This site is the result of at least 15 years of research and hard work. All the data comes from the original registers and repertories and has been verified to avoid mistakes. My descendary line contains more information than the others (James - Joseph's 2nd marriage - Narcisse's 2nd marriage - Wilfrid - Ida). For comments, sharing info, adding data or signalling a mistake, contact me at the following address :


Are you a descendant of James Robinson, aka Jacque Robertson, and Marie Trottier? If the answer is yes, you are part of a family that is very hard to trace. I've been searching our roots long enough to know, and believe me it's not easy. There are no research tools for that period in time and the notaries have done a very bad job at keeping their papers in good order. It's like searching for a needle in a haystack. Even the family name changes from one priest to the other, from one notary to the other and from one generation to the other. Which one is the real one? Nobody knows and I'm afraid that nobody will ever be able to answer this question. A lot of documents I found were written in English, because most of the pioneers of Argenteuil were anglophones. Over the years the situation changed, and it's now the opposite. Translations will be given for better understanding of important documents. Words like black or coloured person were intentionally kept to better recreate the historical context. Those are the words that were used at that period of time. Slavery will not be discussed in this work because our ancestors have always been free in the province of Quebec. No document mentioned James Robinson or his wife as being or having been slaves.

First Generation

The Argenteuil Seigniory was granted in 1680. It wasn't developed before the late 1780, because the King of France had refused to establish seigniories at the North of Montreal, to stop the fur trade black market. It also permitted the development of the town of Ville-Marie (now Montreal) to its full potential. After the war of Independence in the United States, many Loyalists left their country and settled in Argenteuil. That's when our ancestor James Robinson came here.

James Robinson aka Jacque Robertson

My third great-grandfather, James Robinson, was a "Négre" (black man). He was a farmer. His wife, Marie Trottier, was a "femme de couleur" (coloured woman). Those are the terms used to refer to them in the official registers. We don't know when and where they were married or how and when they came to the province of Quebec. But in the spring of 1804 they were already established in the Argenteuil Seigniory where a son named Jean Baptiste was born on April 28. He was later baptised in the parish of Rigaud because there was no catholic church in the area.

The Seignior James Murray granted a land to James Robinson on the Côte du Midi range. It was the land #2. It changed to #549 because of the cadastral reform. The lot is highlighted in yellow on the map.The official transaction was only written during the fall because there was no notary living in the county. While on a weeklong visit in Argenteuil, the notary Peter Lukin wrote several acts for several residents of the area, including this one.

In this concession, The Seignior James Murray, represented by his father Patrick Murray, granted James Robinson « negré » the land #2 situated at the Côte du Midi settlement, on the south side of the range, on November 21st 1804. It measured 3 by 30 acres and had no building on it. To keep his land, James had to obey all the seigniorial rules, which were :

If he failed to obey all these rules, his land would be taken back by the Seignior and would become part of his property again.

On June 21st 1822, James Robinson went to the office of the notary Charles- Louis Nolin in Carillon to sell his land to a farmer named Rude Kingsbury. A small run down wooden house and other buildings were built on it. He sold it for one hundred Spanish dollars. James declared himself to be unable to sign his name but made his usual mark, which was a big cross.

In the census of 1825, he was still living at the Côte du Midi. There were four persons in James household. One aged between 6 and 14, one female aged between 14 and 18, one married man between 40 and 60 (James) and one married woman aged 45 or more (Marie Trottier).

It seems that James did not attend the Catholic church. For example, he was absent from all his children's' baptisms. Nor did he follow one the oldest Catholic traditions that consist of being the main witness at your children's weddings. He died between 1825 and 1838 but we don't have a more precise date or location.

His wife, Marie Trottier was named godmother for her first grandson in 1824 in Rigaud. She declared herself to be unable to sign her name. The next thing I find about her is her burial certificate in St.Andrews.

This certificate would translate as: The 30th burial of the year, being Marie Trottier's a coloured woman. Today 12th of October 1850 by us the undersigned priest was interred in the cemetery of this parish, the body of Marie Trottier, coloured woman wife of James Robertson, aged seventy years old, who died the day before yesterday_ were present Michel Bélanger and André Bernard who didn't know how to sign S. A. Bernier

The cemetery has been moved since then, so I was unable to locate her tombstone. That is, if there was any.

If we compare the union of James and Marie to the average family, it didn't produce that many descendants. But three of their sons helped to perpetuate their name by having many children. I don't know what become of their two daughters, because I lose their traces around 1825.

Their children are: Joseph, Jean Baptiste, François, Marguerite, Binjamin and Louise.

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