November 29, 2002
The Origin Issue

A while back I was asked to post some stuff on where my last name comes from. So here's the always dreaded 'Origin Issue', lacking any strangely named planets or radioactive spiders. My aunt was doing some research a while back, and she got the following as an answer to some of her inquiries. While I think there's a few things that defy belief or just don't make sense, it makes a pretty interesting story.

Like most stories in this vein, it starts with an orphan. Apparently a small boy was found set adrift in the Bay of Bisqué (in France) back around the turn of the 19th century. He was found by a salt boat crew, who decided he was a good luck charm and took him across the Atlantic with them to the Gaspé peninsula. When they arrived, they left John (for so they had named him) there with an unknown lady, and gave him the name of the boat they found him on: 'Savidant'.

And so the Savidants came to Canada, and muddled around in the maritimes and Québec until the present day. Which is a nice story, even though it sounds like something from a comic book or Disney movie.

Here's my issues with the above:
- Assuming the 'found in a boat' bit is true, why the hell did they take him across an ocean. Crossings weren't exactly easy in those days.
- Even so, if he was found by a French salt boat crew and dropped off in a predominantly francophone part of Canada, why did they name him 'John'?
- They named him after a boat? What kind of a boat name is Savidant? Or maybe I'm just lucky my last name isn't 'Bluenose' or 'Titanic'.
- All strange orphans set adrift have superpowers. Where are my superpowers? Shouldn't earth's yellow sun have some strange effect on me?

Posted by savidant at November 29, 2002 02:21 PM

And so the Savidants came to Canada, and muddled around in PROJECT X until the present day.

Posted by: grant on November 30, 2002 12:26 PM

Maybe your superpower is that you have a keen sense of wacky name origin stories.

Look at the bright side, though. At least the kid wasn't aboard the "HMS Princess" or something like that.

Posted by: warcode on December 1, 2002 01:42 AM

Do you have any relatives (uncles?) named Harold,
Kenneth, Calvin or Herman?

Posted by: a savidant on December 1, 2002 09:09 PM

My dad read your "Origin" entry,and he said
that his father told him that exact same story.

Posted by: a savidant on December 1, 2002 09:15 PM

That's creepy that your dad heard the same story. Maybe there is some truth to it, but I expect it's been tinged with hyperbole over several generations of bedtime stories. I like the way it drips with history though.

As for relatives with those names, I don't have any that I know of. Our parts of the family tree probably diverged a while back.

Posted by: sav on December 2, 2002 10:36 AM


I DOES drip with history, doesn't it?!

I suppose you're right... distant relatives at best.

I don't know why I got so excited about the possibility of being related... actually, it's probably the fact that I have like ZERO family left. Oh well, it was worth a shot.

My apologies,

Posted by: a savidant on December 2, 2002 01:03 PM


Last question.

My dad wants to know if you have any relatives
named Rupert (Rupie) or Arthur (Artie)?


Posted by: a savidant on December 2, 2002 01:22 PM

Again, not that I know of. But our side of the family tree is pretty sparse too. I mean, at a family reunion we'd be lucky to get twenty people. And sadly no-one named Rupert or Artie.

Posted by: sav on December 2, 2002 01:26 PM

Ever considered that Savidant might have its roots not in the name of the boat but in the French verb sauver (to save)? And he may have been Jean instead of John and the name has simply been anglicized over retellings of the story.

On the other hand, I'm not sure how welcome French fishing vessels would have been in British North American waters when the story took place. The British had owned Quebec for nearly fifty years by then, you will recall. Also, France was in the midst of their Revolution and later Napoleon was rampaging about Europe. It seems likely then that the British would have been a little frosty.

Still a good story, though, and there's probably a goodly amount of truth amidst the myth ;-) Like the part about the superpowers, for instance.

Posted by: evan on December 2, 2002 03:49 PM

heh, i read this title as ORGAN TISSUE a few times. and really, the whole thread wasn't what i thought it would be.

Posted by: beth on December 2, 2002 05:04 PM

If you want info on the savidants, you may want to contact Richard Savidant in PEI, he is also the head of the geneology society as well.

Are all you respondents Savidants?

Posted by: c. macdonald on February 6, 2003 10:20 AM

I have been trying to find something about our family on my husbands side to tell my children. The only thing I can find for sure is that his great-great-grandfather was from france.I am also searching for our family crest if anyone can help please e-mail us. His fathers name is Alphus Savidant but goes by the name Bill. His grandmothers name was Hilda Savidant(nee McGreggor)

Posted by: brian & michelle savidant on February 8, 2003 09:35 PM

Dear lord... this is getting out of control. Those darn search engines.

This isn't meant to be a savidant-centric blog. It's my last name, sure, but the blog mostly regards my life and times and will be of little to no interest for anyone who isn't me or my friends. The above entry was in response to some specific questions.

In any case, I'll try to dig up what info my family has and post a link to it here.

Posted by: sav on February 10, 2003 02:54 PM
Post a comment

Email Address:



Remember info?