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Our Genealogical / Native History

Richmond QCI have been systematically searching through the various documents and reports to discover previously unknown family relatives. There are thousands of CROTEAU / CROTTEAU / CROTTO families out there... Documentation before 1850 in Canada is very scarce if there is anything at all. I have depended on information obtained from other people or records in a number of instances especially the Genealogy Society of Quebec, Canada. Some information contained within the web site came from the memory of my relatives, which can be fuzzy at times with age. I need to emphasize a special thank you to those living relatives and friends who have provided information and untold hours of research. If you find a problem, please send me a nice message to advise me - keep in mind there are many people with the same name, born the same year, married a spouse with the same name. Just look at the number of Joseph & Marie combinations there are!

This map from Map Quest centres around the Richmond Quebec area.  My father Roger L Croteau and his siblings were born in the village of Kingsbury south of Richmond QC, Canada.

Historical points for the foundations of the Province of Quebec; 

1524: Italian navigator Giovanni da Verrazzano sets sail for the west on a mission of discovery for King François the 1st. He explores the American east coast between Florida and Newfoundland. He names these new lands «Nova Franca». In 1529, his brother Girolamo writes on his map of these new lands «Nova Gallia» (New Gaul). The name of Nouvelle-France (New France) will finally become the norm to identify the French possessions of Northeastern America.

1534 : Jacques Cartier leaves Saint-Malo for his first voyage towards the west. He finds himself in the Gulf of the Saint-Laurent. In Gaspe, he takes possession of these lands in the name of France, by planting a big wooden cross bearing three fleur-de-lees, the arms of France.

1541: Cartier founds Charlesbourg-Royal, the first French settlement in the New World.

1598 : King Henri IV names Marquis Mesgouez de La Roche Lieutenant General of the countries of Canada, Terre-Neuve, Labrador and Norembegue and gives him monopoly of the fur trade. La Roche leaves with 10 soldiers and 40 «peasants and beggars» for the île de Sable, off the coast of the actual Nova Scotia. After a revolt, the 11 surviving colonists are brought back to France.

1605 : Samuel de Champlain founds the settlement of Port-Royal (today renamed Annapolis, Nova Scotia), which marks the birth of l'Acadie. Sadly, the small establishment will be destroyed by the British in 1607.

1608 : Champlain founds the city of Quebec, in the part of New France called "Canada" (the Saint-Laurent river valley).

1615: Arrival of the first Recollets missionaries from Rouen, France. Their mission is to teach Christianity to the Indians.

1617: An apothecary by the name of Louis Hebert decides to bring his family and claim a piece of land in the vicinity of Quebec city for farming purposes. He thus becomes the first "Habitant" of Canada.

1625: Arrival of the Jesuits (among them fathers Charles Lalemant and Jean de Brebeuf).

1627: A group of French merchants found the Compagnie de la Nouvelle-France. Their goal is the exploitation of the fur trade and their mandate is to help colonize the country. The seigneurial regime is instaured. A group of French merchants found the Compagnie de la Nouvelle-France. Their goal is the exploitation of the fur trade and their mandate is to help colonize the country. The seigneurial regime is instaured.

1632: The Couillard-Hebert family receives the first slave of the colony. He is a Black boy from the West Indies. Slaves are rather common here until the end of the XVIIIth century. The historian Marcel Trudel has counted 4092 slaves throughout Canadian history, of which 2692 were Indians (the favorites of French-speakers) and 1400 Blacks (the favorites of English-speakers) owned by approximately 1400 masters. The region of Montréal dominates with 2077 slaves compared to 1059 for Quebec and 114 for Trois-Rivieres. Several marriages took place between French colonists and slaves (31 unions between with Indian slaves and 8 with Black slaves) which means that a number of Quebecois today have slaves somewhere in their family trees.

1634: Under the orders of Champlain, the Sieur de La Violette travels to the mouth of the Saint-Maurice river to found a fur trading post and a fort. It will come to be known as Trois-Rivieres. For a long time, this site will be one of the most advantageous for the activities of fur traders.

1659: Pierre-Esprit Radissonand his brother-in-law, Medard Chouart Des Groseillers, leave Trois-Rivieres to go trade furs in the west. They reach the territory of Wisconsin and are the first white men to make contact with the Sioux nation. They later convince British merchants to found the Hudson's Bay Company.

1663: Arrival of the «filles du roi» (the King's daughters, approximately 775 women). The majority of them will establish themselves in the city of Quebec and about half of them will marry there. It is believed that Jeanne Godequin b: 1646/47 was one of the Kings Daughters.

1665: Jean Talon becomes the 'intendant' of New France and the colony knows a great period of growth and prosperity. On that same year, Louis XIV send the Carignan-Salieres regiment to counter the Iroquois threat. Of the 1300 soldiers who set foot in the colony, about 400 will choose to stay and found families. It is claimed that one of the solders was Vincent Ancetre Croteau b: 1644.

1669: Louis XIV orders that all the valid men of New France between 16 and 60 years of age must do their mandatory military service. Every parish will have its militia.

1689 : 1500 Iroquois warriors, by order of the English, secretly land in Lachine, on the island of Montréal. During the cowardly night attack, the Iroquois slaughter 24 inhabitants and take about 90 prisoners. Of those, 42 will return to the colony, the rest are brutally tortured and burned alive in Iroquois. This sad event is known as the Lachine Massacre.

1690 : A British fleet, under the commandment of Admiral Phipps attacks Quebec. Phipps sends a messenger to Governor Frontenac, commander of the French troops, and demands that he surrender in the next hour. Frontenac answers: "I have no reply to make to your general other than from the mouths of my cannons and muskets!" The English are beaten and Quebec is saved.

1749: Acadie, now renamed "Nova Scotia" is receiving 2500 new colonists (English, Irish and German). Halifax is founded and becomes the new center of government. Many Acadiens flee towards New France, mainly Saint-Jean Island (today's P.E.I.).

1754 : The Governor of Virginia sends a 22 years old lieutenant-colonel George Washington and 120 militia men to Fort Duquesne (now Pittsburg) to tell the French to leave the Ohio valley. The French send a young officer, De Jumonville, with an escort of 34 men, to kindly remind the Virginians that they are on French territory. With no warning, Washington orders his men to open fire while De Jumonville is reading a diplomatic declaration. Ten Canadians and officer De Jumonville are killed and the others are taken prisoner. Washington leaves the bodies of his victims to the wolves. Outraged, the French attack Washington who capitulates, admitting his guilt in the assassination of officer De Jumonville.

This information is from the web site - Canada New France Time Lines:
 http://www.workmall.com/wfb2001/canada/canada_history_new_france_timeline.html


The Croteau DNA

The majority of all Croteau / Crotteau descendants in Canada and the USA have come from a Vincent Croteau (b:1647) who was born in St. Martin de Veules, Archdiocese of Rouen, Normandie, France. He immigrated to New France, (Upper Canada) now Quebec, Canada in 1665 or 1666. He resided in the village of Cap-Rouge, St. Foy, Sillery, Quebec and St. Antoine de Tilly, Quebec. Vincent's occupation: Shoemaker, Farmer and Real Estate agent. No doubt over time there have been other Croteau's coming from France who have moved to the Americas which I have been unable to document at this point.

In the year 2000 USA Census records available disclose 0.004% of last names in the US are Croteau; there are approximately 10,000 Croteau surnames; it is the 3,198 most common last name used by heads of households. Source www.namestatistics.com

By: John Croteau - 5th Cousin - Massachusetts

John Croteau contacted me in December 2008 and provided some insight into the Croteau lineage DNA. The following is the information he has provided which I find most interesting. I would like to thank John for sharing this with the rest of us.

Last year I submitted a DNA sample to the Geographic Project, a 5-year effort sponsored by IBM and the National Geographic Society that’s mapping humanity’s genetic journey through the ages. Test results have confirmed that our line of male Croteau ancestors originate from the northwest coast of France. Indeed, our family patriarch, Vincent Croteau, came from Veules-les-Roses, a small village on the coast of Normandy. Surprisingly, the highest concentrations of our genetic cousins exist in Scandinavia and Great Britain.

DNA pic

Some 15,000 to 20,000 years ago our Croteau ancestors, like many Europeans, sought refuge from the massive sheets of ice that covered much of the continent during the last ice age. They found temperate ice-free refuge, in which they could survive, on the Iberian Peninsula – current-day Spain and Portugal.

While our ancestral lineage was geographically isolated by ice, the distinctive genetic marker M253 appeared in one of its male members. As the Earth warmed and the glacial maximum passed some 15,000 years ago, the ice began its slow retreat. Our ancestors then left the peninsula and began to repopulate northwest Europe, which had once been covered by ice. They carried with them unique genetic markers, providing a genetic map of the physical paths walked long ago.

While our direct ancestors remained in France, their brothers and cousins went on to populate Scandinavia and the upper regions of Great Britain. We share their Viking and Celtic blood!

How do they map using DNA?

When DNA is passed from one generation to the next, most of it is recombined by the processes that give each of us our individuality. But some parts of the DNA chain – such as Y-DNA that only men get from their fathers – remain largely intact through the generations, altered only occasionally by mutations which become "genetic markers." These markers allow geneticists to trace our common evolutionary time line back through the ages.

Different populations carry distinct sets of markers. Following them through the generations reveals a genetic tree on which today's many diverse branches may be followed ever backward to their common African root.

Where did we end up?

Test results on my Y-DNA – which every Croteau male shares – placed us in Haplogroup I1a4 based upon the following genetic markers:

Haplogroup Tests
M170+ M227+ M253+ M258+ M307+ P19+ P30+ P38+ M161- M21- M223- M26- M72- P37.2-

Note: “+” indicates the presence of a particular mutation; “-“ indicates the absence of a mutation.

What is a haplogroup?

One way to think about haplogroups is as branches on the family tree of Homo sapiens.  You can find the complete Phylogenetic Tree for the human Y chromosome on Wikipedia. Each branch in that tree is defined by a single person in history who first showed a particular mutation and all of their male descendants.

All male Croteau’s in North America share common Y-DNA and descend from the single, male ancestor who first showed a mutation at M253, the distinctive marker for Haplogroup I1a4:

DNA pic2

Our haplogroup includes many surnames other than Croteau even though everyone is descended from a single male ancestor. Theoretically, everyone should be Croteau. However, he lived thousands of years before people used family names, which only started around 1000 A.D. One or more of his descendents took the name Croteau, while many others took other surnames. Still, we share the same Y-DNA.

Haplogroup branches characterize the early migrations of population groups. As a result, haplogroups are usually associated with geographic regions. The Genographic Project is mapping current-day population densities for the different haplogroups, and I1a4 is clearly concentrated in northwest France, Norway, Scotland, and England – all Celtic and Scandinavian regions.

Foot Note: If you wish to participate in the Genographic Project, visit their web site. With a simple and painless cheek swab you can sample your own DNA and submit it to the lab. We run ONE test per participation kit. We will test either your mitochondrial DNA, which is passed down each generation from mother to child and reveals your direct maternal ancestry; or your Y chromosome (males only), which is passed down from father to son and reveals your direct paternal ancestry. You choose which test you would like administered.


Rosa GingrasFrench / Indian Inter-marriages and the
Creation of the Métis Society:

There is a joke in Canada that asks ...
"How long after the first Frenchman arrived in Canada was the first Métis person born?" The answer "Nine months!"

Within every joke there is a bit of truth, and it is no different with this one. Very soon after French men arrived in New France (Quebec), they began to intermarry with local native women. In the process, a new society was created that blended elements of both French and Indian cultures.

It would be wrong to think of Métis culture as monolithic. There were in fact many Métis societies throughout North America, some of which took their European antecedents from the Roman Catholic French such as that in the Great Lakes region, and others, particularly in the Hudson's Bay area, that descended from Presbyterian Scots.

Most Métis societies revolved around the fur trade, for it was in this economic system that Europeans and Indians had the closest contacts. Few white women went west with the European men who traded for furs, so these men took Indian women as their wives. Over the course of time, the progeny of these unions carved out a unique society that took elements from both cultures but stood quite apart from them as well.

This essay focuses upon the Métis society that emerged in the Great Lakes region (Ontario-Michigan). It also focuses upon intermarriage between the two societies and the customs and motivations that underlay this institution.

- To read the remainder of this excellent report by Dr. Patrick J. Jung, Marquette University click here!

On the right, sits Rosa Gingras, circa 1910 or so.  She appears to be sitting on a home made chair from branches of a tree along with a fence.  Who knows, this could have been the first baby gate in history?


Eleven Generations in my family

Generation Grandfather Grandmother
I Andre Croteau - 1620  Martine Margeurite Metayer - 1626
II Vincent Ancetre Croteau - 1647 Jeanne Godequin - 1649
III Nicolas Croteau - 1677  Catherine Marie Mesny - 1691
IV Pierre Croteau - 1714 Marie Angelique Bergeron - 1721
V Antoine Croteau - 1753 Marie Charlotte Martel - cir 1754
VI Antoine Croteau - cir 1776 Marie Anne Barabe - 1774
VII Antoine Croteau - 1819  Emelie Carrette - 1816
VIII Thomas Croteau - 1849 Delima Durocher - 1855
IX Emile Doune Croteau - 1884  Marie Anna Vallee - 1891
X Roger Louis Croteau - 1921 Dorothy (Living)
XI Paul D. Croteau (Living) Maureen (Living)
XII (Daughter)  

I have not specialized in documenting living relatives for privacy reasons although there are several in the database, I try to keep their personal information hidden from the publics view.

Please read my Disclaimer. Copyright© 1997-2016 by Paul Croteau, Ontario, Canada.
Page last modified: 26-Oct-2016