Christophe Bernier
Marie Baret
Yves Bernier
Michelle Treuillet
Jacques Bernier


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Antoinette Grenier

Jacques Bernier 1218

  • Born: 16 Nov 1633, St Germain, Lauxerrois, Paris, France 455
  • Marriage: Antoinette Grenier on 23 Jul 1656 in Québec, Québec, Canada
  • Died: 20 Jul 1713, Cap-Saint-Ignace, Montmagny, Québec, Canada aged 79 1217

bullet  General Notes:


According to Albert Dauzat, the Bernier last name has Germanic roots: bern and han, mean-ing bear and armed. (Understand that if you can!) A true authority interprets it as the name of a servant who took care of the dogs during a bear hunt...

Several Berniers came to New France, including André, originally from Niort, married to Jeanne Bourret in 1693, and the Vendeen, Jacques, native of Fontenay-le-Compte. But the first to arrive as head of the line was Jacques Bernier, surnamed Jean de Paris.

Jacques Bernier was born in Paris, the city of light, about 1635. The son of Yves Bernier and of Michelle Trevilet (or Treuillet) said he was from the parish of Saint-Germain--l'Auxerrois, the second church in the city after Notre-Dame and located on the right bank of the Seine, in the heart of the present city.

Jacques must have attended school since he knew how to count and to write his name. We even wonder if, through in-heritance or otherwise, he arrived here with some money. From other information about his life, we know that he had a head for business and a sense of resourcefulness.


Why did Jacques leave his native city? What ship brought him across the Atlantic? Who welcomed him to the colony? These questions remain unanswered even today.

Jacques Bernier dit Jean de Paris, was certainly in New France in 1652. As a matter of fact, on 3 March 1653, at Québec,in the presence of the notary Guillaume Audouart, he signed as a witness to the marriage contract of Nicolas Gaudry dit Bourbonniëre, and Agnes Morin, daughter of Noel and of Hélëne Desportes. Did Jacques work for the Morin family living on the Coast of Saint-Jean and Saint-François in Québec? Was he in-stead in the pay of Jean de Lauzon, governor, originally from Paris, who arrived here on 13 October 1651? A mystery!

Following three years apprenticeship in the country, Jacques was stricken with a fatal romantic malady. On 23 July 1656, he married a Parisienne, Antoinette Grenier, daughter of Claude Grenier and Catherine--the family name was omitted. The surprise is magnified when we learn that the marriage had been made with a dispensation "of all banns for legitimate reasons" and "at the home of the Governor in the presence of Messire Jean de Lauzon, governor, and of the Sieur d' Auteuil". The Jesuit priest Jérôme Lalemant officiated.

Why at the governor's home? Was Antoinette Grenier, about 16 years old, a servant at the townhouse of Jean de Lauzon? Or at the home of Denis-Joseph, sieur d'Auteuil, a powerful personage originally from Saint-Eustache in Paris? Was Antoinette simply a newcomer? Was it Jean de Paris who had the kind ear of the authorities? So many questions remain un-answerable today.


After their wedding, Jacques and Antoinette went to live on the south coast, western tip of the Ile d'Orléans; not far from the village of the Hurons who had been driven from the area by the Iroquois in the spring of 1656.

On 7 November 1657, Jacques Bernier in the presence of the notary Peuvret promised to pay "in order to avoid" a dispute, to Eléonore de Grandmaison, 50 livres due on 26 December and 100 more spread over 4 years. Therefore, the first 50 livres paid the arrears owed to the seigenuresse for the past farm lease, proof that our ancestor had lived on the island since 1655.

Jacques Gourdeau, Sieur de Beaulieu, Eléonore's hus-band, ceded on 19 March 1659 to ancestor Bernier another piece of land bordering Gabriel Gosselin. On 8 November 1661, another acquisition of an arpent in frontage to increase his domain. Additionally, on 20 August 1662, Jacques renewed his lease signed on 7 November 1657. And, on 15 February 1664, the brothers Jean and Nicolas Juchereau granted 2 arpents of frontal land in the seigneurie of la Chevalerie, between Nicolas Godbout and Clement Ruel, in the future parish of Saint-Pierre.

Then the Berniers experienced an ordeal. Their fourth child, Charles, more than a year old, suffered a "prolapse", a hernia which caused him a great deal of suffering. In 1665, the parents went with their child to the church of Sainte-Anne du Petit-Cap, in order to commend him to the great miracle worker. Their request was granted. They removed "his bandage... and from that time he was completely healed".

On 19 July 1667, Jacques agreed to farm the land of Marguerite Chavigny for five more years. On October 5 of the same year, André Metayer sold him 2 arpents of frontal land for the price of 40 livres, and on 14 November, Jacques bought another piece of land of the same dimensions as the first. Clement Ruel received 300 livres for this sale.

Thus, in a period of ten years, Jacques Bernier had be-come an important land owner on the Ile d'Orléans. The census of 1667 reports that he had 25 arpents of land under cultivation, 8 head of cattle; even 3 servants were in his service: Gilles Gaudreau, Pierre Neveu and Guillaume Ferté.

Was the Bernier family at its apogee?


Jacques Bernier had become an important land owner on the western tip of the island. But one day he decided to sell all his properties. Why?

On 9 February 1670, he receded to Clement Ruel the land which he had bought from him on 14 November 1664. Then, on 6 March 1673, he sold the 2 arpents of frontage he had received from the Juchereau brothers on 15 February 1664, to Jean Leclerc. The following year business became more intense, On 28 April 1674, Gabriel Gosselin acquired 2 other pieces of Jacques's land making a total of 3 arpents in width. The buyer paid 100 livres. Finally, on 24 October, Jacques sold, in favor of Guillaume Lelièvre, the land bought from Jacques Cailhaut on 5 October 1667, as well as a plot with a barn and house. But, it was only on 11 July 1682 that Jacques remitted to Elêonore de Grandmaison another piece of land on the island, a concession obtained verbally, it seems.

Had the Berniers taken a vow of poverty? Why relinquish this property? They seemed so happy on the tip of the island, across from the capital of the country.


It was friendship which forced Jacques and his family one day to move their household to Cap-Saint-Ignace and here is why.

Intendant Jean Talon, before leaving New France, had generously distributed a whole series of seigneuries. To divide the territory, to place it into interested and responsible hands, was designed to protect it and develop the colony. On 3 Novem-ber 1672, he ceded to Genevieve de Chavigny 1 1/2 leagues of frontal land by the same amount deep, at Cap-Saint-Ignace. Well, Genevieve de Chavigny, widow pf Joseph Amyot since 10 December 1669, was the daughter of Eléonore de Grandmaison, the Berniers' sponsor. This explains a lot.

Jacques Bernier, undoubtedly at the request of the mother and daughter, both seigneuresses, was the first censitaire to take possession of a land grant at Cap-Saint-Ignace. On 5 February 1673, he received 9 arpents of frontal land by 40 deep. It was, at one fell swoop, more land than he had owned on the island in a dozen years. And what good land to farm, with the river front full of fish and the land abundant in wild birds and wild game!

In the spring of 1674, on 28 April, the Berniers were still living on the Ile d'Orlëans. But on 23 October, when Jacques was conducting business with Guillaume Lelièvre, the notary Gilles Rageot classified him as an inhabitant of Cap-Saint-Ignace.

In order to transport his wood to Québec, he had bought a small boat from Paul de Rainville for 120 livres. Through an account established with Jean LePicard, from Québec, on 11 November 1680, we know that Jacques had transported some pine planks, for which he owed his merchant 151 livres, 18 sols.

In the census of 1681, Jacques Bernier, Antoinette Grenier and their 10 children owned 1 gun, 8 head of cattle and had 10 arpents under cultivation. Jean Couillard, husband of Genevieve de Chavigny, and Nicolas Bouchard were their worthy neighbors.

As the Berniers were the first to settle at Cap--Saint-Ignace, it was normal that their house serve as a chapel for the traveling missionaries.

"In the early days, the missionaries said mass and performed the duties of curate in the house of Jacques Bernier... This house," wrote Father Sirois, "was located on the edge of the river".

Father Thomas Morel began the first registry on 6 February 1682 with the recording of the burial act of the 34 year old Jean-François Bélanger. Before this date, events were re-corded where and when the priest was able to do so.

The first chapel was built in the summer of 1683, on the land of Nicolas Gamache. This mission received the right to be -called a parish only on 23 January 1701. Jacques Bernier took -part in this ceremony of the church building dedication. This first church was built by Joseph Caron (1652-1711), husband of Elisabeth Bernier, the daughter of our ancestor.


In 1672, Intendant Talon ceded the seigneuries of Vin-celotte, Gamache, Gagné and Fournier. On 3 November 1672, the latter had received 30 arpents of frontal land by 2 leagues deep. Guillaume Fournier sold his fief at la Pointe-aux-Foins (aka Saint-Joseph) to Jacques Bernier, resident of the seigneurie of Vincelotte, for the rather minimal amount of 260 livres. The new seigneur immediately slipped 230 livres into the hands of the seller and promised to make the remaining 30 appear on the next Saint-Jean's Day. Notary Pierre Duquet signed this contract on 27 October 1684. Jacques Bernier signed but Guillaume Fournier said he did not know how to do so.

Ancestor Jacques Bernier was now a seigneur, but he did not build a chateau in his seigneurie where the forest, the animals and the wild flowers had enjoyed freedom for thousands of years. He continued to be active on his land located in the territory of Genevieve de Chavigny. His seigneurie was a legacy to dis-tribute to his sons as we shall see.


Between 1657 and 1678, the Berniers saw eleven rays of life shine in the family cradle: Noëlle, Pierre, Marie-Michelle, Charles, Jacques, Jean-Baptiste, Elisabeth, Genevieve, Philippe, Ignace and Antoinette.

The Berniers owed a debt of gratitude to the Morins. An-cestor Noel Morin and his daughter Louise were called to be god-parents to their eldest, Noëlle. Alas! this first rosette of Grenier-Bernier love was buried at the age of 8 in Québec, on 27 April 1666. The missionary Thomas Morel baptized Jacques Bernier on 13 November 1664; he recorded the act in the registry of Château-Richer. This fifth child of the Bernier family died after 1681. Ignace was also baptized by Father Morel at Cap-Saint-Ignace, on 23 April 1675. The curate Henri de Bernières recorded the act in the registry of Notre-Dame de Québec. Ig-nace only lived for 3 years. Finally, the youngest, Antoinette, had the honor of having her first name mentioned in the census of 1681.

Pierre, the eldest of the 7 surviving Berniers received his first name from Pierre Maufet, his godfather, on 26 January 1659. Anne Gasnier, wife of Jean Bourdon, was his godmother. In any case, Pierre grew up normally and was married at Montmagny, on 21 February 1689, to Francoise Boulet, who later became a mid-wife. The couple welcomed 12 children at table. On 21 June 1691, they took possession of 10 arpents of frontal land in the seigneurie of Saint-Jospeh (aka la Pointe-aux--Foins) belonging to Jacques. Upon the death of his father, Pierre became the first seigneur of the second generation, in 1713.

The god-daughter of Madeleine Chavigny, Marie-Michelle, was married on 19 February 1678, at Cap-Saint--Ignace, to Pierre Caron, son of Robert and Marie Crevet. They had eight children.

Charles, miraculously healed by Saint-Anne, became the husband of Marie-Anne Lemieux, on 25 October 1694, and was the father of 13 children. With his brothers Jean-Baptiste and Philippe, he inherited, on 15 October 1695, 17 arpents of land to be divided equally. His burial took place at Cap-Saint-Ignace on 28 March 1731. As for Jean-Baptiste, whose godparents were Jean-Baptiste Peuvret and Marguerite de Chavigny on 30 August 1666 at Sainte-Famille, he was married at Sainte-Anne du Petit-Cap, to Genevieve Caron. He raised a family of 10 children. He was a navigator. He died on 7 September 1715, at the Hôtel-Dieu de Québec.

Philippe Bernier courted the sister of his brother Jean-Baptiste's wife, Ursule Caron, daughter of Jean and of Mar-guerite Gagnon. They were also married at Sainte-Anne du Petit-Cap. They had ten children. Philippe was buried at Cap-Saint-Ignace on 5 January 1750. He was 86 years old.

Thus the second generation of Berniers presented 74 de-scendants to the third, a fine spray of life.


Jacques and Antoinette seem to have lived to a happy old age, in the midst of certain comfort. During their lifetime, they knew the majority of their grandchildren. Their sons and daughters surrounded them with affection. On 4 October 1687, Seigneur Bernier, resident of Vincelotte, ceded 2 arpents of his remaining land to Jacques Miville, habitant of the seigneurie of Saint-Joseph.

Nevertheless, the years have usually testified to the lon-gevity of men and oaks. At the age of 76, Jacques Bernier, "very frail", and Antoinette Grenier, his wife, gave a piece of land to their son Charles, who, with his wife of 19 years, had "aided and cared for the said donors". The same day, 16 August 1712, they sold another piece of land to their son Charles. The curate Yves LeRiche, Jacques Bernier and Jean Fournier signed this sale with the notary Abel Michon. Giving up this property meant signing over their entire freedom to the vicariousness of earthly possessions.

Accompanied by the sun at its best, Jacques left his loved ones for good on 20 July 1713. The next day, his mortal remains were buried in the cemetery of Cap-Saint-Ignace, in the presence of his grieving family. The Rëcollet priest Yves Godard only added this simple mention in the registry: "he was 80 years old." Antoinette Grenier, his faithful companion, had preceded him on the preceding 17 February.


bullet  Noted events in his life were:

• Arrival: 1652, Québec, Québec, Canada. 1219


Jacques married Antoinette Grenier, daughter of Claude Grenier and Catherine Grenier, on 23 Jul 1656 in Québec, Québec, Canada. (Antoinette Grenier was born in 1637 in St Laurent, Paris, Ile-de-France, France and died on 17 Feb 1713 in Cap-Saint-Ignace, Montmagny, Québec, Canada.)

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