The Charlemagne Connection
Marie Catherine Baillon (c1645-1688) - Jim's maternal 8th great-grandmother.
Marie-Catherine is a special ancestor because it is through her that descendants are able to claim descent from Charlemagne (748-814), King of the Franks; in 800 he was crowned Emperor of the West by Pope Leo III in Rome. He was also known as Charles I or Charles the Great and is credited with uniting the majority of western and central Europe during his reign.
Marie-Catherine was a “fille-du-roi” but unlike most of these young women who came from very poor backgrounds, her situation was different. Her parents were members of the French nobility and it is through her mother that her ancestry can be traced back an additional twenty-seven generations to Charlemagne.
Twenty-four-year-old Catherine arrived in New France after her father’s death. She was married in Quebec City to Jacques Miville dit Deschenes on November 12, 1669. Jacques and Catherine died within two days of each other in January 1688, leaving five children aged 18, 17, 16, 11, and 7.
Much research has been done to prove her descent from Charlemagne. Several experienced genealogists established the “Catherine Baillon Research Project” in the 1980s and have published several articles and a book on her life and ancestors. Although this project has been deemed complete, their website is still being maintained and contains full details of their efforts to prove this lineage. The website is http://habitant.org/baillon (accessed 27 July 2020) and contains the complete story.
There is also “The Society of the Descendants of Charlemagne”. Interested descendants who can submit proof of their descendancy from a gateway ancestor can join (for a fee) and will receive a frameable certificate, etc. Complete details can be found on their website https://foundingfathersofnewengland.com/charlemagne.htm (accessed 27 July 2020).