A short history about Jean Rolandeau

The father of all Laurendeau's in North America

written by: Leo Laurendeau from the Great State of Utah, and Jean Laurendeau from la belle province de Quebec

We have pulled from our research folders some basic information about our ancestor, Jean Rolandeau.
We hope that this information will give you a better understanding of our past and a desire to learn more.

Part I
The foundation of our ancestral nest

Église St-Pierre-de-Marsilly

On January, 20th, 1650, Louys Rolandeau and Laurence Chauveau are at the church of St-Pierre-de-Marsilly (six miles north of La Rochelle, France) baptizing their 6th child. He will bear the name of Jean Rolandeau and will be the father of all Laurendeau's on the North American continent.
The fortifications of the St-Pierre-de-Marsilly church where made during the 14th century.

Trajet de Jean Rolandeau de Marsilly à Montmagny

We have no record which tell us when he left France to establish himself in North America. However, being the only mode of transportation in those days for crossing the Atlantic, we do know he traveled by ship and most likely sailed from La Rochelle.

In 1674 at the age of 24, we find Jean Rolandeau in the Seigneurie de la Rivière-du-Sud, working as a chainman with Jean Guyon (1), son of sieur De Buisson.

Extract from an old history book (2):
. . . the honest Jean Guyon, who did the land-measuring of the Seigneurie de la Rivière-du-Sud . . . During the most part of summer 1674, the meticulous land surveyor, armed with theodolite and compass; and accompanied by his faithful chainman Jean Rolandeau, covered every direction of the vast area of the Seigneurie by drawing lines, planting boundary post, identifying trees and noting in a diary the principal characteristics or the explored territory . . .

Montmagny et les Seigneuries du temps tu Régime Français

On April 7, 1676, records show Noël Morin, Seigneur of Fief St-Luc, giving a parcel of land to Jean Rolandeau.
During the summer 1677, Jean Rolandeau is again recorded as assisting Jean Guyon du Buisson in surveying the Seigneurie de l'Islet-St-Jean, in which Miss Genevieve Couillard was the Seigneuresse.

Emplacements des terres de Jean Rolandeau

This map, created in 1709 by Gédéon de Catalogne, shows the location of the land of our ancestor. It is very informative as it also gives the names of his neighbours.


On April 24, 1680, Jean Rolandeau and Marie Thibault are married in Québec City, at the Notre-Dame church. Today, that church no longer stands, however the church shown on this picture was built on the same site in 1687. It stands today as an historical masterpiece in the center of the Place Royale in Québec City. It bears the name of Notre-Dame-des-Victoires.

In the 1681 census, we find Jean Rolandeau, 30 years of age and his wife Marie Thibault 18; he owns 2 rifles, 1 cow and 6 exploited arpents, meaning 6 arpents of arable farmland. (An arpent is equivalent to 0.85 acres of land).

Together, they had seven children. Their first child, Marie-Anne, did not arrive until 1696. Their other children included: Catherine, Louise, Marie-Louise, Marie-Geneviève, Louis-Joseph and Marguerite. Marie Thibault died in 1711 at the age of 50. Jean Rolandeau died in 1715 at the age of 65, in Pointe-à-la-Caille, Fief St-Luc.

As we have seen above, more than three (3) centuries ago, there was a young man from a small west coast town of France who left his home and family, sailed across the Atlantic Ocean and came to a land called Pointe-à-la-Caille, today known as Montmagny, Québec, Canada.

When he arrived, he had no idea what was ahead of him or just what role he would play for future generations to come. Though not a noble man or a man of great wealth, he was an enterprising individual who knew and understood the value of good hard work. When he arrived, this land was covered with thick forest consisting, among others, large Pine, magnificent Elm and Maple trees. Trees that would have to be removed in order to carve out a living. Back then, not even a simple road existed. The corner food store was behind each and every tree or at the end of a fishing line. Yet through hard work and determination, he would eventually establish his livelihood and build his home.

Part II
The today's remains of the home that Jean Rolandeau built

Quite recently, trained individuals have devoted their time and skills to understanding the
the origin of Montmagny and its surrounding area. This effort has been met with great succes.

During summer months, the city hires archaeologists with a mandate
to learn what the living conditions were like for the first settlers of Montmagny.

Their first archaeological efforts started at the church and the presbitary of St-Thomas.
Here, you will be one of the first to see pictures
(not yet in the French version of this Website) of the
Jean Rolandeau Home site.

Walking to the Rolandeau Home

The remains of his Home are located down this field road and nestled amongst the trees we see in the background. Just on the other side of those trees is the magnificent St. Lawrence River. The House is located on private land. It is not open to the public for visiting.

Rolandeau Home at this knoll

The remains of Jean Rolandeau Home, located at this knoll.

Rolandeau Home; fallen wall

A fallen wall of the house: To the untrained eye, this looks like nothing more than a pile of rocks which a farmer would have placed here when clearing his fields. However to an archaeologist, he sees much more. This in fact is a fallen wall, located approximately 30 feet from a farmed land. Because of the rough terrain, farm machinery over the years could not get to this home. Archaeologists evaluate this site as a very good one, being untouched for almost three (3) centuries.

Little diggers in the Rolandeau Home

Those little diggers: At the bottom of the fallen walls, one can see evidence of life at the Rolandeau homestead. Fortunate for us, as these little critters “dig their way into the house”, they help us by bringing old artefacts out.

bottom wall of the Rolandeau Home

Photo of the bottom of a wall located just under ground level

chimney lintel of the Rolandeau Home

The Chimney Lintel: The highest and the largest worked stone at the center of the picture is the chimney lintel. A little farther to the left, almost impossible to see, is the outside baker’s oven. The Lintel is often referred to as the “throat” of a fireplace and serves two separate purposes: The first is to support the rock / brick structure located above it. The second purpose is to prevent turbulent airflow going through the chimney. Turbulent airflow can cause the fumes from the fire to back up into the room it is trying to heat.

Oies Blanches White Geese

In this photo we see the west end of the Ile Aux Grues with the majestic Charlevoix Mountains serving as a backdrop (just under the clouds). The Ile Aux Grues, located 4 miles north of Montmagny is one of many islands dotting the St. Lawrence River.

In the foreground are migratory White Snow Geese, often referred to as Oie Blanche or White Geese by the present-day people of Montmagny. Springtime in Montmagny provides the birds a temporary stay while traveling from the mid-Atlantic coastline of the United States, on their way to Northern Canada. In the Fall, they return to this same location as they head south for the Winter. Ancient documentation states that in the 1700's, Jean Rolandeau was surrounded by birds like tourte (3) and partridge. Actually, we have no reason to think that the oies blanche was part of the day-to-day Jean Rolandeau life.

a view from the Jean Rolandeau Home

Shown in this photo is a view of what Jean Rolandeau, Marie Thibault
and their children would have seen from the inside of their home.

another view from the Jean Rolandeau Home

A field side view from the Rolandeau Home. In black and white, you can see the house of our late 1600’s neighbour; the Bélanger House. Still being lived in today; the home has been restored to its original design, thanks to its modern day owners.

We invite all Laurendeau, of North-America to learn of our family history and participate in this great work.

visit us at


Laurendeau's Coat of Arms

The one who has forgotten the memory of the past
is condemned to relive it again

Notes from above:

  1. With the years, the name of Guyon became Dion for some branches. The father of the family of Céline Dion is this same Jean Guyon, who worked with Jean Rolandeau.
  2. Topographie de Montmagny; Histoire Primitive de la paroisse de Saint-Thomas de Montmagny; Première partie, written by A. Dion in 1935.
  3. Tourte: English speaking peoples called them Passenger Pigeons. With these birds, Quebeckers would make a traditional delicious meal called tourtière which is a kind of meat pie. Scientists estimate that as many as 5 billion of these birds once lived on the Eastern part of North-America. They also estimate that flocks numbering as large as one million would travel together, destroying almost everything in their path. Our ancestors' efforts to protect their crops, resulted in the species nearly extinct in 1890. The last tourte died in the Cincinnati Zoo in 1914.

In the name of our ancestors we say thank's for your visit / Copyright © since 2005, Jean Laurendeau

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