Francois Lafaye & Marguerite Foret/Forest

Acadian communities

Acadian communities (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have encountered yet another Quebec genealogy mystery. As you might expect, this “new” mystery also involves the Deyo line. Nothing new there, I guess!

Here’s where things stand currently. The family in question are the Francois Lafaye/ Marguerite Foret family- my gggg-grandparents down my grandmother’s maternal line (mid 1700s).

Marguerite Foret/Forest appears ‘likely’ to have been the daughter of Bonaventure Foret/Forest and Marie-Claire Rivet. She as well as her entire Forest/Foret family were deported by the British ultimately landing in Louisiana as part of le Grand Dérangement; deportation records (on Ancestry.com) support that assertion as does a database on the Acadian-Cajun website. Additionally I have found the following history on the Acadiansingray website (for the complete history and sources click this link):

All of the Acadian Rivets who found refuge in Louisiana came from Maryland in the late 1760s:

Claire Rivet of Pigiguit age 42, wife of Bonaventure Forest, age 44, reached Louisiana in July 1767 with the second contingent of Acadians from Maryland. With them were four daughters, ages 18 to 12. They settled with the rest of the 1767 arrivals at St.-Gabriel d’Iberville south of Baton Rouge. Claire remarried to Abraham dit Petit Abram, son of fellow Acadian Abraham Landry and widower of Élisabeth LeBlanc and Marguerite Flan, probably at nearby Ascension in the 1770s. Claire died at Ascension in March 1780; the priest who recorded her burial said that she was 62 years old when she died, but she was closer to 57.

However there are other opinions on this including the following very nicely articulated by Paul Drainville of Springfield, Ma.

English: A painting of the portation in Grand-...

English: A painting of the portation in Grand-Pré, Nova Scotia. Français : Scène de la déportation des Acadiens en 1755. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

[...] I was able to read of the hardships “Marie Lore” went through in her conversion (to the religion of her youth) and in the help that she provided to Madame Feller in her establishment of [her] mission.

It was interesting to read that Madame Feller referred to Francois Lafay as having been a French sailor who left his ship in the area of Boston…

I also was directed by M. Doray to the marriage record for Marie Anne Lafay who married Francois Lord, June 6, 1806 St. Marguerite de Blairfindie. In this record Francois Lafay is listed as an officer. I then found through a google book search a book that listed Francois Lafay as being an officer who served in the Canadian militia (at L’Acadie) for Britain in the war of 1812 (he would have been in his early 70′s). So two differnet sources refer to him being an officer…

This likely confirmed for me what Prof. Stephen White had written to me that Francois Lafay was most likely educated as Francois signed his name “Francois Lafay” as someone educated in English would have signed. If Francois was an officer he most likely would have then been educated.

[...] Quebec records indicate a Boston connection (area of Boston could mean the whole of New England). Prof. White suspects a Connecticut connection, as that was the location Marguerite and her family had been exiled in the deportation.[...]

The curious counter-point I would mention is to be found on the marriage record of my ggg-grandparents- Ignace Denis dit LaPorte and Julie Lafaye. On their marriage document dated 1801, it is noted that Francois Lafaye is a Laboreur. As in the example above his signature remains the same. So was he a military man or was he a common man?

Map of Louisiana highlighting Iberville Parish

Map of Louisiana highlighting Iberville Parish (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So what can I say? Marguerite’s husband, Francois, is a perplexing ‘mystery’. How and when Francois Lafaye arrived in the Southern colonies (today the US) is not certain. His position in life, uncertain. More frustratingly, Francois Lafaye is also extremely difficult to connect firmly to a set of parents- for now I have him linked with Francois Faille and Marie Anne Brosseau, because they had a son of the correct age and name (this is a commonly accepted, albeit, unreliable connection). The truth is, we don’t know who his parents were. The best I can do right now is guess.

To be genealogically more accurate and for me to be personally more comfortable, I really need some definitive information explaining how Francois came to the American colonies (Louisiana?).  Finding that information, it then becomes more likely that we will be able to clearly identify his parents. But, to date I have not been able to find that information and those linkages. Perhaps some one out there has?! Ah well, such is the uncertainty of genealogy.

There seems to be a lot of confusion on the web regarding the ancestors and history of Marguerite Forest/Foret . But I, at least, am pretty happy saying she is the daughter of Bonaventure Foret and Claire Rivet. By that I mean I have found an adequate and cohesive amount of readily available circumstantial evidence.  As was mentioned earlier, it seems probable that Marguerite and her family were deported to Maryland ending up in Louisiana in the south as part of the British deportation (ethnic cleansing) of Acadia; and, she resided in that area and perhaps the American Colonies during the 10 to 15 years after 1767 (this comment is based on the terminology used in her and Francois rehabilitation marriage record, above).  As with most ‘removed’ Acadians, we tend to loose track of them once they departed Canada (such is largely the case with Marguerite). And as was explained above, there are other opinions, some seem very probable. But, each of the options seem to be missing hard evidence.

Based upon information I have found on the Bonaventure Foret- Claire Rivet’s Catholic parish in Louisiana (St. Gabriel Catholic Church – St. Gabriel, Louisiana) we find the following:

St. Gabriel (1761 – 1763) Church of the Iberville Coast [was] built by Acadian exiles in 1769. It was located in 1773 on Spanish Manchac on a grant given by that Government. [...] Believed to be the oldest Catholic church structure in Louisiana, St. Gabriel Church has been lovingly restored and maintained by the church congregation. It was built in 1769 and has been moved several times. [...]This area is in a part of Acadiana, which was founded by the Acadians, after their expulsion from Nova Scotia in the mid 1700s. St. Gabriel Roman Catholic Church is perhaps one of the oldest churches in the Louisiana Purchase Territory. [...]Tradition sets the date of the formation of the parish in 1761. According to the 1972 National Register nomination form, the Capuchin Vicar General, Father Dagobert, directed that a church be established in 1769, and tradition has it that the church building was completed in that same year. [...]The first baptism record available for the St. Gabriel Church is dated April 22, 1773, and the first marriage record is from January 1, 1773.

All of the above information certainly goes a long way towards explaining why the marriage of Francois Lafaye and Marguerite Foret required rehabilitation, it was never officially registered. or recognized by the Catholic Church. It may in fact have not even been conducted in a Church setting. hmmm.

Given the data I have discovered to-date, Francois Lafaye (Lafaille) & Marguerite Forest/Foret were most likely married in a non-Church setting (or minimally their wedding was unregistered) in Louisiana in 1767.  This date is supported by PRDH & Drouin films, the location is up to the facts you choose to believe. I personally like the facts associated with the Rivet-Foret relocation through Maryland to St. Gabriel, Louisiana. The actual month and day, given on their rehabilitation record, seems to read 4 June 1767; other readers have translated the date differently. Most certainly, their marriage was rehabilitated 23 June 1792 in L’Acadie, St-Jean, Quebec. The rehabilitated marriage is signed by “Francois Lafay” not “Lafaille” or “Faille”.

We also, know that the couple had several children while living in the southern colonies who were re-baptized in that same church in L’Acadie, St-Jean, Quebec in the 1790′s (see image below). Julie Lafaye (my ggg-grandmother) was one of those children as her re-baptismal record attests.  She (age 7) and her sister Brigitte (age 13) were re-baptized on the same day, 21 Sept. 1791; their brother Francois was also re-baptised that same year.

As Mr. Drainville’s note suggests, collateral searches are in order; without additional evidence this genealogy is at a brickwall. And so the search goes on!

To conclude our tale, Marguerite died 18 Feb 1819 in L’Acadie, Quebec. Francois Lafaye remarried Magdeleine Lepine 22 in Nov 1819 in L’Acadie, Quebec, Canada.

Francois Lafaye died June 1824 in L’Acadie, Quebec.

If you know of additional source information regarding this couple that you are willing to share, please let me know. Any/ all help are most welcome.

Update:

Since my initial writing of this piece, I have found DNA relatives (4-5 th cousins) living in Louisiana, via 23andme.com.  It is my assumption that my forebears must have gone through Louisiana since these folks say their family arrived there from Canada in the time frame noted above.

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