A reader on my Olive Genealogy Facebook Fan Page reminded me of the problems genealogists can encounter searching French ancestors who may have used dit names.
A dit name is an alias given to a family. A dit name doesn't just apply to one person, but to many members and generations of a family.
A dit name might be derived from any of the following:
* A nickname
* A location of origin
* Land owned
* Name used in Army
* Various other reasons
I have an ancestor who settled in New France (present day Quebec) in the 1660s. His name was Simeon LeRoi. His dit name was Audy. So in the records we might find him as
* Simeon LeRoi dit Audy
* Simeon LeRoi
* Simeon Audy
* Simeon Audy dit LeRoi
The LeRoi/LeRoy surname underwent great changes, becoming LeRoy dit Audy or Ody, Audy and Ody in New France (Quebec), and Laraway (with variant spellings) or LeRoy in the United States and Canada.
Some of Simeon's sons assumed the Audy dit name as a surname and there are Audy descendants today who are from Simeon LeRoi.
At least one of his sons (my ancestor) assumed the Larroway surname when English speaking clerks in New York began recording the French Le Roi as LeRoy and eventually Larroway
Some descendants use the LeRoy surname.
It's a challenge to trace backwards but researchers need to stick to it and keep those name variations in mind (dit names, accidental name changes, deliberate name changes, spelling variations, phonetic misinterpretations, etc.
So keep searching and don't give up if you are faced with a challenging ancestor. Check to see if he may have been from New France at one time. Perhaps a dit name enters into your challenge.