parcheminHaut Charron Ducharme

1) Inform our members.

             At the outset, we felt it was necessary to confirm the initial analysis by conducting additional independent tests. We solicited the participation of matrilinear descendants of Catherine Pillard by publishing articles in le Trait d'union (February 2008), in Le Chaînon (Spring of 2008), and finally, in the Mémoires, bulletin de la Société généalogique canadienne-française (vol 59, no 1, Spring of 2008).

             By definition, we sought candidates descended from one of  Catherine Pillard's eight daughters, then from their daughters, and so on until today but few people know their matrilinear ancestry so that, although many responded to our call, only one of them met our requirements. The Association paid the cost of the mtDNA analysis for this member. The results were similar to those obtained by the original group of researchers. We concluded there was no need for further research.

3) Determine the origin of Catherine Pillard's mtDNA

             The characteristics of Catherine Pillard's mtDNA having been established by that of her descendants, the question remains about its significance and how it relates to a likely origin.

             To do this, we consulted Dr. Jacques Beaugrand, Ph. D., director of the Projet ADN d’Héritage Français. In his research, Mr. Beaugrand came to the conclusion that these characteristics indicate a Siberian origin. His unquestionable conclusion has been the subject of a long article in le Trait d'union in June 2009 (vol. 16, no 3). M. Beaugrand ended the article with these words: «Unknowingly, Catherine Pillard carried in her mtDNA a signature which appeared 50,000 years ago, between the Black Sea and the Aral Sea ». The argument submitted by Mr. Beaugrand is convincing, but complex, and we invite readers to refer directly to this blog for more information:

4) Genealogical sources come into question all over again

             In our follow-up of this matter, we have been fortunate to learn that Ms. Gail Moreau-Desharnais, a reputable genealogist, was in the process of establishing an exhaustive chronology of all acts, contracts and other documents involving Catherine Pillard in one way or another, in order to highlight the links, if any, that have existed between her and Amerindians.

             Ms. Moreau-Desharnais has identified and analyzed in detail more than 60 records, baptismal certificates, marriage contracts, etc. A large part of this voluminous research was published in le Trait d'union of October 2010 (vol. 18, No. 1). To sum up, no such relationship has been identified.

5) Research at the source: La Rochelle

             It would obviously be very useful to have a baptismal certificate formally confirming that Catherine Pillard's parents at the time of her birth were the same as those attributed to her on her first marriage certificate. Unfortunately, the baptismal certificate generally recognized as her's, taken from the parish register of Ste-Marguerite de La Rochelle, dated March 30, 1646, represents her as the « daughter of Pierre Pillard and Marguerite  ... ». The absence of her mother's name is evidently regrettable as this information would clearly have made the connection between the baptism and the marriage of Catherine Pillard. Nevertheless, such gaps are not uncommon, even in more recent times.

             In an attempt to fill this void, the Association has mandated a French professional genealogist, Jean-François Viel, to carry out extensive research in the religious and civil archives of La Rochelle. This research was conducted in the fall of 2010 and the results published in the February 2011 issue of le Trait d'union (vol. 18, no. 2).

             The research confirmed that the name Pillard (sometimes spelled Pillat, Pilhact, Pilhat), was present in La Rochelle, if not widespread. Like other researchers before him [3], Mr. Viel singled out Pierre Pillard and Marguerite Bouricaud, a couple who had had several children baptized.  In the opinion of Mr. Viel, they were more than likely the parents of Catherine Pillard, herself baptized in 1646 at La Rochelle. Note that a burial record has not be found for this Catherine.

parcheminBas Charron Ducharme

All Charrons and Ducharmes, as well as anyone interested in these families.