleon GIRARDIN (1851-1929) + Onesime ALLARD (1852-1896)
Marie Emma GIRARDIN (1878-1979)

The famous Plains of Abraham, site of the battle between Montcalm and Wolfe, was adjacent to the land Martin owned, and was supposedly named after him. Find out more here .

The Dictionary of Canadian Biography’s entry for him is here.  Don’t be confused by the mention of another Anne Martin.  She is not our ancestor, just someone with the same name.  Abraham Martin is one of those people for whom you may come across conflicting information on various websites.  Some claim he was Scottish, some claim Marguerite Langlois was Métis, not French.  I’m comfortable with the sources I’ve listed.

Olivier Le Tardif

Remember studying Canadian history in school?  You may have forgotten much of what you learned then, but you probably remember the name of the famous Canadian explorer, Samuel de Champlain who is the founder of Quebec City.  You can, if you want, refresh your memory at The Dictionary of Canadian Biography.

The first of my father’s ancestors to come to New France was a contemporary of Champlain’s. Olivier Letardif (sometimes spelled Le Tardif or just Tardif) was my 9th great-grandfather in the Girardin line. He was born sometime between 1601 and 1604 in Etables, Bretagne (Brittany in English).  Bretagne is that area of northwest France that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean. He was definitely in New France by 1621, and perhaps by 1618.

Letardif became one of Champlain’s most trusted interpreters.  Champlain professed a desire to live peacefully with the natives and learn from them. Historians may have varied opinions on Champlain’s motives, but he did send young men out to live with the native tribes, learn their languages, and be ambassadors.  In David Hackett Fischer’s book Champlain’s dream: the visionary adventurer who made a new world in Canada (Toronto: Alfred A. Knopf Canada, 2008 p. 502) he describes Letardif …“As a young man he traded actively with the Indians of the St. Lawrence Valley, lived among them, and learned their languages with remarkable success.  Champlain began to refer to him as “Olivier le truchement” and wrote that he became as “skilled in the languages of the Montagnais and Algonquin as in those of the Huron,” an extraordinary achievement.”  Check Google Books for this page.

Le Tardif plaque

Commerative plaque in Château-Richer, Quebec placed by Les Familles Tardif d’Amerique.

Picture courtesy of Julia Saxby Stevens.

Letardif became an influential citizen in Quebec. He became head clerk of the Company of 100 Hundred Associates in 1633. This was the organization charged with overseeing trade and colonization in New France.  By 1653 he was the seigneurial judge in Beaupré. Letardif was also a witness to Champlain’s will. You can view his signature here.

He married twice.  His first wife was Louise Couillard, granddaughter of Louis Hebert (considered the first European farmer in New France).  Louise was only twelve at the time, and died at the age of sixteen, months after giving birth to a son.  Louise’s sister, Marguerite, married Jean Nicolet who was also one of Champlain’s interpreters and is credited with being the first European to “discover” Lake Michigan.

It is from Letardif’s second marriage in 1648 to Barbe Emard (while he was back in France) that we descend. We actually descend from two of their children as these lists show:

Olivier LETARDIF (abt 1604-1665) + Barbe EMARD (1625-?)
Barbe Delphine LETARDIF (1649-1702) + Jacques CAUCHON DIT LAMOTHE (1635-1685)
Jacques COCHON (1663-1726) + Jeanne VERREAULT (1668-1711)
Jean Baptiste COCHON (1704-1755) + Marguerite DUMAS (1698-1771)
Paul LAMOTHE DIT COCHON (1733-?) + Marie Anne LEGARE 1736-?)
Marie Josephe LAMOTHE DIT COCHON (1765-?) + Joseph BONIN (1766-?)
Jean Baptiste BONIN (1799-?) + Marie Amable DUPRE (1801-?)
Marie BONIN (Jul 1827-?) + Joseph Pierre ALLARD (1826-1875)
Onesime ALLARD (1852-1896) + Napoleon GIRARDIN (1851-1929)
Marie Emma GIRARDIN (1878-1979)


Olivier LETARDIF (abt 1604-1665) + Barbe EMARD (1625-?)
Guillaume LETARDIF (1655-?) + Marie Marguerite GODIN (Mar 1665-?)
Charles LETARDIF (1688-1740)+Marie Genevieve ROY DESJARDINS (1697-1763)
Marie Angelique LETARDIF (1723-1764) + Nicolas LETARTE (1722-?)
Joseph LETARTE (Dec 1761-?) + Marie Elisabeth PAQUET (1750-1826)
Marie Amable LETARTE (1784-?) + Pierre DUPRE (1773-1858)
Marie Amable DUPRE (1801-?) + Jean Baptiste BONIN (Mar 1799-?)
Marie BONIN (1827-?) + Joseph Pierre ALLARD (1826-1875)
Onesime ALLARD (1852-1896) + Napoleon GIRARDIN (1851-1929)
Marie Emma GIRARDIN (1878-1979)

You can read more about Letardif at The Dictionary of Canadian Biography.