Companions of Champlain: Founding Families of Quebec, 1608-1635. With 2016 Addendum


Author: Larson, Denise R.
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: viii 188 pp.
ISBN: 9780806357904


Drawing on primary and reliable secondary sources, this work provides readers with a concise historical overview of the founding of Quebec and French-Canadian culture. It also supplies readers with the research tools necessary to link their family lines with those of the original 18 pioneer families who inhabited Quebec during the lifetime of the city’s founder, Samuel de Champlain. Companions of Champlain was produced to honor the 400th anniversary of the founding of Quebec City and to enable North Americans on both sides of the border to appreciate more fully their French-Canadian heritage.

Companions of Champlain explains in clear language the reasons for the New-World explorations of Samuel de Champlain in the 1600s and the unique culture that resulted from the establishment of a trading post in the wilds of North America in 1608. It is the story of the habitant family-the farm and daily life-not the complex intrigues of the French king and court, though some historical background information is included. The historical backdrop for Companions of Champlain was drawn from the few extant primary sources of the early 17th century, most particularly Champlain’s Voyages, Marc Lescarbot’s Nova Francia and Jesuit Relations, and standard references such as H. P. Biggar’s Works of Samuel de Champlain and Gustave Lanctot’s A History of Canada.

Although Champlain and his wife, Helene Boulle, did not have children, his companions did. The original pioneer families who inhabited Quebec during Champlain’s lifetime formed the nucleus of French-Canadian culture from which a new society sprang. They are the focal point of this work. The author traces the genealogy for three generations of the following founding families: Amiot/Amyot, Boucher, Bourdon, Cloutier, Cote/Coste, Couillard/Couillart, Delaunay, Desportes, Giffard, Guyon, Hebert (Quebec’s first colonial family, Hebert, is followed through five generations), Juchereau, Langlois, Marsolet, Martin, Nicolet, Pinguet, and Tardif/Letardif. The author also presents a methodology by which readers can trace their lineage in a quest to link with one of Quebec’s founding families. Genealogical chart information was extracted from documents and records held at the Archives nationales du Quebec; in city, state, parochial, and provincial offices; and from reliable secondary sources, such as the genealogical dictionaries of Cyprien Tanguay and Rene Jette.

The 2016 edition of this work also contains a two-page Errata following the index, as well as an eight-page Addendum, titled “The Boucher Family Addendum.”

Other important features of this groundbreaking work include maps, an illustration of Champlain’s 1603 astrolabe, references, five appendices, lineage and pedigree charts with citations, and a comprehensive index. Appendices provide a glossary of French genealogical terminology and an example of citation notation for use when filling in ancestral charts, one of which is provided for reproduction. The full-reference citation method described in the book is unique in that it is keyed from the numbering sequence on commonly used charts and does not require the superscripts and complex systems often found in genealogy.

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