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La page généalogique de Larry Lachance - Bienvenue chez nous

Value of a Moment

On the Desjardins side of the family, in Lewiston, Maine, I had a cousin, Pierre Evano Desjardins.  Everyone knew him as “Babe”. During my childhood, I always "bonded" with him subconsciously although he never knew that. One day back around 1990 or so, he gave me a verbal lashing, the gist of which had to do with "this younger generation" (that would be me, then, but no more) not learning and continuing the use of the French language ... and ... how it was such a shame to lose this tradition!

I agreed AND, I took that "lecture" to heart and although I certainly am NOT fluent, I can understand (with effort) most of what I read and a little of what I hear.  I find that it is my verbal reply that is most difficult. I continue to learn, but not using the language daily or having someone to speak with on a regular basis, like almost anything else, precludes expertise.

... So, for my "inability," I apologize to all of those that truly do care. I especially apologize to my cousin, Babe, to whom tradition and family truly did have meaning.
Gone But NEVER Forgotten
"Babe" Desjardins with my grandmother "Val Desjardins"

Introduction to The Lachance Family
aka "the lachances of my family and many others"

Lachance...the name I was born with, as was my father and his father before him.  Where did we get this name, where did we come from, why are there so many ways to spell the name, where did I come from, how did I get to be who I am and how I am, and finally, where I am?  Every time I find an answer, I have two more questions!  Everything on this website is devoted to getting to the root of it all...even if some questions might never be answered.
FIRST, I need to set the record straight! My abilities...really a lack thereof...with the French language leave a bit to be desired! Having been born and raised for 10 years in New Jersey couldn't possibly have anything to do with this right?  My mom only spoke English and my dad, while French was his first language, pretty much ALWAYS spoke English. When my dad spoke with his mom (my grandmother) she would speak in French and his reply was always in English.  I don't remember ever asking why this happened, it just did and that's the way it was!
At the end of the day...Je ne parle pas très bon français...
What little French I've learned I will credit to my cousin "Babe" (See "For The Record" on this page).  I know darn good and well the French I have managed to learn is NOT the French I attempted to learn in school!  I know this because I remember thinking to myself, while in class, "this is NOT the same French" I was hearing at home with my grandmother and other family who continued to speak French as I was growing up!  It was only later that I figured out even the English I grew up speaking was not the same as the English in England. Vive la différence! True in multiple languages.

As I continue my research into our Lachance family, I am confronted with many things French including web pages, information, documents, and email among others.  I won't hesitate to admit it is sometimes difficult, but thanks to cousin Babe's lecture, I AM able to understand much of it, and with a little help from "mon dictionnaire" put it all together and make sense of it all! 
Our Ancestors
Representation of Our Ancestors

If you could see your ancestors
All standing in a row
Would you be proud of them or not
Or don't you really know?
Some strange discoveries are made
In climbing family trees
And some of them you know, do not
Particularly please.

If you could see your ancestors
All standing in a row,
There might be some of them perhaps
You wouldn't care to know.
But there's another question, which
Requires a different view.
IF you could meet your ancestors
Would they be proud of YOU?
Author Unknown

LES LACHANCE « un petit histoire »

Some credit due - Louis-Guy Lemieux, Le Soleil  - 7 Octobre 2005

Image - Canadian Museum of History
Walter Baker (detail) / Library and Archives Canada C-01510
If you are a Lachance, or one of the other names that was derived from the Pépin dit Lachance name, and living in North America or elsewhere, you are most likely descended from our "grand" ancestor, Antoine Pépin dit Lachance.  It is possible, however, that your name came from another French immigrant to North America, Nicolas Caillot dit Lachance, who settled in Ste. Genevieve County, Missouri, in the United States. 

This website is devoted the Lachance family of Québec. I have very little information about the Caillot family.

You won't find the name "Lachance" in France, unless they moved there from North America.  The name, commonly referred to as a “dit” name, has its origins squarely in Québec.  It is the nickname given to Antoine Pépin, the first of the line of Lachance.  The name served to distinguish him from other immigrants to New France whose names were Pépin.  Antoine had a brother, François, who came to New France as well.  Even he did not use the name Lachance. (See the "dit names" to learn more about them)

Notre-Dame de Le Havre - France
Notre-Dame de Le Havre
Let's Start At The Beginning - with Antoine Pépin

Antoine was the eldest son of André Pépin, who was a merchant in the port of Le Havre, Normandy, France, and his wife, Jeanne Chevalier. He is christened on April 10, 1636  in the church of Notre-Dame de Le Havre.  It is assumed he was born in the same year.

Le Havre is a port city and living there may be a reason why, at the age of around 16 , Antoine Pépin decides to set off, on a journey to Québec. Of course this is speculation as the real reason he may have done this is lost to history. Before leaving Le Havre, Antoine signed a contract by which he committed to going to New France and to remain there for three years as a servant to Louis d'Ailleboust de Coulonge aka "sieur de Coulonge" who was the French governor of New France from 1648 to 1651 and acting governor from 1657 to 1658. He was also  director general of the trade in pelts in New France.   Antoine will follow his contract to the letter.

Genealogists Michel Langlois and Jacques Saintonge agree on his age estimating Antoine to be 15 years old when he left France. The precise date Antoine crossed the Atlantic has never been determined with any certainty.  There is one thing however that is certain: if he was 16 years old upon his arrival, then he arrived in Quebec in 1652 although some have suggested his arrival about 1655.  This makes sense as this is the same time Louis d'Ailleboust enters private life and lives on his lands at Coulounge, Québec, probably located at the site of Bois-de-Coulonge today.
Tell Me More about Antoine Pépin dit Lachance.

During his first years in Québec, it is known that Antoine spent some time in the company of another servant, François Gaulin, who arrived with him.  Soon, Antoine will begin to move on with his life.  Click on "Tell me more..." to read more about Antoine Pépin dit Lachance.
l'Île d'Orléans Crest

l'Île d'Orléans - The Cradle of the Lachance Family

On June 24, 1659, the notary Guillaume Audouart writes:  On the 24th of June, 1659, Denis Guyon sold  for 300 pounds, his land of 360 acres to the partners of Jacques Asseline and Antoine Pepin.  This land was on  l'Île d'Orléans, Quebec. 
A l'Île d'Orléans History Page was added to this site on January 9th, 2000, written in part by our cousins, Rita Lachance and her husband Côme.
Lachance and Moose In Court

Antoine Involved - One of the First Lawsuits

We also know that Antoine became involved in one of the first lawsuits in Canada. For more on that story, see The Story Of Jacques Billaudeau. This page was originally posted on Fred Warren's Genealogy Site.  I opted to include it here, just in case it ever got lost.

The last known website for Fred Warren was, in 2013, maintained by Larry Warren.
As of March 2018, the website is no longer accessible.
Where My Family Fits Into The Picture
The Pépin dit Lachance, some of whom dropped either Pépin or Lachance settling on one or the other as time passed, left their roots on the island in large numbers and ventured further into Québec and the surrounding areas where today they may be counted in the thousands. Others ventured even farther.  For those of us in the US, my own family included, we may be counted among those who left their ancestral homes for countless reasons.  I am among those who ended up with "Lachance" as the choice for a surname.

Baptism - Antoine Lachance


My father was the first born American "Lachance" from his father, Antoine.  Antoine, also known as "Tony", was the 6th great-grandson of our ancestor Antoine  Pépin dit Lachance.  So in the form of generational numbering, this is me...

LACHANCE, Lawrence,11 (Wilfred,10  Antoine,Joseph,Joseph,Alexis,Gervais,Gervais,Gervais,Jean,Antoine,1)

Joseph Lachance (8e generation) married Malvina D'Aoust on November 4th, 1889 at Escanaba, Michigan. These would be my paternal great-grandparents.  Joseph left St-Evariste-de-Forsyth travelling to Michigan to work on "the railroad".  The story, I have no proof of this, is that Malvina had moved to Escanaba to teach native American children on a nearby reservation.  Whatever happened, they met and married.  Throughout their moving around to a handful of places Joseph and Malvina managed to have 10 children.

One of those ten was my grandfather, Antoine Lachance.  Antoine was born, according to his certificate of birth, and the parish record, June 14, 1905, at St-Adolphe-de-Dudswell, Comté de Wolfe, Québec . (See Photo)

St-Adolphe-de-Dudswell is a small municipality about an hours drive from St-Evariste - (using an automobile that travels faster than 35 miles per hour). I know is that my grandfathers birth was assisted by a midwife but who she was, I don't know.  Joseph and Malvina left Escanaba to travel north (perhaps continuing to work on the railroad) and stopped for a couple of years at Dudswell before moving on to St-Evariste-de-Forsyth and eventually to Lewiston, Maine.

My grandfather, along with his family, emigrated to the US by train, through Island Pond, Vermont and then on to Lewiston. The Grand Trunk railroad came out of Canada, through Island Pond and before arriving at Portland, ME, would stop at Danville Junction (in Auburn), a spur line that took riders to Lewiston.

Antoine Lachance marries Valdora Desjardins

On November 12, 1923, at Sts Peter and Paul Church in Lewiston, ME, Antoine married Marie Oneida Desjardins, daughter of Wilfred R. Desjardins and Marie-Clara Simard.

Marie Oneida (it was misspelled Onida on her birth certificate) was born December 14, 1904 in a house owned by Dr. Martel in Lewiston, ME.  I am not how or why but she changed her name to Valdora and she kept that name all of her life. I am fairly certain she made this choice of her own volition.

This marriage was short-lived and both Tony and Val remarried.

Together, Tony and Val had one son, Wilfred Joseph Bernard Lachance (father of Paul and Larry Lachance - my brother and me). Antoine (Tony) died on July 27, 1970.

OBITUARY - Antoine Lachance

BRUNSWICK - Antoine Lachance, 65, of 23 Jordan Ave., died Monday at a local hospital after a few months illness. He was born at St. Adolphe, Que., June 14, 1905, the son of Joseph and Malvina D'aoust Lachance. As a young man he moved to Lewiston, coming here to make his home in the early 1930's. Mr. Lachance had been employed as a bookkeeper at the Vaillancourt Body Shop and had also worked as a bookkeeper for the Caron Body Shop. Earlier work was in the textile industry, and during World War II he worked at the Bath Iron Works. He was a former member of the Brunswick Lodge of Elks. He wife, Clarisse Bernier Lachance, died in 1965.  Surviving are a son, Wilfred B. of Hohokus, N.J.;  two sisters, Mrs. Marie Paquette of Brunswick and Miss Clara Lachance, Lewiston; a brother, Herve, Brunswick; two grandsons and two great-grandchildren. Funeral services will be held at 9 a.m. Thursday from St. John's Church, Interment will be in St. John's Cemetery. Friends may call at Demers Funeral Home Wednesday afternoon and evening.

Valdora (Marie Oneida) Desjardins Lachance McKenna, my grandmother, passed away on May 4, 1999.  I was very close to her and her passing has taken its toll.  By creating a page, in remberence, I have done what I can to immortalize her name, and her life at least until I fade away myself. Visit this page by clicking on her name above, or HERE.
Photo Taken Circa 1912
Photo Lachance Family Lewiston
Click for a FULL SIZE image

This couple (Joseph Lachance and Malvina D'Aoust) are the foundation or starting point for all individuals on this website, for without them, I would not be here to do this.

The Lachance family in the photo are my Great Grandparents, Joseph and Malvina (nee D'Aoust) Lachance (seated in the middle) along with nine of their ten children. Adolphe is missing from the picture above as he died as a child, allegedly falling from the porch.
Identity of Individuals In This Photo
Back Row:
Anne-Marie, Exilia, Henri, Eva, Joseph-Hervey, Marie-Clara
Front Row:
Antoine my Grandfather, Maria, Joseph, Malvina, Josaphat
Of the Lachances pictured above, I have managed to locate all of the descendents except Josaphat.  Josaphat, as far as I know, rode the rails from Maine to wherever the rails went in the 1930's and 40's, and hasn't been heard from since.  At the time of great-grandfathers death, Josephat was believed to be living in Canada.  He is alleged to have shown up once, at a great aunt's house where he was asking for money.  My great aunt gave him what he asked for and told him never to come back.  He didn't!  All of the others in the photo are accounted for yet a lot of information is either incomplete or just plain missing in spite of my efforts to get help.
As an aside, doing this would be an accomplishment considering the number of divorces and remarriages that I've come across in the Lachance line.
If you ARE one of the "others", PLEASE, contact me and lets' get our family together again!!
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