Early Origins of the Sonnier Family
The surname Sonnier was first found in Berkshire where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor. After the Battle of Hastings in 1066, William, Duke of Normandy, France having prevailed over King Harold, granted most of Britain to his many victorious Barons. It was not uncommon to find a Baron, or a Bishop, with 60 or more Lordships scattered throughout the country. These he gave to his sons, nephews and other junior lines of his family and they became known as under-tenants.
They adopted the Norman system of surnames which identified the under-tenant with his holdings so as to distinguish him from the senior stem of the family. After many rebellious wars between his Barons, Duke William, commissioned a census of all England to determine in 1086, settling once and for all, who held which land. He called the census the Doomsday Book, indicating that those holders registered would hold the land until the end of time. Hence, conjecturally, the surname is descended from the tenant of the lands and village of Sonning, held by Roger from the Bishop of Salisbury, who was recorded in the Doomsday Book census of 1086.
NEW FRANCE: Immigration to New France was slow; In the 1700s, land incentives were finally given out by France to 2,000 migrants. Early marriage was encouraged amongst the immigrants., and youths of 18 took fourteen-year-old girls for their wives. The fur trade was developed and attracted migrants, both noble and commoner from France. 15,000 explorers left Montreal in the late 17th and 18th centuries, leaving French names scattered across the continent. The search for the Northwest passage continued.
Migration from France to New France or Quebec, as it was now more popularly called, continued until 1759. By 1675, there were 7000 French in Quebec. By the same year the French Acadian presence in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island had reached 500. In the treaty of Utrecht, Acadia were ceded by France to Britain in 1713. In 1755, 10,000 defiant French Acadians refused to take an oath of allegiance to England and were exiled from the region. In 1765 most Acadians found refuge in Louisiana and eventually became known as Cajuns.
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Collection: Family Coat of Arms
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Product: Sonnier Family Coat of Arms
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