In order to prepare the
festivities of the 300th birthday of the canonical dedication
of the parish of "St -Laurent, Île d'Orleans",
the Rev. Raymond Létourneau, recognized historian, and
native of "St -Jean, Île d'Orléans", took
the initiative of sensitizing the families originating from the
island to the importance of forming family associations among
themselves for that occasion.
To achieve this goal,
the Rouleau formed, in July 1978, in the basement of the "Caisse
Populaire of St -Laurent", the first committee formed by:
René Rouleau, Bernadette Rouleau-Morin, Jeannette, of
"St -Laurent", Napoléon Rouleau and C. Raymond
Langlois of Beauport, Henriette Rouleau of Ottawa, Thérèse
Lachance-Lajeunesse and Rita Blais of Quebec, Jeannine Rouleau-Auger
of "Cap-Rouge", Renée-Marie Vanasse of Montreal
and Anne-Marie Rouleau of "St -David de l'Auberivière
(Lévis)", all descendants of the ancestor Gabriel.
The first gesture of the
committee consisted in making a listing of the Rouleau of North
America from the available telephone directories, as much in
Canada that in the United States. Under the patronyme of Rouleau,1
500 names were listed. This was possible thanks to the devotion
of parents and friends scattered from coast to coast.
Under the direction of C. Raymond Langlois, a circular was sent
to all, in order to interest each one to a possible gathering.
To this circular was attached a questionnaire whose answers would
allow the committee to establish for each: the interest for the
consideration of a gathering, a preview of the adherence lineage
and a will to participate financially in the preparation of the
festivities. Of the 1700 letters sent, 50% answered favorably
and sent , either a mountain of genealogical informations, either
a financial involvement, either generous grants and encouragement's
of all kinds. This was enough to boast to the maximum the interest
of the committee responsible of the preparation of the gathering
foreseen for July 28, 1979.
Already before 1978, some
Rouleau were conscious of their ancestral chain and already knew
all links to the ancestor who came from France in the XVIIth
century and the XVIIIth century. Already before 1978, René
Rouleau of "Île d'Orléans", Cécile
Rouleau of Rimouski, Nelda Rouleau-Womack of Wisconsin (U.S.A.),
to only name those, were able to exchange genealogical informations,
knowing their respective ancestor. They had already undertaken
researches in rectories, centers of archives, the available publications
and even abroad to know the coordinates of their forefathers,
their place of origin, their active life before and after their
arrival in New-France.
These researches showed
the existence of three lineage's of our Rouleau ancestors who
came from France: Gabriel, who came from Tourouvre (Dept. of
Orne) in 1646, Louis who came from Missé (Poitou) in 1691
and Pierre and Jean-Baptist, who came from Bacilly (Normandy)
in 1750. The existence of these three lineage's became, for researchers
interested in their roots, an unlimited center of interest. However,
the trifamilly aspect of the Rouleau ancestries is not in any
way harmful to the unity, the warmth and the will for future
gatherings and communications.
In fact, the festivities
of 1979 reunion, gathering the Rouleau of all known ancestries
was the pretext to create ties of friendship between participants
and a more meaningful adherence in view of a possible association
of the Rouleau of America. About 800 Rouleau got together in
"Île d'Orléans" to feast and dine together,
to create some very strong ties and to speak of genealogy before
the genealogical scroll (about 25 meters long by 1 meter high)
on which each could find his name there or could add his or missing
informations, or, again, correct a mistake. This scroll, was
the one made by René Rouleau, bearing the fruits of his
researches on the descendants of Gabriel.
It was also the opportunity to meet personalities such as Alfred
Rouleau, at the time, President of the "Movement des Caisses
Populaires Desjardins", Joseph Rouleau, the singing bass
of international renown, to only name those, and this on the
ancestral farm where Gabriel initialized his progeny. Gabriel
II, posthumous jubilate of this feast, became the ancestor of
seven generations of Rouleau who succeeded each other without
interruption since 1687 on the ancestral farm of "St -Laurent".
The feast was a pretext
to develop the taste for genealogical research among several
Rouleau. To those already known in the domain, several other
researchers such as Henriette Rouleau of Ottawa, Yvan Rouleau
of Gatineau, and several others who showed later joined the group.
Once the feast of 1979
a success, all participants hoped for other meetings to fraternize
and to exchange genealogical information. To concretize the will
expressed by the participants, a board of directors was formed
around Bernadette Rouleau-Morin, first president, organizing
meetings of the executive and, every year or nearly, a friendly
meeting at her home or on the ancestral farm. To assist Bernadette,
there was Gaétan (present owner of the ancestral farm),
Napoléon, C. Raymond Langlois, René, Thérèse
Lachance and Anne-Marie Rouleau. From year to year, members of
the Board replaced themselves according to their availability
and their personal obligations, but Bernadette was always there.
During this time, researchers
were always in quest of news genealogical data.
The gathering on the island of Orleans in the summer of 1979
had encouraged the human contacts, particularly in the research
of parental affinities among many descendants of Gabriel. Several
of these descendants had oriented their life in the states of
Wisconsin, Minnesota and in those of New England.
It is why, following the
contacts that René Rouleau had maintained with some of
them, such as Nelda Rouleau-Womack from Milwaukee (Wi), June
Rouleau from Alpena (Mi), Sister Marie Celeste Rouleau from San
Francisco (Ca); the members of the Board of Directors decided
to organize a visit of the American cousins.
Bernadette Rouleau, then
president, accompanied by: her late husband, Aimé Morin;
late René Rouleau, then secretary with his wife Monique;
late C. Raymond Langlois, treasurer with his wife Lucie, decided
to leave for Milwaukee, USA. Their departure took place on October
19, 1983; an important gathering (about 150 people) of Rouleau
took place in their honor on October 24. The Goals aimed by this
meeting were the same that in 1979 and success was more or less
identical, even though the linguistic disparity brought a few
small problems. Our "Quebecois" were filled with genealogical
information and cordial ties. Received and lodged as family's
members by Nelda and by other Rouleau cousins, they greatly appreciated
the welcome of the American Rouleau and their interest for their
roots still well planted in Quebec.
Another visit, this one to Alpena (Mi) was signaled even by a
local newspaper; proof that the Rouleau don't pass incognito
among our American cousins . About fifty descendants of Gabriel
were ready to welcome our "Quebecois" and to share
with them interesting information on their ancestry and their
In December 1984, the
founding committee decided to duly incorporate the association
and registered it at the Ministry of Financial Institutions.
Henceforth, it would be question of the Association of the Rouleau
of America Inc. The association became a voluntary member of
the Federation of the First Families of Quebec, whose main goal
is to help family associations to organize themselves; in return,
it offers multiple services such as second class mailing and
printing of our quarterly bulletins.
Along the years, the association
was witness of exchanges of all kinds between the Rouleau of
France, those of the United States and those of Canada. Travels
favored interesting meetings and, written communications enriched
the genealogical index.
Several Rouleau joined the association, lengthening the list
of members and enlarging the circle of acquaintance of the association.
In February 1985, the
association began to publish a bulletin of liaison called:
"Je Veille ...
et Roule au Grain"
Published 3 or 4 times the year, this bulletin reports: the proceedings
of the board of directors, the biography of some Rouleau, some
interesting anecdotes, the evolution and ambitions of the association.
In the beginning, René Rouleau wrote the articles and
made the publishing and the editing; but after some years, the
pen changed hand due to the failing health of the publisher.
After several changes of name the news letter of the association
is now called:
and it is always published 4 times a year.
In 1987, it was on the
ancestral farm that took place the special gathering to celebrate
the 300 years of history of the Rouleau farm. The association
took this opportunity to underline the 300 years of ownership
of the farm within the same line of Rouleau from father to son,
without interruption since Gabriel II.
(By marrying Jeanne Dufresne in 1687, then widow and owner of
this farm, he became the first Rouleau to occupy and to cultivate
His progeny had exploited it until 1987, and Jean-Marie Rouleau
and Annette Dupuis were the actual owners, soon to be replaced
by their son Gaétan newly married to Lise Blouin. A commemorative
bronze plate had been presented to Gaétan Rouleau to certify
the 300 years of ownership of the farm to the Rouleau. This plate
is now part of the monument erected on the ancestral farm close
to the Royal Road and it shows to what extend the Rouleau are
proud of their ancestors.
On that occasion, the gathering received the visit of the then
oldest living descendants of Gabriel, Sister Clementine Rouleau
of the congregation of Joanne of Arc , still in good shape of
body and soul, in spite of her 94 years. This gathering of 1987
was the opportunity to display once again , at the ancestral
farm, the genealogical scroll showing the progeny of Gabriel
to be seen by all guests, in order to add to it even some additional
But alas! it was the last
gathering to which participated René Rouleau, the researcher.
A violent cancer came, some weeks later, to put end to his days,
after no less than 10 years of researches giving place to a very
imposing quantity of genealogical data and historic texts.
It was a gathering where
exchange was in honor, as much to the genealogical view point
as to the brotherly view point. The weather (abundant rain) had
encouraged regroupings inside the building. The invitation has
been launched through the newsletter and participants had come
from United States, Canada and even France. About 300 people
fraternized that day, showing their happiness for the success
of the gathering.
Thereafter, the association
continued to gather the Rouleau every year to keep warm the hot
ties of friendship between cousins and to develop the taste for
genealogy. The yearly gatherings took place in alternation on
the island of Orleans and around the province until 1992.
After having conducted
with love the destinies of the association, Bernadette Rouleau-Morin
left, in 1989, the president's seat in favor of her brother Marc,
but remained member of the board of directors, as a counselor.
Other new faces came to replace some of the team of the first
hour, bringing new ideas for the evolution of the association.
In January 1990, the board
of directors of the association of the Rouleau of America gathered
in Sherbrooke, Quebec, to meet, at the occasion of a brunch ,
the Rouleau of the region of the Eastern Townships, and publicize
the existence of the association. No less than 80 people (descendants
of Gabriel) got together to fraternize and to meet those that
had worked to this very praiseworthy cause that is the research
of its roots.
In March 1991, after about
6 months of illness, died C. Raymond Langlois, one of pioneers
of the association to which he had given 13 years of his leisure
Then in May 1991, it was
in "St -Léon de Standon, Quebec" that the Board
of Directors gathered to meet the Rouleau of the lineage of Gabriel.
During a good lunch-dinner, they shared the good time, the cordiality
and information on descendants of several Rouleau of which about
80 were present. Council members made their possible to publicize
the association, its realizations and its ambitions.
Finally, on the spring
of 1992, the Board of Directors traveled to "St-Chrysostome,
Quebec" where lives a strong concentration of Louis Rouleau
descendants. The 75 guests attending were happy to share with
the Rouleau of another lineage, (the board of directors counted
descendants of Gabriel exclusively), some genealogical information
and interesting friendships, on the occasion of a good lunch.
It was the beginning of exchanges between descendants of Louis
and those of Gabriel.
On May 17, 1992, the Rouleau
of the region of Asbestos, Quebec gathered in Thetford-Mines
around Marielle Rouleau-Ferland and her family, to welcome members
of the Board of directors of the association. Marielle wanted
to promote the association of the Rouleau of America while creating
some happy ties and while speaking of genealogy with descendants
of their common ancestor, Gabriel. About sixty people had regrouped
in a public room for the circumstance.
- Montreal 92
On the occasion of the
celebration of the 300th anniversary of the founding of Montreal,
the association had decided to participate, like other family
associations, by organizing a gathering of Rouleau at the Maisonneuve
College, in Montreal, where the welcome and the decor were the
most cordial. On that August 8, 1992, the association welcomed
about 240 people, for the most Rouleau who came to speak of relationship
and genealogy, but especially to applaud the official new coat
of arms especially created for the Association of the Rouleau
of America and registered in the armorial of the National Library
of Paris. Finally, the association had well endowed itself with
its own escutcheon, rejecting the use of the previous one used
before and the doubts about its real ownership.
All day, it was a rolling
fire of interesting exchanges, new meetings and suitable genealogical
information each of the three lineage's of Rouleau, the one of
Gabriel, the one of Louis and the one of Pierre and Jean-Baptist.
Speeches pronounced on this opportunity by dignitaries underlined
the importance of the feeling of adhering to the association,
to the coat of arms, and to his respective roots and, especially,
the importance of trifamilial aspect of the Association of the
Rouleau of America.
A copious diner was served
to about 220 peoples, afterwards guests had right to a noteworthy
evening, with a concert in two parts: on the first part was heard
a French minstrel, Robert Rotrou, nicknamed "Le Chanteux
du Perche"; he interpreted his own songs worthy of the French
and "Québecois" folklores. The second part moved
deeply the attendance who tasted the successes of Felix Leclerc
interpreted with heat by our national singing bass, Joseph Rouleau.
At the end of evening, the association presented a memory plate
to the widow of Alfred Rouleau in posthumous homage, for his
implication in the development of his country.
During the yearly general
assembly of December 5, 1992, at the "Pavilion Caseault"
of the Laval University, elections were held to fill five vacant
seats on the Board of Directors.
The new Board was then composed of:
Guy Rouleau, as president, in replacement of Marc Rouleau, Anne-Marie
Rouleau, as vice-president, Claude Rouleau, as secretary and
Georges Rouleau, as treasurer. The other members were elected
On this occasion, Guy, the new president, announced his program
structured on eight big projects directed by five committees:
genealogy, the history of the Rouleau Families of America, communications,
the bulletin and the census. The progress of the works on each
of these committees had to succeed on very concrete realizations:
to make a census of the Rouleau, to list all genealogical information
in a dictionary using data processing for support; to publish
the genealogical trees, to write the history of the association
of the Rouleau of America; to write the history of famous Rouleau
and in short to encourage the trifamilial aspect of the association.
The executive committee, following the intervening of Gontran
Rouleau, judge at the Superior Court of Quebec, decided to change
the name of the association and to call it henceforth:
The Association of the Rouleau Families of America
and to recast its Rules and Regulations.
All these works had to
concretize themselves in a will to publish the result of the
researches and to present it on occasion of the thematic meeting
"Our Roots" foreseen for the month of August 1994.
Through the progress of
these projects, a trip to the country of our ancestors (France)
was organized, and about twenty Rouleau took part. During fifteen
days (from September 11 to September 25, 1993), they visited,
with Anne-Marie as chief of the Rouleau group, the country of
the three forefathers,: Tourouvre, place of origin of Gabriel,
Missé, the one of Louis and Bacilly, the one of Pierre
and Jean-Baptist. The group benefited of the opportunity to stop
at certain places whose names haunt the memory of "Quebecois"
as: Brouages, homeland of Champlain, La Rochelle, sea port on
the Atlantic, Cognac, for its alcohol, Chartres, for its cathedral...
and Paris, city of light, to only name those . Finally, it was
a charming discovery for those that were on their first trip,
and of beautiful memories for the recidivists.
While some Rouleau visited
the country of their ancestors, others answered the call of Nelda
Rouleau-Womack of Milwaukee who prepared an American Rouleau
gathering. About ten Rouleau, including the president Guy, his
wife Suzanne and his son Paul accompanied by his girlfriend,
were going to participate in the feast of September 17 and 18,
1993. There was also Bernadette, the founding president of the
association, Marc, his brother, Napoléon and his nephew
Dennis, Monique, cousin of Nelda and Gontran Rouleau, judge at
the Superior Court of Quebec.
On September 17, the group
had the opportunity to visit the Milwaukee Public Museum with
Jacques Robillard, a Franco-American, as a guide. In the evening,
about sixty cousins and cousins gathered in the Mitchell Park
Domes ( similar to the Biodome of Montreal) to get acquainted
and to fraternize around a good supper.
The following day, on September 18, there was a last gathering
for a brunch at the Mitchell Park Pavilion. Again there, about
fifty cousins benefited of the opportunity to increase their
knowledge, of their ancestry. Between gatherings, the "Quebecois"
tasted the cordial hospitality of Nelda and Mark Rouleau.
Back in Quebec, everybody
went back to the task of advancing the projects started, in order
to achieve final results to be presented on August 1994.
The aimed goal that all
persons responsible of committees had in mind was the publication
of the genealogical dictionary, the history of famous Rouleau
and the history of the association of the Rouleau Families of
America in the setting of the unique thematic meeting "Our
About this topic, Guy Rouleau, then the president, wrote afterwards:
We raised a challenge that seemed impossible in order to offer
us a work of quality, executed in incredibly short times. We
inspired ourselves surely of the tenacity and the entrepreneurship
of our forefathers as well as their desire to share.
It was necessary to achieve
in the briefest limits of time, a work well made, at a reasonable
price, and to distribute to an important number of Rouleau families,
these hidden treasures found in attics or drawers.
This miracle could not
be made possible without the immeasurable collaboration of certain
members of the Rouleau families that devoted themselves without
counting during the last 20 months. They searched for, compiled
and corrected the relative genealogical data of the 6800 Rouleau
involved in this work.
Have participated to this
gigantic work : Guy Rouleau and his wife Suzanne, Michèle
Lacroix-Rouleau, Marc Rouleau and Gilles Lavigueur, Guy Rouleau
of Black-Lake, Nelda Rouleau-Womack and several members of the
board of directors of then such as Anne-Marie Rouleau, Georges
Rouleau and his wife Denise, all of Lévis, Quebec.
The task was increased
in the measure that it was necessary to treat data according
to their distribution between the 3 families and the 4 forefathers.
The first ancestor, Gabriel
Rouleau alias "Sansouci", arrived in News-France around
the year 1649, the second ancestor, Louis Rouleau set foot on
the land of the New World around 1686. Finally, in 1748, two
brothers, Pierre and Jean-Baptist Rouleau settled on the Coast
of the South (today "La Pocatière"). Most names
of the Rouleau listed have been attached to each of these three
Today, these genealogical
informations have increased and are corrected if necessary by
computer communications like Internet. On the other hand, this
genealogy included a historic part about our forefathers, the
famous Rouleau and the history of the Association of the Rouleau
Families of America.
It is on the occasion
of a noteworthy weekend in Three-Rivers, Quebec, under the theme
Our Roots, that was unveiled the monumental work of the Rouleau
Genealogy. The 2, 3 and 4 of September 1994 was 3 days of rejoicing
to celebrate the arrival of the Genealogy in 2 volumes, divided
between the historic part and the genealogy part.
In the stride of the genealogical
and historic researches, it was possible to determine with precision
the place where each of these 4 ancestors had settled in News-France.
To immortalize these dear places in the heart of descendants
and celebrate the memory of these ancestors, the association
took the initiative to materialize these memories by the unveiling
of monuments and commemorative plates.
For the yearly gathering
of the association, it is on September 2, 1995 that members,
friends and descendants of the 3 lineages met in the city of
"La Pocatière" to celebrate the ancestors Pierre
and Jean-Baptiste who came from France (Bacilly) to cultivate
their farms in this place.
They got married there and lived on adjacent farms, where today
is an important factory of railway equipment belonging to the
During the day, a monument
with a commemorative plate was inaugurated at the site of the
first cemetery of the parish of "Sainte-Anne-de-La Pocatière".
A crowd of Rouleau and friends gathered around the monument to
witness its dedication by the vicar of the parish, followed by
the usual speeches of the dignitaries. The feast continued at
the meeting hall of the "Club de l'Âge d'Or de La
Pocatière" where we met descendants of the two ancestors
Pierre and Jean-Baptiste Rouleau and fraternized with them.
at "St -Léonard"
Island of Montreal
The opportunity to hold
the yearly gathering of the association at "St-Léonard"
(township of the island of Montreal) was well chosen since it
was held exactly on the exact place where the ancestor Louis
Rouleau had exploited his farm and raised his family between
1696 and 1716. In the past, Louis' farm was part of the locality
called "Côte St. -Michel" in the parish of "Sault-au-Récollet".
Louis Rouleau and Françoise
Geoffrion signed a contract of marriage before the notary Maugue
, on March 5, 1696, in Montreal, precisely 300 years before this
gathering that took place in the church "Notre-Dame-du-Mont-Carmel".
This church belonging to the Italian community of St -Léonard
is situated on the site of the farm that Louis cultivated once.
The commemorative plate inaugurated for this occasion, has been
affixed on the facade of a public building located at "5540,
Jarry Est, St-Léonard", on Louis' ancient land. A
historic bulletin, fruit of the work of research and edition
by Lise and Gilles Lavigueur, was on sale that day.
About a hundred people,
including several descendants of Louis Rouleau, feasted this
August 31st 1996, in memory of the second ancestor who came from
France and who made a living on the island of Montreal and let
a numerous posterity.
Island of Orleans (1997)
The association wanted
to celebrate, on July 12, 1997, the memory of the first ancestor
Gabriel Rouleau who, came from France(Tourouvre, Perche) toward
1649, settled in "Ste-Famille,I.O." in 1656, on a farm
land that he reclaimed and cultivated to feed his wife Mathurine
Roux and their children.
It is in the parish hall
of "Ste-Famille" that took place the feast and the
yearly general assembly of the association. A commemorative plate
was unveiled and dedicated by father Jean-Paul Rouleau, s.j.,
to be affixed, thereafter, on a stone wall circling the parish
cemetery where Gabriel Rouleau was buried in 1673.
Like every previous gathering,
the association reunited descendants of the three ancestral lineages
to fraternize and to proceed with the yearly general assembly
and the election of administrators of the association.
at "St -Laurent"
Island of Orleans (1999)
This year, the annual
gathering was held in "St-Laurent, I.O.", to commemorate
the 20th anniversary of the foundation of the association, and
the first gathering of the Rouleau on the ancestral farm of Gabriel
II (son of Gabriel I), today property of the family of Gaétan
This farm, having belonged
to Gabriel II, by his marriage with the widow Jeanne Dufresne
in 1687, has always been the property of Rouleau from the lineage
of Gabriel, who succeeded, there, from father to son until today.
A monument and
a commemorative plate,
installed at the entrance of the property, is a permanent testimony