I've seen a number of old online posts speculating about the identity of the Baillargeon girl in Québec who was captured by the Iroquois and returned from captivity in 1666: Was she Anne Baillargeon or was she Jeanne Baillargeon?Was she captured at about age 4 or age 9?Was she returned from captivity at age 9, 11 or 18?
Many later anecdotal stories have clouded the issue. All stories agree that the Baillargeon captive was brought back to Québec with another young captive by Monsieur de Tracy.Monsieur de Tracy arranged for the girls to stay for a short time in the Ursuline convent until they could be successfully reintroduced into Québec society.It has been said that all the held Iroquois captives were returned by 1666, so some people think that the girls were in the convent in 1666.Others think that they entered the convent in 1667.
What few people seem to focus on is that upon the girls' entry into the convent, their names and details about them were put into a registry of girls who entered and exited from the convent.This registry is primary source material: written by the nuns in the ordinary course of their work at the time the Baillargeon captive was admitted to the convent.It should be the very first place we look for information to help us correctly identify the Baillargeon captive.
So what is this registry, where is it, and what does it say?It isthe "Registre des entrées et sorties des petites filles Francaises et Sauvages de 1641 a 1719." It resides in the Archives of the Urselines of Quebec, (A.U.Q.). The entry in question is on folio 39, verso: (f 39v bis): "Le 28me may: Marie Magdelaine Bourgery agée de 15 ans et Anne Baillargeon agée de 16 ans qui ont esté prise par les Iroquois et ramenées de ce pays nous ont estés données pour estre instruicte par Monsieur de Tracy; c'est ce bon seigneur qui doit payer leur pention quarante huict escus par an."
According to the registry, the Baillargeon captive's name was Anne Baillargeon and she was age 16 at the time she entered the convent.
But what about the Anne/Jeanne same name theory? One online post about the Baillargeon captive that may have confused some researchers asserted that the names "Anne" and "Jeanne" were somewhat interchangeable and pronounced virtually the same in early Québec.
Even the earliest Québec settlers spoke what is considered to be Modern French--(and as far as I've been able to ascertain, even the Middle French of the preceding couple hundred years had the same pronunciation of initial "j.")Then as now, Québec inhabitants pronounced the initial "j" of "Jeanne" as a voiced palato-alveolar fricative--similar to the sound represented by "s" in the English word "leisure." Then and now "Anne" and "Jeanne" were different names with distinctive spellings.
So who was Anne Baillargeon, Iroquois captive?The dates are still a bit problematic.Nobody matches exactly, but looking at all available censuses and her baptismal record, I believe Anne Baillargeon, daughter of Mathurin Baillargeon and Marie Metayer of Trois-Rivières to be the Iroquois captive.Anne's baptismal record shows that she was baptized in Trois-Rivières on 18 November 1651, which means she would have been about 9 or 10 at the time of her capture circa 1661 and about 15 at the time of her return in 1666. The age of 16 in the register would be correct for her if she was at the convent in 1667.
This Anne Baillargeon, coincidentally, was the older sister of Jeanne Baillargeon (future wife of Paul Hus), who many family trees (mistakenly, I believe) have identified as the Baillargeon captive.