Records found in Oloron Sainte Marie
On the left, we have one record from 1623 in the church of Sainte Croix in Oloron. Sainte Croix is next to the parish and neighbourhood of Saint Pierre. This record can be translated as follows..." Le 8 Juillet 1623 ? baptise Arnauld, fils de Pierre Ducas et de Joanna de Conguer. Parrains Arnauld de Barray et Gabriella de Lasal ? Tous d'Oloron " . This is one of a few records that lead us to Oloron Saint Marie. We are still searching for our ancestor's record, and one record found in Oloron just might be that of our ancestor. In addition to this record there are numerous others on both sides of the Pyrenees that may be related to Jean Ducas dit Labreche. The most promising record is that of the birth of Jean Ducha, in 1657, son of Pierre Ducha in Oloron. For more information on this record, click the tab above marked Jean Ducha. There was a Jerome Ducas de Languedoc in Oloron in the 18th Century, a family of Labreche just outside Oloron also in the 18th century and most importantly records for the surname Bos only seem to be present in Oloron, at least within Bearn the family seems to be living there in the 17th century. So it seems, all roads point to Saint Pierre d'Oloron.
Saint Pierre d'Oloron in the 17th Century
Situated only 50KM from Spain and about 30KM from Pau, Oloron has been inhabited since Roman times. During the 15th Century, with its markets, it became the econmic capital of Bearn, specializing in Trade mostly with Aragon and Navarra. Oloron quickly became the preferred location for the middle class and merchant traders. Its markets and economy specialized in the production of Wool and the mostly illegal trade of horses from Spain. The smuggling of Horses from Spain to Oloron became such a problem for the Spanish, the inquisition began to prosecute these smugglers whenever they could catch them. Since Henry IV of Bearn was aligned politically with the Moriscos of Aragon(they had a mutual enemy in the new united Spain), many of these Spanish horses conceivably could end up being used by the military in France against Spain itself.
Also of interest in Oloron, is the Church of Sainte Croix and the Cathedral of Sainte Marie, classified as a UNESCO world heritage site. Sainte Croix contains a beautiful ribbed cupola inside, a replica of the grand mosque of Cordoba. It was built in the 12th century. The Cathedral of Sainte Marie shows us many remnants of Oloron's roman period, including the discovery of the statue of the God Mars, hidden behind the statue of the virgin Marie, inside the cathedral. Today Oloron Sainte Marie is home to about 12000 inhabitants and it has retained much of the character of its vibrant past.
Immigration from Béarn to New France
Béarn sent very few immigrants to New France. Less than 100 individuals made the voyage to New France between 1600 and 1750. And quite a few of those migrants eventually returned to Béarn. There was slightly more migration from the Basque region, largely to Acadia. There were however some notable migrants that may be indirectly connected to our ancestor.
Arnauld and Jean Pere(z) along with their sister Marie were very involved in commerce with New France. They seem to have moved up to La Rochelle, started a commercial operation supplying skilled workers and goods to New France, entering into partnership and marriage with the Grignon and Gaigneur families of La Rochelle. Many of the people involved in their operation did marry into the Ducas Dugas family.
Jean Vincent d'Abbadie de Saint Castin established himself eventually in Pentagouet, Acadia. He too was from Oloron, and the Abbadie's were in the same church records where we found the Pierre Ducas record. He returned to Oloron a few times to attend to business and eventually died in Pau in 1707.
Jean Baptiste Debidabé dit Troisville was born in Osse en Aspe, Oloron and married Anne Desrosiers, daughter of Antoine and Anne Leneuf. Anne Leneuf was the cousin to Michel Leneuf, governor of Acadie under whom Jean Ducas served.
Gedeon de Catalogne, Daniel Auger de Subercase, Francois Desnoyers dit Lamontagne, Jean Laborde, Jean Monic-Dhautvonet and Jean Perrier/Poirier dit Lafleur are some of the other Bearnaise immigrants to New France and Acadia.