100 French Canadian Last Names With Meanings And History

French Canadian names are popular across North America.
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Family names define a person's community, culture, and inheritance.

Last names are generally based on a particular community or a cultural rule. Last names can say a lot about an individual; they give a sense of belonging to a family or community.

French has played a major role in the linguistic development of Canada. Factors like immigration and colonization have impacted the surname culture globally. From the historical point of view, French Canadian people originated from the west of France, mainly from places like Anjou, Aunis, Beauce, Brittany, Maine, Normandy, Perche, Poitou, and Touraine, with many French people settling in Canada in the mid 18th century. The majority of these settled in Quebec. Today French Canadians, also known as the Francophone community, live across North America. Over the century, they have developed various last names and first names.

French Canadians have a custom of adopting an alternate surname, also known as a Dit name. 'Dit' is derived from the French word "dire" meaning "that is to say." The first name is typically an ancestral surname passed down to the next generation, and dit name is the name by which the family is actually called. Families adopted Dit names to differentiate themselves from the branch of the same family.

For more fascinating last names, take a look at Dominican last names and Nigerian last names.

Common French Surnames In Canada

The French population in Canada comprises 33.78%, adding much-celebrated diversity to the country. Here is a list of French last names which are commonly used across Canada.

1. Barbeau meaning "type of fish, fisherman".

2. Barbier meaning "barber".

3. Belanger meaning "as beautiful".

4. Cloutier refers to the "occupational name for a nailer," someone who made and sold nails.

5. Cote refers to the "someone who lived in a slope or riverbank".

6. Lefebvre meaning "a blacksmith". Derived from the word "fevre".

7. Morin meaning "dark and swarthy" derived from the word "morin".

8. Roy meaning "king", a derivative of "roi".

9. Taylor meaning "to cut". Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor was an American actress.

10. Toussaint meaning "all saints". Steve Toussaint is a British actor famous for 'Prince of Persia'.

Metis Last Names In Ontario

(Metis surnames are unique and often have a fascinating historical meaning.

Metis people are a multi-ancestral, ingenious group of settlers in Canada. This settlement has its own rules which determines the last name of a person. Below is a list of surnames carried by individuals who are from metis lineage, belying their mixed heritage.

11. Beaudoin composed of "bald" meaning "bold" and "wine" meaning "friends".

12. Belair meaning "someone with a pleasant demeanor", also written as Bellair.

13. Berger meaning "someone who lived in the mountains". Simon J Berger starred as a lead in the Academy Award-winning short film 'Istället för Abakadabra'.

14. Boissonneau meaning "topographic name for someone who lived near a clump of woods."

15. Charpentier meaning "carpenter."

16. Clermont meaning "topographic name for someone who lived near a hill/stream/church)". Philippe de Clermont from 'All Souls' trilogy.

17. Ganthier composed of the elements "land," meaning "country" and "heri" means "army". Olivier Arsene Ganthier is a pop artist and designer.

18. Gendor meaning "son in law."

19. Roussin meaning "nightingale".

20. St. Matte, meaning "gift of God".

Common French Canadian Family Names

22.8 % of Canada's population speaks French. Here is a list of last names that are common across Canada.

21. Beaulieu meaning "lovely place". Actress Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu is famous for 'Three Men in a Cradle' and 'Emily in Paris'.

22. Bedard meaning "fat". Actor A. Begard is known for 'Le clochard'.

23. Bergeron meaning "hill". Derived from the old German word 'berg'.

24. Boucher meaning "butcher". Derived from the word 'bochier'.

25. Cartier meaning "someone who worked as a transporter of goods".

26. Desjardins meaning “garden”.

27. Dube meaning "habitation name, derived from a local geographical feature."

28. Dupis meaning "from/of the well/spring/fountain".

29. Fortin meaning "strong". Derived from the word 'fort'. Actor and producer Carlos Fortin is popular for 'Rise of the Demon Lung'.

30. Fournier meaning "occupational name for a baker".

31. Gagne meaning "occupational name for a farmer or a peasant". Joyel Gagne is popular for 'Bad Blood' and 'Her Stolen Past'.

32. Gagnon meaning "aggressive or belligerent man".

33. Gagnux meaning "farmer".

34. Grenier meaning "occupational name for a worker at a mill or granary".

35. Jourdian meaning "to flow down, one who descends". Actor Keith Jourdiani is famous for 'The Paper Flower'.

36. Laferrière meaning "near an iron mine".

37.Lafitte meaning "near the border".

38. Lapointe meaning "nickname for a soldier."

39. Lavoie meaning "someone who lived by the road".

40. Leblanc - a variant of "blanc ", "white", "blond", "pale" ".

41. Lecerc meaning "scribe" or 'secretary". Originated from the French word "le Clerc".

42. Levesque meaning "bishop."

43. Martel (French and English origin) meaning "metonymic occupational name for a smith". Aurora de Martel is a famous antagonist character in 'The Vampire Diaries'.

44. Nadeau meaning "Christmas", derived from the word "Nadau" or "Nadal".

45. Ouellet meaning "eye", derived from the word "oeil".

46. Pelletier meaning "occupational name for a fur trader".

47. Poirier meaning "pear tree".

48. Richard (German origin) composed of "ric" meaning "powerful and "hard" meaning "strong". Even though the name has its roots in Germany, it is popular with the French population.

49. Simard composed of "sigi" meaning "victory" and "mari" meaning "famous".

50. Thibault composed from the German elements "theod" meaning "people" and "bald" meaning "bold".  

51. Tremblay meaning "someone who lived near a group of aspen trees".

Unique Dit Last Names

Often maiden names or father's first names are taken as Dit names. Below is a list of Dit names frequently adopted as alternate surnames by families across Canada.

52. Barbe meaning "nickname for someone with a beard".

53. Benoit meaning "the one who says the good".

54. DuPont meaning "of the bridge". French Actor Arthur Dupont is famous for movies like 'Team Spirit' and 'Haute Cusine'.

55. Farrow (French and English origin) meaning "ironworker".

56.Forestier meaning "forester, keeper of the king's forest".

57. Labranche meaning "the twig", used as a secondary surname.

58. Lafleur meaning "ornamental last name for servants or soldiers".

59. Lamothe meaning "someone who lived by a fortified stronghold".

60. Lenoir meaning "black, dark". Actor and writer Alban Lenoir is known for 'Taken', 'Hero Corp', 'Erased'.

61. Moreau meaning "dark-skinned". Actress Jeanne Moreau is famous for 'Jules and Jim', 'The Lover' and 'The Night'.

62. Papin meaning "to munch "or "to eat".

63. Renaud composed of "region" meaning "counsel" and "Wald" meaning "rule". Francis Renaud is a French actor.

64. Roshe meaning "someone who live near a rocky hill".

65.Serrurier meaning "locksmith".

66. St-Jean meaning "habitation name from places in France and Belgium".

67. Villeneuve derived from "ville" meaning "settlement" and "neuve" meaning "new". Jacques Villeneuve won the formula one race championship in 1997.

Common French Canadian Surnames From Quebec

French surnames from Quebec are as unique as their culture.

Quebec is considered the hub of the Francophone community. A famous part of Canada, the population of Quebec call their form of French Quebecois. Here is our list of French surnames from Quebec, many of which may also be used as first names.

68. Alarie meaning "all-powerful".

69. Arpin meaning "dweller in the Alps".

70. Arsenault meaning "gun maker".

71. Aubert meaning "noble bright". Karen Denise Aubert is an American actress known for 'Friday After Next' and 'Soul Plane'. This may be used as both a unique last name or a first name as well.

72. Auclair meaning "clear".

73. Boivin meaning "drink" and "wine". A unique last name.

74. Camus meaning "snub-nosed, shirt-maker".

75. Chevalier meaning "horseman, rider, knight".

76. Chevrolet meaning "keeper of goats".

77. Corbin (French and English origin) meaning "crow, little raven". Derived from the Corbon community from France.

78. Couture meaning "small plot". This last name has a very antique French touch and may help to make you sound sophisticated.

79. Deblois meaning "working in the woods".

80. De la Cour meaning "of the court".

81. Delage meaning "someone who live enclosed by hedges". Derived from the word "hedge".

82. Escoffier meaning "to dress".

83. Ferrier meaning "occupational name for a ferryman". Derived from the word "Ferrier".

84. Fouchet meaning "occupational name for a reaper or mower". The old French word "fauche" meaning "scythe".

85. Gaboury (Norman-French origin) meaning: "joke".

86. Gallant meaning "bold". This was once one of the common last names and could definitely be one of the top in different naming lists.

87. Gaudry meaning "an area of southwest France bordering Spain". Derived from the word 'gascongne'.

88. Geroux meaning "old man" descendant of Giroux.

89. Huppe meaning "the bird". Originated from the word 'hoopoe'.

90.Lacrois composed of 'la' and 'Croix' meaning "the cross".

91. Monet meaning "home", derived from the word "haimo/haim"; also used as a short form of Simon.

92. Otis meaning "riches" derived from the name Otto, also written as Otes in French. Elisha Otis is credited for the invention of Elevator safety.

93. Picard meaning "a person from Picardy".

94. Poirot meaning "near a pear tree or orchard".

95. Promroy meaning "apple orchard".

96. Quintal meaning "hundredweight", derived from the old French word "quintal".

97. Raboin meaning "devil" or "small change".

98. Sartre meaning "occupational name for tailor".

99. Urbain meaning "from the city".

100. Vaillancourt meaning "low lying farm".

Kidadl has lots of great names articles to inspire you. If you liked our suggestions for French Canadian last names then why not take a look at Haitian last names or for something different take a look at surnames used as first names.

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