Pierre Genereux & Francoise Dessureaux
Their children - grand children - great grand children
Berthierville, home of the Genereux Family
Scenes of yesterday
Biography of Pierre Genereux
This day the 28th of September 1699, Pierre Genereux, soldier of Monsieur le Chevalier de Grais, of the Bishopric of Limoges, and Francoise Marie Dessureaux were married at the church of N.D. de la Visitation in Champlain. This short excerpt from the marriage record of Pierre Genereux and Francoise Dessureaux is all that is known of Pierre Genereux’s origins. For the past three years I have reviewed that record, Pierre’s captain, his company, the history of the Franche-Marines, notary records involving Pierre Genereux, and the church records of Berthier and the surrounding area. With a fair degree of probability, I have come to the following conclusions concerning Pierre Genereux's life, recruitment as a soldier, and the approximate years of his birth and death. I have also compiled a list of his children, grand-children and great-grand-children.
Two of the major genealogy dictionaries state Pierre Genereux was a soldier of de Grais. The third dictionary that he was a soldier of La Groye. The key and solution to this difference can be found in the title of Chevalier, which is a rank of the Order of Saint Louis. De Grais had received this title, and was often referred to as Chevalier, well in advance of Pierre Genereux’s marriage in 1699. La Groye however did not receive this title until 1705.
De Grais dit de Preaux was the title of Monsieur Louis Joseph LeGoues, a retired officer of an earlier deployment of troops. On April 4, 1687, he was commissioned captain of one company of the Franche-Marines. The 50 men of his company, including Pierre Genereux, were among the 150 recruits who had arrived in Canada the previous year. They had sailed from France aboard the trading vessel "Saint-Francois-Xavier", and arrived in Quebec on September 22, 1686. When Pierre Genereux was recruited, he would have been between the minimum age of 16 and the maximum age of 25, which would place his birth between the years of 1661 and 1670.
De Grais was assigned to patrol and protect the inhabitants in the area of La Prairie. It is historically recorded that, on September 4, 1690, five of his men along with some inhabitants were attacked, and killed by the Iroquois at the fork of the meadow of Magdeleine. It is also recorded, that in 1696 de Grais and his company took part in a major campaign. A force of over 1000 men attacked the Onnontague village located on the eastern shore of Lake Ontario. The location is near present day Oswego, New York. The village was deserted, and there was no major encounter with the Indians, but the village was entirely destroyed
During the years of 1698 and 1699 two orders of the French King greatly affected the future life of Pierre Genereux. Orders were issued that the size of the companies of marines were to be reduced from 50 to 30 men. And secondly that early discharge with one year's pay would be granted to any soldier willing to marry and settle upon the land in Canada. These orders were possible, because the war with the Indians had subsided and the negotiations for peace were on going. Pierre Genereux along with over 100 other soldiers took advantage of this offer and married in 1699.
There are 22 notary acts in which Pierre Genereux’s name appears. Many of them also included the name of his wife Francoise Dessureaux. Thirteen of them are land purchases made by Pierre or transfers of those lands, mostly to his children. Nine of them are the marriage contracts of his children. Two of these notary acts are of significant interest. The act of November 25, 1709, by the notary Normandin, concedes to Pierre Genereux, one area of land situated in the fife of Berthier. It was on the north shore of the North Channel of the St. Lawrence River. The eastern boundary of the land was adjacent to the Lord of Berthier’s land. The eastern border was also adjacent to were the future Sainte-Genevieve church was to be built.
The act of May 19, 1742, by the notary Puyperoux de LaFosse, is the marriage contract of Jean Genereux and Marguerite Riviere. Jean is the youngest, and the last child of Pierre Genereux and Francoise Dessureaux to marry. This contract gives us an indication of when Pierre Genereux died. The contract states that both Pierre and Francoise were present and acting in the interest of their son Jean, at the signing of this contract. Pierre Genereux was alive at this time, yet no record can be found of his death in the pursuing years. The reason being that although there are some parish records for Berthier in the St. Joseph of Lanoraie parish registry prior to 1733, no individual parish registry for Berthier exists between 1733 and 1751. At best then, it can be determined that Pierre died between May 19, 1742 and January 1, 1751.
My personal opinions concerning Pierre
I contend there is no such document that names the parents of Pierre Genereux. And if there were it certainly would have been discovered and mentioned in the genealogy works of Jette, Drouin and the PRDH. This information originated from one single person. In 2001, when I saw the internet posting that showed Pierre's parents as Pierre and Anna Plaza, I contacted the owner of the site and asked what was the source of this information. He told me he had found the information at the Trois Rivieres Archives. He also said he only wrote down their names, but not the sources description, and that he could not remember what type of source the information came from. If there is or ever was such a documented source available, would not Jette, Drouin and the PRDH have included it in their works?
I contend that Genereux is not Pierre's surname. It's his Nom de Guere, that is, his war name. It's his dit name, his also known as name, his soldiers' name. It's descriptive as dit names are, and means generous. Every soldier received a dit name as a recruit. Pierre continued to only use the dit name of Genereux throughout his entire life. Without Pierre's surname, his parents' names, and a specific parish of the Bishopric of Limoges for his birth record, I think it is impossible to trace his heritage back to France.
Pierre Genereux’s and Francoise Dessureaux’s had 11 children, and I have identified 80 grand children and 470 great grand children. Of the 80 grand children 19 died without marrying, most were infants and children, only a few were adults. 55 of them married and the status of the remaining 6 is unknown. Of the 470 great grand children 160 died without marrying, again mostly infants and children only a few were adults. 261 of them married and the status of the remaining 49 is unknown. The 11 children are listed below and are linked to their respective families. The children are identified with a number such as 2. The grand children are identified with a number such as 2.5 and the great grand children are identified with a number such as 2.5#4. As an example (2.5#4 Anne Adelaide) is the 4th child of (2.5 Joseph Ambroise) who is the 5th child of (2. Pierre) who is the 2nd child of Pierre and Francoise Dessureaux.
Their children - grand children - great grand children
1. Joseph Genereux had no descendants
2. Pierre Genereux and his descendants
3. Genevieve Genereux and her descendants
4. Francois Ambroise Genereux and his descendants
5. Antoine Genereux and his descendants
6. Marie Francoise Genereux had no descendants
7. Magdeleine Genereux and her descendants
8. Louis Genereux and his descendants
9. Jeanne Genereux and her descendants
10. Joseph Genereux and his descendants
11. Jean Genereux and his descendants
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Last updated December 15, 2015