Compas History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Compas has a long French heritage that first began in the northern region of Normandy. The name is derived from when the family lived in Champeaux, in Normandy.

Early Origins of the Compas family

The surname Compas was first found in Normandy (French: Normandie), the former Duchy of Normandy, where they held a family seat. One of the first of this surname on record was William (Guillaume) de Champeaux who was Bishop of Salon-sur-Marne who is said to have died in January 1121. He was also a notable figure in philosophy in the first years of the 12th century.

Metaphorically the name means"'liberty," although literally "Campus" or "Battlefield." Branches of the family were also found by the 13th century in the neighbouring provinces of Picardy to the east and Brittany to the West.

In early years some of the family ventured to England. By example, "Whitchurch [Devon] was once an archpresbytery, on the foundation of Robert Champeaux, Abbot of Tavistock about the year 1300, the rector being archpriest and having three fellows." [1]

Between the 14th and 16th centuries they branched to Ille-et-Vilaine, Artois, de Tregouet, du Greis, Bonabry in Brittany, Champagne (the Seigneurie de Champagne), de la Boulaye, Bourgogne and Limousin. Perhaps the most important branch of the name was found in the south in Provence at Marseille, recorded there since the 15th century and found to be related to the Royal House of Monaco, the Grimaldi's. Valentine Grimaldi was adopted into the House of Campeau by an aunt, and it was ordained by the Prince of Monaco, chief of the House of Grimaldi, that henceforth from 1909, the family was to bear the name Campou Grimaldi-Regusse.

Étienne Campeau, born in 1638, son of Leonard and Françoise (née Mauge), was a French mason that travelled to Canada in the 17th century. After he arrived in Quebec he married Catherine Paulo, born in 1646, daughter of Pierre and Renée (née Cordetelle), at Montreal on 26th November 1663. [2]

Early History of the Compas family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Compas research. More information is included under the topic Early Compas History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Compas Spelling Variations

One can encounter great variation in the spelling of French surnames; in part, as spelling, and the spelling names was not yet standardized during the early development of the written French language. Later, there was much branching and movement of families, and spellings would change according to region. Variations of the name Compas include Campeau, Campeaux, Champeau, Champeaux, Champel, Champels, Champart, Campaux, Compeau and many more.

Early Notables of the Compas family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Compas Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Compas family

Approximately 110 years after the first landings by Cartier, there were only about 300 people in Quebec. France gave land incentives for 2,000 migrants during the next decade. Early marriage was desperately encouraged amongst the immigrants. The fur trade attracted migrants, both noble and commoner. 15,000 explorers left Montreal in the late 17th and 18th centuries. By 1675, there were 7000 French in Quebec. Migration to New France (Quebec) continued from France until it fell in 1759. In the year 1675 the Acadian presence in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island had reached 500. In 1755, 10,000 French Acadians refused to take an oath of allegiance to England and were deported to Louisiana. The French founded Lower Canada, thus becoming one of the two great founding nations of Canada. The distinguished family name Compas has made significant contributions to the culture, arts, sciences and religion of France and New France. Amongst the settlers in North America with this distinguished name Compas were Bernard Campeau settled in Windsor in 1784; Charles Henri Basile Campeau settled in Montreal in 1763; Claude Campeau settled in St.Jean in 1732; Etienne Campeau settled in Longueuil in 1736..


Contemporary Notables of the name Compas (post 1700) +

  • Lori Compas, American Democratic Party politician, Presidential Elector for Wisconsin, 2012 [3]


  1. ^ Worth, R.N., A History of Devonshire London: Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, E.G., 1895. Digital
  2. ^ Olivier, Reginald L. Your Ancient Canadian Family Ties. Logan: The Everton Publishers, Inc., P.O. Box 368, 1972. Print
  3. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 12) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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