Wednesday, 29 July 2015
Who do you think you are?
Geneology fascinates me. It always has done. That is something which my late Aunt Freda and I had in common . . . our great love of wanting to know all that we could find out about our family roots. I don't think I am alone in that as this general desire of most people to want to know their family roots has lead to some very popular television shows on both sides of the pond, and I have discovered that not only am I interested in who I am, but I'm also interested in who other people are as well!
People have such interesting family histories! Especially famous people, and I love watching the programs about them. I hazard a guess that had most of us the access to the means, methods and finances that are made available to these famous people that we would find our ancestrial stories just as fascinating!
Sadly, I don't know a lot about my father's family history except for a few tidbits. A lot of what I can find out is hampered because I don't speak fluent French. I do know that the Villeneuve family arrived in Canada in the 1600's in the way of a mutual ancestor named Philippe Amyot.
He is commonly known as Philippe Amyot dit Villeneuve, and was born in Picardy, France around 1600. In Tanguay, he is listed as being from Chartres. His name is spelled Amyot in Tanguay. His wife was Anne Covenant. Their first two children, . . . Jean and Mathieu . . . were born in France and the family arrived in Canada in 1636, so were some of the first settlers in French Canada. Another son, Charles Joseph, was born in the new world.
Jesuit Missionaries report that a ship containing 45 recruits arrived in the new world on June 12, 1636, so it is highly likely that this was the ship that Philippe and his family arrived on.
An inventory of his goods was made on Sep 7, 1639, after his death. The following and more are listed:
5 sets of drapes
a bed canopy
suits for Mathieu and Charles
a beaver robe worth 17 Livres
a frying pan
8 pounds of pewter dishes
a small pot and
96 "perches" of cleared land.
He owed 8 Francs in estate taxes.
Philippe was a Coureur-de-Bois, which at the time was a very lucrative trade, He died ca 1638. A Coureur-de-Bois was an independent entrepreneurial French-Canadian woodsman who traveled in New France and the interior of North America. They ventured into the woods usually to trade various European items for furs and along the way, learned the trades and practices of the Native people who inhabited there. These expeditions were fuelled by the beginning of the Fur Trade in the North American interior. Trade began with coat beaver, but as the market grew coureur des bois were trapping and trading prime beavers to be felted in Europe. The term is often confused with voyageurs who, rather than being unlicensed entrepreneurs were the canoe travel workers for licensed fur traders. The most prominent Coureur des bois were also explorers and gained fame as such.
I would love to know even more about this man and his wife, and the bits that come in between my my father's Great Great Grandfather and Philippe. I'd also love to know more about his wife Anne Covenant and her family. I do believe that they must have been very brave and forward thinking individuals to have faced beginning life anew in a strange and largely un-explored frontier!
Philippe only lived about three years in the Colony, but, thanks to his two sons Mathieu and Charles, that short time was sufficient for him to firmly implant on Canadian soil a name borne today by thousands of descendants.
Family history on my mother's side has been a lot easier to research, probably because it's largely in the English language, although there is some German as well. One branch of my mother's family tree can be traced back to loyalists to the English Crown which moved up to Canada after the American Revolution, having been, prior to that, some of the earliest settlers in the American Colonies. I can trace lines back to William the Conquereror . . . others hit the Plantagenets . . . Queen Eleanor of Acquitaine is in my family tree . . . indeed King Alfred the Great is an ancestor of mine. I share also a common ancestry with the present Duke of Westminster (although none of his money, lol) who is the richest man in England . . . and I recently discovered that I am a descendant of Robert de Brus (Robert the Bruce) who was King of Scots from 1306 until his death in 1329.
Robert was one of the most famous warriors of his generation, and eventually led Scotland during the Wars of Scottish Independence against England.
Once you hit royalty in your family tree . . . the rest of the information falls like dominoes. Very good records were kept of royal lines.
There is one line of my mother's family tree that we can get nowhere with however and that is the McNayr (McNair) line. The furthest back we can get is in the name of Boyd McNayr who was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1778. We do know that at the precious age of only 8 years . . . he was left with friends in Halifax, Nova Scotia by his father (no name known) who was apparently in the King's navy. His father was never seen or heard from again. Boyd eventually made his way down to the Annapolis Valley, becoming a blacksmith in the Lawrencetown area and marrying a Rachel Beals. They had 14 children and there is a very touching story about of them moving out to Springfield, Nova Scotia with Rachel sitting pregnant on a horse, and him guiding the horse all the way there, which would have been some considerable journey from the valley. He was one of the two original settlers of Springfield, Nova Scotia.
This is Ida McNayr Smith, who is my Great Great Grandmother and Boyd's Great Great Granddaughter.
When I look at this photograph of her I see a strong family resemblance to certain members of my family. It's the eyes and the nose. These same features are scattered throughout my family to this day.
I think it's pretty exciting to be able to trace one's roots back and if you have pictures to look at, it's even more exciting, especially when you see family traits that have been carried on down through the generations, and read about the things they have done and accomplished. Have any of you been able to research or find out fascinating stories about your ancestors? I would love to hear them! Please do share! Who do you think YOU are?
A thought to carry with you through today . . .
To say I am made in the image of God
is to say love is the reason for my existance;
for God is love
Love is my true identity . . .
Love is my true character . . .
Cooking in The English Kitchen today . . . an easy dessert . . . Boston Cream Pie Parfaits.
Have a fabulous Wednesday, no matter what you get up to! Don't forget . . .
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and I do too!