Bashant Family Website

From Bachand to Bashant by way of Vertefeuille, Greenleaf and Bashaw

What’s in the Names? Read me first!

I needed to develop a dedicated section on names. Names change, spelling conflicts exist and this becomes as much a help as a hindrance. I think this section is important to read and needs to be digested or, as you proceed through other sections, using different names for the same people will appear sloppy or even misleading. So when a document calls a Bashant who I know or believe to be a Bashaw, I won’t change the document. You’ll have to know the whole story. I will [bracket] as best I can for clairification.

First, understand that this website contains what information I have; I don’t have everyone’s perfect biography. I do have enough to piece together an interesting history for those who can tie their family tree back to Solomon Moses Bashant and Ella Maude LaBounty Bashant. This will include certain families with the surname Woulf [Theresa Bashant married Edward Woulf and they live in Tupper Lake, NY] and Chichester [Dorothy Bashant married Martin Chichester and lived in Hollis, NY].

I will tie our family tree back to Nicholas Bachan/Bachand. This Nicholas is very well documented and he [his wife Anne Lamoureux] produced large families. There were huge families and as an amateur researcher it seemed as though they reused the same given names to the point of confusion. For example one document on Nicholas states:

"In 1707 the Bachand’s had five children; Nicholas 13 years, Jean-Baptiste, 6 years, Madeleine 4 years, Joseph 3 years [note: Joseph will be our connection to Nicholas], and Francois, several months. Louis Lamoureux [Father to Anne] in this year of 1707, succeeded to recover from Bertrand Arnaud his land on the Ile Ste-Marguerite, and he leased as a farm to Nicholas Bachand for 5 years, his house, the grand, etc. holding pensions plus 200 pounds a year. The leaser [Louis Lamourex] reserved for himself a half pace to grow tobacco for his own profit. On 28 January 1709, arrived a sixth child in the Bachand dit Vertefeuille household, and to simplify things, they called him Jean-Baptiste also."

The documents will demonstrate that at various times the name Bachand was changed to, or was perhaps mistakenly recorded as Bachan, Bachant, Bachamp, Vertefeuille, Greenleaf [translation from French for Vertefeuille], Bashaw and Bashant.

Vertefeuille is a most interesting name that helped tie names together. It represented important connectivity for me. Common in the public record is the additional name dit Vertefeuille when identifying many of the Bachand families. Dit names were the near equivalent to nicknames for whole families. My given name is James but I am commonly referred to as Jim. There were many different dit names attached to family names in France and Canada and if you Google "dit names" you will be flooded with sites with explanations. Basically "dit" translates to "say" in English. The practice of using dit names was outlawed sometime in the late 1700’s but fortunately many families continued to use them, dropping the "dit".

Why all the name changes? There may be an answer out there but it seems surprising with a name like Bachand, not exactly Smith, Jones or Johnson, would be subject to so many changes. Was it large families and not enough creativity for first names? We’ll probably never fully know.

So where did Vertefeuille help? There was an obvious inclination for the Bachand’s to keep Vertefeuille as part of the family identification. There was an important cluster of events that were recorded in church records in Keeseville, NY [Saint John the Baptist] Baptisms 1853 – 1880 and a book published by Benoit Portbriand which documents Marriages of Clinton County, NY 1830 – 1880. An example:


Marseline Vertefeuille, born, baptized 10 Apr 1857; parents Gilbert Vertefeuille [Robert Bashaw] and Appoline [Polly - Pauline]Raymond; godparents Julien Remond [Raymond] and Catherine Dandurand [wife of Olivier Greenleaf/Bashaw].

Olivier Vertefeulle, baptized 13 Sept 1857; parents Louis Vertefeuille and Salamee Glotene [Godney]; The godparents - not relevant. [Note this is not “our” Olivier, see section under Bachand where this Olivier is pictured with his parents and siblings. This is a nephew to our Robert Greenleaf/Bashaw].

Olivier Vertefeuille/Bachand, baptized 13 May 1855; parents Gilbert Vertefeuille and Pauline Raymond; godparents Olivier Vertefeuille and Josephte Serra. [This Olivier is our Levi Bashaw who married Marcella Kelley see below marriages. The Olivier being baptized would be nephew to our Levi]


Gilbert Vertefeuille to Pauline Raymond, 27 Feb 1854, witnesses Olivier [Greenleaf/Bashaw] and Catherine Dandurand.

Louis Bachand to Solome Goodney, 22 June 1856, witnesses Oliver Bachand and Catherine Dandurand. [This is the same Louis and Solome who parented one of the Oliviers above and are pictured with their family in the Bachand section.]

Olivier Bachand to Marcelline [Marcella] Kelly [Kelley], 5 July 1875, witnesses G [Gilbert] Bachand and Pierre [Peter] Kelly [Kelley] [The witnesses are his father and her father] 

I assume this was taken out of church documents that were originally handwritten thus the probable transcription errors that were not so misleading as to hide the obvious connections. I added [brackets] for clairification...if it helps.  

I think I’ve shown the interconnection of Bachand and Vertefeuille and it is the combination of known parents and known spouses that make the record factual. But how did these family groups who held onto family names like Bachand and Vertefeuille make the change to Bashaw?

Louis and Salamee Bachand didn’t, they kept the name Bachand [and appeared to drop Vertefeuille because Vertefeuille for both branches seemed to end in this time frame from what I can gather] and they moved their family to the Swanton VT area. [See further discussion under Bachand page on the connection to Vermont and a Louis and Salamee family portrait].

So why Bashaw?

There is no strong plausible answer, so I am depending on speculation and simple family lore on this topic. If a Bashaw family member who ties their family tree to Olivier Greenleaf  Bachand/Vertefeuille/Bashaw through Gilbert [Robert] or Levi, I would like to hear from you.

There are perhaps two distinct Bashaw events that I can only report on. From correspondences with Lowell Bashaw of Orofino, ID. who ties his family tree back to Nicholas Bachand and it appears that his Bashaw branch left the Bachand branch, so to speak, at Jean Baptist Bachand Vertefeuille III and Marie Francoise Meunier dit Lapierre. They had 13 children. One was Valentin David Bachand born in 1809 in Marieville Quebec. He married Catherine Thomas and moved to Red Oak, Iowa and they had one child. He became David Bashaw in Lowell Bashaw's records.

Although as you can see from the record above, he and his offspring [Gilbert/Robert then Oliver/Levi] stayed Bachand, (in census records of the same time, Greenleaf is in common use) at some point they adopted the name Bashaw just like his [cousin] Valentin David. His gravestone pictured below, is marked Oliver Bashaw [Greenleaf] and Kate Dandro [Catherine Dandurand].

Interestingly,  when you pronounce Bachand the d is silent and it sounds surprisingly like Bashaw, depending on which Bachand family member is speaking, I suppose.

So why Bashant?

Of course I lived my life as a Bashant, and all those trips to Tupper Lake [see Tupper Lake Page] reinforced the unique characteristics of a name that was quite uncommon. With few exceptions, if your name is Bashant you tie your lineage to Solomon Bashant of Tupper Lake. As I got older, but still not smart enough to ask all the questions I would like to ask now, I became aware that Bashaw was another family name with whom we shared bloodlines. But family-lore indicated that Bashant was pure and “they” changed their name to Bashaw. When I was old enough to be a little smarter I asked a few uncles for more details and met with a lot of resistance. So I decided that I wouldn’t mess with the “fossil record” at family reunions.  

Just some comments on Bashant vs Bashaw: when I was quite young and going to Tupper Lake nearly every summer, I was very close to my grandmother [I know all my similar aged cousins felt the same way because Gramma was that kind of lady - Much more about Gramp and Gramma elsewhere]. There was a store maybe a half a city block toward Main St. on Washington Street. It was called Joseph's. When Gramma would send me to pick something up, she would call in advance to create the grocery order. She always identified herself as Ella Bashaw, I can hear her now clear as a bell. I can’t ever remember gramp saying his last name, but he seldom said much.

My father, as the oldest of the family certainly knew the family histories and of course I enjoyed even the selective stories he would share. On the subject of Bashaw to Bashant he offered this family-lore from what he had understood. He spoke of the priest that married his parents as a staunch Frenchman that claimed that Bashaw wasn’t French [maybe sounded too Church of England] so he filled out the marriage certificate as Bashant.

Just go to Ellis Island and discover that practically half the US population ended up with a last name that was easier for the registrar to pronounce or transcribe.