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In Search Of The Origins of Joseph, Canada’s First Jew

Direct proof of a Jewish presence in New France, 40 years before Esther Brandeau

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DAILY REGISTER OF SICKNESSES WHO COME, LEAVE AND DIE IN THE HOTEL-D.IEU DE QUÉBEC (1689-1698), p.83, Fonds Hôpital du Monastère des Augustines de l’Hôtel-Dieu de Québec, Archives du Monastère des Augustines… Joseph’s surname is listed as Langello, not Langeron. 

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(To read Part 1, click here)

Having traced Joseph Langello of Turkey to Quebec, where he became Langeron, I then carried out research to find the marriage certificate in the gold mine of the Bibliothèque et Archives Nationales du Québec Numérique (BAnQ Numérique), more specifically in the notarial acts of Gilles Rageot.

This is the only place where the names of Joseph’s mother and father can appear, as well as the key to his Hebrew origin. I also found documents concerning Joseph’s legal misadventures (which I will tell you about later) and none of this information is there either. 

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I scoured 7,287 pages for a single notarial document covering several years (notary Gilles Rageot 1666-1691), in which I place all my hopes of finding what would indeed consist of direct proof of the presence of a Jew in Quebec before Esther Brandeau .

And, to my knowledge, it would be the only tangible example of a Jew (and not a converso  or a  marrano) who came to settle and lived several  years in New France. 

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ORIGINAL SOURCE FOUND: JOSEPH THE TURKISH WAS A JEW 

Finally, I found on July 25, 1691 the civil marriage of Joseph and Marie-Madeleine containing the written proof that René Jetté was not mistaken: « (…) et Joseph Langeron, jeuif en cette ville (Québec), fils de Assin Langeron et Jacq Cason, feu père et mère de Turquie (…) »

French to English Translation: “(…) and Joseph Langeron, Jew in this city (Quebec city), son of Assin Langeron and Jacq Cason, late father and mother from Turkey (…)” For the first time, therefore, we have direct proof of the Jewish presence in New France other than that of Esther Brandeau. 

Excerpt highlighting lines 8-9 “Joseph Langeron, “Jeuif (juif) en cette ville” meaning “Jew in this city (Quebec city)”, Civil marriage contract of Joseph Langeron and Marie-Madeleine Galarneau (original manuscript), July 25, 1691, Actes du Notaire Gilles Rageot (1666-1691), Notarial act N0 4306, National Library and Archives of Quebec (BANQ Numérique) (https://numerique.banq.qc.ca)

A DUEL WITH THE JUSTICE OF NEW FRANCE 

In 1692 Joseph Langeron dit le Turque (meaning “J.L. said “the Turkish””), then working as a servant for François Pain, is accused of theft by the latter. He is on trial. The sentence: Joseph is “sentenced to be beaten and castigated naked, with rods by the Executor of the High Justice (the executioner)…” 

Joseph proclaims his innocence and asks for an appeal before the Sovereign Council of New France. He loses his case on June 16 and must therefore suffer the punishment. 

Here is the judgment and the request for appeal on the following page (digital BAnQ, followed by a transcript): 

“Sentence declaring that it was judged well in the Provostship of Quebec against Joseph Langeron said the Turk accused of having stolen François Pain, innkeeper, …” and then “Judgment declaring that he was judged well and badly appealed … ” 

Judgment declaring that he was rightly judged and wrongly called by Joseph Langeron dit le Turc, accused and prisoner of the Palace concierge, appealing from a sentence rendered to the Provostship, declaring him convinced of the theft mentioned in François Pain’s complaint, innkeeper of Quebec – files 1 to 2, Judgments and deliberations of the Sovereign Council of New France, June 16, 1692, National Library and Archives of Quebec (BaNQ numérique) (https://numerique.banq.qc.ca/patrimoine /details/52327/3362858) (page 1 and page 2)

THE MYSTERY OF THE END 

We do not know what precisely happened to Joseph Langeron afterwards. The mystery still hovers around his last appearance in the archives of the Hotel-D.ieu on October 11, 1697 since the name and the age indicate that it is very probably about the same individual, but it’s written that he is “Provençal.”Would he have migrated to France and then returned to Quebec before dying? 

We know that during her second marriage to Jean Deslandes in 1701, Marie-Madeleine Galarneau was a widow. 

If we have discovered the wake of the passages in New France of Joseph Langello/Langeron known as Passepartout, a Jew from Turkey and of Esther Brandao/Brandeau, a Portuguese Jew from St-Esprit (Bayonne), other Sephardim lost in the migrations of History may be waiting for us to patiently dust off a few kilometers of archives in order to release and let their sparks shine.     

(This article, with full documentation on view, was originally published at this link: https://frblogs.timesofisrael.com/exclusif-un-juif-de-turquie-a-quebec-avant-esther-brandeau-1691-1697/ )

Nikolas-Samuel Baron Bernier is a biologist, actor, writer and a passionate investigator in the field of science and history. He is also a science popularizer and founded  Histoire des Sciences- Th??tre de vulgarisation scientifique , in which he writes and plays various  characters of famous and unknown scientists , like Albert Einstein or Sigismund Mohr, a Jewish immigrant from Prussia who was the pioneer behind the first hydroelectric power plant in Quebec , and one of the first ones in Canada (1881).

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

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