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The Briand Family
L'Ardoise, Cape Breton

by Rufine Swan


It is a lovely evening here in Halifax, and it is with an intrepid hand that I begin this  Briand family history story. I pray that I can impart to you the reader an accurate accounting of my Briand family. My "Briand Family" saga deals of course with the Briand family of L'Ardoise, Cape Breton N.S. Men  and women who immigrated to the New World in the late 1720's in search of fame and fortune. Strong men and women who ached for adventure and who felt and indeed proved that they had something to contribute in making the New World the envy of the old establishment. 

pierrebriand.jpg (17869 bytes)
  Pierre Norbert Aimé Briand
Photo courtesy of Rufine Swan

I would like to dedicate this "Family" legacy to my grandfather "Pierre Norbert Aimé Briand". A man whom I loved and admired; a cultured man who learned of and practiced the "Native Mi'kmaq" ways of diagnosing and treating some common, human maladies.

Our  story then begins in 1530 with one Alain Briand who we believe was born and lived in the parish of St. Pere / St. Parame in the city of St. Malo, France. 

Alain Briand was a "trésorier" treasurer,   married with a son born ca. 1570 named Michel. Michel Briand also recorded in 1604 as a treasuroe, is found married to one Guillemette Bouesael. In all likelihood Guillemette was also of St. Malo.
In any event, 
Michel Briand and Guillemette had a son whom they named "Laurent  Briand". Laurent Briand we find was an educated man, in fact a nobleman of the parish of St. Pere, - Sieur de l'Hostellerie - notary, prosecutor, lawyer. Laurent Briand married one Hélène Charton born about 1591.

According to data supplied by Mr. Paul Pâté, of L'Ardoise, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia Hélène died on July 29, of 1659, at the age of 68. Laurent Briand died on the 24th of August, 1672. Laurent and Hélène had at least one son that we know of and that was one Julien Briand, born in the parish of St. Pere on June 30, 1629. Julien, according to Mr. Pâté was a noblemen and held the title Sieur de la Chesnais. Julien Briand is listed as being a Fiscal Prosecutor. Records indicate that he married three times. Firstly he married Jeanne Billecocq, on November 5, 1658. Jeanne we are told died on July 28th, 1662. While married Julien and Jeanne had 2 children, Laurent born October 28, 1659 at St. Pere, and François whose birthdate we do not have. Laurent held the title of Sieur de la Villeroux, while François also born at St. Pere, held the title Sieur de la Chesnoye. Julien's second marriage on July 7, 1663 was to Jacquette Locquet. Jacquette, parents unknown, died March 3, 1675. Julien's third marriage on December 7, 1676 was to Gilonne Breal.

For our study purposes then, our Briand family line continues with Julien Briand and Jeanne's son Laurent Briand, born October 28, 1659. Laurent it seems married twice. He married for the first time on July 30th of 1681. He married one Briande Louvigne [dame de Launay] daughter or Jacques [Sieur de Clos] Lonvigne. Mr. Pâté has indicated that present at this wedding was the groom's father, Julien Briand. Mr. Pâté also lists 6 children as belonging to Laurent and Briande, and states that 3 sons, namely Joseph Briand, Jean Briand and Gabriel Briand are unaccounted for. The six children that are documented are:
  • Jeanne Briand [demoiselle de la Villeroux] b. May 24, 1682 at St. Malo. Jeanne is recorded as having died on March 18, 1699.
  • N..... Briand b. April 22, 1684 at St. Malo.
  • Julien Briand b. April 19, 1685 at St. Malo.
  • Laurent Briand b. March 9, 1686 at St. Malo.
  • Georges Briand b. December 7, 1687 at St. Malo.
  • Marie Briand b. January 8, 1690 at St. Malo.

After Briande's death Laurent married for the second time. This marriage took place on November 22 of 1701. Laurent married one Jacquette Martin, daughter of the Sieur de Sainte-Marie, Pierre Martin and Thomasse Serre Demoiselle de la Fosse, at St. Malo. François Briand, Laurent's brother, is listed as having attended this marriage. Five [5] children are recorded as having been born to Laurent and Jacquette. These were:

  • Marie Briand whose birthdate we do not have but who died March 4th of 1761 at Parame.
  • Pierre-François b. December 20, 1706 at Parame.
  • Laurent b. In November of 1709 at Parame.
  • Julien-Gillis Briand b. November 11, 1711 at Parame.
  • Marie-Perrine Briand b. June 9th, 1718 in Parame.

Laurent Briand died, at some point in time, prior to 1734, as documents registering the succession of all of his property rights, to his two sons Pierre-François and Laurent Jnr. were registered at St. Malo, on October 28th of 1734. Laurent and Pierre- François were at that time recorded as living in Canada. Their mother though, Jacquette [Martin] Briand is recorded as having died at St. Malo's General Hospital on March 23rd of 1754. Our Briand line now follows that of Pierre François Briand.

Pierre-François Briand is believed to have come to Port Toulouse, present day St Peters, Cape Breton, in 1728/29. In any event, in 1730 at Port Toulouse Pierre-François married one Renee Marchand. Renee, born about 1716, was the daughter of Louis Marchand and Anne-Marie Godin. Pierre-François at this time was recorded as being a Navigator and Carpenter. Pierre and Anne-Marie's would go on to have nine [9] children, their first child being Jeanne, who was born about 1732, at Port Toulouse. The others were Joseph, a soldier at Louisbourg born January 11, 1737; Pierre Louis, a fisherman born September 30th, 1737; Nicholas -François, a cannon gunner at Fortress Louisbourg baptised ca. 1741; Celestin, a Marine at Louisbourg born 1743; Jean Finance, a carpenter born 1745; Jean Baptiste, also a carpenter born 1747; George Cyprien, Ships Captain born November 7, 1748 and Pierre, a fisherman born 1749/50.

As we all now know, the next time frame 1758 to 1763 was the most dramatic and heart-wrenching of any, in our Acadian history. It was a period in time where the people had no control. Decisions affecting their lives and those of their families, friends and neighbours were not their own to make. They were being made thousands of  miles away, by the superpowers of the day, England and France. Families were literally torn apart and flung to the far corners of the earth; the Briand family included. Many of our menfolk were sent to prisoner of war camps in England. The women and children were shipped to all regions of the globe.

But to our fore-father's credit, they were courageous survivors. Some escaped the expulsion and many of  others returned, at war's end in 1763. Returned to Cape Breton and the New World. We are their descendants. Today we are a very diverse group with roots all over Canada, the United States and indeed the globe. If you find that that your family roots tie into ours, please contact me at . We would love to add your line to our family tree.

Following is a link to the Briand family members of L'Ardoise.


Descendants of Pierre Francois Briand

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Copyright 2004  Rufine Swan

Revised: Monday, April 30, 2012