Le Quebec, c’est moi

Both of Clyde Raymond’s paternal grandparents, John Raymo and Maria LaShomb, were descendants of the Acadian founders of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Quebec. Raymo and LaShomb ancestors  descended from prominent, noble French Catholic families. Maria LaShomb’s relatives were some of the first settlers in New France, while John Raymo’s anestors joined a second wave of persecuted Catholics escaping France.

Raymond ancestor Nicolas Hebert (1547 – 1600), ancestor of Nellie Raymond’s mother Maria LaShomb, was the apothecary to Catherine De Medici, the 16th Italian Queen of France. As her apothecary, Hebert would have had access to the intimate knowledge regarding the Queen’s health. It was a coveted and trusted position. Through his connections, Grandpa Hebert was able to secure a position for his son Louis with the explorer Samuel de Champlain, later called the “Father of New France”. Louis and his equally famous wife, Marie Rollet, are recognized as the first farmers in New France. Soon other Hebert family members followed from France, including Raymond direct ancestor, Louis’ brother Jacques.


Catherine de Medici and explorer Samuel de Champlain: good people to know if you hope to colonize New France.

Over 60 years later in 1673, Jaques Hebert’s granddaughter, Catherine Hebert (1656-1731), married Jaques LeBlanc (1651 – 1730), son of early settler Daniel LeBlanc (1626-1693). Grandpa Daniel arrived in Quebec in 1648, and within several generations the LeBlancs were the largest family in Acadia. After Le Grand Derangement, or Great Expulsion,  of the 1750s, the LeBlanc family was separated. Some were forced to return to France, while others made their way to Louisiana.


Pierre Pitre (1699 – 1766), Elmer Raymo’s four times great grandfather, was the son of Claude Pitre (1671-1775) and Marie Fancoise Comeau (1678-1707). Late in life, fleeing mounting persecution in Quebec, Pierre père arrived in New Orleans in 1765 with his two youngest children. Pierre’s son and LaShomb ancestor Jean Baptiste and his wife Marie Anne stayed in Quebec, along with the rest of the family.  Grandpa Pierre, as well as his son Pierre Pitre, are considered the founders of the Acadian Creole/Cajun culture synonymous with Louisiana.

One of our ancestors who remained in Canada, Jean Baptiste Pitre (1732 -1805), was born in Nova Scotia and in 1754 married Marie Anne Thibodeau. Economic difficulties forced the young couple and their two daughter to leave their native Nova Scotia for Quebec, and Jean Baptiste struggled to support his family. Unfortunately the move to Quebec proved to be a fatal mistake, as Marie Anne and their two young daughters died soon after their move. Jean Baptiste went on to marry LaShomb ancestor Marie Anne Surette (1734-1797). Most of the Pitres in the Chateauguay, Quebec area trace their ancestry through Jean Baptiste Pitre and Marie Anne Surette.

Jean Baptiste’s grandson, Pierre Pitre Lajambe (1801-1871), was the first to bring the family to St. Lawrence, New York. Maria Lashomb’s parents, as well as her grandmother Sophie Moreau (1805 – 1887) all left Canada for New York.

Several French female ancestors arrived as filles de marier, marriageable women brought to New France between 1634 and 1663 and brides for early settlers. 262 brides were brought from France, representing one quarter of all single women emigrating New France during those early years. Marie Pomponnelle (1630 – 1700), a well known filles de marier and LaShomb ancestor, was one such woman.

filles de marier

filles de marier: shift yer cargo, dearie, show ‘em your larboard side

Marie Pomponnelle was born about 1630 at Longeves, La Rochelle, Aunis, France; the daughter of Jean Pomponnelle (1580 – 1656) and Michelle Boulet (1589 – 1634).  She arrived in the Quebec Colony contracted to be the bride of Nicolas Petit.  They were married August 17, 1656 at Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, Canada.

Some of the more prominent families who are ancestors of the Raymond and LaShomb families include: Pilet, Longuetin (Longtin), Pitre, LaCombe, and LeFebvre. These families represent the many ancient, noble Catholic bloodlines.  “Aristocracy’, “nobility”, “family seat”, “ancient nobles” are words that come up a lot when researching the Raymond family.

After Catholics began facing persecution in France, the Raymond and LaShomb ancestors emigrated to New France with their entire families: grandparents, parents and children, aunts, uncles and cousins all arrived together. They farmed and had many, many children. All too often they also lost children. Many of the families had 8, 12, 14 children. In some families all of the female children were named Marie: Marie Angelique, Marie Genevieve, Marie Marguerite, Marie Therese, and so on.  Jean Baptiste, Pierre, Etienne, Madeleine, Josephte, and Catherine were common first names. Maria LaShomb’s family arrived in Quebec and Port Royal as the earliest settlers in the 1620s and before. John Raymo’s relatives arrived soon after, but are considered the first generation to arrive after the original settlers.

Port Royal reconstruction

Port Royal reconstruction: live like a Raymond

The family tree is very much a work in progress, eventually I will have thousands of relatives documented. We are so fortunate that the Raymond ancestors were both Catholic and prominent, the records that were kept by the church are impeccable.