New Year’s Day Levée


On New Year’s Day my husband and I attended the Lieutenant Governor’s New Year Levée, held at the Manitoba Legislative Building. I knew it was an annual event, one of those things I told myself that we should attend…someday.  Since 2017 is a special year, the celebration of 150 years since Confederation, I decided that this would be the year.

According to news reports, about 1300 people attended this year’s celebration, and judging by the number of cars parked in the area, that seems about right.

I stood in line to shake Lieutenant Governor Janice Filmon’s hand, as well as other dignitaries. Fruitcake, cookies and punch were served.  Musical entertainment was provided. I came away with a Canada 150 flag and pin, as pictured above.

A levée is a reception held “to mark the advent of another year and to provide an opportunity for the public to pay their respects.” You can read more about the levée here.

The tradition of a New Year Levée has a long history in Canada. The first recorded one was hosted in 1646 by the Governor of New France, Charles Huault de Montmagny, in the Château St. Louis in Quebec City.


Château St. Louis From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository


We have many ancestors that were in the Quebec City area in 1646 and may have attended the Levée.  There is no way to know for sure, but perhaps these ancestors  paid their respects to the Governor: Abraham Martin, Olivier le Tardif, Jean Guyon , Zacharie Cloutier, Robert Drouin. You’ll notice that these are all men, as women were not ALLOWED to attend until World War II, when female members of the Armed Forces were permitted to join the event!

On the wonderful website Manitobia, I found a description of the Manitoba Levée of 1873.



Again, we can’t know if any of our ancestors and relations were in attendance.  However, the Mr. Beauchemin, MPP (Member of the Provincial Parliament) who is mentioned, would have been Andre Beauchemin, uncle of Jean Baptiste Beauchemin who was married to my great-grandmother Philomene McMillan’s sister Marguerite.

During the time of the fur trade, a New Year’s celebration was the custom at the various forts. These seem to have been less subdued occasions. In the book Making the Voyageur World: Travelers and Traders in the North American Fur Trade by Carolyn Podruchny, excerpts of which are available on Google Books here, we learn:

“Feasting, drinking, and levees, or paying courtesy calls on masters (particularly on New Year’s Day), were characteristic of celebrations in fur trade society.”

Undoubtedly James McMillan, John Warren Dease and Amable Hogue would have partaken in these festivities.

I seem to remember my Mother mentioning that in La Salle, it was the custom for families to visit the grandfathers on New Year’s Day.

I enjoyed attending the Lieutenant Governor’s New Year Levée of 2017, and it resulted in a brief moment of “fame”.  That evening on Global News as we watched their coverage of the event, my husband and I walked into the frame!



Zacharie Cloutier and Xainte Dupont


This is the translation of a plaque erected in Beauport, Quebec commemorating the arrival in New France of Cloutier and Dupont.  The plaque can be seen here.

Zacharie Cloutier and his wife Xainte, their son, also called Zacharie (he’s our Hogue ancestor), and their daughter Anne (our Girardin ancestor) were part of the same Perche migration that had brought Jean Guyon to Beauport. Zacharie was born around 1590 and Xainte around 1595.  They were married  July 18, 1616 at Église Saint-Jean in Mortagne-au-Perche, France.  Xainte was a widow.

Zacharie Cloutier was a master carpenter from Mortagne, France.  As mentioned before, skilled tradesmen were the type of colonists that Giffard was looking for.  Zacharie and his son came to Quebec the same time as Guyon, but Xainte and the other four children many not have arrived until a year or two later.

In volume 5, page 55 of Our French Canadian Ancestors by Thomas John Laforest  (Palm Harbour, Fla. : LISI Press, c1983) it states:

“By 22 July 1634, master-carpenter Zacharie Cloutier and master-mason Jean Guyon were hard at work on construction of a manor house for their lord as well as the parish church and Fort Saint-Louis in Quebec.”

This Fort Saint-Louis was the third fort built by the French at this important location, on top of a cliff overlooking the lower part of Quebec City. You can read more about the fort at The Canadian Encyclopedia.

In February of 1637 Cloutier took possession of the land grant given him by Giffard and called it La Clousterie. Benoît Grenier of the History department, Université de Sherbrooke, in an online article at the Encyclopedia of French Cultural Heritage in North America about Beauport, explains that both Cloutier and Guyon received “rear fiefs” which are “a sort of fiefdom-within-a-fiefdom; its owner is a seigneurial lord, but ranks below the owner of the seigneurial fiefdom, to whom he owes fealty and homage.”


The above illustration from the same article shows Guyon’s land as Arrière-Fief du Buisson and Cloutier’s land as Arrière-Fief  La Clousterie.

Cloutier also had land in Château-Richer, where he and his wife eventually moved, and where they were both buried, Zacharie in 1677 and Xainte in 1680.

And here are two items of note.

  1. Cloutier apparently could not write, but he signed legal papers with a mark representing an ax, indicating his trade!
  2. The Jesuit Relations records that  in May of 1646, Zacharie and Guyon were chosen to head the procession for  the Feast of Corpus Christi, in honour of their position as senior tradesmen.

Here’s our Hogue lineage from Cloutier to Pépère:

Zacharie CLOUTIER (abt 1590-1677) + Xainte DUPONT (abt 1595-1680)
Zacharie CLOUTIER (1617-1708) + Marie Madeleine EMARD/AYMART (1626-1708)
Barbe CLOUTIER (1650-1711) + Charles BELANGER (1640-1692)
Francois BELANGER (bef 1666-1721) + Catherine VOYER (bef 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)

And Cloutier to Mémère:

Zacharie CLOUTIER (abt 1590-1677) + Xainte DUPONT (abt 1595-1680)
Anne CLOUTIER (1626- 1648) + Robert DROUIN (1607-1685)
Jeanne DROUIN (1646-1732) + Pierre MAHEU (1630-1717)
Marie MAHEU (1663-1747) + Charles LETARTE (abt 1657-1714)
Augustin LETARTE (1693-?) + Marie Anne RIOPEL (1699-1735)
Nicolas LETARTE (1722?-) + Marie Angelique TARDIF (1723-1764)
Joseph LETARTE (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)

About those famous “cousins”

Premier colonsLés premiers Colons de Québec

Christian Lemire 2007, © Ministère de la Culture et des Communications

In Quebec City there is a monument to Louis Hébert with a plaque that commemorates “Lés premiers Colons de Québec”. Fifteen of our ancestors have their names on that plaque, including Letardif, Martin and Langlois, about whom I’ve already written.  The next several blog posts will be about these men and women. Two of particular note are Zacharie Cloutier (an ancestor on both the Hogue and Girardin lines) and Jean Guyon (a Hogue ancestor)

The Research Programme in Historical Demography (PRDH) at the University of Montreal has done extensive work using church and civil records, to reconstruct the population of New France from the earliest colonization to 1800. Their records indicate that Cloutier and Guyon had the largest number of married descendants before 1800; 10,850 for Cloutier and 9,674 for Guyon.

Think about that for a moment.  Think about what it means when a very small, culturally cohesive population, in a small geographic area, has large families.  It is no wonder that I am among a tremendously large group of people who can claim Cloutier or Guyon as ancestors, including Celine Dion, Madonna, Hillary Clinton and Jack Kerouac.  Read about these famous “cousins” here.

Now as exciting as that may sound, it is NOT at all unusual.  It’s simply mathematical! If you can trace your ancestry back to early settlers as we do, you are going to find that you are related to almost everyone!  Noted genealogist Dick Eastman explains this very well in his blog post We Are All Related! So Get Over It.