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Branchereau-Branchaud-Brancheau Family

Jacques Branchereau, the father of François and Charles Branchereau, lived in the Village of Bouchereau, France, with his wife, Antoinette Vincent. Bouchereau is located near the commune of Macqueville, France.

Macqueville is a small, very old French community located almost due east of Rochefort. It was a town when France was part of the Roman Empire. A reference book published in the 1870’s stated that it was noted for the water, and an old Roman Church with sculptured portals. There were 627 inhabitants at the time the book was published.

Jacques apparently followed the custom of that time and used the first part of the family name “BRANCH”, then appended the last part of the village name “EREAU”.

There are presently 20 or more variations of the family name. They include the following:
Brancheau, Branchaud, Branchereau dit Lacombe, Brancherault, Brancereau, Branchau, Branchaud dit Laforest, Branchault, Branchaut, Branchaux, Bancheaud, Brancheault, Brancho, Broncheau, Branchot, Branchot dit Lacombe, Branchou, Branshom, Branshaw, and Bracheau.

Other variations might include Branchu, Le Branchu, and Brancher.

Any individual whose surname is shown above, and who is of French-Canadian descent can probably trace his roots back to Charles Branchereau, our first immigrant ancestor.

Charles was baptized by LeRoyer, the Curé of Macqueville, France on September 10, 1662. His godparents were Charles des Montils, Escuyer, Sieur de la Samsormerie, and the Daymoselle Jeannette Vinet, Dame de la Courade. Charles’ older brother Francis had been baptized on May 26, 1654.

François and Charles Branchereau left France for North America at the same time, probably accompanying Frontenac, who was a Canadian hero.

Charles was a soldier, serving under the command of Pierre Payen du Noyan. One reference called him “Charles Branchereau, Soldat de la Marine, Compagnie de M. Pierre Payen du Noyan”.

Du Noyon once fought a duel with Deloranger. It caused quite a scandal. The matter was brought to the attention of the King, and may have been the reason for du Noyon’s being sent to Canada.

Another reference states that Charles was stationed at the Marine encampment located in LaPrairie, Quebec in the year 1687. Records show that Charles was at Quebec City in 1689, but there is no mention of his older brother François at all.

Du Noyon and his men helped defend the city of Quebec in 1690. There is a list on display at the Citadel of Quebec showing the name of those who fought in that battle. One of the names on that list is “Charles Branchereau, Soldat du Noyon”.

Sometime after serving in the defense of Quebec, Du Noyon and his men returned to LaPrairie, Quebec.

On January 10, 1694, while still serving under Du Noyon, Charles signed a contract prepared by a Notary Royale named Charles Chalons at Quebec. This document, called a “Contract du Chalons”, called for Charles to marry a woman named Anne-Marie Faye. The Faye’s , or Failly, as their family name was also spelled, were one of the better families in France.

For reasons unknown, this contract was never carried out. Exactly forty three days later, on February 22, 1694, Charles married Marie-Marthe Garant at Ste. Famille parish on the Isle de Orleans. This is a large island in the St. Lawrence River adjacent to Quebec City.

Marie-Marthe was born at Ste. Famille parish on September 18, 1675. Her parents were Pierre Garant and Renee Chamfrin.

Charles and Marie-Marthe had six sons. The first two sons were born at LaPrairie and baptized with the surname “Branchault". They were Charles, born on March 2, 1695, and Jacques, born on May 2, 1696.

The first son Charles died shortly after birth on or about March 5, 1695. He was buried on this date at LaPrairie. The second son Jacques, was buried on April 3, 1715 at Beaumont, Quebec, where his mother and step-father were living.

Charles Sr. had left military service before October 5, 1701. He was living in the parish of Ste. Famille on Isle de Orleans, Quebec when another son was born. This son was baptized Joseph Brancheau. This is the first recorded example of the surname “Brancheau”.

Charles had been given a plot of land at Montmagny, Quebec as a reward for his long and faithful military service. By November 27, 1702, he and his family were living in the parish of St. Thomas, at Montmagny as their son Joseph was buried there on that date.

Three other sons were born to Charles and Marie-Marthe at Montmagny. They were Charles, April 4, 1704; Michel, September 25, 1707; and Joseph, June 1, 1709.

Charles Sr. died at Montmagny, Quebec, about December 11, 1711. He was buried from the church of St. Thomas in that community on December 14, 1711.

On July 18, 1712, Marie-Marthe Garant , Charles’ widow, married Charles Dumas at Beaumont, Quebec. Marie-Marthe Dumas was buried at Trois-Rivieres on 7 July 1724 at age 55.

The three youngest sons born to Charles and Marie-Marthe all married, but Charles Jr. seems to be the only one to have had any sons to carry on the family line. So we will start with the marriage and family of the youngest, and work back to Charles.

Joseph Branchaud Sr. married Catherine-Genevieve Albert, the daughter of Rene Albert dit Beauleau and Genevieve Arnault, at Lauzon, Levis, Quebec on February 24, 1731. On December 15, of that year, Catherine gave birth to a son, Joseph Branchaud, Jr. He was buried at Levis on December 31, 1731.

Joseph Branchaud Sr. was drowned in the Etchimen River, near Levis, on May 1, 1732. His body was recovered on June 2, and buried at Levis that same day.

On October 29, 1732, Joseph’s widow, Catherine-Genevieve, married Pierre Boule at Levis. The following January 20, she gave birth to a son who was baptized Joseph Boule Branchaud. He was buried at Levis on May 12, 1732. This ended this family line.

Michel Brancheau, the fifth son born to Charles Branchereau and Marie-Marthe Garant, was married at Contrecour, Quebec, on January 7, 1733, to Marie-Jeanne Leclerc, the daughter of Jean Leclerc dit Lefrenay and Genevieve St. Michel-Circe.

Michel and Marie-Jeanne had four children, one son and three daughters. They were

Marie-Anne and Marie-Jeanne were both buried at St. Ours on September 28, 1757. What could have happened to cause those two women of different ages to die at the same time? Marie-Anne was about 24 years old and Marie-Jeanne, 21 years old. At this time in history, the French and English were fighting for control of Canada, and their Indian allies were raiding and terrorizing the countryside. These two women may have been killed in an Indian raid. They might also have been victims of one of the many smallpox epidemics that ravaged the population on a fairly consistent basis.

Genevieve, the youngest child born to Michel and Marie-Jeanne, married François Oulette, the son of Louis Oulette and Josephte Carre Lacasse, at St. Ours, Quebec, on July 7, 1760. The church records indicate that neither of her parents were present, and one of her brothers gave her hand in marriage. She remarried on January 19, 1778, to Louis Dumas, the son of Pierre Dumas and Charlotte Boutin.

Michel Brancheau drowned in the St. Lawrence River near Cap de Verennes, Quebec. His body was buried at Varennes on June 10, 1739. There is no information regarding his widow, but it can be assumed that she remarried .

Charles Branchaud Jr., the fourth son of Charles Branchereau and Marie-Marthe Garant, was seven years old when his father died. He must have inherited from his father’s estate because on February 7, 1726, when he was almost 22 years old, and living at Three Rivers, Quebec, he purchased a concession for a tract of land from the Ursuline Nuns. The Ursuline’s owned the rights to the land at St. Antoine de la Rivierie du Loup, Quebec.

This plot of land was four acres wide and thirty acres long. The contract was a long and involved document, detailing the rights and responsibilities of all parties to it. It provided Charles with the right to hunt and fish on all lands belonging to the Urseline’s which abutted his concession.

Charles Branchaud Jr. married Agathe Banhiac dit Lamontagne, the daughter of Antoine Banhiac dit Lamontagne and Angelique Pelitier, at St. Antoine de la Riviere du Loup, on September 30, 1726. The banns of marriage had been announced at Three Rivers. Agathe had just come of legal age and had inherited from her father’s estate.

The name of the parish St. Antoine de la Riviere du Loup was changed in the 1860’s- 1870’s to St. Antoine at Louiseville, Quebec.

Charles Branchaud and Agathe Banhiac had eleven children, all born at Louiseville.

Charles Branchaud Jr. died at Louiseville on November 25, 1770. His widow, Agathe, died there on April 6, 1778.

It was about this time that the Branchaud/Brancheau family started to migrate, starting with the marriages of the children born to Francois, Joseph, and Pierre.

François, the son of Charles Jr. and Agathe Banhiac, married Marie-Anne Desrosiers, the daughter of Jean Baptiste Desrossiers and Anne Lesage, at Louiseville, Quebec, on May 31, 1761. Their children were all born at Louiseville.

Joseph, the son of Charles Jr. and Agathe Banhiac, married Marguerite Lambert at Louiseville on February 10, 1766. Marguerite was the daughter of Jean Lambert and Josephte Biron. They had nine children, all born at Louiseville.

Pierre, the youngest son of Charles Jr. and Agathe Banhiac, married Véronique Gelinas at Yamachiche, Quebec, on February 12, 1771. Véronique was the daughter of Antoine Gelinas and Marie-Louise Lesieur dit Desaulniers. Their first three children were born at Yamachiche.

It was during this time that Pierre Sr. and Pierre Jr. adopted the surname Brancheau. Charles kept the surname Branchereau.

Sometime after the birth of these three children, Pierre Sr., a weaver by trade, was appointed to the post of “Tisserand du Lieu”, weaver for the district of Beauharnois, Quebec. Beauharnois is located on the south side of the St. Lawrence River, near Montreal. Because his job required Pierre to travel frequently, the dates of the birth of three of his other four children are not known.

Pierre Sr.’ wife, Véronique Gelinas died and was buried at Chateauguay on March 26, 1795.

François-Noël, the second child of Pierre and Véronique, married Félicité Marois, the daughter of Jean-Baptiste Marois and Marie-Anne Picard. They were married at St. Clement’s in Beauharnois, Quebec, on January 9, 1797.

On or about May 5, 1798, Pierre Brancheau (his wife Veronique Gelinas had died in March, 1795) and his oldest son Pierre Jr., along with François X. Leroux and his wife, Véronique Brancheau (daughter of Pierre Sr. and Véronique Gelinas); Ambroise Reau and spouse; Joseph Bonneau and spouse; Antoine Deneau and spouse; and Jean Baptiste Tremblay (no spouse) along with thirteen children started up the St. Lawrence River headed for New York. They arrived there in September, 1798 at a point of land near Cornwall, Ontario. They named this location Messena, New York for LeRoux’s former home at Messena, France. The group remained there for the remainder of 1798 and 1799. Dissatisfied with this location, they moved on and during the summer of 1800 arrived in Monroe County, Michigan in an area later to be called Frenchtown. Here they settled down, clearing the land, cutting the trees to build their houses, and settling into a life of farming, hunting, and fishing. Their families were born and raised here and they prospered in their own way. There were no schools or churches when they arrived. A church, St. Charles Borromeo, was built in 1838, in Frenchtown (later Newport) on a piece of land donated by Jean Baptiste Trembley.

Pierre Sr. died after 1810 in Monroe County.Pierre Jr. met and married Margaret Rau of Monroe in 1808 and they had 16 children. Among them were Pierre III, Antoine, Jean Baptiste, David, and Isadore Gilbert. This was the start of the Brancheau family in Michigan.

Well, that was a recitation from the past. Now let's hear about what's happening with the family now.

Much of the information about the early family was provided by our cousin Walter Branchaud. Walter of Melbourne Florida had compiled a database of approximately of 10,700 individuals in 4,200 family groups-- all descendants of Charles Branchereau and their related spouses and children. Walter's grandparents Henry Honore Branchaud and Rosalie Henriette L'Heureux began tracing the family tree more than 100 years ago. I joined my database with Walter's about 10 years ago and have been active in researching the Brancheau-Branchaud family and helping to keep the database current since then.Walter recently retired and I have acquired the rights to the database.

If you want to update the information or have a search made, please e-mail your request to Doug Miller (djmill@earthlink.net).