Blanchards from France spread out here

By Damon Veach
Genealogy columnist/The Times-Picayune
July 19, 1998

The first Blanchard in Acadia was Guillaume Blanchard, who arrived in about 1640 from France with his wife, Huguette Poirier, and their son, Jehan, and daughter, Marie, and her husband, Jerome Guerin. The 1671 census of the colony lists Jehan and Marie as originally having been from La Chausse in old Poitou. Guillaume and Huguette Poirier Blanchard were deceased by the time of this census.

Contrary to a popular - and false - idea, most Acadian families did not come from Normandy or Brittany, France. Rather, the greatest concentration of families came from either La Chausse in old Poitou, today in the French department of La Vienne, or from the area around La Rochelle and Rochefort, in the French provinces of Aunis and Saintonge.

Jehan Blanchard married Radegonde Lambert**(Note), the daughter of Jehan Lambert and a MicMac Indian woman in 1641. Jehan Lambert was one of the earliest settlers of Acadia, having been in the colony at least since 1612, when he witnessed the affidavit of Loys (Louis) Hebert at Port-Royal. Jehan and Radegonde Lambert Blanchard had six children, three girls and three boys. The oldest child, Magdelaine, was born at Port-Royal in 1642 and married Michel Richard in 1656. Magdelaine died in 1680 at the age of 38, and Michel Richard later married Jeanne Babin.

Michel and Magdelaine had five children - Martin, Alexandre, Marie, Cecile and Marguerite. Michel Richard was the first Richard in Acadia, and his two families, the first from his marriage to Magdelaine Blanchard and the second to Jeanne Babin, formed the nucleus of the Richard family in the colony.

The second child of Jehan and Radegonde, Anne-Marie, first married Francois Guerin, the son of Jerome Guerin and Marie Blanchard, meaning that they were first cousins. Francois died in 1670, and Anne-Marie then married Pierre Gaudet. Anne-Marie had one son and four daughters from her first marriage and six sons and twin daughters from her second.

Martin Blanchard, the third child of Jehan and Radegonde, married Francoise Leblanc, the daughter of Daniel Leblanc and Francoise Gaudet in 1670. Francoise died in 1681, and Martin married Marguerite Guilbaut, the daughter of Pierre Guilbaut and Catherine Therriot, in 1686. Martin had two daughters, Francoise and Marie, and one son, Rene, with Francoise Leblanc. He had four sons and three daughters with Marguerite Guilbaut. However, only the names Marguerite, Pierre, Martin, Joseph and Marie are known. Martin was one of the founders of the Acadian settlement of Cobequid, today known as the town of Truro in Nova Scotia. His daughter, Francoise, is known to have married Jean Doucet, with whom she established a home at Grand-Pre. Marie married Pierre Melanson and also lived at Grande-Pre.

Rene married Anne Landry in 1701. Marguerite married Pierre Bourg in 1714 at Cobequid. Pierre married Francoise Breault in 1715. Martin married Isabelle Dupuis in 1717. Joseph married Isabelle Dupuis' sister, Anne, in 1718. Marie, the younger, married Abraham Landry in 1720.

The second son of Jehan Blanchard and Radegonde Lambert, Guillaume, was born in 1651, and later married Huguette Goujeonne. They had three sons, Rene, Antoine, and Jean; and two daughters, Marie and Anne. Guillaume founded the settlement of Petticodiak, near present day Hopwell Cape, New Brunswick, with his three sons.

Nothing is known of the fate of the third son of Guillaume and Radegonde, Bernard. He may have died young.

At the time of the ethnic cleansing of Acadia in 1755, there were Blanchards living at various places in the colony, thus ensuring that the family members would be deported far and wide.

The first Acadian Blanchards to arrive in Louisiana were Amable (who married Natalie Girourd in 1763) and Joseph-Pierre (who married Anne Bourgeois in 1769). They were listed as living in St. James Parish. They were the sons of Pierre Blanchard and Anne Robichaux. Pierre was probably the aforementioned son of Martin Blanchard and Marguerite Guilbaut. Joseph and Pierre Blanchard, the sons of Paul Blanchard and Judith Savoie, were also listed on the 1766 census of Louisiana.

Three Blanchard families arrived in Louisiana in 1767 from Maryland. Rene Blanchard and his wife Marguerite Theriot, along with his two adult sons, Joseph (who married Marie-Josephe Landry in 1758) and Anselme (who married Esther LeBlanc) settled at St. Gabriel.

Most of the descendants of the St. James and St. Gabriel Blanchards stayed near the Mississippi River. However, one, Frederic (married in 1800 to Anne Berteau), moved to the upper Attakapas and started a long line of the family in the Grand Coteau and Church Point areas. Another Blanchard descendant, Maurice (who married Marie Fontenot in 1800) left St. James for Lafourche and settled below Thibodaux. Most of Maurice's descendants inhabit Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes.

Finally, five Blanchard families arrived in Louisiana in 1785 with the group of Acadians who arrived from France. All of these families settled along the upper part of Bayou Lafourche. They included Anne Hebert (widow of Joseph Blanchard), who arrived with four sons - Laurent, Pierre, Moise and Etie. Another was Jean-Gregoire Blanchard and his wife, Marie Livois, and their family. Charles Blanchard, widower, arrived with two sons, Sonillac and Charles Jr. Francois Blanchard arrived with his wife, Helene Giroir, and family. Another Blanchard arrival in 1785 was Belony with his wife, Madeleine Forest, and their family. Most of the descendants of these 1785 arrivals stayed along the northern part of Bayou Lafourche, but the six sons of Belony Jr. (who married Marguerite Trahan) moved into Terrebonne Parish and spread out along bayous Terrebonne, Petit Caillou and du Large.

Today, the greatest concentrations of the Blanchard name in south Louisiana are around Houma, Thibodaux, Baton Rouge, Lafayette and Assumption Parish. The name is also common in Canada.

Editor's note (NAL) as of December 2007.

From: "Lucie Consentino"
To: "Norm Leveillee"
Date: Sun, 9 Dec 2007 06:22:45 -0500

Hi Norm,

On your page above, there is an article that claims Radegonde’s mother was a Mi’kmaq woman and a Lambert who returned to France.
We now have 8 mtDNA results showing that Radegonde was European.
Might there be any way that you can correct that? At this point, it is very midleading.

Thank you for you time.
Lucie LeBlanc Consentin

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