PIERRE NEAU – THE ANCESTOR OF
Pierre NEAU, the ancestor of numerous cousins
in America who either conserved the NEAU patronym
or the place name derivative, LABRIE, or one of various spellings of either
original name, came from Brie-sous-Matha,
This parish (commune) of the old province of Saintonge is located 30 km east of Saint-Jean-d’Angély
and 16 km north of Cognac in the present department of
Charente-Maritime and has 185 inhabitants in which there are neither NEAUS nor
LABRIES today. Even though the story of Brie-sous-Matha
dates back before the year 1000, the first mention of the NEAU patronym appears only in 1582 in the accounts of a
recognition case filed by Gilles Du Chesne, lord of
Brie, against about 30 members of the village.
parts of the Saint-Pierre church
date back to 12th century.
and mother of the ancestor Pierre NEAU also came from Brie-sous-Matha.
The father, Jean NEAU, son of Pierre Neau and Anne Joziau,
had been baptized on May 6, 1609
in the Saint-Pierre church and the mother, Perrine
Martin, daughter of Mathurin Martin and Suzanne Bigeon, had also been baptized
on the same location on September 12, 1613. The same church had also seen the
marriage of the NEAU-Martin couple on April 27, 1643 as well as the baptism of
their six children: Jean (February 2nd, 1644), Marie (March 2nd,
1646), Michel (January 19, 1648), Jeanne (January 28, 1653), Pierre (August 4, 1655) and Matheline (January 7, 1657).
Pierre NEAU was the fifth of six children. Although his exact date of birth is
not mentioned in the records of the Saint-Pierre parish, one could reasonably
assessed that he was born the very day of his baptism, August 4, 1655.
nothing about the first years of the ancestor and we cannot tell the exact
reasons why he decided to emigrate to New France,
in 1684. “It is as a soldier that Pierre NAU crossed the Atlantic Ocean. The historians suppose that was probably
involved in the expedition of Governor Lefebvre de La Barre
against Iroquois in the Great Lakes Region. “It is as a soldier that Pierre NAU crosses the Atlantic. The historians believe that he took part in the
expedition of the governor Lefebvre de La Barre
against the Iroquois in the Great Lakes area.
When Lefebvre passed his strength in review, at Fort Frontenac,
reports Pierre-George Roy, on the boat La Générale
were soldiers named Boisjoli, Lamontagne,
Arnault and Labrie.
Whatever happened, the ancestor became
a navigator, which probably explains the fact that the acts of the marital
status relating to him can be found not only in Saint-Laurent, Island of Orleans,
but also in the registers of a half-dozen parishes on the South
Shore of the St.
Lawrence River. It is only circa 1712 that he acquired a piece of
land very close to another one belonging to Michel Mailloux,
also from Brie-sous-Matha, and whose Mailloux Creek points out the memory” [translation of
Robert Prévost, La Presse,
April 13, 1996]
Pierre NEAU founded a family by
marrying Marie-Thérèse Garand (daughter of Pierre
Garand and Renée Chanfrain) on October 6, 1692, at
Saint-Laurent, Island of Orleans, near Québec City.
The engaged couple had contracted marriage earlier that year, on July 26, 1692, in Québec City, in
the presence of Maitre Louis Chambalon, notary. The
couple had twelve children. Widowed in May 1715, Pierre remarried on April 20, 1716, in La Durantaye
(near Lévis), to Marie Gaboury,
widow of Antoine Goupil and daughter of Louis Gaboury and Nicole Souillard.
Another child was born from this union, on March 15, 1717. Marie Gaboury also gave birth, thereafter, with a natural child
(of unknown father) on July 7, 1720. We thus locate the date of death of Pierre between these two
events (1717 and 1720).
Extract from the
baptism register of the Saint-Pierre parish in Brie-sous-Matha
le 4èsme jour daougst 1655 a este baptize
par moy soubs signe
pierre janeau fil de jean neau et de perine martin ses pere et mere a este parrein pierre catherineau et marreine jehanne peluchon faict en presence de michel arandeau [the 4th day of August 1655 was baptized by the undersigned Pierre Janeau, son
of Jean Neau and Perrine Martin, his father and mother, did signed Pierre Catherineau, godfather, and
Jehanne Peluchon, godmother.
Done in the presence of
catherineau et decheureuse, curé de brie
[Catherineau, godfather, and Decheureuse, parish priest of Brie]
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Copyright © 1996
Association des Familles NAU inc.
Last modified, June 30, 2009