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Our Origins



      Sandy & Jim Belanger                                     

So much of the Belanger history is in French so this is intended to benefit the English speaking Belangers.  Jim Bélanger has Quebec heritage although he was born in the St John Valley of Northern Maine.  He inherited French Acadian traditions and language.  Jim's father was born in Grand Falls, New Brunswick and grandfather in St Alexandre, Kamouraska, Que.  


Now that you have found our Belanger Genealogy site, I hope you visit often.  I have dedicated over 30 years of research to compile a huge database of Belangers and invite your help in correcting errors and/or adding missing information.  My overall intent is to educate and inform those interested in Bélanger ancestry.  I am NOT a genealogist but a researcher.  I compile data to give you a clue as to where to go to verify information on your particular family.  Have fun!


Where do our ancestors come from?

What we are convinced of, is there were only two Belangers who arrived in Canada during the early immigration of the 17th century using the surname Bellanger who left any descendants that survived into this century. These two were Nicolas and Francois Bellanger. Before we get into the possibility that these two were related to each other, however, we might spend a little time in asking ourselves where they were from.

     Immigration into New France (as Canada was named back then) was usually via ships that departed from France. But, were they actually originally from France? There are several theories. One says that there were three brothers who carried the surname Bell. These three all had red hair and came from Angers near Paris in France. They became known as the Bells of Angers or Bell d'Angers which was eventually known as Bellanger. One brother went to New England and the other two to New France. But, as anyone who has delved into genealogy at all, the "Three brothers" story is repeated in many families since it explains so many unknowns but is seldom found to be accurate.

     Another theory is that these early ancestors migrated from Germany into France, and were originally Bellengers which is difficult to pronounce in French. That name eventually was changed to Bellanger and then, as we know, to Belanger. So, perhaps our heritage is German and  not French at all. Makes one wonder?

     But, doing genealogy on supposition always leads to disaster so, we should concentrate on what we know and can prove. We do know of the arrival of Francois to New France. Depending on who's data you believe, Francois came to Quebec in 1634 or 1636 and spelled his surname Bellenger. The records of Notre dame de Quebec marriages shows Francois and Marie Guyon had two children married there; Marie Madeleine and Nicolas ( who married Marie deRainville). This information is disputed and is most likely an error but will be discussed a little later. We need to depend on reliable source for the information we find on our ancestors. Not all of us have the benefit of viewing the original records so we find what is recorded in publications. Rene Jette is one of the better known authors of genealogical information. I had the privilege of  meeting this gentlemen and speaking with him at a conference in Manchester, N.H. He was quick to say that he was not a genealogist although his works are viewed as very complete and accurate. Jette says; Francois was probably from St-Thomas de Touques in the archdiocese of Pont l'Eveque, diocese of Lisieux in Normandy (also called Calvados). Jette says there is a possibility that Francois is the father of Nicolas but there is no proof of this. Francois was the captain of his local militia in Beaupre from 1663 to 1667 and he was the Seigneur ( the lord or overseer ) of the concession of land granted to him ( called a Seigneurie ) of Bonsecours in l'Islet which was passed on to his son Charles. An in depth look at the life of Francois would take up a column of it's own so we won't dwell too much on this at this time.

     But, Francois and Marie Guyon married 12 July 1637 in Quebec. Their first recorded child was Charles who was born on 16 August 1640. Now, there is an old saying in genealogy that "if you have a year during the marriage without a child, you are missing a child" If we are to place any credibility in this, we see that there was time between the marriage and before Charles was born for another child in the interim. Could Nicolas have been born in this gap?  Well, from what we know of Nicola, he is said to have been born in 1632 in France. This would certainly eliminate Francois and Marie Guyon as his parents. But, do we have correct information on Marie Guyon? Consider these conflicting pieces of information.  Another renown genealogy source of information comes from the works of Abbe Cyprien Tanguay. He records Marie's christening in 1618 which is before Rene Jette even shows her birth date. Tanguay lists Marie christened in 1618 and buried on 1 September 1696 at Cap St-Ignace. This would make her 16 years of age when she landed in New France and 19 when she married. The family tree information is predicated on the premise that Marie Guyon was 16 when she came to New France and married Francois at age 19. Could Nicolas have been born in 1682? Jette lists Nicolas as having died in 1682 at the age of 50 years which would make his birth year 1632 but Tanguay list Nicolas as born in 1638. However, Tanguay agrees with Jette that Nicolas is 50 years of age when he died in 1682 so he contradicts his own birth year.

     If you are not already confused, here is more. A book by the title " Etude Genealogique sur Jean Guyon et ses Descendants" ( A genealogical study on Jean Guyon and his Descendants) written by Louis Guyon and published by Mercantile printing, Montreal, 1927 has the following information ( translated).

     (Jean Guyon was the father of Marie Guyon, wife of Francois, " The registers of Mortagne (France), as we have seen, mention that Jean Guyon had two daughters baptized under the name Marie, one in 1624 and the other in 1627. We are led to believe that the first of these two was the spouse of Francois Belanger. Tanguay says that Marie was baptized in 1618, which does not agree with the registers of Mortagne. Baptized in 1624, she was only 13 years and a half when she married in 1637, which was not unheard of during this era. Marie, baptized in 1627, died at a young age. She most likely had another given name other than Marie, probably Madeleine, since the first daughter of Francois Paradis and Barbe Guyon was named Marie Madeleine and it is plausible that this was done in memory of her sister that the name Madeleine was given to her first daughter.

     Explanation: Barbe Guyon was the older sister of Marie Guyon and she married Pierre Paradis. They had other children but no girls were born between 1642 and 1653 when Madeleine was born. The above surmises that Barbe Guyon may have named the first girl born after her sister's demise using her sister's name.

     The purpose of the above is to inject doubt and uncertainty as to validity of information which leads us to believe or not believe that Nicolas may be related to or the son of Francois. There are those that feel that Nicolas was a son of Francois and Marie born before they married, and was sent back to France to be raised by his grandmother who's name may have been Catherine. This gives some validity to the reason Nicolas was often listed as Nicolas Belanger dit Catherine. But, PRDH, a set of books which records events of those early days (births, baptisms, weddings, etc.) shows no instance where Francois was present at any event in the life of Nicolas nor was Nicolas present for any event in the life of Francois. No matter how much one denies a child born out of wedlock, it would seem that in the adult years of Nicolas, there would have been some interaction between the two families, if they were indeed related.

     Several members of the Belanger Family Association as well as other interested individuals have made trips to France to determine what is fact and what is fiction. To date, no credible information has been found to convince anyone that there was indeed any relation between Nicolas Belanger and Francois Belanger. At one point, Ronald Bélanger of the State of Maryland( proven descendant of Francois) and myself (proven descendant of Nicolas) planned to obtain a DNA test. By some misinformation, we thought this might somehow prove that Francois and Nicolas were related. But, what would it prove? Even if the results came back with a connection, it may well have been 100 years or more before the birth if either Francois or Nicolas. So, this flirting fantasy was abandoned.

     Suffice, it to say that, as well as we can determined, there were no Bell families in Angers near Paris in France for up to 100 years before the birth of Francois or Nicolas. This was verified using the information from the Church of the Latter Day Saints at a Family History Center. That should put the three Bell brothers story to bed.

     Francois came to New France along with others to develop the land and he married a young girl named Marie Guyon, the daughter of Jean Guyon and Mathurine Robin. Francois worked for Jean Guyon and received a concession of land which he had to arrange to be cleared and farmed by tenant farmers. Nicolas came to New France and married Marie de Rainville, daughter of Paul de Rainville and Rolline Poette. Nicolas was accomplished in the salt trade (salt was used for preserving food among other things) and he became a salt merchant for a time. Both left descendants which account for most Belanger families of today.



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