Ancient Brittany, originally known as Armorica, was inhabited by the Celtic Tribes of Veneti, Curiovolitae and the Asismii in the 3rd century BC. The name Hudon is believed to have originated in this area of France. In the 4th century of the Roman General Maximus induced 6,000 Britons under their leader Prince Conan, son of the King of Wales and Albany, to occupy Brittany. King Conan was the most ancient Christian King in Europe.
Constatine, King of Brittany was the grandfather of the celebrated King Arthur of England. Succeeding was Prince Urbien in the 5th century. In the 6th century the Dukes of Brittany also became the Counts of Cornwall in the southwest of England. Succeeding, Budic was the King of Brittany in 851. In the 9th century the Dukes of Anjou, neighbors to the south, intermarried with the Princess of Brittany. In the 10th century, the Dukes of Brittany also intermarried with the Dukes of Normandy. Judith of Brittany married Richard II, Duke of Normandy. The name Hudon was first found in Brittany at this time, where this distinguished family was seated during this early time.
Throughout the course of history most surnames have undergone changes for many reasons. A son may spell his name differently from that of his father. But most are simple spelling changes made by priests, scribes or recorders based on the phonetic version. Many names held prefixes or suffixes which became optional as they passed through the centuries, or were adopted by different branches to signify either a political or religious adherence. Hence, we have many variations of the name Hudon, some of which are Heude, Hude, Heudon, Heudelon, Hudelon, Heudelin, Hudelin, Heudelot, Hudelot, Heudel, Hudel, Heudet, Hudet, Heudot, Hudot, Heudaut, Hudaut, Heudault, Hudault, Heudier, Hudier, but nonetheless all are included in the basic origin of the surname Hudon.
The 10th century Brittany reflected a closer relationship to the newly formed Dukedom of Normandy on their eastern borders. The Duke of Brittany married Hawise, daughter of the Duke of Normandy in 1002 AD. Popular names among the Dukes of Brittany were Alain, Geoffrey and Etienne. A dispute which arose between the Kings of England and the Kings of France for absolute rule over the area known as Brittany, this emerged as a focal conflict during the next two or three centuries. The Duke of Normandy, now King of England, claimed Brittany and Normandy. However, in 1365 Brittany renewed relations with France and was annexed to the French Crown and was reverted to a duchy.
The name Hudon is found in Brittany, where the family was established from very early in a village, in the department of Loire-Inferieure, in the district of Ancenis, in the canton of Blanquefort. Through time the members of the family became very numerous and they began settling in other regions. The family was established in Monsoreau during the first part of the 16th century. Several members became renowned; Jean Heudon, born in Paris, was a famous playwright in 1598. Another notable amongst this distinguished family was Julien Hudault, a King’s advisor and assessor of the hotel de Ville in Saumur, in 1702.
In the early 16th century France became the model for all Europe. New World exploration became a challenge to all. Along the eastern seaboard of north America there were from North to South; New France, New England, New Holland and New Spain. Jacques Cartier made the first voyage to new France in 1534. The Jesuits and Champlain came to New France in 1608, however the first true immigrant to New France was Louis Hebert and family. Champlain brought them from France in 1617.
In 1643, 109 years after the first landings by Cartier, there were only about 300 people in New France which was now being called Quebec. In 1663, the King of France finally gave land incentives for 2000 migrants during the decade. The fur trade was developed and attracted migrants, both noble and commoner from France. 15,000 explorers left Montreal in the late 17th and early 18th century, leaving French names scattered across the continent.
Amongst the settlers in North America with this distinguished name Hudon were our 8th Great Grandfather Pierre Hudon, who married Marie Gobeil in Quebec City in 1676; Jean-Baptiste Hudon, who married Marie-Catherine Dube in Riviere-Ouelle in 1746; and Louis-Charles Hudon, who married Marie-Anne Lebel in Kamouraska in 1774. Meanwhile, many of this distinguished family name Hudon were prominent in social, cultural, religious and political affairs in France and Quebec (New France).
The dit Beaulieu Extension
In France and continued in the area called New France (Quebec) it was proper and customary to add extensions to a family surname. The extension “Beaulieu” was used in a province of Anjou, France before the French Revolution. The extension Beaulieu meant “Beautiful Place”. A Historical note here about Anjou, today this area is now Anjour.
Name extensions were used to denote political affiliations, a profession, a place, or a characteristic feature of a family. In our case it was used for a place which set us apart from another or other Hudon families in the province or area. The extension name was also used on all documents such as; births, marriages and death. Many times the children used that same dit-name, but they could change it if there were several people in that family with the same extension. Pierre Hudon was the first to use the “Beaulieu” extension in the New World in approximately 1670. Our line eventually dropped the Hudon in favor of Beaulieu.
Our line runs:
Delia Beaulieu Thibault ->> Amable Beaulieu ->> Joseph Hudon-Beaulieu ->> Joseph-Francois Hudon-Beaulieu ->> *Pascal Hudon-Beaulieu ->> Joseph Hudon-Beaulieu ->> Nicholas Hudon-Beaulieu ->> Pierre Hudon-Beaulieu m. Marie Gobeil ->> Jean Hudon m. Francois Durand
*note that Pascal Hudon-Beaulieu married a Marie-Anne-Francois Hudon-Beaulieu who appears to be his 2nd cousin. Pascal and Marie's fathers are first cousin's and their grandfathers are brothers. Marie was married before to Jean-Andre Plourde for about 5 years before he died in 1778. No record of any children from her first marriage.
*Marie-Anne-Francois Hudon-Beaulieu ->> Joseph Basile Hudon-Beaulieu ->> Jean-Bernard Hudon-Beaulieu ->> Pierre Hudon-Beaulieu m. Marie Gobeil - >> Jean Hudon m. Francois Durand