Missives from Manitoba- A Langlois Connection

Initial E mail  to the World Famous Langlois Web site: 

What a delight to find your site! It was very interesting to hear of the settling of Langlois in 1881. Ithas always been my sneaking suspicion that Lewis & Clark upon seeing the Pacific for the first time might have been greeted by a LANGLOIS. It is a historical fact that the first language other than English that they heard was the language of Quebec and the Louisiana Territory. Traders from Quebec were already married into West Coast tribes.

The accepted origin of the North American Langlois' families is the coast of Normandy and the Channel Islands. The legend is (indeed) that we had gone over in 1066 with William the Conqueror but hated English weather only to return to our native coasts & islands with the new name "L'Anglais". I am fascinated by the great similarities I see in Oregon L'Anglais and the rest of us. I also had relatives in your astonishing Civil War (some for the Union, some for the Confederate States). The blue cheese; mustard recipes &extreme confidence do not surprise me

Continuing the thread with more history of Langlois families.

What a nice surprise! I never write to authors, celebrities or politicians. Getting an answer from Oregon was a happy confirmation that we are all still connected as good, generous, and happy sentient beings! I guess I liked the message of the town because it is the way we wish everyone thought of themselves - with confidence and goodwill to all.

The particular branch of the "Langlois" connection that spawned my family began on the coast of Normandy many moons ago. Two brothers came to New France (Acadia) with Samuel de Champlain in about 1634. The first European child born in New France was a girl child to the sister of the two Langlois brothers. The godfather to the child was Champlain. Since that fertile beginning I am told there are now about 12,000 of us under that name scattered about all of N. America. It is strange that the sovereignty of the Oregon Territory was once contested by Canada & the USA. The international court that passed the disposition in favor of the USA was chaired by Great Britain!

About 1759 the British were having trouble with French (Acadian) settlers in Nova Scotia. I am told we were rather unruly. Anyway; they rounded up the whiners and complainers & exiled us to Haiti and to Louisiana Territory. In Louisiana we became 'Cajuns' and made cuisine out of everything in sight. In Haiti we married into the African families & our cousins are certified as the African-Acadian families of Haiti.

It seems we were always in the spotlight of attention as human rights, political and labor activists. Once again the British rounded us up in Quebec & shipped off a load of us to the penal colonies in Australia. You can now find the name there in academic circles and sports. About 1780 a Captain Langlois mapped all of New Zealand so we were no strangers to those South Seas.

Several years ago I sold a 1767 Bavarian Thaler (a silver coin that is replicated in the USA silver dollar) to a gentleman in Virginia. During the course of moving the antique coin across international borders we came to know each other's family names. Lo! And Behold! He was also from Guernsey and said there was every possibility we shared common genes. (We live in a strong Scottish-Irish-English area of Manitoba. Our family name has also devolved to "Lang -loy").

Great-Grand-Dad Langlois fought in the American Civil War and moved to Manitoba by raft down the Red River about 1875 (?). I have been trying to find him in Civil War muster lists. We think he was with Quantrill's Raiders. The name "MANITOBA" comes from an Algonkian word that means: 'the place where God speaks'. Your former President Lincoln in speaking of the restoration of the Union spoke of (I'm paraphrasing) letting the 'kinder angels of our souls bind up the wounds of the Nation' .....

I have always been fascinated by Sacagawea. She was the principal guide for Lewis & Clarke and was with child for much of the journey. Her husband was a French Canadien from Quebec & they met with other French Canadiens (French spelling) when they finally reached the Pacific Ocean. The comment on the 1066 conquering army of William changed the English language; the aristocracy and much of the legal system of England forever. Many of William's followers returned to the Channel Islands and to Normandy (and Belgium). Some forfeited their names and titles and became Les Anglais (from England) and took on various forms of the identity as: L'Anglais; Langlois; Langlais and other abbreviated forms. In any case, I have always marveled at the language of Lincoln. In selecting a possible title, what could possibly exceed his "the better angels of our souls"? (catchy & Lincoln!)

I was actually born in Quebec - my father moved us to Manitoba when I was an infant.I do have some eclectic information on the family & some of the unusual connections. As they come to me I will jot them down & pass them on if they might have value.I lived most of my youth up on Hudson Bay & was routinely followed to school as a kid by polar bears (Churchill) waiting for the salt water to freeze over. My dad & my uncles had about 70 husky dogs (for trapping & trading up the coast) so we usually captured 6-or-7 whales each summer to feed our dog teams. Those days are long gone but they remain technicolor in my memories.

Serendipity indeed! There is a strange synchronicity sneaking into our narratives! It is said that if 20 strangers from ANYWHERE in North America gather in a room (say, an airport) that the laws of probability will predict that at least TWO of them will have a common acquaintance.I hope you will stay in touch . . . I think we will discover other unusual cases of coincidence or common knowledge. In the meantime I keep looking for more of my great grandfather's thread through his life in America and the Civil War.

Wayne Langlois