The surname is one of the oldest family names to came from that French region known as Brittany
. It is derived from the Latin personal name
Nicolaus, meaning victory people.
Early Origins of the Nicoleau family
The surname Nicoleau was first found in Brittany
where they held a family seat
in the seigneurie of Trévidy. They were members of the nobility since the year 1497. In Brittany
they also branched to Champgèrault, Fardelière, Kerviziou, and Lézernant.
Early History of the Nicoleau family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Nicoleau research.Another 155 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1820, 1501, 1516, 1598, 1617, 1682, 1625, 1709, 1625 and 1695 are included under the topic Early Nicoleau History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Nicoleau Spelling Variations
Throughout the course of history most surnames have undergone changes for many reasons. During the early development of the French language, a son and father may not have chosen to spell their name the same way. Many are simple spelling changes by a person who gave his name, phonetically, to a scribe, priest, or recorder. Many names held prefixes or suffixes which became optional as they passed through the centuries, or were adopted by different branches to signify either a political or religious adherence. Hence, we have many spelling variations
of this name, Nicoleau some of which are Nicolas, De Nicolas, Nicolis, Nicolaz, Nicolais, Nicolai, Nicola, Nicolay, Nicolau, Nicolaud, Nicolaus, DeNicolai and many more.
Early Notables of the Nicoleau family (pre 1700)
Notable amongst this name at this time was Louis Nicolas (died 1682), French missionary in Canada, author of the books "Histoire Naturelle des Indes Occidentales" and the "Grammaire algonquine"; Gabriel Nicolas... Another 30 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Nicoleau Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Nicoleau family to the New World and Oceana
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 Nicoleau 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 Nicoleau were Etienne Nicolas who arrived in Quebec in 1750 from Aunis near Bordeaux, although this is thought to be his port of embarkation rather than his home region..
The Nicoleau Motto
The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.
Motto: En bon espoir
Motto Translation: In good hope.