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This is a guest post from my sister Sarah.  I am also a Begin by birth (and a Cotter by marriage).  Enjoy!

Commence et Persiste
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Begin Family History – Begins and Continues

I’ve been really interested in genealogy for a while and have managed to trace back almost every line of my family history. In honour of Canada Day, I will share with you the story of my first ancestors to arrive in Canada, Jacques Bégin and his son Louis.
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This information has been translated from L’Association des familles Bégin, and has been augmented with my own independent research.
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Honfleur, France
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Jacques Bégin (1600-1664), was born in Honfleur, a city in Normandy, France. He married Anne Melocque and had four children. They lived in the countryside on a farm in St-Sauveur in the parish of St. Leonard.
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After the death of his wife, Anne Melocque, Jacques and his son Louis (1631-1708) left for New France. They arrived around 1654 and the following year, Jacques obtained land in the name of Louis. In 1661, he accepted a stronghold in the back of St. Anne, the place now called Lauzon. Unfortunately, he drowned three years later in the St. Lawrence River, and his son Louis, sole heir, took over. 
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Around the age of 37, Louis met Jeanne Durand, daughter of Martin and Francoise Brunet. Jeanne was an orphan and married Louis at the age of thirteen on October 15, 1668.
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Habitants by Cornelius Krieghoff (1852)
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The Bégin family spent the most of their lives in quiet and peace. Like most people of the time, they lived on hunting and fishing and decorated with the cereal crop, which apparently was very prolific. Thus in the 1681 census, they had three head of cattle and eight acres of cleared land.
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In the spring of 1690, Jeanne Durand was very sick and stayed at the Hotel-Dieu de Quebec for thirty days. In 1695, she was again hospitalized for 37 days.
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Louis Bé
gin died in his house and was buried, December 26, 1708 in the cemetery at Point Levy. Jeanne Durand, with the help of her eldest son, Jean-Baptiste, lived for fourteen more years and died July 27, 1722.
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Visiting Levis – 2011
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While doing my research, the most fascinating information I dug up is that Louis and Jeanne are the grandparents of all Canadian Bégins. There were no other Bégins who immigrated to Canada and survived or reproduced, thus leaving Louis and Jeanne with the task of creating us all. If your last name is Bégin and your familly has been in Canada for a very long time, chances are we are cousins.
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The area where Louis and Jeanne lived is now known as Levis and you can find evidence of the impact that the family had all over the town. When Jorge and I visited Quebec last September, I insisted on visiting Levis. I wanted to see the place where my ancestors lived and hoped to find their burial sites. During my research, I discovered that their original graves were moved to the newer and larger Mont-Marie Cemetery. Unfortuantely, due to the age of the graves, there were no grave markers, just a mention in their database that indeed, they are buried there.
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A street in Levis
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I’m amazed that my family has been in Canada for 358 years. I am often asked what my background is and I always answer “Canadian”. At that point I’m usually asked… “yeah, but where do your parents come from? grandparents?”, and I answer “Canada”. Now that I’ve done my family genealogy, not just on the Bégin side but all sides of my family, I can name all of the places where we originated, but in the end I can’t say I am anything but Canadian. After 358 years and not learning to speak the language, I definitely can’t say I’m French.
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Happy Canada Day!

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About Me:

Ellen, a crafty homemaker with two kids and a penchant for correcting other people's grammar.

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