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Nos Ancestres, English
by Gérard Lebel
Translated by Thomas J. Laforest

Louis Jacques - Vol. 2, Chapter 12
by François Jacques, priest

Jacques have spread throughout a good part of North America. They are found especially in Québec and in Canada, as well as all along the Atlantic coast as far south as Florida, and into the western part of the United States. From these various places come requests for information on a common ancestor: Louis Jacques.

All of these people are interested in the history of their family and have established their family tree and acknowledge this person as the one who is at the beginning of their line, even if he is not the only Jacques to have a family here.

In fact, others did come, but did not leave descendants: Henri Jacques, buried at Beaumont on 22 September 1748, saw his three sons die in infancy. Likewise, Henri Jac dit Jacques, from his marriage to Marie-Joseph Garand, on 22 October 1738 at St-François de la Rivière-du-Sud, had as descendants two daughters after their three sons died as young children. A 20-year old sailor, Adam Jacques, spent 31 days at the Hôtel-Dieu of Québec during the summer of 1691; he has left no trace.  Let's mention Jean Jacques dit Leblond, originally from Ste-Catherine de Bruxelles, who had three daughters following his marriage to Catherine Guillemont, at Montréal on 24 November 1715.

Therefore, we agree to confer on Louis Jacques the title of the common ancestor to the Jacques of Québec and to their Franco-Canadian and Franco-American relatives.  

Franleu

Louis was born on 23 April 1664 at Amiens, France, from the marriage of Nicolas Jacques and Marie Soyer. He was immediately baptized in the parish church of Saint-Michel, in the shadow of the cathedral of this city.

His father, Nicolas, was originally from Franleu, near the mouth of the Somme, a few kilometers from la Manche. The Jacques family seems well established in this village since the marriage contract of Nicolas (27 May 1647) mentioned that he inherited two pieces of land which came to him from his grandfather living at this place. The head of the parish of Franleu was Saint-Martin.

The history of France was not indifferent to this village, because it was there that King Louis III settled in 881 with the Francs in order to repel the second invasion by the Normands (Viking) whose hordes were camped quite near, at Saucourt. The year 1992 constituted the 1111th anniversary of the victory of the Francs over the Normands. The Normand invasions did not cease for all that. They resumed the following year. Beginning in 890, however, the invaders had the tendency to settle in Picardy as in Normandy; in 925, Rollon, their leader, was baptized.

These newcomers had a certain influence on the evolution of the local population. Was it through the mixing of blood, or otherwise? The fact remains that one can note that the Picard peasants, like those of Normandy, quickly enjoyed an enviable freedom if one compares their fate with their peers elsewhere in France. Serfdom disappeared from these two regions before the year one thousand.

Among the facts of the local history of Franleu, let's note the birth in 11464 of Antoinette Mallet, one of the founders of the Grey Sisters of Abbeville, a neighboring community. In the nineteenth century, the Jacques of Québec saw the founding of the Sisters of Charity of Québec by Marcelle Mallet, a Grey Sister from Montréal. A surprising coincidence.

The Origin of a Name

The majority of the present names of the cities and villages of France were set in the nineth and tenth centuries. For example, right after the battle of Saucourt, appeared the name of Franleu, in other words, the place of the Francs. In the same way, family names appeared in the thirteenth century. Until then, only the first name received at baptism was counted; little by little, either a surname (sobriquet, trade, place) was added, or the first  name of the father, which gradually became hereditary. At the end of the Middle Ages, these hereditary first names were most often Guillaume, Jacques, Jean, Martin, and Pierre.

However, another possibility exists concerning the origin of the last name of Jacques; it is that it was given to the rebel Picard peasants (1358) during the captivity of King Jean II during the Hundred Years War.

The English occupied Picardy and the French were busy hunting them down. Exasperated by the endless violence and the constant searches for which they had to bear the expense, several peasants turned against the noblemen who sought reap profit from anarchy. We must admit that the latter had provoked them; in addition to making them bear the weight of poverty generated by the war, they had begun two years earlier to ridicule the simplicity of the poor folks and the inability of the peasants to defend themselves. They called them the Jacques Bonhomme. The expression jacques could have remained attached to certain peasant families and become their name over the years.


A Controversial Marriage

Let's return to Nicolas, the father of Louis. Little interested in agriculture, he left behind him nine journaux (three hectares) of land which could have allowed him to comfortably support a family. His goal however, was to settle at Amiens. On 19 November 1646, he was received there as an èbèniste in other words, a cabinet maker; six months later he married Marie Soyer.

This marriage caused a lot of uneasiness. While Nicolas arrived as a penniless immigrant, Marie Soyer was the daughter of Michel Soyer and Marie DuMonstier, both from very prominent families. From father to son, the Soyers constituted a dynasty of rich merchants whose leadership the community of Amiens regularly had recourse to in organizing help for the poor, especially during epidemics or the plague. On the DuMonstier side, Marie's uncle, François DuMonstier, occupied some very important duties in the Kingdom. After having been rector of the University of Paris, he went into the service of the king, as consellor and assessor. An assessor was an assistant; he sat near the king, assisted him in his duties, answered his mail, and sometimes took his place in his absence.

On the death of Michel Soyer, François DuMonstier became Marie's guardian. It was he who agreed to her marriage to Nicolas, not without some concern. In his letter of 17 May 1647, he admitted that she had succeeded in imposing the choice of her husband: That which angered me was that it is necessary that we follow the inclinations of a girl when she should follow ours. More annoying, Nicolas' circumstances were not good. The research carried out leads to the belief that he was not in a position to find housing with his new bride.

His in-laws provided him with help. But, as a sign of repudiation, Marie only received a dowry of 500 livres upon her marriage, instead of 20,000 which one would have normally given her as a duty to her family origins. However, she benefited in lodgings for herself, Nicolas and their children, on the condition of sheltering her mother, Marie DuMonstier.

Marie and Nicolas lived in the merchant quarter of Amiens, on la Rue de Noyon, across from the Saint-Denis gate, the main entrance to the cemetery of the same name. Toussaine, the eldest of the children, was born there in October 1650; Louis was born in the same place, fourteen years later.

It would be the death of Marie, on 5 September 1676, that led Nicolas and Louis to leave the lodgings on la Rue de Noyon for another, quite near, on la Rue du Loup which led to Rome; this name refers to an ancient trench which had been filled. The inventory after the death of Marie revealed that she owned almost all of the household goods, including several cabinet making tools. Nicolas inherited it all and benefited from the profits from renting lands which she had owned.

Marie was buried in the chapel of Saint-Jacques in the cemetery of Saint-Denis with her loved ones; Nicolas did not share this privilege, because he did not have the required fortune. When the hour of his death was sounded, he was buried directly in the cemetery.

Louis learned woodworking and cabinetmaking from his father. He was received as a master in cabinetmaking on 23 December 1680 and lost his father a few months later, on the first of May 1681.
 

A Crossroad of History

Jacques have spread throughout a good part of North America. They are found especially in Québec and in Canada, as well as all along the Atlantic coast as far south as Florida, and into the western part of the United States. From these various places come requests for information on a common ancestor: Louis Jacques.

All of these people are interested in the history of their family and have established their family tree and acknowledge this person as the one who is at the beginning of their line, even if he is not the only Jacques to have a family here.

In fact, others did come, but did not leave descendants: Henri Jacques, buried at Beaumont on 22 September 1748, saw his three sons die in infancy.  Likewise, Henri Jac dit Jacques, from his marriage to Marie-Joseph Garand, on 22 October 1738 at St-François de la Rivière-du-Sud, had as descendants two daughters after their three sons died as young children.  A 20-year old sailor, Adam Jacques, spent 31 days at the Hôtel-Dieu of Québec during the summer of 1691; he has left no trace.  Also let=s mention Jean Jacques did Leblond, originally from Ste-Catherine de Bruxelles, who had three daughters following his marriage to Catherine Guillemont, at Montréal on 24 November 1715. 

The registries of St-Antoine-de-Tilly noted in February 1743 the birth and the baptism of François-Xavier, son of Pierre Jacques.  Well, this refers to an Aabenakis Amerindian whose name no longer appears anywhere later.  Finally, a branch even changed name.  This was the case of those issued from Guillaume Gems (for James); he was married in 1703 at Montréal to Catherine Lemouzine dit Beaufort.  Both were of English origin and were the parents of three daughters and two sons.  The grandchildren took the name of Jacques dit Sansoussy in order to save it, in the following generation, from that of Sanssoucy. 

Therefore, we agree to confer on Louis Jacques the title of the common ancestor to the Jacques of Québec and to their Franco-Canadian and Franco-American relatives.  

In New France A good part of the information at our disposal here is drawn from research notes gathered by Madame Diane Maheu-Jacques, from Charlesbourg.  We still don't know when Louis crossed the sea to New France.  Let's say only that the merchant François Hazeur, from Québec, was searching for two cabinetmakers in 1685.  As he went to Amiens, the village of his origin on business, we believe more and more that it was at this time that Louis was hired and embarked.  As a matter of fact, the indenture contracts and Apassage for New France lasted three years.  Since Louis had been employed by François Hazeur until 1688, according to what we read in his marriage contract, 1685 is the probable year of his arrival here. 

Did he work as a cabinetmaker, according to his training, or as a carpenter?  Only the indenture contract could inform us of this.  However, we are certain, again through his marriage contract, that he lived in the heart of Place Royale, at the home of his master.

The year of his marriage, 1688, was also that of the construction of the church of Notre-Dame-des-Victories.  Did he work there?  We can believe so since M. Hazeur was warden of the parish cathedral on whom this construction depended.  For now, we know nothing more about it. 

It was on 17 May at the cathedral of Notre-Dame-de-Québec that he married Antoinette Leroux, daughter of François Leroux dit Cardinal.  Her father was a former soldier in the Carignan Regiment.  Her mother was Marie Renaud, who had come to Québec as a daughter of the king.

A little while later, the new couple settled at Bourg-Royal, where a second town was formed, three kilometers to the east of the first, that of Charlesbourg.  Cabinetmaking was not sufficient for Louis to provide for the needs of his family, because four years later, on 21 September 1692, he acquired a concession from Germain Langlois.  It cost him one hundred fifty livres.  It was within the price range of the place: from 150 to 200 livres per piece of pioneering land, because well-developed, land with house and barn, could be bought for two thousand to three thousand livres.  All was paid promptly; in fact, a receipt was given to him in the twelfth month which followed, on 23 September 1693.

It concerned forty arpents of land including eighteen workable, with only a barn on it.  This land which bordered that of his brother-in-law, Ignace Leroux, who had built a house, and that of Jean Sigouin, on the side which went from the northwest to the southwest of the town plat.

The land was part of a star shape which was made up of all those which surrounded the town plat.  This is why its dimensions were a half-arpent of frontage on the face, 17 arpents in depth, and 4 arpents of frontage on the back which bordered the lands of the Jesuit priests.

On the death of his father-in-law François Leroux, Louis renounced the inheritance in favor of his brother-in-law Ignace Leroux.  As compensation, the latter had to furnish him with nine days expenses in order to build a house.  The contract was signed on 16 July 1694.  Therefore, it would be in this period of their life that Antoinette and Louis were able to have their own house.

Their life at Bourg-Royal seems to have passed peacefully, quietly, quite modestly.  Louis was absent a few times due to his work.  Several churches, therefore, benefited from his talent: let=s mention Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, L'Ange-Gardien on the Beaupré Coast, and Saint-Pierre on the Ile d'Orléans.  He also carried out several contracts at the College of the Jesuits in Québec.  In order to give an idea of what he was able to accomplish, the account book of the Fabrique of Charlesbourg reveals that he participated in the interior decoration of this church.  In 1707, he worked on the choir; in 1709, he executed a canopy; between 1713 and 1720, he sculpted the altar piece.

Ten children were born to Antoinette and Louis: Geneviève, Nicolas, Louis, Pierre, Charles, Marie-Catherine, Anne, Marie-Madeleine, Thomas, and Marie-Thérèse.  Four would be victims of infant mortality:  Geneviève, Charles, Thomas and Marie-Thérèse.

And the Descendance

Nicolas, the eldest, lived at Charlesbourg and was married three times.  He was married successively to Marie-Josèphe Bédard (1712), Catherine Allard (1719) and Marie-Josèphe Tessier (1737).  With his last wife, he moved to Contrecoeur.  More educated than most others, he became a bailiff for the seigneurie of Notre-Dame-des-Anges which had been ceded to the Jesuit priests.  He also fulfilled the duty of church warden in the parish of Charlesbourg and that of militia captain.  He had studied at the College of the Jesuits and had been a boarder at the Petit Seminary of Québec.

Twenty children were born to him in these three marriages.  In order to give an idea of the extent of the Jacques family they say that from the second marriage, all the children, except Louis, settled at Contrecoeur.

Louis, the second son of the ancestor, married Marguerite Sigouin (1719), and settled on the land of his in-laws.  His sons would share it and then go in various directions.  Louis, grandson of the ancestor, would go to the coast of the Ile Dupas while his brother Joseph went to live near there, at Berthier and Lanoraie.  While Nicolas settled at Québec, Jean-Baptiste rejoined his Uncle Pierre, in the valley of la Chaudière, while Pierre-Ange opted for Saint-Joachim de Beaupré.

Pierre, the other son of the ancestor, had been a master cobbler.  After having married Marie-Ambroise Chalifour in 1720, he settled on the range of Saint-Pierre de Charlesbourg (Orsainville) and from there, he left for Saint-Joseph de Beauce in 1737.  His children would marry and settle there for the most part.

Finally, Marie-Madeleine was married to Joseph LeCompte, cabinetmaker, in 1730.  They were welcomed at the home of Antoinette and Louis.  And, a year later, on 14 October 1731, Antoinette and Louis signed a contract of donation in their favor; in accordance with the coutume of Paris, they gave them half of their property on the condition that the latter provide them with lodging, heat, food, support and care, both in good health and in sickness and that they assure them burial after their death and the celebration of a certain number of masses in their honor.  Among the property mentioned, let=s note a horse completely harnessed, a cow, a sheep, a pig, all the cabinet-making tools and the furniture and articles of the house.

Louis died on 22 February 1735 and was buried in the chapel of the Congregation at Charlesbourg, because he was the first to become a member of the Congregation of Sainte-Anne.  In her turn, Antoinette died on 20 April 1739.

Family Name Variations

Duhaut, Jacks, Jacobs, James, Jaquays, Jacquet, Jamme, Jaques, Jock, Pierrejacques, Rochon, Stanislas and York. 

Bibliography

From France:

Records of Franleu.

Records of the notary Denis.

Inventaire de décès, Archives of the department of the Somme, Amiens, France.

Registres de St-Michel d'Amiens Archives of the City Hall, Amiens, France.

Inventaire des archives communales antérieures à 1789.

Registre aux maítres et apprentis, Municipal library, Amiens, France.

Christine Bonneton, editor., Picardy, Le Puy en Velay, 1980, France.

Emile Pharand., Histoire de l'arrondissement d'Abbeville (1863), Vol. 1, Paris, Abbeville (5 towns, 300 villages). 

For Québec:

Hubert Charbonneau & Jacques Légaré, Répertoire des actes de baptème, mariage, sèpulture et des recensements du Québec (1987), Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec. 

Michel Gaumond, La Place Royale, ses maisons, ses habitants (1971), Ministry of Cultural Affairs. 

René Jetté, DGFQ (1983), pp. 588-589.

André Lafontaine, Le bailliage de Notre-Dame des Anges (1988), Vol. 1, pp. 339, 378-381. 

Reine Malouin, Charlesbourg 1660-1949 (1972), 132 pages, ed. La Liberté Inc., Québec.

Luc Noppen and John R. Porter., Les églises de Charlesbourg et l'architecture religeuse du Québec (1972), 132 pages. Ministry of Cultural Affairs, Québec. 

Luc Noppen, Les églises du Québec de 1600 à 1850 (1977), 298 pages.  Fides: Montréal. 

Cyprien Tanguay, DGFC (1975), Montréal. 

____, ANQ, Fiefs appartenant aux Jésuites dans le Gouvernment de Québec,   17 January 1733, (Microfilm M6.1).

________, ANQ, Records of the notarys Rageot, Chambalon, Bequet, Duprac, J.-R, and Duprac N.

________, Account books of Sainte-Anne de Beaupré, 1659-1731.

________, Account books of the Seminary of Québec, 1600-1698, 1703-1708.

________, Register of the accounts and deliberations of the parish of Saint-Charles Borromeo of Charlesbourg, 1698-1712. 

________, Parish registers and account books of Notre-Dame de Québec. 

 


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