The de Bédée, the Beede in France
The origins of Eli Beede, who is supposed to have arrived in
America about 1713, have remained a mystery for many years.
Although family tradition claims that he was born on the
There is reason to believe that Beede is a changed spelling of the
original Bédée. Firstly, Beede, as an English name, does not exist (unless
it arrived in
Another example is that the Beede who removed to Quebec, Canada from New
Hampshire before 1820, namely Abner Hoag Beede (the great great grandson
of Eli the Emigrant) and his descendants, spelled their surname as Bedee,
without the accents.
“Les Bédée et l’ascendance maternelle de Chateaubriand”, by Maurice
du Boishamon, published by Editions Cristel of Saint Malo, France, in
association with the Cultural Institute of Brittany, is a document that
helps prove the Beede/ Bédée link, while supplying invaluable family
history. Currently available as a 2002 reprint of the original edition of
1936, it can be purchased through Amazon.fr.
“Les Bédée et l’ascendance maternelle de Chateaubriand” was
published, primarily, as a research document regarding the family history
of Francois-René de Chateaubriand, a Beede cousin. In the way of reminder,
Chateaubriand was the celebrated 18th century author of
“Memoirs from Beyond the Grave,” and one of the most important diplomatic
and literary figures of his day.
The book is comprised of an introduction about the preparation of
this text and about Chateaubriand, followed by a lengthy note which
begins: “This genealogy makes no claim to be complete; it requires
extensive research still, but what it has set out to do is to simply
provide an idea of the importance of ‘la maison de Bédée.’” The document
follows the family’s various branches: the Bouetardaye, the Boibras, the
Lescouet, the du Moulin-Tison, the Villeginglin, and the Kernois.
Chapter I, entitled “Geneaology of the House of Bédée,” begins by
stating that the name Bédée might have come from the Parish of de Bédée in
the bishopric of
What follows is a list of all the various noble titles held by the
family, too numerous to list here, but they were counts, marquis, barons
and sires, etc.
The first notable de Bédée was Guillaume, a squire, who fought in
Avranche in 1380 against the English (presumably in the
His son was Jean II, who held the title of “seigneur de Malaunay.”
He had two children, Robert, alias Jean, and Bertrand. Here the text takes
a genealogical form naming many of the descendants of these people, too
numerous to transcribe here.
There are many references to
This book, however, is primarily concerned with the grand era of
the de Bédée, the 18th century, after Eli had already left for
The second chapter, “l’ascendance maternelle de Chateaubriand,”
talks about the background of the celebrated author’s mother, Appoline be
Bédée. It is stated that her ancestors were for the most part from
An appendix follows, offering additional information about the
family and a list of its illustrious members, who include Jean II, king of
France, and Henry I of England (these coming in through maternal lines).
The coat of arms (Blazon) featuring three deer heads with ten point
antlers is verified as that of the de Bédée. There are apparently very few
de Bédée left in
There is no Eli listed among the early de Bédée, but there is an
Eloi (not to suggest that this is Eli Beede)–often names were repeatedly
reused; could he have removed the o to simplify matters in
Chateau de Monchoix was the family home of the de Bédée, and it still exists and houses the archives, curated by the son of Maurice du Boishamon, current owner of the estate .
was built in the 18th century on land which had been in the family for
several hundred years. This was the home of the Count de
This house was built in the 18th century on land which had been in the family for several hundred years. This was the home of the Count deBédée, who lived there in the 2nd half of the 19th century until he immigrated to Jersey during the Revolution. The estate was originally called Mettrie-Martin, and a modest house once stood there until it burned down in the mid 18th century. The estate is located about 10 miles from the Brittany coast and can be found at Rue de Chateaubriand, 22140 Pluduno, France.
Dr. Joshua William Beede, in his 1890 poem about Eli Beede, calls the Beede progenitor “this son of sires,” and later states that he was “of blood the bluest blue.” Perhaps there is much that the poet knew; in time, one can hope, we’ll know far more.
Paul Gervais [BEEDE]
Copyright © 2007 by Jack W. Ralph -- All Rights Reserved -- Last Update: Sunday July 20, 2008