Could anyone please help read 1717 French baptism record barely legible

+5 votes

 Hi this is the first time I am trying out G2G.  I am working on a profile for Marie-Catherine Bisaillon, a direct ancestor, 9th generation.  It has been relatively easy to find vital records and censuses to connect myself and Marie-Catherine so far.  However, I am now at the mercy of a barely legible 1717 baptism record (in French, Drouin collection) that I believe holds the key to Marie-Catherine's past.  I can read typed French just fine, but this is beyond me.  Her profile is Bisaillon-75, and I have gathered all I could find in Tanguay collection and everywhere else and have attached images of the records to the profile as I work on this.   I suspect Michel Bisaillon is her illegitimate father and her mother is an aboriginal woman that he bought as a slave in "Missouri", as the region of the northern Mississippi River was defined back then, and then he returned to Laprairie Canada East with her.  But she could have been already pregnant, Michel could have adopted her, or perhaps it was the custom to give the family name to a slave born in the household.  Below is the clearest copy of the record that I can produce.  Could anyone help decipher it or suggest a way to get a cleaner copy, or send me in a new direction altogether? If my attached photo doesn't show up, it is image 8 in the profile.


WikiTree profile: Marie-Catherine Bisaillon
in Genealogy Help by Mattie Coutts G2G2 (2.1k points)
retagged by Mattie Coutts

3 Answers

+6 votes

Dear Mattie,

   I could not see the image here in G2G, but easily brought it up from her profile link.  However, it IS quite hard to read.  Maybe someone with better eyes and better French than I have can help you.

   I do see in the fourth line:

"ordinaires une fille sauvagesse neé [ two blurts - name removed?]"

Sure hope someone else can help out with this.  There must be some TAGS like - translation French please - that will get the attention of people who can help.  Look through the TAGS for G2G and add some appropriate ones!   Good luck.  -NGP

by Nanette Pezzutti G2G6 Pilot (135k points)
Hi Nanette, thank you, I have added more tags.  I believe I am already closer to getting answers to some of the mysteries surrounding her birth, her story.
+9 votes
" (...) ay baptisé avec les ceremonies ordinaires une fille sauvagesse née hier au soir, dont la mere <?> denis esclaves de michel bizaillon amenée tout recemment des nations sauvages éloignées appeler missouris et dont le pere est incertain. elle a été nommée marie catherine par son parrain estienne desaillés et anne catherine bisaillon sa mareine en presence de pierre brien qui a déclaré ne savoir signer (...)"
by Benoît Bousquet G2G5 (5.7k points)
edited by Benoît Bousquet
Je vous remercie. ça aide beaucoup! donc michel n'est pas le père, c'est très intéressant.
My pleasure. It is still possible Michel Bisaillon is the father but we would need more credible proof of that (which might not be possible). I've seen worse writing, by the way. At least the image was clear.
I am amazed that you read all that!  I think the missing word for the wild lands that Michel recently came back from is 'Missouri '.  Perhaps one day Dna will confirm whether Michel is the father of Marie-Catherine.  Meanwhile I still need to confirm if the M-C Bisaillon in the baptism record is the same M-C Bisaillon  that married Ange Cusson.  I see on other geneological sites that others before me have made wrong and conflicting connections.  But so far, this connection is the best one that puts her at the right age time and place to have her child Jeanne with Ange, my only certainty.  All records that connect M-C to Ange and Jeanne omit the names of M-C's parents and the Bisaillon household, but I will recheck if I missed anything.  And her unusual story helps explain why her parents names were omitted.
Missouri (spelled "missouris" by the priest) seems good. I'm still not sure about the mother's name - that word is puzzling.
I found a book excerpt online.  One page actually describes in English almost word for word the French words you could read on the baptism record.  I posted the page as image 9.   It says Michel describes the woman as Panis, a word used for people from the Pawnee nation around Missouri.  That could be the name on the birth record instead of Denis.  This has opened doors for my research .  Going to try researching M-C Panis and M-C Denis...
+6 votes

Benoît has most of the text right from my reading of it, so won't repeat it, just add my two bits.  The father is uncertain, the mother was a Panis slave recently brought from the far nations called Missouris.  The mother is not actually named in the text.  Looked at the Drouin institute copy directly, which lets me see it in larger format. smiley

As a note, the term Panis was used for ALL native slaves, it doesn't actually denote a particular tribe with any certainty.

She is most likely not daughter of Michel Bisaillon.  He would have had to have been out in the area she came from for quite a while to achieve this,  Meanwhile having kids with his wife in Ste-Anne-de-Détroit area.

Corrected place names on the profile, you have your eras mixed cousin, see Quebecois project page for the guidelines on place names.

by Danielle Liard G2G6 Pilot (701k points)

Thank you for taking the time to help.  Yes, you are right; the mother of Marie-Catherine is not named.  Moreover, yes, M-C is not named with the Bisaillon name anywhere on the Baptism record--thank you for pointing that out!

The confusion began with the typed summary which appears when I search the Drouin collection, which points an accusatory finger at Michel as the father (see copy/paste of the Drouin summary below). The summary also states, erroneously, that the baptism was in 1670, but the original record is sufficiently clear to read 1717.  I could barely read  the rest of the text.  But yes, now I see.  I was hoping maybe some of the witnesses or godparents in the various events might show some kind of link, but nothing except that many of them or their immediate family are buried in the same Cemetary (but not the elusive Marie-Catherine). I am ready to cut the link between M-C and Michel, and simply leave her parents unknown with a research reference to have a good look at Michel if more info becomes available.  After all, there could many reasons that another Marie-Catherine Bisaillon married Ange but is not on the records available and perhaps doesn't even know who her parents were.  But any advice is always welcome, and probably ought to be another thread?

Marie Catherine Bisaillon
Gender: féminin (Female)
Event Type: Baptême (Baptism)
Baptism Date: 26 sept. 1670 (26 Sep 1670)
Baptism Place: La Prairie, Québec (Quebec)
Place of Worship or Institution: Notre-Dame-de-LaPrairie-de-la-Madeleine
Father: Michel Bisaillon
Well, that is certainly not a summary from Drouin Institute that I know of.  Looked at La Prairie records, the first one I can find is in October 1670, La Prairie parish was only established in that year, may have been a chapel before that.  But Michel Bisaillon and his wife weren't yet there if the records showing up are correct, they only show up there in 1716 for a funeral of one of their children.

No need to start another thread.  The marriage with Ange Cusson in 1748 does not name parents for the bride, while naming his parents.  She is just said to be of that parish.  Another indication for you.  If she was raised by Michel and his wife, it is highly likely that she took the name Bisaillon.  Try to find a woman whose MtDNA leads to her, that would tell the tale if she is of native origin.  And marrying in 1748 and having children certainly precludes the 1670 dob.

You can change Michel's status from father to adoptive father on her profile.  That way there will be less confusion, while still leaving the link to who raised her.
Sent you copy of the index record by gmail because I can't post images on G2G from my computer.

Interesting.  So I believe I am a direct ancestor of Marie-Jeanne, and if the MCB from Michel Bisaillon household is also my ancestor, than my MtDNA should confirm native origin?

 Ok good idea with the adoptive parent link.  Thanks so much...

you have to have her as direct maternal ancestress and be a woman yourself, no males in the lineage.  It's mother to daughter only.  Sorry, the name Mattie doesn't tell me if you're a man or a woman.  wink

Got the picture.  Ancestry got something mixed up for sure.  But they only name her and a date of birth, no parents.  Drouin Institute indexing shows way more data than that.  Parents, dob, d of bapt., sometimes even godparents.  Except of course when the parents are unknown.

Doesn't make her the woman who married Ange Cusson.  Who is my 1st cousin 9 times removed.  lol, we meet again cousin.

I am a woman, lol, but only my dad has the French ancestry, so he effectively blocks any MtDNA I could provide.  Lots of French relatives in my ancestry-- I manage my husbands tree too, even more French relatives, so I touch a lot of French family names in my research.  We will meet again...⚜

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