Parents of Marie Louise Girardeau, born c. 1755 and lived near Vincennes, Indiana (pays des Illinois, Nouvelle-France)?

+3 votes

Marie Louise Girardeau married Joseph Chartier and had children 1775 - 1785 who were baptized at St. François Xavier in Vincennes. I haven't found her marriage or baptism. She's not in Barbara Schull Wolfe's St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church Records: Baptisms 1749-1838 (except as a mother). She's not in Ancestry's index to U.S., French Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1695-1954​ and I tried thumbing through the Caskaskias records in case she was missed in the index.

She may be the daughter of Jean Pierre Girardeau who was born December 1, 1723, at Fort Chartres, Kaskaskia, Illinois. Cape Girardeau, Missouri, is named for his family, and the folks at their city museum would like to sort out his children.

WikiTree profile: Marie Louise Girardeau
in Genealogy Help by Karen Lowe G2G6 Pilot (137k points)
edited by Karen Lowe
I did a little research at Tanguay Volume 4 and nothing jumped out, but they do list variations on the name as Giraudeau, Girodeau, Cazal and LaLime.

Also the Vincennes Public Library has a whole building for genealogy research.  They might have access to some early records.  

1755 Vincennes!  I can't imagine what life was like, let alone giving birth!  Thank God for women like Marie Louise Girardeau!!

Good Luck, John
Thanks! I've spent several hours in that library on research trips over the years, and you're right that I should ask for their help.
no trace of them in Quebec records with those names, so quebecois tag is probably incorrect.  Place would have been named ''pays des Illinois, Nouvelle-France'', not Indiana, which is a later name.

If you read French, this link has a nice article on it:
Thanks, Danielle - I figured the tag would attract researchers interested in French immigrants to North America, since her ancestors would have been in Quebec before they migrated southward in the mid-1700s. I hoped that by providing a detailed question title I could avoid the bait-and-switch of promising content specific to Quebec. : )
actually, might not have come through here, there are also Huguenot immigrants to the English colonies in this era.
Yes, but weren't the majority of Vincennes settlers sent down from Quebec in the mid-1700s when the English started pouring over the Appalachians? And what Huguenot woman is going to have six children baptized at St. Francois Xavier?
Sorry, that might have sounded like I don't love getting your help! I really appreciate your suggestions. Do you think that sometimes Huguenot families joined the Catholic church to fit in with their neighbors?
lots of Huguenots found themselves having to switch back to the Catholic church, and if her husband was Catholic, might have been a requirement by him or the church to have them baptized Catholic.  Plus, not sure if the Huguenots brought any of their own clergy.  The whole of New France from Canada down to Louisiana was actually part of the diocese of Québec in this era.

1 Answer

+1 vote

Her husband was Joseph Benae dit Chartier.  His actual family surname is Benae, which may help you find more about his family. Their daughter, Marie Louise Benas dit Chartier married Toussaint Deneau, in St Fracis county on November 8, 1813.  (You may already have that information but here is my source:  

Toussaint is a common family name in the French settlement of Carondelet, in what is today southeast St Louis.  There is even a street named for this family, whose ancestors originated just north of Quebec City, at Trois-Rivières.  My ancestors were La Valle, and one of them was a surgeon who accompanied Jesuit priests.  His descendants married into the Toussaint family in St. Louis (King of France Colony). Their children were all christened in the King of France Catholic church, the oldest church in St. Louis.  To be given land grants in Cape Girardeau, Carondolet, and Kaskaskia (over the Mississippi River, in Illinois) one had to be Catholic, since France was a Catholic country.


by Janne Gorman G2G6 Mach 3 (30.0k points)
Thanks Janne! St. Francis Xavier is the name of the church (now a cathedral) in Vincennes. I guess the state archives put St. Francis in the county field to distinguish from Knox County civil marriage records?

Thanks for the Benac name! I'm really searching for Girardeau parents, but if I start looking on the Chartier side it will be good to have that surname.
Yes, the records of the Parish of Ste Francis Xavier at Post Vincennes, Indiana have been translated from the French and are available online. In November, 1757, Pierre Girardeau  became godfather to Louise Crepeau. Pier was at the time a Second Ensign, of a company of detached marines at the post.  The page for this record is here:
Janne, thanks! That's a good find that this Pierre Girardeau was present in Vincennes in 1757.

I added English translations of baptisms for five of Marie Louise Girardeau's children. They all give her husband's name as Joseph Chartier without mentioning Benac. I see on PRDH that the names Benac and Chartier appear together 78 times in Quebec parish records, so that's got to be his name.

Now, to find out more about Pierre! The folks over in Cape Girardeau are researching a Jean Pierre Girardeau who was born December 1, 1723, at Fort Chartres, Kaskaskia, pays des Illinois. He would definitely be the right age to be a godfather in 1757 and a father to Marie Louise Girardeau whose children were born 1775-1785.
Here are the parents of Pierre, with what appear to be valid sources:

Don't forget to look for the spelling Girardot, which is the earlier spelling of Girardeau and prounounced the same.  I doubt that Marie Louise was born in Indiana, but very possibly Kaskaskia, Illinois or even Cape Girardeau, Missouri.  
Here is the likely founder of Cape Girardeau:     "In the year 1720, le Sieur Girardot, ensign of the troops, appears as godfather, and from this time on regularly officiates in that capacity, vying with Francoise Le Brise in frequency of attendance at the baptismal rite in the character of sponsor. His name was long known in Kaskaskia and its neighborhood, where he spent many years, and it is probably borne today by the town of Cape Girardeau in Missouri."

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