Carignan Family Genealogy Forum
Here is a translation of a CARIGNAN family history that a distant relative of my father, who went to a Carignan family reunion in Canada a few years ago, gave to my mother. Hope it is helpful.
THE CARIGNAN OF AMERICA
It was at the time when Jacques Cartier discovered Canada that
Francois the First decided that all the French people should have a given
and a family name in the future. Before the generalization of this
phenomenon there were a period of hesitation about this for at least one
century. Some who chose a name would often change it shortly afterwards,
and one would see even in the families where there were five or six
brothers each one adopted different family names.
Also, was it not really surprising to know that none of the Carignan
came to Canada as an immigrant? After doing some researching, I discovered
that the original name of our Carignan family is a very old French name
used in the legal acts for centuries by this family of Poitou who gave from
the father to sons a series of clerks, and of Royal Notaries under the name
This Bourbeau family, one in particular lived in a Protestant town of
La Rochelle, at the time when the Cardinal Richelieu had it almost
completely destroyed in 1628. After a long reign, Richelieu got to love the
soil where the walls of this fortified town stood, and had the catholic
faith returned to La Rochelle. Thus, did the father of our ancestor
Bourbeau marry his first wife in the Protestant Temple? Since he remarried
a second time he returned to the catholic faith, and except for the oldest
son Elie who was baptized at the Temple, all the rest of the descendants
were baptized in the religion of Rome. (catholic)
We speak of families with numerous original names. It seemed that
the Bourbeau's were not too far to hold a record with the following
original names: Bourbeau, Bourbel, Bourbelle, Villeneuve, Lacourse,
Carignan, Verville, and Beauchesne.
Here are the explanations of each of these names:
VILLENEUVE: The walls of La Rochelle once hugged the "new town" which faced
in the East direction. One member of the Bourbeau family took it as a
family name. Villeneuve means NEW TOWN.
LACOURSE: Our ancestor Pierre Bourbeau came to establish himself in Canada,
and since he became a "bushranger" we surnamed him Lacourse. LACOURSE
means coureur de bois, BUSH RANGER.
CARIGNAN: A very strange phenonomen. The son of Pierre Bourbeau chose to be
named after his grandfather's maternal name which in reality was known as
VERVILLE: Here, It seemed that one of Pierre Bourbeau's sons who possessed
a plot of land to construct a church at Becancour asked to be buried under
the proper altar with his head "turned towards the town". VERVILLE means
TOWARDS THE TOWN.
BEAUCHESNE: The youngest son of Pierre Bourbeau who inherited the paternal
land at Becancour became famous because this property is indeed constituted
almost entirely by a "forest of oak trees". His oldest brother who was a
ship builder at Quebec told everybody if one desired beautiful oak trees
all one had to do was visit his brother in Becancour. This is how
BEAUCHESNE meaning "beaux chenes- "BEAUTIFUL OAK TREES" got his name.
As for BOURBEL and BOURBELLE, the custom in France was in a certain case
that a young man by the name of Bourbeau chose to take the name of BOURBEL,
and the women feminized the name of their husbands to BOURBELLE.
While counting names, one found himself in the presence of a
Bourbeau, Pierre saw his name take five different surnames in New France.
Thus, we are the Bourbeau descends of Pierre Bourbeau dit Lacourse who
was the last one born on August 22, 1648 in La Rochelle. Since Pierre had
the advantage of attending the communal schools, and of living with the
Jesuits he knew how to read and write, and at the age of 14, he embarked
for Quebec. Once he arrived, he went to see his brother Elie at
Cap-de-la-Madeleine where he was confirmed at the age of 16. From 1664 to
1675, he lead an active life. As he cleared land, he was also known to be a
cultivator, then a carpenter, and at first when he became a guide in the
forest he interpreted with the Indians, and traded for furs. Then he became
an explorer and a bush ranger which was how he received the name of
Lacourse. He travelled from Boston to Sault Ste. Marie, and at the age of
25, he sold some of his materials to Louis Jolliet who was getting ready to
descend the Mississippi River in 1673.
In 1675, his mother Marie Noyron died leaving him 100 pounds. Happily
to have received this sum he purchased land on the banks of a river at
Becancour, and built a home for himself and his love one Anne Besnard whom
he married in 1676. Like many others, marriage life quieted him down, and
he died in Becancour in 1707, he was a father of twelve children whom four
of his sons are known as Pierre Lacourse, Louis Carignan, Pierre Verville
and Joseph Beauchesne.
Let us go back now to the one who interest us in particular Louis dit
Carignan. His name of Carignan came from his grandfather's maternal side.
His grandfather was a Corporal in charge of the garrison in Trois-Rivieres.
At last, the Regiment of Carignan who came here under Jean Talon's orders
in 1665 was called back to France at the end of its' engagement. The
arrival of this prestigious Regiment made great noises in the colony, and
the sight of a Corporal, chief of the garrison in Trois-Rivieres made some
believed that he himself behaved as one of the soldiers of the Regiment.
The original name was Besnard dit Carignan.
Louis was born and baptized on January 26, 1693. Once he became a man,
he realized without any doubt that Carignan was a name which once held such
glory in the colony, and it was a name which his grandfather took, and it
was a name which suited him as well.
This was why he became Louis Bourbeau dit Carignan. He married under
the name of Carignan the first time at Quebec in 1717, the second time in
1732, and the third time in 1745. Louis was a ship's carpenter, and he used
a lot of oak trees. It was him who informed all other constructors that his
brother Joseph from Becancour had beautiful oak trees, a forest full of
such beautiful trees. Our ancestor Louis who lived all his life in Quebec,
the father of ten children, died on October 28, 1762 at the age of 69.
While he was a ship's carpenter he had the reputation of being rather
skillfull, but even finicky at times, and had a tendency to want to settle
all of his disputes in court. Do certain Carignan who are stubborn and
known as perfectionists perhaps find that they possess some of Louis' traits?
How did those double family names disappear? It seemed that one of the
directive came from the clergy, in hope to simplify the officials acts by
implying one to use but one name instead of two or three which the people
of that era possessed. Particularly in Becancour, Father Louis-Stanislas
Malo had the good will to make sure that all those extra family names
The following information will explain why the family finds itself
still with five different branches descending from Pierre Bourbeau in
Canada: Bourbeau, Lacourse, Carignan, Verville, and Beauchesne. One must
not think however since these different original names were fixed
definitively for a long time now because in Becancour Father Malo directed
his parish from 1849 to 1883, and it was only during that time that many
disposed of their extra last names which was not so long ago. The last of
the Bourbeau's who was baptized Bourbeau dit Carignan was Jean-Evangeliste,
my great grandfather, As for my grandfather and all of his descendants they
use but the name of Carignan.
In the genealogical registry which is offered with this document it is
possible to trace all of your ancestors as far back as Pierre Bourbeau dit
The name has changed over the centuries however, we are equally proud
of being the Bourbeau's and the Carignan's.
Pierrette Langlois-Thibault, genealogiste. (daughter of Irene Carignan,
granddaughter of Donat Carignan and great-granddaughter of Jean-Evangeliste
Bourbeau dit Carignan.)
Saint-Jerome, July of 1991.
THEOPHILE COURCY and OLYMPE LACROIX-CORBIN
Baie des Sables, April 14, 1885
The Grandfather was born December 22, 1864, and he was baptized the
following day at St.-Fabien de Rimouski.
"On December 23, 1864, Joseph Theophile was baptized in this church. He had
been born the day before. Theophile was the legitimate son of Jean-Baptiste
Courcy and Marie Michaud. The godfather was Theophile Lebel and the
godmother was Odile Lebel."
Signed Father A.Ladriere
When he was 23 years of age, he married your grandmother, Olympe Lacroix
dit Corbin. As he wanted to properly pertain by the marriage act, the
family lived then in St.-Damase.
Baie-des-Sables, April 14, 1885
ACT OF MARRIAGE
" On April 14, 1885, after the publication of 3 banns of marriage
which was summoned at our parish mass, between Theophile Courci, resident
of St.-Damase, the minor son of Jean-Baptiste Courci, cultivator, and of
Marie Michaud of St.-Damase, of this one part; And Olympe Corbin, resident
of this parish, the minor daughter of Charles Corbin and of the late
Christine Ottis, of this parish, the other part; Since no one has declared
any reason why these two should not be wedded, and the parents of the
groom and bride agreed to the said marriage, We, the Father, priest, the
undersigned and servant of St.-Damase have received their mutual consent
of marriage, and gave them the nuptial blessing in the presence of the
groom's father and the bride's father, of which the said married couple
signed this required document as well.
(Signed) D. Morisset, priest, vicar"
This couple lived with his parents in St.-Damase. They were blessed
with four children over the years. Your grandfather learnt the trade of
carpentry. While contributing to doing his share of the farm chores he also
accepted any other odd jobs which came his way because farming alone did
not supply enough to support two families. He never lost confidence in
faith, nor his courage, and nor his zest to work.
After working five years to support his family his wife, Olympe who
suffered greatly died at the young age of 25 of dementia. She was born in
1865, and was buried September 11, 1890 in St.-Damase.
Courageously, he had to accept life with hope. Nevertheless, he had to
make some painful decisions. Since a second marriage was out of the
question at the time, generous families offered to care for the children
while he exiled to the States to seek work.
JUSTINE: The oldest daughter was adopted by the Guy family of
Baie-des-Sables. Once she became an adult, she married Joseph Otis, July
31, 1909 in Baie-des-Sables. She had a big family. She, too died at a young
age, actually in her thirties and leaving many children. A strong infantile
mortality severed this family, and only two boys and three girls survived.
The oldest died about 20 years of age. The family lived then in Price.
Later on, the husband remarried a Elise Beaulieu who was originally from
St.-Octave de Metis, and the settled in St.-Remi of Price.
JOSEPH: The uncle Joseph was raised in St.-Damase, with a hospitable family
by the name of Bouillon. Later on, he became a cultivator, however, he
added other sources of revenues to his farm. In the first place he settled
in St.-Damase then he moved to St. Moise. Since he was very industrious, he
invented quite a few machines or devices, but he never wanted to patent any
of his inventions. He became a maker of stringed instruments, and pass many
hours making them, and he also constructed violins so one of his sons,
Adelard who was a talented but leisure musician always had one on hand to
play. This one son lived in Drummondville. The uncle Joseph married a
Marie-Louise Berube, July 07, 1908 of St.-Damase, and they had a big family.
OLYMPE: The youngest was raised by a generous family, the Vaillancourt who
lived in Fall River, Massachusetts. She married Napoleon Carignan of which
the family was originally from Victoriaville. She lived, married, and
raised a numerous family of 14 or fifteen children which fourteen of them
survived. She died in December of 1948. The Abbey Eddie had the occasion of
praying at her gravesite in Fall River.
LOUIS: Your father had the good fortune to live in his paternal home with
his grandparents, his godfather, and his godmother. He had no reason the
leave the nest. He never failed to appreciate the attentions which his
grandparents lavished on him. We will speak more about him later.
THEOPHILE, returned later on to this country to settle in Price. After 22
years of widowhood, he married a Rose de Lima Dube, May 13, 1912, in
St.-Remi. There were no children from this second marriage.
Eleven years later, your grandfather died of cancer of the
stomach at the age of 58. He was buried September 23, 1923 in Price.
His second wife followed him about ten years after. She died
around 1933, in a retirement home for the elders in Trois-Rivieres.