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THE END OF A GREAT ADVENTURE !

Pierre Ducharme (# 19), pro tempore secretary, on behalf of:
Gilles Charron (# 346), vice president and registrar
Richard Charron (# 193), administrator
Alain Charron (# 425), administrator.

Almost 29 years have passed since the founding of the Association des Charron et Ducharme Inc. in 1993. This great adventure ends on or around December 31, 2021. The situation evolved rapidly in 2021, when several members of the Board of directors (C.A.) have resigned, leaving only the four incumbents. This is too little for the efficient functioning of an association like ours, especially since the state of health of two of them leaves something to be desired.

The efforts to recruit volunteers for the C.A. undertaken in recent years have been unsuccessful. In fact, over the past ten years, the number of members present at the Annual General Meeting has been at most ... one person, even for virtual meetings. However, any pursuit of activities would have required not only ideas, but above all heads and arms to put them into practice.

This text therefore aims to put an end to what was a great adventure, by taking stock of the activities of the association, and by giving some indications on what will remain of its achievements.

Brief historical reminder

Our association was founded on the initiative of Gilles Charron, resident of Sainte-Thérèse QC, who on January 24, 1993 brought together in Longueuil two dozen people interested in the creation of a family association bringing together the descendants of our founding couple, Pierre Charron and Catherine Pillard. A provisional Board of 11 members was constituted forthwith, and the association was incorporated on March 16, 1993 under the authority of part 3 of the Loi sur les compagnies du Québec, and it has been a member since the beginning of the Fédération des associations de familles du Québec (F.A.F.Q.). Elected first president, Gilles Charron held this position for three years.

The association grew rapidly and already had 96 members in June 1994. Over the years, a total of 434 members have joined. However, recruitment has slowed considerably in recent years so that, with the death or aging of several members, in August 2021 only 78 members (including honorary members and life members) remained to pay an annual subscription.

Our members came from all over North America: roughly over 50% from Québec, 25% from Ontario and the western provinces, and a final 25% from the United States. For many of our members in the United States, reading the Trait-d'union was their only reading in French. We have occasionally had a few members in France.

Thanks.

Before going any further, we would like to warmly thank those whose energies and efforts have contributed to the life and achievements of the association. We think of course in the first place of the members of the Board of Directors: presidents, vice-presidents, secretaries, registrars, treasurers, editors, webmasters, administrators, committee members, many of whom have left us. They have put in countless hours of work in our operations, work done, it should be noted, entirely on a voluntary basis. It would take too long to name all of these people, but please know that we are very grateful to them.

Of course, this would not have been possible without the financial support of the members, without their attendance at our activities, without the articles they submitted for Le Trait-d'union and, above all, without their constant encouragement. In 29 years, we have not remembered a letter of criticism issued to the association.

The financial participation of the members was manifested in the first place by the payment of the annual subscription, which ensured our day-to-day activities. That's not all: a large number of them, and particularly our US members, have contributed to the Fonds de recherche Émile-Ducharme our research fund), named after the one who was our first vice-president. Created on August 3, 1998, this fund was intended to collect sums of money intended for the association's special projects, such as research in France which we will discuss below. Émile Ducharme himself became a major contributor: when he died without posterity in 2013, he bequeathed $ 3,500 by will to the research fund that bears his name.

Achievements

Most of our initial objectives have been achieved, often in a much larger way than we could have foreseen in 1993. This is also one of the reasons which would have led to the end of the activities anyway: it is mission accomplished, in a way.

One of the two goals of family associations is to bring together the bearers of the patronymic, Charron or Ducharme in our case. Thus, social activities were organized quickly. Our sugar parties, in particular, have been very successful. In 1995, the first brought together 125 people, and double the following year. Other meetings were also held in Joliette, Chambly, Saint-Denis-sur-Richelieu, but they were less and less frequent thereafter.

The holding of a trip to France, to the regions where our ancestors Pierre Charron and Catherine Pillard lived, was one of our initial objectives. Mission accomplished: in the summer of 1995, twenty-three members traveled, from La Rochelle to Meaux, the spaces where they lived, 350 years ago. It is with great emotion that the participants made this journey of which they have preserved an unforgettable memory.

Genealogical and historical research

The other main purpose of family associations is to develop knowledge about ancestors, their families and their descendants. For North America, the research was done primarily by our members and administrators. This provided ample input for the Trait-d'union and allowed the publication of several volumes which we will discuss below.

Research in France presented much more complex challenges. They therefore required to call on a professional French genealogist, Mr. Jean-François Viel. Several successive mandates were entrusted to him, leading to the discovery of six generations of our ancestors in Meaux (Seine-et-Marne), the oldest of which lived in 1481. This resulted in the publication of a unique volume among families in Quebec. We know that our ancestor Pierre Charron settled in Montreal in 1661, probably after having signed an engagement with the Sulpicians, lords of Montreal. The archives of the Messieurs de Saint-Sulpice in Paris should eventually be available; obtaining this contract could tell us more about the conditions of his arrival in New France.

Publications

The Trait-d'union was the privileged way to reach our members. The first number was published in October 1993, and 78 others followed until November 2021. A gigantic production: hundreds of pages, dozens of articles on the history and genealogy of our families. All these bulletins, in PDF format, with an index, can be consulted online on the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) website, at the following address : 

https://numerique.banq.qc.ca/patrimoine/details/52327/3500321?docref=CtMu-p3JSeX50InxPpxu1Q

That's not all. We have also published a dozen books, all of which have been deposited at BAnQ in paper format and, for the most recent ones, in digital format (PDF). The books in paper format can be consulted at the Grande Bibliothèque, on Berri street in Montreal. It will be soon possible to view the digital books online at :

https://cap.banq.qc.ca/search/f456e81e-df1b-4236-8c79-40fa75eb057e

If necessary, it is also possible to access the BAnQ catalog, and then carry out an "advanced search" with our publisher name, Association des Charron et Ducharme Inc. (or variants of this name). This gives you access to the list of digital publications, and you just have to click on the desired title to consult it.

Website.

We have made arrangements to ensure that the site you are currently viewing will remain accessible until at least December 2022. This site contains a wealth of timeless information, and it is visited regularly by hundreds of people around the world.

Access to Charron and Ducharme genealogical data.

From the research of association members, we have gathered over the years a tremendous amount of genealogical information that is important to preserve. So arrangements have been made to ensure this in the best possible way. Other discussions are in progress.

As we have seen, the content of the website will remain accessible for a period of at least one year, and our publications deposited with BAnQ will be accessible for the foreseeable future. This will allow the general consultation of these data.

Tributes to our ancestors.

Paying homage to our ancestors is a duty of remembrance that we have taken very seriously. Thus, three plaques and a monument were installed over the years, which required considerable effort and investment, described in detail in various issues of the Trait-d'union, and summarized below.

A first plaque was installed at the Longueuil Co-Cathedral Museum in 2007, in the presence of several dozen of our members, including several from the United States; this plaque can be admired today at the head office of the Société de généalogie de Longueuil, 763 Després street, in Longueuil.

The second plaque requested the support of several organizations, including the Société littéraire et historique de la Brie (France). It was unveiled in Meaux on 2011-09-07 in the presence of several personalities, including the mayor of Meaux, Jean-François Copé, and some members of the association. It is located on Cornillon street, very close to the place where our ancestor Pierre Charron lived before his departure from France in 1661.

For the third plaque, dedicated to Catherine Charron, eldest daughter of the Charron-Pillard couple and to her husband Daniel Tétreau, pioneers of Verchères in 1694, we have partnered financially with the Association des descendants de Louis Tétreau. The unveiling of this plaque took place on 2016-10-02 in front of several dozen members of the two associations, and a few local personalities in period costumes. This plaque has not yet found its final location

Finally, on 2007-06-24, we joined forces with the Ville de Longueuil and other associations to unveil a monument to the pioneers of this seigneury, including of course Pierre Charron and Catherine Pillard. This monument can be admired at Parc de la Baronnie, located on Saint-Charles street, at the northwest corner of Saint-Antoine, in Longueuil. Each pioneer family is represented by a nominative stele. Several of our members, including a few from the United States, attended the event.

A fifth project has not yet materialized at the time of this writing, although it has been planned for years: that of a commemorative plaque paying homage to François Charron dit Ducharme and Marguerite Piette, ancestors of many families. Ducharme of our line. We are currently looking in the Lanaudière region for a suitable location for this purpose, and we hope to achieve this project within a few months. With the search for Pierre Charron's employment contract, this is the only project that remains in abeyance.

Balance sheet

It goes without saying that the signatories of this text consider it essential to respect the commitments made by the association towards various organizations and towards its members. It is a question of integrity on which there can be no compromise. Fortunately, the association has the money to do this.

Let us first remember that the association's income comes from three sources: 1) membership fees; 2) sales of books and materials; 3) donations to the Fonds de recherche Émile-Ducharme

The expenses are of four types: 1) the publication of the Trait-d'union and our books; 2) the creation of commemorative plaques; 3) contributions to the F.A.F.Q., insurance, bank, legal and postal charges; 4) website management costs. As already mentioned, the members of the C.A. act entirely on a voluntary basis and they therefore did not claim any fees or travel expenses.

According to the last treasurer's report, as of 2021-08-26, the association had a cash position of $ 5,225.49 including $ 1,489.40 in the Émile-Ducharme Fund; to our knowledge, no significant inflow of funds was expected at that time. Once the expenses incurred for the cessation of general activities, such as the reimbursement of members who have paid their dues in advance, and the continuation of certain others (including the website), the cash balance should be between $ 1,500 and $ 2. $ 500. This sum will be reserved for the realization of the plaque-tribute to François Charron dit Ducharme and Marguerite Piette and, if the possibility arises, the search for the contract of engagement of the ancestor Pierre Charron. If these projects cannot be realized, it will be distributed among a few genealogical societies.


Conclusion

Putting an end to the activities of an organization like ours involves a certain amount of grief and requires a considerable amount of work. There was no conceivable alternative. The signatories of this text have devoted themselves actively to it, to achieve it in the best possible way and in the best possible time. In closing, we want to thank once again all our members, some of whom have been following us from the start, as well as the administrators who ensured the functioning of the association.

 

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