1628 - 1696
Home Search Print Login
||28 Nov 1628
||Saint-Maclou Parish, Rouen, Normandy, France
||11 Mar 1696
||Chateau Richer, Canada
||Tombeau Family Tree
||24 Feb 2007 |
||Rene de la Voye, Sr, b. Abt 1607, Rouen, France |
||Isabeau Belanger, b. Abt 1607, Rouen France |
||Anne Godin, b. 18 Oct 1639, LaRochelle, France |
||19 Apr 1656
The LaVoy Family in French Canada
Rene de la Voye, Jr.: The Immigrant Ancestor to the New World
Somewhere around the year 1654, when Rene de la Voye, Jr., was only 21 years old, he forsook his native city and made the several week voyage across the Atlantic and down the St. Lawrence River to settle in the city of Sainte-Anne-de- Beaupre, near Quebec. Quebec was not yet 50 years old at this time, having only been founded in 1608 as the first city in Canada.
Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre is famous to this day for its miracles and some of the earliest miracles occured there to none other that Rene's parents-in law, Elie Godin and Esther Ramage in 1664 and 1662, respectively.
Two years after he had arrived in the New World Rene de la Voye, Jr., married Anne Godin on 19 April 1656, the eldest daughter of Elie and Esther.
The record of their marriage still exists and is quoted in a French language book on the LaVoy Family, Joseph A. LaVoie's La Famille Lavoie au Canada (The LaVoy Family in Canda). It reads as follows:
"On 19 April 1656, having published their bans of marriage, the Reverend Father
Paul Ragueneau of the Society of Jesus, having the power to do so, married Rene de la Voye, of about 25 years of age, son of Rene de la Voye and Isabeau Belanger of Rouen, of the parish of Saint-Maclou, and Anne Godin, about 15 years old, the daughter of Elie Godin and Esther Ramage, living in Beaupre, in the presence of Etienne Lessar and Claude Poulin, living in the same place as the parents of Anne."
By modern standards the 25 year old Rene had "robbed the cradle" when he married the 15 year old Anne Godin. However, this was often the practice in the early days of French Canada. It probably served two purposes: an older male who had established himself in a trade could better support a wife and a younger wife would have a longer period of fertility to produce children to people the French-Canadian wildernesses. During the reign of King Louis XIV of France, couples were paid the equivalent of $50.00 per child. Hence the tradition of very large French-Canadian families started early in the settlement of Canada.
(This wide disparity in ages continued in the writer's branch of the family down to his great-grandfather, Moses LaVoy, Sr. He married twice. By his first wife he had ten children. Within a few months of her death, at age 40, he married his childen's 25 year old baby sitter, Sarah Knaggs. Moses' oldest daughter, Agnes, was her step-mother's bride's maid. She was 18. By his second wife, Moses had twelve children, for a total of twenty-two, thus upholding the second tradition of large families.)
While the LaVoy Family has been Catholic for centuries in the New World, its origins were, at least momentarily, Huguenot, or French Protestant. Rene's wife, Anne, was baptized in the Calvinist Church at LaRochelle, France, on 18 November 1639.
A year after Rene's marriage to Anne, Fr. Jean de Quen wrote in the Jesuit Relations that he had conducted an abjuration of heresy in his chamber in the presence of Jean Jobin, Pierre du Val and Fr. Chastlaine, according to the formula of the Council of Trent with a boy called Rene Voie.
As Rene's two sisters and brother were baptized Catholics, we are forced to conclude that Rene was raised a Catholic as well, but, perhaps in deference to his new bride, had flirted with Calvinism in such a public manner that he brought himself to the attention of the authorities in the small colony and was forced to recant the error of his ways.
Their marriage occured in Sainte-Anne-du-Petit-Cap-Church, the predecessor church to Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre.
Rene's occupation was ostensibly that of a farmer. On 18 August 1656 he was given a three year lease on a piece of land with 600 feet or so of river frontage (3 arpents). This land was given over to growing crops and had a cabin on it at the time of lease.
On 7 October 1665 Rene was granted the land in perpetuity. Part of this land lies on the east side of modern Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre.
Despite being in possession of this land for 11 years in 1667, very little of it was under cultivation according to the Census of that year, suggesting that Rene did little more than subsistence farming for himself and his family.
This concept of farming is typical of the French Canadians and it is the reason why French Canadians lost control over their holdings in Detroit two centuries later after the Great Fire of 1805. Anglo-Americans saw land as a means to make money by selling and building on it. By hook and by crook the Anglos rested the land away and drove the French Canadians into Monroe County and northern Macomb County.
The account books of Sainte-Anne-du-Petit-Cap's indicate that Rene was paid various small sums of money for handiwork around the Church. He apparently preferred odd jobs as a tradesman working with his hands rather than farm management. As a consequence, the records of the time note his many debts and arrearages in their payment.
Rene may have been more of a stone mason than a farmer. Records indicate that he took part in the construction of three churches at Ste. Anne: the chapel in 1658, the one of "mixed stone" in 1661, and the one of stone started in 1676.
Rene was confirmed by the eminent Msgr. de Laval on 2 February 1660 at the age of 27.
Rene's wife Anne died three months after their 8th child Joseph was born. She was buried on 27 February 1678 in Ste. Anne's Cemetery.
Eight years later, still unmarried, he contracts in 1686 with his daughter Anne and her husband, Pierre Allard (Allore), to live with them until his death. At that time the younger couple were living in Chateau-Richer, P.Q., Canada.
On Tuesday, 11 March 1696, nearly 20 years after his wife's death, "Rene de la Voye died suddenly in the road where he was beginning to walk to Holy Mass in the church of this parish", according to his burial act in Chatreau-Richer. Rene was approximately 63 years old at the time of his death which was probably the result of a massive heart attack.
The details of the above narrative and others in the life of Rene de la Voye, Jr., can be found in Thomas J. LaForest's Our French Canadian Ancestors, Vol XI, pp. 118-129, along with a list of other references reflecting on the life of this ancestor and his children.
Rene de la Voye, Jr., and his wife Anne Godin had eight children : Rene III, Jean, Anne, Pierre, Jacques, Madeleine, Bridget, and Joseph.
From these children spring the multifarious LaVoy/LaVoie Family of modern America and Canada.
It is their son Jacques who is the next ancestor of the LaVoy Family of Monroe Co., MI.