Captives from Deerfield, MA in the Province of Quebec

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Maison Allyn à Deerfield

Captives, you said?

When starting our family tree, we are light years away from knowing where our quest will take us. It is therefore important to think outside the box since quite a few surprises might await us.

Let me give you an example to prove my point. I was going through the church register of Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue looking for the marriage record of Albert Lalonde. In the record dated February 7, 1746, he is mentioned as being the son of Guillaume Lalonde and Marie Magdeleine Helene. Still a rookie at the time, I thought nothing of it. My next thought was that the priest simply omitted to mention the maiden name of the groom's mother. One can never be too careful though. I then assumed that "Helene" might be her surname, she could have been born from unknown parents, for all I know, hence explaining the use of all these first names. Well, was I wrong!

The marriage record for Guillaume Lalonde and Marie Magdeleine Helene, dated April 27, 1710, in the parish of Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, indicates that the bride's parents are English and residing in the village of "Tierfille". The marginal annotation brings out another clue: this village is in Massachusetts and is actually "Deerfield".

Marie Magdeleine Helene is 19 years old at the time of her marriage and was 13 when she was baptized at Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue Catholic Church in 1705. According to the priest, her name is then Marie Magdeleine Sire Helene. In fact, her English name is Sarah Allen or Allyn.

On February 29, 1704, a number of inhabitants from Deerfield, including Sarah, were made prisoners during a French and Indian raid. Some of these New England's captives were taken to New France and were "adopted" by a French Canadian or Indian family. Sarah was one of them, living with Sir Quenet. While a majority of them chose to return to New England once liberated, some married in Quebec and have numerous descendants. They were named Carter (now Chartier), Dicker, Farnsworth (now Phaneuf), French, Hurst, Price, Rice, Rising (now Raizenne), and Stebbins (now Stebenne).


Additional Reading

Haefeli, Evan and Kevin Sweeney. Captors and Captives, The 1704 French and Indian Raid on Deerfield, University of Massachusetts Press, 2005, 376 pages

GenSpotters' article on Quebec's civil copy of Parish Registers