Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Family History

Before I went on vacation I promised y'all some cool family tree stuff.  I already told you guys some interesting family history about my mom's side of the family.  This time, it's about my dad's side!

Our recent trip was with my dad's side of the family in celebration of my Grandmother's 85th birthday.  My dad is the eldest of four siblings, 3 of which were able to come on the trip.  New England and Canada were gorgeous in mid-September and we had a wonderful relaxing time.

Being that my dad's family is from New Orleans, it's no surprise that there are historical connections to French Canada.  At the first stop the cruise ship made, we were able to take a tour of historical (or as the family likes to call them "hysterical") sites related to the family.

Dad rented a car and our immediate family set out from Quebec City.  Our first stop was a monument which commemorated the landing of the 2 brothers who emigrated from France.  We drove up and down a stretch of road, eyes peeled.  Along the way we saw plenty of lovely, charming houses and enjoyed the gorgeous terrain.  After looping back, thinking we'd missed it and then starting to think that the monument wasn't around any more because of all the recent property development, we finally spotted it!

The giant sign and the monument on the right.

The family.  The plaque on the bottom explains that the monument was originally located elsewhere
and was moved.  Apparently there was some controversy over the exact location of the brothers' landing.

We thought it was hilarious that, not only is there a monument, but the sign for the monument is actually bigger than the monument itself.  Clearly someone thinks our family is worthy of note!

My dad's research revealed that Jacques, the brother who is my 9th (I think?) great-grandfather, married a woman named Elizabeth Salle.  Now this is the cool part.  Elizabeth was what is known as a "fille du roi".  Now before you get all excited, that doesn't translate literally.  She was not an actual daughter of the king of France.  (For a minute I thought all those times dad called me "Princess" were true!)  Because there were so many more men in Canada than women, the King did his part to help grow the population of the new colony by sending boat loads of women.  These young girls (age 12-25) made the treacherous journey across the ocean with a King-supplied dowry of 50 livres and orders to find a man to marry ASAP!  Can you imagine?

Legend has it that the women in Quebec City claim to be the most beautiful in Canada because it was the first port of call for the ships bearing filles du roi.  This means that the women who married and stayed there were the first choice ladies.  I knew there was a reason for my stunning good looks :)

From there, we headed on to see other sites of historical significance to our family.

My parents in front of the final house that Jacques lived in before his death.
It's actually still lived in today!  How cool is that?!

The plaque by the front door.

The church where Jacques and Elisabeth were married.
Well not actually the church.  The original wooden one burnt down, but this replacement is still really old.
It was kind of cool to know that our whole family started here and that I was carrying the next generation!

We also stopped at a mill that was related somehow to the family.  It is now a museum.  Some of the museum related to the history to the area, but large parts of it were modern art.  The curator got very excited when we told him that our family was affiliated with the mill and took his time explaining how the relationship would have worked.  It turns out that our ancestor would have been a tenant farmer who was obligated to use the mill to process his crops.  He would then pay a percentage of the proceeds from the crops to the owner of the mill.

The mill.

A chart, in French, which explains the hierarchy of the mill.
If you could look close enough, my maiden name is on it... without the final "T" and "E".
Apparently the spelling changed at some point.

We finished off the day with a delicious lunch at a local cafe.  It was clear that they didn't get many tourists by the waitresses reaction to our English-speaking ways.  Several of us spoke enough French to translate the menu effectively though!

As a fun closing note, the cross street for the cafe had my great x9 grandmother's last name!

It was a great day full of family and laughter!
Have you ever found out anything interesting about your family history?

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