The 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?