In Quebec, did women sometimes go by their mother's maiden names?

+4 votes
In 18th century Quebec, did women sometimes go by their MOTHER's last name.  I've seen a couple of examples in marriage records, where the mother of the bride/groom doesn't match up with what I expected, but appears to be the mother's mother's maiden name.


Jacques Menard, s/o Jacques Menard & Marie Marcoux.  Based on the information in the PRDH, I would have expected the mother's name to be Marie Clouet.  At first I thought I had the wrong record, but I saw that her mother's name was Marcoux.  I have another record with the same pattern.

Was this unusual?  Does it have any special meaning?
in Genealogy Help by M Cole G2G6 Mach 3 (38.7k points)
retagged by Ellen Smith
French customs regarding women's last names were first written into law during the French Revolution. Since then no French citizen is supposed to be called by any other name than that written on the birth record. Of course, that didn't apply to Québécois anymore but the customs persisted.
I have seen where the wife's maiden name is used as a dit name.

3 Answers

+3 votes
Best answer
It happens, not just to women, I had one guy who got married under the last name of his paternal great-grandmother no less, so there is no set rule in the matter, it's what is known as a ''dit'' name, often when you see this, it can be for a variety of reasons, including the officiating priest not knowing the right names, nor the other people involved, or a family tradition of using the maternal name as a dit name.  Dit names get used either with the original name, like Jean Routhier dit Chapeau (Chapeau was the name in the case I mention above), often to differentiate between different branches of an extended family.  Given names were actually fairly restricted in what was used, so you get lots of people bearing the same LNAB.
by Danielle Liard G2G6 Pilot (346k points)
selected by M Cole
+6 votes

In France it was common for the wife to keep her maiden name.  Quebec is the French side of Canada and often follows French traditions.  

This tradition was formalized:  

Provincial law in Quebec forbids a woman from taking her husband's surname after marriage. The rule was instated soon after the creation of the Quebec Charter of Rights, which went into effect in 1976, and is intended to extend the charter's statement on gender equality to names.Jun 29, 2015

Maiden Names: Here Are Places Women Can't Take Their Husband's ...

by Laura Bozzay G2G6 Pilot (652k points)
+5 votes
In the Parish registers of Quebec I have seen many examples of a woman's maiden name being recorded in baptism records of her children using her mothers maiden name. It is more common than you would think. I also believe it was not done on purpose, rather it was a mistake by the priest. I believe many times a priest would baptize a child in the Church or at a persons home and would not record the baptism in the register until the evening or sometimes the next day. I also believe that while he was talking to the mother, the question of who her parents were comes up quite often and that is how the mother's maiden name gets recorded. The fact that most people were unable to read, and no one but the priest saw the register, would allow this to happen. This is also how the parents names get mixed up in baptism records.

by Bob Ladouceur G2G6 (7.2k points)

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