Sunday, September 20, 2009

Black Sheep Sunday - Bigamy in New France

Main Entry: big·a·my
Pronunciation: \bi-gə-mē\

Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English bigamie, from Medieval Latin bigamia, from Latin bi- + Late Latin -gamia -gamy

Date: 13th century

: the act of entering into a marriage with one person while still legally married to another

The first case of bigamy in New France was that of Michel Chauvin-Sainte-Suzanne.  Although married to Louise Delisle in France where she remained, he married in New France (Canada) on 29 July 1647 at Quebec.  This second wife was Anne Archambault (our ancestor), daughter of Jaques Archambault & Francoise Toureau, by which he had two children, Paul Chauvin (b. 1650) & Charlotte Chauvin (b. 1651) who both died young.  Charged by the governor, Michel was commanded to pay fifteen hundred livres to Anne, and he returned to France.  Anne remarried on 3 Feb 1654 in Montreal to Jean Gervaise, son of Urbain Gervaise and Jeanne Pebise, and together they had 9 children.
(source:American-Canadian Genealogist Issue 81, Vol. 25, No.3, 1999)

1 comment:

Evelyn Yvonne Theriault said...

This is fascinating - I've done so much reading about la Nouvelle France but had never come across this story.
Evelyn in Montreal