Nadow story

Nadeau / Paquin / St. George Links to Canada

by Conrad W. Terrill, revised Sept. 2010 (first written Sept. 2008)

Contents:  Paquin LinkSt. George LinkNadeau Link,  References & Notes

     This document concerns the ancestry of Maxim Nadow, born ~1845 in Swanton, VT, and that of Harriet (“Hattie”) Paquin, born about 1846 in Canada (according to what we knew before we found the links I describe below).  This document will also be of interest to descendants of Maxim’s parents, Benjamin Nadow, born ~1823 in Canada, and Josephine St. George, born ~1830-to-1832 in Canada.

     We contend that we now have the Nadeau, Paquin and Laporte dit St. George paternal lines all traced back to France.  But how, you might ask, do we know that we have it right?  In each case there is a critical link from the U.S. to Canada, and after that the tracing is relatively straightforward, since we can follow the Quebec Catholic marriage records, each of which names the parents of the bride and groom.  As we go further back the trail is better-blazed, since the number of descendants is greater, and some of those descendants have worked on their family histories and shared what they have found.  In general, the paper trail cannot always be followed; but in our three cases we were able to do so.  Now, to establish the critical links:

     In two of the cases (Paquin and Nadeau) Robert Leroux of Attleboro MA found the critical records for us, and then proceeded to trace the paternal lines back to France.  The third case (St. George) was more of a collaborative effort, but Robert played a key role there too.  Robert is a member of the American-French Genealogical Society, and his hobby is helping people trace their French-Canadian ancestries.  He finds the paternal line and leaves the rest to you.  If it were not for Robert, who happened upon the Nadeau case in connection with another case on which he’d been working, and who traced our roots (for the most part) in a matter of two or three weeks in August of 2008, it would probably have been years before one of us could have done it.

The Paquin Link 

      We’ll start with the critical link for Harriet (“Hattie”) Paquin, the wife of Maxim Nadow, since this link is the most straightforward.  It was this link that Robert found first.  Robert found a baptism record on-line in the Drouin Collection of Quebec parish records, via Marie Henriette Paquin was born 14 Oct. (and baptized 15 Oct.) 1846, in the Catholic parish of St-Charles-des-Grondines (the only parish in Grondines), Portneuf County, Quebec.  M. Henriette was the daughter of Joseph Paquin and Louise Sauvageau.1a

     How do we know that “Marie Henriette Paquin” is Hattie?  Let’s start with the name.  First, the “Marie” part can be discarded.  The names of all five of Henriette’s sisters also started with “Marie.” 2  It was common Catholic practice then to christen girls with a first name “Marie” (and to christen boys with a first name “Joseph”).  Second, from the Oxford English Dictionary’s Concise Dictionary of First Names we find that Harriet was an Anglicized form of French Henriette, quite common in England in the 18th and early 19th centuries, with a pet form: Hattie. 3

     Next, what do we know of our Hattie’s origins?  We have only two records which name her parents.  Her death record (1889) gives their names as Eugene Paquin and Louise Savage (with no birthplace information).  And in the 1866 record of her marriage to Maxim only one item was hard (very hard!) to read—the names of her parents.  The names appear to be Ustash & Larieres (I was uncertain about the underlined parts, and again there was no birthplace information).  Regarding Hattie’s own birthplace, all but one record give “Canada.”  The one which gives a more specific location is the 1875 birth record for her son Henry.  The informant for this record gave Hattie’s birthplace as “Montreal,” but did not know Hattie’s maiden name, and gave Maxim’s birthplace as “Higate” Vermont, whereas Maxim himself always gave “Swanton” or “Swanton Falls.”  As you will see below, Hattie came to Massachusetts from Montreal, and her parents and most of her siblings remained in Montreal; and Maxim’s brother Benjamin lived for a time in Highgate, four miles east of Swanton; so it appears that the informant knew Maxim and Hattie, but not well enough to supply complete and accurate information.  The best birthdate information for Hattie that we have is from her death certificate: she died 18 July 1889 at age 43 years, 9 months and “—“ days.  This puts her birthdate at about October of 1845.  From the U.S. Censuses we know that she was 24 as of 1 July 1870, and 33 as of 16 June 1880.  So it could be that her birth year was 1846 and not 1845.  Accurate age and birthdate information in old records (other than baptism records) is rare. 4-8

     Now let’s focus on the Joseph & Louise (Sauvageau) Paquin family of Grondines, Quebec.  (Joseph) Eustache Paquin married (Marie) Louise Sauvageau in 1833, at Grondines. 1b  There are records for the baptisms of ten of their children in the St-Charles-des-Grondines parish registers, and for the deaths of two of these children.  In only one of these records is J. Eustache’s name given as “Joseph,” and that is the baptism record for M. Henriette (our Hattie). 1a  So his name was actually Eustache, not Joseph.  Louise’s name was always given as “Louise.”  There are no marriage records for any of the children in Grondines.  By 1861/1862, when Henriette was about 15, Eustache Paquin’s name started showing up in Montreal city directories (he was a navigator and a pilot). 30  Henriette’s brothers Francois Xavier and Victor were married in Montreal in 1865. 1d,1u  And Henriette herself appears to have gone to Massachusetts with brother Joseph about this time, or perhaps a little earlier.  “Hattie Paquin” married “Michael Nedow” (Maxim) in Douglas, MA, in 1866, and Joseph married Louisa Lavigne in Sutton, MA, in 1867. 5,1v  There are many more Montreal Eustache Paquin family records, but we’ll sum up with just these two:  Eustache himself died in 1883, at age 79, and Louise died in 1909, at age 97.  They both died in the parish of Le Nativité d’Hochelaga. 1w,1x

     So our identifaction factors (beyond the name itself) are:

1) The similarity between the names “Eustache Paquin” and “Ustash Paquin”;

2) The similarity between the names “Louise Sauvageau” and “Louise Savage” (the French word for “savage” is “sauvage”);

3) The agreement in birthdate (14 Oct. 1846 vs. ~ Oct. 1845 [or 1846]); and

4) The fact that some informant thought Hattie was born in Montreal, when it appears that she moved there while still young (~15), and that her parents and siblings were living there at the time (1875) of the pertinent record.

     In my opinion these factors establish the link.

The St. George Link 

     Our link to Canada for Josephine St. George is just about as strong as that for Hattie Paquin, but it is a roundabout link.  We have not been able to find a record for Josephine herself which names her parents or her birthplace within Canada.  We knew from an assortment of records that her French Canadian name was Marie Odile Laporte dit St. George. 9  The “Laporte” part comes from the fact that “St. George” by itself is not a valid French Canadian name.  Members of the family through the years were sometimes recorded as “Laporte” in the record books, and sometimes as “St. George,” but it has always been understood that the full surname was “Laporte dit St. George.”  This is an example of a “dit name” in French Canada—and there were many such names.  From the U.S. Census records of 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880, we find that she was born about 1830-1832.  Since her son Maxim was baptized 4 March 1846 it’s clear that she married young. 10-14

     The first “Odile” possibility that we (Robert) found in the Drouin Collection turned out to be the wrong person, but we soon found another possibility: a baptism record for Marie Odille, born 27 March 1829 in St-Pierre-de-Sorel, Quebec, daughter of Joseph St. Georges and Marguerite Arpin. 1e  This person turned out to be our Odile.  She has the correct name, and a birthdate near what we were looking for; but of course that is not enough to clinch the case.

     Here’s what else we knew.  First we “knew” that she had a sister Julia, who was born about 1823.  We knew this from an affidavit filed by a “Julia Botwin” of 47 Taylor Street in Keene NH in May of 1902.  Julia was a 79-year-old aunt of Benjamin Nedow the soldier.  On the outside of the cover for this affidavit, in a corner, was the three-line label: “Sarah Pagott / 47 Taylor St. / Julia.”  Benjamin Nedow the soldier was the son of Benjamin & Josephine.  He fought for the Union in the Civil War, and he died in 1899.  His widow soon filed a claim for a Civil War widow’s pension, and she was having a difficult time proving the fact that she was his widow; so that was the reason for the 1902 affidavit—one of many affidavits filed in this case.  This information by itself is not enough to “prove” that Julia Botwin was a sister of Josephine (she could have been a sister of Benjamin), but Robert found another record, a baptism record for Benjamin & Josephine’s son Joseph Edouard, born in 1852, which gives the names of the godparents: “Joseph Potvin” & “Julia St. George (Laporte).” 15,14b

     On 4 June 1900, according to the 1900 U.S. Census, Julia Potwin was living with Sarah Pageot at 546 Washington Street in Keene, NH.  Sarah, born “May 1833,” was the head of the household, and Julia, born “Aug. 1823,” was her sister.  Both were widowed and both were born in Canada, of Canadian parents.  Neither Sarah nor Julia could read or write, but both could speak English.  We were able to find a death certificate for Julia Potwin, but it contains misinformation.  She died in 1906, at 25 Cottage St. in Keene.  She was born 9 Aug. 1824 in Canada; she was single; she had been in Keene for 10 years, having moved there from Worcester, MA; and her parents were Nicholas and Sarah Potwin, born in Canada.  The death certificate for Sarah, however, was the case-clincher: Sarah M. Pageot died 1 June 1903 in Keene, at age 69 years and 11 days; and she was born in Canada, the daughter of Joseph St. George & Margaret Harper, who too were born in Canada.  We can identify these parents as Joseph St. George & Marguerite Arpin, the parents of our Odile possibility (“Harper” is an Americanization of “Arpin”).  When Sarah died Julia was still alive, and so she was there to provide the doctor with the information for Sarah’s death certificate.  When Julie died in 1906, however, no one was there who knew her well, and so the doctor took the word of someone who was guessing, based on false assumptions.  That’s the best I can offer for an explanation of the misinformation.  We have no idea who Nicholas & Sarah Potwin were. 16-18

     We went on to find a baptism record for Julie Laporte, born 9 August 1823 in St-Ours (about 10 miles SSW of St-Pierre-de-Sorel), the daughter of Joseph Laporte & Marguerite Arpin.  Note the birthdate agreement with “Aug. 1823” (information provided by Julia herself, or perhaps Sarah) and “9 Aug. 1824” (provided by some unknown person).  We also found a marriage certificate for Julie (minor daughter of Joseph Laporte dit St. George & Marguerite Harpin dit Potdevin) and Joseph (son of Raimond Harpin dit Potdevin and Emelie Ritché).  They were married 13 Oct. 1840 at St-Aimé-de-Richelieu (about nine miles SE of St-Pierre-de-Sorel). 1f-1g

     We have not been able to find either a baptism record or a marriage record for Sarah, but I don’t think it’s necessary.  The link is aleady established.

The Nadeau Link 

     This link is circumstantially strong, even though we have found no records which certify that our Benjamin Nadow, whose French-Canadian name was Cyprien Nadeau, can be identified with a Jean Baptiste Cyprien Nadeau, born 24 Sept. 1823 in Verchères, Quebec, son of Jean Baptiste Nadeau and Louise Beaupré (a baptism record found by Robert). 1h

     What did we previously know of our Benjamin Nadow?  Well, we’ve found quite a number of records.  In every record but one his birthplace was given as Canada (The informant for the oddball record was a granddaughter, who gave “St. Albans, VT”).  We have six records which give his age at various times—the U.S. Censuses of 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880 and 1900, and his 1905 death certificate.  The calculated birthdates are, respectively: ~1823, ~1823, ~1825, ~1824, Nov. 1821 (the 1900 census gave an actual birthmonth & birthyear), and ~1823.  The birthplace given in all of these records was Canada.  In 1900 Benjamin was living with his son Maxim in Taunton, MA.  The informant who gave “Nov. 1821” would have been either Maxim, Benjamin himself, or one of Maxim’s children there (Henry, Eveline or Flora).  In the earliest records, dating from the 1840’s and 1850’s, Benjamin’s name was often given as Cyprien, but when Benjamin himself supplied the information, he gave “Supero,” “Supria,”or “Supplien.”  It appears that it was when his name was interpreted by a priest that it was recorded as Cyprien.  His 1852 réhabilitation marriage record has his name(s) as “Cyprien et Supplien Nadeau”, and the 1846 baptism record for son Maxim has “Suppliant Nadu.”  In some 1902 affidavits given on behalf of Benjamin Jr’s widow (to help her get a Civil War widow’s pension), Benjamin at first declared that his name was “Su-pri-a”—and that he did not know how it was spelled, except that it was spelled as it sounds.  (In the 19th century and before, in French Canada and in many other places around the world, many people never learned to read or write, and it was always up to the recorder to decide how the name should be spelled.)  In a later affidavit Benjamin declared that his name was “Cyprien” (I think he’d been coached by a lawyer).  It could be that the name “Cyprien” had been suggested to Benjamin’s parents when their son was born, and that not only did they not know how to spell it, but they couldn’t quite remember exactly how to pronounce it, and so they called him “Supria.” 10-13,19-21,15

     That sums up what we know of his name, birthdate and birthplace.  We also know that he and Odile lived in Swanton, VT, from sometime in the mid-1840’s, or earlier, until about 1859, when they moved to Holden, MA.  Another relevant fact is that an 1846 record of son Maxim’s (“Maximus Nado”’s) baptism gives the godparents as Maximus Arsinon and Julia Nadu. 14  (Note that Maxim Nadow’s name was occasionally given as “Michael,” an Americanization.)  And the clincher (as you shall see) is from an 1858 marriage record:  Cyprian Nadeau, son of Baptist Nadeau & Lisette Beaupre, was a witness at the marriage of Michael Cambel and Louise Zavaria at the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in Swanton. 28  (This record was provided to us in May of 2009 by Robert Leroux , who had been on the lookout for information of importance to us.)

     Next, what do we know of Jean Baptiste Cyprien Nadeau (henceforth “JBC”), born 24 Sept. 1823 in Verchères?  Well, we know quite a lot.  The relevant part is:

1.) JBC’s sister Gilett (born 1814) married Olivier Tetrau in 1833 in Verchères; they moved to Swanton probably in the mid-1840’s, raised their family there, and died there. 1i,1j,22-26

2.) JBC’s sister Sophie (born 1821) married Pierre Petit in 1845 in Verchères; they moved to Swanton sometime before 1850, and two of their children were married in Swanton in 1875. 1k,1m,22,24

3.) A Julia Nadeau (who was very likely JBC’s sister, born 1825) married Michael Arsenon, 25 Jan. 1847, in Swanton.  Their parents names were not given in the record. 1n,27

     JBC had one other sister, named Louise, who married Eustache Chagnon in 1844 in Verchères.  We don’t know whether or not they came down to Swanton., and we’re not even sure how their surname might have been Americanized.  We cannot find them in the 1851 Canada Census.  JBC was the only son in the family.  The children’s father died before 1830, the year their mother remarried.  She had at least three more children in her second marriage.  Her second husband died in Verchères in 1848, and she died there in 1860. 1o-1t

     To sum up, we know that at least two, and possibly three, of JBC’s sisters moved to Swanton at about the same time that Benjamin Nadow (as Supero and Cyprien) showed up there.  There were no other Nadeaus, or people with similar surname, living in Swanton in 1850 or 1860.  And the 1858 Swanton marriage record identifies witness Cyprien Nadeau as son of Baptist Nadeau & Lisette Beaupre.  Lisette is a French variant of the name Louise. 29  The birth month for JBC Nadeau (August) is not the same as that given for Benjamin Nadow in the 1900 US Census (November), but we feel that we can ignore this discrepancy (Benjamin probably did not know his birthdate).  We declare this circumstantial case strong enough to firmly establish the identification.


References & Notes

1. The Drouin Collection (Quebec): This is a collection of 14+ million parish register records (predominantly Catholic) for Quebec, microfilmed by  the Institut Généalogique Drouin in the 1940’s and through to the 1960’s, now available on-line via  If you are interested in checking the records you will find the following index information useful, since the names are often very difficult to find in there:

1a. Baptism: Marie Henriette Paquin, 1846, Grondines.

1b. Marriage: Eustache Paquin & Louise Sauvageau, 1833, Grondines.

1c. Baptism: Eustache Paquin, 1804, Grondines.

1d. Marriage: A Francois Xavier Paquin & F Elise Trudel, 1865, Montreal (Basilique Notre-Dame).  (The ‘A’ in front of Francois’s name, and the ‘F’ in front of Elise’s, are errors.  They were actually on the page behind the page of the record.)

1e. Baptism: Marie Odille St Georges, 1829, Sorel (St-Pierre).

1f. Baptism: Julie Laporte, 1823, St-Ours.

1g. Marriage: Julie George & Joseph Harpin, 1840, St-Aime-de-Richelieu.

1h. Baptism: J Baptiste Cyprien Nadeau, 1822-1829, Vercheres.

1i. Baptism: Gilbert Nadon, 1811-1821, Vercheres (actually, Gillet Nadot).

1j. Marriage: Gilles Nadeau & Olivier Tetrau, 1829-1836, Vercheres.

1k. Baptism: Sophie Wade, 1811-1821, Vercheres (actually, Sophie Nadot).

1m. Marriage: Sophie Nadeau & Pierre Betit, 1836-1848, Vercheres (actually, Pierre Petit).

1n. Baptism: Julie Nadeau, 1822-1829, Vercheres.

1o. Baptism: M. Louise Nadot, 1811-1821, Vercheres.

1p. Marriage: Eustache Chagnon & Louise Nadeau, 1836-1848, Vercheres.

1q. Marriage: J B Radio & M Louise Beaugard, 1811-1821, Vercheres (actually, J B Nadot & M Louise Beaupre).

1r. Marriage: M. Louise Beaupre & Louis Lahaise, 1829-1836, Vercheres.

1s. Burial: Louis Lahaise, 1836-1848, Vercheres.

1t. Burial: Louise Beaupre, 1858-1866, Vercheres.

1u. Marriage: Victor Paquin & Angelique Cotes, 1865, Montreal (Basilique Notre-Dame).

1v.  Drouin Quebec: Baptism, Joseph Francois Xavier Paquin, 1866, Montreal (Basilique Notre-Dame).

1w.  [Drouin Quebec: Burial: Eustache Pasquin, 1883, Montreal (Basilique Notre-Dame).

1x.  Drouin Quebec: Burial, Marie Louise Sauvageau, 1909, Montreal (Basilique Notre-Dame).

2. See Paquin - J Eustache - FamSheet - CWT.pdf on our Nadow project page for more information on the J. Eustache Paquin family.

3. The Oxford English Dictionary’s Concise Dictionary of First Names, “Harriet” (link).

4. Death record, Hattie Nadow, d. 18 July 1889, Middlefield CT Town Hall Births/Marriage/Deaths Register, vol. 1.

5. Marriage registrations, Commonwealth of Mass., vol. 191, p. 200, no. 24, Michael Nedow & Hariet Paquin, Douglas, MA, 18 Aug. 1866; on microfilm at the Mass. Archives, Boston.

6. Birth record, Commonwealth of Mass., City of Worcester, reg. no. 1436: [---] Neddiau, b. 28 Dec. 1875, Worcester, recorded 1 Jan. 1876 (Henry Nadow’s birth record).

7. 1870 U.S. Census, Holden (P.O. Princeton), Worcester Co., MA; p. 47, family 410: Micheal [sic] Neddo.

8. 1880 U.S. Census, Holden, Worcester Co., MA; page 46, family 404: Maxim Nado.

9. See The name of Josephine St George.pdf on our Nadow project page.

10. 1850 U.S. Census, Swanton, Franklin Co., VT; family 35: Peter Ladoe.  (This is actually the Benjamin Nadow family.  We know they were in Swanton from baptism records, and the forenames and ages (Peter, 27; Ordeel, 19; Michil, 4; Peter ju, 3; Adaline, 1) match what we would expect (Supero, 27; Odille, 19, Michel, 4; Supero Jr., 3; Adaline, 1).  Obviously there was a communication problem between the census enumerator and the informant.  The informant most likely spoke and understood French, and not English.)

11. 1860 U.S. Census, Holden (P.O. Paxton), Worcester Co., MA; p. 18, family 153: Benjamin Nadon.

12. 1870 U.S. Census, Holden (P.O. Princeton), Worcester Co., MA; p. 47, family 409: Benj. Neddo.

13. 1880 U.S. Census, Holden (Eagleville), Worcester, Co., MA, p. 2, family 14: Benjamin Nado.

14. Ste. Mary’s Cathedral Baptism Repertoire, Ste. Mary’s Catholic Church Burlington Vermont 1830-1858, compiled by the Vermont French-Canadian Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 65128, Burlington, VT 05406.  Baptism record: Maximus Nadu, 4 Mar. 1846.

14b. Swanton Baptisms & Highgate Baptisms & Marriages, Vermont French Canadian Genealogical Society, 2008; p. 426 of 592: Baptisms: Felix/Francois-Xavier/Joseph Edouard Nadeau, 1852-55.

15. Civil War service & pension records for Benjamin Nedow, private, Co. G., 2nd Reg. Mass. Hvy. Art’y Vols., U.S. National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C.

16. 1900 U.S. Census, Keene, Ward 2, Cheshire Co., NH; E.D. 35, sheet 23, line 14: Sarah Pageot.

17. Death certificate, State of New Hampshire, Julia Potwin, d. 27 Feb. 1906, Keene.

18. Death record, Keene, NH, Sarah M. Pageot, d. 1 June 1903, on-line from Keene Public Library, Vital Records of Keene, NH (

19. 1900 U.S. Census, Taunton, Bristol Co., MA; E.D. 229, sheet 15B, line 79: Benjamin Nadeau (in Maxim Nadeau household).< /span>

20. Death certificate, Benjamin Nadow, d. 25 May 1905, Worcester; Commonwealth of Mass. Dept. of Public Health, Registry of Vital Records & Statistics.

21. Mariages de St. Joseph de Berlington, Vermont, 1834-1930, Relevé par: Véronique Gassette, Éditions Bergeron & Fils enr'g.; 9247, 24e Avenue; Montreal, P.Q.; H1Z 4A2, Publication no: 50, 1978; p. 173, no. 2997: Ciprien et Supplien Nadeau & Odillie St. George, 25 Apr. 1852.

22. Swanton, Vermont, Church Records, 1858-84, by Donella Ashline, available on-line via Esilda Tetrault, dau. of Oliver Tetrault & Gilette Nadeau, m. 22 Nov. 1859; Henry Tetrault, son of Oliver Tetrault & Julia Nadeau, m. 14 Feb. 1870; Agustine Tetrault, son of Oliver Tetrault & Julia Nadeau, m. Feb. 1870; Petrum Tetrault, son of Oliver Tetrault & Gilette Nadeau, m. 27 Nov. 1882; George Petit, son of Petri Petit & Sophia Nadeau, m. 14 June 1875; Paterune Petit, son of Petri Petit & Sophia Nadeau, m. Oct. 1875.

23. Swanton, Franklin county, Vermont, Church Records, 1872-1934: Saint Mary Church Death Records, by Donella Ashline, available on-line via Julianna Nadeau, wife of Oliver Tetrault, d. 10 July 1879; Oliver Tetrault d. 22 Spet. 1898.

24. 1850 U.S. Census, Swanton, Franklin Co., VT; p. 278, family 417: Oliver Tatro.  Family 418 is the family of Peter & Sophia (the surname area was blank, so “Tatro” would be assumed), both age 27.  I believe this would be Pierre & Sophia Petit.

25. 1860 U.S. Census, Swanton, Franklin Co., VT; p. 29, family 221: Oliver Tatro.

26. 1870 U.S. Census, Swanton (P.O. Sheldon), Franklin Co., VT; p. 55, family 425, Oliver Tatro. 

27. Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Burlington, Vermont, Marriage Repertoire, pub. by VT French Canadian Genealogical Society, 2005; p. 555, Nadeu, Julia & Michael Arsenon.

28. Marriages, 1854-1930, Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Vermont French Canadian Genealogical Society, 2005; p. 48, Michael Cambel and Louise Zavaria.

29.  BabyNamesPedia, Lisette,

30.  Lovell’s Montreal Directories (1842-1999), Bibliotheque et Archives nationale Qeubec (BAnQ),