American descent from Francis Hotman

Francis Hotman was a famous author and lawyer who lived in the 16th century. This article traces out one or more lines from him to Canadian and U.S. descendants.


Francis Hotman (1524-90) (at death ?)

This article written by Will Johnson,
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License

Francis Hotman (1524-90) was a famous author, professor, lecturer, lawyer and royal consultant who lived in the 16th century.  He was born 23 Aug 1524 in Paris, France, and died an exile 15 Feb 1590 in Basel, Switzerland.  He was his father's eldest son and heir to the estate, but because he espoused Protestantism, he was forced into exile and so never actually inherited.  As heir, to his father who died in 1554, he is sometimes called Seigneur of Villers-St-Paul, but this must be seen as a name in title only, not in fact.  In the Summer of 1548, while in exile, he married at Bourges to his only wife Claude Aubelin whose parents were also in exile.  They had ten known children, but the names of three of those children have not survived.  The others were, in order: Jean, Theages, Marie, Daniel, Pierre, Suzanne and Theodora.

Thousands of people descend from him, including a few titled cousins.  Luckily for those of us in Canada and the United States, his great-granddaughter Suzanne Jeanne d'Ailleboust immigrated to Quebec, dying there 15 Jul 1680 at Boucherville.  This is the only Hotman-to-America connection of which I know.  You can however peruse the extensive work David Baud did years ago in tracing many Hotman branches at the link:

Scroll down to where it states "Fourth and Last Branch" and you'll find Francois listed there as the eldest son of Pierre Hotman and his wife Paule de Marle.

Francis' daughter Suzanne was married twice.  First she married, with a marriage contract dated 18 Jul 1594 and drawn up at the "Chatelet de Paris", to John Menteith (aka Jean de Menthet), Seigneur d'Argentenay, Tonnerrois -1594-; esq; by which she had a daughter Marie Dorothee de Menteith born sometime between 1595 and 1599.  There has been a lot of ink spilled over exactly who was this John Menteith.  In the marriage contract he appears with John Gordon who state there, that they are "cousins" because their grandmothers were both daughters of the Earl of Montrose.  It would seem that such a statement would make it easy to find the relevant families and attach them where they belong, but so far, an exact identification has proven elusive.

Suzanne married second to Antoine d'Ailleboust, Seigneur de Collonges; advocate in-or-to Parliament by whom she had a daughter Catherine who became a nun, and also a son Louis d'Ailleboust (1612-60), 3rd Governor of New France (Quebec), who had no issue.

It would then appear to me that Marie Dorothee was Suzanne's sole remaining heir, or at least "in her issue" as Louis d'Ailleboust did not die until 1660, probably long after Suzanne's death (which date we don't yet know).  If Louis was his mother's heir and then died s.p. I would assume that Marie or her children inherited their half-uncle's property.  I'm not sure anyone has yet investigated that aspect of this family, but it would be worthwhile for someone to do so.

Marie Dorothee de Menteth, married her step-brother Nicholas d'Aillebout, sieur de Coulonge with a marriage contract dated 5 Jun 1620, drawn up at Paris.  I suppose we could assume that the family lived in Paris during all those years from 1594 to 1620, but it's currently unclear.  Clearing that part up would again be a useful course to follow in filling out the details of this family.  In 1996, Pierre le Clercq wrote an article "Les Bas-Bourguignoons Etablis Au Canada Avant 1730 et Leurs Racines Familiales en France" for the publication "Genealogica & heraldica: proceedings of the 22nd International Congress of Genealogical and Heraldic Sciences", University of Ottawa Press (1996).  His article, which begins on page 157, on page 180 touches on our Dorothy de Menteth, in particular stating that she was "... in the service of the Duchess of Mercoeur at Paris, called maid of honor.  It was within the Parisian residence of this woman, that she signed, in 1620, the contract of marriage to link to Nicholas d'Ailleboust."

This Duchess of Mercoeur can only have been, Francoise de Lorraine, only surviving child of Philippe Emmanuel de Lorraine, Duke of Mercoeur (also see his entry on Wikipedia), by his wife Marie de Luxembourg, Duchess of Penthievre and of Etampes.  (See Francoise' entry on Wikipedia.)

On 3 Jun 1594, Henry IV, King of France, had by his mistress Gabrille d'Estrees, a son Cesar.  His father legitimized him in Jan 1595 and this was approved by parliament the next month.  Meanwhile Philippe had been making his best attempt to turn Brittany into an independent princedom, based on his wife Marie's ancestry.  When their son was born, Philippe called him "Prince of Brittany", but this son died as an infant, leaving Philippe and Marie's only child Francoise, heiress to an immense fortune.  Should you wish, you can read intricate details in the "Correspondance du duc de Mercoeur & des Ligueurs Bretons avec l'Espagne", by Gaston de Carne Volume 1 (1589-1593) (published 1899); apparently Volume 2 (although called XII) covering 1594-1596

Henry decided that Brittany needed to be subjected to France and so, at this time, personally led his armies to that county.  As part of the peace agreement, Philippe and Marie agreed to betroth their sole heiress Francoise to Henry's four-year-old son, who his father had given the title Cesar de Bourbon, Duke of Vendome, and a marriage contract was drawn up.  Some sources state 1598, and at least one states 1596 as the date of that contract.

When Philippe died in 1602, Francois would then, at the age of 10, have become Duchess of Mercoeur in her own right, and her mother Marie would probably have been called Duchess of Penthievre and Etampes, rather than dowager Duchess of Mercoeur.  The marriage of Francoise to Cesar had been cited in 1608 but also in 1609, I need to find a primary source for it.  He would then possibly have became known as well, as Duke of Mercoeur, but I'm not certain that he was ever called that in a primary source.  So this was the woman with whom Marie Dorothee was living, as her maid of honor, at the time she married Nicholas.

Marie and Nicholas had three children of whom I know, the second child was Suzanne Jeanne d'Aillebout born July 1622 and baptized on the 28th of that month at Ancy-le-Franc, Yonne department, Burgundy region, France.

Suzanne Jeanne married in-or-by 1647 to Abraham Martin evidently at St Pantaleon, Raviere, Champagne, France as their daughter Marie Martin was baptized at that place in 1647.  Jette describes Abraham as "bourgeois", so I have to assume there are more documents on the life of Abraham yet to be uncovered perhaps in or near St Pantaleon.  I don't yet know how many children Suzanne and Abraham might have had.  I just know of their one daughter Marie.  Abraham died first, probably still living in France.  Possibly this is the reason that sometime between 1647 and 1671 the family must have come to Quebec, as Marie Martin married Christophe Fevrier on 16 Nov 1671 in Montreal, and Suzanne herself died 15 Jul 1680 at Boucherville, Quebec.

Marie Martin and Christophe Fevrier were not fortunate in children, having seven, of whom only their daughter Marie Anne Fevrier lived to adulthood.  She had been baptised at Boucherville 22 Jun 1676, and married Louis Menard dit Lafontaine 12 Dec 1691 at Boucherville as well.  I do not yet know when she died, but she was yet living in 1721 when her youngest known child Rene Menard was born.  Nine of her sixteen children married as far as I know, but I haven't traced all their lines.

One of those children was my own ancestor Jean Baptiste Menard dit Lafontaine, who was born 1 Oct 1699 at Boucherville, Quebec.  He married twice, but by his second wife Marie Marguerite Sansoucy, married in 1761, he had no issue.  His first wife was Francoise Bau whom he married 3 Feb 1721/2 at Boucherville, Quebec.  They also have a marriage contract, drawn up by Tailhandier two days earlier.

Jean Baptiste Menard and Francoise Bau had eleven children, but I only know about two of them, the youngest Marie married Antoine Maillet in 1754 and died in 1762. The sixth child of Jean Baptiste Menard and Francoise Bau was my own ancestor Jean Baptiste Amable Menard dit Lafontaine, born 11 Oct 1729, who married 19 Feb 1753 at La Prairie, Quebec to Marie Josephte Aupry dit Laramee.


Menard - Bau descendant

Just found your website, amazing job! I am a direct descendant of Jean-Baptiste Menard and his wife Francoise Bau through their daughter Reine Menard born 26 May 1724 Boucherville, died 25 Jun 1785 Chambly and married 4 Nov 1748 Pointe-Olivier (Chambly) to Nicholas Lagus.


James J - 10 Sep 2010