Sinotte as a “dit” name of Loiselle

One of the difficulties that I had in tracking my Sinotte ancestry was that Sinotte is a “dit” name of Loiselle.

This is what I know so far about Loiselle-dit-Sinotte, in particular.

The Loiselle-Sinotte dit name appears to have been first introduced for Joseph Loiselle born 1761 in St-Charles-sur-Richelieu, he married Judith Gosselin on 8 Jul 1782 in Vercheres, QC and then died 21 Jul 1795 in St-Marc-sur-Richelieu, QC at the age of 34 leaving his wife with a three year old and 11 other children.  One documentation of name was Loizelle-Synode.  There were certainly a lot of Loiselle’s in the communities around St-Hyacinthe – and their first names were all similar, like, Joseph and Jean-Baptiste, so the need to distinguish them would be high, I can imagine. The only reference that I can find as to why Joseph Loiselle may have been referred to as Sinot, might be that his Godfather was Joseph Senet (with Marguerite Lavigne as godmother).  Who knows? We will never know for sure.

I think it was his son Jean-Baptiste Loiselle-Sinotte that was born 6  Nov 1786 in St-Charles sur-Richelieu, QC that had the Sinotte dit name documented in his baptism records

I came across the “dit” name in my research well before I knew was “dit” names were so my early documentation wasn’t accurate enough.  And after the fact, as I try to sort through my research on this topic, I see that didn’t document these records well enough to know which spelling was used when, I need to go back and fix that.  When recording the research, I have learned (hind sight being 20/20!) that it is important to record the misspellings as you find them and that genealogy research should reflect data as you find it, not what you think it should be.  You can put what you think it should be in comments.

And that is what little I know about  Loiselle-dit-Sinotte scenario  — and I will update my learnings once I go back and correct the gaps in my research documentation.  There are other family lines with Loiselle dit Sinotte mentioned, and so, if anyone else has information to add, please let me know.

This is what I know about “dit” names generally.

“Dit”  is translated into English as “say” or “also known as”.

Neither Jette nor Tanguay show “Sinot/Sinotte” as a dit for Loisel, and neither show Sinot/Sinotte AT ALL.  Robert Quintin shows Sinot/Sinode as dit names for Loisel.  Drouin shows the dit name in the left margins throughout his listings.

Unlike the english “alias” there is no negative connotation of the use of a “dit” name. “Dit” names came into being for the purpose of further identification of a person or family.

The choices of the new “dit” names were as infinite as there were names. Here are some general sources of these changes.

a- Occupation / Guild
b- Place of origin
c- Physical description
d- Character description
e- Maternal identification
f- Heroic deed / accomplishment
g- Description of some object
h- Easily pronounced names
i- Seigneurial identification
j- Military

The two surnames can be interchanged at any time. Louis SINOT dit LOISELLE may appear as LOISELLE dit SINOT. Therefore Louis could be baptized Loisel , married as Loiselle dit Sinotte, found in a census as Loiselle  and buried as Sinotte dit Loiselle.

So while the church records make Quebec research easy, if your family has a “dit” name, it can make your genealogy research a little difficult. Whenever you run into any difficulty in tracing from one marriage to the next generation, be sure to check if there are “dit” names for this family. The best place to check is at the end of Volume 7 in Tanquays Dictionaire. The end of the second volume of Jette Dictionaire also has a listing of dit names. You will also find the dit names for each family at the start of that families file in Loiselle microfiche.

Apparently in the mid-1800’s the Quebec Catholic hierarchy directed that all dual-named Quebecois were to delete one of their two surnames. It appears that this occurred over the rest of the century and that most opted to retain their “dit” name and drop their original family name – the order came from the government, not the Church.

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One Response to “Sinotte as a “dit” name of Loiselle”

  1. Angela Rupert Says:

    Sinot or ‘si not’ could be translated as “if not” so it may be “if not, also known as”.

    Loiselle dit Sinot may mean: If not, also known as Loiselle. So the question is, was that with a lot of last names besides Loiselle in that era? Was it Chevaye dit sinot, or Touraintte dit Sinot? Were other families putting dit in their names or was it a judgement perhaps? Maybe they were keeping the legal books like that in a certain county for a while. It is obvious there were some terrible spellers like Loizelle-Synode may have been bad spelling by some census taker.

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