- Canadian name
French-speaking societies have many similarities to English-speaking ones in the way family names are used. In
Franceand the Canadian province of Quebec, name change upon marriage is no longer automatic. Those who wish to change their name upon marriage must follow the same legal procedure as would be used under any other circumstance.
French Canada, up until the late 1960s, children of Roman Catholicorigin were given three names at birth (usually not hyphenated): the first, Marie or Joseph, usually indicated the gender of the child. The second was usually the name of the godfather or godmother, while the third and last given name was the name used in everyday situations. Thus, a child prenamed Joseph Bruno Jean on his birth or baptismal certificate would indicate the baby to be a boy, the godfather's first name to be Bruno and that the child would be called Jean (and not Joseph) for all intents and purposes of everyday life. This naming convention was in the most part dropped following the Quiet Revolution(late 1960s), and is now seen much more rarely.
Quebec civil code
Currently, most couples give the child the surname of the father, though the Quebec civil code allows a couple to combine at most two of their surnames, with or without hyphens. Thus a couple named Joseph Bouchard-Tremblay and Marie Dion-Roy could give to their children the surnames Bouchard, Tremblay, Dion, Roy, Bouchard-Tremblay, Dion-Roy, Bouchard-Dion, Bouchard-Roy, etc.
The "nom-dit" tradition
Until the late 1800s, several families also had a "nom-dit" tradition. This was a family nickname (literally a "said name"). The origins of the noms-dits were various. Some noms-dits were the war-name of the first settler, while he was a soldier: Hébert dit Jolicoeur (Pretty Heart, cf. Braveheart), Thomas dit Tranchemontagne (mountain chopper). Some denoted the place of origin of the first settler: Langevin (
Anjou), Barbeau dit Poitevin ( Poitou). Others probably denoted a characteristic of the person or of his dwelling: Lacourse, Lépine, Larivière.
List of most common Canadian surnames
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