The French-Canadian Heritage Society of Michigan (FCHSM) is an educational, historical, cultural, and genealogical non-profit organization, committed to make people aware of the rich culture and history of French Canadians in North America.
Articles appearing in Michigan’s Habitant Heritage (Our Journal) cover all areas of New France, including articles about French Canadians who lived in, explored, or travelled to all areas of Michigan, the Detroit River Region (which means both sides of the Detroit River), Michilimackinac, Fort St. Joseph, Southwest Ontario, the Great Lakes, the Mississippi Valley (Kaskaskia, Vincennes, New Orleans, Mobile), La Salle’s colony in Texas, Hudson Bay, and Acadia, as well as articles about our ancestors’ origins in France. Although the FCHSM is based in Michigan, members live throughout the United States and Canada. Please see our Acadia/Acadie Page, our Fort St. Joseph, Michilimackinac, and River Raisin/Frenchtown Page and our Mississippi Valley and Texas Page for examples of articles written about these areas, art, and maps, as well as links that can help you with your research. Visit us on our Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/109717099063919/
Our aims and purposes are:
To promote an awareness of and appreciation for our French-Canadian heritage.
To facilitate contact and interaction among people of French-Canadian descent, for the purpose of researching family histories.
To act as an educational and social group by sponsoring and participating in functions which further interest in and awareness of French-Canadian heritage and New France’s history.
Announcements: See our Meetings Page for the list of meetings for 2015.
You can renew your membership or join FCHSM by completing the membership form and sending your check to FCHSM. See our Join FCHSM Page.
2015 French-Canadian Heritage Week Celebration at the Detroit Historical Museum:
Friday 2 October 2015 – 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. – Land and Census Records in Detroit during the French Regime, presented by Gail Moreau-DesHarnais, Suzanne Boivin Sommerville, and Diane Wolford Sheppard. The geography of the modern city of Detroit began with the property and land concessions made by Antoine Laumet dit (called) de Lamothe Cadillac in 1707, both inside Fort Pontchartrain and outside of the fort. The granting of land did not, however, end with his tenure as commandant. Subsequent land grants by later commandants and then by the king of France beginning in 1734 influenced the layout of streets on both sides of Le Détroit before the British arrived in 1763 to govern the area. Events in the history of New France and its legal system under the Custom of Paris also influenced how and when property was obtained and developed. The presentation will track the land concessions from the time of Cadillac to the coming of British rule. Specific land contracts and the names of the owners will be mentioned, and maps contemporary to the different phases of land grants will be part of the visuals shown. The Museum is located at 5401 Woodward Avenue, Detroit (north of the main branch of the Detroit Public Library and northwest of the Detroit Institute of Arts). See their website for directions: http://detroithistorical.org/detroit-historical-museum/plan-your-visit/general-information
Friday, October 23, 2015 - Sunday, October 25, 2015 – Windsor, Ontario. Center for French Colonial Studies Conference. “The presenters at the 2015 meeting will be historians or genealogists whose research projects focus on French colonial Detroit and/or the Indian presence in the Detroit River Region during the 19th century or more broadly on French North America.” FCHSM Members Gail Moreau-DesHarnais, Suzanne Boivin Sommerville, and Diane Wolford Sheppard are three of the speakers scheduled for the conference. See their website for the Conference Agenda and Registration Information: http://frenchcolonialstudies.org/annual-meeting/
2015 Events which celebrated the 314th anniversary of the founding of Detroit!
Saturday, July 18, 2015, 3:00 p.m. – Mt. Elliott Cemetery - Memorial service for those buried from Ste. Anne de Détroit in Mt. Elliott Cemetery.
7:00 p.m. – French Mass at Ste. Anne's, Detroit. In July of every year, Ste. Anne's Church holds a series of Novena Masses to Ste. Anne celebrating the rich cultural diversity of the Catholics in the Archdiocese of Detroit. The French Mass is always held on a Saturday. Members of the French-Canadian Heritage Society of Michigan enter the Church prior to the Mass, bearing flags celebrating our history in New France, Detroit, and Michigan. A reception is held after the Mass with light refreshments.
Gail Moreau-DesHarnais’ 18 July 2015 photo of the flowers beside the statues of St. Joachim, Ste. Anne and the pregnant Blessed Virgin Mary and the altar at Ste Anne’s. See the Plaque and Memorial Page, the Parish Records Page, and the Meetings Page for additional pictures from the 18 July 2015 events.
Art, Photographs, and Maps on our website: although we can learn about our history and culture from articles, timelines, and books, art, photographs, and maps help us visualize our history and culture as well as the history and culture of New France's Native Allies and Enemies. We have retained the captions and provided the reference numbers that are used by the library, museum, insitutuition, digitized books or other source for the digital images so that you can access the image from the organization that provides these images for non-commercial purposes such as education and study.
Genealogical Queries and Research:
Most people can do their own genealogical research by using the links or suggestions on the PDFs on our French-Canadian Resources subpages. Our Research Guides and Parish Records Pages spotlight internet or other sources that can help you with your research. Other pages contain articles that were published in Michigan’s Habitant Heritage or were used as handouts for a FCHSM meeting.
If after using these resources you hit a brick wall, please post your queries on our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/109717099063919/) where you will reach a much larger audience than if you send us an e-mail. We do not have a staff available to answer genealogical questions via e-mail or snail mail. While some may not feel comfortable using Facebook, you do not have to use it for any other purpose. Alternatively, a friend or relative could post your query for you.
Sprit of the Northwest Statue at the Brown County Courthouse, Green Bay, Wisconsin. Left to right: A Fox Indian, Claude Allouez, S.J., and Nicolas Perrot. See University of Wisconsin, Green Bay Website: http://www.uwgb.edu/wisfrench/photos/trio.htm
You can read Allouez and Perrot's biographies at the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online: http://www.biographi.ca/en/search.php
Jean Baptiste Lagacé – Cavelier de La Salle au Mississippi – Courtesy of Artefacts Canada, http://www.rcip-chin.gc.ca/artefacts/index-eng.jsp
You can read La Salle's biography at the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online: http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/cavelier_de_la_salle_rene_robert_1E.html
Arthur Hider -
La Verendrye at the Lake of the Woods – Available from Library and Archives Canada (LAC) (http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/lac-bac/search/arch_adv), Mikan #2837447; Acc. No. 1939-60-1
You can read Pierre Gauthier/Gaultier, sieur de La Vérendrye’s biography at the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online: http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/gaultier_de_varennes_et_de_la_verendrye_pierre_3E.html
Some of the Explorers Who Explored or Passed Through Michigan - See our History of New France Page for links to timelines discussing many of these explorers
Canadian Stamp - Étienne Brûlé Nears Lake Superior - Available from Library and Archives Canada (LAC) (http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/lac-bac/search/arch_adv), Mikan #2266052
See Part 1 of the Timeline for Brûlé and Grenolle's circa 1620 - 1621 voyage to Michigan
Marquette and Jolliet on the Illinois on their return voyage from the Mississippi - Courtesy of the Illinois State Museum - http://www.museum.state.il.us/exhibits/changes/htmls/Current/historical_illinois/historic_il_intro.html .
See Part 5 of the Timeline for Marquette and Jolliet's 1673 exploration of the Mississippi
Francis Lee Jaques circa 1922 painting of Daniel Greysolon, sieur Du Lhut, and some of his companions at the head of the lakes - Displayed at the Minnesota Historical Society: http://collections.mnhs.org/cms/display.php?irn=10609004
See the Timeline - Part 6 for the 1678 exploration of Du Lhut and his companions
You can also read the biographies of these explorers at the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online: http://www.biographi.ca/en/search.php