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Welcome to the official site of The Richelieu Leger Family Association. The purpose of the association is to collect, protect and disseminate the history of the Michel Leger and Angelique Pinet family for future generations. This is done by building and maintaining accurate genealogy, by keeping members informed through periodic newsletters, and by coming together to meet, share and have family fun at our biannual reunions. This web site may change periodically as new or interestng information is found. Please return often to see whats been added. Any major additions will be announced on the Richelieu-Leger Facebook page. We hope you enjoy your visit through our site and encourage all Leger descendants to join the association and keep in touch with family members. This website will list all information on the Leger male lineage thru 1920. the female lineage will only be listed for 100% and 50% Leger bloodline. (Go to GENEALOGY page) This web site will not list names or info of any person in the genealogy database born after 1920. People born after 1920 may be in our databae, but will not be put on the website for security reasons. If any members would like more information about our family, we can be contacted at: Contact Our thanks to our members who have dedicated years of research to our Acssociation knowledge base. Special Thanks to our Historian, R. Lege for his production of the "Leger Addendum" Official name: "Le Guardien" which provides invaluable information about our direct ancestors as well as to the general Acadian story. We express our appreciation to all who have researched and published Acadian Genealogy information which allows us to be educated about our history.
985-892-6029 or 985-263-0350
© 2000 The Richelieu Leger Family Association, Inc.
309 Main St.
Lafayette, La. 70501
All rights reserved
1. The red in the top right quarter of the shield, the blue in the lower left quarter and the white represent the tri-color, the flag of France, the country of our ancestors’ origin.
2. The small cross in the top left quarter represents the churches of Saint-Martin-de-la-Place, Saint- Lambert-des-Levées, and Saint Michel in Fontevraud l’Abbaye, where our ancestors, Etienne, François, and Jean Leger, and their families, practiced their Catholic faith.
3. The large white cross transversing the center of the shield, the two light blue quarters, and the white fleur-de-lis in the lower right quarter, come from the flag of Quebec, where Jean Leger settled in the new world.
4. The gold quill and key in the red quarter represents Jean Leger dit Richelieu, Guardian of the King’s Warehouse of Quebec.
5. The gold anchor in the dark blue quarter represents Michel Leger dit Richelieu, the sailor.
6. The gold star represents Our Lady of the Assumption, Patroness of the Acadians, and the fact that Michel Leger dit Richelieu married an Acadian and suffered through the exile with the Acadians.
7. The crest is a pelican which represents Louisiana, where the surviving children of Michel Leger dit Richelieu were accepted and nurtured, represented by the three young pelicans in the nest.
8. The banner above the crest reads “N’oubliez jamais!” (Never forget!)
by John and Evelyn Legè September 2000, Revised December 2000
We know that all the Lege/Leger/Legere’s are waiting to hear of our findings, so we will keep this Journal to a minimum. John and I have been interested in the genealogy of his family, the Legè/Leger/Legere’s, for many years, having traveled to Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Quebec, as well as returning to John’s birthplace in Abbeville, Louisiana, many, many times, adding to our treasure of information. Evidence was uncovered in the past few years, that the Leger’s of Southwest Louisiana were not part of the La Rosette line, but of Jean Leger dit Richelieu ancestry. In March of this year, my husband, John, and I helped form the Richelieu Leger Family Association in Lafayette, Louisiana, and embarked on a quest for more information on Jean Leger dit Richelieu, by planning a trip to France for this purpose. The day after we arrived in Paris, we met Sara Menestral of Paris, who has been trying to find information at the Archives in Paris for Ranson Lege (of De Funiak Springs, Florida), Historian of the Richelieu Leger Family Association, which could possibly link the Richelieu Leger’s to an original family crest. Sara is a researcher (ethnologist) at the CNRS National Center for Scientific Research and works at the Center of North American Studies in the City of Paris. She was most generous with her time with us. We spent an afternoon together at the Bibliotheque Mazarine in Paris, which dates back 300 years, and were so impressed by its magnificence and voluminous collection of very old books, manuscripts, reference books, and the like. However, after researching for several hours without more Richelieu Leger family information than we had, it appeared unlikely that we could link a crest to our family with the little time we had at the Bibliotheque. We then traveled to St. Fargeau and Cosne, where John’s paternal great grandparents (the Fevergeon’s) lived until the 1880’s. This is truly a beautiful area and we felt privileged to spend a few days there. We went on to explore areas of the Loire Valley for the next five days, our destination being Fontevraud L’Abbaye, where previous research indicated that Francois Leger and his wife, Anne Guigande had been married. We arrived at Fontevraud on a beautiful day and inquired of a “storekeeper” where we might go on our genealogy quest. (We found out later that this “storekeeper” was Yves Barte, an architect/artist who does very beautiful work.) He explained to us later that he had been in Quebec and was so impressed with a mural he saw there of the city of Quebec, that he returned home to have a similar drawing done of Fontevraud L’Abbaye as it was in 1699, which is now used in paintings, postcards, and brochures of Fontevraud. Mr. Barte, a very handsome, and very personable gentleman, explained that there had been a number of different spellings of little villages close by, whose names were similar to Fontevraud, and the name Fontevraud L’Abbaye was chosen in recent years, to include them all. He introduced himself to us, asked our names, then left his place of business unattended, to personally escort us to the mayor’s office, which was across a little street, introduced us to the clerk there and explained our mission to him. We were enthusiastically received and promptly went to work, going through the Church records of St. Michel’s church, which is located next to the Abbaye. These are the original church records from the 1600’s . What a sensation it was to go over such old books. The old European-style handwriting of these documents made them difficult to decipher, and it was hard to stifle an outburst, each time we found a document on the Leger’s. I, myself, a non-Cajun, unable to read French, was thrilled beyond words each time I found an entry for the Francois Leger family. We were able to make copies of the following birth, marriage and death records of the “early” Richelieu Leger’s. Our Historian, Ranson Leger, has now translated them in its entirety. In the Book “1579 - 1833: List of Families of Fontevraud”; we found 39 Leger’s listed. However, we were informed that there are no Leger’s living in Fontevraud itself today, although they know of two women who were Leger’s, now married, who live nearby. These are our findings: 1664-Anne Guigand, baptized in St. Michel’s Church, Fontevraud L’Abbaye August 24, 1664. Her parents were: Pierre Guigand, a cordonieur (made shoes) and Anne Boyer. 1667-Francois Leger, baptized in St. Lambert des Levees Parish Church in St. Lambert des Levees, (across the Loire River from Saumur) on May 11, 1667, son of Etienne Leger, laboureur, and Nicolle Chudeau. We visited the mayor of St. Lambert de Levee and made a copy of this information. 1691-Francois (a cordonieu - maker of shoes) and Anne Guingant were married in St. Michel’s Church, Fontevraud L’Abbaye, August 21, 1691. Their children: 1693-Joseph, baptized in St. Michel’s Church, Fontevraud, April 21, 1693. 1694-Jean, baptized in St. Michel’s Church, Fontevraud, November 20, 1694. 1696- Marie, baptized in St. Michel’s Church, Fontevraud, December 10, 1696. 1697-Marie, died February 11, 1697, Fontevraud. 1698-Marie, baptized in St. Michel’s Church, Fontevraud, October 1698. 1698-Francois died April 14, 1698, Fontevraud. In the afternoon, we visited the Church of St. Michel itself. The cornerstone of this church was laid in 1669. We took many snapshots of the inside of the church. It is very beautiful and has many relics. We photographed the baptismal font where Michel and his siblings were baptized. Another photograph we have is of a plaque on one wall of the church, listing parishioners who died in the Resistance or in World War I (1914 - 1917). (All churches in the Loire Valley have a plaque, commemorating their dead veterans.) The plaque in St. Michel’s lists two Leger’s who died between 1914 - 1918. We then traveled to Nantes hoping to find information on the death of Michel in France or attempt to discover when and how and when Michel Prospere went to Louisiana. We telephoned a Marc Braud (who had been in touch with Ranson previously), as he had indicated he would help us if he could. However, when we contacted him, he did not have anything new to offer and did not know of the Fontevraud connection. Nantes, being a very large, very busy city was difficult for us to get to the Archives in the time we had , so no further research was done there. On our way to La Rochelle, we stopped in the little village of Lege and had a delightful visit in the Office of Tourism. They told us that we were the first Americans to visit their office. We had taken along copies of information about the town of Lege that Ranson had sent us. It included a picture of the mayor taken a few years ago. When we met the Mayor, and showed him his picture and the newspaper article, he was amazed, to say the least. We had quite a chat there, and they promised to send us the background on the crest that the Lege village uses, as they didn’t know what it stood for, even though they used it everywhere. We were told there were no Lege’s living in that village either! On to La Rochelle. We stayed at a Bed and Breakfast about 15 miles from La Rochelle, and, as it was Sunday, we went into the village of Marans for Mass. However, we had about an hour before Mass and decided to explore a tower, in ruins, that we had seen, beautifully lit up, the night before. Surrounding this tower, was a cemetery, which we canvassed, looking for a Leger name (which we had done, unsuccessfully, in several other areas, where we thought a Leger might be found). We did find three Leger’s buried in Marans in 1919, as well as a Pinet grave. The tomb inscription read: “Famille Leger - Bonnaud”. The Pinet tomb inscription was quite lengthy, about a Captain Pinet about 1919, as I recall. Perhaps someday, someone may find these bits of information useful in piecing together the Leger Family history. La Rochelle is a beautiful, old, seaport city, and we walked the streets, wondering if Michel dit Richelieu had walked there as well, hundreds of years ago. We visited the Museum featuring France and the New World, but there was nothing at all there referring to the Grand Derangement at all. There were three floors of artifacts from French conquests in the New World. The only reference to the Acadians was a picture of L’Amittie” on one wall and a mention of the seven ships going to New Orleans. New Orleans itself was featured in one
We're Proud of Louisiana, Our Country
by: Lucy Leger
Taken from an article in "Les Bons Jours" Lafayette, La. monthly newspaper published by The Lafayette Council on Aging, Inc.
The people of Louisiana are a proud breed. Their forefathers came here to this land to settle when they were expelled from Canada. The Acadians build a land almost with their bare hands. They came here with a little of nothing and made something in which to be proud. These people believed in their own efforts and made this country what is is today, even though the deck was stacked against them. Their efforts counted. They had no one to count on but their own ingenuity. They forged their own future. These are the people who built our homeland. They came to a wilderness and dared to build their homes, plow the fertile lands and carve out a future for generations to come. They dared to fight for their beliefs and freedom. They dared to take a chance. These values, these beliefs, may seem old fashioned, but they are the values and beliefs that made this land what it is today. Let's take a moment to remember these forefathers and have pride in our land, its people and the brave pioneers who gave us this land.
Lucy Leger .
Acadiana group to join others in pilgrimage to France Acadian Home, circa 1765, on Belle-Ile-en-Mer, France, where land was allocated to 78 Acadian families deported from Grand Pre region of Nova Scotia. Written by Claire Taylor Published by Lafayette Advertiser 9-1-2013 Karen Pitre Gautreau has traced her Cajun roots back to Nova Scotia, and even found the plot of land there where her grandfather, Jean Pitre, settled before he and other Acadiens were expelled from the country. Now she wants to continue the journey further, back to France, to visit the places where her forefathers landed before they made the move to Louisiana. “We read the books about the expulsion. It was so sad,” said Gautreau, of Baton Rouge, who began tracing her genealogy about 10 years ago. “I wanted to walk the ground where my ancestors were deported.” Gautreau is among 50 people of Acadian descent from Louisiana, Texas and Canada who will leave their homes this week on a pligrimage that will retrace the steps of their ancestors in France. Of those, 28 Louisiana residents will be on board for the trip, including residents from Lafayette, Maurice, New Iberia, Morse, Crowley, Baton Rouge, Prairieville and Lake Charles. Joining them for a Sept. 5 rendezvous in Paris are nine travelers from Texas, six from the Massachusetts and one from South Carolina, said Richard Laurin, tour organizer from Novacadie Tours in Nova Scotia. Rounding out the group are about five Acadians from Canada. Names and faces It’s an odyssey that began in the 1600s, when the French began to settle Canada. Generations were born and died there, never having set foot in France itself. Living in what is now Nova Scotia, Cape Breton Island, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, they eventually formed their own identity as Acadians. In 1713, the mainland of Acadia was surrendered to the British. The Acadians agreed to remain neutral, but as the area became more important strategically, the British wanted an oath of allegiance. After the Acadians refused, the British began mass expulsions in 1755. Some were sent to England, some to the east coast and some to France. Some of the expelled Acadians eventually returned to Canada. In 1785, about 1,600 Acadians who had been deported to France boarded ships sponsored by the Spanish government and made the three-month trip to Louisiana, where the Spanish government gave them land and supplies. They came to be known as les Acadiens, which was eventually shortened to Cajuns. Others expelled from Canada remained in France. Their surnames — Granger, Melancon, LeBlanc, Daigle, Richard and Pitre — are still found in places like Belle-Ile-en-Mer, which the travellers will visit in coming weeks. 'Walk in their footsteps' The Cajun tour group, which leaves Wednesday, will be visiting a number of historic places that had been home to the Cajuns who departed for Louisiana and to those who stayed behind in France. Among those historic places they’ll visit is St. Malo, which served as the port of entry for many Acadians expelled from Canada and the departure point for some as they headed to Louisiana. The group also will visit the old Acadian district of Nantes, which is home to a mural by Louisiana native artist Robert Dafford. The mural depicts Acadians leaving the port of Nantes in 1785 bound for Louisiana. Its twin, also painted by Dafford, is at the Acadian Memorial in St. Martinville and depicts the Acadians’ arrival in Louisiana. Wilson Trahan, 80, of Maurice, is making the trip with his wife, daughter and sister. “My reason for taking that trip is I hope and pray that I can go to a cemetery and find a Trahan,” he said. “We are going to a little church, which is going to make me kneel where my forefathers knelt. We’re going to walk in their footsteps. That will be a great thing for me at 80 years old"
Cajun travelers land in France to trace their ancestral roots
Acadian descendants from Louisiana, Canada and other parts of the United States gather for the first time Thursday evening at the Roissy Companile hotel in Paris. / Claire Taylor, The Advertiser Written by Claire Taylor Published by Lafayette Advertiser 9-6-2013 PARIS, FRANCE — Newcomers in Acadiana sometimes are asked by natives, “Who’s your Mama? Who’s your Daddy? What’s your maiden name?” When more than 45 Acadians met up in Paris on Thursday, they didn’t need to be asked their lineage. They introduced themselves with the surnames of their Acadian forefathers, whether they were from Texas, Boston or Lafayette. Ancestors of the original Acadians — those deported by the British from Canada in the 1750s — flew from British Columbia, the East Coast, Texas and Louisiana to Paris on Thursday to begin a pilgrimage to the ports and towns their forefathers knew. Theses new-generation Cajuns will spend two weeks in France, visiting the places their forefathers lived before settling in Nova Scotia and the places they lived in France before sailing to Louisiana. Some on the trip may, for the first time, meet French residents that share their ancestry and surname. “We’re going to ports like La Rochelle where the Acadians arrived and left,” said Brenda Comeaux Trahan, who helped organize the tour on behalf of Philippe Gustin of the Centre International de Lafayette. “We’re going to a museum where, when you climb the steps of a tower, there are all our names.” Nova Scotia, Canada, was settled by the French in the 1600s. The scrappy people there survived and thrived, eventually coming to identify themselves not as French, but as Acadians. When the British took control, the nation wanted the Acadians to swear an oath to the British crown. When they refused, the British put them aboard ships and deported them to various places, including the East Coast of the United States, England and France. Some made their way early on to Louisiana, where they thrived. Another large group struggling in France took advantage of an offer by the Spanish, who owned part of Louisiana, and sailed for three months in less-than-perfect conditions to begin a new life in Louisiana. Trahan knows what it’s been like for members of the group. She grew up in the farming community of Indian Bayou in Vermilion Parish, wondering why her family spoke French and were Catholics among English-speaking Protestants. At 10, a Cajun teacher presented a lesson on the history of the Acadians. “I made the decision that when I was older I would go to Nova Scotia. I wanted to meet some Comeauxs,” she said. Her mother said in French they won’t know who she is or want to meet her. But it stayed with Trahan, who visited Nova Scotia for the first time in 1993 and met a Comeaux. She has returned many times and made lifelong friends there. “Every Comeaux that I meet broadens who I am,” she said. Like the group embarking on its pilgrimage Thursday, Trahan has made her own pilgrimage to France, walking in the footsteps of her forefathers. She and husband Ray, from Lafayette Parish, visited a Chateau de Comeaux that has existed since the 1600s. The Comeaux family crest was proudly displayed above doors and mantles. “We come from a place where there was no pride,” she said. “I actually believe if they’ve never been here before … these people are going to cry.”
Editorial: Finding Acadian heritage a proud journey Published by Lafayette Advertiser 9-9-13 A group of Louisiana Cajuns are searching for their roots — but not in Canada. These pilgrims are following the genealogical thread back to France, searching for the French origins of their ancestors who, in the early 1600s, settled Acadie, now known as Nova Scotia, Canada. For these Cajuns, this two-week trip that began Sept. 4 has to be a monumental event. They are among a group with a distinct cultural identity, but who until recently knew little of their history. Among these pilgrims, who by now have joined the descendants of other Acadian exiles living in Texas and Boston, is The Daily Advertiser’s reporter Claire Taylor. The Morgan City native is there not only to cover the tour, but also to search out her own French forebears whose children set sail centuries ago to carve a home out of the wilderness of Canada. This has to be the adventure of a lifetime for this group. A genealogist once asked why it is that Cajuns seem to be almost obsessed with their Acadian heritage. The answer: Probably because they grew up knowing very little about it. Before the latter part of the 20th century, the history of French Louisiana consisted of the story of how settlers from France populated the state, but there was no mention of the Acadians. Most Louisiana Cajuns had some vague inkling that their ancestors came from French Canada, but little else. It was not until the last couple of decades of the 20th century that the story of the Acadian exile became common knowledge, sparking an explosion of interest and a hunger for more. That is understandable, given the attempt to suppress the French language and culture of Louisiana by some well-meaning educators in the early 20th century. There was a general sentiment that Cajun culture was not legitimately French, a second-class replica of the real deal. But since then, many Cajuns have traced their genealogy to Canada. Some have attended the Congrès Mondials, reunions of long-lost Louisiana and Canadian cousins who had been separated by centuries of exile. This trip to France is the ultimate next step. As more of the history of the Acadians was revealed, we learned that Le Grand Derangement, the deportation, which went on for at least a decade, was not a direct trip from Acadie to Louisiana. Some of the exiled Acadians — those who survived the depredations on board dangerously overcrowded ships — were sold into indentured servitude along the East Coast of America. Others landed on Caribbean islands. Still others went to France, where their own ancestors had lived more than a century before. Eventually, some of the Acadians made their way to Louisiana, settling mostly in the undeveloped southwestern part of the state. Those Acadians exiled to France were sponsored by the Spanish king to settle Spanish holdings in Louisiana. The group from Acadiana is searching for the French families with whom they share common ancestors. Imagine how they would feel to meet French natives who have last names that sound like their own. In recent decades, the stigma of being Cajun has been replaced by a sense of pride in Acadian culture and traditions. For these voyageurs, this foray into their past is a further validation of their heritage.
Acadiana people find their roots in France
Yellowed records hold important clues Hector Beauchesne of British Columbia searches for his Landry forefather at an Acadian museum in Loudun, France. / Claire Taylor, The Advertiser Written by Claire Taylor Published by Lafayette Advertiser 9-10-2013 LOUDUN, FRANCE — The yellowed document doesn’t seem that impressive and is difficult to read. But to John D. Breaux and Macklyn Breaux Domingue, both of Lafayette, it’s priceless. The document, a copy of a baptismal record from Notre Dame Church in Loudun, France, proves their forefather, Vincent Breaux, lived in the region before leaving his homeland in 1642 to help colonize Canada. The brother and sister traveled to France last week with a group of Acadien descendants from Canada and the United States tracing their forefathers’ footsteps in France before and after their deportation by the British in the 1700s. For some, like John D. Breaux and Domingue, it has been an emotional journey. They sat in the Notre Dame Catholic Church, built in the 14th century, the same church that they now know Vincent Breaux visited. The faded baptismal record of his godchild lists Vincent Breaux as her sponsor. “I have goose bumps,” John D. Breaux said Sunday outside the same church. “They prayed here.” The Acadian museum in Loudun had other surprises for the Acadien ancestors. Hector Beauchesne of British Columbia, Canada, confirmed that an Acadien Landry is his ancestor. A baptismal record from the church indicates she was a godmother at a ceremony in La Chaussee, France. As Beauchesne made his discovery, standing nearby, Nanette Soileau Heggie and her mother, Cecilia Landry Soileau, both of Lafayette, found a Landry ancestor in their family tree. Their Landry and Beauchesne’s Landry were related. “It’s amazing,” Soileau said. “I had no idea I would find people I’m kin to.” Her daughter was equally excited. “It’s pretty cool to learn you have cousins in British Columbia and that your ancestors were right here,” she said.
Cajun group follows generations-old Ligne
Acadienne to retrace heritage French, Canadian and American 'cousins,' descendants of Acadiens deported from Acadie in the 1700s gathered in Archigny, France, on Monday for food, wine and fellowship. / Claire Taylor, The Advertiser French, Canadian and American descendants of Acadiens deported from Acadie in the 1700s visited the former home of Charles Naquin and Ann Doiron in Archigny, France, on Tuesday. The home, built by the Naquins after deportation, is a museum today. / Claire Taylor, The Advertiser Written by Claire Taylor Published by Lafayette Advertiser 9-12-2013 ARCHIGNY, FRANCE — The line of 38 farmhouses along the two-lane road are all that remain of the Ligne Acadienne — the Acadian line — built in the 1770s. For some, the rustic farmhouses became permanent homes. For others, they were waystations on a decades-long journey that would eventually take them to Louisiana. This week, a group of nearly 50 descendants of Acadiens from Louisiana, Canada and elsewhere in the United States stepped onto land once worked by their forefathers while visiting a special museum here that explains the Acadiens expulsion from Nova Scotia in 1755 and their efforts to build new lives in France. The visit to the museum is part of a 17-day trip throughout France by the travelers to trace their Cajun roots, and many have already found documents and other signs of their ancestors' presence in France before they set sail for Louisiana. Both the French and Acadian flags flew this week over the former farmstead of Acadiens Charles Naquin and Ann Doiron, which today serves as a museum. The walls of the house were built from a mixture of mud and grass that hardened when it dried. Across the road from the Naquin farmhouse still stands the former Guillot-Daigle home. The husband and wife both were Acadiens. Despite the chill and light rain, John and Kathy Hebert of Prairieville walked up a path to the home their Guillot forefather built and occupied more than 200 years ago, to pose for a photograph. The house has been renovated and expanded, and is still being lived in. Although the Acadiens in the 1700s were provided free land, animals, tools and some supplies to build houses and live on, they were not happy in this new land, local officials told the modernday Cajun travelers. They longed for their Acadien homeland and the families and friends torn apart during what is called the Grand Derangement. Their neighbors also weren’t happy when they learned the French government provided these newcomers with free land and exempted them from paying taxes for 30 years. When Acadie in Canada fell into British hands in the 1750s, the Acadiens refused to swear allegiance to the British. They were removed from their homes and deported on crowded ships, sent to places they had never lived and where they often were unwanted. Many ended up in France. Although their forefathers settled Acadie for the French, the Acadiens no longer considered themselves French, either, and many of them lived for more than a decade in poverty in France. The Ligne Acadienne originally linked 58 farms, each comprised of about 32 acres, along a straight path about four miles long, a Boudreaux descendant who still lives in France told the group on Monday. The Marquis Perusse des Cars initiated the effort on behalf of the king to provide farmsteads to Acadiens whose forefathers colonized Nova Scotia for the French starting in the 1600s. When the Spanish government sought people to colonize Louisiana, many of the Acadiens in France took advantage of the offer, sailing to Louisiana for free and receiving land grants and supplies to once again start a new life.
Who is "Gene"?
Eugene Lourice Lege, a descendant of Michel Prosper, Alexandre Leger, was born in Abbeville, Louisiana.
He married Margaret Minor, then, subsequently married his long time wife, Patsy Ann Whitten.
Gene and Pat are long time residents of Houston Texas , where they have built and run their own business.
Gene is a valued member of the Richelieu-Leger Family Association. He has always contributed his time, ideas, and and money to make the association a wonderful way to reunite extended family members.
With all his many activities, he never forgets his Louisiana connections to his family and the Richelieu Leger Association and is a familiar face at meetings and reunions.
Who is "Lou?"
Lou A. Leger was born to a Leger descendant of Michel Prosper Leger and a Broussard in Duson La. Lou was the eleventh of twelve children. nine of the twelve siblings survived to adulthood. Lou lived with her parents on a tenant farm until the death of her father in 1953, She then moved with her family to Lafayette, where she went to High School. After graduation, she worked for the phone company for a few years. She then moved to New Orleans and began a job with Shell Oil Co., where she worked her way up from a clerical position to Sr. Geophysical Technician. Lou retired in 1991 and helped care for her aged Mother until her death. Lou then went back to Shell for a few more years until her final retirement in 1999. Lou now spends her time traveling, birding, reading, growing Bonsai, doing Genealogical research and overall, just enjoying time with family and friends. Even though she has no children, she has taken in numerous stray animals throughout the years and given them a good home. Lou has been a member of the Richelieu Leger Family Association and has served on the Board of Directors As well as Genealogist, Web Master, and Publishing the Associa on’s Books.
Who is "Ray"
John R. "Ray" Lege, currently a board member and treasurer of the Richelieu Leger Family Association, was born on a farm near Abbeville, La. He is the oldest of three children born to Percey "Kaplan" Lege and Zoie L. Lege, who were tenant farmers residing near Abbeville on Coulee Kinney. Ray grew up on the farm and attended Abbeville High School, graduating with honors. During high school, he played varsity basketball and baseball and was selected "All District" in both sports. Ray continued his love of sports after high school by participating in adult softball leagues for several years. Ray married his high school classmate, Clara Joyce Hebert (Currently our membership chairperson), and they had eight children. One of their oldest Bonnie (one of twin girls) died at the age of ten. The other twin has served as the Assoc.'s secretary and newsletter editor as well as on numerous reunion committees. All seven living children graduated from Vermillion Catholic High School and all are college graduates -- three of which have masters degrees -- and all seven are current members of the Richelieu Leger Family Association. Ray, an accountant who is semi-retired, has worked as controller of the C. S. Steen Syrup Mill in Abbeville since 1986. Prior to that, he worked his way up from assistant payroll clerk to office manager for the Diamond Crystal Salt Company at Jefferson Island, La. from 1952 until 1986. Ironically, it was on his birthday, November 20, 1980, when the salt dome was pierced by a drilling rig and Lake Pigneur emptied into the salt mine, causing the plant to eventually close in 1986. Ray is a past president of both the Mt. Carmel Elementry School Board and the Vermillion Catholic High School Board, Past president of the Mt. Carmel-Vermillion Catholic Home and School Association and past vice-president of the Vermillion Catholic Athletic Association. He was also an assistant coach in Little League and Babe Ruth baseball for several years. Ray has been a member of the Knights of Columbus for the past 48 years and has been a lector at St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church for 36 years. When he is not working or babysitting one of his sixteen grandchildren or his great grandson, Ray spends his time playing golf, dancing, playing cards and watching sports and news programs on TV. Ray and Joyce presently live in Abbeville on Coulee Kinny Drive, only about five miles from his birthplace.
Who is "Arine"
Arine LÈGER PREJEAN Arine, a descendant of Michael Prosper Leger, is currently a Board member of the Richelieu Léger Family Association. She was born in Duson, LA, and lived on a farm. She graduated from high school, having played basketball for four years, making All-Stars and All-State. Arine married, had her first child, then moved to New Orleans, where she had another child. She moved back to Lafayette in the mid sixties where she is currently living. She now has six children who are all grown and live away with busy lives of their own. Three children are married and she has three grandchildren. Her youngest child is in the military. Arine is a seamstress who makes unique and personal craft items, quilts of all sizes, including T-shirt quilts. In her spare time, she likes to type and play games on the computer, do gardening and work in her yard with all kinds of plants. She particularly likes houseplants. Her husband has been known , which he often does, to pick up dead plants that stores throw out and take them home to Arine so she can see if she can revive them
Who is "Joycie"
Joycie Lege Broussard Joycie was born to Percy “Kaplan” Lege and Zoie LeBlanc Lege who were tenant farmers on Coulee Kinney Road in Abbeville. She attended Abbeville High School and graduated with honors. Immediately after graduation, Joycie married James Curtis Broussard and moved to Venice, La. Since Curtis was in the oilfield for 45 years, they moved around for 17 years to different cities in Louisiana and then To Houston Texas until they came home in 1972 after Curtis’ father died. Joycie babysat everywhere they lived to help supplement their income. She operated her own day care center where they live now from 1994 to 2000. In 2000, her husband retired and they started traveling. They own a 5th wheel camper and belong to the Good Sam Organization. Curtis is President and Joycie is Secretary of the local Acadiana chapter. They also belong to the state chapter and staff, helping to organize Samborees for hundreds of campers twice a year. Joycie serves in public relations where she helps put on tours. She also belongs to Vermillion Volunteers for Family and Community, Inc. (VVFC), a woman’s organization that works towards funding scholarships for girls and boys interested in education. Joycie lives on a farm between Abbeville and Maurice where they raise cattle, only four miles from the farm where she was born and grew up. She and Curtis have six children, fifteen grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and are expecting three more. Joycie is a Charter member of the Richelieu Leger Family Association and has been a member of the Reunion Committee since 2001. She is currently Co-chair and has been a board member since 2002. She currently serves as Secretary for the Association. Joycie has graciously opened her home for every Annual Membership meeting that has not taken place at a reunion, as well as most of the Board of Directors meetings. Her contribution to the association has been greatly appreciated.
Who is "Sue"
Sandra "Sue" Lege Neveaux was born in Abbeville, La. to Minus Paul Lege and Neoma Marie L. Lege. She attended Mt. Carmel Elementary from 1st to 7th grade before transferring to, and graduating from Meaux High School. Graduating year was significant for Sue. She finished High school in May, got married in September, and also went to State Board in Baton Rouge to take exam to become a hairdresser, all in the same year. Sue has been married to Kenneth Paul Neveaux for 45 years. They have three daughters, and two grandchildren. Despite the love they both have for their daughters, the main subject of their pride and joy are their two grandchildren. Ken is employed with Apache Corporation and Sue is a homemaker and part-time hairdresser. They both enjoy traveling, hunting, fishing and spending time with family and friends. Sue is very proud to be a member of the Richelieu Leger Association. Sue is one of the first Lifetime/Charter members of the association, has been a board member since 2001 and has been chairperson or cochairperson of every reunion ever since. She is very humble and does not hesitate to praise the efforts of all the hard working board members. Sue has also served as Vice president of the Association for the past several years. According to Sue, "Together we have made a successful organization that provides camaraderie and knowledge of genealogy that is so important in keeping our ties with family!"
Who is "Butch"
ALBERT J. "BUTCH" LEGER
Born in Rayne, L.A., Butch is a 10th generation Acadian descended from Michel Prosper Léger. He is the youngest of three children born to Ulgere Léger and Elizabeth Trahan, tenant farmers residing near the Ossun Community. Elizabeth died of childbirth complications less than a day following the birth of her son. Weighing all of five pounds at birth, he acquired this nickname in the hospital from his sister's boyfriend (Judge Allen Babineaux). His family moved to Lafayette when he was two, where he was brought up by his sister. When Butch was five, his sister married Judge Babineaux, who became a member of their household where he was joined later by a nephew and two nieces. He grew up on the north side of Lafayette, where the judge's parents operated a country store. This afforded him the opportunity to learn to speak French and appreciate his Acadian heritage. Butch attended St. Genevieve Elementary School where he participated in city league athletics and was an altar boy. He also served as a Page in the Louisiana Legislature for four years. He graduated from Teurlings High School in 1964, where he lettered in four sports, was class president, student council president, attended academic rally, was a delegate to Pelican Boy's State and received the American Legion Award. He completed his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science at USL in 1967, and received his Juris Doctor Degree from Loyola University School of Law in 1971, after a one-year sabbatical to complete reserve military training. He was admitted to the Bar in October, 1971, and since then, has been actively engaged in the private practice of law, presently as a partner with his nephew, Mark Allen Babineaux, in the firm of Leger and Babineaux. He is one of a select few bilingual attorneys capable of handling legal matters in both English and French. Butch is married to Christine Truxillo, and together they have five children (his- Stephanie and Brian, and hers - Amy, Stacy and Joey) and one grandchild, Caleb. Butch is a member in good standing of the Lafayette, LA and American Bar Associations. He is a past officer and board member of the Rotary Club of Lafayette, past president of the St. Genevieve - Teurlings PTO, past chairman and member of the St. Genevieve - Teurlings School Board, past chairman and current member of the Msgr. Teurlings Foundation, past Commodore and current board member of the Cypremort Yacht Club, charter member, past secretary and current president of the Richelieu Leger Family Association; and past member of the Lafayette Parish Notarial Commission. He was also an assistant coach in Little League baseball and junior high basketball. Hobbies for Butch include sailing (cruising and racing), deer hunting and saltwater fishing. Other interests include Acadian Genealogy, woodworking and traveling.
Who is "Evelyn"?
Evelyn (Perry) Lege was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, and is a Pearl Harbor survivor. Hawaii had very strict war-time conditions throughout the war: blackouts, gas/food rationing, barbed-wire beaches, dusk curfews, air raid drills, and even at schools, many buildings were used by the many services. Working for the war effort was uppermost in everyone's minds during those war years, and Evelyn was no exception. Immediately after graduating from High School, she went to work at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, eventually becoming personal secretary to five different Rear Admirals who were successive Shipyard Commanders. Shortly after WWII began, she met a young sailor, a submariner from Abbeville, La. (John Lege) who became her husband in Honolulu shortly after the end of the war. They eventually settled in Napa, California when John began work for the Mare Island Naval Shipyard. He retired as a Project Engineer in the Design Division. They have four sons and now have four grandsons. Over the years Evelyn gave private piano lessons, and eventually retired from the Napa Valley Unified School District. She has volunteered as the Music Minister at their Parish Church for over thirty years, serving as organist and choir director. Evelyn says "John and I have a wonderful mutual hobby of collecting our family histories, and this love and interest in family, even though I am not a Cajun, became the motivational factor in the founding of the Richelieu Léger Family Association. I pay tribute to Butch, our President, for agreeing to "give it a try" to organize a Léger Family Association, and successfully so; to Ranson, our Historian, who gave me much encouragement and inspiration with his dedication to Léger History; to Sue (Lege) and Ken Neveaux for their support in Acadiana to get us started, to Loubert Trahan, for giving me a "name" for possible contact to begin with at the '99 Congrès in Louisiana. Thus the Richelieu Léger Family Association became a reality. We have an active Association that Légers everywhere can be proud to belong to.
Let's keep it strong by active support."
Who is "Ranson"
Ranson Paul Lege was born on a farm on the east bank of the vermillion River, two miles north of Abeville, La. He is the son of Demosthene (Edward) Lege, son of Adras and Lezida Celestine Marceaux of Kaplan, and Lucille Anna M. of Abbeville. He attended school in Kaplan and Sulphur, La., and Port Arthur, Tx., where he graduated as an honor student from Thomas Jefferson High School. The next day, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, serving for twenty-three years, retiring as a Chief Warrent Officer of the Supply Corps. He married Mildred (Millie) Joyce G. of Houston, Tx.. They have two children and one grandchild. While in the Navy, he was stationed aboard the USS Gen. A.E. Anderson TAPIII, the USS Strong DD758, and the USS AultDD698, at the Fleet Training Center, Pearl harbor, Oahu; at the Defense Atomic Support Agency, Alberquerque, NM; at the Navy ordance test unit, Patrick Air Force Base, Cocoa beach, Fl.; at the Navy Mission to Peru, (Lima); at the Naval station, Kodiak, AK.; and at the Navy Supply Corps School, Athens, Ga. He is a graduate of the Sanz Spanish Language School, a six-month contracted school of the Defense Language Institute, Washington, D.C. and the seven-month Warrant Officer Indoctrination and Navy Supply Training Course, Athens, Ga. During his Nave career he visited nineteen foreign countries, during which time he traveled some 300,000 miles at sea, surviving several typhoons in the Pacific and hurricanes in the Atlantic. His most memorable and notable experiences were: the recovery of an unmanned Mercury capsule called "Little Joe" in 1959; his participation in the 1959 NATO excercise, operating in the Norweigian Sea and above the Artic circle; . his tour of duty at Patrick Air force Base (1962-1965)
Various pronunciations for the name have been found. Leger, "lay-zhay" in the region of Normandy, France - according to Britannica Encyclopedia 1969, Vol 9, p. 531 Three variations were found in the book Beloved Acadia of My Ancestors, by Brother Yvon Leger. There are: Leger, "lay-jay" in Quebec, Canada In Acadia, the feminine form Legere, is pronounced "lay-jair" while the masculine form Leger is pronounced "lay-jay" "Lege" is also pronounced "lay-zhay" according to the Columbia Lippincott Gazetteer of the World, Columbia University Press, N.Y. Variations of the spelling are Legier, Laugier, Liget, Liguez, Legere, Liger, Liogier, Ledger and Lege.
It is asked why there are so many variation in French names...and there are many, which obviously makes our “task” that much more difficult...but interesting! The following article (one of the many hundreds on the “In Search of Our Acadian Roots” CD-ROM) has been translated and is reproduced here with thanks to Claude Perrault and the Socièté Généalogique Canadienne Française. Translation of SELECTED PARTS of “Les Variances des Noms Propres et des Prénoms et leurs Surnoms”, by Claude Perrault...published by Loisirs St-Edouard Inc., 1981-1982.
Where did the variations of a name come from?
A1. The spelling of names in Canada, from the discovery of Jacques Cartier, in 1534, and in the two centuries following, was not fixed (or stable). We could add that this was so, for part of the 19th Century, as well.
What were the reasons for that?
A1. Because, at the time, few people were literate. In fact, you can discover in almost every parish register, this phrase: “ils ont déclaré ne savoir signer et ils ont fait leur marque ordinaire, c’est a dire, une croix” (they have declared not knowing how to sign and made an ordinary mark, that is to say, a cross (or “X”).). Is this last phrase 100% true? Surely not, for we have found many acts where the witnesses were physicians, notaries, engineers etc. whom, accord to the officiating minister, were people who did not know how to sign their name? One can therefore ask why the officiating minister acted in such a way. Was it to save paper? It’s possible, but one thing is certain; the officiating minister did not (always) collect all the signatures of those who could sign their names, nor did he note all the witnesses present at the ceremonies. Besides, the officiating minister, or the person who transcribed the double of the register for civil archives, often did this task at a later date, when the witnesses were no longer there to sign!The same phrase can also be found in notarized acts, and there again, it is not necessarily 100% true (that they were unable to sign their name). You will see this for yourself in your research, when you compare both versions of the register...that of the parish and the double. Similarly, you’ll find the same thing when you compare the originals of the notarized acts and the copies.
A2. Because people pronounced their names differently, depending on the region they originated from. From there, to write the name according to the sound of it...there is only a short step for the ministers, notaries and all the public officials...whatever their function...who nevertheless had to write down the name. Example: Payet, Peyet, Paillet, Payette or (even closer to home)...Sire, Syre, Cyre, Cyr.
A3. Because in the registers, the officiating ministers indicated the name that they were “told”, or those that they heard pronounced. In both cases, they wrote the name their own way and according to their knowledge of French. Example: Miet, Millet, Myet, Millette, etc.
A4. Because some ministers were careless and did not attach too much importance to the registration they were making, be it for baptisms, marriages, or sepultures. Example: Claude Bussot dit Lacouture had 19 children baptized at Lavaltrie. The name of his wife varies at nearly every one of these baptisms!
Why does the variation of a name go all the way to its total transformation, for different reasons?
A1. The location of the residence, with names such as: Des Rochers, Des Ruisseaux, Des Pères, Durivage, Du chesne, Du mont, Du pont, La vallé, La montagne, La rivière, etc. Examples:
A2. The place of origin, with names like Tourangeau, Poitevin, Champagne, Picard, d’Anjou, Saintonge, Provenal, Bourguignon, Languedoc, etc. Examples:
A3. The occupation practiced; such as miller, blacksmith, well-man (in charge of a “well”), ferry-man (who would transport people, goods and livestock in his ferry), baker, stone carrier, harvester, tanner (selling or working with animal hides), spoon-maker, trader in salt, tailor, etc. Examples:
A4. The profession; such as lawyer, teacher, constable etc. Examples:
By whim or fancy...and even grudge and mockery.
Examples: Billeron; became LaFatigue
Rocan dit la ville; became Bastien
Ledoux; became Latreille
Seguin; became Ladroute
Because of one’s financial situation, military, or other.
Nicholas Boyer; became Nicholas Argent
Court Perrault; became Chateauguay
The shame of a personal past...or of one’s relatives, after a crime had been committed...or, for any other reason judged sufficiently serious by the person involved, such as exercising the occupation of executioner.
Note: See Andre Lachance’s volume on the executioners of New France, entitled “Le bourreau au Canada sous le Regime francais” (the executioner in Canada, under the French Regime), published by the Societe d’Histoire du Quebec, Cahiers d’Histoires vol. euphonics or the difficulty of pronouncing a name.
Cuvillon; became Quevillon
Delquel; became Dziel
How were some of the modifications of the names done by usage?
By subtraction of certain letters.
Houde; became Houd
Pelletier; became Peltier
Rivest; became Rivet
By modification of the ending.
Aur; became Auray
Leclerc; became Leclair
Perrot; became Perrault/Perreault etc.
By the introduction of certain letters into the name:
Examples: Houde; became Houlde
Hunault; became Henau
Chalifou; became Chalifour
Guillon; became Guyon
By the ommission of the first syllable:
Thiboutot; became Boutot and Bouthat
By another name meaning about the same thing:
Example #1: Roquebrune; became Larocque (to express solidity, firmness, hardiness).
Note: The following e-mail message was subsequently received from Robert Black... “Just a short note about the variations of the names. One of the names used was Larocque & Rocquebrune. It says “Roquebrune; became Larocque (to express solidity, firmness, hardiness).” This is totally wrong, the original name is Larocque meaning a tour or keep as the rook in the game of chess. The name Rocquebrune came from a town once owned or controled by the Larocque family of Larocque-Ordan in the department of Gers in France. Rocquebrune is about 15 km away and still has a tower standing made of redish brown stone hence Roquebrune, I have been to both places. The Chateau of Larocque has the remnants of a tower built in about 1050 as part of the foundation. My mother was born a Larocque-Rocquebrune. Robert Black
To use a factual case, let’s take the one of Yolande CYR published in “Cahiers Gen-Histo” no. 1, on page 19. One notes in her lineage, that there is a Pierre CYR married on 6-11-1828 at Ste-Scholastique, to Julienne Larocque, daughter of Antoine and Genevieve Choret. If one looks for this last marriage under the name Larocque, it is not found! Because Antoine married under the name of Antoine de Rocbrune. Another source of difficulty in your research, will come from variations (or the total cnaging) of the first name, as in the following examples:
1. At baptism, the person receives certain first names, where the last listed is usually the one by which he/she is known throughout his/her life....whereas, in France the opposite is customary!
2. At marriage (or death), if the person has been known throughout his/her life by a first name that does not appear among the ones given at baptism...and he/she marries or is buried under the “usual” name, this will of course, cause difficulties to his descendants and to the researchers. Example: Wilfred Vzina married to Philomne Payette dite St-Amour.
Translating some excerpts of well-known and respected historians is all well and good, but these tend to give the impression to the readers, that these changes only occurred in New France...or that these names were mutilated only in the United States.
Eventhough I (Claude Perrault) will translate several sources, all the reasons for the name changes, are not necessarily found there.Here is a case from my own (Claude Perrault) tree which happened not THAT long ago. It just may give insight as to how some name changes could have occurred.My maternal granfather’s name was Joseph-Edouard Walsh (now you know where the red hair comes from). In any case, he was the eldest of twelve children. The first six were baptized”Walsh”, as was their father and grandfather. THEN, for whatever reason, theparish (in the county of Portneuf) received a new parish priest. The latter baptized the last six...”Welsh”, When the six younger ones started school, they had to bring their “birth certificates”. There, the school mistress, seeing the name on the birth certificates, proceeded to admonish the youngsters whenever they claimed their name was “Walsh”. “Obviously”, scolded the teacher, “it is Walsh”...that was what was entered on all their birth certificates! She decided that this was how they should learn how to pronounce and sign their name!
In a nutshell, today I, (Claude Perrault) have cousins whose names are “Walsh” and I have other cousins, whose name are “Welsh”. All are descendants of the same couple.
Military Names (“Noms de guerre”) In “Les Institutions Militaires de la Nouvelle-France et les Archives” by Louis Lemoyne (published by Loisiers St-Edouard Inc., Montreal, 1981-1982), there are some lists of “noms de guerre”. What is surprising (and this is something that I [Claude Perrault] had not noticed before), is that the officers as well as the enlisted men had “noms de guerre”. Also, I can’t help but notice all the humorous names. In the great, great majority of cases,we will never know the stories behind those names...which is really too bad!. Nevertheless, here are a few...with their meanings...and I’ll let imagine how they came to be! The number in brackets, indicates how many individuals bore that “nom de guerre” in the registers of the invalids found at the hospital called, l’Institut National des Invalides” (France). I’ll just go through the “B’s” and “C’s”, and pick only a few examples, to give you an idea.
Bonnenouvelle (10) -> good news
Bonne volont (17) -> good will Bon Vivant (14) -> enjoys the good things in life
Bristetout (10) -> breaks everything
Brizefer (30) -> breaks everything (iron)
Brulevillage (11) -> burns village
Boit sans Soif (5) -> drinks without thirst
Bouteille (2) -> bottle
Brisemenage (2) -> home-breaker
Brulemaison (2) -> burns house
Cinq Franc (1) -> five francs
Coeur ardent (1) -> flaming heart
Clefs des Coeurs (2) -> keys to the hearts
Cupidon (3) -> cupid
Cur (1) -> priest
And just so Dick Miale doesn’t feel left out...in the company of the 2nd Grenadiers of the Royal-Italian Battalion in 1763, we find that Antonio Risso and Georges Vanetti, both had the “nom de guerre”...”Colosso” (both measured 5’, 8”). In general, the names of this company, ressembles very much those of the French soldiers, with “noms de guerre” like Bonvino, Il Terrible, La Vigna, Belamose, Senza Quartier and, of course, Viva l’amore.
Extract from the U.S. Census of 1820 for Madawaska
NOTE: This Census was taken by English-Americans who spoke and understood little (if any) French.
The resultant Census shows that:
Alexis Thibodeau became Alevey Tebedore
Joseph became Joseph Markcue
Henri Tardif became Henri Turdey
Louis Ouellette became Lewis Willet
Joseph Sanfacon became Joseph Sanpeshow
Susan Thibodeau became Susan Tibedore
Beloni Martin became Belon Martin
Bartis Maurice became Bartis Morris
Charles Beaulieu became Charles Bolio
Merclure-McClure became Peter PcCure
Germain Morreau became Jerman Morio
Basil Martin became Basil Martin
Larion Violette became Larison Violet
Louis Sanfacon became Lewis Sanpishow
Francis Cormier became Francis Carney
Frederick Theriault became Fredric Tario
Fred Theriault became Sion Fred Tario
Pierre Cormier became Peter Camio
Olivier Thibodeau became Olivier Tibedore
Larion Bellefleur became Lario Bellfley
Nicolas Pelletier became Nicholas Pelkey
Jean Boutot became John Betuhe
Jean B. Thibodeau became John B. Tibedore
Henrie Vasseur became Henry Versier
Larion CYR became Loron Sear
Pierre Pelletier became Peter Pelt
Germain Soucis became Germain Sourire
Jerome Morreau became Jarom Mario
Barnum Boucher became Barnum Bushiere
Germain Joshia became Jermain Joshia
Jean-Baptiste Joshia became Betis Joshia
Clement Simon became Lems Simirron
Joseph Michaud became Joseph Mashau
Guillaume Chasse became Gruino Chasse
Alorie Leclerc became Alare An L’Clare
Alexis CYR became Elecis CYR
Benjamin Nadeau became Benjamin Nador
Louis Bellefleur became Lewis Belflour
Jean-Baptiste Lausier became Batis Lewsure
Honore Levasseur became Harris Laushiere
Charles Ayotte became Charles Adyet
Jean CYR became John Sier
Joseph Genest became Joseph Jenian
Laurent Genest became Lorent Jenian
Francis Doucette became Francis Dorsett
Firmin Doucette became Pherman Dusett
Paul Thibodeau became Paulet Tibedore
Antoine Gagne became Anthony Gange
Louis Mercure became Lewis Mecure
Levite Leclerc became Levy Clare Since the above noted (right-hand side) is the actual spelling as it appears in the old records, I think by now you must all have a better appr
eciation as to why researching Acadian/French names, is NOT always an easy task!
The following information was obtained from Linda Jones and provides a good explanation (as well as many examples) of “dit names” One thing that can make it difficult to find your ancestor is that he may have been using a different surname from the one that you expect. You will need to make yourself aware of any “dit” names that might be associated with the surname you’re tracing, and if you can’t find someone under the name of his child, you may find him under the dit name.
“Dit” in French means “say” and in this context, it means “called.” In other words, a person might be Pierre Bourbeau dit Lacourse, which means that he had an ancestor named Bourbeau, but he chooses to use the name Lacourse instead. So he is Pierre Bourbeau called Lacourse. People might take a dit name to distinguish their family from another family of the same name living nearby. Often it was a sort of nickname, often picked up during service as a soldier. Or it might refer to the place in France where the family originated. Sometimes it the father’s first name was used, either instead of the surname (for example, Hebert dit Emmanuel) or in addition to it (Jeanbard, Castonquay). In any case, very often the dit name was passed down to later generations, either in place of the original surname, or in addition to it. Some of his children might then keep the original surname (e.g. Barbeau), and some might use the dit name (e.g. Lacourse). After a few generations, it’s not uncommon to completely lose the memory of the original name, or to forget which was the original and which was the dit name. The best example of this is the Hudon dit Beaulieu family, where you will often find people listed as Beaulieu dit Hudon. You sometimes might find a name and its dit name hyphenated, as in François HudonBeaulieu. In fact, you can generally assume that a hyphenated surname (before 1950, anyway) is the surname plus dit name. Just remember that any Hudon might be the child of a Beaulieu and vice versa.
Some surnames, such as Roy, have had several different dit names. You should be aware that usually a different dit name indicates a different family. For example, Siméon Roy dit Audy and Antoine Roy dit Desjardins were not related to each other. So it helps us to distinguish who’s who among their descendants if the descendants use a dit name. Pierre Roy dit Audy will be a descendant of Siméon, and François Roy dit Desjardins will be a descendant of Antoine. If you find a source which tells you, for example, that Pierre Audy is François Desjardins’ father, you should be very suspicious. The sources you use may give the name as it appeared in the original document, or may list all the Hudons and Beaulieus together, under either name. Jette has standardized spellings, and leaves out “de” when alphabetizing, but he is faithful to the original surname of the family. So whether you’re looking for a Hudon, a Beaulieu, or a Hudon-Beaulieu, they’re all listed together under “H.” Other sources may list the same person many different places, and some sources consider Beaulieu to be more common, and therefore they place the Hudons under “B.” Don’t assume a marriage or birth isn’t listed until you’ve exhausted all possible names and spellings. And don’t forget to check under the many spelling variations that were common. Any name that starts with a vowel, for example, might also be found with an H in front of it (Emond, Hemond, Ayot, Hayot). And the “o” sound at the end of a name might be spelled ot, eau, au, ault, eault, eau, aux, eaux, aud, or aut.
Following is a partial list of dit names and their equivalents. You can also find extensive lists of dit names in Jette and Tanguay.
Acelin - Asselin
Elie - Breton, Hélie
Agnier - Haguenier
Alarie - Lart
Emery - Coderre
Émond - Edmund
Albert - Beaulieu
Eschambault - Fleury
Allaire - Daillaire
Estiambre - Sansfacon
Amiel - Miel
Etienne - Bourguet, Clérin
Amiot - Lincourt, Villeneuve, Vincelot
Fafard - Boisjoli Amirault -
Mirault Fauteux - Bonsecours