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Before Guillaume LeMessier


Before Guillaume LeMessier:


One day, I was in Rouen, at the Notre Dame Cathedral. I watched the lying of Rollon, in 911 became the first Duke of Normandy. Twenty children, aged about ten years, accompanied by an adult come to stop with me. The adult accompanying the group begins with this sentence: "You know the children we, Normans, are the descendants of the Vikings."


For some time, I was looking for information to confirm certain claims that we had Viking origins. That person responsible for educating children about their history, opened a lead on the origins of Messier. Later, I met a gentleman LeMessier to the ancestral land. I told him about my research on the subject. He told me a way to leave no doubt that we were descendants of the Vikings.

If we can claim to be their descendants, we must recognize that with the generations, these people are married to girls from this area. However, I wanted to know much more about our origins.


Where did this first LeMessier come? Where he lived? To answer these questions, we must look at the history of Normandy. In the 8th century, it faces Invaders: Vikings. They live in northern of Europe today Norway, Sweden and Denmark. By sea, the people go along the coast of Europe. They invade England and France then go even in the Mediterranean.


In the middle of the 8th century, they penetrate into Normandy by the Seine with all the consequences that war can bring. They are appointed barbarians with blond hair. The people fled before the invaders such barbarity. In the mid-10th century, they have the audacity to besiege Paris. To have peace with them, the King of France decided to concede Normandy. Thus, Vikings from Denmark settled in Normandy with their leader Rollon. They rebuild Rouen they had pretty trashed, decided to speak the country's language and adopt Christianity.


They settled first in Rouen and on the banks of the Seine. Historians have located the entry of these people into two spaces. First, an area of penetration and very high occupancy in Rouen and its surroundings, and a second smaller area adjacent to the first. The ancestral land is located on the border of these two areas.

By 1050, the king of France asked his subjects to carry, in addition to their name, a name that would be used to better identify them. Too many people have the same first name, causing many hassles. They decided to give them a second name. Thus the surname appeared. These are selected based on quality, a trade or for any other reasons. Our first ancestor inherits the name of his craft. Messier comes from the Latin word "Messis" meaning harvest. His occupation thus concerns the harvest. Was our ancestor guardian harvest?

If our name was given to someone who was guardian of the harvest, it was later used to refer to one who is now in Quebec, professional gamekeeper and fishery protection. In the late 18th century in France, who had these powers was called guard messier. Information on these features can be found in some writings. In a judgment of 27 of March 1788 at Senart, Jean-Louis Tournier, keep-messier in Etiolles, and Jean-Louis Gastel were each sentenced to a fine of £ 100. One was for having poached, the other for having favored his poaching, peddled and sold his game. It says Jean-Louis Tournier unable to perform the functions of messier.

In a decision of the Parliament of Paris on August 13, 1778, Firmin Dubois was sentenced to "be broken alive in the town square Monfort l'Amaury, for murder committed premeditated design" to the named Louis Martin, keep the messier grains from the Goupillieres parish.

More recently, in 1853, published a "general guide policeman and a guide messier" or treaty of their duties, including a review of the Rural Code, and everything about police driving, hunting and fishing.

Obviously, having a surname was not a spontaneous movement across France. It happened gradually over the years. This means that the first Messier has not necessarily to his name in 1050 must be to wait 100 years to see a Norman bear the name. The problem of the names was resolved for a long time. However, with population growth, it reappeared. Back then, people did not have the idea, as now, to identify people with the names of their parents or their wives. In addition, births were not registered to verify their identity. At the end of the 15th century, LaHaye, with a population of about 300 people, had some Messier with the same name. To better identify them, they took the initiative to give them a nickname. Thus, the LeMessier inherited nicknames such as Blondelet, Bosc, Tabellion, Vieubled, etc. Our ancestor inherited the nickname of "Blondelet." These have been very useful to identify families.

It also happened that two people with the same first and last name, were identified according to their age. One was identified as " the young" and the second as "the elder." Naturally, this type of identification is not always practical today to recognize the person. Not knowing their age, the identification was another challenge.


In Canada, we have seen the ancestors take the name of Messier said Duchesne and Messier said St Francois. Some have kept the name of Duchesne and St. Francois. So today, the Duchesne and St. Francois have a Messier ancestor. I found the same phenomenon in France. I've seen people call themselves Vieubled to the ancestral land. As in Canada, the LeMessier took their nickname surname.


What do we know about our ancestors from France?

Over a period of five years, extensive research has been done on the Messier in France by a genealogist with good experience of old documents. So far, it required seventy days of work. She helped to know seven generations of Messier. In addition to showcasing our ancestors, she reveals a part of their history.



Parish records are non-existent before 1560. Thereafter, great times are missing. Those of St-Denis-le-Thiboult only begin in 1645. At Vascoeuil, they are so damaged that it is very difficult, even for an expert to consult them. So, we have to consult deeds and other documents for information.

Before undertaking research, we knew David Messier and his brother Jacques. The first research told us that our ancestors remained in France were LeMessier. We became Messier in Canada. In addition, a contract notary confirms that the father of Michel and Jacques was David LeMessier. Only the sobriquet said Blondelet is added. David's brother, Another contract identified Jacques as a Blondelet. This is an excellent track that has facilitated the identification of their ancestors.


Text comes from the volume of Gilles Messier :  Les Messier et leurs ancêtres, 700 ans d'histoire.

Last update : 

November 6, 2014

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