Ancestor of the Ducas Dugas dit Labrèche Family of New France
When we are looking for the origins of various Dugas families, we often stumble upon the records of the Acadian Branch, with Abraham Dugas as pioneer. That being said, there are numerous Dugas families in North America, especially in Quebec who have a certain Jean Ducas as their first generation ancestor. The surname was modified soon after his arrival in the colony of New France to become Dugas dit Labrèche. For the purpose of this presentation, we use the original surname, Ducas. Many families of Dugas, Labrèche, DeGon, Labrash and Dugaw from Quebec, Canada and the United States have as their first generation ancestor, this Jean Ducas.
First Trace of Jean Ducas
Jean Ducas was married the 7th of January, 1708 by the Vicar General, La Colombière, at the Nativité de Notre Dame de Beauport, New France, to Marie Charlotte Vandandaigue dit Gatbois, daugther of Joseph Vandandaigue dit Gatbois and Marie Louise Chalifou(r) of Beauport. Reading the parish register, Jean Ducas, at his marriage, declares being "the son of the deceased Jean Ducas and Marie Deshayes of the parish of Saint Pierre, diocese of Pau in Bearn". The notary contract linked with this marriage gives us also some information. In the minutes of the notary, Jean-Robert Duprac dated 6 January 1708, Jean Ducas declares being "Jean Ducas, Sieur la Breche, corporal of the company of Sieur d'Arpantigny" and "son of the desceased Jean Ducas and the deceased Marie Bos, his father and mother from the parish of Saint Pierre of the city diocese of Pos in Biard". We discover that Jean Ducas, the ancestor was a soldier, with the grade of Corporal in the Company of the Marines, associated with the Company of M. D'Arpantigny (this being Pierre Legardeur de Repentigny), we also discover the name of his parents and his region of origin.
Jean Ducas in New France
Jean Ducas dit Labrèche was a corporal in the company of M. de Repentigny in 1708. Believing he competed many years in the Marines before obtaining the grade of corporal and before being able to marry, we looked for other traces of his presence looking at the surnames Ducas and Dugas but also his dit name, Labrèche. And thus, we find multiple mention of Labrèche, at the Hospital Hotel Dieu in Quebec starting 1690. There are 2 mentions of a soldier, age 40 years from Biarnes dated 12 December 1697 and 2 January 1698. Therefore, our ancestor, Jean Ducas was present in the colony of New France in 1697. The company of M. Vallière is that of Michel Leneuf de La Vallière who died in 1705 and the company was then assigned to Pierre Legardeur de Repentigny. This hospital record is thus the first mention of our ancestor, in 1697 age 40 years, thus his birth would be near the year 1657.
We don't have any information about the military placement of Jean Ducas from 1697 to 1708. Did he follow his captain on his military campaigns? Or was he stationed with the habitants of Montreal or Quebec or elsewhere?
Jean Ducas received a plot of land from the Sulpicians on the 9 January 1710 in the parish of Saint Laurent, today the district of Saint Laurent on the Island of Montreal. He occupied a farming plot as well. A lease of a farm, situated in Saint Laurent dated the 20 of September 1711 links him to Pierre Billeron dit Lafatigue, bourgeois, of the city of Ville Marie. All of the children of Jean Ducas were baptized in the parish of Notre Dame de Montreal in Montreal. They married members of the Barbeau, Verdon, Aubert dit Latouche, Bibeau, Label, Fortier, Blais, Edeline, Riché dit Louveteau and Cardinal Families. We also observe the links established by way of the god parents, almost all of which are aligned with the family of Marie Charlotte Vandandaique dit Gadbois, this is to say, the Vandandaigue, Chalifour and Archambault families.
We know little else about our ancestor and we have not found a will after his death. Jean Ducas died in Saint Laurent, Montreal, the 18th of November 1758 and was buried the next day at the same location in the presence of a number of people. The death act indicates that he attained the lofty age of 110 years.