Thursday, May 4, 2017

Homage To My LaPrairie Voyageur Ancestors

As I've stated previously in "Ripples from La Prairie Voyageur Canoes," I've been interested in the North American fur trade for the past 35 years.  

Here's a photo (above) from a 1988 Rendezvous reenactment at Hart Canyon in California.  That's me on the far left.  I sure wish I hadn't sold that little hunters tipi.

Back in the 1980s, I began collecting fur trade artifacts and replica souvenirs.  Then in 2011, I made a breakthrough in my family genealogy, and over the past six years I've discovered over 100 voyageur ancestors, mostly from LaPrairie, Quebec, Canada.

During this past year I've started collecting more fur trade memorabilia as a way to pay homage to my ancestors.

My Fur Trade Collection

Replica North West Company 1820 token (worth one made beaver) and trade beads: yellow French cross, red white hearts, and small blue padre beads.

Trade silver Montreal cross and trade beads: Lewis and Clark with small blue padre beads.

Trade silver beaver effigy pendant and mixed trade beads.

My Ancestry Paper Trail

1763, Apr 29, Engagement of Joseph Pinsonneau dit Lafleur (1733-1779) (5th great-grandfather) voyageur, to Michel Laselle, a Montreal merchant, to go to Detroit. Notary Hadiesne.

Jean-Baptiste Mignier (Meunier) Lagasse (Lagace) (1749-1828) (5th great-grandfather) • 1778, Ezechiel Solomon hired Jean-Baptiste Meunier, voyageur de La Prairie de la Magdeleine to go to Mississippi, and spend the winter, Notary Antoine Foucher.

1793, Mar 18, Michel Vielle dit Cossé (1771-1810) (5th great-uncle) Engaged as a voyageur to go to dans le Nord-Ouest du Canada (far north west) for traders McTavish, Frobisher and Company aka North West Company. The contract states he is a Bowmen (Avant) who acted as the guide.

1797, August 11, Engagement of Gabriel Pinsonneau (1770-1807) (4th great-grandfather) of La Prairie, to Jacques & François Laselle to go to Detroit. Notary Louis Chaboillez.

1797, Feb 14, Engagement of Joseph Vielle dit Cossé (1767-_) (5th great-uncle) voyageur, to go to Nord Ouest [North West], Nipigon and Lac Superieur for traders McTavish, Frobisher and Company aka North West Company. Hired by company representative Alexander Mackenzie. The contract states he is a Bowmen (Avant) the man located in the front (or bow) of the canoe who acted as the guide.

Jean-Baptiste Meunier (Mignier, Minier) Lagasse (Lagace) (1776-1835) (4th greatgrandfather) • 1803, Oct 6, McTavish, Frobisher & Co. (North West Company) hired Jean-Baptiste Meunier voyageur de St-André-d’Argenteuil to go to Lac De La Pluie (Rainy Lake), notary Louis Chaboillez).  Contract Notes: Go through Michilimakinac if required, make two trips from Kamanatiguià Fort to Portage de la Montagne, and give six days of drudgery, and help carry the three canoes in the land.

The learn more see:

Happy paddling.


  1. Hi, I came across your blog while looking at voyageur pictures. I come from the family Beauchamp, born in St. Boniface, Manitoba. My grandfather Alfred Beauchamp was a descendant of Jean le Petit Beauchamp which makes Jacques and Pierre my 10th great uncles. I am doing some research on the voyageurs in my family and writing about it at my blog Leaves In the Wind ( nothing too formal just the things I find interesting. I am fascinated by your trade beads! Also, how did you get your hands on the actual copies of the contracts?

  2. See the database at If they have a copy of an original contract they will make and email a photocopy for a fee. You'll need the voyageurs name and date of course. Good luck an happy hunting.

  3. My dad who is researching the North West 1820 token he recently purchased in an on-line auction is now trying to find out more about it. He came across this blog in his search and is wondering where you purchased your reproduction. His token is similar but has a suspension attached so it can be attached to a ring and worn as a necklace. Any ideas where this could have come from?

    1. I've seen several original and replica tokens on Ebay from time to time. It appears to me many different replicas have been made over the past hundred years. I had a poor quality replica I bought at a rendezvous reenactment in the 1980s. The replica pictured on this page is approx. 1 1/2" in diameter, and is fairly good quality. I also have a Fort Vancouver souvenir token, circa 1924, that has the beaver icon on one side and an image of the fort on the other. The original to the best of my knowledge is smaller than my replica and is copper or bronze. Do some more research and I know you'll more information about the 1820 original. Happy hunting.

  4. Is Francois Pinsonnault dit Lafluer b. 1646 from the same family? He was my 9s ggf.

    1. Hi Rod, YES. Lots of various spellings: François Pinsonneau dit Lafleur 1646–1731
      BIRTH 1646 • Saintogne, Charente-Maritime, Poitou-Charentes, France
      DEATH 26 JAN 1731 • La Prairie (Notre-Dame-de-LaPrairie-de-la-Madeleine), Québec


      François Pinsonneau dit Lafleur (1646 - 1731) -- 7th great-grandfather

      Jacques Pinsonneau dit Lafleur (1682 - 1773) -- Son of François Pinsonneau dit Lafleur

      Joseph Pinsonneau (Pinsono) (1733 - 1784) -- Son of Jacques Pinsonneau dit Lafleur

      Gabriel Pinsonneau (Pinsono) (1770 - 1807) -- Son of Joseph Pinsonneau (Pinsono)

      Gabriel (Gilbert) Passino (Passinault) (Pinsonneau) (Parsneau) (1803 - 1877) -- Son of Gabriel Pinsonneau (Pinsono)

      Lucy Passino (Pinsonneau) (1836 - 1917) -- Daughter of Gabriel (Gilbert) Passino (Passinault) (Pinsonneau) (Parsneau)

      Abraham Lincoln Brown (1864 - 1948) -- Son of Lucy Passino (Pinsonneau)

      Lydia Corinna Brown (1891 - 1971) -- Daughter of Abraham Lincoln Brown (my grandmother)