This web site is dedicated to reporting on the progress of the Baillon Royal Connection Research Association. The following information will be found here:
Many people of French-Canadian ancestry can claim descent from Catherine Baillon. She was the daughter of Alphonse de Baillon, écuyer, and Louise de Marle. She was born around 1645, probably near Montfort-l'Amaury, Île-de-France, outside of Paris. Her parents were members of the minor French nobility. She came to New France around 1669 as a daughter of the King (that is, an immigrant bride royal officials would send over to the colony to marry a settler). She married Jacques Miville dit Deschênes on 12 November 1669 at Québec City. Together they had six children. Catherine died on 27 January 1688 at Rivière-Ouelle.
Catherine's lineage extends back to several other minor French nobility families in the Paris region. However, by pushing these lines further back it is possible to find connections to major French and European noble households. There have been several attempts to trace her ancestry back to royalty and to the Emperor Charlemagne in particular. René Jetté published one such proposed lineage in his scholarly Traité de généalogie in 1991. This lineage was through her mother's family, the de Marles, and the key connection was to the Bournel de Thiembronne family. Jetté published his findings with documentation based on the best information available to him at that time. Soon after his book was published he collaborated with Gail F. Moreau and John P. DuLong in the translation of the crucial de Marle Livre de raison published in the American-Canadian Genealogist, 10:4 (Winter 1993):4-8, 19:2 (Spring 1993):42-45, 19:3 (Summer 1993):116-125, and 19:4 (Fall 1993):153-158. Moreau and Dulong also edited and translated "Archange Godbout's Baillon, de Marle, and Le Sueur Families of France" Michigan's Habitant Heritage 13:2 (April 1992):40-51. These works summarize the known facts and hypothetical theories regarding Catherine's ancestry.
Proving Catherine's noble and possible royal lineage is an important task because it would allow her many descendants, spread across the United States and Canada, to trace their ancestry back to the Middle Ages.
Jetté, Moreau, and DuLong were very concerned that the available evidence relied too heavily on published works. They wanted to ground Catherine's lineage on original documents. In 1992, they formed the De Marle Royal Connection Research Association, which was subsequently renamed as the Baillon Royal Connection Research Association in 1994. The purpose of this association was to band their resources together to pay for a professional genealogist in France to verify the lineage through the Bournel de Thiembronne line using original documents. We have since expanded the purpose to tracing any potential royal connection for Catherine. In 1995, Roland-Yves Gagné was added to the associates. He brings his valuable ability to read ancient French and Flemish documents to the research team. Membership in the association is by invitation only.
So far we have been working on verifying three separate lineages for Catherine:
Until we publish our results I will have to use these vague labels to protect our work. I apologize for the mystery and inconvenience of this system of labels. My colleagues and I have invested a lot of our effort, skill, money, and time into researching these lineages and we do not want to be scooped by other investigators arriving late on the scene.
After spending a considerable amount of money, time, and effort, the associates would like to briefly report the following:
We wanted to warn people about the lineages that do not stand up to further investigation. We have heard rumors that some hereditary societies have already accepted these lineages; the same lineages we are no longer confident of or that we can disprove. You can view the Ascending Lineage from Catherine Baillon to Charlemagne at this web site. This is based on our recently published article. We do not want to go into greater details regarding the potential royal lineage C we are still researching because our work is incomplete and our findings are not yet published.
We hope to publish our findings on Lineages A and B in the Mémoires of the Société généalogique canadienne-française some time in 1997 or 1998. These articles will be in French. We might publish similar articles in English as well. Other plans for potential articles based on the materials we have already collected are not finalized.
We will work on investigating Lineage C as time and money allows. We anticipate that we will have to send one of the colleagues to France in order to pursue this lineage any further. This is because the documents we need to evaluate are not concentrated at one site.
Jetté, with the help of Moreau, DuLong, and Gagné, is in the process of writing a comprehensive Table d'Ascendance de Catherine Baillon. This work will cover all her known ancestors and will contain detailed documentation about both rejected and supported bourgeois, noble, and royal lineages. Complete documentation for the links between each generation will be provided. The publication of this work will not be for several more years.
De gueules à une tête de léopard d'or, baillonné de trois annelets de même [On a red field the head of a leopard of gold, muzzled by three small rings of the same metal]. The colored image of the Baillon arms comes from the Bibliothèque nationale de France, Cabinet des Titres, Armorial général, Paris mss. vol. 4, p. 33, ca. 1696. Some modifications were made to enhance the image. These were the arms recorded for Marie Rathier, widow of François de Baillon, écuyer, seigneur de la Brentonnière. She had been married to Catherine's distant cousin. Often only one ring is shown in depictions of the Baillon arms, that is, De gueules à tête de léopard d'or, bouclée du même. The black and white example is from Louis-Pierre d'Hozier and Antoine-Marie d'Hozier, Armorial général de la France, 13 vols. (Paris: Firmin-Didot, 1738-1908), vol. 7, part 1, p. 65. There is a fine modern rendering of the Baillon arms, showing three rings, in Dictionnaire national des Canadiens français (1608-1760) (3 vols. Rev. ed. Montréal: Institut généalogique Drouin,  1975) vol. 3, p. 1370. Please note that in the course of our research on Catherine's ancestry, we have uncovered hundreds of ancestral arms. Jetté has been careful to record the blazon for each of these family arms in his manuscript.
We would like to thank the following people for financially contributing to our project: Betty (Champoux) Borgman, Harold R. Deschenes, Ronald R. Niquette, Sue Rood, Elaine Smith, and Rev. Jerome F. Weber. We welcome contributions form others to help support this project. We will add the names of contributors to this section of the Baillon web page. Thank you again.
The associates recently received from the Bibliothèque nationale de France an invoice for the microfilm copies of the documents we are seeking. These documents cover two promising lines, Lineages B and C, of Catherine Baillon's ancestry back to royalty. There are a total of 1,659 manuscript pages and the bill comes to approximately $692.76 USA. Frankly, we were surprised at the amount of documents that were found and the resulting cost. We pulled together the money needed to cover this bill and sent it off to Paris. Now we are patiently waiting for the microfilms.
Our research experience has demonstrated: Claiming a royal lineage is easy and cheap, proving it is difficult and expensive. Donations to this project are welcomed now more than ever so that we can complete the analysis when the documents arrive. In turn we will be happy to mention your assistance in the acknowledgment section of the publications we intend to complete. [As of 16 January 1998, we are no longer accepting donations until we finalize our plans for the future.]
Once we receive the microfilms we will have to double check their citations and contents. We will then make a duplicate of the microfilms so that one set can stay in Michigan while the other set is sent to Québec. The documents will then be analyzed and evaluated. It will take several months to completely go through this large set of documents. We must then take the new information we learn and incorporate it in the draft document that René Jetté has already started on Catherine Baillon's ancestry. We are still many months, if not a few years, away from finishing this project.
Although over a thousand documents sounds impressive, it might very well turn out that only five to ten percent of them will be of value. Also, there is no guarantee that we will prove Catherine Baillon's descent from royalty. However, these documents will at a minimum improve what we know about her noble ancestry.
Lastly, the associates have renewed their agreement for another two years. Hopefully, we will complete our project and publish our findings before the end of 1998.
Keep watching this page for further updates.
Finally! The microfilm reels arrived from the Bibliothèque national de France. There are four reels loaded with documents from the Cabinet des titres. We ordered these documents to be microfilmed back in June 1996. It took almost six months for the order to be filled. These reels contain documents relating to both the Baillon and Le Neuf projects. A backup copy of the reels will be made to be kept with the Michigan associates and the original reels will then be forwarded to the Québec associates. We will start analyzing them as soon as possible, however, it will probably take several months to work our way through all the material. Although specific detailed information on our Baillon research findings will have to wait for publication of the article Jetté is preparing, I might be able to convince my colleagues to present a brief but general report on our analysis of the documents at this web site.
I want to thank the individuals who contributed financially to this project. I have recorded your names and I will make sure you are mentioned in the acknowledgments of any publication.
Jetté has completed the analysis of the recently received documents from the Bibliothèque nationale regarding the Lineage B royal connection for Catherine Baillon. In fact, these documents have met our expectations. Jetté has rewritten the paper we plan to submit to the Mémoires . The paper will probably be printed as two separate articles. The first article will detail why we no longer consider the Bournel de Thiembronne connection to royalty, Lineage A, as viable. It will layout and summarize all the evidence we found that both supports and contradicts the possibility that Catherine descends from royalty through this connection. The second article will detail Catherine's descent from royalty through Lineage B. We have verified the connection between each generation using a combination of primary original documents, seigneurial records, heraldic evidence, and onomastics. Secondary publications and documents have only been used to clarify points or add detail. Jetté has done an outstanding job summarizing our findings and clearly laying out the evidence. Moreau, Gagné, and I are now in the process of reviewing the draft of these articles. When I know the exact details of their publication I will announce them here on this web page. These articles will be in French, but I am hoping that we will be permitted to also publish an English translation of them, or at least a summary in English, in the American-Canadian Genealogist or here on this web site.
We will probably take a pause in our research on the Lineage C royal connection until after these articles appear. We have now seen just about everything available in Paris on Lineage C and we will now have to extend our research efforts into other areas of France to verify this approach. I hope to convince my colleagues to let me post a summary of Lineage C so that you can see the challenges that await us in pursuing this research. Basically, the main problem involves verifying the research of another scholar who published a reasonably well documented genealogy about a particular family. Catherine descends from this family. However, the line branching off from this family, which we are most concerned with, is not clearly documented in this work. We will have to locate and analyze some obscure documents in locations far removed from Paris in order to prove Lineage C.
Once again I want to thank the people who have sent us funds to keep this project going.
Lastly, I have modified and reorganized this page to better reflect our progress on this project. You will note that I have gone through and relabeled the approaches we are working on as Lineage A, B, or C. This was done to hopefully make our research efforts clearer. I have no doubt that we will eventually be working on other lineages in the future. Catherine has enough bourgeois, noble, and royal ancestors to keep several teams of researchers busy for decades.
Since February things have been moving rapidly on our project. Two drafts of the summary articles has been reviewed and commented upon by all the colleagues. René Jetté has taken our comments into account and modifying the final version of the papers. The editor of the Mémoires of the Société généalogique canadienne-française has agreed to publish the papers as two articles. Both of these articles will be in French. The first article summarizing our findings on the de Marle and Bournel de Thiembronne family (Lineage A), and why we now reject that theory, will be published in Summer 1997. The second article presenting our new findings regarding the royal ancestry of Catherine Baillon (Lineage B) will be published in Autumn 1997. In addition, we have been making an effort to acquire photographs of heraldic evidence that we would like to have printed with the articles. However, getting the copyright permission for using these photographs has become problematic, so they might not appear in the final articles. We have also discussed with the editor of the American-Canadian Genealogist the possibility of eventually publishing an English translation of this information. However, any English translation will not appear until at least one year after its publication in French.
I must apologize for the delay in the publication of our two part article in the Mémoires. It took longer than I thought to acquire photographs of the two heraldry images we want to use. These images, and the heraldic evidence they contain, are crucial for proving the royal lineage (Lineage B) that we discuss in the second article. I think you will be pleased and impressed with seeing the images and not just settling for a written description of them. It is worth the wait. Because of this delay, the first article discussing our rejection of the de Marle and Bournel de Thiembronne family (Lineage A) will not appear until the Autumn 1997 issue of the Mémoires and the second article discussing our new findings (Lineage B) will not be published until the Winter 1998 issue.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the people who have supported our research project with financial contributions. Your assistance has been greatly appreciated.
We have received several requests for prepublication copies of our articles and for photocopies of all our information concerning Catherine's ancestry. Please understand that we can not distribute copies of our two part article before or after publication. The Société généalogique canadienne-française will own the copyright to the articles. You will have to arrange for copies of the articles from this organization or copy it from your local genealogical library when they receive it.
As for all our raw data, there is no way we can distribute all this information. We have eight microfilm reels of documents from the Bibliothèque nationale de France, photocopies from the Archives nationale de France, and hundreds of notes and photocopies from many other institutions, articles, and books. All these material takes up a whole file drawer in my cabinet. We can not distribute the documents we have received from France because of the copyright agreements we signed with these organizations. In our articles, and other planned publications, we are careful to accurately detail all the sources of information we use so that you can pursue them on your own. We have no plans to become a distribution service for our data. Our goal is to publish well documented articles and not get bogged down in making photocopies. If the French authorities will allow us to make duplicates of the microfilm, then perhaps we will donate the copies to the Family History Library and the Archives nationale de Québec. However, we have no firm plans to duplicate the microfilm reels, nor do we have the necessary permissions.
The Baillon article is finally published in the Mémoires. Denis Beauregard emailed me with the news a few days ago. I understand that the images made it into the article and that it is a single piece, not just the first part of two articles. I am unsure because I have not yet received my copy of the article. Some idiot forgot to send in his subscription renewal in time!
My colleagues and I are grateful to the Société généalogique canadienne-française (SGCF) for publishing our article. We encourage you to read the complete article and to check our citations. We are proud of the thorough job we have done. We hope you will enjoy our findings. We do not want to steal any of the thunder from the Mémoires, so we will not offer a summary of the articles here. Please contact the SGCF for membership information or to order a copy of the article. I am told that to order a single issue costs $8.00 Canadian for Canadians and $8.00 USA for Americans, plus $2.50 for postage (the total is $10.50 for Canadians in Canadian dollars and $10.50 for Americans in USA dollars). You can visit the SGCF web site or write them at:
After reading the article, you will know that Lineage B involves a Flemish solution to the problem of Catherine's royal ancestry. Our team must now move on to Lineage C. This involves researching Catherine's ancestry in the south of France and the eastern Mediterranean. It will be fairly expensive to extend our research effort to this region. We will no longer be able to take advantage of the centrally located nobility records in the Cabinet de titres of the Bibliothèque nationale in Paris.
It is my hope that we will offer a short summary of the Lineage C approach on this web site. My colleagues and I have to agree on what to say and write up this summary. Perhaps we will have it available before the end of Summer 1998. We want to provide this summary so that you will understand the research challenges that we face in our effort to prove or disqualify the Lineage C approach.
Lastly, we would like to thank all the people who have contributed to our project in the past. Your support is appreciated.
We are not alone in our research on Catherine Baillon. There is another team researching her family. Raymond Ouimet, the author of Pierre Miville: Un ancêtre exceptionnel (Sillery, QC: Les Éditions du Pélican / Septentrion, 1988), and his colleague, Ms. Nicole Mauger, of France, have been working together since 1992. They are now working on the transcription of more than half a dozen documents pertaining to Catherine's close family. They have been studying her immediate family network back in France. They hope to uncover data that will help them understand why she immigrated to New France. Catherine's immigration does stand out as curious. She is an unusual case of a noble women who came to New France single and married a commoner. They are making progress in their research and we look forward to the publications of their results.
I finally received my copy of the article a few days ago. I am pleased that the art work came out so well. The full citation for the article is:
Friends in Québec have informed me that our article has made the local Montréal newspapers. This is because we point out in the first paragraph that Lucien Bouchard, the Premier of Québec, Jean Chrétien, the Prime Minister of Canada, and Céline Dion, the singer, all descend from Catherine and thus from royalty. Jetté tells me that Gagné will even be interviewed on CBC Radio soon concerning our research project.
For those among you who are intrigued by the British royal family, I would like to point out that Queen Elizabeth II shares ancestry with Catherine Baillon. Thus, if you dig back far enough, anyone who descends from Catherine is a distant relative of the Windsors. If you want some challenging fun, try and identify how you are related to the Queen. By the way, there are multiple solutions to this problem. Likewise, you can play this game with other contemporary royal families and with historical royal figures. For example, if you descend from Catherine, then you descend from Philippe Auguste II, King of France, and therefore, you must be a distant cousin of Louis XIV. As an interesting genealogical exercise you can identify your exact relationship to Louis the Great. The next time you visit Versailles, you can just consider it a drop in to your cousin's home! Just keep in mind that knowing you are a distant relative of the Queen of England will not get you invited to tea at Buckingham Palace.
Recently, while searching the Usenet News groups and Web pages for information relating to Catherine Baillon, I noticed that an error is popping up regarding her mother-in-law, Charlotte Maugis, the wife of Pierre Miville. Several people are claiming that her parents were Alphonse Maugis and Louise de Merle. I do not know the source of this rather humorous error. It is clear that someone took the names of Catherine's parents, Alphonse Baillon and Louise de Marle, miss-transcribed them, and assigned them to the wrong person. The sad thing is how an error like this, lacking any documentation, is spread from pedigree chart to pedigree chart. Stop this nonsense now and remove this information from your data bank. To my knowledge, the parents of Pierre Miville and Charlotte Maugis are still unknown. Perhaps Raymond Ouimet, who reads this web page occasionally, and is an expert on Pierre Miville, might want to comment on this situation.
Raymond Ouimet has kindly given me permission to quote his email to me dated 8 January 1998:
I thank M. Ouimet for this informative update.
Throughout December, my associates and I have been debating how to proceed with our Baillon research. It is getting harder for us to work on this project given our other priorities in life. We have also been discussing how we will publish the Table d'Ascendance de Catherine Baillon. The manuscript, while being an impressive piece of research that René Jetté has put together, still needs more work. We are looking into the possibility of publishing it on the Internet in 1999 or 2000. We will not be able to publish it any sooner because of some previous copyright commitments and because of the additional work the manuscript requires. I hope to have a clearer announcement regarding our future plans, and some more information about Lineage C, on this web page by the end of January or in February.
I should point out that Gail Moreau is working on the English translation of our French article. We hope to publish it in 1999. Yves Gagné, René Jetté, and I are no investing some of our time on the Le Neuf research project.
Until we determine our future plans, we are no longer accepting any further donations. We thank those of you who have already donated to our project. Your financial assistance was not only a kind act, but also very welcomed. The funds we still hold will be used only for the Baillon project.
My colleagues and I have anguished over what we should do with Lineage C. We still have a lot of work to do on preparing the Table d'Ascendance de Catherine Baillon and we all have other projects pulling us away from working on the Baillon research. Rather then hold on to what we know about Lineage C until we are ready to work on it, we have decided that it would be better to share what we know about this possible royal gateway. It is our hope that someone will step forward with the skills to study this problem and solve it. We can now call Lineage C what it is, the Lascaris de Vintimille Royal Gateway. Please view our summary of this possible royal gateway to understand what we know about the case and the difficulties it posses to anyone wanting to research it. Please remember that this is just a theory and has not been verified in original documents. If this theory can be proven, then the descendants of Catherine Baillon will be able to claim some very interesting noble and royal ancestors.
As for the Table d'Ascendance de Catherine Baillon, we have been discussing the best approach for finishing the initial work on the publication. We are seriously considering publishing it on the Internet so that we can continue to improve it periodically. This could be a life time job to compile this work. Therefore, we are thinking that perhaps we will only start with publishing Catherine's first twenty generations of ancestors in the initial release. We hope to publish something in 1999 or 20000. The next release could go back another few generations. We would add more detail and make corrections as time permits. Although we often rely on original documents, many never mentioned before in a publication, we know that we will have to use secondary publications (citing primary documents). Consequently, we will probably rely on a confidence rating system like the one we use on the Lascaris de Vintimille page.
Several people have asked me why we refer to Catherine as "Catherine Baillon" and not "Catherine de Baillon." We do not use the preposition "de" because more often than not the surname does not have the preposition associated with it in most original documents. In addition, Baillon is a surname and not a piece of land. Catherine's father, Alphonse Baillon, was not referred to as "Sieur de Baillon," but as "Baillon, Sieur de La Mascotterie." I hope this helps.
Lastly, with the advances we have made, I see that this page is in need of a serious rewrite. Hopefully, I will get to it in the next few months.
M.Ouimet has been keeping me honest. He wrote to me on the 12th and pointed out two corrections in the last update. First of all, Alphonse Baillon was only the Sieur de La Mascotterie. His father, Adam Baillon, had been the Sieur de Valence. His brother, also named Adam, was also known as the Sieur de Valance. Clearly, Alphonse never owned the siegneurie of Valance. M. Ouimet is of course correct. This is a mistake I made, not my colleagues, and which I will correct on this page and the others. We did get it right in the Mémoires article.
The second point regards the use of the preposition "de" with the surname Baillon. M. Ouimet reports that Catherine always signed her name using "de" and Baillon. Furthermore, he has also observed on original documents that her father Alphonse, her brother Antoine, and her sister Louise also used the "de." I went back and checked some signatures I found on some photocopied documents. I would have to agree with M. Ouimet that it looks like members of the family usually signed as "de Baillon" and not "Baillon." For example, on a document dated 7 July 1605, Catherine's grandfather, Adam Baillon, signs as "a de baillon" (BN, Pièces originales, vol. 171, dossier 3588, fo. 4). The confusion over the surname comes in with other documents concerning the family. For example, in the same dossier 3588 there are other documents that use the "de" consistently, others that use it inconsistently, and still others that do not use it at all. Even with Catherine the disappearing and reappearing "de"can be observed. At the time of her marriage, the priest fails to use the "de" in the register and yet the notary does on her marriage contract. I think it is safe to say that the use of the preposition "de" was certainly haphazard by contemporaries of the Baillons. Nevertheless, I think M. Ouimet is correct in that most members of the family used it consistently. My colleagues and I should reconsider our usage.
Ultimately, I think we should let Catherine have the final word. Here is her digitally enhanced (because of the poor quality photocopy I have) signature from her 19 October 1669 marriage contract done before Pierre Duguet, notary (ANQ, reel no. 1710):
M. Ouimet also informed me in his email that he and Mme Mauger have uncovered about a dozen documents in France regarding Catherine's family that have not been previously published. They have found that Catherine came to New France with a girl friend who did not stay. Also, they have learned that her brother Antoine was in contact with another family living in New France.
M. Ouimet is in negotiations with Les éditions de Septentrion, in Québec City, regarding the publication of his findings. He hopes to have a book published around 2000. Their book should provide some interesting background details about the family's social status in France and Catherine's emigration to New France.
Since March 1998, we have been in contact with Marie-France Bru of France. She too descends from Guillaume Pierre I de Lascaris de Vintimille and Eudoxie Lascaris. After viewing our web page on the Lascaris de Vintimille royal gateway, she made contact with us. Through her kind sharing of information, we have learned that the lineage Mme Chabot proposed is probably true in general. However, there are some specific details, mostly regarding given names, dates, and spouses, that are most likely wrong. Mme Bru is in the process of gathering sources and she has promised to share them with us. She has even made a short research trip down to Nice to collect some facts. We are extremely grateful to her for all her help and we look forward to working more closely with her over the next few months. Her contribution to this project has inspired us to continue working on it for now since the problem now looks much more solvable.
After much discussion, we have finally resolved what to do with René's draft of the Table d'ascendance de Catherine Baillon. We have decided that we are going to publish only the first twelve generations of her pedigree. Why twelve generations? We are reasonably confident of the first twelve generations because we have seen most, if not all, of the original documents and published sources involving these ancestors. Also, beyond the first twelve generations, our reader's should be able to use standard published sources for tracing Catherine's ancestry further. Although we have data on many of Catherine's lines well beyond the twelfth generation, we felt it would be less helpful to publish this information since we have not verified all of it in original documents. Moreover, it would take us much longer to prepare the manuscript for publication if we tried to cover twenty or twenty-five generations.
We are eager to publish Catherine's ancestry for twelve generations and are working on finalizing a draft we can send off to a publisher. Ideally, we would like to complete our research on the Lascaris de Vintimille royal gateway before publishing René's manuscript. Mme Bru is continuing to help us research this gateway. Nevertheless, we might decide to publish our findings to date regarding the Lascaris de Vintimille line in the Table d'ascendance de Catherine Baillon prior to completely verifying it. We will of course note the speculative nature of this line should we decide to publish it in an incomplete version.
Another decision we have made is to publish this information as a book and not as a web page or database. We will use our Baillon web site to update and correct the book as new information comes forward.
At this time Gail, Yves, and I are reading over the last
draft René sent to us. Besides our suggestion and comments for
René, there are some additional examples we might want to include, some
last minute references we are trying to check through interlibrary loan,
and some coats-of-arms and place names to identify. Since this
work is in French, we are considering adding a short four to to eight
page introduction in English to assist those unfamiliar with French.
I can say with confidence that even as the draft stands now it makes
for an interesting genealogical read.
As we progress in preparing the draft, and as publication
details become available, we will inform you through this web page.
I, that is, to be clear, John, just returned from a two week visit to France. It was a very wet two weeks having rained all but two days. The sun was ironically shining as we departed yesterday morning, but I am sure this was only to lure unsuspecting new arrivals. My wife, Patricia, and I brought our three daughters, Renée, Angélique, and Elise, to show them the homeland of our ancestors. Despite the rain, we had a good time. We mostly traveled through Normandie, some of Bretagne, the Loire River valley, and, of course, Paris.
Although I was under strict orders not to do genealogy, I did squeeze in some genealogically related sight seeing. In particular, as regards Catherine Baillon and her ancestors, I visited several interesting sights.
First of all, we visited Montfort-l'Amaury, her supposed birth place. This is a quaint little town with hilly, winding, and narrow streets. The parish church dates from Catherine's time and is a compilation of various styles with a gothic chancel and a neo-classical facade built in her life time.
Gail, who also recently traveled to France this last Summer, suggested that while in Paris I should visit St-Germain-l'auxerrois, behind the Louvre. According to Raymond Ouimet, this was the neighborhood parish church for Catherine's family when it moved to Paris. Due to various remodelings of the Louvre neighborhood, the residential buildings from Catherine's time are now long gone. However, this church is still there and is well preserved and refurbished. In fact, as with many of the monuments we saw, there was scaffolding around part of it as there was ongoing restoration work being done. The interior of the church has the royal box the king of France and his family used when attending mass. St-Germain was the church the royalty attended when residing at the Louvre palace.
Within Paris, we also visited the the Monnaie de Paris, that is, the Coin and Medal Museum, on the quai de Conti. This building is the royal mint constructed in 1770. What does this have to do with Catherine? Several of her bourgeois ancestors in Paris, including members of the Braque, Culdoë, Des Landes, Le Sueur, and Vivien families, were involved in the minting of money in Paris during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Many of them were général maîtres des monnaies, presumably for the cour des monnaies (the court associated with the royal mint) in Paris. Although none of them would have worked in the Conti building, this museum hosts a superb collection of French coins including many that they would have worked with on a daily basis.
Outside of Paris I visited two interesting castles related to Catherine's ancestry. The first was La Roche-Guyon on the Seine River between Paris and Rouen. This is an interesting château that abuts a chalk cliff. The château proper is a hodgepodge of intriguing buildings with some marvelous rooms, but most of them reflect periods beyond the middle ages. It is of course this period that intrigues me because of the château's association with Katherine de Gavre d'Escornaix, Guy Le Bouteillier, and Simon Morhier. Nevertheless, there is one very interesting medieval feature, the donjon. Perched high on top of the chalk cliff is the remaining donjon of the castle that was extent when these people controlled the place. You can still access the donjon by claiming some rather steep and huge stone steps that take you from the back of the château through a long tunnel up to the donjon. It was a strenuous climb for me, but the view from the top of the donjon of the winding Seine River was well worth the climb. At the boutique I explained that I descended from previous owners of the castle. The staff was surprised to hear that so many Canadians and Americans have a tie to the site. However, the young lady behind the counter very gently reminded me that Le Bouteillier was a collaborator with the English!
The second castle is actually just a single remaining donjon at Houdan. This place is near Montfort-l'Amaury, just a few kilometers west of it. I arrived in the town very late and did not get a chance to enter the tower. Frankly, I am not even sure if it is permitted to enter the structure. However, I was able to purchase a book in the town that showed me the internal layout of the structure. We also had the good fortune of finding a very nice Moroccan restaurant and hotel, the St-Christophe, in Houdan. The kafta is excellent there.
Frankly, there is a lot more that I could have visited relating to Catherine and her ancestry. With three teenage daughters, I was lucky enough to get purposefully lost at these places without them suspecting my ploy. I could envision someday a tour of France based on Catherine Baillon's ancestry. We could visit the best preserved and most interesting sights relating to her and her ancestry. For instance, while driving towards Montfort-l'Amaury, I saw a sign pointing towards La Boissière, the seigneurie that the Le Bouteillier family once owned. I wonder if there is any interesting buildings that have survived there? Another site that could be included on this imaginary tour would be the port that Catherine when she departed from France. To my knowledge, I do not know which port this is, but perhaps Raymond Ouimet and Nicole Mauger have uncovered its name in their research. Certainly, I do not have the skill or energy to organize such a tour, nor do I suspect my research colleagues would want to get involved in such an endeavor, but some enterprising person might see this as an opportunity.
If the photographs we took turn out, then I will perhaps scan some of them and display them here. [I am afraid that none of the photographs we took are worth sharing, I am simply not a photographer, 15 February 1999.] Another project that we Baillon descendants might want to consider in the future, would be to hire a photographer to visit these sites and make a photograph album or a video of the places. There is actually a photographer, James A. Derheim, who specializes in this exact practice. He runs European Focus Photography. He visits various regions of Europe, on the demand of customers, and photographs beautiful images profiling ancestral hometowns. He waits until he has a substantial number of request for a certain area and then visits the region. When he visits an area, he stays there for a few days to insure that he gets good shots, and not rainy-overcast pictures like I always end up with. If enough Baillon descendants pulled their resources together, they could hire him to do a splendid job of recording the places associated with Catherine and her ancestry. Again, this is beyond my skill and energy level to organize, and I doubt that my research colleagues would be interested in this enterprise, but it is another possible opportunity for someone to cash in on Catherine's ancestry and the large number of descendants she has left behind in Canada and the United States of America.
Now I have to get back to working on the English translation of the Mémoires article Gail has prepared. Yves and René must see it and comment on it before we submit it for publication to the American-Canadian Genealogists, which I understand is eager to have it. With luck and some effort, this piece should be published in 1999.
By the way, Gail recently attended a meeting of the American-Canadian Genealogical Society in Manchester, New Hampshire, and met some of the key players in that group. She also had to chance to meet with both René and Yves. Now I am the only one who has not met all the team members in person. Yves and I have yet to see one another.
By the way, Yves recently published an interesting article entitled "Le fonds Godbout Redécouvert" in the Mémoires 49 (Autumn 1998): 175-206. In this piece he reveals some additional information about several French Canadian families that has remained hidden in Archange Godbout's papers for several decades. Father Godbout visited several French archives in 1919-1922, 1928-1932, and 1951 searching for the origins of several French Canadian families. Although some of his data has been published in the past, Yves found that Godbout's notes still contain some hidden facts. Anyone who has tried to read Father Godbout's tight script will appreciate the effort Yves took in reading through this material.
René now has all our comments regarding the manuscript of the Table d'ascendance de Catherine Baillon, covering the first twelve generations of Catherine's ancestry. He has to incorporate our suggestions and corrections, and there are still a few last minute facts we are struggling to verify, but all-in-all, this manuscript is looking very good and we hope will also be published soon. We are now looking for appropriate images we might want to include as illustrations for the book. Perhaps, I am overly optimistic, but I hope to see it published in 1999.
Just as we are nearing the end of editing of the Table
d'ascendance de Catherine Baillon, we have had another person step
forward with some helpful information. This time our contact is Joseph
Dubé, a Jesuit seminarian soon to be ordained. He found some interesting
references to the Lascaris de Vintimille lineage in books dealing with
the history of Monaco and neighboring areas. Soon after receiving this
information from Deacon Dubé, Gail and I took a day trip to Ann Arbor
to research some of these works at the University of Michigan. Basically,
Deacon Dubé found some very good clues that support the Vintimille de
Lascaris lineage, but still does not definitively prove it. Nevertheless,
his findings increase our confidence in the lineage. The books Deacon.
Dubé found also point to some other reference works we are trying to
locate and view. We greatly appreciate Deacon Dubé's help on this matter.
The English translation of our French Mémoires article is nearly complete. We are cleaning up some of the Latin translations with the help of several other knowledgeable Latin scholars. It is difficult to clarify some of the more obscure Medieval Latin phrases. The paper should be ready to submit for publication in just a few weeks.
The English translation of our French Mémoires article, concerning the royal ancestry of Catherine Baillon, has finally been submitted to the American-Canadian Genealogist. As soon as I find out what issue it will be published in, I will post that information here along with details on how you can order a copy of it. There are a few improvements to this article, but it is essentially the same piece we published in 1997. We have added a map to help clarify the location of places associated with the Le Bouteillier and Morhier families.
Deacon Dubé continues to be of great help to us. He has been able to locate some rare published works dealing with the Franco-Italian families we have been researching. I now have on the floor next to my desk about a foot high pile of photocopies concerning the Chabot (Chabaud), Berre, Marchesan (Marquésan), Lascaris de Vintimille (Ventimiglia), and several other Franco-Italian families. About 9 of these 12 inches of materials came from Deacon Dubé. These pages are in French, Italian, and Latin. I have made copies of all these materials and forwarded them to René for his analysis. This is going to delay the publication of our Table d'ascendance de Catherine Baillon, perhaps by a couple of months. This information is helping to clarify some issues, but we have still to find the definitive proof, based on original documents, for the entire Lascaris de Vintimille lineage. Nevertheless, this data is interesting to us and certainly makes us feel more confident of the proposed lineage.
Deacon Dubé has also taken an interest in the Grimaldi family, the same family associated with the ruling house of Monaco. Catherine Baillon is related to the Grimaldi family through the Lascaris de Vintimille lineage. The good deacon is concentrating on the contradictions between the published sources regarding the Grimaldis.
We appreciate the assistance of Deacon Dubé. I thought that I was accomplished at locating and acquiring rare publications. However, I am humbled by his tenacious ability to track down these rare publications.
To give you an idea of what the Table d'ascendance de Catherine Baillon will be like, we thought that perhaps it would be valuable to show you a typical page from the last draft. This example page will give you an idea of what we are producing (please note this is a large graphic and may take some time to load).
You will note that the page is about half text and half footnotes. This is the pattern for just about every page. I think you will find our footnotes to be extensive. René has done a wonderfully detailed job of documenting the relationships between people, facts regarding events, accurately identifying the location of places, and describing family coat-of-arms. The book starts out with an introduction in French followed by an introduction in English. The rest of the book is in French. We then present some tables summarizing the descent of the authors from Catherine Baillon. There follows some more summary tables showing Catherine's descent from Charlemagne through several alternative lines and her proposed descent from the emperors of Byzantium.
The next twelve chapters are dedicated to her first twelve generations of ancestors. To make this project manageable, we had to have a cut off point and we picked the twelfth generation. Most of the more difficult lineage problems are solved in the first twelve generations and you should be able to use standard Medieval genealogy references to extend her ancestry beyond twelve generations.
At the end of each of these generation chapters we offer some extensive analysis of evidence for particularly difficult or intriguing genealogical issues raised in the chapter. At the end of the books we have some special appendixes analyzing the evidence involving some complex relationships and lineages. Again, it is René that wrote these excellent analytic pieces at the end of each chapter and in the appendixes. Yves, Gail, and I have assisted René, but most of the work is his text with our suggestions incorporated. The book ends with a detailed bibliography and an index of names and places.
I believe you will be impressed and pleased with the Table d'ascendance de Catherine Baillon. As soon as the final publication details are known, I will make an announcement on this web site and in the soc.genealogy.french, fr.rec.genealogie, and soc.genealogy.medieval Usenet News groups. Your patience in waiting for this publication is appreciated.
We are making slow but steady progress towards our publication goals.
The English translation of our article published first in the Mémoires will probably appear in the Fall 1999 issue of the American Canadian Genealogist. It was going to be in the Summer issue, but some formatting difficulties have pushed its publication back an issue.
What I hope is the last draft of the Table d'ascendance de Catherine Baillon has been distributed to the team members. René added the information that Father Dubé found for us regarding the Lascaris de Vintimille lineage. I would say that this information confirms the existence of the individuals named in the lineage and provides chronological information to support our theory. However, we are still missing definitive evidence, based on original documents, linking all the generations on the Lascaris de Vintimille lineage. Nevertheless, we have been able to move the theory away from being possible to being probable. René has also incorporated the comments Gail, Yves, and I made on the previous draft.
I expect that once René receives all our recent comments on this draft, and changes the text accordingly, we will take the manuscript to a publisher.
Furthermore, it should be noted that Father Dubé, no longer Deacon Dubé, was ordained a Jesuit priest on 5 June 1999, in Santa Clara, California. In recognition of his valuable contribution to our Baillon project, we are pleased to announce that we have made Father Dubé a co-author. Congratulations Father Joe.
Gail, René, Yves, and I have also decided, that once the Table d'ascendance de Catherine Baillon is published, we will formally terminate our association. This is an amicable ending of our project. We have enjoyed working together. W have certainly learned allot, not just about Catherine's ancestry, but also about Medieval genealogy and working with remote libraries and archives across North America and Europe. We all have other projects we are working on that we are eager to complete. Gail is preparing a detailed genealogical survey of Detroit's first settlers under Cadillac. Yves, René, and I want to devote more time to our Le Neuf project. Also, Yves is investigating several other French and Scottish noble families and René is examining French Canadian families along the Ottawa River. Lastly, I have to get back to working on my book full time.
When our English article and the Table d'ascendance de Catherine Baillon are finally published, I will announce their publication here on this web site and on the appropriate Usenet News groups. I will maintain this web site after our final publications are released. In particular, I will continue to operate this web site as a clearinghouse for information on Catherine and her ancestry. Anyone who makes further progress on Catherine's ancestry can share that information with me and I will be happy to post an update at this site. Keep in mind that there is at least one other project looking at Catherine's background, that is, the team of Raymond Ouimet and Nicole Mauger. We eagerly await the publication of this team's results. We have done the best job we can do in tracing Catherine's ancestry. However, we are confident that others will find further details about her ancestry. There are several lines in the first twelve generations of the ancestry that we were unable to pursue. Perhaps you will be the person with the necessary expertise, time, and money to solve some of these challenging problems in her genealogy.
For all of you who have patiently waited, we are pleased to announce that the English translation of our French article has been published. Here is the full citation:
This article outlines her descent, generation-by-generation with documentation, from King Philippe II Auguste of France who is in turn descended from Charlemagne.
Copies of the American-Canadian Genealogist with our article can be ordered from the the following address:
The cost for a copy is $3.00 USA plus $1.50 USA for postage and handling for the first copy and $0.90 USA for each additional copy. You can learn more about this organization by visiting its web page at: http://www.acgs.org.
We would like to thank Anne-Marie Perrault, the editor, for working with us and accommodating this lengthy article.
We are still negotiating with a publisher in Québec regarding the publication of our book. This book will cover the first twelve generations of Catherine Baillon's ancestry. This brings her ancestry back to the thirteenth century. It is in French and, like our articles, well documented. We anticipate that the book will be published in 2000.
Just heard from Anne-Marie Perrault, she reports the following about our article in the American-Canadian Genealogist :
This is gratifying to us. Again, we thank the American Canadian Genealogical Society for publishing out article.
The Société généalogique canadienne-française submitted the manuscript of our book, Table d'ascendance de Catherine Baillon, to be considered for the Septentrion prize. This prize is awarded to the best genealogy work. The recipient of this award will be announced at the Fédération québécoise des sociétés de généalogie meeting next June. We are hopeful that we will win the prize and we will let you know at this web page if we do. (26 April 2000: I recently learned that the Septentrion prize will not be awarded this year to anyone. I am not sure of the details of this decision.)
We are still negotiating with a publisher. When the book is printed we will post a message on this web page to tell you know how to order it. Thank you for your continued patience.
I want to thank Roger LeBlanc who wrote to me in January and told me about Jim Bradbury's Philip Augustus, King of France, 1180-1223 (New York: Longman,1998). I found this to be an excellent read. The last French king Catherine Baillon descends from is Philip Augustus.
Bradbury takes a new look at Philip and moves beyond the prejudices in English chronicles while still maintaining a critical eye on the French chronicles. He sees Philip in a much more favorable light compared to what you might expect. I will let the author speak:
Some of Philip's strong points were his concern to have the law and justice on his side before acting, his administrative and financial skills, his ability to pick men of quality no matter what their rank, his support of towns, his diplomacy and willingness to bargain rather than fight, and his general piety. His weaknesses include the bizarre rejection of his second wife and his horrendous treatment of Jews. Also he can be criticized for encouraging and applauding the Fourth Crusade, which attacked Constantinople and not the Saracens in the Holy Land, and his support of the Albigensian Crusade in southern France against Christian heretics, though his support was moderate. All in all, for a Medieval ruler, Philip comes across as rather impressive. He made significant gains, crushed the Angevin empire, but never went beyond his limits.
Despite some repetitiveness in the prose, I found Bradbury to be a good writer who moved the story along well. Given the sources he had available to him, we never are able to climb into the psyche of Philip, but his general character is made clear. I do appreciate the extensive list of references found in Bradbury's bibliography and I found the inclusion of the original Latin in his footnotes to be helpful. He starts out with a detailed bibliographic essay that will help you understand the sources available to you and their strength and weaknesses.
There are of course some shortcomings to this book. Bradbury, in the same paragraph, has the count of Holland both on the left and in the center of the allies' line at the battle of Bouvines (p. 302). He identifies Agnes de Méran as a daughter of of Berthold IV count of Méran in the Rineland (p. 183). According to Detlev Schwennicke's Europäsiche Stammtafeln (16 vols. to date, 1978-, vol. 1, table 36), he was Berthold VI, not the IV. Furthermore, we understand that she was from what is modern-day Moreno in the Tyrol of Italy and that her family also held land in Bohemia and Croatia, not near the Rhine. Nor does he explain how she came into Philip's life, tough talk of her being a witch to seduce the king is mentioned (p. 178). Marie, the daughter of Philip and Agnes, is mentioned in passing. Philip at first planned to marry her to Arthur of Bretagne when he came of age, but king John of England had Arthur murdered (p. 140). She was then married to to Philip of Namur, regent of Flanders, in 1211 and then to Henry of Brabant (pp. 224 and 284). Bradbury does not give a date for the marriage of Agnes to Henry and thereby misses an important point. What motivated Henry, the duke of Brabant and in the forces of the emperor Otto IV, to betray his allies and give information to Philip before the crucial battle of Bouvines, 27 July 1214 (p. 297)? It most like was that Henry was already the husband of Marie and son-in-law of Philip as they were married in 8 or 22 April 1213 at Soissons. Henry was a man torn by obligations, his new wife was the daughter of the French king, and his own daughter Maria, from a previous marriage, had been the wife of emperor Otto IV since 1212. His position was awkward to say the least.
All in all, despite a few drawbacks, this is a worthwhile book and I would recommend it to anyone interested in Philip Augustus, especially his descendants.
I would like to announce that I have prepared an annotated Bibliography for Tracing French Noble Families that I hope you will find helpful in learning more about Catherine's ancestry. Once our book is published, you can use these resources to push beyond twelve generations. Some of the books I mention in this bibliography are now available on CD-ROM. For details consult the 2 March 2000 update on the Le Neuf research project web page.
One last point, in an email a woman named Josephine asked me:
My message to her bounced back because of a bad email address. In hopes that she read this update, here is my answer to her question:
With the publication of our book, Table d'ascendance de Catherine Baillon (12 générations), we are calling our project and association to a close. Details about our book can be found on our new main web page at http://habitant.org/baillon/index.htm#Book. It has taken us many years and thousands of dollars, but we were able to document many of Catherine Baillon's ancestors. We were also able to demonstrate lineages back to Charlemagne, the emperor of the western Holy Roman Empire, and Theodoros II Dukas Lascaris, the emperor of the eastern Byzantine Empire. We hope you enjoy the product of our efforts.
The Baillon web site will be kept operational to act as a clearinghouse for new information about Catherine Baillon and her ancestry. Please contact us if you lean anything new about her ancestry.
Should you have any general questions regarding this association and their work please contact John P. DuLong. Please understand that we can not answer detailed specific questions regarding our project. You will have to await our publications. Updates of our progress will be made on this web page.
This page, and all contents, are Copyright © 1995 by John P. DuLong and associates, Berkley, MI. Created 23 November 1995. Modified 2 June 2001.