Gervais Houde. Oh, how I hate you. All of you.
My grandmother is a Houle — a name variation of Houde, which happens to be a particularly old family name in Quebec. Apparently Houde is in the top 50 most-common surnames in Quebec, and there’s a particular ancestor, Louis Houde, who came over to New France (aka Lower Canada, aka Quebec) in 1647. (Interesting aside: Wikipedia says that in 1653, the population of New France was 2000, so he was an early settler) He’s a mason by trade and in 1655 he married Madeleine Boucher. Let’s not talk about the fact that he was 37 and she was 13. No good can come of dwelling.
Louis Houde has a son named Gervais Houde (born in 1664) who married Anne Catherine Denevers (that name might derive from a noble title — the Count de Nevers/Count of Nevers. w00t! I might secretly be all noble or something!)
Anyway, Gervais Houde had a son, also named Gervais Houde (born in 1695) who marries Marie Francoise LeBoeuf. FamilySearch.org is a complete mess on this point. They kinda have Gervais the father listed as his own son and married to both Anne and Marie.
Gervais Houde the younger has a son, also named Gervais Houde (born in 1724). Plus a son names Charles Gervais Houde (born in 1728). Here’s where my family tree gets complicated. Gervais III marries Marie Josephe LaFrance Dubois. This info has boggled me for a good long time, but I think I’ve teased out the most likely scenario. The other son, Charles Gervais Houde marries Marie Elisabeth Martel. Don’s records, here, are a little messed up, as he clearly thinks that Gervais III and Charles Gervais are the same person (he lists the name as Gervais Charles). Charles Gervais Houde’s son, Jean Baptiste seems to use the name Houle, and his descendants are all Houles. And then it’s his son, Pierre (or Peter) Houle who arrives in Dover Township (after some stint in the US) and that’s how the Houles come to my neck of the woods.
Interestingly, Louis Houde has his own fan club. There’s an association of Descendants of Louis Houde and Madeleine Boucher that operates out of Quebec. Louis and Madeleine had 14 kids, most of whom survived into adulthood and produce an extensive family. And they seem to be a fairly well-documented family (but sometimes contradictorily so), but by the time you get to Jean Baptiste Houle, the records become scarce. Don has documented what he thinks the family tree is, from there down, but I don’t have clear substantiation of it.