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Re: pierre paul felix/peloquin
Posted by: John Peloquin Date: October 25, 2001 at 12:41:35
In Reply to: Re: pierre paul felix/peloquin by Sue Thompson of 322

Felix was a "dit" name which was sort of like a nickname, but more like an alias that may have referred to their occupation, a physical characteristic or their father. These names were used freely and interchangebly. Eventually the "dit" names were eventually dropped, I would guess due to the increasing influence of English speaking people in the later 1800's and their inability or unwillingness to accept a culture different from their own. The association of Felix and Peloquin probably stems from the following, though there may be other reasons, because "dit" names were also used in France:

The number of Europeans that settled New France was limited and so therefor were the surnames. It wasn't long before a village was populated by people with only a few surnames. So people in a town where everyone nearly had the same surname would go by their father's name. Hence the children of Felix Peloquin would go by the surname Peloquin dit Felix whereas Felix's brother's kids would go by something else. The children of Felix's father would go by Peloquin dit Credit and so forth. FWIW, Credit and Credy are surnames derived from "dit" names used by descendants of Felix Peloquin's brothers as his father was Peloquin dit Credit (maybe he was a banker?) who came from Niort, France in the late 1600s.

There are a number of reasons for our ancestors to use "dit" names though. Some benign such as above and others not so, such as to obtain more than one license or to obscure one's origins etc.

Another possiblity exists. Remember that it was much more common than not for voyageurs and their descendants to have been at least partly if not primarily of Native ancestry. I once asked my father if it was possible that my ggrandfather took back the name Peloquin to differentiate himself a bit from the Felixes who might have been regarded by some as Indians. Otherwise he and his children might have been subjected to a lot of discrimination and even violence etc. My dad said that might have been a reason.

Now that it is ok to be Native this is rather amusing in retrospect but I'll bet it was not too much fun for our ancestors since Indians were lower on the social scale and more despised than Black people in those times.

I'd be very happy to hear what you know about this passage, where they came from and when this happened.

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