Pierre Dit Michel MICHAUD and Marie ANCELIN

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Pierre MICHAUD dit Michel (1637-1702) married Marie ANCELIN (1651-1729) at Château Richer in October 1667, according to the parish registers at Notre Dame de la Bonne Nouvelle. The civil contract drafted by Notary Auber on October 2, 1667, was never completed or signed by the notary, but he had a reputation for such oversights.

Pierre was born in 1637, at Fontenay-le-Comte, near Maillézais (Vendée) in Poitou, France, where his parents, Antoine Michel and Marie Train, lived. On March 27, 1656, at age 19, he signed a contract in the office of Notary Moreau in La Rochelle for 3-years’ service in Quebec, where he arrived in June, 1656, on the good ship La Fortune.

Marie was born at La Rochelle and baptized May 7, 1651, at Notre Dame de Cogne, the daughter of Rene Ancelin and of Claire Rousselot. Her mother died in 1661, and Marie came to Quebec with her father and his second wife, Marie Juin, in the spring of 1665. She attended the Ursuline convent at Quebec. She was 16 when she married Pierre. The couple would have ten children.

All during his life, Pierre dabbled in real estate, clearing farms and moving on to the next one. This way of life necessarily entailed many changes of residence for him and his family. From his arrival in 1656 until 1665, he undoubtedly lived on the west (Beaupré) bank of the St. Lawrence. He executed a contract for the sale of land on September 6, 1665, in which he identified himself as “Pierre MICHEL, habitant de la coste de Beaupré”. On June 2, 1667, Monsignor de Laval granted him a 3-acre frontage in St. Jean parish on the Isle d’Orleans, where he was a neighbour or Robert Boulay. By November 19 of that year he was describing himself in an official document, as an inhabitant of that island.

In early 1671, an incident occurred at their Isle d’Orleans home which proved very distressing to Pierre and Marie. It seems that one Mathurin Thibodeau entered into an agreement with Marie’s father, Rene Ancelin, pursuant to which Ancelin would tend Thibodeau’s farm while he was away on a trip. According to Thibodeau’s version, all had gone well until Ancelin prevailed on Pierre to provide room and board for Thibodeau’s wife. She took along to Pierre’s cabin her husband’s dog and gun, both of which she forgot there when she returned home, only to discover later that it was her host’s intention to keep them as payment for her room and board! Pierre lodged a complaint with the procurator stating that, when Thibodeau came to retrieve his property on May 10 or 11, Marie was alone in the cabin and not about to release Thibodeau’s property; whereupon Thibodeau so manhandled her that she took to her bed for days, after having been attended to by a surgeon. Eventually a satisfactory solution was reached. Thibodeau retrieved his property, but had to pay litigation costs. Twenty-six years later, Pierre’s son married Mathurin’s daughter!

It was perhaps in the fall of 1671 that 34 year-old Pierre and 20 year-old Marie, left their Isle d’Orleans neighbours for greener pastures on the Ile-aux-Grues, a small island to the north in the St. Lawrence, off Cap St. Ignace. They would eventually sell their home on the Isle d’Orleans to Jean Morier on September 9, 1673. It was the practice of Pierre Bécard de Granville, Seigneur des Iles-aux-Oies-et-aux-Grues, to place colonists on his land which he ceded to those who showed the necessary interest and industry. Pierre constructed a new home and cleared the land. On July 17, 1674, Bécard de Granville conveyed to him, a six-acre frontage on the Ile-aux Grues. The first five Michaud children, were born there: Pierre, l’ainé (February 11, 1672), Jean Baptiste (January 3, 1674), Marie-Anne (November 12, 1676), Joseph (December 1, 1678), and Pierre le jeune (February 2, 1681).

The principal source of information concerning Pierre and Marie is the writing of Léon Roy, a venerable member of a venerable family of Canadian historians and archivists. An excellent article by Francoise Michaud Dufresne (XXXV SGCF MEMOIRES 163), has also ably supplemented the works of Léon Roy. According to the Dufresne article, the whereabouts of the MICHAUD family became somewhat obscure in late 1681, the indications being that Pierre and Marie may have moved to the mainland, to today’s St. Michel de Bellechasse area… an excellent job (by Dufresne) of pinpointing where they were.

On May 18, 1683, J.B. Francois Deschamps, Seigneur de la Bouteillerie, granted a six-acre frontage on the Ouelle River to “son domestique, Pierre Michel”, only to cancel the grant on grounds of absenteeism. Where was he? Dufresne cites a 1683 document relating to the construction of the first church at Cap St. Ignace, which reveals that Pierre was living on Islet-St-Jean, contributing his labour to the construction of the Church!

Dufresne found other documents that tell us where Pierre was living. Pierre’s name appears on a list dated December 16, 1685, of Cap St. Ignace parishioners who felt their Church was too far away and petitioned their Missionary for permission to erect a Church at l’Islet. She cites the baptismal record of Geneviève, the ninth child of Pierre and Marie, as having been born November 10 and baptized November 25, 1690, at Cap St. Ignace. Geneviève became the only one of their ten children to die in infancy, on December 27, 1690; she was buried at Cap St. Ignace. She also cites the baptismal record of Marie Magdeleine, the tenth and last child of Pierre and Marie. She was baptized by Father Jean Pinguet, the pastor of Rivière Ouelle on February 14, 1692, having been born February 11. At that time Cap St. Ignace and Islet, were missions of Rivière Ouelle, where records of the missions are often found. And finally, she cites a land grant dated October 19, 1695, from Geneviève Couillard to Pierre, in the l’Islet – St. Jean seigniory. Geneviève Couillard, a Seignioresse, was a long-time friend of Pierre and Marie and was using the same reward system as Bécard de Granville. It would appear, therefore, that Pierre and Marie had left l’Ile-aux-Grues for the St. Michel coast, before 1685 and had stayed there until 1692.

On June 30, 1695, Charles Aubert de la Chesnays, Seigneur de Kamouraska, granted Pierre, a 12-acre frontage on the St. Lawrence at Kamouraska. It has a depth of 30 acres and was the largest grant of any in Kamouraska. This would be Pierre’s last move. He appeared before Notary Chambalon on October 16, 1701, in connection with a property agreement, and the notarial document indicated that he was suffering from cancer in the mouth, more quaintly known in the region as “chancre de pipe”.

The date of Pierre’s death was between May 28, 1702, when a notary document shows that his son, Joseph, entered into a contract to marry, and September 15, 1702, when his wife Marie, is described as “a widow” in a contract for the sale of Rene Ancelin’s farm on the Isle d’Orleans. Presumably, Pierre died and was buried in Kamouraska, Quebec. His wife, Marie, died and was buried there April 28, 1729, 27 years after Pierre. It was not until the last years of Pierre’s life, that the family name MICHEL gave way to MICHAUD.

I am very grateful to my uncle Roch Cyr, for having provided me a copy of the above-noted source document, originating from his friend Leo G. Cyr.

The Origin of the MICHAUD name:

The name “Michaud” is a derivative of the name Michel. In effect, the first Canadian Michaud ancestor was named Pierre Michel. It was after some 20 years after being established in Canada (1681), that Pierre Michel changed his name to Pierre “Michaud” (Census of 1681). We have been unable to locate any valid documents, to confirm the reason why Pierre changed his name from “Michel” to “Michaud”. It should be noted however, that it was a common practice in those days, to modify ones surname. After this change, there followed a number of further [temporary] changes to the name. For example, documents indicate that in some instances, the “d” was dropped and the name revised to “Michau”. Other times, the name was spelled “Michaux” or “Michault”. But the most prominent spelling was “MICHAUD”.

Immigration of PIERRE MICHAUD:

Records indicate that PIERRE MICHAUD immigrated to Canada with his widowed mother, Marie Juain, around 1662. They crossed the Atlantic in a boat the size of a present-day “fishing boat” and records confirm they arrived at the “Port de Quebec” in the year 1662. Initially, they established themselves on the North-East side of Beaupre, near Quebec City. A document dated September 6, 1665, indicates that PIERRE MICHAUD sold three acres of land to one Francois Daniau. This sales document was notarized by Claude Aubert.

In the autumn of 1667 at the age of 30 years, PIERRE married Marie Ancelin,who was only 15 years old… a common practice, at the time. Marie had immigrated to Canada with her father, Rene Ancelin, about the same time (1662) which PIERRE and his mother had come to Canada, from France.

In 1670, PIERRE and his wife moved to a farm on L’Ile-aux-Grues on the St.Lawrence River, just below L’Ile D’Orleans, across from Cap St. Ignace. On July 17, 1674 PIERRE received Title for the farm where he had established at L’Ile-aux-Grues, by Seigneur Pierre Becard (Bequart) “Sieur de Granville”. The Title was notarized by Romain Becquet. This legal deed was recorded to one “PIERRE MICHEL”. The Census of 1681 indicates some forty persons resided at L’Ile-aux-Grues, including one PIERRE MICHEL (age 44), his wife Marie Anseline (age 27) and their children, Pierre (10 years), Jean (8 years), Marie (6 years), Joseph (4 years) and Pierre (2 years).

After raising a family of “a few girls and six sons”, PIERRE found it necessary (in 1695) to move his family to the L’Islet/St. Jean area “dans la seigneurie de Kamouraska”. He obtained a Deed to his land on June 30, 1695.

PIERRE died shortly after his arrival in the Kamouraska area, but his sons married and raised families there and records indicate that PIERRE’S descendants “formed at least 50% of the population of Kamouraska”, in 1750!