Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Family History Through the Alphabet – X is for …

X is for Xainte Dupont.

Xainte Dupont is my 9x maternal great-grandmother. She was born in about 1595 or 1596, based on her ages on the 1666 and 1667 censuses. An approximate year of birth of 1583, according to her age of 97 stated in her burial record, is not likely correct.

Xainte’s parents are unknown, but she was probably from Mortagne in Perche, a county in Normandy, France. She married Michel Lermusier on or about 26 February 1612 in Mortagne. They did not have children. As his widow, Xainte married Zacharie Cloutier on 18 July 1616 in Mortagne. Her name is spelled “Saintes Du Pont” at this marriage.

Zacharie, a master carpenter, signed a contract with Robert Giffard in March 1634 in which he promised his services to him for a five year term. Giffard, who recently became a seigneur, recruited colonists mostly from Perche to help populate the fledgling colony of New France. Towards that end, Giffard granted a concession of land known as an arrière-fief to Zacharie to help him settle. Zacharie named his new property La Cloutièrerie (or La Clousterie). These 1000 arpents were located in Beauport, a few miles from Quebec.

Xainte may or may not have come to New France at the same time as Zacharie when he sailed from Dieppe in the spring of 1634. Sources differ on the arrival date, but it was either that year or perhaps two years later in 1636. They and their children were among the earliest families to settle in New France.

The first time Xainte appears in a record created in New France is at the marriage of her daughter Louise on 26 October 1645 in Quebec.

The Cloutier couple resided at La Cloutièrerie for over thirty-five years until Zacharie sold his land in 1670. He and Xainte then lived with one of their sons at Château-Richer. Zacharie died on 17 September 1677, while Xainte, who survived him by nearly three years, died on 13 July 1680. They are buried in Château-Richer.

Xainte and Zacharie had six children, three boys and three daughters, born between 1617 and 1632 and all baptised in Mortagne. I descend from their youngest child Louise (1632-1699) by her second husband Jean Mignault dit Châtillon. I also have a connection to their elder daughter Anne (1626-1648), who married as his first wife my ancestor Robert Drouin. (I descend through him by his second wife Marie Chapelier.)

Zacharie has been called the ancêtre de tous les canadiens français (the ancestor of all the French Canadians). This claim to fame is well deserved: the immigrant couple formed by Zacharie and Xainte has the distinction of being the ancestors of the largest number of married descendants before 1800 – an astonishing 10,850! (This bit of genealogical trivia is courtesy of Le Programme de recherche en démographie historique (The Research Program in Historical Demography) at http://www.genealogie.umontreal.ca/en/.)

Copyright © 2012, Yvonne Demoskoff.


  1. I'm fascinated by the fact that you have so much info relating to this couple from so long ago. Well done Yvonne. It's a beautiful post to honour your 9x great grandmother.

  2. I'm glad you liked my post, Alana. That's one advantage of researching French-Canadian ancestors from long ago like Xainte - there's a fair amount of published material to draw from.

  3. Xainte is a very unusual name. How wonderful that you can go back so far in history.

    I wonder if you will tell us about Zacharie for "Z"?

    1. Thanks for commenting, Sharon! By the way, it's a done deal; take a look at "Z is for Zacharie Cloutier" :-)