Several months ago, I shared in a previous blog post titled Finding Ancestral Proof on Paper and in Stone how in 2007, I visited Montreal, Canada, and found the city charming. In one particular area, called the Place d’Armes (parade ground), which dates back to the 17th century, stands a monument dedicated to five of the early settlers of Montreal who arrived in 1642. See more here.
The monuments in both Montreal and one New Orleans depict several French and French Canadians who were credited with settling New France, which covered a larger part of northeastern Canada and would later include an area known as French Louisiana. This might appear to be an unlikely ancestral connection for me, a native New Orleanian; however, this is where the research of my ancestral lineage gets interesting.
Using a number of colonial documents such as baptism, marriage, and death records found in the Archives in Ottawa Canada, Illinois, and Louisiana, and also a few published biographies, I have identified my 9th generation great-grandmother, Anne Lemoyne. Her marriage to Michel Messier dit St Michel in 1658 connects me to Canada’s early founders pictured above.
Between 1634 and 1662, 262 filles à marier or “marriageable girls” emigrated to New France, representing one-quarter of all the single girls arriving in New France through 1673. They were recruited and chaperoned by religious groups or individuals who had to assure and account for their good conduct. In general, they were poor, although there were some members of the petty nobility among their ranks, according to Peter Gagné author of “Before the King’s Daughters, Filles a Marier, 1634 – 1662. See the short video of Anne Lemoyne from Have Roots, Will Travel below:
Anne Lemoyne played a significant role in the settlement of French Canada and secured her position in history as a matriarch in my French ancestral line in North America. Anne Lemoyne was baptized on July 26, 1638 at St Jacques, Petitbourg, Rouen, Normandy, France. Though she arrived with her family, she may have been eligible for the Filles á Marier program, since she had been born in France and was contracted to marry Michel Messier. The wedding took place on February 25, 1658, in Montreal. (Gagné, 2002, pg 201-202)
Michel Messier was born on July 11, 1640, at St. Denis, Rouen, Normandy, France, the son of David Messier and Marguerite Bar. He and Anne had twelve children before her death on July 15, 1725, at Vercheres, Varennes, Quebec. Michel died on November 3, 1725. To view property granted to Michel Messier dit St Michel see here.
Children of Anne LeMoyne and Michel Messier dit St Michel were:
Catherine Messier was born on July 11, 1659, in Montreal and died on March 15, 1703, in Vercheres. She married Etienne Gentes on November 28, 1678, in Montreal. She had at least three daughters.
Jeanne Messier was born on June 18, 1661, in Montreal, She married Ignace Hebert on January 31, 1679, and had a daughter Marguerite. She died on August 6, 1699, in Varennes.
Marie-Anne Messier was born on August 2, 1665, in Montreal. She married Jean Brodeur on January 31 1679 in Boucherville. The couple had six children. Following the death of her husband, she married Alexandre Petit on January 8, 1721, in Varennes. She died on December 13, 1751, in Varennes.
Anne was born on November 12, 1667, in Montreal. She died on January 1, 1668, in Montreal.
Anne was born on December 21, 1668, in Montreal. She died on January 29, 1669, in Montreal.
Anne Messier was born on February 5, 1670, in Montreal. She married Gabriel Lambert Duclos Deselle on August 26, 1687, in Boucherville. The couple had thirteen children. She died on March 15, 1720 in Sainte-Anne-de-Varennes, Vercheres Quebec Canada, (Cap Saint-Michel) (ile Sainte Therese).
Gabrielle Messier was born on May 2, 1672, in Montreal. She died on Jun 5, 1682, in Boucherville then ten years old.
Jean-Michel was born on 31 May 1674 in Boucherville. He died en route to Fort Louis de la Mobile in the Month of April 1705.
Marguerite Messier was born on May 24, 1676, in Montreal. She married Pierre-Charles LESUEUR on March 29, 1690, in Boucherville. She had five children. She died on March 5, 1741, at Fort Louis de la Mobile, Louisiana.
An unnamed child was born on August 20, 1678, in Montreal. His burial took place on August 22, 1678, in Montreal.
Francois-Michel Messier was born in 1679 probably in Varennes. He first married Marie-Anne Amyot on February 10, 1706, in Varennes. From this marriage, six children were born including four boys. He married his second wife Marie-Jeanne Duval on October 8, 1725, in Contrecoeur. Again he became a widower. He married his third wife Madeleine Lefabvre on Jul 25, 1729 in St. Francois-du-lac. And finally, he married Angélique Poirier on Jun 8, 1744 in St. Anne-du-Bout-de-Ile. He died on Jun 11 1751 in Varennes.
Rene Messier was born on April 20, 1681, in Varennes. His birth is recorded in Boucherville. On January 18, 1706 in Varennes, he married on August 25, 1718, in Batiscan, Madeleine Guillet with whom he had eight children. It is in Varennes on May 22, 1758, that Rene died.
A couple of Key Figures found in my ancestral tree:
click on the chart below to enlarge it. It starts with my maternal 3rd Generation Great-Grandmother- Rosalie Philomena d’Arensbourg
Return to Family’s Female French Progenitor Discovered, Documented and Claimed
Michael, you are doing very important research which should serve as an inspiration to other descendants of early Louisiana families. Keep up the good work!
Thank you Jari. It has been my goal to learn as much as I can about my Louisiana Creole Ancestry, document it and served as a source of inspiration to others who seek the same. Each time I come across one set of ancestors with interesting stories and beginnings, I look for ways to acknowledge their contribution to our rich colonial louisiana heritage. Hopefully others will do the same and share their success stories.