52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, Week 22: Zacharie Cloutier

Click HERE for last week’s ancestor.

Zacharie Cloutier has been well researched and documented, he’s got his own Wikipedia article (and a cheese named after him, mmm). He was a master carpenter from Mortagne-au-Perche in Normandy, France. Born in December of 1590 and baptized in the parish of St-Jean-Baptiste in Mortagne-au-Perche, he was one of nine children born to Denis Cloutier and Renee Briere. Aged 25, Zacharie married young widow Xainte or Sainte Dupont in July of 1616 at St-Jean-Baptiste. In 1619 Zacharie and his father Denis were part of a group that travelled to New France with Samuel de Champlain as labourers charged with clearing land, building structures, and cultivating crops, but this group was always meant to return to France, which they did when their work was complete. Several years later though, he returned with his wife and family, settling down in the colony of Beauport near Quebec city, having been recruited as a settler by Robert Giffard. In 1652 he received a land grant from Sieur Jean de Lauzon in Chateau Richer and transplanted his family to that settlement. Zacharie died September 17, 1677 and is buried together with his wife in the parish cemetery of Notre-Dame-de-Chateau-Richer. He lived to be a righteous 87 years old – good for today’s standards, let alone the 17th century.

Zacharie and Xainte had 6 children, and only 5 of them survived to adulthood. Despite this smaller family size, Zacharie is touted as being the number one French settler with the most descendants – he reportedly had 10,850 by the year 1800. I am descended from Zacharie from more than one of his children.

Among his other descendants are:
All Cloutiers in North America
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall
Madonna
Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chelsea Clinton
Celine Dion
Marcheline Bertrand and Angelina Jolie
Jack Kerouac
Beyonce and Solange Knowles
Avril Lavigne
Alanis Morissette
Canadian Prime Minister Louis St.Laurent
Shania Twain

…many more…

And possibly YOU if you’re of any French North American heritage! The relation is distant – most of these people are my 8th cousins at best, but the simple fact is, without Zacharie, none of us would be here!

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, Week 21: Clement Bessette

Click HERE for last week’s ancestor.

Clement Bessette was born February 28, 1728 at Fort Chambly in Quebec, one of nine children born to Francois Bessette and Marie-Claude Dubois. He was baptized at the parish of St-Louis-de-Fort-Chambly and he was named for his godfather, Clement Sabrevois, Sieur of Bleury, a merchant and seigneur, essentially a feudal lord of an area of land. His godmother was Genevieve Mirambeau.

At 25 years old he married 18-year-old Charlotte Lamoureux on June 18, 1753 at St-Louis-de-Fort-Chambly, and these two did not waste any time starting a family. They had 16 children in total – large families were the norm amongst the French, and despite missing the Duggar mark, 16 children was still on the large side. Clement lived to be 61 years old, he died August 22, 1789 and is buried at the cemetery is St. Matthias-sur-Richelieu at Pointe Olivier in Quebec. He had lived a fairly normal life for the time – a family man.

But what makes Clement stand out as an ancestor are his other descendants and relatives. I am descended from Clement through his son Antoine-Edouard-Francois Xavier-Joseph-Louis, making him my 8x great grandfather. He is also the direct ancestor of Carolyn Bessette, who most people may remember by her married name – Carolyn Kennedy. This makes Carolyn my 6th cousin, 3 times removed.

Another notable Bessette is Alfred “Brother Andre” who was canonized as a saint by the Catholic church in 2010. He is descended from Clement’s first cousin Jean Bessette, technically rendering him my 6th cousin, 5 times removed. The “removed” part of these relations refers to the number of generations between cousins – Andre is the 6th cousin of the aforementioned Louis Bessette, and Louis is my father’s mother’s mother’s mother’s father… did I lose you? Louis my great great great grandfather, 5 generations separate us, therefore 5x removed to his cousins.

It’s a long shot at fame, I know, but how many famous people can you trace back in your tree? If you have any trace of French Canadian roots at all, chances are the answer to that is more than you think! I’ll speak to this in more depth in next week’s ancestor!

George and Mary Faduck

Recounted to me by a relative, and confirmed in my great great grandfather Danylo’s obituary is the fact that he had a sister named Mary who married George Faduck and lived in Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minnesota.

Mary Koszlak was born November 15, 1895 in the Austrian Empire (assuming Novosilka, but not yet proven). I have yet to find a passenger record of her immigration to North America. The earliest record of her that I’ve found is a Minnesota marriage to George Faduck on August 1, 1914 in Hennepin County. Luckily for me, vital records specific to Minnesota are available on Ancestry.com (Marriages from 1849-1950 and 1951-2002, Divorces from 1970-1995, Births from 1840-1980 and 1935-2002 and Deaths from 1908-2002). These same vital statistics (As well as the US Social Security Death Index) tell me Mary died October 9, 1981 in Hennepin County.

They appear on the 1930 census of the USA, living in Minneapolis’ tenth ward, 128 block, Knox Ave, house number 4543. George and Mary Faduck, ages 38 and 34 respectively, lived with their children: Annie (15), Lena (14), Stephen(11) and Elisabeth(3). Also living at 4534 Knox Ave was another family – the Abrahams (Michael, May and daughter Phyllis).

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, Week 20: Pierre Robert

Click HERE for last week’s ancestor.

Pierre Robert was born September 21, 1671 and baptized the same day at Ste-Famille-de-Boucherville church in Chambly, Quebec. Pierre had three separate known dit names –Lafontaine, Lapierre and Lapomeraye/Lapomerais. He was the son of Louis Robert dit Lafontaine and Marie Marguerite Bourgery. Pierre married Angelique Ptolomee or Tholme on January 27, either 1697 or 1698.

In the summer of 1706, he accompanied a party to Detroit for the first time, in charge of a canoe of goods. Not long after, he purchased a lot at Fort Detroit from a man named Guillaume Bouet dit Deliard and moved his family there May 19, 1708. His brothers Prudent, Joseph, and Francois came to Detroit as well later on. He and his family lived in a house made of sticks and a thatched roof on lot #62. He and Angelique had six children – the last of whom was born in 1711 – before Pierre died circa the year 1714. Although he barely had a chance to make his mark on the city itself, his descendants carried on in the area and are there to this day.

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, Week 19: Jacques Campeau

Click HERE for last week’s ancestor.

My next two ancestors share a common theme: they helped settle and develop a major city in the USA – Detroit. They were among the very first settlers to the area.

Jacques Campeau was born in May 1677 at Montreal, son of French immigrant and mason Etienne Campeau, Campau or Campo and Catherine Paulo or Polo. He was baptized at the church of Notre Dame de Montreal on May 31, 1677. He married Jeanne Cecile Catin on November 30, 1699 at Montreal, and shortly after in 1703-1704 with the Compagnie de la Colonie he travelled to the area that would become known as Detroit and Fort Pontchartrain.

In 1708 he brought the rest of his family to Detroit on the invitation of Antoine de le Mothe Cadillac, the commandant of Fort Pontchartrain who was looking to settle a colony there. His older brother Michel, who is also my ancestor had also brought his family in 1707. Jacques was a blacksmith and in addition participated in trading, mostly of furs. He and Cecile had 8 children in total.

In 1734 he was granted a piece of land 4 by 40 arpents just east of Fort Pontchartrain and he started a merchant store, buying and selling goods such as furs, corn, wheat, etc. He became ill in 1750 and passed away 8 May 1751. He is buried in Detroit’s Mount Elliott Cemetery.

An interesting point on Jacques, is like many other Detroit area residents of French background, he also began to be known by a more anglicized version of his name – James – as did his wife “Cecilia”.

Document: The marriage of Danylo Koszlak and Anna Bruchanska

After some postal difficulties, I received the marriage certificate of my great great grandparents Danylo Koszlak and Anna Bruchanska from the Manitoba Vital Statistics Agency. So, voila:

The penmanship is somewhat difficult to read, but here’s my transcription:

Registration Division of: Beausejour Brokenhead
1. Name of GROOM (surname first): Surname: Koschlak; Given name: Danyto Danylo
2. Rank or profession: farmer
3. Bachelor, widower or divorced: bachelor
4. Age: 23
5. Religious denomination: gr. cat
6. Usual residence: Brokenhead T. 14, R.8, m.29
7. Name and surname of father: Prokop Koschlak
8. Rank or profession of father: farmer
9. Name and maiden name of mother: Chrystina Fink
10. Name of BRIDE (surname first): Surname: Bruchanska, Given name: Anna
11. Rank or profession: farmer
12. Spinster, widower or divorced: spinster
13. Age: 19
14. Religious denomination: gr. cat
15. Usual residence: Brokenhead
16. Name and surname of father: Dmytro Bruchanski
17. Rank or profession of father: farmer
18. Name and surname of mother: Nastia Rozdobudko
19. When married: 10th day of February, 1914
20. Where married: Brokenhead Church of the Holy Ghost
21. How married (license or banns; if by license, give number): Banns
22. Names and addresses of witnesses: Name: Nykola Rostlinkski; Address: Brokenhead T.14, R.7, m.13; Name: Michal Wialogowski; Address: Brokenhead, T.14, R.8, m.31
23. Signature, address and religious denomination of person solemnizing marriage: The above-stated particulars are true to the best of my knowledge and belief. Signature of officiating clergyman: Rev. Eaudraibuim (sp?); Address: Beausejour; Religious denomination: gr. cat
24. Registered number: 14. Filed at this office this: 5th 3 4th day of Feb March, 1914

This also further confirms that Danylo and Mary Faduck were siblings, since their parental information is the same on this marriage certificate and Mary’s death certificate.

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, Week 16: Prokop Koszlak

Click HERE for last week’s ancestor.

Prokop Koszlak was born around the year 1865 near the village of Novosilka in Pidhaitsi raion (region), Ternopil oblast (province) in modern day Ukraine. He is my 3x great grandfather, the father of  Danylo Koszlak. I have absolutely no documents pertaining to him other than 3 of his children’s marriage certificates from here in North America that list his name as their father. He was a farmer, and he married a woman named Kristina Fink. At least 3 of his children (possibly more) immigrated to North America in the early 1900’s, as did a large number of residents of the area. It was one of the poorest regions in Europe at the time, and the mass exodus of natives left to carve out a better life for their future generations.

I feel like my Ukrainian branch of family tree are the most exotic, to me anyways, and I was not expecting many records to be available. But happily I was wrong, there are church records and state held records available.

Roadblock number one in pushing my Ukrainian research back further: because my father was adopted, I don’t have birth certificates and hard evidence – documents directly connecting me to Prokop, and this is necessary for some research. However I have been told that because the records I am looking for – Prokop’s birth/marriage/death/other children – are more than 100 years old, it is possible the state archives, known as the RAHS would grant me a privacy release. Roadblock numbers two is a language barrier. I have overcome language barriers before, but the mix of Ukrainian/Polish/Russian in Cyrillic alphabet is proving to be a challenge for me, and I have to admit I have been putting it off.

There are two ways for me to get my hands on more information: Metrical (church) records, held by the LDS church that can be ordered on microfilm for viewing, and records held by the RAHS. The metrical records are from 1864 and earlier, which is a problem because I can’t be sure Prokop was born earlier than 1865, it’s possible his baptism is not included here. PLUS language barrier. As for the records held by the RAHS, and I believe this is the route I will pursue soon, there is the issue of language barrier again, I would have to compose a letter that the archivists can read, which should surely be in Ukrainian, thought there is a small chance someone will speak English there. There could also be fees involved in foreign currency, and up until now I have been a neglectful Ukrainian genealogist because it has just seemed too difficult! However, writing this post has got me going again in this direction, and I believe I will attempt to contact the archives soon, if I can find help!

My ancestor's stories, and how I found them!

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