Historical Information

Is This Our DNA Link To Indian Descendants?

chagnonfamilytreeThe genealogy research took a huge leap forward when the world wide web came into our lives. It has given us the opportunity  to connect to  resources, places, and people  and discover more about our family trees than ever. Now we have even more information since DNA (Deoxyribonulceic acid) came along. DNA  is a molecule that contains the instructions an organism needs to develop, live and reproduce. These instructions are found inside every cell, and are passed down from parent to their children. So how is this information important to linking us to Indian descendants? Can science be more accurate than written documentation? Well, in this particular genealogy research case there are two thoughts (opinions) on this and a lot of information  to back both sides.  So lets look at some of this information and then you decide “Are we linked to an Indian descendant?”

This starts with a person who we will call Catherine P. From documentation it was believed that Catherine’s parents were Pierre Pilet-Pillat Pilliar and Marguerite Morelinet.  But  after  intense research and  using the Mitochondrial DNA (MtDNA)  from  8 of Catherine’s descendants, it has shown that Catherine  may very well not be from French descendant, but from haplo type A, which is only found in the Indian populations. There is documentation that Catherine P (daughter of Pierre Pilet-Pillat Pilliar and Marguerite Morelinet) was baptised March 30, 1646 in Larochelle, France.   It is also known that  there was a Catherine du Plat, who was previously called  Ouenta (daughter of Atsena, Chief of Huron Bear Nation) before she was renamed by her godmother at her christening on  November 25, 1651 and was baptized by Claude Pijart.  Her godmother, Catherine de La Vaux, was the wife of Gilbert Barbier. She was born about June 1651.

So how does this have any connection to  the Chagnon Family Tree?  It is said that a  Catherine P? married Pierre Charron dit Ducharme in the parish of Notre-Dame de Montréal on October 19, 1665 in Montreal, Canada. She and Pierre had 12 children. Their first born was a daughter that they named, Catherine after her mother’s Christian baptized name.  Catherine Charron – Ducharme, the daughter of Pierre and Catherine P? or Catherine du Plat?, the daughter of Chief Atsena,   married Francis Chagnon dit Larose in 1679 in Contrecoeur, Quebec.  Francis was the  first known Chagnon in our family tree  who came to  North America in the mid 1660s as a Carignan Soldier.  So now you know how we are related.

From the DNA and research  it is believed by some that Catherine Chagnon dit Larose’s mother was  “Ouenta du Plat”  the daughter of Atsena, Chief of the Huron Bear Nation, but others believe she is the daughter of Pierre Pilet-Pillat Pilliar and Marguerite Morelinet. As we can see this is where thoughts (opinions) have created a split in the road of genealogy research. So the question is: “who are the true parents of Catherine? Do we believe DNA or the documentation written by several different people over the centuries?

If you are still undecided, you can read more and then decide  who you think we are related to, the Charrron-Ducharme branch or  Atsena, Chief of the Huron Bear Nation branch. Below are two websites dedicated to this particular genealogy research. Both have their own thoughts (opinions) on this.  Please let me know what your thoughts (opinions) are.
If you are interested in learning more about DNA, go to read my blog on: https://ancestryseeking.com/2017/09/19/how-can-dna-technology-help-find-the-missing-link-in-your-family-tree

2 thoughts on “Is This Our DNA Link To Indian Descendants?”

  1. Hi! I am also a decendent from the chagnon family and came across this. As I was told my whole life (and as the research shows) Chief Atsena was the father of Catherine (Oenta). When she was baptized her name was changed. The story my grandfather was always told, is that they were basically intertwined with the French. Many family members were baptized. Due to this, most records show their French/baptized name rather than their Abenaki name. My grandfather’s mother always told the story that her family was from the Abenaki/Penobscot tribe. From my research Atsena was from the Huron tribe? But others in his family are also listed as Algonquin/Abenaki.

    I don’t know if this helps!

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