The use of Dit names in French Canada (Bas Canada) is both very common and confusing. Currently, I am working with another Deyo cousin to attempt to unravel yet another Deyo mystery. This part of my family line is now being reworked for the fourth time! I think I might be getting good at it. Briefly here’s the mystery…
It appears, now, that I might be descended from a woman we believe was named Honoree Beaulac. Her family name (surname) has the following common dit names (there may be others as well):
- Hertel (a nice German sounding name, eh?)
(Click here to view an excellent table which maps common dit names to Surnames French-Canadian: Variants, Dit, Anglicization, etc. provided by the American-French Genealogical Society. on the American-French Genealogical Society.) By the way you will also find a listing of variations in Tanguay’s text (volume 7)… we keep a copy on ManyRoads.
To add even further joy into the equation, her first name (given name) is also commonly altered to include or be (in French/ English):
As you might well imagine, this combination of names gives us a little bit to search and rummage around in. More importantly if you are researching family members in Bas Canada, you too will certainly encounter this form of adventure. Enjoy the mystery and challenge!
Here is a list of some sites providing explanations of “Dit” names:
- American French Genealogical Society – An good explanation with many other French Canadian resources.
- FamilySearch– Quebec names
- Francogene.com – Explanation plus other useful resources.
- Understanding Dit Names– A good article on About.com
- University of Montréal – A link to find other associated names when one is known and the other is not, plus other information about names in French Québec, especially before 1800.