According to a site I found online (see the post on Jean Perusse)... all Canadian and American Perusse families descend from a common ancestor named Jean Perusse. Jean is said to descend from a French noble family which traces all the way back to the 13th Century with a Crusader Knight named Audouin I de Perusse.
The following is info I gathered by doing online searches on Audouin I - the info is not necessarily 100% accurate -- but it's intriguing, and makes me more curious to find the links between my family and Jean, and then from Jean back to Audouin.
Audouin I was born "vers" or "toward" 1245 AD, son of Geoffroi de Perusse and Jacquette de PARTHENAY.
His title was ... Chevalier et Seigneur (Knight & Lord) d'Escars (I believe des Cars was a corruption of d'Escars), Viscomte (Viscount) de la Vauguyon, Chambellan (Chamberlain) du Duc d'Alencon.
It stated that he accompanied St. Louis on the Crusade. St. Louis was King Louis IX of France... and he went on the 7th and 8th Crusades. It says that Audouin followed the Duc D'Alencon to Sicily.
Audouin II was born after 1281... He had more titles than his father.
Seigneur d'Escars, Chevalier du Saint-Bonnet La Coussiere, d'Escars & Saint-Ibars, Viscomte de la Vauguyon, Senechal de Limousin, Conseiller et Chambellan de Philippe le Bel
The last part Conseiller, translates as "Advisor" and "Chamberlain" of Philippe le Bel, or The Beautiful.
I believe this refers to Philippe IV (The Fair), King of France. A chamberlain was a royal official that was in charge of the royal apartments or chambers. So it appears that Audouin II was the administrator/chief guard of the King's Palace. I found that pretty interesting...
It also says that he accompanied the Count de Valois with the conquest of Flanders. (Belgium)
Arnould ou Ranulphe de Perusse, son of Audouin II was born "towards" 1320.
Chevalier et Seigneur d'Escars, Saint-Bonnet la Coussiere, Saint-Ibars, Allac & Fialeix, Baron de Segur, Viscomte de Vauguyon, Chambellan de Phillipe de Valois, Senechal du Limousin, Grand-Marechal de l'Eglise et Gouverneur d'Avignon en 1359 nomme par Innocent IV
Knight, Lord, Baron, Viscount, Seneschal, Chamberlain of Phillipe VI de Valois, Grand Marshal of The Church and Governor of Avignon in 1359 named by Pope Innocent IV.
For those that know their history -- Avignon, a city in southern France once was the Papal seat when the French king urged the Pope to leave Rome, and live there. It's sometimes referred to as the "Babylonian Captivity". So for those years French royalty had strong control of the Papacy - but the papacy was legitimate. Later on, the Papacy returned to Rome, and there were both Popes in Rome, and Popes in Avignon (they were referred to as Anti-Popes).
So it seems that after Phillipe VI died in the early 1350's... Arnould was transferred from being Royal Chamberlain to Grand Marshal of The Church and Governor of the Papal Palace/Papal State of Avignon.
I found that to be fascinating...
Audouin III was son of Arnould ou Ranulphe de Perusse.
He was born toward 1380 and died toward 1435...
He had all of the titles of his father except Grand Marshal and Governor.
He was the Chamberlain of Charles VI and Charles VII.
**Charles VII was "The Dauphin" ... that Jeanne d'Arc (Joan of Arc) fought to have crowned King of France during the Hundred Years War between England and France. So chances are Audouin III met Jeanne on many occassions being The Dauphin's Royal Chamberlain.
Audouin IV de Perusse... son of Audouin III
Born toward 1410, died toward 1468
Titles included Chevalier et Seigneur de St-Bonnet, St-Ibars, La Guionie, Chambon & Fialeix.
He was a Captaine de 200 Lances (Captain of 200 Lances).
I researched what a "lance" is... and i'm glad I did so. Aside from knowing that a lance is a long spear weapon that knights used when jousting, I had no idea that a "lance" was a French military unit.
A lance consisted of 4 armed cavalry... 1 heavy cavalry, 2 cavalry archers and 1 light cavalry. So 200 Lances is not 200 mounted soldiers but 800. I also read that a lance often had 2 non-combatants that probably tended to the horses, and the soldiers. So that would bring the number up to around 1200 people, 800 of them combatants. So Captain de 200 Lances seems to be a significant post in the French Army.
Audouin IV de Perusse was in the service of King Charles VII, as his father was.
Aside from these 5 very interesting men... various genealogical sites (found on a simple google search) trace Audouin's lineage back to Robert de Perusse who was born "toward" the year 1010 AD and died after 1052 AD. He was married to Jeanne d'Armagnac.
Armagnac is a region in Southwestern France known for it's wine...
From that marriage... according to one site I saw, the family of Armagnac is traced back to the year 290 AD... to Aoric de WISIGOTHIE (Aoric the Visigoth). Aoric's grandson was Alaric I, King of the Visigoths (395-410 AD) and Conqueror of Rome (410).
The Visigoths or West Goths were a Germanic tribe that originated on the island of Gotland off the coast of Sweden. They migrated southeast, and settled on the west shore of the Black Sea - where Alaric is said to have been born (on an island in the delta of the Danube River). From there they were pushed west by the Huns ... and they moved south of the Danube into land controlled by the Eastern Roman Empire. At first they were allied with the Romans, and paid them tribute... but under Alaric they attacked Thrace (northern Greece), and eventually moved into the Italian Peninsula and sacked Rome itself. They settled in Southern Gaul (France), and much of Spain & Portugal.
The Visigoths capital was at Toulouse, in modern day France... but after Alaric II was defeated by Clovis, King of the Franks at Vouille - the Visigoths lost their lands in Southern Gaul, and their capital was moved to Toledo in Spain. For generations the Visigoths ruled Spain, until the Moors invaded from Africa.
Alaric II, is also an ancestor of Jeanne d'Armagnac and all Perusse's after Robert de Perusse (according to the sites I saw). They seemed to have got their information from a French book -- i'll have to investigate to find the title.
Nonetheless, I was intrigued and fascinated by this wealth of info and surprised at how far back it went. If the roots of Audouin are validated and factual it would be interesting because it shows the migration of one of his ancestors through Europe - from Scandinavia to Eastern Europe... to Spain, and then across the Pyrennes into Southern France. The area that Audouin and the noble Perusse's were said to control was the area of Limousin - which is in southwestern France. So it's plausible to think that these families could have married descendants of Spanish royalty - especially if they themselves were noble families in France.
Again, i'm not certain of the link between my great-great grandfather Thelesphor Perusse and Jean Perusse... or of the connection between Jean and Audouin -- but I'm sharing this info with the hope it'll spark the curiosity of my cousins and all those interested in researching the Perusse family.
Any info on the Perusse family in France, Canada or the United States is welcome.