From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Bellemare (/ˈbɛlmɑːr/; French pronunciation: ​[bɛlmɑʁ]) is a Norman surname, that means "somebody from Bellemare", name of several hamlets in Normandy (± 20[1][2][3]). It is also one of the most common family names in Mauricie, Quebec. It is a compound of French belle "nice, pretty" and mare "mere, lake, pond", Norman word of Old Norse origin marr "sea", finally borrowed from Norman by French around 1600 as "pond, puddle".[4]

History of the Canadian Bellemares[edit]

The Bellemares share a common ancestor with the Gélinas: Étienne Gellineau, a sargier, or maker of serge fabric, from La Salenderie, close to Saintes in France's Saintonge area (now known as Charente-Maritime). Gellineau married France Huguette Robert in Saint-Michel's catholic Church 27 June 1645. He settled the Mauricie area in 1658 and worked for three years as an indentured servant for Pierre Boucher, Governor of Trois-Rivières. Gellineau had three sons: Étienne, Jean-Baptiste and Pierre. Jean-Baptiste eventually took the name Bellemare.[5][6][why?]


Rituals preserved by the Bellemares include the paternal blessing (French: la benédiction paternelle). Until the mid-1980s and in some cases even to this day, it has been customary for the children and grandchildren of a Bellemare family unit to ask their patriarch to bless them on New Year's Day. The practice is not exclusive to the Bellemare Family.


Notable people with the name include:


  1. ^ Beaurepaire (Charles de), Laporte (dom Jean), Dictionnaire topographique du département de la Seine-Maritime, Paris, 1982-1984, p. 69 [1]
  2. ^ Poret de Blosseville (Ernest), Dictionnaire topographique du département de l'Eure, Paris, 1877. [2]
  3. ^ Hippeau (Célestin), Dictionnaire topographique du département du Calvados, Paris, 1883 [3]
  4. ^ CNRTL site : Etymology of mare (French)
  5. ^ Généalogie - Famille Jean-Louis Gélinas Archived January 17, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Leslie Choquette, Frenchmen into Peasants: Modernity and Tradition in the Peopling of French Canada, 1997