Many of the Fortier families in Canada trace their ancestry to Antoine Fortier, a native of Dieppe, Normandie, France, who came to Québec in the early 1660s. He married Marie Magdeleine Cadieu at Beauport in 1677 and settled at Île-d'Orléans. This web site is intended to be a compendium of the research done on him and his descendants. Much has been published on this family in various historical books and family histories, some of it accurate, some not so accurate. As is often the case with family histories, once something is in print, it often is considered to be "gospel". It is my hope that this web site will facilitate a critical examination and discussion of the facts, legends, and myths surrounding this Fortier family and to allow us Fortier researchers and descendants to learn more about our origins and our relatives' contributions to early North America. The best way to separate fact from fiction and to resolve conflicting information is to go back to the primary sources (see Documenting Your Genealogy Research - Guide to Citing Sources). These include records of marriages, births and baptisms, deaths and burials, census listings, tax lists, probate and land records, etc. The information in the descendant listings on this web site will include documentation of the primary sources as much as possible, and transcriptions of many of those sources will be presented in links below. This is a working document; it will be modified and (hopefully) improved as more researchers provide input and, most importantly, evidence.
My database currently includes 784 descendants who carry the Fortier surname.
Antoine Fortier was baptized 26 June 1644 in the parish of St-Jacques, Dieppe, Normandie, France. He was one of at least four children born to Noël Fortier (Forestier), shipwright, and Marie Marthe Golle, who were married 26 May 1638 at the parish of St-Rémy in Dieppe.
Church of St-Jacques, Dieppe, Normandie, France; original steel engraving drawn by David Roberts and engraved by T. Higham, 1834
In approximately the early 1660s, Noël Fortier and his son Antoine arrived in New France and settled initially at Beauport, near Québec city. In an agreement signed 17 October 1667 (Notary Rageot), Antoine Fortier formed a partnership with three other men to commercially fish the St-Lawrence River. This fishing venture probably took Antoine to the area of Tadoussac (about 115 miles downriver from Québec city where the Saguenay River empties into the St-Lawrence) where, in June of 1669, Antoine served as a witness for nine Catholic baptisms of Amerindians.
A few years later, on 1 March 1671 (Notary Rageot), Antoine signed a contract for ownership of land on nearby Île-d'Orléans. The land consisted of three arpents of frontage (1 arpent = 192 feet) on the St-Lawrence River. This is probably the same strip of land labeled "Ouers Fortiers" (Fortier heirs) on the 1709 cadastral map of Île-d'Orléans (below) that is located in the parish of St-Laurent. (At the time of Antoine's initial settlement here, this was part of Ste-Famille parish. Another parish, St-Paul, was formed on the southwestern side of the island in 1679. St-Paul was renamed to St-Laurent in 1698.)
Cadastral map of Québec city region, 1709, from Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ); click on map for larger image
Cadastral map of Île-d'Orléans, 1709, from Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ); click on map for larger image; Fortier plots (rotures) highlighted in yellow in St-Laurent and St-Jean
In Beauport, on 21 November 1677 (Notary Fillion), 33-year-old Antoine Fortier married 18-year-old Marie Magdeleine Cadieu, a daughter of Charles Cadieu dit Courville and Magdeleine Macart (or Maquart) of Beauport. The new couple made their home on Île-d'Orléans, raising a large family. Of the twelve children (ten sons and two daughters) born to this couple, eight sons and one daughter married and had families of their own.
Baptism of Marie Magdeleine Cadieu, 1659
Antoine Fortier's father Noël Fortier died 30 March 1683 and was buried at the cemetery in St-Laurent. He apparently never remarried and probably resided with his son Antoine's family in that parish.
Burial of Noël Fortier, 1683
By 1693, Antoine Fortier became master and owner of a barge called La Sainte-Anne (of 25 tons displacement). A transaction recorded before a notary on 12 January of that year described an agreement to make three journeys with his barge and crew from Québec to Papinachois (about 200 miles down the St-Lawrence River) and to Chicoutimi (up the Saguenay River about 65 miles from Tadoussac). This is probably typical of the type of work that Antoine did to make a living.
Antoine Fortier apparently died during one such expedition. On 11 October 1708 (Notary Jacob), an inventory of his estate states that he died near Papinachois "during the last Feast of Pentecost". This places his death at around 12 June 1707. La Sainte-Anne, the inventory shows, was later put up for sale by his nephew and major heirs.
At the time of Antoine's death, his eleven surviving children ranged in age from eight to twenty-eight years. The two oldest children (Marie Madeleine and Antoine) had already married. By 1709 (the year of the cadastral map above), several of his older children, Marie Madeleine (wife of Gervais Pepin dit Lachance), Michel, Antoine, and Jean Baptiste, lived on rotures in nearby St-Jean parish. Antoine, Sr.'s roture was occupied, at that time, by his widow and their other children. In order to have a farm with enough acreage to sustain the new families, most of the children, as they grew up, had to find land elsewhere.
Antoine Fortier's widow Marie Magdeleine Cadieu died on 26 February 1715 (of a pain in her side after seven days of illness) and was buried in the cemetery of St-Laurent parish. Her death was followed by that of two of her sons, Jean Francois (age 24) and Nicolas (age 21, of illness), later that same year.
Burial of Marie Magdeleine Cadieu, 1715
Of the nine children of Antoine Fortier and Marie Magdeleine Cadieu who married and started families of their own, a total of 104 grandchildren were born (an average of over 11.5 children per family!). Their youngest son Joseph Fortier, a notary for the south shore of the St-Lawrence River in Bellechasse County, had 19 children by two wives. Eventually, many of the grandchildren would leave Île-d'Orléans for unsettled land in nearby seigneuries along the St-Lawrence River and its tributaries.
On this web site, I have tried to identify all descendants of Antoine Fortier and Marie Magdeleine Cadieu born with the Fortier surname prior to 1799. (I have not yet pursued the female lines of descent - sorry.) As time permits, I will extend some of those lines of descent into the 1800s. I am descended from their oldest son Antoine (#2 in my Fortier database). Their 3rd-great-granddaughter Esther Fortier (#28283), who married in 1842 to Louis Toupin, is my 3rd-great-grandmother.
Signature of Antoine Fortier's son Joseph Fortier (#B), notary
Antoine Fortier's family was not the only Fortier family in early Québec. There were several others, particularly around Montréal, that were apparently not related to Antoine. See http://www.famillesfortier.ca/ang/others.htm. Through the Fortier DNA Project (see below), we will be able to determine if these other Fortiers are related to Antoine's family, or to each other. This web site and my abstraction of primary records is focused on Antoine Fortier's family.
Note: On this web site and in my records, I have chosen to omit the correct French accent marks (e.g., grave, acute, circumflex) since I am not fluent in the French language and am using an American English keyboard. My apologies go out to my French-Canadian cousins!
Here are listings of known descendants (through eight generations):
[Note: To view the Adobe Acrobat files, you will need the Adobe Acrobat Reader software. This can be downloaded free from http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html. You can download the files to your disk to view them, or use your web browser with the appropriate plug-ins.]
Children of Antoine Fortier & Marie Magdeleine Cadieu (Adobe Acrobat document; 46 KB; 17 Jan 2011)
Descendants of Antoine Fortier (#2) & Marie Magdeleine Noël (Adobe Acrobat document; 230 KB; 21 Feb 2011)
Descendants of Jean Baptiste Fortier (#3) & Marie Magdeleine Ruel (Adobe Acrobat document; 198 KB; 21 Feb 2011)
Descendants of Charles Fortier (#4) & Marie Françoise Blouin (Adobe Acrobat document; 105 KB; 17 Jan 2011)
Descendants of Michel Fortier (#5) & Angelique Manseau (Adobe Acrobat document; 54 KB; 21 Feb 2011)
Descendants of Pierre Noël Fortier (#6) & Marie Anne Leclerc (Adobe Acrobat document; 130 KB; 21 Feb 2011)
Descendants of Guillaume Fortier (#7) & Marie Magdeleine Dumas (Adobe Acrobat document; 78 KB; 21 Feb 2011)
Descendants of Louis Fortier (#A) & Elisabeth Fontaine (Adobe Acrobat document; 46 KB; 17 Jan 2011)
Descendants of Joseph Fortier (#B) & Susanne Plante & Marie Joseph Feuil(le)teau (Adobe Acrobat document; 160 KB; 21 Feb 2011)
GEDCOM (Fortier, Generations 0-8) (GEDCOM file; 406 KB; 21 Feb 2011)
Index of Names
(Adobe Acrobat document; 129 KB; 21 Feb 2011)
Explanation of Format of Descendant Listings
1901 Ontario Census (Adobe Acrobat document; 13 KB; 21 Feb 2011)
1851 Québec Census
(Adobe Acrobat document; 28 KB; 21 Feb 2011)
1861 Québec Census (Adobe Acrobat document; 38 KB; 17 Jan 2011)
1871 Québec Census (Adobe Acrobat document; 41 KB; 21 Feb 2011)
1881 Québec Census (Adobe Acrobat document; 46 KB; 21 Feb 2011)
1891 Québec Census (Adobe Acrobat document; 37 KB; 21 Feb 2011)
1901 Québec Census (Adobe Acrobat document; 30 KB; 21 Feb 2011)
1840 USA Census
(Adobe Acrobat document; 8 KB; 17 Jan 2011)
1870 USA Census (Adobe Acrobat document; 17 KB; 17 Jan 2011)
1880 USA Census (Adobe Acrobat document; 13 KB; 17 Jan 2011)
1900 USA Census (Adobe Acrobat document; 9 KB; 17 Jan 2011)
1874 Michigan Census
(Adobe Acrobat document; 9 KB; 17 Jan 2011)
1885 Minnesota Census (Adobe Acrobat document; 8 KB; 17 Jan 2011)
Ontario Notes (Adobe Acrobat document; 70 KB; 21 Feb 2011)
(Adobe Acrobat document; 1,810 KB; 21 Feb 2011)
Bellechasse Co., Québec Notes (Adobe Acrobat document; 360 KB; 21 Feb 2011)
Laprairie Co., Québec Notes (Adobe Acrobat document; 605 KB; 21 Feb 2011)
Levis Co., Québec Notes (Adobe Acrobat document; 369 KB; 21 Feb 2011)
Montmorency Co., Québec Notes (Adobe Acrobat document; 1,224 KB; 21 Feb 2011)
Québec Co., Québec Notes (Adobe Acrobat document; 297 KB; 21 Feb 2011)
GenForum - Fortier
RootsWeb - Fortier
DNA ResearchFortier DNA Project
A new tool in genealogical research is the use of genetic markers in DNA to establish family relationships. See Genetics, DNA and Health History. The Y-chromosome is passed down from father to son to grandson to great-grandson, etc. along the male line (as are surnames in many modern western societies). Occasionally, due to random mutations, one or more of the genetic markers may change in an individual and be passed down to his son that way (similar to a surname changing from Forestier to Fortier). Standard tests are available (based on a cheek swab) to identify 12, 37, or 67 markers on the Y-chromosome. (The more the markers, the more precise the idenfication; I strongly suggest 37 or more markers, in order to be useful for genealogical purposes.) All direct male descendants of Noël Fortier would have a very similar, if not identical, set of markers (or haplotype). Someone with a surname of Fortier (or some variation), whether or not they had done in-depth genealogical research, could compare their haplotype to known Noël Fortier direct male descendants to see if they were likely to be a direct male descendant of Noël Fortier. Likewise, the Noël Fortier haplotype could be compared to haplotypes of other families to see if these families were closely related in France. I would like to establish a confidential database of haplotypes of Noël Fortier's direct male descendants to give us a tool to identify Noël Fortier descendants and to find closely related Fortier families from France. Ideally, we would need several samples from direct male descendants of each of Noël's grandsons. The Family Tree DNA testing service is one of the most well-known. If anyone is interested, please contact me by e-mail. The tests range in price from $99-$248, depending upon the number of markers, when ordered from Family Tree DNA as a part of the Fortier DNA Project.
This DNA project is open to other Fortier/Forestier families with French heritage. It will establish if there is any relationship between these families and ours prior to Antoine Fortier's father Noël Fortier. In addition, it will help differentiate between the various Fortier families in Canada, especially where the documentary evidence (e.g., parish registers) is lacking.
Association des Familles Fortier
Biography of Antoine Fortier
Le Programme de Recherche en Démographie Historique
ArchiviaNet: On-line Research Tool - Library and Archives Canada
Québec Parish Register Lookup
If you would like to comment on any information contained within, or wish to correspond with me about this family, please send me an e-mail message at: email@example.com. Additions and corrections are greatly appreciated. I am especially interested in receiving information obtained from primary sources (parish registers, census listings, Bibles, cemeteries, vital records, probate and land records, etc.) and photographs and digital images relating to this branch of the Fortier family so that I can incorporate them into this page. Also, I would like to provide links to other pages on the Internet that deal with Fortier genealogy.
Mark B. Arslan