Roots Reflections

Discovering our Ancestors

Esther Jolicoeur (nee Laviolette);
Julien Girard-dit-Jolicoeur, circa 1885
Saint-Martin, Laval, Quebec, Canada

SourcesTop: Library and Archives Canada; Bottom: Private Collection



Much progress has been made since I began my research four years ago. All lines on my tree have been traced back (with sources) at least to their arrival on the North American continent, including my late husband's family.

Algonquin WomanThe Girard-Jolicoeur - Robert Branch - My Maternal Ancestors
Most of the lines on this branch can be traced back to the founding families of Quebec, including Louis Hebert and Marie Rollet, considered to be the first European settlers of New France; Abraham Martin (for whom the Plains of Abraham was named) and Marguerite Langlois; Francoise Langlois (Abraham Martin's sister-in-law) and her daughter Helene Desportes who was the first child of European descent born in New France, also the goddaughter of Helene de Champlain wife of Samuel de Champlain; Oliver Le Tardif who was Champlain's interpreter and Barbe Emard his wife, founders of Chateau Richer.

Through the Robert line we are also descended from Marie-Olivier-Silvestre Manitouabeouich, a member of the Algonquin nation, the first indigenous woman to marry a European, Martin Prevost. A more complete exploration of these first European settlers and their relations with the indigenous peoples of New France has been described in my e-book Quebec 1600 to 1650.

The Gomersall - Walls Branch - My Paternal Ancestors
My father's parents, Thomas Walls I and Mary Elizabeth Gomersall emigrated from Castleford, England and arrived and married in Montreal in 1906. From their union they had eleven surviving children. I've only managed to document and trace back their lineage to around 1750. Doing geneaological research on this branch is challenging because marriage documents from England often omit maiden names and local records have yet to be made available online in many cases. Most of the family lines seem to be clustered in and around Leeds, North Yorkshire, but some also come from Lincolnshire and Cumberland.

Biographies of my parents Thomas William Walls II and Grace Walls (nee Robert) and the backdrop of their and their six childrens' lives is chronicled in the order of time and residence in the e-book Family on the Move (Note: An updated edition was posted April, 2017).

The Mayflower by Dan NanceThe McMurray - Bryce Branch - My Late Husband's Maternal Ancestors
This branch of the family has on one line roots in Ireland and Scotland, newcomers to Ontario in the mid-nineteenth century (we're waiting on records from Alberta to hopefully determine exactly where and when). On another, we have traced several lines back to Loyalists who settled in the Niagara and Thames valley regions at the time of or just following the American Revolution. Members of these families fought in militias in both the Revolution and the War of 1812, and one, Benjamin Swayzie was related to Laura Secord by marriage (she was his first cousin's sister-in-law). Among the ancestors of these American immigrants were the earliest settlers of Long Island and Massachusetts, including John Swasey of Salem and William White and Susanna Jackson of Plymouth, whose son Peregrine White, my late husband's 8X great-grandfather, was born on the Mayflower.

The Chauvin - Noel Branch - My Late Husband's Paternal Ancestors
Since my late husband's lineage also traces back to the earliest New France pioneering 1640's, our families share the same direct ancestors in many instances. (Not suprising, given that there were but a few families residing in Quebec during that time.) Other ancestors include Dorothy Alexander, her husband John Stebbins Jr and both their daughter, Thankful Stebbins (aka Marie Therese Louise Stebenne) and their son Joseph Stebbins/Stebenne who were abducted from Deerfield, Massachusetts and brought to Quebec as hostages during Queen Anne's War; also Marie Joseph Madeleine Martin, a descendent of the most prominent Acadian families who was expelled from Port Royal as a toddler and married French soldier Alexis Beranger while living in what was essentially a refugee camp in Champflore, Martinique. One significant line opens up on the Noel branch of the family through Anne Couvent (my late husband's 10X great-grandmother) who was herself the 15X great-grandaughter of King Louis VIII of France

  • In our direct line are 58 Filles A Marier/Marriageable Girls and 89 Filles du Roi/King's Daughters.

What's New: DNA Ethnicity Estimate of offspring from T. Walls & G. Robert who were married in 1940. From their union they had six surviving children.

Region (Approximate Amount):
Africa 1% (Africa North 1%)
Europe 98% (Ireland 31%; Great Britain 27%; Scandinavia 15%; Italy/Greece 11%; Iberian Peninsula 6%; Europe West 4%; Europe East 3%; European Jewish 1%)
West Asia 1% (Middle East 1%)

Starting Point: Montreal, Quebec Canada
Our father, Thomas William Walls II, (son of Thomas William Walls I & Marie Elizabeth Gomersall)
Married: Gratia 'Grace' Maria, Helena Robert (daughter of Joseph Arthur Robert and Marie Amanda Girard-dit-Jolicoeur)

Next: A history of two cultures, Aboriginal and European, coming together in New France. In the fall of 2017 my goal is to create an e-book for the Walls ancestors researched to the 1670s. By spring of 2018 my memoirs are expected to be launched into an e-book format.

WANTED: Any additions, leads, corrections, photos or documents are most welcome and certainly copies of any photographs of individuals or headstones, sources or certificates, send to grace @ rootsreflections DOT ca

If you have any questions or comments about the information on this site, please contact us. If you are related to anyone on this web site, and want to send your own tree - GEDCOMs submissions are desirable, but others would be okay as well.

DATA SOURCES: Some of the family tree data and photos are from our Private Collection and most have sources and citations such as Censuses, Directories and others such as Family Search, Your Folks etc.

LIVING INDIVIDUALS: For security and privacy reasons, this website does not display names or other personal information of individuals believed to be living.

The line of descent from Roch Manitouabeouich to my mother, Grace Walls (née Robert). Click here for a version with live links to individual family members.

Top 10 Surnames in Our Family Tree