Michel Brouillette's Descent
Between 1765 and 1790 three Brouillette men can be found residing at Vincennes, Indiana, including Michel, Louis and Francois. There has been considerable mis-information or speculation about these three men. They are often described as brothers by family researchers. Although contemporaries, none of these men are brothers.
An excellent, well-documented manuscript prepared by Walter J. Saucier (a descendent of Francois Brouillette, born 1745) has been invaluable in unraveling the family origin of these three men (see bibliography). Saucier's work involved research trips to Quebec, examination of old parish records, as well as correspondence with other researchers over many years. Another researcher and I have tried to find errors in Saucier's work and conclusions, but we've been unable to do so. After three years of collecting and reviewing data and research on this family, it's my opinion Saucier's work provides a defensible ancestry of these three men.
Michel Brouillette born 1740, who is the grandfather of Tahquakeah, is himself the grandson of Michel Brouillette, born circa 1644 in Poitou, France. The immigrant Michel Brouillette married Marie Dubois in Chambly, Quebec in 1670. He came to New France as a soldier in Captain Petit's company in the second regiment of Carignan in 1665. This family is known as the Brouillette dit Laviolette clan.
French names are known to mutate over time. They should be approached from a phonetic perspective as many of the early French were illiterate. Dit names are one reason causing confusion and mutation of surnames over times. Dit is interpreted as "known as" or "nickname." Often these nicknames were derived from a place of residence or the name of an estate. Sometimes French families lost their actual surname to the dit name through errors (or ignorance of the custom) in record keeping.
Although Michel Brouillette, born 1740, and Francois Brouillette, born 1745, of Vincennes marry sisters (daughters of Charles Bonneau and Genevieve Dudevoir), they are not brothers. Francois and Louis Brouillette, of the Brouillette dit Lavigueur clan, are first cousins. Francois later removes to Natchez then to Louisiana and is the progenitor of a large clan of Brouillettes in Louisiana. I am unaware of any connection between the two Brouillette clans of early Quebec, both stem from two separate immigrants.
- Jennifer Harrison, May 26, 2001
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