NameCretien DuBois1952
Deathbef 16551929
ChildrenLouis (1626-<1696)
Notes for Cretien DuBois
“the use of the surname Du Bois goes back to ancient tmes. For six hundred years it was invariably writen with a small ‘d’ and a capital ‘B’, the form indicating noble origin. In the south and middle of France are many families of a different background who spell their name Dubois. They are probably descendants of enfranchised peasantry who took the name of their feudal lords. As it would have been a penal offence, they could not use the badge indicating noble extraction. The surname is derived from a hereditary office and means the “Grant Masters of the Forests of France.’ The Du Bois family, one of the ancient noble houses of Cotentine, in the Dutchy of Normandy, is divided into five main branches in France, Flanders and England. All of these branches are believed to be of a common origin in Normandy. The family is mentioned in the heraldic records at Paris, France, where the pedigree commences with Geoffroi du bois, a knight banneret an dcompanion of William in 1066.” 1027

“The father of Louis Du Bois, as before remarked, was Chetien Du Bois. He is designated in the record of his son’s mariage, at Manheim, October 10th, 1655, as the deceased Chretien Du Bois, resident of Wicres. The records of this latter place have been examined, and I regret to say that, from age and bad ink and mutilation, the register is almost illegible. The baptismal record shows that Chretien Du Bois had three children baptized at Wicres. The dates made out are the 18th June, 1622, the 13th November, 1625, and the 21st October, 1626. The names are illegible, and seem to have been intentionally obliterated. These researches were made by archivists under the direction of the consul for the United State at Lille, Mons. C. Du Bois Gregoire. In his letter of 15th July, 1875, he writes that he had visited the canton of La Bassee several times, where there are very old records, but could make nothing out, as, where the Christian names occurred, the paper was torn or cut out. He further states that the registers in the village of Wicres were also in many places illegible from age, bad ink, and from being torn and worm-eaten. He says Wicres has a population of three hundred inhabitants, and that many farmers in the vicinity had pointed out to him the farm which the tradition of the country recognizes to have belonged to the Du Bois.” 1972

“In a subsequent letter of the 2d August (this month), he writes (I translate his language): ‘It is extremely vexatious that the poor old register of Wicres should be in such a sad condition, and that the paper should be torn at the spot of the Christian names of the eldest sons of Chretien.’ From the names of the sponsors, he thinks that Jacques and Louis were the ‘fils aines,’ the two oldest sons of Chretien. He adds: ‘My inmost conviction is that they are brothers, and sons of Chretien.’ The copy he sends of the extract fromt he registers of the Etat Civil de Wicres is in English, as follows: -
The xvii. June, was baptized (the paper he parenthesises is torn at the spot of the Christian name) Du Bois, son of Chretien. Godfather, Laurent Du Bois; Godmother, Heleine de Beaussart; (1622).

The xiii, November, was baptized (in parenthesis - the christian name is torn out) Du Bois, son of Chretien. Godfather, Jacques Du Bois, and Godmother, Rogeau (1625).

The xxi. October, was baptized To____ (the rest illegible or town out, he does not say which, but put in parenthesis [probably Toussaint] Du Bois, son of Chretien. Godfather, Franchois Du Bois (so pronounced), and Godmother, catherine de Marsy (1626).
I would here remark that the To resembles Lo as much as To, and possibly many have been Louis, and the archivist thinking he made out Touis, knew of no French name like it but Toussaint. It is certain that Chretien had a son Louis, and that he was born in October, 1626.
A previous record sent us by M. Du Bois Gregoire, as furnished him by the archivist, states that Crhetien Du Bois and his wife had a child, Louis Du Bois, born the 28th October, 1626.
The baptism just referred to is on the 21st October, 1626, of a son of Chretient, of whose name only the first two letters are extant.
The explanation of the inconsistency, as reported, of a child that was born the 28th of the month, baptized the 21st of the month, is very simple. The Roman numberals, and not the Arabic, are ussed: xxviii. represents the birth as given, and xxi. the baptism as above given; but a previous letter gave the baptism of this child (with no name and no letters, T.O. or L.O., for a part of the name) as occurring October xxvii. (27th), 1626. This date, which lacks but the Roman numberl i. added to the vii. to make it correspond with the birth, is no doubt nearer the true date, and identifies the child with Louis. It was at that time an every-day occurrence to baptize a child on the day of its birth, or the day after. And in such old records where the writing is scarcely decipherable, the exact birthday of the month, or the actual baptismal day of the month, represented by Roman numerals, may not be correctly made out in these extracts.” 1972

“There are some uncertainties regarding early lineage in this family as indicated in the follow "Report of European Research of Reverend W. Twyman Williams, Minister of College Church, Hampden-Sydney, Virginia, dated 13 December 1935:

"Mr. Williams pointed out errors in Mackenzie's Colonial Families of the United States of America, IV, duBois, because of lack of conciliation in generation dates, such as placing Louis DuBois, born 21 October 1626, as the son of Chretien Maxmillan des Finnes. In the Dictionarie de la Noblesse by La Chesnay, Desbois and Baider, a standard work on the French nobility, Chretien Maxmilien du Bois de Finnes was listed in Vol. VIII and recorded as 'Captain in the Regiment of his father, died 1747 ages 21 without issue'. His father was Charles Maxmilien (1701-1750); his grandfather, Maximilien Francois (1669-1714); his great-grandfather, Maximilien, who married 1662 Catherine Cecile de Guernonval; and his great-great-grandfather, Marc, who married 1624 Madeleine d-Ognies. Obviously, if Louis duBois' father, Chretien, were of this line, he could not belong to a later generation than of Marc du Bois de Fiennes, who was son of Guislain, son of Eustace, son of Charles du Bois and Claude de Lannoy. A record of the children of the last three named seems conclusive that Chretien du Bois was not of this line at all.

"This incorrect pedigree had been secured by Mrs. Anna Louise Thompson of Geneva, Illinois, since deceased, from a French genealogist, who perpetrated upon her an outrageous fraud, namely copying these generations from the Dictionarie and omitting all dates to conceal his ridiculous identification of Chretien du Bois, father of Louis, the emigrant, with Chretien Maximilien du Bois de Fiennes (1726-1747).

"Mr. S. Gordon Smythe called attention to a statement in E. de Valcourt-Vermont's America Heraldica that Chretien du Bois of Wicres, a village near Lille, belonged to the family of DuBois who were Seigneurs of La Bourse and Beaufermez, two old family estates in the vicinity of Lille.

"Mr. Williams found an Antoine du Bois, of the DuBois de Fiennes family, but in a cadet branch founded the latter part of the fourteenth century, who was Seigneur de la Bourse, as his ancestors had been for five or six generations, and who became Seigneur de Beaufermez by his marriage to Philipotte de Landas, Dame de Beaufermez.

"Wallerand du Bois, son of Antoine and Philipotte du Bois, first of his line to be by inheritance Seigneur both of La Bourse and of Beaufermez, married 1583, Madelein de Croix. Wallerand and Madeleine du Bois thus lived at the right place and the right time to have been the parents of Chretien du Bois, father of Louis, the emigrant to New York. For since the Parish Register of La Bassee (in which Wicres is situated) shows that Chretien du Bois had at least two sons older than Louis, who was born in 1626, Chretien could not have been born much later than 1600 at latest, not too late for the birth of a son to parents married in 1583.

"A later report of the Reverend Mr. W. Twyman Williams dated 24 July 1937 states:

"A communication from Monsieur J. S. Willems-Le Clercq of Brussels, an accredited genealogist of the Institute, gives only negative values of proving that the wanted records were NOT to be found in the church registers of Leyden. The genealogist wrote that he had examined the Cambrai Historical Society's publications, in which are genealogies of families resident at or near Wicres and known to have inter-married with the du Bois of that locality, and also the state archives at Gand, where in the 17th century were kept records of the court within the jurisdiction of which Wicres then belonged.

"In the data thus far received there were several items of positive value, corroborating, so far as they go, Mr. Williams' conclusion that our ancestor, Chretien du Bois of Wicres, was a son of Wallerand du Bois who married 1583 Madeleine de Croix.

"First: the estate of Beaufermez, of which Wallerand du Bois was Seigneur, is proved to have been situated at Wicres. The value of this item is apparent in connection with the hitherto unsupported statement of America Heraldica that Beaufermez was one of the estates possessed by the ancestors of Chretien du Bois.

"Second: the family to which Madeleine de Croix belonged also had estates in the commune of Wicres.

"Third: estates at Wicres owned by several du Bois and by 'the Seigneur of Beaufermez (Bauffremez)' adjoined estates of the family Billau (Bilyou), one of whom is known to have married a daughter of Chretien du Bois. We have a record of this marriage in Leyden, and in New York a record mentioning Louis DuBois as uncle of a daughter of this marriage."

The following was written by George Washington DuBois, D.D. (1822-1910) who was of Keeseville, Essex County, New York at the time of his death:

"Chretien du Bois of Wicres in Artois, Pas de Calais, France, was born in 1597 and died prior to 10 October 1655. Owing to the systematic mutilation of the records of Huguenot families of the nobility, neither his parentage nor issue can be definitely proved. It is believed that he belonged to one of the five quite well known families stemming from Geoffroi de Bois and his wife Sidonie Tesson of the Cotentin Peninsula in Normandy who were alive in the middle of the 11th century. From records in the Netherlands, where many Huguenots gained sanctuary, it is certain that Louis and Jacque s, both Walloons, were sons of Chretien du Bois.

"Helps to the identification of the American Branch of the 'famille du Bois': In a book in my library entitled Souvenirs d'une ancienne famille Maison de Mailly en Artois, published at Limoges, France 1889, pp. 111-115, it is recorded that the 9th child of Robert de Mailly-Couronel and Jeanne de Beaumont, his wife, was Madeline, who about 1550 was married to Jacques du Bois, Baron de Finnes (one of the 12 Baronnes of the Conte de Guise), Artois, his oldest son was Pierre, Seigneur de Rantigny, advocate at the Council of Artois, married at Cambray, Jacqueline de Mouen. The second child was Jean. The third child of Robert de Mailly-Couronel was Charles, Seigneur du Rien. Note the perpetuation of Christian and surnames - Jacques, Pierre, Pierrone, Jacqueline, Jean, du Rien. Our ancestor Jacques was from Artois province (Lille). Marie du Rien was sponsor at baptism of Marie 1664, the first child of our Jacques as of record in Leyden. As this record contained in the book above referred to connects our branch with Jacques du Bois, Baron de Fienne (presumably), so does it also connect us in ascending line with the Baron de Fienne, the lineal descendant of Geoffroi de Bois, according to the genealogy preserved in the Bibliotheque du Rois Paris"

Heidgerd continues, "In 1675, Jacques and his family joined his elder brother, Louis, who had emigrated 15 years earlier to the Esopus. Seven of their children had been baptised in Leyden. The eighth was born while the family were en route or shortly after their arrival. Jacques died soon after the birth of his last child, Christian, certainly before the marriage of his widow in 1677 to John L. Pietersy. Quick re-marriages were almost a necessity in early colonial times.

"The above account was furnished by Koert DuBois Burnham of Keeseville, New York to the DuBois Family Association in 1967."

The reference next reports the following "from the papers of John Coert Du Bois, M.D. (1831-1913), late of the city of Hudson, Columbia County, New York:

"The following is a compilation from research of Dr. DuBois during the time he was a medical student in Paris from 1858 to 1860, and during a later visit there in 1883. His references were the d'Hozier Manuscripts, 1696-1716, the records of the Reformation Church at Lille, the records of the Reformation Church at Leyden. These were all examined by him personally.

"The DuBois family is one of the oldest of the noble houses of Conentin in the duchy of Normandy. The heraldic records in the Bibliotheque Nationale, rue de Richelieu, Paris, commence the genealogy with Geoffroi du Bois, 'a knight banneret' who was companion of William of Normandy, called the Conqueror after the Battle of Hastings in 1066. To date the line from Geoffroi has not been confirmed to Chretien du Bois, the father of Louis and Jacques who emigrated to Ulster County, New York, during the seventeenth century.

"In the Maison Royale de France, the 'famille du Bois' is mentioned as 'Grand Masters of the Forests of France.'

"I have traced while living in Paris during the years 1858 through 1860, and since that time, with the following generations listed:

1. Jean, Seigneur de Fontaines, maitre d'hotel of Charles VIII, died 1507.
2. Jean, king's councillor and controller-general of finances, married 7 October 1493 to the niece of the Chancellor of France.
3. Astremoine, a Huguenot who afterwards renounced his faith, was restored to his nobility, and was declared to be descended from 'la maison du Bois en Artois.'
4. Antoine, Seigneur de Fontaines, king's councillor and ambassador to the Pays-Bas. He was married in 1571.
5. Pierre, Seigneur de Fontaines-Moran, married Francoise Olivier de Leuville. He served in the army during 1597.

Chretien, a younger son, became a Huguenot, and was deprived of his nobility in consequence. His elder brother, Louis, who remained a Catholic, was designated as Seigneur de Fontaines, lieutenant-general of the Armies of the King. Louis was in 1653 made Marquis de Giuvi."

After reading the foregoing pages, it is clearly understood that Heidgerd states "it is necessary that further European research be commissioned. It is hoped that a later installment of this DuBois Family History will provide a completely authenticated lineage for Chretien du Bois of Wicres"

Chre'tien DU BOIS was born about 1590 to 1600, probably at Wicres, France.

He became a Huguenot and was deprived of his nobility in consequence. He settled on lands at Wicres about 10 miles southwest of Lille where his farm is still pointed out. He is described as 'a gentleman of the family of du Bois, Seigneurs de Beaufermez and de Bourse.' (d'Hozier MSS)

His children, apparently all baptized at Lille, parish church of Wicres, were:

* Francoise, born 17 June 1622, married Pierre Billiou;
* Anne, baptized 30 November 1625 at Lille, parish church of Wicres;
* Louis, baptized on 13 November 1626 at Lille, parish church of Wicres, married Catherine Blanchan at Mannheim, in the Pfalz, German Palatinate on 10 October 1655; and
* Jacques, baptized on 27 October 1628 at Reformation Church of Lille, parish church of Wicres, married Pierrone Bentyn at the Walloon Church at Leyden on 25 April 1663, and had eight children.

"The Rev. W. Twyman Williams, Minister of the College Church, Hampden-Sydney, Virginia, suggested as a result of his research that Chretien possibly had at least two additional sons, possibly Antoine and Isaac, who were older than the children of whom we have definite record."

Chretien had died by 10 October 1655 when his son Louis was married at Mannheim. “1948

“The DuBois family of New Paltz, NY are descendants of Chretien DuBois (b.1597) and his wife Cornelia (name uncertain). He was a prosperous middle class linen merchant and devout protestant from the village of Wicres, outside of Lille. In 1659 the area was handed over by the Catholic Spanish Netherlands to the Catholic regime of Louis XIV, who imposed high taxes on the middle classes and cruelly persecuted the Protestant (Huguenot) dissidents.

Chretien was the father of five children: Francoise (b.1622), Anne (b.1624), Louis (b.1626-d.1696), Jacques (b.1628-d.1676) and another son, name unknown.”1952

“Chretien du Bois, an inhabitant of Wicres, a hamlet in the district of La Barree, near Lille, in Flanders.” 1958

“As to being found in the Catholic Church registers, I quote from Gwenn Epperson’s book ‘New Netherland Roots’, p. 95 in a chapter on European Parish Registers in France:
‘Protestant records also begin in the sixteenth century, but are very rare, since the records were illigal until 1789. Therefore, many Protestants are recorded in Catholic registers, as marriage by a Catholic priest was required to inerit property . .. . Also, children were occasionally baptized in the Catholic Church to alley suspicion the parents were ‘heretics.’ So, if Chretien’s children were baptized in the Roman Catholic church, i don’t think we can say that that means that he was necessarily a Catholic at that point.” 1986

“Chretien Du Bois, the father of Louis and Jacques, was a Huguenot gentleman of the family of Du Bois Seigneurs de Beaufermez and de Bourse, having an estate at Wicres, in La Bassee, near Lille, in French Flandrs, now Artois. . . it was undoubtedly owing to the circumstance of Chretien’s being identified with the Huguenot faith that an attempt was made to obliterate the public records of the family, and to destroy all evidences of his connection with the nobility of France.” 1959

“Chretian Du Bois of Wicres, in the Department of Artois, in Flanders, is believed to have been the father of two sons and two daughters. The sons were (2) Jacques Du Bois, b. in 1625, and (3) Louis Du Bois, b. in 1626. There is some confusion relating to the baptisms of these children, owing to mutilation of the registers of the church at Wicres. Both emigrated to America and settled near Esopus, now Kingston, N.Y.” 1951

“Cretin du Bois, a Huguenot gentleman of the family of Du Bois, Seigneurs de Beaufermez and de Bourse, had an estate at Wicres in La Bassee, near Lille, in the province of Artois, France. According to some records, it was probably due to his association with the Huguenots that obliteration of the public records of the family was attempted and an effort mde to destroy all evidences of his connection with the nobility of France. The name of the wife of Credtin du Bois is not known.” 1027

“[Du Bois] Chretien, designated in the record of his son’s marriage at Mannheim as the deceased Chretien du Bois, resident of Wicres, b. perhaps, about 1600. Mons. C. DuBois Gregoire, U.S. Consul, says that Wicres has a population of 300, sand that many farmers in the vicinity have pointed out to him the farms which the tradition of the country recognizes to have belonged to the DuBoises. The obliteration and destruction of all Prostestant family record sin France, carried into effect by order of Louis XIV, who at the time of the du Bois expatriation was King of France, have rendered it impossible for the descendants of Huguenots to trace their family records in that country beyond the time of that monarch; and especially so, if they were in any way allied to a noble family and in a possible line of succession to the estate. Not only were their lands and goods confiscated, but their very names were erased or torn out in baptismal and genealogical registers. Accordingly, the archivists ahve found the records of the canton of La Bassee, and in the village of Wicres, torn or cut or otherwise mutilated wehre the Christian names occurred. M. DuBois Gregoire shows that the Wicres register is mutilated at the spot of the Christian names of the eldest sons of Chretient du Bois, of whom our first American ancestor was a son. The inference is unmistakable. Bu tin the eleventh centurey surnames were first assumed as distinctive marks of nobility. And all family surnames which can be traced prior to the thirteenth century are of noble origin. The name du Bois is of feudal origin and is one of the oldest if not the most ancient patronymic which has descended unchanged to this time. The authors of the ‘Maison Royale de France’ speak of the family du Bois as ‘Grand Masters of the Forests of France.’ The records in the royal library of Paris trace lines of descent from Geoffroi du Bois, a Knight banneret under William the Conqueror, and Anselme and Dufourney attribute a common origin to the families of du Bois and Pierrepont, in Macquaire du Bois, Count de Rousssy in 1110, whose ancestor built the Castle de Roussy in 948 and added this title to his patronymic. The Castle de Roussy was situatied in Atrois, where, some suppose, the name du Bois to have originated, although others trace its origin to Normandy. It was evidently an old name in Neustria, before the time of Rollo. All authorities on historic genealogy concur in the belief that the ancient families of this surname have a common origin. There is reason to believe that the Chretien aforesaid was son, or near relative of Pierre, Seigneur of Fontaines Morau .” 1961

“Chretien DuBois lived in the village of Wicres, outside of Lille. In 1659 the area was handed over by the Catholic Spanish netherlands to the Catholic regime of Louis XIV, who imposed high taxes on the middle classes and cruelly persecuted the Protestant (Huguenot) dissidents. Chretien du Bois is said to have been the father of four children: Francoise (b. 1622), Anne (b. 1624), Louis (b. 1626-d. 1696) and Jacques (b. 1628-d. 1676). Of these, Francoise, Louis and Jacques appear in Huguenot records in Leiden and Mannheim, and later immigrated to colonial New York. The claim is frequently seen that Chretien du Bois was also a Huguenot, but invariably without a citation to any supporting evidence. In this regard, it bears noting that Chretien’s children are said to have been baptized in the Roman Catholic church at Wicres.” 2030

“Chretien du Bois is of particular interest to American genealogists, both because of the notability of his descendants and because several different versions of noble ancestry have been claimed for him. However, many of these are demonstrably wrong, and none are adequately supported by contemporaneous documentation.” 2030
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