The majority of the earlier demographic studies working with the process of family reconstitution have concentrated their efforts on single parishes in England or France where the parish records were extensive, extending over three or four centuries. The great exception to this rule has been the massive survey of 17th and 18th century Quebec families done as parish indexes by the Programme de Recherche en Demographie Historique at the University of Montreal, under the direction of Professor Hubert Charbonneau, and reconstituted into families by (to 1730) Rene Jette from the computerized indexes.
Single-parish family reconstitution studies, even when computerized, have necessarily ignored all family members and vital statistics which were not contained in the records of that particular parish. The purpose of this study was to obtain a sense of the possibility of doing family reconstitution of migrating groups. In a highly mobile society, it seemed to be possibly of more use to look at a sub-set of a society in motion, tracing the origins, the migration paths, the temporary focus of settlement, and the later dispersion.
The focus of settlement chosen here is that of French-Canadian migration into the Lake Champlain Islands (Grand Isle County, Vermont) in the period prior to the 1880 U.S. Census. An attempt has been made to identify for these families the parish of origin in Canada, the date of settlement in Vermont, and later migrations west, covering all family members involved in these processes.
It was impossible to confine the process of reconstitution to either ecclesiastical or civil records. It was also impossible to confine them to sources located only within the five Towns of North Hero, South Hero, Grand Isle, Isle la Motte, and Alburgh. By the very nature of a migrating population, it was necessary to use sources from Canada for the origins and from U.S. locations further west to ascertain their destinations. Even more, however, because of the mobility of the population under consideration, many of whom were working as farm laborers, it was necessary to use civil and census records from nearby counties. Also, because of the frontier nature of the Roman Catholic church in northern Vermont and New York for most of the nineteenth century, with the priests functioning as travelling missionaries, it was necessary to use church records from a large number of parishes along the Vermont and New York shores of Lake Champlain as well as records from the islands themselves.
A commentary on the sources follows:
The major sources for the compilation have been the Vital, Court and School Records of the five towns of the county, used both in microfilm (LDS) and in the originals, and the compilation of tombstone records of Grand Isle Co. and of Clinton Co., N.Y., made by Messrs. Charles and Hugh McLellan, in the hands of Mr. Allen L. Stratton. These have been supplemented by extracts from Roman Catholic church records from St. Joseph's Church and from old St. Mary's Church (now the Cathedral) in Burlington, Vt., and of the first chapel of St. Rose de Lima at South Hero, 1863-72, with a few re-recordings of the earlier lost records, provided by Miss Veronique Gassette. Microfilms of the records of St. Joseph's Corbeau, Coopersville, Clinton Co., N.Y., loaned by M. Benoit Pontbriand of Sillery, Quebec, by permission of the Bishop of Ogdensburg, N.Y. were also used. Also used have been local histories, the repertoires of marriages published for Clinton Co., N.Y. and the various parishes of Quebec Province, the U.S. censuses 1790-1910 for Grand Isle Co. and adjoining counties on the shores of Lake Champlain, and U.S. Civil War pension records. In addition, microfilms (LDS) of selected original church registers of Canadian parishes were consulted.
The rate of army enlistment during the Civil War was very high--almost universal.Therefore, one of the best sources for supplementing the local vital and church records are the Civil War pension records at the U.S. National Archives.
Other sources remain to be exploited. The duplicate vital records deposited in the Vermont State Capital at Montpelier have not yet been used in full. These will be particularly important for Isle la Motte, as the original town copy of the volume covering 1857-1868 had disappeared at the time the records were microfilmed in 1952 by the Genealogical Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Salt Lake City, Utah.
In addition, the earlier Catholic records from the Church of the Nativity, Swanton, Vt. (beginning in 1854); St. Amedeus in Alburgh, Vt.; Immaculate Conception Church (St. Mary's) in St. Albans, Vt. (beginning in 1847); and St. Anne's Church at Milton, Vt. should be used. St. Anne's, however, will be of most use for the very end of the period under consideration if it is true that the pre-1863 records were lost when Father Cardinal's boat capsized in Lake Champlain as he was going from Milton to South Hero, as was the case with the pre-1863 St. Rose of Lima records. The marriages from St. Peter's and St. John the Baptist at Plattsburgh, N.Y., were published in 1984 in a repertoire published by M. Pontbriand. The baptisms and from those churches are available on microfilm as of 1988 in the series of microfilms of the Roman Catholic church registers of the Diocese of Ogdensburg, N.Y., from the Genealogical Society of Utah/LDS. St. John the Baptist has lacunae l839-1849 and 1854-55.
These records are still very incomplete for families from the Town of Alburgh.
The late Mr. Allen L. Stratton, author of histories of North Hero, Isle la Motte, Grand Isle, and South Hero Towns, reported that the French families of this older layer of settlement in the islands have retained very few traditions about the origins of their families. As a result, we have probably gathered here more than they know about themselves. This is less true of those families that have immigrated within the past century.
The Richelieu River undoubtedly acted as a settlement funnel for these families. Most of them take their origin in Quebec Province from the Richelieu parishes. Several had been gradually moving south for two or three generations before the move that took them across the national border into the United States. In addition, the following statements can be made:
1) A surprisingly large proportion of these families are descended from French and British soldiers of the Seven Years' War who were demobilized in Canada, and thus are families of comparatively late settlement in Quebec.
2) Many families had very early ties into the Lake Champlain area--either to the French garrison at Fort St. Frederic (Crown Point, N.Y.) before 1759 or to French-Canadian soldiers who served in the American army during the Revolution and were part of the refugee settlement at Chazy, Clinton Co., N.Y.
3) Several of the "French-Canadian" families descend from German or Swiss mercenary soldiers who served the British army during the American Revolution or the War of 1812.
4) Although there was a new surge of immigration after 1837/38, many of the new immigrants already had relatives in the islands prior to this date.
5) Many families with different last names are linked together in Quebec, before the emigration to the U.S. through the wives of the immigrants.
In addition, the majority of these families sent branches further west, into New York, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, the Dakotas, and eventually as far as the West Coast. They were not typical "habitants" to begin with, and they tended to remain rather footloose.
NOTE ON ARRANGEMENT
Because this is a preliminary compilation, the families are arranged alphabetically, without pagination. This is for greater ease of addition and rearrangement.The families considered are:Aber, Abaire, Eber (Hebert)
Audet. See Lapointe
Belrose. See Miller.
Bombard. See LaBombard
Bullock. See under Bourgeois and Paro
Chagnon. See Shawyea
Choiniere, Chouinard. See Sawyer, Sweeney
Cross (Langevin dit Lacroix). See under Genette.
Cusson. See Tusent.
Dalpe. See Parizo.
Dandurand. See Mashtare.
Dewell, Deuell. See Wells
Douelle. See Wells.
Duel. See Wells.
Durand, Durant. See under Larro and Genette.
Eber. See Aber.
Fish. See Poissant
Fontaine. See Lafountain.
Gauthier. See Landerville
Georgeof. See Larro
Germain. See Billings
Gervais. See Jarvis.
Giard. See Jhoir.
Giasson. See Genette.
Gordon. See under Duba.
Gosselin. See Joslyn
Guimond. See Demo
Hebert. See Aber
Hill. See Descoteaux
Isabelle. See Lafountain.
Janotte. See Genette.
Jeannotte. See Genette.
Jigger. See Gigger.
Johngoff. See Larro
LaPlante. See Plante.
LaRock. See Rock
Lefebvre. See Bean
Lisabel. See Lafountain.
Mailloux. See Mayo
Moore. See Popaloose
Noel. See Wells
Paillan, Payan. See Santor
Payan, Paillan. See Santor
Robadou. See under Genette.
Rock (See also Martin, St. Martin)
St. Martin. See Martin, line Bidaguin dit St. Martin
St. Onge. See Santor
Stone. See Derush and Santor
Sweeney. See Sawyer (Choiniere, Chouinard)
Tary. See Therrien.
Ward (Guerin). See under Santor.
These families are followed by a section, labelled "Sparrows", on those families and individuals who appear in the Grand Isle Co., Vt. records only in passing.
When a woman married into another family traced here, her descendents will be found under the husband's family name.