Intro to the Perrault Side of the Family

Robert Perrault

Dad was a “Perrault.”

Robert Alexander Perrault (1923-2011) was born in New York City, the third child of Joseph Toussaint Hector Emmanuel Perrault and Jessie O’Neil.

On Dad’s side, our family tree is composed of ancestors who came to America from France via Canada (Perrault) and from Ireland via England (O’Neil).

Our ancestors began arriving in North America from France as early as as 1617 when Louis Hébert (a 9th great-grandfather of Robert Perrault on his mother’s side) settled in Québec with his wife and three children. Hébert is credited with being the first European to establish a farm in Canada — or New France, as it was then known.

The first ancestor of our direct Perrault line to arrive in North America was Nicolas Perrot. In 1659, he immigrated to New France as a 16-year old youth in the service of Jesuit missionaries. Nicolas went on to become a renowned explorer, interpreter, and fur trader. Six generations later, his descendant, Nazaire Perrault, immigrated from Québec to New England to seek employment and better economic conditions.

Our O’Neil ancestors have been traced back only as far as the early 1800’s at which time Peter O’Neil was born in County Down, Ireland. Peter immigrated to Cumberland County, England around 1845 and married Mary McAvoy, another recent immigrant from County Down. Both Peter and Mary were probably refugees of the Great Famine in North Ireland. Their granddaughter, Jessie O’Neil was our last ancestor to arrive in America. In 1916, she immigrated alone at the age of 18 from Leeds, England to New York City — our only ancestor on either side of the family to have passed through Ellis Island.