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ADFRA Inc. history
French text by Marc Rouleau
English translation by Yves Rouleau
HTML by Robert Rouleau

French version
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Introduction

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.

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First gathering

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.

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Founding of the Association

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 progeny.

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Incorporation

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:


"HÉRITAGE" - (INHERITANCE)


and it is always published 4 times a year.

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Second gathering

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 it).
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 details.

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.

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The regional meetings

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 time.

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.

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Third Gathering - 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 as directors.
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 Roots".
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.

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Genealogy

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 ancestral lineages.

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.

 

Ancestors are honored

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.

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Gathering at "La Pocatière
Quebec" (1995)

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 "Industries Bombardier".

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.

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The Gathering at "St -Léonard"
Island of Montreal (1996)

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.

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The Gathering at "Ste-Famille"
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.

 

The Gathering 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 Rouleau.

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 of this.


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