Tag Archives: Bessette

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!

Document: Ontario Marriage Registration of Moise Meloche and Corinne Bessette

Bessette, Corinne - Ontario Marriage

Name of Husband: Moise Meloche
Name of Wife: Corinne Bessette
on the 18 day of October, 1920
at the Roman Catholic Church of Loiselleville, Ontario
in the county of Essex
Occupation of Husband: Farmer
Occupation of Wife: Farmer
Bachelor or Widow: B
Spinster or widow: S
Age of Husband: 20
Age of Wife: 17
Religious Denomination: Roman Catholic for both
Residence: Loiselleville
Full Name of Husband’s Father: Henri Meloche
Full Name of Wife’s Father: Louis Bessette
Occupation of Husband’s Father: Farmer
Occupation of Wife’s Father: Farmer
Name and Maiden Name of Husband’s Mother: Cecile Meloche
Name and Maiden Name of Wife’s Mother: Eliza Gagnon
Names and Addresses of Witnesses: Jose Bessette, Loiselleville, Ont / Stela Meloche, Loiselleville, Ont.
Name, Address and Denomination of Person Solemnizing Marriage: Rev. W. Roy, Loiselleville, Ontario

Moise Meloche and Corinne Bessette are my great great grandparents. They were my father’s mother’s mother’s parents.  They lived in an area that is now part of Windsor, Ontario, but back then was called Loiselleville.  The community was only called Loiselleville for a short period of time in the early 1900’s, the area was originally Rivière aux Canards, and today is called “River Canard”, an anglicized version. They were married in St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church, which still stands today and holds mass in French.

This record was found on Ancestry.com, in their Ontario, Canada, Marriages 1801-1928 collection

Document: The Ontario Birth Registration of Corinne Bessette

Bessette, Corinne - Ontario Birth


County of Essex
Name: Besette, Corinne
Sex: F
Date of Birth: Feb 6, 1904
Name of Father: Louis Besette
Maiden Name of Mother: Liza Gagnon

Corinne Bessette was my great great grandmother, my father’s biological mother’s mother’s mother. She appears above in a list of births registered in Essex County, Ontario in 1904. Her parents were Joseph Louis Telesphore Bessette, or “Louis” and Clemence Josephine Elisabeth “Eliza” Gagnon.

Note also the other surnames in this record – LaFramboise, Antailla/Antaya, L’Esperance, Pare, Ouellette, Janisse, Rocheleau, Drouillard. These names are some of the more common names of the early French settlers to the Windsor/Detroit area, and they are still around today. They even show up further back in my ancestry – all of them.

This record is found on Ancestry.com, in their Ontario, Canada Births, 1869-1913 collection.