Life in France
Nicholas was born on April 26th 1639 in Dieppe, France. He is the son of Louis LeRoy (d. 1663) and Anne LeMaître (1617-1718). He was baptized on May 25th of the same year and his godparents were Jacques Baudouy and Françoise Priaux. Little else is known about his childhood.
In 1658, he married Jeanne Lelièvre (1640-1728), the daughter of Guillaume Lelièvre and Judith Riquier. They were both rather young, 19 and 18 respectively. Exactly 9 months later, their first son, Louis, was born.
The small family spent nearly 3 years in Dieppe.
Passage to New France
It is not clear why the LeRoy family decided to leave France. Jeanne’s father, Guillaume, moved to the New World around 1656 after he was widowed. He must have spoken well of his new life. It is also likely that the death of Nicholas’ father affected his decision. He now had to support his mother in addition to his young family.
Whatever the reason, in June of 1661, Nicholas left France with his wife and his widowed mother. They also brought their 3 year old son, Louis. They took a ship named “Le Jardin de Hollande” from Dieppe under the command of Capitain Laurent Poulet. The voyage was paid for by Jean Gloria. Nicholas made a promise to repay the cost 8 days after his arrival in New France; he pledged himself and his belongings to this agreement.
They arrived two months later on August 22nd 1661 and reunited with Guillaume Lelièvre (who had since remarried with Marguerite Meillet).
Given that their second son was born in New France in 1661, Jeanne would probably have been pregnant during the voyage.
Life in New France
In 1663, Nicholas received land from Marie-Guillemette Hébert (the widow of Guillaume Couillard) on the seigneurie of Beaupré. He owned 7 acres of land and 4 animals; he hired Jean Brière, a baker, as a servant.
Nicholas and Jeanne had 11 children together: Louis (1658-1713), Nicholas (1661-1727), Noël (1663-1731), Marie-Jeanne (1664-1751), Guillaume (1665-1743), Anne (1668-1670), Jean (1669- 1670), Élisabeth (1671- ?), Jean (1674- ?), Jean-Baptiste (1678-1743) and Étienne (1690- ?).
In the summer of 1669 a single, 29-year-old man by the name of Jacques Nourry raped 5-year-old Marie. On the 12th of August, Nourry was condemned to be hanged and his head was set on a pike as a warning to those “who would avoid marriage”. Nourry’s lands were confiscated and Marie was given 300 livres in reparation. Marie had a relatively normal life after that initial trauma. She married twice, first to Jean Gaudreau (with whom she had 3 children) and second to Jean Fournier (with whom she had 10 children).
In 1670, tragedy struck again. A fire in their home claimed the lives of 2-year-old Anne and 1-year-old Jean.
By 1681, Nicholas had moved to the seigneurie de la Durantaye; one might guess that he wanted to distance himself from the tragedies that occured in his previous home. He owned 20 acres and 8 animals. Guillaume, Elisabeth, Jean (my ancestor) and Jean-Baptiste still lived with him. His two eldest sons owned land alongside his.
Nicholas died between 1690 and 1691. The cause of his death is unknown. His wife soon remarried and lived 38 more years.
Origin of the Name
The name LeRoy, itself has an interesting history. The name, originally, was given to bailiffs and other men who represented the king. It referred to their dependence on the king.
My link to Nicholas LeRoy
- Nicholas LeRoy (1639-1690) m. Jeanne Lelièvre (1640-1728)
- Jean LeRoy (1669- ?) m. Catherine Nadeau (1676-1746)
- Geneviève Roy (1701- ?) m. Ignace Ruel (1698-1770)
- Ignace Ruel (1723-1805) m. Elisabeth Paquet (1719- ?)
- Jean-Baptiste Ruel (1763- ?) m. Marie-Anne Asselin (1754- ?)
- Charles Ruel (1813- ?) m. Marguerite Royer (1815- ?)
- Cédulie Ruel (1841- ?) m. François Picard (1835- ?)
- Samuel Picard (1869- ?) m. Josephine Kelly (1873- ?)
- Joseph Picard (1895-1969) m. Marie-Anne Ruel (1906-1936)
(note: the most recent three generations have been omitted for the sake of privacy.)