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Origins of
The Vaillancourt Family

ROBERT VAILLANCOURT

COAT OF ARMS

The Armoral de Louan Geliot (Paris 1660) lists the Vaillancourt Coat of Arms as follows:

"De Blotfiere, the name of the Lords of Rumetz, de Lonquet de Villancourt

*** porte d'or a trois chevrons de sable, escartele d'argent a la bande lozangee de sable"***

The Vaillancourt (or sometimes Anglicized to Smart) name can be traced all the way back to the early 1200s in Normandy... In fact, in 1220 an abbey was built on land that had been given by Guillaume D'Abberville on his property at Thum. The abbey was given the name "de Villencourt" because that is where the court of Count William of Ponthieu would have been held. In 1195, he had married Alice of France, the daughter of Louis VII, King of France, so his Court held considerable clout. Unfortunately, he died within a year of the founding of the abbey (his heirs would eventually produce two kings of England, Edward I and II). By 1662 during the Wars of Religion, the seat of the abbey moved to Abbeville, the capital of Ponthieu, for greater safety.

While we can't make a direct connection to our ancestor Robert Vaillancourt, it is interesting to note that his birthplace is within a dozen leagues of the small community of Willencourt in the Pas de Calais district.

What we do know is that Robert Vaillancourt was born in St-Nicholas d'Aliermont, Normandy, France in 1601. He married Jacqueline Papin/Peppin in 1622.

Their son, Robert, was baptised at St-Nicholas d'Aliermont on October 3, 1644. He arrived in Canada around 1665 as a blacksmith and indentured servant to Guillaume Thibault. After serving the required three years to pay off his passage, he married a neighboring farmer's daughter, Marie Gobeil in 1668. Marie was the daughter of Jean Gobeil and Jeanne Guyet (both from Niort, Poitou, France), and had been born in Château-Richer in about 1655.

Robert and Marie signed their marriage contract before notary Claude Auber on September 30, 1688. Several weeks later, their wedding was held at Château Richer, where the presbytery and manor house for the seigneury were located.

On October 28, 1699, Robert obtained possession of seven arpents of land in the parish of Sainte-Famille, Île d'Orléans, where he and Marie would raise their family.

Sainte-Famille was the first parish on l'Île-d'Orléans, a small village that still commands a spectacular view of the entire Beaupré coast of the St. Lawrence River.

Their neighbors for a time were Pierre Michaud and his wife Marie (Ancelin). In fact, their daughter Marie Vaillancourt, born on September 5, 1674, married Jean Baptiste Michaud on June 3, 1697, at St-Pierre, the parish just to the west of Sainte-Famille on the small island of Île d'Orléans.

When Jean Baptiste's parents took possession of their property at Kamouraska in 1695, Jean Baptiste and Marie moved their family to the same area -- by 1697 at the latest. We know this because their first child, Marie Jeanne, was born in Kamouraska on April 2, 1698. Another daughter, Helene, was born and died in the winter of 1699; a son, Jean Baptiste (II), was born at the family home in Riviere Ouelle, Kamouraska, on July 2, 1701. The family lived on three arpents river frontage along the St. Lawrence River, with their land going back to a depth of 45 arpents. On one side lived Jean Baptiste's parents, and on the other, Pierre Beaulieu. Their small wooden house measured about seventeen feet square, and their barn housed three cows, three pigs, a pair of horses, and a pair of oxen.

The Church at Rivière-Ouelle

The Municipalité de Rivière-Ouelle was founded in 1672, 10 miles to the west of Kamouraska on the St. Lawrence River. It was and still is an agricultural community and it grew quickly in its early years, when Jean Baptiste and Marie arrived.

But life on the frontier was hard. In 1702, Jean Baptiste Michaud's father died of cancer. In the summer of 1706, on June 2nd, disaster struck again -- Marie Vaillancourt Michaud and her newborn daughter both died from the complications of childbirth. Their son, Jean Baptiste Michaud(II), was a five-year-old child at the time. His story is HERE.


My Michaud
Family Chart


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