We've corresponded before under another account name of mine -- Michael Vermette.
Unfortunately, I'm not aware of any written history on the Vermet/Vermette/Varmette/etc family.I've collected articles here and there and I've written up some information for my own family tree, but it isn't generally available.You've been researching the tree for some time, so I'm sure you've run across many stories yourself.If you'd like to see what I've done, email me and I'll provide access.
A big part of what I enjoy about genealogy is connecting our relatives to the events of their times.So much of genealogy is just dates and place names.I really enjoy making the historical connections with our ancestors.While there are many stories, I'll pass along an important one for those who may not have heard it yet.You've probably well aware that Barbe Menard was a member of group of women known as "fille du roi" or "Daughters of the King".The story behind this is fascinating to me so forgive me in advance for being long-winded!
About 1663, Louis XIV decided he wanted to increase the size of his colony in New France (Quebec, Canada) to better compete with the British in settling the North American Continent.At the time, England and France were in a continuous series of wars and fought each other at home and overseas in their expanding empires.Both England and France were eager to own the vast natural resources (timber, furs, agricultural products) and new territory in North America.For a time, French explorers held control over most of what is now the mid-western United States, and even connected with the Spanish in California (years later, 18 of the 59 members of the Lewis and Clark expedition were French-Canadians).
To expand the population of his colony (founded in about 1601) and consolidate his hold on North America, Louis XIV sponsored emigration of about 700 young women, starting in 1663, who later came to be known as "fille du rois".They became known as "Daughters of the King" because he provided them with a dowry and free passage to the new colony.The dowry, modest by today's standards, was mostly goods and homemaking materials considered important to young women in starting a family.In the value of the time, the typical fille du roi dowry (30 livres) was considerably less than the value of a musket.
Barbe Menard, our original female Vermet ancestor on this continent, was a fille du roi from La Rochelle, France.Barbe's mother Judith Veillon was baptised in the Temple Calviniste in La Rochelle, France and her parents were also married there.From that, it is a reasonable assumption that they were early followers of John Calvin.Calvin's followers were Protestants and were known as Huguenots.The Huguenots, generally middle class craftsman and merchants, were widely persecuted for over 35 years by the Catholics in France until 1598 (and again later).Many emigrated to other countries, including the American Colonies.Barbe's mother, Judith Veillon, was married in a Catholic church, so it would appear she gave up her childhood religion.Barbe was just 16 years old when she emigrated to New France.
I can't imagine how much courage she must have had in those times to make a long sea voyage, arrive in a frontier settlement, and marry a virtual stranger.Most fille du roi married very soon after arriving.I haven't been able to determine exactly when she arrived.As the 1669 group of fille du rois contained many girls from La Rochelle, I assume Barbe was one of them, which means she married very shortly after arrival in the new colony.She married Antoine Vermet, a 33 year-old farmer who had arrived at the new colony some time earlier, at St. Famille church on Ile d' Orleans on 26 Aug 1669.Antoine had a farm on Ile d' Orleans (an island in the St. Lawrence River) where he and Barbe raised their family of three girls and four boys.Photos of that area today show it to be absolutely beautiful.Barbe died giving birth to twins in 1685 at the age of 32.
The king sent mostly fur merchants and farmers to the early colony with a few soldiers for protection.Later problems with the Indians caused the king to send a full regiment of soldiers in 1665 to pacify the area.Many of the soldiers (the Carignan-Salieres Regiment) married fille du roi and stayed as colonists.By one estimate I've heard, around 85% of all French Canadians today are descended from the 700 young women sent to New France by the king during the 10 year period between 1663 and 1673.
There are many more historical incidents in my (our) families (a Vermet was cut in half by a canon ball fighting the British in 1838) and tie-ins to historical events (a Lalonde ancestor of my wife was a young Puritan girl captured in Massachusetts by French and Indian raiders in 1704).Some Vermets married Acadians, early French settlers in what is now known as the Canadian Maritime Provinces.The Acadians were victims of genocide by the British and that issue is still being addressed today by the British courts.Some Acadians migrated to Louisana and their name evolved over time into "Cajuns".Small world, isn't it?