Monday, April 26, 2010

Laurent Le Vasseur

Laurent Levasseur is the ancestor of the largest number of Levasseurs in North America. Many still believe that he was the son of Jean Levasseur and Marguerite Richard. This has been proven incorrect. Father Archange Godbout made the correction in January 1946, in "Mémoires de la Société Généalogique Candienne-Française." Herewith is a translation of the text.

"According to Tanguay (Dictionary. 1, page 391), Laurent Levasseur was the son of Jean and Marguerite Richard, who were both from Bois-Guillaume near Rouen. We have two errors here. In Laurent marriage certificate (30 April 1670) it is written "son of the late Jean and Marguerite _ _ _ _ (the space is left blank), of Bois-Guillaume. Furthermore this couple was from Paris. In the parish register of Bois-Guillaume, we find that in 1639 Jean Levasseur was the spouse of Marguerite Maheu. Thay are most likely the parents of Laurent.

Alfred Levasseur, well-known genealogist from Québec went to Bois-Guillaume for further research. He found many baptism and marriage records of the children of Jean Levavasseur and Marguerite Maheu. He also found the grandparents of Laurent, Thomas Levavasseur and Germain Legris.

Many of you will wonder where the name LEVAVASSEUR comes from. It is simply the original name of the family in Bois-Guillaume. Laurent himself used the name in some documents, but he changed it soon after his arrival in Canada. However, we can't find Laurent's baptismal certificate. According to the Québec Census of 1666, he was born in 1647. The parish records of Boise-Guillaume are missing for the years 1646-1648.

When did Laurent arrive in Canada? According to the research and deductions of Alfred Levasseur, he arrived on September 22, 1663, on either, "le Jardin de Hollande" or the "L'Aigle d'Or." On his arrival in Canada he was immediately employed by Guillemette Hébert, the widow of Guillaume Couillard and daughter of Louis Hébert, the first Canadian colonist. He worked for Guillemette Hébert until September 1669 after being her service for two periods of three years.

Laurent did not waste any time after he left his job. On the 22nd of September 1669 he rented a parcel of land from Henri Bréeau de Pominville in Lauzon. Today it is a part of Saint-David-de-l'Auberivière. Two months later, on November 19, in the presence of R. Becquet, Notary, he signed a marriage contract with Marie Marchand, daughter of Louis Marchand and Françoise Morineau. This family had just arrived in Canada in the summer of 1669. The marriage was celebrated five months later, on the 30th of April 1670 in the church of Notre-Dame de Québec.

During his lifetime, Laurent owned many properties on the coast of Lauzon, one of which was passed down the generations until 1925. During the celebration of the tricentenary of Québec city in 1908, the family of Joseph Levasseur received a medal of honor for still living on the ancestral land.


John Vasseur and Catherine Mallen

James and Severine Vasseur had three children, Mathilde, John and William. William never married, and is buried beside his parents in the Assumption Church cemetery in Grand Falls.
Mathilde married a gentleman by the name of Joseph Crozier, and had at least two children (according to my records).

John "Jack" Napoloeon Vasseur was born on September 3, 1877 in Grand Falls, Victoria, Canada. He was a carpenter by profession and a musician by hobby. In his diary, he apparently talks about his own shop and tools, and also working for the town of Grand Falls. He built houses and buildings, worked on the bridge and at the church, and built furniture, some of which his descendants still have. He writes in his diary about having formed an orchestra.

The Vasseur brothers ran a dance hall in Grand Falls.

Here are two photos of John:

John was married to Catherine "Kate" Mallen. Kate was born on August 31, 1883 in Van Buren, Maine, to Lawrence Mallen and Marie Roberge. We don't know much about Lawrence and Marie, except that Lawrence was of Irish descent. We have limited information about their parents, Kate's grandparents.

Kate was well loved by everyone, and referred to her husband as "my John." Kate was pregnant 14 times. Her oldest child was Sadie Stella Vasseur (1902-1987), my great grandmother. In her old age, Kate liked to braid rugs and was cared for by family until she moved to a nursing home in St. Basile, New Brunswick.

Catherine "Kate" Mallen

John Vasseur's children, at a family reunion around 1980. Isn't that Sadie on the left?

I found most of this information here and the photos here. Both sites are great resources.