Nicolas Pelletier

Église St-Pierre St-Paul de Gallardon, 14 juillet 2005
Photo : ©2005 Collection privée de Pascal Pelletier

 More to Explore :

The First 5 generations online (UPDATED VERSION)

 A Historical Glimpse of Nicolas Peltier and His Family in New France:

Signature abstracted from the registry of Antoine Adhémar, 10 October 1673

The first Pelletier family to settle in New France was that of Nicolas Peltier (1596-c. 1679), who arrived in early colonial Québec City accompanied by his wife, Jeanne de Voisy (c. 1612-1689), and their two sons, Jean and François (c. 1633-1692 and c. 1635-c. 1688, respectively), during the mid-1630s.

Nicolas Peltier was originally from the parish of Gallardon, found in the Beauce region of north central France, southeast of Paris at the confluence of the Voise and Ocre rivers. The parish church, like many Catholic edifices, is dedicated to saints Peter and Paul. Consecrated at the beginning of the eleventh century under the auspices of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the church was consecrated definitively during the thirteenth century. Enlarged and expanded over the course of two centuries, its construction evinces three architectural movements, Roman, Gothic and Renaissance. It was at the Church of Saint-Pierre-Saint-Paul that Nicolas Peltier was baptized on 4 June 1596.

Photos : ©2005 Pascal Pelletier private collection.

Arriving at the “Habitation” of Québec City about 1636, Nicolas Peltier and his wife Jeanne de Voisy lived there until 1645 and Nicolas worked there as a carpenter. In 1639, he and fellow carpenter Pierre Pelletier appraised the timber frames of the house of the late Guillaume Hébert [The identity of this Pierre Pelletier is unknown; he might have been Nicolas’ younger brother; he is not the ancestor from Saint-Martin-de-Fraigneau, who was still in France at this time – Ed.]. Later, in 1647, Nicolas constructed the steeple of Notre-Dame de Québec Church, and the next year he installed the roof of Château Saint-Louis, the governor’s residence. Finally, on several occasions over the next decade, Nicolas hired himself out to construct and maintain various houses and barns in the area. On 12 September 1645, Governor Charles Huault de Montmagny granted Nicolas a concession of fifty arpents of land in the nearby seigneury of Sillery, where the Peltier family settled soon after.

Nicolas Peltier and Jeanne de Voisy arrived with two sons, Jean (c. 1633-1692) and François (c. 1635-c.1688), and over the years, their family grew to include eight children: Marie (1637-aft. 1711); Louise (1640-1713); Françoise (1642-1707); Jeanne (1644-1715); Geneviève (1646-1717) and finally Nicolas (1649-1729). As is true for many other pioneers, the children and grandchildren of these early colonists went on to settle in different regions New France, and several ventured west to explore the American continent. Two sons in particular, François and Nicolas, went on to pursue a life of adventure. The first is known to have been a fur-trader in the company of Noël Jérémie dit La Montagne, who wed François’ sister Jeanne in 1659. 

Many years later, on October 22, 1675, François Pelletier dit Antaya and his wife, Marguerite Morisseau purchased the Seigneurie d’Orvilliers from Philippe Gauthier de Comporté. Found on the north shore of the Saint Lawrence River, this fief ran one and a half miles along the river and extended three miles inland. François and Marguerite went on to bequeath one-half of their estate to son Jean-Baptiste dit Pierre Pelletier dit Antaya (1676-1757), while dividing the remaining half among their other surviving children: Michel (c. 1674-c. 1744), Marguerite (1666-????), Marie-Angélique (1662-1741), Geneviève (1668-aft. 1716), and Catherine (c. 1672-aft. 1716). 

Gallardon’s town hall, circa 1900

Gallardon’s town hall, july 2005

Nicolas Peltier the Younger, the last child born of the Peltier family, lived at the trading post at Tadoussac, at the mouth of the Saguenay River, and was the first Frenchman to settle permanently in the Saguenay-Lac Saint-Jean region. He has also likewise given rise to many writers’ imaginations.

Inspired by Victor Tremblay’s “Histoire du Saguenay,” Claire Domey’s novel “Ilinishu, Enfant des Bois” recounts the lives of Nicolas Peltier the Younger and his son, Charles, called “Ilinishu” in the book. Elsewhere, author Arthur Buis imagined a fantastical character and wondered if this Peltier was a “coureur des bois,” a philosopher, or a hermit. 

An extract from the “Almanach historique du Saguenay,” which appeared in Chicoutimi’s Le Quotidien newspaper in June 1988, reads, “A unique character, Nicolas Peltier lived on the shores of the Saguenay, at a place that today still bears his name. In fact, on the map of the Domaine du Roi that shows the part of the region visited by land surveyor Joseph-Laurent Normandin in 1732, we can see the location of the home of a particular ‘Monsieur Peltier,’ 183 miles from Lac Saint-Jean.” 

All the same, not everyone has spoken admirably about this early pioneer, like Monsignor Amédée Gosslin, who made this harsh remark: “He was neither a philosopher nor a hermit, but a ‘coureur des bois,’ a mere errand-boy, and, worst of all, a French-Canadian with the morals of a Savage.”

We end here by recalling the thoughts of Mona Gauthier, who spoke at the second annual Pelletier Family Association Reunion, which took place in Laval in 1988. Reminiscing about a time when she snow-shoed along the Saguenay in Saint-Fulgence, she said, “I wanted to know the man who had admired, as I was doing, the magnificence of the Saguenay, at this place where the river is lost among the mountains, having formed in its flow the famous Baie-des-Ha.” Indeed, with her words, Ms. Gauthier reveals her search for this individual who, surely never dreaming of it during his lifetime, left his name to as poetic a spot along the Saguenay as “Anse-à-Peltier.”

Claude E Pelletier, m.g.a. and Laure Gauthier, m.g.a. 
Text translated by Benoit Pelletier Shoja, October 2005 (Revised december 2009).

Latest News About Nicolas Peltier and His Family in Gallardon

On 21 July 2005, at the Eure-et-Loir Departmental Archives in Chartres (France), in the register of a seventeenth-century Gallardonian notary, a descendant of Nicolas Peltier named Benoit Pelletier-Shoja discovered his ancestor’s apprenticeship contract, dated 29 February 1612. This contract is inestimably important for several reasons. 

First, it bears the signature of Nicolas Peltier, which allows us to prove irrefutably and therefore definitively that this is the signature of Canadian ancestor Nicolas Peltier.

Nicolas Peltier’s Signature extracted from his apprenticeship contract, 29 February 1612

Moreover, it reinforces what we already knew about the origins of this ancestor from the Notre-Dame de Québec parish register (17 October 1650): that Nicolas Peltier came from the parish of Gallardon.

The contract also bears the signature of the person who instructed young Nicolas in the art of carpentry, the trade that he would later continue in New France. This master-carpenter was named Michel Delaval, and the contract bears not only his signature, but also his mark. He traced beneath his signature the silhouette of a broadax, the indispensable tool of a carpenter or joiner for hewing posts and beams. This identifying mark would have also undoubtedly appeared on any timber framework constructed by Delaval. 

In addition, it shows that Michel Delaval lived in Épernon, a neighboring commune of Gallardon, where he would have quite likely brought his young pupil. This represents the first indication of Nicolas’ early migrations before his arrival in Québec in 1636. 

Nonetheless, the ultimate reason that this document is so precious to us is that it bears the names of Nicolas Peltier’s parents! It would later serve as the key to “opening up” research in the parish registers of Gallardon.


Facsimile of the contract drafted in Gallardon on 29 February 1612, by Jean Fullone
Date of the Contract, Extracted from a Previous Page


First Part of Contract (Recto)


Second Part of Contract (Verso)
Photos by Éric Blaise


Transcription :

Du mercredy vingtneufviesme
et dernier jour de febvrier 1612

Fut presente simonne pichereau veuve de deffunct francoys
pelletyer demeurant a gallardon laquelle baille comme aprenty et alleve
du premier jour de mars prochain jusqu’ à quatre ans
ensuivant à michel delaval maistre charpentyer demeurant a espernon
present, cest assavoir nicollas pelletyer filz dudyt deffunt
pelletyer et deladyte pichereau ses pere et mere
pour par ledyt delaval son maistre luy aprendre
monstrer & enseigner sondyt estat de charpentyer
& luy querir & aprester son boire manger [mecher] [ de]
chaufer blanchir tant sain que malade durant ledyt
temps et oultre alacharge de par ledyt delaval
son maistre l’entretenir tant d’habits que linges et chaussures
selon qu’a son estat et qualitte apartient [________]
aussi que ledyt nicollas pelletyer sera tenu servir 
ledyt delaval son maistre a sondyt estat et a touttes 
ses autres affaires licittes & honnestes que luy commendera 
sans s’en deffier n’y ailleurs servir a quoy faire
ledyt pelletyer sy est [s ] & [oblige] mesme par
enprisonnement de sa personne ce bail faict [_____]
& alacharge que ledyt pelletyer sera tenu servir
sondyt maistre durant ledyt temps sans luy en payer
aucune chose car ainsy en presence maistre thomas
deleau [___________________________]
lesdytes partyes [_______________]

                                         [avec hache à main] 

   ABRAHAM                        DELEAUE
   [avec paraphe]                     [avec paraphe]



On Wednesday the twenty-ninth
and last day of February 1612

Was present Simone Pichereau, widow of the late François 
Pelletier, residing in Gallardon, who leases as apprentice and student 
from the first day of March next and for the next four years 
following to Michel Delaval master carpenter residing in Épernon, 
present, to wit: Nicolas Pelletier son of the said late
Pelletier and of the said Pichereau his father and mother
for the said Delaval his master to teach 
show & instruct him his said condition of carpenter 
& to provide him and prepare his drink food [participate] [ de]
to warm and clean as much healthy as ill during the said 
time and otherwise at the expense of the said Delaval
his master to maintain as much clothes as linens and shoes
according to his condition and quality [________]
also that the said Nicolas Pelletier will be obliged to 
the said Delaval his master in his said condition and to all 
his other licit and honest affaires that he will be commanded 
without mistrusting or elsewhere serving in any task 
the said Pelletier has [s ] & [obliged] himself even by 
imprisonment of his person; this lease made [_____]
& that the said Pelletier will be obliged to serve 
his said master during the said time without paying him 
any thing; for; thus; in presence of Master Thomas
Deleau [___________________________]
the said parties [_______________]

                                  [with broad axe] 

ABRAHAM                     DELEAUE
[with paraph]                [with paraph]


The original of this contract is conserved at the Eure-et-Loir Departmental Archives (call number: 2 E 49 / 35); transcription by Michel Thibault, Brigitte Feret and Benoit Pelletier-Shoja, with additional help from Émilie Lebailly and Guy Perron. Note that the spelling here conforms to the original document and that italic characters “complete” the abbreviations and shorthand employed the notary.

The Registers of Saint-Pierre Saint-Paul of Gallardon :

We cannot talk about the parish registers of Gallardon without mentioning – and obviously thanking – Florine Perry, chief administrative assistant in charge of the civil registry at the city hall. To say that Ms. Perry is a friend of the Pelletier family is not saying enough. Without knowing either Nicolas Peltier or the young American writing to ask for information about the family of his ancestor, without even knowing what she might find, she undertook the immense task of reuniting the descendants of this “native son” with their ancestor. Ms. Perry not only granted Nicolas’ descendants access to the oldest registers for Gallardon, she also performed substantial research on her own, as much in the municipal archives as at the Departmental Archives in Chartres – not to mention her role in the dedication of a commemorative plaque in honor of Nicolas Peltier unveiled in Gallardon. With invaluable help from scholar and historian Maurice Vié, himself an indefatigable researcher and the author of several tomes about the history of Gallardon and its environs, Ms. Perry has allowed us a glimpse of the great Pelletier family of Gallardon.

Following the discovery of Nicolas Peltier’s apprenticeship contract and armed with the names of his parents, Benoit Pelletier-Shoja set himself to “thumbing through” the oldest of Gallardon’s parish registers. 

In the second register, which begins in March 1591, he found not one, but three of Nicolas’ sisters – older sisters at that. Nicolas was the fourth child and the first son of his family. His parents eventually brought thirteen children into the world, which is to say nine daughters and four sons, from 1592 to 1610. We cannot however at this time confirm how many of these children lived to adulthood.


Children of François Pelletier and Simone Pichereau, baptized at the Church of Saint-Pierre Saint-Paul of Gallardon :


Simone Pelletier (16 november 1592)

Le lundy seizeesme jour de novembre a esté
baptiza symonne fille de francoys pelletier
et de symonne pichereau ses peres et meres jehan
janes et marion bernarde femme de marin beauchesne
et marie pichereau veufve de jacques vigoureux
tous de ceste paroisse

Monday the sixteenth day of November was 
baptized Simone daughter of François Pelletier
and Simone Pichereau her father and mother Jean
Janet and Marion Bernarde wife of Marin Beauchesne
and Marie Pichereau widow of Jacques Vigoureux
all of this parish

Philippe Pelletier (18 october 1593)

Le dixhuictiesme jour fut baptize 
philippe fille de de francoys pelletier
et simonne pichereau ces pere et mere
pasquier pichereau philippe garnier et
je jehanne riole ces parains et maraines

The eighteenth day was baptized
Philippe daughter of François Pelletier
and Simone Pichereau her father and mother
Pasquier Pichereau Philippe Garnier and
Jeanne Riollet her godfather and godmothers

Jeanne Pelletier (3 april 1595)

Le troysiesme jour du mois fut baptisée jehanne pelletier
fille de francoys pelletier le paren marin [beausejour?]
les maraines jehanne goicedde femme de jehan bernard
et marie pichereau femme de vincent collibert

The third day of the month was baptized Jeanne Pelletier
daughter of François Pelletier godfather Marin [Beauséjour?]
godmothers Jeanne Goissedet wife of Jean Bernard
and Marie Pichereau wife of Vincent Colibert 

Nicolas Peltier (4 june 1596)

 1596 quarto die mensis junii baptizatus fuit nicolaus

filius francisci pelletier et simone pichereau eius

uxoris patrini nicolaus brebier et eligius pelletier
matrina vero mathurine moinaut uxor pascasii

Transcription du latin par Michel Thibault

1596 the fourth day of the month of June was baptized Nicolas
son of François Pelletier and Simone Pichereau his
wife godfathers Nicolas Brebier and Éloi Pelletier
godmother Mathurine Moinaut wife of Pasquier 

Marie Pelletier (11 march 1598)

Le ii jour dud moys a este baptisse marie le peltier
fille de francoys le peltier et simonne picheriau les 
parrains jehan martin et demoiselle katherine derouet et germaine

The eleventh day of the said month was baptized Marie Lepeltier
daughter of François Lepeltier and Simone Pichereau 
godparents Jean Martin and Miss Catherine Derouet and Germaine


Marie Pelletier (10 february 1599)

Le dixiesme jour dud moys a este baptizee
marie peltier fille de francoys peltier et de
simonne pycherelle le parain claude du boys
les maraines marie garnier et marie de la roche

The tenth day of the said month was baptized
Marie Peltier daughter of François Pelletier and 
Simone Picherelle godfather Claude Dubois
godmothers Marie Garnier and Marie Delaroche

Jeanne Pelletier (11 july 1600)

1600 Martis undecima easdem mensis baptizata fuit johanna

1600 Tuesday the eleventh day of the same month was baptized Jeanne 

Eloy Pelletier (23 january 1602)

1602 vigesima tertius die mensis januarii babtizatus fuit eligius
filius francisci pelletier et simone pichereau eius uxoris
patrini eligius boudon et joannus fullone [____]
matrina vero joanna boudon uxor eligii vassort

1602 the twenty-third day of the month of January was baptized Éloi
son of François Pelletier and Simone Pichereau his wife
godfathers Éloi Boudon and [Master ?] Jean Fullone 
godmother Jeanne Boudon wife of Éloi Vassort

Pierre Pelletier (18 november 1603)


Translation of the original Latin text:

The eighteenth day of the month was baptized
Pierre son of François Pelletier
and Simone Pichereau his wife godfathers were
Pierre Beauchesne and Nicolas
son of Éloi Pelletier godmother was
Jeanne wife of Claude Duboys

Nathalie Pelletier (10 april 1605)

Translation of the original Latin text:

The tenth day of April of the same year was baptized Nathalie
daughter of François Pelletier and Simone Pichereau godfather was
Mathurin Bisson godmothers Nathalie Naufray and
Étiennette Janet

Marguerite Pelletier (10 november 1606)

Translation of the original Latin text:

The same day was baptized Marguerite daughter of
François Pelletier and Simone Pichereau godfather was
Jean Yesme godmothers Marguerite Mauguin
and Mathurine Colibert
                               [signed] MARCHANT

Philippe Pelletier (22 february 1609)

Le dict jour environ sept heures du soir fut baptize
Philippe fils de francoys pelletier et de simonne
pichereau sa femme les parains noble homme
Philippe Desessarts et André pelletier la maraine
Adrienne haury femme de michel Abraham

On the said day at about 7 o’clock at night was baptized
Philippe son of François Pelletier and of Simone 
Pichereau his wife godfathers noble man
Philippe Desessarts and André Pelletier godmother
Adrienne Haury wife of Michel Abraham

Simone Pelletier (13 june 1610)

Le treise iesme jour dudit mois a este baptisse
simonne peltier fille de francoies peltier simonne
picherelle ces pere et mere et le parain gilles
collabert et la maraine jaqueline abray
                               [signé] GILLES COLLIBER

The thirteenth day of the said month was baptized
Simone Peltier daughter of François Peltier Simone
Picherelle her father and mother and godfather Gilles
Colibert and godmother Jacqueline Aubray

                               [signed] GILLES COLLIBER

The images of the baptismal acts of the Pelletier children come to us courtesy of the Eure-et-Loir Departmental Archives. Archives director Michel Tibault has indicated that by 2007, the Departmental Archives will offer on its website (, digitized images of all vital records within the department, including Gallardon, up to 1853. 

Burial records for the parish of Gallardon do not exist before 1658, but given that the word “défunt” (deceased) is absent from Simone’s baptism, we can presume that her father was still living in June 1610. He therefore died between that time and the signing of Nicolas’ apprenticeship contract. Mr. Thibault indicates: “It is therefore probable that the death of François not only made it impossible for Nicolas to learn his father’s trade but also posed for his widow the very real problem of subsistence; the father’s trade is completely unknown to us, as are the family’s means, but it is possible that Nicolas began his apprenticeship at a very early age because quite simply his mother did not have the means, following her widowhood, to provide for her children.”

Benoît Pelletier-Shoja
courriel :

Nashua, New Hampshire

29 octobre 2005


Tableaux of “Old Gallardon” :

This tableau dates to 1780. At center is the Church of Saint-Pierre Saint-Paul. At left, the ruins of the château-fort of Gallardon destroyed during the Hundred Years War by the Dauphin (later Charles VII) who fought alongside Jeanne d’Arc. After his victory over the English forces in June 1421, Charles had the château destroyed (sapped), in the hope that war never again come to Gallardon. After the sapping, one portion of one of the towers remained standing. The donjon, called the “Épaule de Gallardon” (Shoulder of Gallardon) since the eighteenth century, still today stands as it is depicted in this painting.


Photos by Éric Blaise

This second tableau shows Gallardon in the early nineteenth century, with its thatched roofs and the “porte Mouton” (Mouton gate), which was destroyed by the inhabitants of Gallardon in 1848. People used the stones from this gate, as well as those from the ramparts and the old churches in the city, to construct their houses. According to Maurice Vié: “The porte Mouton (or porte Archer) lead towards the commune of Maintenon, and to the hamlets of Le Ménil and Baglainval.” The hamlets of Germonval (direction Rambouillet) and of Le Ménil were not enclosed within the walls of Gallardon itself, as the city was small, but adjoined the city, and this is where, at the time of Nicolas Peltier, a great number of Pelletiers lived.

In memoriam of Nicolas, a plaque, a monument

A Bastille Day Tribute to Nicolas Peltier

July fourteenth will forever be a memorable date for me. Along with my wife Dorothy, our youngest son Chris and our three-year-old grandson Nathan, it was on this day that I recently attended the unveiling of a plaque dedicated to our ancestor Nicolas Peltier, which took place in the hamlet of Germonval, part of the commune of Gallardon, France. Also present at the dedication ceremony that day were “not-too-distant cousin” Benoit Pelletier-Shoja, from Nashua, New Hampshire, and “long lost cousin” Jacques Pelletier, 81, a native of Gallardon now living in nearby Chartres. Also in attendance were Pascal Pelletier and his spouse Lise Lapointe, from Saint-Amable, Quebec; although not directly descended from Nicolas Peltier, they were there representing the Association des familles Pelletier Inc.

The day began with a pre-ceremony gathering in front of Gallardon’s town hall, at the Place du Jeu de Paume. Present were the mayor of Gallardon, Mr. Guy Beaufils, Ms. Florine Perry, who had organized the day’s program of events, as well as various other Pelletier and Peltier cousins. I was pleasantly surprised by the display of American and Canadian flags waving along with the French and European Union flags that stood out from the second story of City Hall. After a quick headcount, our festive group proceeded to Germonval, where the dedication ceremony began promptly at 11 o’clock. Before a crowd of some thirty or forty people, including local journalists from two local newspapers, Mayor Beaufils, Pascal Pelletier, Benoit Pelletier-Shoja and I each made a brief speech before being joined by my son Chris and grandson Nathan for the actual unveiling of the plaque, which had been draped by a French flag all this time. On the count of three, we six pulled it away, revealing a beautiful marble plaque etched with golden lettering. Here is an English translation of the French inscription: 

This plaque is located in Germonval, Gallardon, France N48 31.822 E1 42.242

It was here in Germonval that Nicolas Pelletier was born September 2, 1594. Having left one day in the year 1636 to conquer “the new world,” he co-founded several large cities in Canada and America.

After this, Ms. Perry invited everyone to continue on to the Gallardon city park for a reception that included champagne, fruit juices, and other refreshments. Gifts of appreciation were exchanged all around, between Mr. Beaufils, Ms. Perry and her fiancé Éric Blaise, Pascal and Lise, Benoit, and Dorothy, Chris and myself. 

Following this reception was an invitation-only luncheon at a local restaurant and crêperie called the Entr’Acte Café. How could you go wrong with succulent confit de canard (duck conserve), ample bottles of Loire wine, fresh fruit, and fresh crêpes for dessert! It was magnificent!

After lunch, local historian Maurice Vié led everyone on a walking tour through the narrow, winding streets of Gallardon, pointing out and explaining several historically significant sites. Three main points of interest were the ruins of an early twelfth-century tower partially destroyed in 1421, a carved-façade timber-frame house constructed in the sixteenth century, and last but not least, St. Peter and St. Paul Church, which was begun in the 11th century and finally completed in the 16th century. Some of us “brave souls” in the group even climbed to the top of the church’s bell tower, where we saw the many exposed timber frames that support the roof, and we carefully walked along the beams holding up the ceiling of the sanctuary. This part of the church now serves as a large aviary for the pigeons that fly in and out through holes in the fenced windows. 

After our visit to the church and the tower, the group proceeded to the local tourism bureau, which houses a small but impressive collection of prehistoric tools and pottery discovered in and around the Gallardon. 

At this point it had already been an intense morning and afternoon, so we all decided to take a break and return to our respective lodgings before regrouping at the park later that evening for the outdoor dinner; you could call it a picnic, but it was closer to a feast. It was, after all, Bastille Day. The friendly atmosphere of the meal lent itself to relaxed conversation with our many tablemates. For the benefit of our French hosts, friends and cousins, Benoit even got out his pen and traced – literally, on our paper tablecloth – the life and migrations of Nicolas Peltier and his family in New France. 

Before we knew it, it was 11 p.m. and time for the fireworks. Several hundred people were already swarming in and around the parking lot, and more were on their way, while we were escorted inside the fence to our “VIP seating,” front and center for the synchronized music and firework display, which was not-so-coincidently entitled “The Conquest of the New World.” It was an impressive program, and a fitting end to an impressive day!

This was a memorable trip from beginning to end. We were received like friends and treated like family, and perhaps the most enduring aspect of our voyage is this friendship which we have forged with the people of Gallardon. We are already looking forward to our next visit! 

William H. Peltier of Watkinsville, Georgia
with Benoit Pelletier-Shoja of Nashua, New Hampshire


Sillery on September 12, 2005


Nicolas Peltier
Jeanne de Vousy


Originally from the Parish of Saint-Pierre Saint Paul
of Gallardon in Beauce (France), they arrived in this country on
June 11, 1636, accompanied by their sons Jean and François. Living first at the Habitation of Québec City, they settled
on the côte Saint-François-Xavier in Sillery about 1645.

Governor Charles Huault de Montmagny granted to
master-carpenter Nicolas Peltier 50 acres of land on
September 12, 1645. Father Jean de Quen, Superior of the
Company of Jesus in New France, granted him another
50 acres in May 1659. This monument rests on a
part of the lands bestowed upon the Peltier family.

The Pelletier Family Association, Inc.
September 12, 2005.

On 12 September 2005, the Pelletier Family Association, Inc. dedicated a monument on a part of the land granted to Nicolas Peltier in 1645. This monument is located at the maison Hamel-Bruneau, 2608, ch. St-Louis. Sillery (Quebec) N 46.46.005 W071.16.376

As part of the dedication ceremony, Benoît Pelletier Shoja, one of Nicolas Peltier's descendants and avid Peltier family researcher, gave a talk on the research he recently made in France. 

Mr. President and members of the Sainte-Foy/Sillery Administrative Council; Mr. Dumas, Ms. Blais-Gosselin; members of the Pelletier Family Association; cousins; friends; guests:

A great emotion fills my heart as I look upon this monument honoring these hardy Québé-cois pioneers, our ancestors Nicolas Peltier and Jeanne de Vousy. In the name of their descendants throughout the world, I salute you. I thank you with all my heart for this celebration of the lives of our forbears. This monument, which sits on a portion of the land con-ceded to this family 360 years ago today, will serve as a reminder to all those who see it that they are standing in the very cradle of the Peltier family in North America.

Despite the gap between their lives and my own - four centuries and eleven generations - I am forever aware of the extraordinary life of this couple. One spring day in the year 1636, Nicolas and Jeanne undertook a voyage of great uncertainty across a vast ocean, to realize their ambitions in the hostile and unforgiving territory of New France, where they eventually succeeded in establishing their family. Between 1633 and 1649 they had eight children, each of whom reached adulthood. In 1681, their progeny included three sons, five daughters, over seventy grandchildren and even several great-grandchildren; fifty years later it was nearly a thousand descendants. The Peltier family was at that time the tenth largest Québécois "root family," which is no small claim. As for Nicolas, he lived to about the age of eighty-one, which is, without exaggeration, extraordinary for the time. His line has perpetuated and his descendants continue to prosper, as much in Canada as in the United States, as well as throughout the world.

To conclude this first part of my presentation, many thanks once again to the Administrative Council of Sainte-Foy/Sillery for having authorized the installation of this monument here at this glorious site, the Hamel-Bruneau House, on the land that once belonged to Nicolas Peltier. Thanks also to all those who helped make this extraordinary day possible, in particular Denis Pelletier, Guy R. Pelletier and Marcel Pelletier, of the Pelletier Family Association, and Éric Dumas, director of historical facilities for Sainte-Foy/Sillery.

I would now like to speak to you about the week in July 2005 that I spent at the Eure-et-Loir Departmental Archives, situated in Chartres, France, in pursuit of Nicolas Peltier. I would also like to present the results of my research there.

First, in order to undertake this task, I based myself uniquely upon what was already known about the origins of this ancestor, according to the archives of New France. The parish register of Notre-Dame de Québec reveals that master-carpenter Nicolas Peltier was originally from the parish of Saint-Pierre Saint-Paul de Gallardon in Beauce. The census of 1667 indicates that he was born about 1590. And, very important, different notarial contracts prove that he could sign his name.

Conversely, neither his parents' names nor his date of birth appear in documents available at the National Archives of Québec; no genealogist has ever known these two pieces of important information.

In addition, once at the Eure-et-Loir Archives, I limited my research to the registers of notaries active in Gallardon in the early seventeenth century. Given the enormous amount of documents that this research entailed, I could not read each contract line by line. Instead, I paid close attention to the signatures at the end of each instrument, careful not to miss my ancestor's scrawled endorsement.

On my first day at the Archives, Monday, July 18, I consulted six volumes of bound notarial contracts; each register contained about 400 or 500 pages. To my great disappointment, although different Pelletier signatures abounded in these registers, I found no trace of Nicolas Peltier. The next day, during eight consecutive hours of research, I consulted thirteen such registers, page by page. Again, I encountered many Pelletier signatures, but not the one I had come to find.

The morning of Wednesday, July 20, the director of the Eure-et-Loir Archives, Michel Thibault, whom I had contacted before visiting France, gave me a personal guided tour of the archives facility. The building is a former seminary, constructed in 1722, and has served as an archival repository for the last century. Mr. Thibault admitted that this was perhaps the worst possible environment in which to effectively conserve the documents in his care. Consequently, the archives are now in the process of being moved to a new state-of-the-art facility. Now, because I am employed at the New Hampshire State Archives, Mr. Thibault received me as a colleague, hence the guided tour. In addition, he also gave me access to several one-of-a-kind documents from the seventh, eighth and ninth centuries, which no long circulate publicly, as well as different medieval maps of Gallardon and its environs.

After this warm welcome and splendid visit, during which I was able to meet and talk with different French colleagues, that afternoon I returned to leafing through the registers of seventeenth-century Gallardonian notaries. At the end of my third day I had already consulted thirty separate notarial registers; at a conservative estimate this is over 10,000 individual notarial contracts, ranging in dates from 1606 to 1630. With only two days remaining at the Archives, I still had not found any trace of Nicolas Peltier.

All the same, I had very good reason to be happy. At the beginning of the year, in preparation for my visit to France, I had written Mr. Thibault to ask him about the Eure-et-Loir Archives. In one response he indicated that it was possible to consult digitized microfilmed copies of the état civil (vital records) of every commune in the department, including Gallardon, up to 1853. Because I was planning to spend only one week at the Archives and wanted to restrict my research to original notarial registers, I ventured asking Mr. Thibault if it would be possible to purchase a CD-ROM of Gallardon's earliest parish records. To my great joy he said yes; because I had traveled some 5,000 kilometers to reach Chartres, there was no problem. Imagine my great surprise when he added, "But I have no right to make you pay"!

So, that day Mr. Thibault offered me not one, but three CD-ROMs containing over 1,720 images of Gallardon's parish registers, from 1578 to 1670! What a magnificent finish to my third day at the Archives.

Now, after three days of disappointing research in the notarial registers, when I opened my first volume of contracts early Thursday morning, July 21, little did I know what I was going to find in my first registry of the day - a registry that I had not planned to consult, because the archives index indicated "mauvais état" (bad condition).

There, in the minutes of a notary name Jean Fullone, for the year 1612, at the end of a contract dated February 29, I encountered, finally, the signature of Nicolas Peltier!

Reading for a first time the text of this contract which my ancestor had signed, I realized that this document was very important - indeed invaluable - for several reasons. First, it bears our ancestor's signature, which permits us to prove irrefutably and therefore definitively that this is indeed Québécois pioneer Nicolas Peltier.

Moreover, it reinforces what we already knew about Nicolas, namely that he came from the parish of Gallardon.

But what sort of contract was this?

Among other words, I thought I could distinguish "baille" (third-person singular present-tense form of "to lease") which immediately made me think that Nicolas was agreeing to rent property. But I did not see any other words typically used in leases or land sale agreements.

Only later, with help from Mr. Thibault, did I learn that I had in actual fact found an appren-ticeship contract. That is to say, young Nicolas was being leased as an apprentice and student to a master carpenter, who in turn agreed to instruct him in the art of carpentry, which trade Nicolas would later continue in New France.

This master carpenter was named Michel Delaval, and the contract bears not only his sig-nature, but also his mark. Beneath his signature he traced the outline of a broadaxe, the indispensable tool of a carpenter for hewing posts and beams. This identifying mark would have also likely appeared on any framework or other timber structure he had constructed.

In addition, the contract shows that Delaval lived in Épernon, a town situated ten kilometers from Gallardon, where he would have quite probably brought Nicolas during his apprenticeship. This constitutes the first indication of the early migrations of our ancestor before his arrival in Québec.

All the same, the ultimate reason that this document is so precious to us is that it bears the names of Nicolas Peltier's parents! This would later serve as the key to opening my re-search in the parish registers of Gallardon.

Now, having uncovered this contract that morning, it was not until five o'clock that afternoon that I was able to meet with Mr. Thibault to continue reading the text, and to confirm my limited interpretation thereof. He eventually invited colleague Brigitte Féret, and we three together were able to decipher a large part of the document. However, given the advanced hour, we decided to put the contract aside until the next afternoon, as Mr. Thibault would be absent that morning.

The next day I spent my time carefully studying, deciphering and transcribing the text. Although about twenty words remained illegible, mostly in the conventional notarial closing, with what we had been able to decipher the previous day, I was able to grasp the principle elements: Nicolas' father having died sometime earlier, our young ancestor was unable to continue the paternal trade. His mother, likely unable to provide for her son, had to lease him to Michel Delaval, and this, during four years. Delaval accepted to "teach, show and instruct" Nicolas "his said condition of carpenter"… to "provide and ready his drink [and] food" … to "provide heat"… and to "maintain clothing, linens and shoes," all at his own expense. In return, Nicolas would be "required to serve the said Delaval his master in his said condition and in all other licit and honest affaires that he will be commanded without distrusting or elsewhere serving […] during the said time"…

This is the interpretation ultimately arrived at by Mr. Thibault, Mrs. Féret and myself, with additional help from Émilie Lebailly, on Friday afternoon, July 22.

Now, this story - and my research - obviously does not end in France. Remember the three CD-ROMs that Mr. Thibault had graciously given me! Once I returned home, armed with Nicolas' parents' names, I set myself to "thumbing through" the oldest Gallardon registers.

In the second register, which begins in 1591, I found not one, but three of Nicolas' sisters - and older sisters at that. Nicolas was the fourth child and the first son of his family. His parents ultimately had thirteen children, which is to say nine daughters and four sons, between 1592 and 1610. I cannot however at this time confirm how many of these children survived to adulthood.

The family's first child was baptized on November 16, 1582. Her name was Simone, which happens to also be her mother's name.

Next was Philippe, on October 18, 1593; and then Jeanne, on April 3, 1595.

Then, on June 4, 1596, it was Nicolas, sponsored by Nicolas Brebier, Éloi Pelletier and Mathurine Moinaut, wife of Pasquier Pichereau, who was himself a relative of the child's mother.

After Nicolas there was Marie, baptized March 11, 1598; and on February 10, 1599, a second daughter named Marie.

On July 11, 1600, another daughter named Jeanne was baptized, and on January 23, 1602, it was second son Éloi.

On November 18, 1603, it was the family's ninth child and its third son, Pierre, sponsored by Pierre Beauchesne, Nicolas Pelletier , son of Éloi Pelletier, and Jeanne, wife of Claude Duboys. Now, it is possible, although in no way certain, that this Pierre is the unidentified Pierre Pelletier named in the contract drafted in Québec City on November 12, 1639, by notary Martial Piraube, in which Nicolas Peltier and Pierre Pelletier, both carpenters, and mason Jean Éger report on the condition of the house of the late Guillaume Hébert.

Later came Nathalie, on April 10, 1605; Marguerite, on November 10, 1606; the family's last son, Philippe, on February 22, 1609; and finally, its last child, Simone, on June 13, 1610.

In summation, much heretofore unknown information about the origins and family of Québécois pioneer Nicolas Peltier has been brought to light. We know that he had nine sisters and three brothers, as well as the name and baptism date of each sibling. We know at long last when Nicolas himself was baptized. We also know his mother's name and even the name of the master carpenter who instructed him in the art of carpentry. So now, finally, I can unveil the last piece of information that I have to reveal, the name of Nicolas' father: François Pelletier.

I thank you all for your presence here this magnificent afternoon, and I thank you for your attention. Thank you very much.

Benoit Pelletier Shoja, 
e-mail :
September 12, 2005

To learn about Benoit's finding in France, please click HERE.

 The Antaya family name

The name “Antaya” is associated uniquely with the descendants of François Pelletier and Marguerite Morisseau, who married on September 26, 1661, at the Mission Saint-Joseph in Sillery. François was the son of Nicolas Peltier and Jeanne de Vousy, originally from the parish of Gallardon, today within the department of Eure-et-Loir in France. He was the first to bear this name, and his descendants are the only ones to bear it today. It is therefore a name that belongs solely to these sons and daughters of Québec. 

The origins of the name “Antaya” are unknown to us today; its original meaning was long ago lost. Moreover, because François Pelletier could neither write nor sign his name, no original spelling of this sobriquet exists. 

Nonetheless, genealogist Louise Pelletier, a descendant of ancestor Guillaume Pelletier living in Sorel, contends that “the veritable origins of the name Antaya are of Montagnais roots,” and that the name likely appeared for the first time in 1641 as “Antanyé” or “Antangé.” She cites as her source a map of Québec dating to 1641 that shows, she says, the “location of an Indian cabin close to the Canardière Brook at Notre-Dame des Anges.” Although the name written on the map is illegible in the copy, Mrs. Pelletier confirms that it is “Antanyé” or “Antangé,” and that it is “probably a Montagnais name.”

There is however a genealogist who does not accept the assertions made by Louise Pelletier. Yves J. Antaya, originally from British Colombia, has translated her text under the title “The Antaya Family Story.” He holds that the name is likely not Montagnais (an Algonquian language) but rather Huron (an Iroquois language). In his translation, he indicates some typical Montagnais words, such as “Nikabau” and “Pachabanokoué,” stating that these words hardly resemble the name “Antaya.” In addition, he cites an old French-Huron dictionary, written by the Jesuits in the seventeenth century, in which appear “antaye” and “ataya,” words that mean, respectively, “by the lands” and “tobacco.”

Indeed, the true meaning of “Antaya” remains a mystery. 

All the same, we can state confidently that the first time that the name “Antaya” appears in the archives of New France is in a Becquet notarial contract dated August 22, 1667: Marguerite Morisseau is identified as “the wife of François Pelletier dit Nontayé.” Moreover, a few months later, on October 4th, according to the deliberations of the Prévôté de Québec, Marguerite is simply “the wife of Antaya.” Later, in 1675, François and Marguerite purchased the Seigneury d’Orvilliers, which shortly thereafter became the Seigneury d’Antaya. Ultimately, it was François and Marguerite’s children who would bear the name “Antaya” and transmit it to their children, who would themselves eventually follow suit. 

Now, about a year before the first appearance of “Antaya,” namely in June 1666, François Pelletier was among the 300 French and Indians led by Captain Pierre de Saurel against the Iroquois who had killed and captured six or seven French soldiers. Did François perform some meritorious action during this campaign to earn him a nickname? Given that this was an expedition against the Iroquois, we might wonder which tribe of Indians was accompanying Captain de Saurel. At the time, the French maintained relations principally with Algonquian tribes, such as the Micmac, the Montagnais, the Algonquin, the Attikamek, the Nipissing, the Abenaki, the Ottawa and the Ojibway. Does the name “Antaya” therefore come from an Algonquian language? Or is it perhaps due to François’ 1660 marriage with Dorothée, the “sauvagesse” mentioned in the Jesuit Journal? Or is it linked to no specific event whatsoever? It is possible that it is a nickname given him by his friends and neighbors in Sillery, whether they be Indian or not; or perhaps by those with whom he traded elsewhere. François was after all an experienced “coureur de bois” and would have undoubtedly had contacts throughout Indian society at the time. 

For now, the matter of the origins of the name “Antaya” remains a mystery; perhaps one day a definitive response will be discovered. 



Benoit Pelletier Shoja, 
e-mail :
February 28, 2005

© Association des Familles Pelletier Inc.  2015