What’s In a Name?

Many Gallant family genealogists and Acadian historians have hypothesized about how our ancestor, Michel Haché-Gallant, came by his surname. No one knows for sure and there’s very little chance that the “truth” will ever be found, as there is no documentation nor are there first-hand accounts of his decision to adopt the name. There’s also no absolute proof of his lineage, but most subject authorities associate him as the son of Pierre Larché (also spelled Haché).

Listen to various pronunciations of Gallant here. (For what it’s worth, I pronounce it the same way that my father chose to.)

Here is one of the stories that attempts an explanation of the origin of the name:

In Placide Gaudet’s written notes, we can read the following concerning Michel Haché: “Michel Haché-Gallant was born in 1662 and was brought up in Trois-Rivières by Lord Jacques LeNeuf de la Poterie, the father of Michel LeNeuf, Lord de la Vallière and Lord of Beaubassin.” When Michel LeNeuf went to reside with his wife and children in his manor on ‘de la Vallière Island (today Long’s Island), around 1676 or 1677, he brought the young Michel Haché, who was then 15 years old, with him, to be his servant/domestic. Very active, intelligent, he could read and write, he was extremely attached to his master. He used to accompany him in all his trips, whether on the land or on the sea.

It was later reported that Michel Haché was in a certain fight, and having fought like a lion, afterwards was given the surname of “Galant”. Whether this account is accurate is open to question, since while the name “Galand” was know in France in the 1600s, while the names Haché and Larché were not.

Around 1687, when Mr. de la Vallière left his seineury to go and live in Quebec City, he gave Michel Haché a large portion of his lands in Beaubassin.

The first mention of Michel Haché, in Acadia, was in the Beaubassin religious census of 27 April 1682. He was a godfather at a baptism and was named Michel Larché (nickname Galant). Arché means justice agent and policeman. Michel having no family, the function name of Larché, would have been given to him.

In 1686 in the Beaubassin census, his name was still listed as Michel Larché, he was single, 22 years of age and lived with the Landlord of Beaubassin, Michel LeNeuf.

Source:  http://hache-gallant.com/hache-gallant/history.html

Note: Placide Gaudet was a Canadian historian, educator, genealogist and journalist. Read more about him here.

Who Do I Think I Am?

Here’s the truth: I have an obsession with the Ancestry.com website, as well as genealogy-themed TV shows like, “Who Do You Think You Are?” and “Finding Your Roots.”  Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is an amazing author, historian, and teacher, who has provided a great deal of inspiration to me during my search.  My hat is off to you, Dr. Gates!

When I first became interested in finding my own roots, I almost immediately got an Ancestry membership and found LOTS of information there that was helpful in the construction of my family tree. There are so many other members who are also cataloging their Gallant ancestry!  Drawing on other members’ trees, the hints (or leaves) that pop up whenever a new source is found,  and access to an extensive record of direct descendants of Michel Haché-Gallant, I was able to fill in quite a few blanks; however, if someone’s historical research doesn’t include multiple sources or citations, I’ve learned that it’s a good idea to do additional research to verify the records.

At some point, my tree will be completed, but there’s still work to do! In an effort to learn as many facts as possible, I’ve dug into Ancestry Academy and become a member of the Prince Edward Island Genealogical Society, as well as PEI Ancestry.com

After 2 or 3 years of off and on research, I had my DNA tested just to see what might be revealed there.  Here’s a graphic showing the results of my estimated ethnicity:


The DNA analysis didn’t reveal any surprises, but my research on Ancestry did, and that was that there have been a number of adoptions in my family’s history that make it impossible to discover true lineage. And that’s a pretty wonderful discovery in and of itself! More on that later…

Recently, Ancestry added the “Genetics Communities” feature, which shows (in my case) population concentrations of ancestors, as well as AncestryDNA members with whom I most likely share DNA. The only surprise was the intense cluster (shown in red) of relatives in Massachusettes.  On my way to Boston soon, so hopefully I’ll feel right at home.