Few French names are as easily distinguished as being unique in both written and spoken  form than our name of “Robidoux”.  To date,   Clyde Rabideau has documented almost seventy written variations of the name.  Many of the name spellings are specific to a particular branch of the family or to a certain state. The name “Rubidoux” denotes descendants of Louis Robidoux of Riverside,    California, while in New York State you willl find the name as “Rabideau”.   “Roubidoux” and  “Roubideaux”    is found with descendants of Joseph Robidoux of Missouri and his native children. The spelling of "Robidoux" is consistent through most of  Quebec and Western Canada and into Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont.
We know the original family name was written as Robidou. How then did we end up with the x at the end?  There are many possibilities, and Clyde Rabideau, in his book, "The Robidou's,A Breed Apart", indicates that the “first theory is that the flourish at the end of the name looked like an x and eventually led to adding it. The second theory was that the scribes in Early Quebec got paid by the letter. Adding an x increased their fee and made the name look more like a French name. The last theory is that because most of the early settlers of Quebec could not read or write, they signed their name with an x. The witness would then write the name of Robidou preceding the x. Subsequent officials or clergy would read the name with x added on."  Whatever led to the change, we see the name as Robidoux by the 1700’s.

As for the origin of our name, it is believed to be derived from the surname "Robert".  This information is provided by Clyde Rabideau, in a excerpt of the book "Tintiniac" written by Abbe Pierre Brossard, which is included in his book "The Robidou's, A Breed Apart".  Tinteniac is a town located in France, and Mr Brossard makes note of a well named after a resident called "Robidou".

Peu de noms français sont aussi facilement distingués qu'étant uniques sous la forme écrite et parlée que notre nom de "Robidoux". Jusqu'ici, Clyde Rabideau a documenté presque soixante-dix variations écrites du nom. Plusieurs des épellations nommées sont spécifiques à une branche particulière de la famille ou à un certain état. Le nom "Rubidoux" dénote des descendants de Louis Robidoux de rive, la Californie, alors que dans l'état de New-York vous trouverez le nom en tant que "Rabideau". "Roubdioux" et "Roubideaux" est trouvé avec des descendants de Joseph Robidoux du Missouri etde ses enfants indigènes. L'épellation d'"Robidoux" est conformée par la majeure partie du Québec et du Canada occidental.

 Nous savons que le nom de famille original a été écrit comme Robidou. Combien alors avons-nous fini vers le haut avec le x à l'extrémité ? Il y a beaucoup de possibilités, et Clyde Rabideau, en son livre, "le Robidou, une race à part", indique que la "première théorie est que l'épanouissement à la fin du nom a ressemblé à un x et a par la suite mené à l'ajouter. La deuxième théorie était que les pointes à tracer au Québec tôt sont devenues payées par la lettre. Ajouter un x a augmenté leurs honoraires et a fait au sembler nommé plus comme un nom français. La dernière théorie est que parce que la plupart des premiers colons du Québec ne pourraient pas lire ou écrire, elles ont signé leur nom avec un x. Le témoin écrirait alors le nom de Robidou précédant les fonctionnaires suivants de x. ou le clergé lirait le nom avec x supplémentaire dessus." Celui qui ait mené au changement, nous voyons le nom comme Robidoux par le 1700's. Quant à l'origine de notre nom, on l'est censé pour être dérivé du nom de famille "Robert". Ces informations sont fournies par Clyde Rabideau, dans un extrait du livre "Tintiniac" écrit par Abbe Pierre Brossard, qui est inclus dans le sien livre "le Robidou, une race à part". Tinteniac est une ville située dans la   France, et M. Brossard note un puits baptisé du nom d'un résidant appelé "Robidou".

Variations de nom de famille/Surname variations :
Rabadeau     Rabbideau    Rabedeau     Rabideau      Rabideaux
Rabidioux     Rabidoue      Rabidue        Rebedeau     Rebideau
Robdioux      Robedou       Robideau      Robidou        Robidue
Roubideaux  Rubadeaux   Rubadou       Rubedew      Rubidoux
Rabadeaux   Rabdeau       Rabedew      Rabidean      Rabideux
Rabido         Rabidoux       Rebadoe       Rebedew      Rebideaux
Robedeau    Roberdeaux  Robideaux    Robidoue      Roubadeaux
Roubidoux   Rubaedeux   Rubadu         Rubideau      Rabadue
Roubdioux   Rabedioux    Rabideau       Rabidew        Rabidou
Rabedeaux  Rebadow     Rebedoux      Ribedeau      Robedeaux
Robidaux      Robido          Robidoux     Rubadeau    Roubedeaux          
Rubado         Rubadue       Rubidoeaux
The inhabitants of the Saint Lawrence Valley in the 17th and 18th centuries were subject to the laws and customs of    France.  Each of them had a family name and a given name.  Children had the family name of their father.  Married women kept their family name from birth, on official documents, although they were commonly known by their husband’s family name.  For instance, after Jeanne Marie-Louise Gagné married Guillaume-François Baret, she was listed as “Jeanne Gagné” on the baptismal certificates of her children, but was known as “Madame Baret” to her neighbors.
Though the practice of handing on family names from one generation to the next is helpful for genealogists, there are some problems..  First, there are many variations for some names, for several reasons.  Most colonists in early Québec were unable to read and write, or even of signing their names.  Even for the literate, spelling was not standardized.  Priests and notaries, charged with recording vital statistics, wrote the names as they heard them. For instance,   Guillaume Baret’s family name might also be written Barette or Barrette, and Jeanne Gagné’s family name might be also be written Gagnier or Gasnier.   Another factor for those who decipher colonial documents is that the data can be difficult to read because some letters such as m, n, r, and u are easily confused in handwriting.  And, of course, there are the inevitable “transcription errors” made by the person who entered the data.  For instance, a priest who served in the same parish for two or three decades might write the family name of the bride’s grandmother instead of that of her mother in the marriage register, or the name of another brother of the baby’s father instead of the name of the actual godfather.
Another problem concerns the use of “dit” names, so called because they are introduced by the French word “dit’ (called).   “Dit” names have many origins. Many were originally the “nom de guerre” adopted by the troops in a specific military company.  The name “Lafleur” is the most common of the “noms de guerre”, associated with about 220 family names.  There are nicknames associated with a physical characteristic, as “Legrand” or with a place of origin, as “Normand”, or the location of a property, as “Lapointe”.  In some cases, the mother’s family name is associated with the father’s, as Jacques Couillard dit Després.  As for our exemplar couple, the husband has a dit name: Guillaume-François Baret dit Courville, while his spouse is known simply as Jeanne Marie-Louise Gagné.  Their granddaughter Marie-Josephe, spouse of Pierre-Amable Baret dit Courville is known sometimes as “Marie-Josephe Gagné”, sometimes as “Marie-Josephe Catin”.  But that, as they say, is another story!
Introduction composed by Fr. John L. Sullivan -  owentagart@aol.com