Friday, November 21, 2014

52 Ancestors: #47 Marie Godard, a good life

Amy Johnson Crow at No Story Too Small has issued herself and her readers a challenge for 2014. It’s called “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks”, and as Amy explains, the challenge is to “have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor”.

For the 47th week of this challenge, I chose Marie Godard (ca 1629/1634/1639/1641-1684).

Marie is my paternal 8x great-grandmother and is number 1201 in my ancestor list.

When I first chose Marie for this blog post, I didn’t think there was much I’d be able to say. Now that I’ve done some background research, I’ve got more details about my ancestor than when I first started.

Marie’s parents are unknown and her place of origin is unknown. [1] However, it’s possible that she was from Mortagne in Perche, France. As a new immigrant, young Marie worked for Marie Renouard (Regnouard), wife of Robert Giffard, seigneur of Beauport, and Madame Giffard was particularly kind and watchful over Marie. [2]

Marie’s date of birth varies between 1629 and 1641: [3]

• about 1629 (she was 52 years old on the 1681 census)
• about 1634 (she was 50 at her burial)
• about 1639 (she was 28 on the 1667 census)
• about 1641 (she was 25 on the 1666 census)

Her date of immigration is also unknown, but she was likely a teenager when she arrived in or before 1654. That year, she married Toussaint Giroux on September 29th in Beauport, now an eastern suburb of Quebec City. [4] A Jesuit priest named Paul Ragueneau blessed their union that took place in Giffard’s manor on his seigneurial property. [5]

Vue of Beauport near Quebec
"Vue in the Neighborhood of Beauport, near Quebec" (1840)*

* Credit: Library and Archives Canada, Acc. No. 1956-62-99.

Toussaint, a weaver, was five weeks away from his 21st birthday. He had recently received a grant or concession of land from seigneur Giffard. [6] Unlike his wife, Toussaint’s parents and origin are known: he was the son of Jean Giroux by his wife Marguerite Quilleron (Cuilleron) and he was baptized on 2 November 1633 in Réveillon, just south of Mortagne, France. [7]

Marie and Toussaint had twelve children, nine sons and three daughters. [8] I descend from their second, but eldest surviving son Raphaël (1656-1715).

Marie’s early years of motherhood were sad and difficult for her. Her first child, Charles, was born prematurely in the late spring of 1655 and died when one week old. Her fourth child, Toussaint died when he was ten weeks old in 1660, and her sixth child, also named Toussaint, died when he was three weeks old in 1663. Her ninth child, Jean-Baptiste, born in 1668, died when he was a child, because he doesn’t appear in his parents’ household on the 1681 census. [9]

Further pregnancies brought joy to Marie. She gave birth to daughters Marie-Anne and Madeleine in 1666 and 1669, respectively, and then in the 1670s, Marie gave birth to another Toussaint and to daughter Monique; all four children survived. The Giroux family was now complete.

The 1681 census is a witness to Marie and Toussaint’s prosperity: they had three rifles, farm animals, and “53 arpents of land under cultivation”. [10] Life was good for Marie during this time. She also had the joy of seeing three of her children married in Beauport: Raphaël in November 1681, and Michel and Marie-Anne both in August 1683. [11]

The following year, though, Marie’s life drew to a close. She died on 21 November 1684, 330 years ago today (21 November 2014). She was buried the next day in Beauport. The priest noted in his church’s register that, prior to her death, Marie had “recu Les Sacrement de penitence et du viatique et avoir mené une bonne vie”. [12] She had received the last rites, and had led a good life.


1. René Jetté, Dictionnaire généalogique des familles du Québec (Montréal: Les Presses de l’Université de Montréal, 1983), 503.

2. Soeur Anna Giroux, “Toussaint Giroux, 1633-1715”, Mémoires de la Société généalogique canadienne-française 25 (janvier-février-mars 1974): 3-27, particularly p. 26; DVD edition (Montreal, QC: SGCF, 2013).

3. Jetté, Dictionnaire, 503.

4. Jetté, Dictionnaire, 502. Although the ceremony took place in Beauport, the event was registered in Notre-Dame’s sacramental register in Quebec.

5. Violette Allaire, “L’Association “Perche-Canada” rend hommage à l’ancêtre Toussaint Giroux, à Réveillon (Orne)”, Mémoires de la Société généalogique canadienne-française 15 (juillet-août-septembre 1964): 182-184, particularly p. 183; DVD edition (Montreal, QC: SGCF, 2013).

6. Gagné, Peter J., Before the King’s Daughters: The Filles à Marier, 1634-1662, (Orange Park, Florida: Quintin Publications, 2008), 156.

7. Jetté, Dictionnaire, 502.

8. Jetté, Dictionnaire, 503.

9. Jetté, Dictionnaire, 503.

10. Gagné, Before the King’s Daughters, 157. Also, Giroux, “Toussaint Giroux, 1633-1715”, 15, citing Benjamin Sulte, Histoire du Canada française, 1608-1880, 6 vols.; Tomes IV et V, recensements 1666, 1667, 1681.

11. Jetté, Dictionnaire, 503.

12. Notre-Dame (Beauport, Quebec), parish register, 1684, p. 3 verso, no entry no., Marie Godard burial, 22 November 1684; Notre-Dame parish; digital image, “Le LAFRANCE”, Généalogie Québec ( : accessed 20 November 2014).

Copyright © 2014, Yvonne Demoskoff.

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