An Irish Ancestor … through our French line!

Tadgh Cornelius O’Brennan of Montreal — via Ireland and France — is my ancestor … through my Cadieux family line!

Genealogy is very truly the study of real history.

After Cromwell’s victory in Ireland, he published surrender terms in 1652 allowing Irish soldiers to go abroad to serve in foreign armies not at war with the Commonwealth of England. Most went to the Catholic countries of France or Spain.  Cromwell’s aide Sir William Petty estimated their number at 54,000 men.

So probably began the travels of Tadgh Cornelius O’Brennan. When he arrived in France, the French had no ear for Irish accents or names, and not able to read or write, he became known to them as “Tec Corneille Aubrenan”!

We suppose that when the opportunity to join the settlers in New France came, he jumped at it. Thus he became almost certainly the first Irish settler in New France. The year of emigration is uncertain, but signed contracts show he was at first an unlicensed fur-trader — one of the coureurs des bois (literally, ‘runners of the woods’).

But by 1661 he was already a farm worker on the land of Urbain Tessier. In fact, he was kidnapped that year by the Iroquois, and returned some 7 months later.

To turn New France from simply an exploration into a colony, King Louis XIV was convinced to send dowries for women who would move to New France and marry. The women were call Filles du roi, daughters of the King, because like a father, he was giving their dowry.

When Tec heard that the ship with the first group of Filles du roi was stopping first in Quebec City before Trois Rivieres and then Montreal, he headed off to Quebec City — to find a potential wife. At Quebec City, on September 10, 1670, Fille du roi Jeanne Chartier, daughter of Pierre Chartier and Marie Gaudon of Paris, married ‘Tecq Aubrenaue,’ son of Connehour Aubrenaue and Honorée Iconnehour (probably Connor O’Brennan and Honora O’Connor), of “Diasony,” a small village in Ireland.

Newlyweds Tec Aubry and Jeanne Chartier settled on a farm at Pointe-aux-Trembles on the island of Montreal, then later moved to Lachenaie, north of the island. By the time of the 1681 census, they owned 5 farm animals and 5 acres of land.

The couple had 7 children. The youngest, François, had 14 of his own. Our family descends through his son (Joseph) François, who married Marie Jeanne Boutellier. Their great grandson Louis Aubry’s daughter Elizabeth (Eliza) Aubrey married Antoine Cadieux. (Antoine himself was a descendant of another figure at the beginning of Ville Marie — Montreal. I’ll write about him another time.)

Now that’s some history!