Many early French St. Louis citizens used double surnames, usually separated by the word dit. The double name system was dropped when the family decided to use only one surname. Some families used the first of the two surnames, while others selected the second surname.
For example, one man’s surname was Bienvenu dit DeLisle and then he changed it to Delisle. Marchateau dit Desnoyers became the surname Desnoyers. Martin dit Ladouceur became Martin. It was possible for brothers to use different names.
When searching early St. Louis records, be aware of a dit name and search both spellings.
First published in the 1973 St. Louis Genealogical Society Quarterly, volume 6, number 1, pages 5–9.
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