On December 12, I started writing about my 4th great grandfather, Louis Brazeau. If you missed that post, you can find it HERE. Louis, who often spelled his last name as Brazeaux, with an "x", is one of the ancestor's I would most like to meet. He lived during an interesting time period (1745-1828) in a very remote part of the continent. But he could sign his name. He was a Frenchman who interacted on a daily basis with Native Americans, Americans, the British, and the Spanish. His father was from France, and his mother from New Orleans. His wife was from a historically important family. And there he was, in the middle of what seemed like nowhere to the rest of the world. [*Note: The French-speaking descendants living in this part of the country considered themselves French, and were referred to as French into the 19th century.]
Many of the French use "dit" names, or nicknames. These are usually part of their name, like a second surname. Sometimes they take the place of the original surname altogether, making them difficult to trace genealogically. "Caioua" became part of Louis' surname, but it did not get passed down to his descendants. I suppose they weren't all as "brave" as Louis was. This, according to a rediscovered bit of family lore, is how Louis received his nickname.