My Sixth Great-Grandmother
(about 1742 to 1814)
Welcome back to the life of Madeleine Forest Blanchard. In the last post, Madeleine’s life while in Acadia and England was described. This post will describe her life in France and Louisiana.
How Madeleine met her husband, Belony Blanchard is a puzzle. The Forest, Vincent and Blanchard families do not seem to have been connected in l’Acadie. Belony was not in England, and he arrived in France seven years before Madeleine did. After arriving in France, Madeleine lived in Plouer while Belony lived in Saint-Suliac. Both towns are near the River Rance but across the river from each other. Maybe Belony worked with Madeleine’s father or older brother along the waterfront.
Nevertheless, when they decided to marry, their marriage bans were read at Belony’s church in Saint-Suliac. Belony had been married previously, but his wife, Agnes Dugas, died about a year before he married Madeleine.
Belony Blanchard and Madeleine joined in holy matrimony on 10 February 1766 in Plouer, where the bride lived as tradition would have it. Witnesses were Jean Baudouard, Jean LeBlanc, Rene Bodin, and Pierre Masselin. Surprisingly, neither of Belony’s brothers, Charles or Francis, served as witnesses at the wedding in Plouer though they witnessed the bans of marriage at Saint-Suliac.
Madeleine gave birth to at least nine children on average every two years between 1767 and 1782. Where Madeleine’s children were baptized provides a glimpse into her movements around France. Though Madeleine and Belony started their lives together in Saint-Suliac, by 1767 they moved to Saint-Servan where their first child, Marie Madeleine, was born. Shortly thereafter, they were back in Saint-Suliac where Joachim-Jacques (my ancestor) and Benony-Jacques and Ana were born. Madeleine’s family and Belony’s brothers were nearby and served as godparents to the first four children.
Madeleine’s mother, Claire Vincent, died in Saint-Servan in March 1769.
Madeleine and Belony were living in Saint-Malo in 1772 along with Belony’s brothers’ families. The men were working as laborers and Madeleine and her sisters-in-law were sewing, spinning and cutting. (See Table 1.) The various moves from Plouer, Saint-Suliac, Saint-Servan and Saint-Malo, which were within a two to three-hour walk from each other, could have been work opportunities or because larger accommodations were needed as the family grew.
|Belony Blanchard, 31||Laborer|
|Madeleine Forest, 29||sews and spins||3 children|
|Joseph Blanchard, 41||Laborer|
|Anne Hebert, 31||spins and cuts||5 children|
|Charles Blanchard, 39||Laborer|
|Margueritte-Joseph Dugats, 33||spins and sews||3 children|
Though all the Blanchard adults in Madeleine’s family were working in Saint-Malo, they joined almost half the Acadians in France to start a farming community in Châtellerault in 1773. This was to be the land the Acadians so badly wanted and a place for Acadians to be united. Madeleine’s sixth child Etienne-Charles-Marie was born there in 1775 but the Blanchards left Châtellerault with most of the Acadians in 1776. The soil conditions in Châtellerault were too poor to sustain growth, a great disappointment for all.
Madeleine’s family of seven were in the fourth convoy of Acadians leaving Châtellerault for Nantes. Also in the fourth convoy were my ancestors Zachary Boudreau and Margueritte Daigle; Jean Delaune and Marianne Part; Marianne’s father, Eustache Part; and Jean Delaune’s mother, Marie Caissie. Nantes was one of the largest cities in France and had a port on the Loire River. Madeleine was pregnant with her seventh child at the time. Soon after their arrival in Nantes, Etienne-Charles-Marie died in April and was buried at Sainte-Croix church. Malnutrition or smallpox could have been the cause of death. Celeste entered the world in August 1776 and was baptized at Sainte-Croix. Belony’s brother Charles served as Celeste’s godfather.
Madeleine’s family may have moved across the Loire River in Nantes in 1778 because Rosalie, the eighth child, was baptized at Saint-Jacques or the priest from Saint-Jacques may have filled in for the priest at Sainte-Croix and recorded the baptism in his sacramental records. Rosalie’s brother, Joachim, served as her godfather. Rosalie died at a year and a half of age and was buried at Sainte-Croix. Angelique-Michel and Möises were baptized at Sainte-Croix in 1780 and 1782, respectively, but Angelique-Michel died two weeks after birth. Three children lost in four years, heartbreaking.
For nine years Madeleine and her family lived in Nantes. Belony found work as a seaman, as did other Acadian men. All the while, Acadians were looking for an opportunity to have their own land. But Peyroux de la Coudreniére, a druggist from Nantes who had lived in Louisiana for a while, developed a plan for the Acadians to help colonize Spain which would provide the Acadians with the land they wanted.
In 1785, the three Blanchard families boarded L’Amitie (The Friendship), a 400-ton ship under Captain Joseph Beltremieux which left Nantes on 20 August 1785. There were 68 families with 270 people on board. Other of my ancestors who were aboard the L’Amite were the families of ancestors Jean Broussard and his wife Marguerite Comeaux as well as Zacharie Boudrot and his second wife Marguerite Vallois. After more than three months at sea, the fifth of seven ships financed by Spain and carrying Acadians arrived in New Orleans, Louisiana, on 8 November 1785.
There was much excitement and many celebrations as each ship arrived in New Orleans and Acadians reunited with their family and friends. Some Acadians had not seen members of their families for more than twenty years. You can imagine the joyful reuions upon seeing a cousin or the tears of sadness as those that had died were named and tales of misery were recounted.
The Spanish government had arranged accommodations in New Orleans for the Acadians to recover upon arrival. They regained their land legs and adjusted to their new surroundings before they proceeded to their land they would develop. Spain was determined to have a successful colony in Louisiana; therefore, they gave the Acadians land that could be farmed, and supplied them with the tools, seed, and food needed until they could support themselves. The time for making a home in Lafourche had finally arrived for Madeleine’s family.
At forty-three years old with six children ranging in ages of three to eighteen, Madeleine and Belony began a new life, once again on the North American continent but so very far from L’Acadie. Within three years, Belony acquired six arpents (about six acres in width) of land in Lafourche, a horse, one horned cattle, some pigs and grains. But during those three years, Möise must have died as he was not in the 1788 General Census of the Inhabitants Established in Lafourche or later census records. Madeleine’s sister, Anne, widow of Simon Leblanc, was also in the household. Madeleine must have found some comfort in her company.
The following year, the number of farm animals increased to two cattle and fifteen hogs and Madeleine’s sister no longer lived with them. The year 1791 was even better for Madeleine’s family. They had acquired one more arpent of land, the cattle increased to six, and they had four horses and twenty pigs. Madeleine’s family was recorded in the 1795, 1797, and 1798 censuses for Valenzuela in Lafourche.
As the children became adults, they began to marry. Marie Madeleine married Charles Forest 20 February 1786 in the Church of the Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ in what is now Donaldsonville, Louisiana. Charles was probably a second cousin of Madeleine Forest. The remaining four children married at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary church in Plattenville, Louisiana. Joachim-Jacques married Marie Magdelaine Templet 20 Aug 1793. Belony married Margueritte Trahan 22 May 1798. Celeste married Paul Pitre 16 Sept 1800. Ann married Joseph Möyse 28 June 1803. Many grandchildren followed with Joachim-Jacques having at least eight children.
When France sold Louisiana to the United State, Belony had to prove that he had been occupying the land for a certain period of time and made improvements to it. At that time, he had land over five arpents wide and forty arpents in depth. One neighbor was Olivier Aucoin. “This land was surveyed in the year 1790, in favor of the claimant, by order of Governor Miro; and it having been inhabited and cultivated ever since that time, until on and after the 20th December, 1803. Confirmed.”
The area of Lafourche where Madeleine’s family was living was divided in March of 1807 and became part of Assumption Parish.
As Madeleine and her husband neared their later years, Belony made a decision to sell his property to his son, Belony. It appears that Madeleine and Belony lived with their eldest son Joachim. When the U.S. census was taken in 1810, Joachim was forty-one and counted as younger than forty-four, but there was a male older than forty-five in his household; whereas, there was no one older than forty-five in son Belony’s household. There was also one female over the age of forty-five in Joachim’s household which was probably Madeleine. Her daughter-in-law, Marie-Magdelaine Templet may have died before 1810.
Though Madeleine lived a hard life and had to move many times throughout her years, she lived to be about seventy-two years old. She sailed across the Atlantic Ocean twice. She was deported from L’Acadie and sent to Virginia and then England. After the Seven Years War, she lived in at least six different places in France. Upon her arrival in Louisiana, her home went through several changes in government, first Spanish colonial, then Louisiana was given back to France, and finally it was sold to the United States. She had many descendants through her five children who married. Burial services for Madeleine Forest were held 5 November 1814 at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
 Archives du Port de Saint-Servan – 4619, “Fonds de l’Inscription maritime de Saint-Servan [France] : C-4619,” Canadiana (https://heritage.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.lac_reel_c4619/51 : viewed 8 April 2023).
 The marriage sacramental record states that Belony Blanchard was a resident of the parish of Saint-Suliac and Madeleine Forest was a resident of Plouer. Belonnie Blanchard & Magdelainne deforest, St. Brieuc, Plouer sur Rance sacramental records, “Registres paroissiaux et d’état civil, Côtes-d’Armor, France, 1467-1920″, database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C33B-362R?cc=4320583&cat=575563 : 8 April 2023), > image 703 of 1317).
 The bans of marriage for Belony and Madeleine were read at Saint-Suliac. Saint Suliac 1766 Baptêmes/ Mariages-Commune, Archives départementales de la Vienne, images 7 and 8 of 18 (https://archives-en-ligne.ille-et-vilaine.fr/thot_internet/FrmLotDocFrame.asp?idlot=502285&idfic=598805&ref=502285&appliCindoc=THOPDESC&resX=1440&resY=9000. Belonnie was married to Agnes Dugas who died the year before Belonnie married Madeleine. Saint-Suliac 1764 Baptêmes/Mariages Commune, Archives départementales de la Vienne, image 4 of 18 (https://archives-en-ligne.ille-et-vilaine.fr/thot_internet/FrmLotDocFrame.asp?idlot=502283&idfic=598803&ref=502283&appliCindoc=THOPDESC&resX=1440&resY=900&init=1&visionneuseHTML5=0 : viewed 8 April 2023).
 Belonnie Blanchard & Magdelainne deforest, St. Brieuc, Plouer sur Rance sacramental records, ”Registres paroissiaux et d’état civil, Côtes-d’Armor, France, 1467-1920″, database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C33B-362R?cc=4320583&cat=575563 : 8 April 2023), > image 703 of 1317).
 Digital image, unspecified volume, Saint Servan Baptemes 1767, folio 5, M 35313 112, Marie Magadeleine Blanchard, image 7 of 46, Archives départementales de la Vienne (https://archives-en-ligne.ille-et-vilaine.fr/thot_internet/FrmLotDocFrame.asp?idlot=383021&idfic=474853&ref=383021&appliCindoc=THOPDESC&resX=1920&resY=1080&init=1&visionneuseHTML5=0 : viewed 10 April 2023).
 For Joachim-Jacques see Digital image, Saint-Suliac Baptêmes/Mariages 1768, 10 NUM 35314 79, No. 68, p. 11 Bap. 32, Les Archives départementales d’Ille-et-Vilaine (https://archives.ille-et-vilaine.fr/fr/article/visiter-les-archives > Rechercher > Archives en ligne Registres paroissiaux et état civil > enter “Saint-Suliac” and “1768” > Rechercher > choose 10 NUM 35314 79 Saint-Suliac 1768 Baptêmes/Mariages Commune > image 12 of 16); for Benony-Jacques bapstim record: choose 10 NUM 35314 82, 1771 Baptêmes/Mariages – COMMUNE, p. 8 Bap. 22, Image 9 of 19; Anna’s baptism choose10 NUM 35314 84, Saint-Suliac 1773 Baptêmes/Mariages COMMUNE, p. 10; images 12 and 13 of 27.
 Digital image, Saint Servan-1769 -Sépultures-Commune, unknown page, Claire Vincent, Archives départementales de la Vienne, image 6 of 23 (https://archives-en-ligne.ille-et-vilaine.fr/thot_internet/FrmLotDocFrame.asp?idlot=THOPDESC_382995&idfic=474827&ref=0474827&appliCindoc=THOPDESC&resX=1440&resY=900&init=1&visionneuseHTML5=0 : viewed 8 April 2023).
 Milton P. Rieder, “Role of the Truly Acadian Families – September 15, 1772,” The Acadians in France, 1762-1776; Rolls of the Acadians living in France distributed by towns for the years 1762 to 1776, (Métairie, Louisiana, 1967) p. 39; digital image, archive.org, (https://archive.org/details/acadiansinfrance0000ried/page/75/mode/2up : viewed 9 April 2023). p. 39.
 Robichaux, The Acadian Exiles in Nantes, pgs. 13-14.
 Digital image, Nantes-Sainte-Croix-BMS-176-3E109/46, p. 26. Sepulture d’Etienne Blanchard, image 27 of 93 (https://archives-numerisees.loire-atlantique.fr/v2/ad44/visualiseur/registre.html?id=440204181: viewed 10 April 2023).
 Digital image, Nantes-Sainte-Croix-BMS-1776, 6-3E109/46, p. 56, Bapteme de Celeste Blanchard, Archives départementales de Loire-Atlantique; digital image 57 of 93 (https://archives-numerisees.loire-atlantique.fr/v2/ad44/visualiseur/registre.html?id=440204181 : viewed 10 April 2023.
 Digital image, Nantes, Sainte-Jacques-BMS-1778, p. 16, Rosalie Blanchard, image 16 of 40, Archives départementales de Loire-Atlantique (https://archives-numerisees.loire-atlantique.fr/v2/ad44/visualiseur/registre.html?id=440205353 : viewed 10 April 2023).
 Digital image, Sainte-Croix-BMS-1780-1781(février) – 3E109/50, p. 4, E. Rosalie, image 4 of 133, Archives départementales de Loire-Atlantique (https://archives-numerisees.loire-atlantique.fr/v2/ad44/visualiseur/registre.html?id=440204185 : viewed 10 April 2023).
 Angelique’s baptism was 10 August 1780, and she was buried 27 August 1780. Digital image, Nantes-Sainte-Croix-BMS-1780-1781(février)-3E109/50, p. 76, digital images 76 and 80 of 133 (https://archives-numerisees.loire-atlantique.fr/v2/ad44/visualiseur/registre.html?id=440204185 : viewed 10 April 2023). Möise’s baptism was recorded on 17 February 1782; digital image, Nantes-Sainte-Croix – BMS 1782-3E109/52, p. 19, Bap. Möise Blanchard, digital image 21 of 121 Archives départementales de Loire-Atlantique (https://archives-numerisees.loire-atlantique.fr/v2/ad44/visualiseur/registre.html?id=440204187 : viewed 10 April 2023).
 Belony is listed as a seaman in Milton P. Rieder, Jr. and Norma Gaudet Rieder, The Crew and Passenger Registration Lists of The Seven Acadian Expeditions of 1785 (1965) p. 50.
 Milton P. Rieder, Jr. and Norma Gaudet Rieder, The Crew and Passenger Registration Lists of The Seven Acadian Expeditions of 1785 (1965) p. 50. In Oscar William Winzerling’s Acadian Odyssey, he identifies the ship as La Amistad.
 Albert Robichaux, Colonial Settlers along Bayou Lafourche 1770-1798 (Harvey, Louisiana, 1974) 2:20.
 Albert J. Robichaux, Jr., Louisiana Census and Militia Lists (New Orleans, Louisiana: Polyanthos, 1977) Vol. 1. p. 138.
 Robichaux, Colonial Settlers along Bayou Lafourche, p. 173.
 Robichaux, Colonial Settlers along Bayou Lafourche, pgs. 61, 96 and 142.
 The parents’ names of Marie Magdelene and Carlos Forest are not recorded in the marriage record, but the grandparents are identified as Belony Blanchard and Magdeleine Forest in the baptismal records of their children. Because the records were written in Spanish, Charles was translated as Carlos. Diocese of Baton Rouge Catholic Church Records 1770-1803 (Baton Rouge, Diocese of Baton Rouge, 1980), 2:292.
 Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church (Plattenville, Louisiana), Diocese of Baton Rouge Archives and Records Center (image privately held by Sindi Broussard Terrien, Seekonk, Massachusetts, 2022) Joaquin Blanchard con Maria Magdna Templait, marriage act, volume 2, page 2.
 Diocese of Baton Rouge Catholic Church Records 1770-1803, 92.
 Diocese of Baton Rouge Catholic Church Records 1770-1803, 92.
 Diocese of Baton Rouge Catholic Church Records 1770-1803, 91.
 Walter Lowrie, Early Settlers of Louisiana as Taken From Land Claims in the Eastern District of the Orleans Territory (Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1986) p.347.
 Belony sold his land to his eldest son Belony for $200. Cahier Record No. 1 Parish of Assumption, FamilySearch, folio 313; digital images, FamilySearch.org, Cahier record (notebook of land and property transactions) 1786-1842, image 172 of 850.
 1810 U.S. census, Assumption Parish, Louisiana, population schedule, p. 27, Joachim household; National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) microfilm publication M252, roll 10; ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/7613/images/4433226_00030?pId=15206 : viewed 5 January 2021).
 Diocese of Baton Rouge Catholic Church Records 1804-1819, 3:330.