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AfriGeneas Caribbean Research Forum

[Misc] West Indies (esp. Trottier, Robinson) Pre-1804?

I have a francophone ancestor by the name of Marie Trottier who appears in Québec in November 1804. Her birth date is estimated to be around 1780. She was Catholic. She lived and had children with a man named James/Jack Robinson/Robertson; it is assumed they were married, but no record has been found.

She is documented as a 'femme de couleur,' when normally, at the time, a mixed person would be described in New France as 'mulattresse,' as her children later were.

This leads me to believe she may have left Saint Domingue or another French colony in the uprising between 1801 and January 1804 as the French retreated, but I've never been able to find record of her in the West Indies.

There are zero locatable records linking her to being the child of the white Trottier merchants, who traded slaves, among other things, in both the West Indies and New France. I also believe there may have been a Trottier plantation, but it is difficult to source. I am not sure of her link to the Trottiers, but I'm nearly positive there must be one.

There are also zero locatable records placing her in Québec at all whatsoever prior to her man James/Jack Robinson/Robertson receiving land from a seignor named Patrick Murray, a Scot.

James/Jack Robinson/Robertson cannot be definitively traced in North America prior to 1804, either - but he is decidedly anglophone, so it is unlikely he came from the same immediate origin as Marie. It is possible he is from one of the British colonies, but I'm not sure which one; presumably Jamaica. It's possible he left as a child with the Maroons, or as a slave, and ended up in Nova Scotia that way. I have not been able to find out whether or not there was a Robinson plantation in the West Indies that he could have come from.

It is known that the Scottish Murray family (who gave him land) owned slaves from the West Indies, among other places. A family rumour also had him labeled as a 'Black Scot', which could be a reference to his relation to the Murrays, or potentially as an origin in Nova Scotia, where the Book of Negroes shows multiple Robinson/Robertsons. A DNA test showed he was likely the first or second generation from West Africa. He was decidedly NOT a Catholic, unlike Marie, as he did not attend the baptisms or weddings of his own children, but did appear with the family very consistently on census.

This is about all I've been able to piece together so far. If anyone has any tips on how to find out more information about the potential origins of these two, I would be deeply appreciative. They have eluded me for years.


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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