Kinsearching February 24, 2008




Marleta Childs
P. O. Box 6825
LUBBOCK, TX 79493-6825

     In 2008, the city of Quebec celebrates its 400th anniversary. To help commemorate the momentous event, Denise R. Larson has written COMPANIONS OF CHAMPLAIN: FOUNDING FAMILIES OF QUEBEC, 1608 - 1635. Drawing upon primary and reliable secondary sources, the author provides both a concise early history of the city and genealogical data on the eighteen pioneer families who lived in the city during the lifetime of Quebec's founder, Samuel de Champlain.

     In clear language Larson presents the reasons for Champlain's New World explorations in the early 1600s, discusses the establishment of a trading post in 1608 in the wilds of what is now Canada, and explains the unique French-Canadian culture that was a result. Although the complex intrigues of the French king and his court are part of the story, the author focuses on the daily lives of Quebec's original inhabitants and how their frontier experiences created a new society.

     Champlain and his wife did not have any children, but their New World companions did. Larson traces the genealogy for three generations of the following founding families: AMIOT/AMYOT, BOUCHER, BOURDON, CLOUTIER, COTE/COSTE, COUILLARD/COUILLART, DELAUNAY, DESPORTES, GIFFARD, GUYON, JUCHEREAU, LANGLOIS, MARSOLET, MARTIN, NICOLET, PINGUET, and TARDIF/LETARDIF. Since Quebec's first colonial family is HEBERT, Larson follows that lineage through five generations. Since Quebec's 400th jubilee will undoubtedly inspire more people to seek a connection to these families, the author furnishes information about methods for French-Canadian genealogical research and a glossary of French-Canadian genealogical terms.

     Although Larson's book mainly concerns genealogy, the historical background makes enjoyable reading for anyone interested in European settlement of the New World. COMPANIONS OF CHAMPLAIN: FOUNDING FAMILIES OF QUEBEC, 1608 - 1635 is a valuable addition to the literature on the early French-Canadians.

     The 178-page paperback has an introduction, a photograph of Champlain's astrolabe, a map, seven pages of annotated references, end notes, and an index. To the book's price of $22.95, buyers should add the cost for postage and handling charges. For U. S. postal mail, the cost is $4.00 for one book and $2.00 for each additional copy; for UPS, the cost is $6.00 for one copy and $2.50 for each additional book. The volume (item order #9914) may be purchased by check, MasterCard, or Visa from Clearfield Company, 3600 Clipper Mill Rd., Suite 260, Baltimore, Maryland 21211 (for phone orders, call toll free 1-800-296-6687; fax 1-410-752-8492; website

     As "Kinsearching" has emphasized in the past, genealogy and history are forever intertwined. Good family research cannot be achieved without a thorough knowledge of the history of the times in which individuals lived. When tracing elusive ancestors, genealogists should not overlook information in historical quarterlies and journals. The Fall 2006 (vol. XXXIX, no. 1) issue of WESTERN STATES JEWISH HISTORY, for instance, has articles on the role of the NEWMARK family in the history of nineteenth-century California and the late nineteenth-century memoir of Sarah (LEVY) THAL, wife of a Jewish pioneer farmer in Nelson Co., ND. Another example is the November 2007 (volume 43) of THE TEXAS GULF HISTORICAL AND BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD, which contains extracts of names found in the Jefferson County ferry records, 1838 - 1881, and an article on Benjamin Kimball FREEMAN, born in 1806 in Vermont and died in Anahuac, Texas, in 1835, whose tombstone is the earliest found in Chambers County.

     On 12 April 2008 the North Carolina Genealogical Society and the Olivia Raney Local & Family History Library will host the Third Annual Speakers Forum in the Wake County Commons Building in Raleigh, NC. Among the variety of topics to be discussed are a Civil War case study, the digitalization of the North Carolina Colonial and State Records series, maps, money in eighteenth-century colonial America, and orphan records. For more information go to the website or e-mail

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