Franco-American genealogy super ancestors

Franco-Americans are generally familiar with their genealogy because family reunions are celebrated during multiple generations, so it’s fairly easy to keep track of the current data.  For example, our L’Heureux family genealogy is well known going back four generations. Moreover, many of the ancestors’ names have been hand written on small pieces of paper or printed in family reunion booklets. As a result of the amazing genealogical resources made available through the extensive access to the Internet, the documentation about hundreds of shared Franco-Americans genealogies are now much easier to authenticate.

1800s list of aunts and uncles

Hand written list of aunts and uncles composed in classic cursive by Rose Anna Morin L’Heureux. The dates (ie “94” etc) are 1800 and 1900. In other words, Diana was born on August 14, 1905. 

One genealogy researcher on social media posted information about the French-Canadian “super ancestors”. In other words, the names that are documented to have the most cross references in genealogy research. David Coutu is a native of Massachusetts who is now living in Georgia. Has been doing genealogy research for 36 years. He posed this interesting information about “super ancestors” and I requested his permission to credit his source.  (Merci!).

The “super-ancestors in genealogy” of the French Canadian families are those names that stand out as having the largest number of occurrences in the same genealogy.

But, by which phenomenon can an ancestor appear several times in the same genealogy? This graphic demonstrates the occurrences in one genealogy chart published in BALSAC, a Quebec population database:

super ancestors

Example of how one name can appear in several genealogies.

Explained on the website:  In a real family tree that spreads over many generations, the same phenomenon occurs very often. To demonstrate this, we reconstructed the genealogy of 25,757 individuals whose parents married in Quebec between 1925 and 1948. Nearly 600,000 ancestors distributed among 16 generations were found in the BALSAC database. Among these ancestors, certain couples stand out for their large number of occurrences within a genealogy. Here are the three most important.

IN FIRST PLACE :

Pierre TREMBLAY and Anne ACHON: This couple of French immigrants who married in Quebec in 1657 are ancestors to all the Tremblays of Quebec. Found in about 46% of genealogies, the couple TREMBLAY-ACHON holds the record for the largest number of occurrences appearing up to 92 times within the same genealogy

SECOND PLACE:

Abraham MARTIN and Marguerite LANGLOIS: The MARTIN-LANGLOIS couple arrived in New France around 1620. They have a very large descent by their daughters. The couple appears in 77% of genealogies with a maximum number of occurrences of 69 in the same genealogy.

THIRD PLACE :

Zacharie CLOUSTIER and Sainte DUPONT : Married in France in 1616, this couple immigrated to New France with five children. It appears in nearly 82% of genealogies. We have counted it up to 50 times within the same genealogy.

Not surprising, is my husband’s maternal genealogy with the name Martin falls into the second place category! His grandmother’s name was Emma (nee) Martin.

Although the family’s paternal L’Heureux genealogy does not include the name Martin, the connection with the Langlois name is documented through marriage.

genealogy marriage certificate

Genealogy marriage certificate from the Lausier family reunion 60th anniversary book.

A data base containing the names of thousands of descendants of the L’Heureux ancestors who trace their lineage to Simon Lereau dit L’Heureux and Suzanne Jaroussel is maintained by a distant cousin to my husband. His name is Jacques L’Heureux.  At happyones.com, the genealogy page is at this site here. L’Heureux, had a family name with many variations, according to notarized writings: the name variations include Levreau, Lerreau, Leureau, L’Hérault, l’Heros, etc…  But, out of all the spellings, maybe only one carries in its veins an historic sense: “Héraut, public officer who carried messages”.

I am an advocate for updating family genealogies as a tradition, every New Year or during Les Fetes, because it is important to document data for future generations. In other words, today’s families must be our own genealogy notaries. Don’t forget to document current family members as well as the ancestors!

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.