French-Canadian Heritage Society of Michigan
P.O. Box 1900, Royal Oak, 48068-1900
History of New France
 
Introduction: Although Jacques Cartier was the first explorer documented to have explored the Gulf of the St. Lawrence in 1534, and "discovered" the St. Lawrence River in 1535, continuous occupation of New France did not occur until the 17th century. While some people prefer to study the history of their ancestors and their culture working backwards in time, we feel that if you study the history of New France starting with the 17th century you will have a greater understanding of not only our shared history but of the historical events that greatly influenced our evolving culture.  The lives lived by our ancestors was also influenced by where they lived at a particular period of time as well as their occupations.  In other words, if you focus too much on the stories about French-Canadian culture or Native culture learned from your parents, grandparents, or great grandparents without reading about their history, you may make assumptions about their culture that are not supported by historical records.
 
Our Immigrant Ancestors - Links to Online Resources and Books:
René Jetté, Dictionnaire généalogique des familles du Québec des origines à 1730 (Montréal: Les Presses de l’Université de Montréal: 1983). Jetté's Dictionary contains information known (as of 1983) about the origins of our immigrant ancestors.  The Dictionary is included as a resource for those subscribimg to the Drouin Collection from Généalogie Québec.  See: About us (genealogiequebec.com).
 
Fichier Origine - this database provides researchers with information about our ancestors in France.  The information may include images of the immigrant's baptism, information regarding their parents, and in some cases, their grandparents.  The link for searching the databse can be accessed here: Fichier Origine
 
Denis Beauregard's Genealogy of the French in North America.  Although Denis sells a DVD which covers these individuals through 1799, he has made the entries through 1720 available online for free.  Following is the link to access various groups of ancestors through 1720: GFNA - (francogene.com).
 
Thomas J. Laforest, Our French Canadian Ancestors.  Laforest translated Gerard Lebel’s Nos Ancêtres.  His biographies appear in 30 volumes which are available in many public libraries and family search centers in areas with large populations of French Canadians.  Family Search has digitized volumes 1-14 and 16-18.  They are available for viewing and downloading at the following link: FamilySearch Catalog: Our French-Canadian ancestors — FamilySearch.org.  In addition to genealogical information, each biography may also contain information regarding his immigration to New France, census information, land concessions, occupational information, marriage and other legal contracts that the individual entered into.
 
Articles - 17th Century History:
Charles and Guillaume Boivin at Sainte Marie aux Hurons, by Suzanne Boivin Sommerville – Suzanne’s article provide a description of the Mission and a list of the French Canadians documented to have lived or travelled to the Mission.  The website for Ste Marie Among the Hurons notes the following: “By 1648, Sainte-Marie was a wilderness home to 66 French men, representing one-fifth of the entire population of New France” [http://www.saintemarieamongthehurons.on.ca/sm/en/Home/index.htm]
 
Voyages to the Northern Sea (Hudson Bay), by Diane Wolford Sheppard
 
French-Canadian Exploration, Missionary Work, and Fur Trading in Hudson Bay, the Great Lakes, and Mississippi Valley During the 17th Century - a multi part series by Diane Wolford Sheppard:
 
French Missions and Forts:
Housing and Building Styles:
 
Ste Marie Among the Hurons
Exterior of Ste-Marie Among the Hurons - courtesy of http://www.saintemarieamongthehurons.on.ca/sm/en/Home/index.htm
 
Portion of Vincenzo Coronelli’s 1688 Map of New France

The Complete Map can be downloaded from BAnQ: http://collections.banq.qc.ca/ark:/52327/2246864