Author’s Notebook – History and Genealogy of the Doyon Family

Just when I thought I had all my research under control, a new item pops up and changes everything.  The story I am going to relate to you in the pages of this blog will begin with my father’s family.  I have been able to uncover a vast amount of information about the Doyon clan, going back to 13th century France. CoverPageThen, a few weeks ago, I stumbled upon Histoire et Généalogie de la Famille Doyon, by Père Dominique Doyon [1], written after he retired in 1953 and published in Lewiston, Maine in 1978.  Scanned by the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, UT in 1991, it has been hiding (at least from me) on a microfilm reel on the other side of the country.  I had it sent to my local Family History Center and was able to scan it to a thumb drive (a day-long project using equipment at least as old as I am …) so I could work on it at home.

LaFamilleDoyon
Siegfried Doyon Family Photo: René-Claude Greron

It is 256 pages long and covers the story of Jean Doyon, the first Doyon ancestor to emigrate from France and considered the father of all the Doyons in North America. It is a detailed story of the family from Jean’s arrival in “New France” in 1644 until 1978 when Père Dominique completed his work.  If that didn’t constitute enough of a research coup, this comprehensive history and genealogy is a treasure trove of new information, revealing insights, citations and a bibliography, presenting me with dozens and dozens of new references to cross-check.  Because it is written in French, I am typing up the (my) English version as I read and translate. 

Père Dominque has led me to new sources, photos I didn’t know existed, and eventually to websites and blogs I missed in my original research, mainly because I never think to type my search queries in French.  My bad!  A great deal of the information contained in la Histoire adds to or, in a few cases, contradicts information I previously thought to be solid, proven and well documented.  Consequently, I am doing further research in addition to the reading and translating. As of today, I have translated all of the text (the first 90 pages). The remainder of this treatise is a list of all Doyons born in North America from 1644-1978 and who they married. Thankfully, no translation required – but a great resource for filling in some of the twigs on my family tree.

Any of you who are also chasing down the rabbit holes of your family history will understand the thrill (goosebumps) of finding one’s own name among the research. scan of meTwo hundred and twenty-eight pages into La Histoire I found proof of my own existence. It lists my father (Henri-Guy aka Joseph Henry) as being a member of the tenth generation of Doyons in the Americas (Jean Doyon 1619-1664 being the first generation). It shows his father, Irénée (Joseph Napoleon Irénée). It indicates that my father was married to my mother, Barbara Voigt, and goes on to list their “Issue”. Seems strange to see myself categorized as “issue”, but generations from now that is how some ancestor in my own family will see me. Kind of a “moving into the future” experience, if you know what I mean. So that makes me and my sister (and my first cousins) part of the eleventh generation since Jean. I noticed that my sister’s name was missing from this list. Her name was also missing from some of the very extensive family information available in the Centre de Généalogie, des Archives et des Bien Culturels de Château-Richer in Quebec, Canada when I visited there to do some research in 2015. I contacted the folks who produce and publish these evolving volumes of genealogy and made sure they had the information on my sister and her children. Having done this I now realize how much of what we find (or don’t find) in our research is dependent upon others keeping sources informed and information up-to-date.

So the lesson learned here is that one’s research is probably never really done and some of what we find can be incomplete or misleading. There is always something new and interesting waiting around the next corner.  More about La Histoire and Pere Dominique later.

_________________________

Père Dominique Doyon Photo from “Patrimoine Beauceville”

[1]  A very interesting man in his own right, I will tell you all about him in a future post.

 

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7 thoughts on “Author’s Notebook – History and Genealogy of the Doyon Family

  1. Congratulation on your first ‘real’ post, Denise (as opposed to the teaser you posted a couple of weeks ago). Your story of the new resource you have found shows that our research is always ongoing and never really complete. It makes me smile when I hear people say that they have now ‘done’ their family tree. There’s always something new to find.

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  2. Hi Denise
    I am glad I found your blog. I am related to the Doyon Family in Quebec Canada. I am Joseph Ovide Doyons Grandaughter. I have been looking for information about my relatives for 13 years. I was adopted in Orlando Florida And I live in Tennessee. If you would like to contact me here is my e-mail address. littlebit3747@yahoo.com

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    1. Gloria –

      Here is a link to the AMICUS catalog listing for Dictionnaire Doyon 1644-2006 by Guy by Guy Letourneau. You can get a copy of the CD-ROM version of this catalog of the Doyon family from the Association des Doyon d’Amerique. The contact there is Lise Doyon (lise.doyon@gmail.com).

      You can also obtain a lot of information at the Centre de Genealogie, des Archives et des Biens Culturels de Chateau-Richer where there are extensive resources on the founding families of Quebec and their descendants. The website has a list of resources you can purchase. If you can get up to Quebec – you will find a visit to the center worth your while.

      There is a good book entitled Un Bel Heritage by Diane Lessard-Doyon. It isn’t easy to find, but you may be able to locate a copy through the Canadian library system. Also, in 1978, F. Dominique Doyon, o.p. (1902-1991) published a history of the Doyon family complete with a breakdown of each Doyon born in each generation from 1640 through 1976. You can obtain access to this document through your local Family History Center (part of the Church of the Latter Day Saints) associated with FamilySearch.org – which is where I first found it. It is also included, in total, in Un Bel Heritage.

      FYI – all of the above is in French, and I have to warn you that the librarians at the Genealogy Center in Chateau-Richer do not have the best English language skills.

      These resources may help you to trace your Doyon roots and find some living relatives.

      Hope you find this helpful.

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