The purpose of this work is to provide the descendants of Emily (Bebeau) and Werner Dahlheimer a history of the Bebeau family, Emily’s ancestors and their origins in France and Canada.
Several people provided input and must be recognized for their contributions. Further details and family records may be found on their websites:
Al Dahlquist, Little Canada, Minnesota, USA:
Lucette Bibeault, Quebec, Canada:
Patty Guimont, Chicago, Illinois, USA:
http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~patty0802/d14.htm#P4439 – Emily’s records
Laurier Vadnais, Quebec, Canada:
http://www.fgagnon.com/vadnais/eng/bibe_e.shtml - Bibeau history
Jane Heinrich (originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA):
Which if these it the correct spelling? That is a good question. Lucette Bibeault, a distant cousin in Quebec, wrote the following:
The name Bibeau came from the fact that the founder of our name was a bibau, which is to say he was a soldier whom his weapons consisted of a spear or a crossbow. The first that carried our name was indeed a rafter or a soldier. Since the people around him gave him this nickname which stayed with him for the rest of his life, his children who were so familiar with the name decided to keep Bibau or Bibeau and that constituted their family name. As a matter of fact, before the 12th century the members of the same family only had a given name; from then on, the Royal authorities ordered that each family had to have a last name. This name Bibeau, which was at first a nickname then becoming a family name, persisted for centuries. It traveled through France from generations to generations, and it spread as far as the seashore. Then in 1660, it crossed the Atlantic with our first Canadian ancestor, Francois Bibeau, and it solidly installed itself in the country of Quebec. Although in Canada, our name has different spellings our first Canadian ancestor signed his as “Francois Bibaud“, and to this day, his descendants write it as Bibaud, Bibaut, Bibeault, and Bibeau. These different names … all have the same pronunciation that is exactly the one of the original name Bibaud.
One internet website suggests that the names Bibaud, Bibau, Bibeau, Bibeault, have the same roots as found in the French word biberon, meaning baby bottle, but which probably designates a drinker. Perhaps that explains why our ancestor in France owned a tavern!!
Anne Gaudin in France wrote the following (content drawn from her website): http://a.gaudin.free.fr/variantes%20patronymiques.htm
One must be aware that, prior to the 16th century in France, the only names people used were their baptismal names, which were not passed on to their descendants. As time passed, it became confusing due to the number of names. As a result, people began referring to people by first names which often had something to do with their physical appearance, their character, place of abode, profession, etc. In the 16th century, King Francois 1st put in place a law requiring fixed family names which should be transmitted from father to son.
Even though this law was in place, the spelling of the names would continue to vary up to the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. As a result, before the 20th century, one cannot rely on the spelling of a name when tracing family roots. Often one finds that, within the same legal record (i.e., marriage), the father and son may spell their names differently, and that one individual may even spell his/her own name differently. One must keep these things in mind when doing research, as well as the fact that many priests were not often very well educated, and that the local pronunciation of a name and dialect could have deformed the sounds. Example: eau = aud
So, what is the correct name? Based on the above, that is a question that cannot be fully answered.
The family baptismal records in France record family names of Bibeau and Bibaut.
When people emigrated to North American, the names and spellings changed again. These spelling changes even occurred in Emily’s own family, for not only her last name but her first and middle names as well. According to family members: