Twenty men named Regis Poulin?

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In French-Canadian culture, all males are named Joseph. They may have 2 or 3 other given names but the first is Joseph. All females are named Maria. They typically have 3 or more given names, but Maria is the first.

To add to the confusion, when an infant died, the next born child of the same gender was re-named – you guessed it – the exact same name. Like these people were trying to get the name to take. Like they were throwing death of an infant into the face of God. Here, take that. I lost one Joseph Herve Gabriel Poulin, but here – here’s another one.

Many cultures in the world do not diversify their given names and their surnames. Once the population grows a few generations, you could have 20 men named Regis Poulin within 40 miles of each other.

To help with the confusion, if a farmer named Evariste had a son named Nazaire but there were other Nazaire’s around, one might say: “Have you seen Nazaire? Evariste’s Nazaire?”

If this would not bring the results you wanted, you could refer to a third generation instead. The conversation might be” “Have you seen Nazaire? Nazaire from Evariste? Nazaire from Evariste from Elie?”

Joyce

Joyce Derenas is a historical fiction author who writes stories based on the real lives of her French-Canadian ancestors of the Beauce Valley in Quebec.