Énaud dit Canada vs Deschamps

Although Jacques Énaud-dit-Canada had only  one son, his descendents today are quite numerous. In fact, there are nearly as many as the line of Hunault-dit-Deschamps. Mostly known as Hénault, Héneault, Énault, Esnault, Eno and some other variations, some have adopted their dit name as a surname, such as Fresnière, Delorme, Portneuf, Canada, Cadat  and Cadeau.  Some are found mostly in specific regions of Canada, such as two branches of  Delorme in the western part of Canada, and Portneuf in the Drummond/Nicolet region.

Ontario created it's own version with a new dit name, Cadeau, based on a variation of Canada. From the branch of Pierre Hénault-dit-Canada-Fresnière and Marie Josèphe Duhaime married in 1857 in Ste-Malachie of Ormstown (Qc), came Pierre Hénault-dit Canada married to Marie-Meltime Houle, and from the branch of Alexis Hénault-dit-Canada-Fresnière and Marie Geneviève Gadoury married in 1840 in Ste-Geneviève-de-Berthier (Qc), came three brothers: Jean Octave Simon, Alexis a.k.a. Alexandre and Olivier, all using mostly the dit name Canada, who migrated to Simcoe County, Ontario. Soon after, the name Canada, which was sometimes referred to as Cada and Cadat, became Cado, Cadot and finally Cadeau. The name Cadeau is now the surname used officially by these two branches. Some descendants from these Ontario branches were rather surprised, when working their way up the family tree, to find out that they were in fact descendants of Hénault-dit-Fresnière, still not understanding how their family went from one to the other. Most probably, if we were to dig deep enough, we would find some other variations of the name that we are not aware of. 

Unfortunately, the problem with dit names is that quite a lot of them in fact have become official surnames, a fact known to most genealogists but not necessarily to those starting to research their family lineage...

Besides Jacques Énaud-dit-Canada, there were quite a few Énaud, Hénault, Hainault and Hunault immigrants. Some with dit names, such as  Beau-Frère, Barbocant, Botté, Champagne and Deschamps, and some without dit names. Today, most of them use the surname Hénault. There is an excellent article on that subject, listing the known immigrants and a brief description of their origins.

There is a misconception, however, that needs to be clarified. Those of you who have consulted the Drouin dictionnaries: "Dictionnaire National des Canadiens-Français 1608-1760" a.k.a. the Red Drouin, or their marriage index called "La Masculine" and "La Féminine" a.k.a. the "Blue Drouin", are all aware of their classification for Hénault and Hunault, whatever the spelling, under the heading of "Deschamps", therefore giving the wrong impression. Unfortunately, some BMS publications have followed suite, but not all of them.  Based on my experience, this has created the worst nightmare for genealogists.  Try as you might, explaining to researchers, with or without experience in the field, that Deschamps is the dit name used only by the Hunault family: Toussaint Hunault-dit-Deschamps and his wife Marie Lorgueil and their descendents, and does not apply to any of the other Énaud / Hénault / Hainault immigrants and their descendents...! Notwithstanding the fact that Deschamps is also a proper surname in its own right.

A dit name properly identifies a particular branch of a family and usually helps genealogists in their research. In this case, lumping all Hénaults, Hunaults and Deschamps under the classification of Deschamps served no purpose at all. It only made matters worse by creating confusion.  As far as we know, there is no relation at all in between Hunault-dit-Deschamps and the various branches of Énaud-dit-Canada/Delorme/Fresnière/Portneuf, or for that matter, other Hénault families. These two pioneer families are totally independent from one another and are not related in any way. When consulting the records, it is obvious that these families were never present together in any events related to their respective families, untill the mid 1800's. Although they were established not far from one another, it took nearly two centuries before these two families inter-married.

The Hunault-Deschamps family was well established in the Lachenaie region and later migrated to the Montreal west region and across the river. While the Enault-Canada-Delorme-Fresnière families were  established in the Berthier region. Some of the Fresnière branch migrated around 1828 towards the St-Valentin/Napierville/Ormstown areas. Later, with the exception of two brothers who chose to move  to Ontario, they migrated towards the Eastern Townships and the New England area.  It's in St-Valentin that we see the first marriage in 1841 between Hénault and Deschamps. 

It is imperative, therefore,  for all genealogists to pay attention to which branches of Hénaults  they are researching; the dit names should help identify the families you are looking for. That is if you don't want to have to start your research all over again, because you're looking up the wrong tree...! If you come up with the dit names Canada, Delorme, Fresnière or Portneuf, chances are you are researching Hénaults; if you come up with the dit name Deschamps, you most probably are researching Hunaults. But beware, we are talking about dit names here.  All Deschamps are not necessarily Hunaults...


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