Museum of French Emigration to Canada- Museales de Tourouvre

A Franco-American queried me after she visited the Museales de Tourouvre, in France. Sandra Lamontagne wrote “I live in California but started in Salem, New Hampshire”. She was doing genealogy research in Quebec when she contacted me, by email.

Emigration poster

Museum of French emigration poster

In particular, while she was doing the genealogy research into her family’s ancestry, she found the name of Eustache Lambert, on her mother’s side of the tree.

In fact, I had written about this ancestor because he was the subject of a novel by Maine writer Henry Gosselin. Therefore, she asked about how to obtain more information? Although I didn’t provide much new information to help her research, she educated me about the Museum of French Emigration, in Museales de Tourouvre, located in France. (Apparantly,  two different museums are located on the site and one of them is dedicated to the French emigration of the population, those who left to immigrate to Nouvelle France.)

An on line description provided some background to the museum. Between 1634 and 1666, there were 246 inhabitants of Perche who left their native land (emigrated) to settle in New France- Nouvelle France- on the banks of the Saint-Lawrence River. Many of them came from the French parish of Tourouvre. In fact, they were among the first inhabitants to build houses and clear the immense lands that became Quebec. Thousands of emigrants from all regions of France joined them. Their immigration to Nouvelle France developed the country that Jacques Cartier, on his second expedition in 1535, named Canada.

In 1635, a gentleman named Robert Giffard, Seigneur of Beauport,  was living northeast of Québec City on the St-Lawrence River, across from the Ile d’Orléans. Giffard recruited settlers from his own French Province of Perche to join him in Canada. Among his associates and principal recruiters were the Juchereau brothers, Noël, Jean, and Pierre, from the town of Tourouvre in Perche. Up to eighty families were recruited for the New France colony, from the Tourouvre area. Some of their names were Guillaume Pelletier Gagnon, Giguère, Tremblay, and Cloutier.

The Museum of French Emigration to Canada is a meeting point and place where Franco-Canadians and Franco-Americans can begin their family’s French history research.

Genealogy researches have estimated that as many as 1 out of 5 Quebecers have ancestors from the Perche region..

The museum traces the history of many of the families that left for Canada. It also talks about circumstances faced during the often treacherous trans-Atlantic crossings and what the newcomers faced when they arrived in Nouvelle France.

Lamontagne wrote, “I am in the midst of my Franco-American research and my ancestors were all pioneers in Nouvelle France.  My father was a first born American with deep ties to Quebec. I have visited France 8 or 9 times and found a beautiful museum in Tourouvre”.

Among the first exhibits in the museum is a board where the names of the Tourouvians who left the area from 1634-1651 are listed.  This information also provides their dates of birth, the names of their spouses, the area in New France where they ultimately settled, the number of children they had and their dates of death.  At the museum, they even host special events like “Maple Sugar Days”. Based on my on line research about this museum and the general area, apparently there are original source materials available dating back to the early 17th century.

emigrate and immigrate

Population shifts: the difference between emigrate and immigrate.

(By the way, I looked into the difference between “emigrate’ and “immigrate” because these words describe two population shifts. The difference between “immigrate” and “emigrate” is that “immigrating” is the act of entering a foreign country to live, as in “immigration to Canada”; while “emigrating” is the act of leaving a country to live in another, as in “emigration from Perch, France”.)

Click here for a French language site to the Museum of French Emigration (but there are other on line English language reviews).

Henry Gosselin’s novel about his ancestor (who is also a Lamontagne ancestor) is titled “Eustache Lambert: Donné Extraordinaire“.  It’s a historical novel based upon the true story of Eustache Lambert’s heroic service as a dedicated disciple of the French Jesuit missionaries in Huronia, New France, from 1645-50.

Merci! Sandra Lamontagne, thank you for providing such good information!  Bonne chance avec vos recherches.

Juliana L'Heureux

About Juliana L'Heureux

Juliana L’Heureux is a free lance writer who publishes news, blogs and articles about Franco-Americans and the French culture. She has written about the culture in weekly and bi-weekly articles, for the past 27 years.