The following information is from a bookwritten by James Bélanger,
Nicolas originated from Saint Thomas of Touques in Calvados. From his reported
age for the census of 1666, 1667 and 1681 he must have been born between
1632 and 1637 and, in his childhood, became accomplished in the salt trade.
He is found in New France around 1658 employed by the merchant Francois
Perron. He graduated from the salt trade, in which he worked in Europe,
and became a fisherman and farmer.
of Nicolas Belanger.
Bellanger Family Tree
Nicolas Béllanger 1655 - 1682
1655 Our roots in Beauport
The exact date of Nicolas' arrival in New France is unknown. His name appears in the records of the Seigneurie of Beauport on 15 Oct 1655 as owner of land consisting of one arpent and 61 rods. It is here, in the actual research of genealogists that the first mention is found of Nicolas on an official document of the colony. Then again, when Nicolas made a claim against Michel Desorcys, found on a paper dated 28 Sept 1658 before the notary Audouart.
On 12 Nov 1659, Nicolas and his future wife, Marie de Rainville, draw up their marriage contract in the presence of Paul Vachon, Royal Notary in the Seigneurie and Jurisdiction of Beauport and Prevoste of Notre Dame des Anges. Also present are witnesses, relatives and friends, which was the custom at that time. This contract informs us that the couple were natives of the Parish of St. Thomas de Touques, in Normandy. It states that Nicolas was master of his trade and the parents of his fiancee are Paul de Rainville and Rolline Poette. The parents of Nicolas are not mentioned and the spelling of his family name is Bellanger, which corresponds to the most widespread pronunciation of the times.
Nicolas and Marie were married on Sunday Jan 11, 1660 in the presence of father Paul Ragueneaux of the Company of Jesus in the chapel of the high manor. This is where visiting priests performed religious services. They performed parish functions here since Beauport was not yet a parish. The contract of marriage, which was written in the records of the mother parish (Notre Dame de Quebec), does not mention the names of the parents of Nicolas. This is yet another omission, which continually keeps us from linking Nicolas to his parents. Nicolas and Marie settled in Beauport and raised their 12 children.
Father Archange Godbout, O.F.M. (noted genealogist), has researched several names of Bellanger in the records of St. Thomas de Touques between the period of 1628-1657. He finds the name Catherine which was a dit name for Nicolas. Although this is a clue, it is impossible to establish any certain ancestry with Nicolas.
1664 Professional activities
In the marriage contract, Nicolas is said to be a master salt maker. During that time, in New France, that title designated a dealer in salt. In the deliberations of Feb 9, 1664 of the Sovereign Council, one named Desorcys acknowledged that , Oct 20, 1659, "Bellanger has hauled and furnished sawdust". This seems to indicate that Nicolas was engaged in fishing commerce and that he was hauling sawdust in connection with that occupation. Five years later, 8 Nov 1664, Nicolas Bellanger, Pierre Lefebvre and Leonard Leblanc were summoned before the Sovereign Council in a matter of right to fish. The defendants were ordered to pay to the clerk of the court the value of their fishing farms on the coast of Lauzon. The reason for this fine is unknown. From the proceeding we conclude with certainty that Nicolas was a commercial fisherman and fish merchant. A salt merchant and a fisherman would have been complimentary businesses at this time.
The census of 1667 shows Nicolas (at 29) owned 2 cattle and 12 arpent of land. Fourteen years later, the census of 1681, Nicolas owned one gun, 10 cattle and his farm at Beauport was 41 arpent; (it was worth this much in cultivated and pasture land). The value of uncleared land was "worthless". This increase of 30 arpents in area signified an average of two arpents per year. That represented a great accomplishment considering the means at their disposal in the 17th century. It seems Nicolas may have turned to farming around 1670 in order to provide for his family in a dependable fashion.
It shows that Nicolas may have owned, for a few years, a farm designated "number 16" in the land survey register number 46 of the parish of St. Pierre de L'Isle d'Orleans. In a contract of grant from Charles de Lauzon of Charny to Antoine Poulet presented before Paul Vachon, notary, on 4 Nov 1662 Nicolas Bellanger was mentioned as neighbor. In the census of 1666 he is still neighbor to Poulet but in 1667, Laurent Benoist owned this farm.
1667 also marked the end of the English occupation of Acadia, which they had taken a few years earlier.
1673 Witness to Nicolas
The little white house with the slender roof, located at 600 Avenue Royale in Beauport, was built by or for Nicolas Bellanger on land granted to him by the Lord Joseph Giffard Jan 24, 1673 before the notary Paul Vachon. (Nicolas was then 35 and had 7 living children) The original house of 22 by 20 feet was built of stone on a stone foundation. This dwelling passed on to Pierre, a son of Nicolas, around 1700. Pierre lived there for about 20 years and then sold it to a family named Marcou. It was the last resident, Mr. Girardin, who left his name on the house before it became the property of the Sisters of the Congregation. The last owner was Mr. Michel Dufresne who was successful in saving this historic site from demolition.
1676 Church in Beauport
Nicolas is one of the censitaires (habitants) who renounced their rights to 6 acres of their land so it could be used to build a future church. This renunciation in favor of the "church elders of Beauport" was recorded in a notarized document presented before Paul Vachon 14 June 1676. In gratitude, the deacons promised to say an annual mass on the day after the feast of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, for the intention of these generous and devout parishioners. This expression of recognition was forgotten long ago.
1682 Death of Nicolas
Nicolas died 19 Oct 1682 at the age of 50. His oldest son, Bertrand Pierre, was 19 and his youngest daughter had just turned one. A son had died very young (just days old), another had died before 1681 and one daughter, Marthe, was married. This left nine children still living at home.
The death certificate
Nicolas Bellanger was buried 20 Oct 1682 in the Beauport cemetery and had died the day before. Assisting at the burial were Rene Remy, Paul Vachon (Royal Notary at Beauport) and Jean de Rainville (brother-in-law of the deceased) who signed, except Jean de Rainville, the record. Rene Remy, Paul Vachon and the priest, Charles A. Martin signed with initials.
Children of Marie and Nicolas
born 31, Dec. 1660
died 22, Jan. 1661
born 23, Nov. 1661
died 18, March 1741
born 13, Sept. 1663
died 19, April 1736
born 1, Mar. 1665
died 28 Feb. 1707
born 24 Nov. 1666
died between 1667/1668
born 19, Oct. 1668
died 7, Jan. 1719
born 12, March 1670
died 2, March 1703
born 12, Jan. 1672
died 12, April 1742
born 24, March 1674
died 1 May 1717
died 12, June 1710
born 13, Oct. 1680
died 20 June 1746
was born 19, October 1668
and baptized at Notre Dame de Quebec 21, October 1668
by Father Charles deLauzon.
Marie deRainville and Nicolas Catherine Bellanger were residents of Beauport and listed as her parents. Witnesses to the baptism were Rene Dubois and Jeanne Langlois.
NICOLAS BELANGER, the 8th child of Nicolas is our ancestor. We do not know the date of birth of his wife, Marie Magnan. Her father was Jacques Magnan and her mother was Ambroise Doigt. She died in Beauport on 11 March 1758.