Sunday, August 16, 2009


When going so far back in time to learn about your ancestors the information available is often unproven and conflicting.

Take for instance my 8th. Great Grandmother, Helene Desportes. With my French heritage there seems to be a lot of firsts that happened in New France (Quebec). I have mentioned Louis Hebert and Marie Rollet being the first official family of NewFrance before. Now Helene Desportes was said to be the first white child (non aboriginal or Metis) born in New France. Helene was born to Pierre Desportes and Francoise Langlois. The date of her birth varies from 1619,1620,1621, 1622 or not even born in New France at all depending on what source is checked.

The next likely child who would have been the first born would have been the child of Anne Hebert and her husband Etienne Jonquet born in 1620. According to Samuel Champlain Anne Hebert died in child birth previous to 1620 and with no further mention of her child it was presumed stillborn. So this takes us back to Helene.

The historian Benjamin Sulte (1841-1923)1 maintains that Guillemette Hebert was the first born Canadienne because he assumed that Marie Rollet had come to Acadia with her husband Louis Hebert in 1606 but this has been refuted and she is said to have come from Paris in 1617.

It is believed that Helene's father, Pierre came to New France with Abraham Martin (as in The Plains of Abraham) who was married to Marguerite Langlois, the sister of Pierre's wife, Francois Langlois. Pierre could read and write and held some standing in the community. He signed on behalf of the inhabitants of New France in appeal to the King of France. .

When Helene and Guillaume Hebert's marriage contract was drawn up in 16342 her parents did not sign as witnesses. They had 3 children, one who died in infancy. Joseph, born 16363 and Francoise, born 16384

Helene's husband Guillaume died in 16395 and she married Noel Morin. He was a wheelwright and became one of the early pioneers of Montmagny.
Their son, Germain was consecrated to the priesthood in September, 1665, making him the first Canadienne born priest. Their daughter Marie became the first Canadienne born nun. And their other son Jean Baptiste was member of the Conseil Souverain, political body appointed by the King of France, chosen as a part of French nobility.6
There have been many firsts in my family history. I believe I am the first to blog.


W. Stewart WALLACE, "Benjamin Sulte", in The Encyclopedia of Canada, Vol. VI, Toronto, University Associates of Canada, 1948, 398p. p. 85.
Quebec Vital Records, Drouin Collection, 1621-1967, online []
Quebec Vital Records, Drouin Collection, 1621-1967, online [], accessed, Quebec, Notre Dame, Baptemes 1621-1667, page 7
Quebec Vital Records, Drouin Collection, 1621-1967, online [], accessed, Quebec, Notre Dame, Baptemes 1621-1667, page 10
Dictionary Of Canadian Biography Online, Library and Archives Canada online [], accessed May 15, 2007,
Ethel M. G. Bennett For information about the Desportes family in Quebec see Léon Roy, “Pierre Desportes et sa descendance,” SGCF Mémoires, II (1946–47), 165–68. See also Azarie Couillard Després, Louis Hébert: premier colon canadien et sa famille (Lille, Paris, Bruges, 1913; Montréal, 1918); La première famille française au Canada. Dionne Champlain, II, passim. Sulte, Hist. des Can.-fr., II, 37, 78.


Evelyn Yvonne Theriault said...

This is a particularly well-written article, Lori. Full of information that's very clearly and interestingly presented!
Evelyn in Montreal

augcott said...

Hélene Désportes is my 9th great grandmother!

Anonymous said...

She is my 9th great grandmother too!, but I follow down from her second marriage to Noel Morin and their son Alphonse.

Karen Roberts said...

As I recently discovered, I too am of decent to Hélene Désportes...I believe 12th generation. Have to compile the data. It is very exciting to find all these new discoveries!

Anonymous said...

Was just informed that Helene Desportes is my 11th great grandmother.

Lori E said...

On any given day I think I must pass someone, somewhere, maybe on the street, in a car....someone who is related to my big French/Metis family.
So nice to hear from you no matter how distant a relative.