I don't often comment on the Acadian families of the Magdalen Islands, basically because I have been still researching many of them and still had questions with regards the identification of some of our earliest ancestors there, but in the past couple of months two exciting discoveries were made in identifying two key Acadian ancestors of the families there. These include Pierre Cormier, the father of Nicolas, the ancestor of one branch of the Madelinot Cormiers; and Louise Arsenault, the wife of Joseph Boudrot, ancestor of my branch of the Madelinot Boudreaus. What follow are two exciting breakthroughs that occurred in just the past three months:
PIERRE CORMIER (February 2012 - True identity discovered!)
There has been a breakthrough in the positive identification of Pierre Cormier, the husband of Isabelle Chiasson, which has only come to light this past month.
At the end of January, a document that was located in the Archives of France was sent to the Centre d’études acadiennes in Moncton by a professor from the United States. It turned out to be a sort of census listing of Acadians living at Ile St-Jean (PEI) and the Magdalen Islands (QC) dated September of 1763.
In that document, living at Tracadie, PEI were the newly-wed couple, Isabelle Chiasson and her husband, Pierre (not listed as Cormier) but as Manon. No children were born to the couple yet as none were listed. Their son, Nicolas, ancestor of a branch of the Cormiers at the Magdalen Islands was only to be born the following year at Ile St-Jean on 4 Apr 1764.
If you will remember, our ancestor Pierre Cormier could not have been the son of Pierre Cormier and Marguerite Cyr, as their son Pierre died in Québec City in 1757 (according to the Notre-Dame Church parish registers) during the smallpox epidemic there. According to Stephen White, nor could he have been the Pierre Cormier, son of Marie-Anne Cyr, who was with his brother Jean-François at Fort Beausejour (in August of 1763), a month before this newly-discovered document was created. Nor could have been the Pierre, son of François Cormier and Anne Cyr, who all together were deported to Georgia in 1755. Nor is there a hint that he might have been related to them anywhere through examination of godparents.
Those of us familiar with Acadian nicknames know that “Manon or Nanon” is a nickname for a woman named “Anne or Marie-Anne”, so thus, Pierre would be known as “Pierre à Anne dit Manon”. The only Pierre then who fits this description is Pierre-Poncy Cormier, born and baptized at Beaubassin on 4/5 Dec 1741, the son of Germain Cormier and Anne Gaudet. This couple had removed to Ile St-Jean, where Germain Cormier died when Pierre was about 4 years old, and where his widow remarried Jean Bernard. Because his father had died, this document links him to his mother, Anne Gaudet, and he became known as Pierre à Manon, or as the document clearly states “Pierre Manon & his wife Isabelle Chiasson”. Plus, Pierre’s age in 1763 would make him 22 years old, just right for being eligible for marriage. Additionally, Anne Gaudet’s sister was Marie Gaudet, the second wife of Charlemagne Deveau, also mentioned in this document as living at Port Lajoie (Charlottetown). Another sister was Jeanne Gaudet married to Pierre Poirier living at St. Peter’s, PEI. As Steve explains, “either of these two aunts could have taken him in after his mother’s death, and which would explain how he made Isabelle Chiasson’s acquaintance and married her.”
Thus using all this circumstantial evidence, and being the only Pierre Cormier who fits by process of elimination, our ancestor then is truly Pierre-Poncy Cormier, the son of Germain Cormier (s/o Germain & Marie LeBlanc) and Anne Gaudet (d/o Guillaume & Marie Boudrot).
LOUISE (ARSENAULT) BOUDROT (May 2012 - True Identity Discovered!)
Three years ago (in 2009), I posted a correction at the Arsenault Genforum on the subject of Louise Arsenault, wife of Joseph Boudrot, ancestors of one (in fact, my own) branch of the Boudreau family at the Magdalen Islands, saying we (Stephen White, Paul Delaney and I) had concluded that she was the daughter of Claude Arsenault and his wife, Marguerite Richard.
Very recently (in fact, with results received just a few days ago), an mtDNA analysis was done on one of her female descendants, and as you and your readers may know, mitochondrial DNA never changes (except for a few mutations) from one generation to another in females for many hundreds of years.
In the study, we had isolated six possible Arsenault couples as her possible parents, along with their mtDNA haplotypes as follows:
1) François Arsenault and Marguerite Bernard (maternal line back to Perrine Bourg) > (H)
2) Jacques Arsenault and Marie Poirier (maternal line back to Marguerite Doucet) > (T)
3) Charles Arsenault and Cécile Breau (maternal line back to Françoise Gaudet) > (J)
4) Pierre Arsenault and Marguerite Cormier (maternal line back to Geneviève Lefranc) > (W)
5) Abraham Arsenault and Marie-Josèphe Savoie (maternal line back to Catherine Bugaret) > (H)
6) Claude Arsenault and Marguerite Richard (maternal line back to Michelle Aucoin) > (H)
Well, the descendant who was tested revealed a resulting haplotype W, so since DNA never lies, Louise was actually and without a doubt the daughter of the above Pierre Arsenault and Marguerite Cormier, whose maternal great-grandmother was Geneviève Lefranc, the wife of Étienne Hébert, and who passed along the same mtDNA haplotype W to her female descendants. We can now say with absolute certainty that these were indeed her parents, and we can prove it by documented records from this point down.
Unlike many enumerated in the 1752 census of LaRoque, Louise was one of many children unfortunately omitted from this census record. Stephen White has identified that there were several omissions of people in this census, including a great number of children which LaRoque had missed entirely. Louise falls into this category.
Another factor adds to this, in that her brother Claude was at the Magdalens in 1765, with his brother-in-law Charles Arsenault, both of whom signed Richard Gridley's oath of allegiance, but soon afterwards, left there and migrated to mainland Quebec, ending up in the Sorel region. What was proven earlier by marriage dispensations remains intact, except to add that that some consanguine relationships were omitted from a couple of records, for no apparent reason except the pastor's discretion or lack of knowledge concerning them.
I think it is now very safe to say this ancestry will not change, as we have this new found, irrefutable evidence of Louise's maternal DNA sequence. You may add her to her proper family. Unfortunately, I have no birth record nor death record available for her specifically, except to say that she died at Havre-Aubert, QC, between 1806 (when she was the witness at the marriage of her granddaughter, Marguerite Cormier) and 1808 (her husband's death record in which he is identified as the "widower" of Louise). A death record does not exist as the pastor was absent from the Islands in this time period.
I am posting this so that previous conclusions can be expunged, and newer conclusions can be updated to replace them, as we all know how often some things on the Internet just "hang around" forever and cause confusion to researchers.