What’s In a Name?

Many Gallant family genealogists and Acadian historians have hypothesized about how our ancestor, Michel Haché-Gallant, came by his surname. No one knows for sure and there’s very little chance that the “truth” will ever be found, as there is no documentation nor are there first-hand accounts of his decision to adopt the name. There’s also no absolute proof of his lineage, but most subject authorities associate him as the son of Pierre Larché (also spelled Haché).

Listen to various pronunciations of Gallant here. (For what it’s worth, I pronounce it the same way that my father chose to.)

Here is one of the stories that attempts an explanation of the origin of the name:

In Placide Gaudet’s written notes, we can read the following concerning Michel Haché: “Michel Haché-Gallant was born in 1662 and was brought up in Trois-Rivières by Lord Jacques LeNeuf de la Poterie, the father of Michel LeNeuf, Lord de la Vallière and Lord of Beaubassin.” When Michel LeNeuf went to reside with his wife and children in his manor on ‘de la Vallière Island (today Long’s Island), around 1676 or 1677, he brought the young Michel Haché, who was then 15 years old, with him, to be his servant/domestic. Very active, intelligent, he could read and write, he was extremely attached to his master. He used to accompany him in all his trips, whether on the land or on the sea.

It was later reported that Michel Haché was in a certain fight, and having fought like a lion, afterwards was given the surname of “Galant”. Whether this account is accurate is open to question, since while the name “Galand” was know in France in the 1600s, while the names Haché and Larché were not.

Around 1687, when Mr. de la Vallière left his seineury to go and live in Quebec City, he gave Michel Haché a large portion of his lands in Beaubassin.

The first mention of Michel Haché, in Acadia, was in the Beaubassin religious census of 27 April 1682. He was a godfather at a baptism and was named Michel Larché (nickname Galant). Arché means justice agent and policeman. Michel having no family, the function name of Larché, would have been given to him.

In 1686 in the Beaubassin census, his name was still listed as Michel Larché, he was single, 22 years of age and lived with the Landlord of Beaubassin, Michel LeNeuf.

Source:  http://hache-gallant.com/hache-gallant/history.html

Note: Placide Gaudet was a Canadian historian, educator, genealogist and journalist. Read more about him here.

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