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Nicolas Langlois was born around 1640 in the canton of Yvetot, Rouen, Seine-Maritime, France. His parents were Charles Langlois and Marie Cordier. Nicolas was from the parish of St-Pierre in Yvetot, and not a lot is known about his life prior to immigrating to Canada. He travelled to Canada as a weaver, indentured to Sieur Louis Rouer de Villeray – an important figure in Quebec at the time, playing key administrative roles under people you probably learned about in history class, such as Jean Talon and Jean and Charles de Lauson. “Indentured” means that he signed a contract stipulating that his passage to the New World would be paid for by Villeray, in return for his labour for a set number of years. Conditions in France at the time were such that signing years of his life away for a chance to make a better life for his descendants in a strange and dangerous new world was an attractive option for Nicolas, and some of the other lower class members of French society, and many others had they passage to New France paid the same way.
On October 26, 1671 at Notre-Dame-de-Quebec parish, in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada he married Marie Elisabeth Cretel, a fille du roi (a group of poor, single women of a marriageable age who’s passage to Canada and a dowry was paid for by the King in an effort to help colonize and populate Quebec) who was also from Rouen. Nicolas and Elisabeth had 5 sons and 5 daughters, of which only half survived to adulthood (2 sons and 3 daughters). Their son Etienne is my 8th great grandfather. (Nicolas – Etienne – Nicolas – Nicolas – Alexis – Antoine – Antoine – Edmond, my great great grandfather). Nicolas died October 13, 1721 at Pointe-aux-Trembles, and that is where he was buried.
There were several other unrelated settlers with the surname of Langlois to settle in Quebec – an even earlier Langlois to Quebec was Noel, with many descendants. The name itself means quite literally “L’Anglais” – “the English”, but it is unknown if this hints at the ancestor’s ethnicity.
And with that, we’ve covered my most direct immigrant ancestors, and two of the French Canadian settlers who lend their surnames to my two French great grandmothers. From people uprooted from their lives, forced away from a country they could never return to during WWII, to those seeking to better their economic situation in a rapidly industrial Canada at the turn of the century, to 17th century pioneers to a wild and perilous unknown new world. Next topic of exploration: Bits and pieces of other ethnicities, ancestors that were not my typical French, Italian, Ukrainians or Latvians.