Saturday, November 30, 2013

Surname Saturday: Prosper (formerly Desgroseilliers)


My mother's maiden name is Desgroseilliers. She’s a 9th generation descendant of Médard Chouart, sieur des Groseilliers. (See my post Médard Chouart, sieur des Groseilliers.) I've been researching my Mom’s paternal ancestors for as long as I can remember, and always assumed that many of sieur des Groseilliers’ descendants through his only surviving (legitimate) daughter Marie-Antoinette Chouart were surnamed Desgroseilliers or a spelling variation of that name.

However, genealogy research throws curve balls at you every so often. A few years ago, I found out that some of sieur des Groseilliers’ descendants took the Christian name ‘Prosper’ and turned it into their surname. As curve balls go, this one was relatively minor, but definitely interesting.

As far as I can tell, ‘Prosper’ was a first name in the Desgroseilliers family as early as 1743, when Marie-Antoinette's grandson was christened with the compound first name ‘Joseph Prosper’. [1] His surname was Dorval at birth, but he later used Bouchard and Desgroseliers.

‘Prosper’ seems to be used as a dit name for the first time when Joseph Prosper Dorval’s sons François (born in 1783) and Joseph (born in 1791) appear as ‘Desgroseilliers dit Prosper’ in some of their children’s baptism and marriage records in the mid-1830s in Châteauguay County, Quebec. For example, when François’ daughter Marie married Antoine Roy in 1834, and Joseph’s son Michel was baptised that same year, their surname was ‘Desgroseilliers dit Prosper’. [2] On other occasions during this time frame, the surname was ‘Prosper dit Desgroseilliers’. [3]

The earliest use of ‘Prosper’ as a stand-alone surname might be when Amable Desgroseilliers (son of Joseph born in 1791) married (as ‘Aimable Prospert’) Caroline Archambault in 1845 in Cooperville (now Coopersville), Clinton County, New York. [4]

Chart showing the progression of Desgroseilliers surname to Prosper

It’s a mystery to me why some of sieur des Groseilliers’ descendants in Canada and the USA chose ‘Prosper’ as a surname. The only thing I can think of is that they are from the line of Joseph Prosper Dorval. Or, could it be that ‘Prosper’ is easier to pronounce and write than ‘Desgroseilliers’?

Sources:

1. St-Joseph (Deschambault, Quebec), parish register, 1713-1791, p. 10 verso, no entry no. (1743), Joseph Prosper Dorval baptism, 19 May 1743; St-Joseph parish; digital image, “Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 24 November 2013).


2. Ste-Martine (Ste-Martine, Quebec), parish register, 1834, p. 7 verso, entry no. M.8, Roy – Desgroseilliers marriage, 10 February 1834; Ste-Martine parish; digital image, “Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 24 November 2013). Also, Ste-Martine (Ste-Martine, Quebec), parish register, 1834, p. 9 recto, entry no. B.27, Michel Desgroseilliers dit Prosper baptism, 15 February 1834; Ste-Martine parish; digital image, “Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 24 November 2013).

3. Ste-Martine (Ste-Martine, Quebec), parish register, 1835, p. 9 verso, no entry no., Dumas – Prosper marriage, 16 February 1835; Ste-Martine parish; digital image, “Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 24 November 2013).


4. St-Joseph du Corbeau (Cooperville [Coopersville], New York), parish register, 1843-1846, p. 82, no entry no. (1845), Prospert – Archambeault [sic] marriage, 10 June 1845; St-Joseph du Corbeau parish; digital image, "Early U.S. French Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1695-1954”, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 24 November 2013).


Copyright © 2013, Yvonne Demoskoff.

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