& Betsy Blais
Our North American ancestor is Pierre Blais. The following is from material obtained from Claire Blais-Kiel.
In France, the family name Blais has many variations: Ble, Blay, Bled, Belet, and Blet. Blais is the most popular form of the original Blaise, a physician who lived at Sebastia in Armenia, became a Bishop and was martyred in the year 316. The wool-carding guild chose him as patron saint because his executioners cut him to ribbons with iron combs before beheading him. It is this Saint Blaise whose protection is still invoked against sore throats.
But let me discuss my Ancestor Pierre Blais, colonist on the Ile d'Orleans in the Saint Lawrence River.
Pierre Blais probably left France from the port of La Rochelle in the Province of Aunis in 1664; destination Canada. The Dutch ship Noir, under the command of Captain Pierre Filly of Dieppe, had at least fifty men aboard. The twenty-four year-old Pierre is mentioned on the crew manifest as coming from Chef-Boutonne, capital of the Canton of Deux-Sevres. (1)
Pierre was the son of Mathurin Blais and Francoise Penigaut. Mathurin had a wife previous to Pierre's mother. She was Marie Auchier whom he married on 9 November 1630, at Melleran, which used to be in the Province of Angoumois, but today is found in the Department of Deux-Sevres. In his second marriage, on 30 April 1634, Mathurin conquered the heart of Francoise Penigaut. The witnesses to the marriage were Jean Carrier, Denis Richard, Nicolas Blanchard, and the administrator Pierre Alix. Moreover, and this is a rarity, we find the grandfather of Pierre at the ceremony: one Jacques, married also to a Penigaud, one Louise, buried at Melleran on 2 December 1629. (2)
Our Ancestor Pierre Blais was raised in the Parish of Hanc, in the Arrondissement of Niort, nearby Melleran, also in the Diocese of Angouleme. The records of this town do not go back beyond 1684, therefore it is not possible to find his baptismal certificate.
In the census of 1667 in New France, Pierre Blais is mentioned for the first time as living on the Ile d'Orleans and having been born about 1640, occupation laborer. Among his bachelor friends living on the island we might note Jacques Tardif, Martin Poisson, and Francois Marceau. (3)
On 22 June 1667, before notary Paul Vachon, Pierre Blais received a concession of land within the limits of the future parish of Saint Jean. His neighbors were Antoine Poisson and Hyppolyte Thivierge. In 1681 the census taker notes that Pierre owned four head of cattle and fifteen arpents of cleared land. It was on this farm that he would live for the remainder of his life - thirty-three more years. (4)
Pierre Blais married Anne Perrot (Perrault) on 12 October 1669, (5) at the church of Sainte Famille on the island. Anne, originally from Saint Sulpice in Paris, was the daughter of Jean and Jeanne Valta. She was a King's Daughter and brought a dowry into the family estimated at 300 livres.
From this first union, ten children were born: eight boys and two girls, of whom four died at an early age, as follows: (6)
1. Martin was born on 27 August 1670 and baptized the next day at Sainte Famille, 1.0. He died before the 1681 census.
2. Pierre (2) was born on 4 March 1672 and baptized twelve days later at Sainte Famille, but he died and was buried the following day.
3. Pierre (3) was born on 2 February 1673 and baptized sixteen days later at Saint Farnille. He married Francoise Beaudoin, daughter of Jacques and of Francoise Durand, on 9 November 1695 at Saint Francois, I.O. The contract was notarized by Chambalon the same day. They had eleven children, six boys and five girls.
4. Marie-Anne was born on 19 May 1675 and baptized on 9 June at Sainte Farnille. She married Jean Guillemet, son of Nicolas and of Marie Sel, on 7 October 1695 at Saint Jean, I.O. The contract was notarized by Chambalon the same day. They had ten children, all boys!
5. Antoine was born on 21 February 1677 and baptized four days later at Sainte Famille. He married Jeanne Lamy, daughter of Pierre and of Anne Perrault, on 9 November 1705 at La Durantaye. The contract was notarized by Barbel on 26 October. They had four children, three boys and a girl. Antoine married a second time to Marie-Ambroise Fournier, daughter of Nicolas and of Marie Hubert, on 10 February 1716 at La Durantaye. The contract was notarized by Gachet on 26 January. Marie-Ambroise had been previously married to Pierre Lefebvre, with whom she had ten children. Six of these children had died, but four came with her to join with Antoine's four children. By 1726, Antoine and Marie-Ambroise had seven more children, two boys and five girls.
6. Joseph was born probably in 1678 since he was three years-old in the 1681 census. Nothing more is known about him.
7. Jacques was born on 6 April 1682 and baptized two days later at Saint Jean. He married Louise-Angelique Cartier, daughter of Guillaume and of Marie-Etiennette Garnier, on 30 June 1713 at Trois Rivieres. By 1726, they had three children, one boy and two girls, all baptized at Yamachiche. Jacques fathered another daughter before his marriage to Louise-Angelique. The mother of this infant girl was Marie Faye, daughter of Pierre and of Madeleine Chartier.
8. An unnamed child was born on 26 March 1684 and died the same day.
9. Jean was born on 29 October 1685 and baptized on 2 November at Saint Jean. He married Genevieve Martin, daughter of Pierre and of Marie Buot on 14 October 1709 at Berthier. The contract was notarized by Chambalon the same day. Genevieve was the widow of Jacques Carbonneau by whom she had six children, five of which were at home at the time of her marriage to Jean. Jean and Genevieve had five children, three boys and two girls. Jean married a second time to Marie-Jeanne Senechal, daughter of Henri and of Catherine Poutre, on 9 November 1728 at Boucherville. The contract was notarized the same day by Tailhandier.
10. Marguerite was born on 29 June 1688, and was baptized the following day at Saint-Jean. She married Etienne Larny on 2 September 1714 at Saint Vallier. The contract was notarized by Michon the same day. By 1730, they had seven children, five boys and two girls.
Anne, the mother, died in childbirth on 29 June 1688 and was buried the next day in the cemetery at Saint Jean, at about forty-five years of age.
Pierre remained a widower with two young infants: especially poignant was the little Marguerite, born 29 June on her mother's death bed. It was she who would marry Etienne Lamy in 1714. Pierre sought to reorganize his life, so on 18 April 1689 before Notary Paul Vachon, he nominated a guardian for his children, and had an inventory made of his possessions. (7) On the following 5th of June, he married Elizabeth Royer at Saint-Jean;(8) she was the daughter of Jean and Marie Targer. From this union five children were shown the light of day as follows: (9)
1. Francois was baptized on 27 May 1691 at Saint Jean, I.O. He married Marie-Marthe Amelot, daughter of Jacques and of Angelique Godin, on 13 June 1726 at Saint Vallier. The contract was notarized five days earlier by Gachet. By 1730 they had two children I both girls.
2. Alexis was born on 8 April 1693 and baptized the same day at Saint Jean. He was murdered by the Chicachas Indians on 3 March 1723 and buried the next day at Kaskaskia.
3. Anne was probably born in 1694 since she was reported as twenty-one years old in 1715. She married Michel Dumans, son of Jean and of Agathe Morin, on 10 November 1715 at Montreal. The contract was notarized on 28 October by LePailleur. By 1730, they had six children, two boys and four girls.
4. Louis-Charles was born on 6 March 1697 and baptized the same day at Saint Jean. He married Marguerite Cadieux, daughter of Pierre and of Jeanne Marsan, on 8 November 1723 at Riviere-des-Prairies. The contract was notarized the prior day by Senet. By 1730, they had five children, three boys and a girl.
5. Gabriel was born on 27 February 1699 and baptized the same day at Saint Jean. He was adopted by Pierre Coquet and his wife Marie Chaperon, probably because of the death of his father the following year. Gabriel married Catherine Bau, daughter of Rene and of Marie-Madeleine Guertin, on 31 May 1718 at Boucherville. The contract was notarized two days earlier by Tailhandier. By 1730, they had seven children, two boys and five girls.
Pierre Blais died suddenly on 16 February 1700 at about sixty years of age. His widow, Elizabeth Royer, married eight months later on the 16 November, to Robert Pepin at Saint Jean. (10) She followed her husband to Montreal where she lived out the rest of her days. This couple put seven children into the world, then Elizabeth died and was buried on 22 June 1715 at Montreal.
Pierre left behind fifteen children, of whom eleven were alive at the time of his death. Alexis, born 8 April 1693, went exploring down the Mississippi; but alas, he was killed, along with his companion Laurent Bransard, by the Chicahas and buried on 3 March 1722 at Kaskaskia, where Pere Marquette had founded a mission and where the French built a fort in 1736. (11)
The first descendent of Pierre Blais to enter the clergy was Francois-Xavier Ludger; born 16 November 1832 at Saint-Pierre de Montmagny, son of Colonel Louis Blais and of Marie Genest. After his ordination at Quebec on 10 May 1857, he became Vicar of La Riviere-au-Renard, Professor at Notre-Dame du Mont-Carmel, and Cure at Riviere-du-Loup. It was at Riviere-du-Loup where his dynamism and devotion accomplished important works which still exist. We also take note of Monseigneur Andre-Albert Blais, born at Saint-Vallier on 26 August 1842. He was consecrated a Bishop on 18 May 1890 and directed the Diocese of Rimouski for twenty-eight years. (12)
Michel Blais, grandson of Pierre, married Francoise Lizotte; as a young man he worked for the Ursuline Nuns of Quebec. In remembrance of those happy days spent in their house as a domestic, they saw fit to give him a gift of "a horse valued at 180 livres for his farm, which was prosperous. " ... It should be remembered that it was not only the fact that Michel raised superb horses, but that he had a grateful heart. (13)
Many Canadian descendants of Pierre Blais, became Blaise, which family had two branches: Des Bergeres de Rigauville and Sansquartier.
With the poet L.J.C. Fiset, we say:
"The centuries have passed, but their noble dust Will last forever in your grateful hearts! Only but for them does heaven hear your prayer! Thus do we celebrate our ancestors!"
Alfred, Joseph, Marguerite Blais Bernier
John Philip Blais
John P. Blais is the younger brother of Joseph R. Blais. John married Jeanne S. Blais on 2 March 1942.
Joseph Blais married Marie Dehlia Tetrault on (date) at the church of (location). Maria, originally from (location), was the daughter of (parents name).
From this union, five children were born: four boys and one girl as follows:
1. Jeanne was born on 3 March 1917 and baptized on (date) at (location).
2. Michal (middle) Blais was born on
3. Alfred Dollard Blais was born on
4. Bernard Roy Blais was born on 25 November 1923 in Tampa, Florida.
5. Joseph Raoul Blais, Jr. was born on (date) in (place).
Bernard Roy Blais married Violet Virginia Sespaniak on (date) at the church of (location). Virginia, originally from Chicago, Illinois, was the daughter of (parents name).
From this union, five children were born: three boys and two girls as follows:
1. Bruce Bernard Blais was born on 25 June 1947 in Daytona Beach, Florida and baptized on (date) at St. Paul's Church.
2. Charles Joseph Blais was born on August 1948 in Daytona Beach, Florida, and baptized on (date) at St. Paul's Church.
3. Stephen Vincent Blais was born on (date) 1950 in Daytona Beach, Florida, and baptized on (date) at St. Paul's Church.
4. Carol Jean Blais was born on 27 January 1955 in Daytona Beach, Florida.
5. Judith Marie Blais, was born on 31 October 1960 in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Version 0.1, February 28, 2013