My Daughter-In-Law’s French Canadian Ancestry: Houde Dit Desrochers

I last looked at my daughter-in-law Sarah’s  French Canadian Vezina heritage in this Blog. I was able to trace her family back to La Rochelle, France. However, that was only one line. In this Blog, I’ll take a look at some of her other French Canadian Lines.

Sarah’s Existing Tree

Here is where I am now with Sarah’s four French Canadian great-grandparents:

McGee doesn’t sound French Canadian. I’m assuming that Ethel’s maiden name was not Chapdelaine and that Lydia’s maiden name was not Vezina. Otherwise, Ancestry has some hints for me for potential 2nd great-grandparents.

Beatrice B McGee

I’ll start with Sarah’s non-French Canadian sounding great-grandmother. According to the 1940 Census, Beatrice was born in Massachusetts. That same Census has her in New Bedford in 1940, but in Fall River in 1935.

It appears that Beatrice was a Mary at birth in 1907 in Fall River:

The family lived at 272 William Street. Mary’s father was a weaver born in Canada and Mary aka Beatrice’s mother was Eliza Lafleur born in Massachusetts. Beatrice was part of a large family as seen in the Fall River 1910 Census:

Here is 272 William Street:

Arthur McGee

Here is Arthur’s Marriage record from Fall River from 16 June 1884:

Eliza’s birthplace appears to be the US, but I am not sure. Arthur and his wife were quite young at the time. Arthur’s parents were Edward and Anne or Annie. This puts Arthur’s birth at about 1864. Here is Arthur and family in Fall River in 1900:

Arthur reports that he immigrated in 1865. That means that he should have been with his parents at that time:

Arthur also states that he was a citizen. The Na means naturalized. I’m having trouble finding out more about Arthur, so I’ll go on to another line.

Eliza Lafleur

Eliza was Arthur’s wife. Let’s see what we can find out about her.

According to the death record of Eliza’s son Louis, Eliza was born in Millbury, MA:

The 1930 Census gives a different story:

The couple now state they were a year younger at marriage.

Elizabeth now says she was born in Canada. She arrived in 1880 and her husband in 1882. Also Arthur is no longer naturalized, but has only applied for Naturalization ‘Al’. Both Arthur and Elizabeth are French speaking.

That means that I am getting stuck on Sarah’s Lafleur Line also. There are generally difficulties in traciing one’s ancestors back to another country. Even when that Country is Canada.

Lydia Wife of George Edouard Vezina

Ancestry already thinks that it has parents for Lydia who was born aout 1868. Ancestry has some hints for me as to George E’s marriage:

I’ll try the second one. Unfortunately, that is only an index.

However, in 1914, George and Lydia’s son married. In that record, Hector gives his mother’s name as Lydia Derochers:

Some Desrochers Genealogy

Now we know we have a Desrocher Line to follow. Here is Lydia’s marriage record from 7 January 1890 in Fall River:

Lydia’s parents were Peter and Cedulie. Both George and Lydia were born in Canada. Lydia would have been born about 1868. This appears to be Lydia in 1868:

Pierre and Cedulie were listed as:

A charerretier is a carter. According to one genealogy forum, a carter was a:

Driver of (horse-drawn) vehicles for transporting goods. A Carter typically drove a light two wheeled carriage.

Here is Warwick:

According to Wikipedia:

Warwick is a small town north east of Montreal, located in Arthabaska county, Quebec, Canada. The town was incorporated in 1861 and named after a city of the same name in England. Up until 2014 the town hosted Quebec’s annual summer cheese festival, which showcases many of the locally produced artisanal cheeses.

One researcher posted this:

The relationships are a bit confusing on the stone. Here are Pierre and Cedulie in Fall River in 1900:

Pierre is listed as retired. Cedulie shows that she she had 5 children and 2 are now alive. That does not appear to be correct as Lydia, at least, was still alive along with Josephine and Edmund.

Pierre lived a long life:

Here is Cedulie’s death record:

Her parents were Augustin Garneau and Marguerite Morisette.

This information brings us close to the end of the 1700’s:

Here is the marriage record for Cedulie:

Next page:

Here the names of the parents of Pierre and Cedulie match up with what I have above.

The next step would be to look for a Desrocher/Martel marriage. This source looks hopeful:

This website does not give much more information:

However, I like the fact that the names line up and the date lines up. The next record is from this book:

This place is closer to Quebec City:

Here is the marriage record:

Now the spelling of Desrochers is Derocher.

Dit Names

The marriage record brings up the issue of dit names. Here Augustin is Houde or Houdes dit Derocher. His father has the same name. Dit names are a French thing.

Here is part of an article from

dit name is essentially an alias, or alternate name, tacked on to a family name or surname. Dit (pronounced “dee”) is a French form of the word dire, which means “to say,” and in the case of dit names is translated loosely as “that is to say,” or “called.” Therefore, the first name is the family’s original surname, passed down to them by an ancestor, while the “dit” name is the name the person/family is actually “called” or known as.

Dit names are found primarily in New France (French-Canada, Louisiana, etc.), France, and sometimes Scotland. They are used by families, not specific individuals, and are usually passed down to future generations, either in place of the original surname, or in addition to it. After several generations, many families eventually settled on one surname or the other, although it isn’t uncommon to see some siblings within the same family using the original surname, while others carried on the dit name. The use of dit names slowed dramatically during the mid- to late-1800s, although they could still be found used by some families into the early twentieth century.

Why a Dit Name?

Dit names were often adopted by families to distinguish them from another branch of the same family. The specific dit name may also have been chosen for many of the same reasons as the original surname – as a nickname based on trade or physical characteristics, or to identify the ancestral place of origin (e.g. Andre Jarret de Beauregard, where Beauregard refers to the ancestral home in the French province of Dauphine). The mother’s surname, or even the father’s first name, may also have been adopted as a dit name.

Augustine’s mother appears to be Genevieve Baudet. Angelique’s parents appear to be Francois Martel and Angelique Tangrelle:
This is probably a transcription:
Here is what I have so far for Lydia’s paternal side:
I need to fill in some dates here. Augustin father of Pierre must have been born in the 1700’s. I can cheat a little by googling the name. Here is Augustin’s father:

The other Augustin was born in a time where it was a little more difficult to find his birth year. He was before published genealogies. This is probably his baptism:

In the left margin, it appears to say that this is the Baptism of Augustin Houde Desrochers. And it appears that his father’s name is given as Augustin Derochershoude. The date is difficult to decipher. It may be 1777 which would be when his father was only 20. Also the record appears to say tha the mother was Marie Marguerite(?):

I had his mother as Genevieve.

Here is another possibility from 1803:

This record is even more difficult to read. However, according to the Geni record, the father died in 1799. Also I had that this Augustin married in 1813, so he could not have been born in 1803.

The Tanguay Genealogical Dictionary

Fortunately, there is a book with most of the French Canadian families in it up to a certain point. Here is Sarah’s Line:

As I recall, the 1752 would be the marriage. At least that would make sense. The (2) footnote refers to dit Desrochers. This record says that Joseph, son of Joseph was born in 1728 and married Marie-Therese Tousignan. They had three children.

Next I go to page 518 of Volume 4 of Tanguay:

At this point I don’t see the dit Desrochers name, so that can go away. It looks like this marriage took place at St-Nicolas – closer to Quebec City:

The Joseph above was born in 1700 and was the son of Louis.

This Louis was born in 1675 and buried in 1729 at Ste-Croix. Here is a progress update:

This starts on the left with Pierre Desrochers who died in Fall River in 1914 and starts on the right with Louis Houde who was born in 1675.

Louis Houde France to Quebec

That brings us to the first Louis Houde in Quebec:

I was able to find a web page at on Louis in French. I used the translate feature on the web page:

This tells some more of the history of Louis and how the two branches of the family got their names. Here are some cliffs in Ste-Croix:

Here is some more from geni:

I did notice the difference in age of about 24 years between Louis and Madeleine but I didn’t realize that she was just 13 years old when they married.

Here is Manou:

Summary and Conclusions

  • I started out looking at Sarah’s McGee and Lafleur ancestry.
  • Both these lines were from Quebec, but I had trouble tracking those families back to Quebec
  • I then looked at the wife of George Vezina. Her name was Lydia Desrochers – Sarah’s 2nd great-grandmother
  • Lydia was born 1868. She moved with her family to Fall River some time before 1890 when Lydia married there. I was able to trace her line back to her immigrant ancestor Louis Houde who was born in Manou, France in 1617.
  • Louis had a son also named Louis. The son inherited the father’s land by the cliffs and rocks of Ste-Croix, Quebec. This branch of the family picked up the name Desrochers. Roche means rock.









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