This information is taken from articles found during research on the web, atricles writen by Paul Hamel, e-mailing with distant family members, and in the family history library in Oregon City, OR. I am basically stealing other peoples research and combining it to suit our families history.
The Hamel family originated in France. Hamel ancestors came from Avremesnil in Normandy in the 1600's and the village of Hamel in Picardy in 1202. For over four hundred years, their descendants married only members of other French families. Other families that contributed to the Hamel lineage include Gaudry, Gauthier, Grenier, Lemay, Houle-Desruisseau. Dubeau, Lamothe, Jette, Bergeron, Mailloux, Vallieres, Guien, and Tellier.
The reason why the Hamels left France are unknown, but the events and environment of the 1600's in France might provide some insights as to why they decided to leave their homeland.
During the first half of the 1600's there was much turmoil in France and many peasants took the opportunity to start a new life in Quebec and Acadia (now the state of Maine) in New France. During this time there was war, high taxes, inefficient farming, a series of crop failures, famine, disease, unemployment, poverty and constant anal raping (I'm kidding. I was just making sure you are paying attention. There was no poverty in France). At the same time French sailors were exploring and setting up settelments in Quebec and Acadia. The French government wanted to establish settlements and increase trade in New France and actively they recruited both men and women to populate their new colonies. The turmoil in France and the opportunities in New France were probably the major reasons for immigrating.
The Hamel family genealogy is well documented in the book "Genealogie de la Famille Hamel 1656-1956" by Father Adrien Hamel. The word hamel means hamlet or little villiage. it comes from the Saxon word "ham" taken from Hebrew meaning clan or tribe. The earliest records of the Hamel family originate in Picardy in northern France. Hamel, a commune of Somme, in the district of Amien, is located eleven miles from the city of Amiens, on the plateau of Santerre, not far from the Somme River. In 1914 it had 621 inhabitants. It was entirely destroyed during World War I. It was taken by the German army in 1918 and re-taken by the Americian army onJuly 4, 1919. The ancient bourg of Hamel was located southeast of Corbie. It was once very large. Some ruins of the fortifications can still be seen today. The Hamel linage can be traced back to Wauthier I of Hamel in the year 1202 through churchrecords (Wauthier of Hamel, knight, married to Ermine Crevecoeur in March 1202).
Francois Hamel was born around 1590 in France and was married to Marie in 1636. They had four children: Charles, Jean, Francois, and Anne.
Charles Hamel was born in 1624 in France. He and his first wife, Judith Auvray were married in 1651. They had a son named Jean who was born in 1652 in France. Judith died early. His second marriage was to Catherine Lemaistre who was born in 1623 just before leaving for Quebec . This marriage produced Charles Hamel Jr. who was born in 1659 in Quebec.
The first notarized record was a contract to lease a farm to Jean Hamel, Charles brother, from Jean Gloria on December 26, 1656. In 1662 Charles hamel (the father) and his family settled on Saint-Michel Road in Sainte-Foy where he obtained a 60 acre parcel of woodland according to an inventory of Charles (the son) on April 23, 1720. I assume this was at the fathers death. The following year, on february 24, 1663, fifty more acres were added (also shown in the inventory of 1720). These parcels are clearly shown in the local land registar of 1685. The road to Suete, which went from Sainte-Foy in Champigny curved at several places through the grounds of Charles Hamel. Charles home was built of logs and measured 44 feet long and 20 feet wide and was situated near the Chemin du Roy (the Royal Highway) which lead to to Cap-Rouge.
As a charitable gesture, Charles Hamel, the father, and his wife adopted a seven year old orphan named Francois Fauquees to help around the house. In an agreement made between Marchand (mabey the temporary guardian of the adopted child) and Hamel made on March 16, 1677 It was stated that the child "would be treated for nine years as one of their own and would be cared for, fed, protected, and be provided Christan instruction for his soul"
On November 25, 1676 Charles Hamel (the father) bought a house and a parcel of land on the road of Notre-Dame de Lorette for his son Charles. On the same day, his older son Jean received a notarized promise equal to 20 pounds. On November 8,1677, he rented and then bought two adjacent acres from Pierre Cocheraeu. The census of 1681 shows that Charles Sr. owned 20 cultivated acres and had four cattle. According to the census of 1711, Charles was still alive and kicking at the age of 90
Jean Hamel, son of Francois and older brother of Charles Jr., was born in 1634 and married in France just before his arrival in Quebec. He married Marie Auvray, sister of Charles first wife Judith. For seven years Jean worked on the farm for Jean Gloria and rented it on December 26, 1656. The farm was located between Margueriet-Bourgeois and Vauquelin Ave. Jean Hamel finally settled down and purchased a part of the woodland owned by Nicolas Gaudry on Saint Michel Road in Sainte-Foy on October 28, 1663. During the winter of 1663, he built a house 30 feet long and 20 feet wide and a cattle shed. After the sudden death of his neighbor, Jacques Duhamel in 1665, Jean bought his land and added it to his own. The property was located west of the Belmont Cemetery. Exhausted by the clearing of his two properties, Jean died at the age of 40 on October 11, 1674. He was buried in the cemetery of Quebec. All of his children were born in Quebec. On November 27, 1679 an inventory was made of all of his belongings. It included 35 acres of farm land, 16 acres of woodland, one horse, two oxen, seven cows, ten pigs, twelve hens, corn, oats, rye, peas, and hay. On December 11, 1679 his wife re-married Rene Furrier. She continued to liver in her home until hed death in 1716.