And most everything in between.


Little did those first Pepin men know, as they came across to New France in the 1600s, that their surname would get spelled in so very many ways, or that some of their descendants would loose track of it completely. 

And my goodness there certainly are a lot of us.

The first are those who spell it PEPIN, of course.  Last time I looked, there were 22 of them in the Greater Vancouver BC area alone.  And a bunch more in Maine, Florida, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Kansas, as well as the many in Quebec and other parts of Canada . . . and who knows where else in the world.

Then there's those who spell it PEPPIN, PIPPIN and/or PIPPEN.  Even though most of these last two can find their origins in Great Britain, some of them started out as PEPINs.

Then, according to page 292 of the Tanguay, we can add PAPIN, CARDONNET, DeLAFOND, DesCARDONNETS, LaCHANCE, LACHAUSSÉE, LAFORCE, REFORT, TRANCHEMONTAGNE. and their variations to the mix. Most of these are what's called dit names.

So what's a dit name?  That's a real good question to which there are many good answers--a long one can be found here (along with some excellent hints for new researchers), some short ones here--but the gist of it is that a dit name is sorta kinda like an alias and sorta kinda like a nickname and sorta like an alternate last name.  There was, evidently, a long period of time in which there were only a few given names sanctioned by the Church which resulted in a lot of people with the same first name.  One of the things a dit name does is lets folks know who is who--like, for example, Pierre Pepin dit LaFond would be a completely different guy than Pierre Pepin dit Lachance.

But personally, I think the dit names were created to confuse modern-day English-speaking genealogists.

Say you're researching Guillaume PEPIN dit TRANCHEMONTAGNE's line.  He had sons Jacques, Pierre, and Jean.  Jacques, who married Marie-Jeanne CAIET, stuck with a straight PEPIN, but Pierre, who married Louise LEMIRE, used the dit name LaFORCE, and Jean, who married Madeleine LOISEAU, used the dit name DesCARDONNETS.

Thus, as you search for Guillaume's descendants, you need to keep an eye out for not only PEPIN, but LaFORCE and DesCARDONNETS as well.

And if your goal is to trace down Antoine PEPIN dit LACHANCE's descendants, as did his sons Ignace and Gervais, giving you the surnames PEPIN, LACHANCE, and CHANCE to look at.

Then there's those who spell it PEPPAN.  There was at least one family who spelled their surname this way in the Samsul, Missouri/Garden City, Kansas area, somewhere between 1862 and 1948.  Finding an obit for a son of this family--William Joshua "Satch" Peppan--led to meeting a couple living members of this family via email.  And though I've no documentation to prove it, I'm pretty convinced that Satch's family and mine are related.

Speaking of which . . .

In the greater Seattle area, there are 4 of us.  We aren't all listed in the phone book, but I'm related to every one of them . . . 'cept maybe for this one listed in Renton, but I called there and was told no one by that name lived there, so . . . <insert a shrug HERE>

As I've mentioned elsewhere on this site, I was my own worse enemy for awhile, sabotaging my research by stubbornly maintaining PEPPAN was how my family named had always spelled it, and it had never ever been spelled PEPIN.  Fortunately, I got over it.

Good thing, too.

My paternal great great great grandmother, Marguerite, spelled her last name PEPIN.  Then again so did her eldest son, Michel-Etienne MAY, better known to me as Etienne PEPIN.  One of his bosses at Fort Langley spelled it PAPIN, and at least two other people spelled it PEPPIN.  If that wasn't enough to serious confuse a beginner genealogist, Etienne himself also used the surnames MAILLÉ and MAGICE--with PAPIN getting hung on Isabelle, the mother of Etienne's younger son, Simon.

Simon--baptised in 1856 as Simon Magice--was a chip off the old block and got into the spirit of things by being married as Simeon PEPPIN, becoming a naturalized United States citizen under the name Seymour Pepin, and being listed in Seattle City business directories from 1896 through 1906 as Seymour PEPPAN.  Simon/Seymour is my great grandfather, a guy I first heard about as having the full name of Louis Seymour PEPPAN, who was, according to Daddy, "was French-Canadian."

For a short while I thought my great grandfather and great great grandfather had a couple of screws loose--or were hiding something . . . or from somebody.  But as I delve deeper into their roots, they were just upholding a fine family tradition: confuse the descendants.

What you will be seeing shortly on this page is information available on many other web sites out there.  Rootsweb has a lot of it.  So does GenForum.  The difference here--I hope--is that I'm looking to see just how much of Robert PEPIN and Marie CRETE's family tree can be filled in.

The information I present here comes from many sources, including but not limited to personal family records, the 1900 Federal Census for Seattle Washington, Washington state immigration and naturalization records, parish records from St. Andrews Catholic Cathedral in Victoria BC (Thank you Darlene) and St-Michel-d'Yamaska Quebec (Thank you, Dwight), Cyprien Tanguay's book, and research done by cousins Jackie LaVaque (Thank you, Jackie), Jim Pepin's wife Cheryl (Thanks for providing her with the name, Jim), Marcel Pepin (Merci, Marcel), and Nicole Wing (Thank you, Nicole).

Other sources include Gloria Carr, Jeanet McCoy, Chris Pepin, Des Pepin, Gilles Pepin, Kevin Peppin, and Perry Pepin--all cousins of varying degrees, who put a lot of itme and effort into their research.

Cousins . . . I salute you!


Cousin Barlow sent this along, via email.  It comes from the Getty Museum collection, J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, California.


"Coronation of King Pepin by the Papal Legate Boniface"
751 A.D.
Illumination on parchment.
Pepin's Coronation / Liédet


Says the Getty Museum webpage on which the above image appears, and I quote:


Loyset Liédet
Flemish, Bruges, 1469 - 1472
Tempera colors, gold paint, and gold leaf on parchment
9 x 7
7/16 in.

Histoire de Charles Martel

Sitting on an elaborately upholstered throne covered with fleurs-de-lis, Charles Martel's son Pepin the Short receives his crown as king of the Franks in 751. The papal legate Boniface, in red at the left, and a pair of Frankish bishops at either side of Pepin performed the ceremony at Soissons. Among the splendidly attired nobles in attendance was "the powerful duke Henry of Metz" mentioned in the text below, probably the figure in the ermine-trimmed cape at the far right.

The illuminator, Loyset Liédet, gave the scene the look of a coronation of his own time rather than of seven hundred years earlier. The pageantry would have held a special appeal for an aristocratic, late medieval viewer.

© 2000 JPGT

The above links will take you to other locations at the Getty Museum.  Clicking on your back button should bring you back to the top of this page.

The Tanguay is available at  This online version of CyprienTanguay's book of early Quebec families comes in 7 volumes and is completely in French.  Each volume has been scanned into a .PDF file, and if you already have the Adobe Acrobat Reader, you will be able to read each file online.  Be aware that each file is big -- the smallest is about 4 megs, the largest somewhere around 10 meg.  If you don't have the Adobe Reader, you'll probably be prompted to download it.  I have the Adobe Reader, and I've downloaded a couple volumes which pertain to my personal research.

I still do my Internet surfing via "old fashioned modem" and my best connection time is 28.8; browsing the Tanguay online is seriously time consuming (and by doing my download with the Go!zilla software, I can download each volume in bits and chunks.  Straight download time -- for me -- on a 7 point something meg file was about an hour and a half; I did it in three separate sessions).  If your French is as bad as mine, take the above URL to Alta Vista's translator and and have them translate the web site, which is also in French.  Unfortunately, because each file is a scanned .PDF file, you'll have to find you own way round the French in the Tanguay.

Oh, and if you would like to get a copy of the Adobe Acrobat Reader, go check out, and look for the FREE reader.


Tanguay French
(with a little help from my Webster's French-English English-French Dictionary)

Since the Tanguay deals primarily with baptisms, marriages, and burials, I can offer you some basics to get you started.

1. The "B" date is when the individual was baptised.  In French the word for "born" starts with an N; the word for "baptised" starts with a B.

2. The "M" date is when the individual got married.

3. The "S" date is when the individual was buried.  In French the word for "died" starts with an M; the word that means "to be interred" starts with an S.

Originally, I presumed that the B was for birth and the S was for died, but later learned from the nice folks on the MetisGen mailing list I was mistaken. 

You see, just about everybody was born at home, and many folks back then were unable to read or write, so the only reliable dates for an individual's life span are the baptism and burial dates recorded by the clergy.  And in most cases, the place of baptism and burial are the churches at which these events occurred, but do be aware that the churches listed weren't necessarily the neighbourhood Houses of Worship.  Sometimes, while traveling, folks found themselves in need of clergy, and popped into the nearest church; others wanted things done at the churches their fathers and grandfathers had things done.

The months of the year are:

janvier = January juillet = July
févier = February août = August
mars = March septembre = September
avril = April octobre = October
mai = May novembre = November
juin = June décembre = December

And some numbers:

1 one, un 1st first, premier
2 two, deux 2nd second, deuxième
3 three, trois 3rd third, troisième
4 four, quatre 4th fourth, quatrième
5 five, cinq 5th fifth, cinquième
6 six, six 6th sixth, sixième
7 seven, sept 7th seventh, septième
8 eight, huit 8th eighth, huitième
9 nine, neuf 9th ninth, neuvième
10 ten, dix 10th tenth, dixième
11 eleven, onze 11th eleventh, onzième
12 twelve, douze 12th twelfth, douzième
13 thirteen, treize 13th thirteenth, treizième
14 fourteen, quatorze 14th fourteenth, quartorzième
15 fifteen quinze 15th fifteenth, quinzième
16 sixteen, seize 16th sixteenth, seizième

So, if you're looking through the Tanguay and see a date, say, 1pre août 1643, what you're looking at is August 1st, 1643.  In fact, as I understand it, in Europe, dates are recorded as day/month/year rather than the month/day/year format we're used to here in the 'States, so if you see a date like 22/11/1701 in some other reference work dealing with Europeans and/or European immigrants, the date referenced is the 22nd of November 1701. 

And, in the Tanguay, odds are if the day catches your eye right off, and its situated above a couple names, you're looking at that couple's marriage date. 

Couples are listed alphabetically by surname -- as you'll see in the directory you'll get when you click on any of the 7 open-book icons -- and chronologically within the surname by marriage date -- their children by baptism date.  From the screen you'll get with the above URL you can click on any of the icons and get to the directory of all 7 Tomes.

Most people are listed three ways in the Tanguay.

The first is in Tome 1; if you find your someone there, check Tomes 2 through 7 -- there should be a second listing.  In most cases, there are differences between the two, but the format is the same.

The marriage dates are listed year first, followed by day and month -- if known -- in parenthesis, followed bt the location. 

With the Pepins, Guillaume, Antoine, Robert, Etienne, and Antoine-Phillipe all have the Roman numeral I preceding their names, their sons the Roman numeral II, etc.  Beyond the first generation, where the fathers of the groom and bride are known, they will be listed to the right, preceded by a square bracket.  Any children will be listed below their parents, chronologically by baptism date, their names in italics.  Any names that appear with the children are those of the children's spouses; if the marriage date/place is known, it will be included.

The third is to look up the listing for the sons or the daughter's husbands.  This will help with some of the errors found in the Tanguay.  Some of the errors I've found include different given names, as in the case of one of Antoine Pepin dit Lachance's sons.

The first listing for Antoine and wife Marie Testu in Tome I shows the son to be named Antoine-Charles, born November 8, 1674, and marrying Madeleine Fortier.  Yet there is a later listing that shows a Gervais Pepin dit Lachance, son of Antoine I, who was born in 1676, who marries Madeleine Fortier.

And sometimes a word or two will appear after the groom's name.  My guess is that this is the groom's occupation and for now I'm recording that/those words as they appear.  I'll go back later and translate them.

Despite the errors, what I'm hoping is that by combining all the information, and noting the differences, that I'll wind up with a more accurate representation of the families listed. (I also realize I may be re-inventing the wheel, too.)

Do be aware that there are other works like Father Tanguay's.  In particular a gentleman named René Jetté did the same thing Tanguay did and it's most commonly referred to as The Jetté or the René Jetté; I found that a local LDS (aka Mormon Church) family history center has it on microfiche.

Two other works that I've not yet had the pleasure of looking through are the Red and Blue Drouins; the main branch of the Seattle Public library had copies of these, perhaps your local public does, too.  I've hear said that the Jetté and the Druins are more accurate than the Tanguay, but since I have the Tanguay at hand, I'm starting there.  Once I've gotten all I can from the Tanguay, I'll check it against the Jetté and the Drouins.  Yeah, it'll be time consuming but it's my only choice.

My Peppan grandfather died before I was born; his parents were each half First Nations (Canadian Indian).  Because of this ancestry, my father and his sibs were harassed daily as children for being "dirty little Indians", and Daddy's Number One priority was keeping his children "safe" from their First Nations heritage, so all he told me about my Peppan line was that his grandfather -- Seymour Peppan -- was French-Canadian and left it at that.

Now back to confusing old records. 

I'd like to take a moment to explain about the way parents are listed in other older French documents.

Say it's a marriage record for Michel May and Marguerite Pepin.  What it'll say is something quite like:

[. . .] Michel May, son of Antoine and Madeleine Lajeunesse [on one part] and Marguerite Pepin, daughter of Louis Etienne and Jeanne Macclure [on the other part . . . ]

This does not mean that Michel May is the son of Mr and Mrs Lajeunesse, nor is Marguerite the daughter of Mr and Mrs Macclure.  It means that the maiden name of Michel's mother is Lajeunesse and the maiden name of Marguerite's mother is Macclure and the record writers are presuming you know that the surnames for the bride and groom are the same as the surnames of their fathers; if the father's surname is different, the record will say so.

Another example is the marriage record for Michel and Marguerite's eldest son and first child, Michel-Etienne aka Etienne Pepin aka Etienne Magice.

Fort Langley, l'an mil huit cent cinquinte six le vingt-et-un Juillet, apres la publication des bans de mariage entre Etienne Magice fils de Michel et de Marguerite Pepin ne a St Michel diocese de Montreal d'une part, et entre Isabelle femme Keitosé d'autre part, et ne s'etant decouvert aucun empeachement legitime a ce mariage, nous soussigne pretre missionnaire avons reçu leur consentement mutuel et leur avons donne la benediction nuptiale en presence de Augustin Willing et de N. Falardeau lequel a declare ne savoir signer.

A rough translation of this is:

At Fort Langley, in 1856 on 21 July, after the publication of the banns of marriage between Etienne Magice, son of Michel and Marguerite Pepin of St Michel diocese of Montréal on one part, and Isabelle a Kwantlen woman on the other part, after discovering no legal impediment to marriage, gave them the nuptiual bendiction in the presense of Augustin Willing and N. Falardeau who says he does not know how to sign his name.

And Narcisse Falardeau did not sign his name.  Like Etienne and Isabelle, he placed his X in the appropriate place.  The rest of this document says that this marriage made Etienne and Isabelle's 14 month old son Simon legitimate.  When Simon got older and married, he moved to the United States and took the name Seymour Peppan.

And -- just for giggles -- if you're curious, click here to see a scan of the original church record.

The reason I share this is that I initially mis-read a bunch of old records, was corrected by a more experienced genealogist, and had to go back and correct everything I had entered into my genealogy program -- it took about a week.

I hope this is helpful for some of you.


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This page updated 23 February 2004