Tom Thibodeau: a star coach associated with La Pocatière

Each month, Le Journal invites you to follow the family history of several personalities rooted in our country. Jacques Noël is a sociologist by training and has been passionate about genealogy for forty years. He is the author of the essay La diaspora québécoise. This impressive diaspora, which shines at the forefront of the arts, sports and politics, is completely ignored by Quebecers.

Tom Thibodeau is one of the best in his field. Coach of the Year in 2011 in the NBA with the Chicago Bulls, he made it into the heart of Big Apple media again in 2021, this time with the Knicks.

The great Smart basketball player was born on January 17, 1958 in New Britain (Connecticut), a suburb of Hartford.

His father, Thomas J. Thibodeau (1930–2013), was an engineer and a graduate of the Catholic University of St. Bonaventure (NY). A deeply religious man, he had a special sense of humor and his laughter was contagious. A gifted orator, he was often asked to speak on important occasions. At least that’s what his obituary says, a little bonanza for knowledgeable genealogy enthusiasts trying to get the dead to talk.

Thomas J. was born in Caribou, Maine into a Brayon family. This small town of 7000 on the New Brunswick border is famous for a battle that was the culmination of the Aroostook War, which completely escaped my Canadian history 101, 201, 301, 401 and even 501.

By 1810, Brayon lumberjacks and trappers had settled in Caribou. On December 29, 1838, big boys wanted to drive out the Brayons, who responded by pointing their guns at the Yankees. As the tension mounts, events take a dramatic turn: Two Brayons are attacked by… a bear! The bear is killed by the Canadians, but the Americans, believing they are under attack, shoot at their side.

The conflict led to the Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842, which forever fixed the border between the two countries, much to the Brayons’ disadvantage as they saw their families divided between two countries as in colonial Africa.


The border did not prevent American Brayons from continuing to speak their language, as it remains one of the most French-speaking counties in the United States today. Since Thomas J.’s family was French speaking, it is reasonable to assume that he also spoke Roch Voisine’s language, although the obituary does not say so.

The ancestor, Pierre Thibodeau (1631-1704), originally from Poitou, landed in Acadia in 1654. In 1660 he married Jeanne Thériault (1643-1726), who bore him 18 children.

Her son Jean (1673-1746) will have 13. The places of death of some of them give a little idea of ​​the full extent of the drama the Acadians endured during the 1755 deportation:

– Germain, died 1756 in Falmouth (England).

– Charles, died in Bécancour in 1779

– Elisabeth, died in 1807 in Belle-Île-en-Mer (Brittany).

The family of the grandson Olivier (1732-1801) finally ended up in Quebec, where he married Madeleine Pothier (?-1805) in Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pocatière.

The following generations can be found in the Republic of Madawaska until Thomas J. left for his studies in New York.

“There are more than 20,000 Thibodeau living in North America, including 12,000 in the United States, 4,000 in Quebec, and 4,000 in the Atlantic provinces,” says one genealogist. “The descendants of Pierre and Jeanne today represent almost 2 million people who lived between the 17th century and today. »

Who in America can say that?

Paternal pedigree of Tom Thibodeau

  • Thibodeau, Thomas J. (1930-2013)
  • Thibodeau, Denis (1894-1976)
  • CHALOULT, VICTORIA (1894-1930?) Married 17 April 1917, Caribou, Maine
  • Thibodeau, Thomas (1863-1916)
  • BOUCHARD, Madeleine (1862-1927) Mister. June 16, 1884, Caribou, Maine
  • Thibodeau, Sifroy (1834-1904)
  • JACQUES, Severine (1835-1876) Mister. November 23, 1854, Van Buren, Maine
  • Thibodeau, Julien (1796-1871)
  • THIBODEAU, scholastic (1796-1842?) Mister. April 8, 1822, Saint-Basile, Madawaska, NB
  • Thibodeau, Olivier (1766-1851)
  • CORMIER, Josefte (1770-1823) Mister. July 16, 1792, Saint Basile,
    Madawaska, NB
  • Thibodeau, Olivier (1732-1801)
  • POTHIER, Madeleine (?-1805) Mister. September 23, 1765, Sainte-Anne-de-La-Pocatiere
  • THIBODEAU, Jean Baptiste (1707-1795)
  • LEBLANC, Maria (1710-1765) Mister. January 14, 1727, Grand Pré
  • Thibodeau, Jean (1673-1746)
  • HEBERT, Margaret (1681-1727) Mister. February 17, 1703, Grand Pré
  • Thibodeau, Pierre (1631-1704)
  • THERIAULT, Jeanne (1643-1726) Mister. 1660, Port-Royal

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