There are thousands of people all over North America but primarily in the Province of Quebec and various New England states who can trace their Bolduc ancestry to one Louis Boulduc who at the age of 17 joined the prestigious Carignan-Salières regiment and left France in 1665 to fight the Iroquois in Canada. I am one of those thousands.
Louis Boulduc was my 8th great grandfather. His oldest son, also named Louis, dropped the first “u” in his surname around the year 1700 and so the Bolduc line in North America was established. More than 300 years have passed and the kind people over at Geni.com have informed me that I am connected to more than 160,000 people of French-Canadian ancestry who are either Bolducs themselves or have family members who have married into the Bolduc line.
Louis Jr (1669 – 1738) was my 7th great grandfather. Like his siblings he was abandoned by his parents and raised by his godparents. His mother (Elizabeth Hubert) returned to France in 1685 and was followed by his father a year later. Neither of them ever saw their children again.
Louis married Louise Caron and had ten children including Pierre, my 6th great grandfather.
Pierre (1705 – 1767) married Marie-Josephte Leblond and they had twelve children including Joseph, my 5th great grandfather.
Joseph (1735 – ?) married Marguerite Pilotte and they had 23 children (!) including another Joseph, my 4th great grandfather.
This Joseph (1775 -? ) married Ursule Cadrin and they had five children including Paul, my third great grandfather.
Paul (1805 -? ) married Emilie Dextra-Lavigne and they had three children including Joseph, my 2nd great grandfather. Joseph (1832 – 1904) had a sister Leocadie and a younger brother Napoleon. When Joseph was young the family moved to Michigan where Napoleon was born in 1839. Paul took out citizenship papers in Michigan and somehow his surname changed to Belduke. After a few years Paul took his family back to Saint-Cesaire in Quebec.
In the early 1850s Joseph and his teenaged brother Napoleon migrated to Concord, New Hampshire where they both settled down and began using the name Belduke again. Joseph married Mary Kiely and they had one child, Emily, born in 1855. Mary died in 1861, Joseph remarried in 1863 and moved to California in 1864 with his second wife and her two children from previous marriages. Emily stayed behind and was probably raised by her mother’s mother. By 1875 she had changed her name to Emma and in that year she moved to San Francisco, ostensibly to find her father.
Within six months Emma married William Theler and they became my great grandparents. I posted several articles about my Theler ancestors a couple of years ago. See here for the story of the first Elise in the family and here and here for some stories on our adventures in 2012 in Germany looking for the birthplaces of our Thelers.
Emma and William’s daughter Mabel Elise Theler (1883 – 1940) married Ignatius Dwyer (1876 – 1952) and they became my grandparents. Mabel and Ignatius had two children including my father Donald (1910 – 2000) who married Audley Kenny and they had six children including me!
This story about my Bolducs began with Louis Boulduc who was born in 1648. There’s another story about the family that goes back 500 more years to a town in the Duchy of Brabant in the present-day Kingdom of the Netherlands. But we’ll save that one for another day!
Note: There are hundreds of genealogists out there researching their French Canadian ancestors and several of them helped me connect the dots from Paul my third great grandfather back to Louis my 8th great grandfather. I would especially like to single out Yan J Kevin Bolduc, an eighth cousin, who translated all of his research from French to English and then put it all on the Internet. His works are available on Scribd.com. You can find his major report called Boulduc to Bolduc here.