Shania Twain – Family Roots in Québec Found

Life in Quebec
by Staff Writer
May 31, 2015

Pictured: Street sign for Shania Twain Drive in Timmins, Ontario. Photo by Bill Platten.

Quebec City (Quebec) 31 May 2015 – Shania Twain will come to the land of her ancestors when she will perform in the Centre Videotron in Québec City on October 9. Indeed, the 49-year-old country star has Québec roots, which originated in Beauport.

This was discovered by Jacques Noël, who has been devoted to genealogy for 40 years. He was interested in the genealogy of Shania Twain for his last article in a series written on behalf of Prestige magazine, and noted that the ancestors of the singer’s mother are from the Belle Province.

“The rear maternal grandmother Shania Twain was named Elizabeth Brisebois,” says Noël, who has looked into the genealogy of hundreds of personalities known in North America which have French Canadian origins. On Elizabeth Brisebois, he says, “She was a Franco-Ontarian who lived Nipissing, Ontario.”

Moving backwards back in time, one then realizes that the Brisebois name lived in Beauharnois, Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Pierrefonds, Pointe-Claire, Montreal, and finally in Beauport.

Thus, the first ancestor of this lineage lived in what is now the heart of Vieux Beauport. René Dubois, called Brisebois, a native of Poitiers in France, landed in 1658, where he lived in an imposing mansion on the edge of the Beauport River.

“This is one of the pioneers of Beauport Giffard,” said Jacques Noël. “I was not surprised by the finding because Shania Twain comes from Timmins, Ontario. It is fairly francophone. She was born in Windsor, but her mother moved to Timmins when she was very young.”

Jacques Noël noted that Shania Twain is far from the only known person from outside the province to have a Québec heritage.

“In North America there are 20 million people who descend from 10,000 French settlers who came to Québec,” noted Noël, who regrets that Québec is so little “connected” to its diaspora.

“When stars like Shania Twain, Madonna or Angelina Jolie arrive in Québec, we do not welcome them as children of the nation. Yet we have the same ancestors,” he says. “They are taken to be foreign because we have no sense of the diaspora as do, for example, Italians, Irish and Jewish people.”