We spent our first full day in Canada, Sunday, October 1, 2017, touring the upper city, taking in the sights along the Saint Lawrence River, and then driving to Ile d’Orleans to tour the island, and also to look for some of my dead relatives. After spending a nice fall day on the island, that evening we returned to the upper city, where we dined at Aux Anciens Canadiens, one of the finest restaurants in Quebec, to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary.
Promenade des Gouverneurs, Quebec City
Our first excursion of the morning was a walk to the northern end of Quebec City’s famed Promenade des Gouverneurs, a wide boardwalk that extends from the Terasse Dufferin (at the Chateau Frontenac), and then through ascending steps and catwalks alongside the Citadelle of Quebec, to the Plains of Abraham. All along, the walk provides stunning views of the Saint Lawrence River and the old city below.
Here are some photos that captured the views.
La Nativite de Notre-Dame de Beauport, Beauport
On the way north to Ile d’Orleans, we stopped in the nearby city of Beauport, to see if we could find Beauport Ancient Cemetery, which Find-a-Grave indicated contains the remains of the following of my ancestors:
- Jean Noel Langlois (1604-1684) – 10th GGF
- Toussaint Giroux (1633-1714) – 9th GGF
- Marie Godard Giroux (1641-1684) – 9th GGM
- Paul Vachon (1630-1703) – 9th GGF
- Marguerite Langois Vachon (1639-1697) – 9th GGM
- Raphael Giroux (1656-1714) – 8th GGF
- Marie Madeleine Vachon Giroux (1664-1715) – 8th GGM
- Marie Charlotte Garnier Maheu Giroux (1666-1736) – 8th GGM
I had difficulty locating the Beauport Ancient Cemetery online, so I assumed that it would be adjacent to the main Catholic church in town, La Nativite de Notre-Dame de Beauport, on Rue du Fargy at Avenue du Couvent. We found a cemetery there, but we didn’t find any of any of my ancestors.
That was disappointing, but much later I discovered that this cemetery was only started in 1723, nine years after the deaths of all of the male ancestors that I was looking for. The Ancient Beauport Cemetery must be somewhere else.
So it was seeming like my first attempt to find my Canadian ancestors might be a bust, but we decided to look around the church anyway, and eventually, we went inside. And here are some photos of what we saw.
In looking around, I started to see some names that I recognized. On the side wall of the sanctuary there was actually information posted (in French, of course) about one of my ancestors, as shown below.
Toussaint Giroux (1633-1714) and Marie Godard (1640-1684) were my 9th great grandparents (Toussaint also married Therese Leblanc four years after Marie died.). Of course, this would make Toussaint’s parents, Jean Giroux (1598-1639) and Marguerite Quilleron (1595-1699), my 10th great grandparents.
After speaking with an attendant at the church, he showed me more family information in the genealogy book from which the information on the above plaque was extracted. Based on the author’s birth year (1634), he could have been the older brother of Marguerite Langois (1639-1697), who together with Paul Vachon (1630-1703), were my 9th great grandparents (Later, someone at our hotel mentioned to us that Paul Vachon used to own the building that we were staying in. Unfortunately, we never found the plaque.).
Outside, one of our group discovered an area in front of the church with a concrete monument to some of the early settlers in the area, some of whom are also my ancestors. This monument (or crypt) may have been created to house the remains of some of the earliest graves which may have deteriorated, or had to be moved. Photos of this monument are shown below.
The name Robert Drouin in the photograph above, likely refers to Robert Drouin (1607-1685), who married Marie-Anne Cloutier (1625-1646), who together were my 10th great grandparents.
In addition to Toussaint Giroux, other of my ancestors listed on this monument include:
- Zacharie Cloutier (1590-1677), my 11th great grandfather (with 11th ggm Xaintes Dupont (1597-1680))
- Noel Langlois (1606-1684), my 9th great grandfather (with 9th ggm Marie Francoise Grenier (1609-1665))
The Google-Translated inscription below reads: “These three mounds that emerge from the ground represent the first buildings of the parish of Beauport, and forever testify to the forces of a bright past. This aisle of the builders, which was finished on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of the founding of the city, lists the leaders, first arrivals, and founders of the first families. This place of memories and of relaxation is a tribute to the original builders of the community of Beauport.
From Beauport, we drove on to the Ile d’Orleans, which is a rather large island in the St. Lawrence River just above Quebec City, Canada. This island was one of the first parts of this area to be colonized, and a large percentage of French Canadians trace their ancestry to early residents of the island.
The island had long been inhabited by the Huron tribe, who called it Minigo (meaning “Enchantress”). The French explorer Jacques Cartier first set foot on the island in 1535 near the present-day village of Saint-François. He called it Île de Bascuz (from Bacchus) because of the abundance of wild grapes growing on the island. Officials later changed the name to Île d’Orléans in honour of the second son of King Francis I, Henri II, the Duke of Orléans.
Early French settlers, immigrating mostly from the Normandy and Poitou regions in France, were attracted to the island because of its fertile soil. They colonized it according to the seigneurial system of New France, in which plots of land were allocated in narrow strips, which would provide the maximum number of residents with adequate land for growing crops, in addition to access to both a source of timber along the center of the island, and access to the river for transport. In 1661, the first parish of Sainte-Famille was founded, followed by another four parishes in 1679/1680. By 1685, there were 1205 mostly French inhabitants and 917 livestock.
Our first stop on the island was a roadside stand selling fruits and vegetables. It was a great place for a snack!
Sainte-Famille, Ile D’Orleans
Our first destination was in the town of Sainte-Famille, where we stopped at the Catholic church, and the adjacent House of Our Ancestors. I’m sure that some of my ancestors were married in this church.
At House of Our Ancestors, there was a relief map of the island, showing the individual plots of land. In speaking with one of the attendants, and showing them my lineage, they were able to point out a plot of land at the northern end of the island that was owned by my 8th great grandparents, Joseph “The Woodcock” Bonneau, and his wife Marie-Madeleine Duchesne, and on which now stands a public Observation Tower. She also pointed out that there was a memorial stone to Joseph and Madeleine on a road nearby. That was our next destination.
Land of Joseph Bonneau, Ile D’Orleans
We went to the Observation Tower first. These top two photos show the plot of land owned by Joseph and Madeleine.
Near the white house just to the right of center in this photo, there stands the stone below, bearing a placque which commemorates the 300-year anniversary of the July 29, 1684 marriage of Joseph Bonneau and Madeleine Duchesne, the first European inhabitants of this land.
My lineage to Joseph Bonneau & Marie Madeleine Duchesne, my 8th great grandparents, is as follows:
- Joseph Bonneau (1649-1701) & Marie-Madeleine Duchesne (1666-1750)
- Dominique Bonneau LaBecasse (1691-1755) & Francoise-Agnes Gingras (1678-1759)
- Dominique Bonneau (1722-1783) & Marie-Francoise Gauthier Laroche (1721-1791)
- Dominique Eloi Benjamin Bonneau (1743-1809) & Marie Catherine Giroux (1748-1785)
- Basile-Dominique Bonneau (1776-1859) & Francois Robert (1784-1818)
- Jacques-Joseph Bonneau (1805-1889) & Catherine Cadieux (1804-1873)
- Salyme-Sal0mon Bonneau (1835-1918) & Marie Elizabeth Boulais (1843-1916)
- Salyme Bonneau Sr. (1863-1946) & Elizabeth Cordelia Leblanc/White (1870-1939)
- Mary Nellie Bonneau (1904-1986) & Charles Adolph Fink (1898-1973)
- Charles Augustin John Fink (1929-2008) & Ann Theresa Heslen (1928-1981)
- Richard Gerard Fink (1959-TBD)
After finding this stone, we turned back the way we came along the north shore of the island. Had we continued, we would have quickly run into the small Catholic church at the village of Saint-Francois, near the tip of the island, where it is likely that Joseph and Madeleine are now buried.
Robert Drouin House, Ile D’Orleans
On the way back south, we stopped at the Robert Drouin House, which has been preserved in the conditions that existed in the 1800’s, when the house was owned by a Robert Drouin. This Robert Drouin is likely a descendent of the Robert Drouin who was my ancestor.
Domaine Steinbach Cidery, Ile D’Orleans
From the Robert Drouin House, we continued south and stopped at a local cidery to sample their wares. It was a splendid way to top off the afternoon.
Aux Anciens Canadiens, Quebec City
As evening fell, we returned to our hotel to freshen up. Then that night we walked from our hotel to the Aux Anciens Canadiens restaurant, where we had reservations for dinner. The building was built in 1675.
It was a nice evening for a stroll on our way back.