a minute or two/ without remembering

This post is in memory of my father, Gerald Coutu, who right up until he died, remembered bitterly almost daily that the English won New France in 1759.

front cover without flapPoems in a minute or two/ without remembering (2010 Two Cultures Press, North Bay, On) are spoken in the voices of my actual Coutu (Cottu) ancestors, encompassing 120 years of New France history roughly from 1680 – 1800.

What was it like for my 7th great grandmother arriving crossing the ocean to marry some unknown coureur de bois. Twelve years old, and within two weeks as a Fille du Roi, she would commit herself to marriage for life.

This is a family living through Iroquois attack, the deaths of children, going off to war, famine, plague and siege… to end up living under an English king.

Below is my sixth great grandfather’s signature (from a marriage certificate), published in gold on royal blue under the dust cover above. I wanted it to be there, like the foundation he was, as his arrival in Quebec was the beginning of the Coutu family in Canada. The squiggle after it possibly refers to his noble heritage in Picardy which goes back to Charlemagne. You may bow before me next time we meet, in recognition of my (the Coutu family) royal roots.

signature francois cottu



2 thoughts on “a minute or two/ without remembering

  1. I do wish I had seen the name of my ancestor, Madeleine Despres, in the list of passengers who sailed on the St. Jean Baptiste in 1671 from Dieppe, France. Others have said she was on this list, but I have not found the passenger list in my studies. She married Nicolas Audet Lapointe.
    If you have a link to find passenger lists, please advise. Many thanks! LLZ


  2. I do wish I could give you a link. I found a book in the old library on Sherbrooke Street, near Lafontaine Park, many years ago. When its contents supposedly were all taken to the new library and Archives, I tried to find it again but never could. You might find it in a special collection there. I don’t live in Montreal now or I would try again. The book was about those ships and each ship/voyage had its own page. I was excited to see my ancestor, Marguerite de Laplace, and did not note the other names. I am an amateur in every way and should not have let that go by. I did think I had a photocopy of the page but have no idea where it might be. If I come across it I could send you a copy if I had your email address. How did you know to ask me. Have you read my book on the Cottu/Coutu family in New France?


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