QUEBEC-RESEARCH-L ArchivesArchiver > QUEBEC-RESEARCH > 2007-05 > 1178677373
From: Mona Rainville <>
Subject: Re: [Q-R] [Fwd: Fw: Giroux-Deschamps/Hunault = follow up]
Date: Tue, 08 May 2007 22:22:53 -0400
Just back from the archives where I've just spent a most pleasant day
doing research with sister Nancy. She says hello to all of you.
You are quite right, Libby. There was in fact a legal requirement in
all of the kingdom of France to have all children baptized as catholics,
even if they were foundlings. Children born to parents of the reformed
religion also had to be presented to a catholic priest for baptism.
Failure to do so had dire consequences, including the removal of the
child from his natural parents.
Baptism does not confer a patronym to a child, only a given name. And,
yes, there were children who received nothing more than a first name.
All persons not of legal age had to have a guardian or a tutor to
represent them in legal transactions, of which marriage was but one.
When the parents were alive, the law provided that they were the de
facto legal guardians and they could act for their child. When a child
was partly orphaned, then it was legally necessary to have an assembly
of the parents and friend of the minor to appoint a tutor and a
subrogate tutor. The surviving father or mother was more often than not
appointed as tutor, but it was the subrogate tutor's role to take over
whenever a conflict of interest would arise between the tutor and the child.
With foundlings or total orphans, the situation was a bit different.
The total orphan might or might not have living relatives, in which case
they would be assembled to appoint the needed tutor and subrogat tutor.
But in the case of a foundling, there were technically no known family
members, and so "friends" of that child would be gathered to elect the
legally needed tutor and subrogate tutor.
Unfortunately, there was then as there is today always someone on the
look out to make a buck out of someone else's predicament. Some
individuals made it their business to act as tutors to minor children,
orphaned or foundlings, and thus managed to accumulate little fortunes
on the back of these unfortunate children. I've come across many such
cases in the Montreal registers, and I am certain it existed elsewhere.
The Courts usually turned a blind eye, up to a point, because having
these "volunteer" tutors facilitated their administration.
A child was considered a minor until the age of 25, long after the end
of the French Regime. And so could only act through his or her legally
appointed tutor. The appointment of a tutor and of a subrogate tutor
began with a Motion to obtain permission to make an assembly of parents
and friens to appoint said tutor and sub-tutor. The court usually
granted the Motion and set a time and date for the assembly to take
place. The persons thus called would then assemble in front of a Notary
and the "Lieutenant de la Juridiction civile et criminelle", deliberate,
and proceed to elect the required persons. The elected tutor and
subrogate tutor would then take a fiduciary oath.
These court documents are collectively known as "Tutelles et
Curatelles", and can be found mostly in the CC301 series of the BANQ.
Tharrr ya go. G'Nite,
Libby Quanstrom wrote:
> It's my understanding, but this could be myth, that some foundlings/orphans
> were baptized with no patrynom but only had sponsors/godparents. As these
> approached emancipation they were sometimes appointed guardians/tuteurs to
> act on their behalf. This was done so that they could enter into contracts
> and marriage as minors. These children sometimes took the name of their
> guardian. Some knew from whom they came and knew of their circumstance and
> began to use this patrynom albeit, assumed. If a guardian was appointed,
> there should be letters and adjudications filed in the civil records
> Per chance our legal beagles (those with shingles and those with collars
> o) ) can fill us in to the verite of the times???
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|Re: [Q-R] [Fwd: Fw: Giroux-Deschamps/Hunault = follow up] by Mona Rainville <>|