The French Connection: At Least 0.4%

If you did a keyword analysis of my blog, you might conclude that I’m obsessed with food: cocktails, French pastries, and the search for pancakes in Paris. You might be right. The truth is that I am a gourmand; I can’t deny it. But my real passion — my real obsession — is history.

HISTORY NERD ALERT: If you don’t like history, this may not be your favorite blogpost, but try it out anyway. You might find it interesting. If you’re in my family, you’re going to want to read this regardless of whether you like history, because it’s your story too!

Here we go …

Dubosc • DuBose

I have always loved to immerse myself in old stories and as a child, I often imagined myself in other times, leading a different life in the middle of some historical event   I was reading about. I loved listening to family stories, too, especially those of my Great Aunt Adeline, who could recount the exploits and travails of the family with such color that you had the impression that she was actually there when it all happened. I probably owe my love of history to some combination of Aunt Adeline’s stories and the World Book Encyclopedia.

As soon as I arrived in Paris a few years ago, I  quickly found myself enraptured not only by the beauty of the city, but by the depth of history that is always present, sometimes obscured by modernity, but always just beneath the surface. My husband has pointed out on several occasions that when we come across an old building or monument, he is struck by its form, its colors, and its beauty, but I am struck by a sense of wonder at what happened there, to whom, and why. I knew that I had some French ancestors in my family tree (although they were very, very deep in the roots), so it’s no surprise that I soon started to wonder about my genealogical connection to France, however attenuated it might be.

I knew from Aunt Adeline that I was descended from the Joseys who — according to at least one account — were Huguenots (French Protestants) who emigrated in the 1500s to Scotland. There,  they anglicized their name before eventually emigrating to Virginia in the mid-1600s. So, I decided to delve into my old genealogical records and do some heavy-duty research on to track down the first French Josey. Unfortunately, it didn’t go as well as I had hoped. I ended up tracing the family back to Virginia in the 1600s, to London in the 1500s, and to Scotland in the 1400s. There were Josseys, and Jossys, and even Jowseys, but the French connection remained elusive, and the Huguenot story seemed to fade under the light of my desk lamp. It seemed that I had reached a dead-end.

But then … another lightbulb went off:

There are DuBoses in my family! Now, THAT’s a good French name!*

I already knew that I was descended from a Peter DuBose, a captain in the South Carolina militia who served during the Revolutionary War under the “Swamp Fox,” General Francis Marion. Incidentally, Francis Marion was also of Huguenot extraction, and his family had an earlier connection to mine. (More on that later.) I consulted my family tree to confirm it and … yep, there he was: my fifth great grandfather. To be more precise, he was my grandfather’s grandfather’s grandmother’s father, so yeah, we’re really close. Now, Captain DuBose wasn’t a major historical figure by any stretch of the imagination — well, except in the South where everyone has a dead hero in the family plot — but he is known to history, and I knew that there would be some good records about his life. After all, he’s famous enough to have a historical site marker on the side of the highway outside my hometown attesting to his role in the Revolution. He would be the perfect place to restart the search, so it was back to …

Captain Peter DuBose
Historical Marker on US Highway 15 between Bishopville and Lynches River

After tracing backwards from Peter just one generation, I came across my genuine French connection:

Andrew Dubose

Peter’s father, Andrew Dubose, was born in 1699 in Jamestown, Carolina (also known as St. James Santee or “French Santee” because of the large number of French settlers in the area) and was the first of my French ancestors born on American soil. Andrew’s parents, both of whom were Huguenots, had emigrated from France because of religious persecution there. Andrew’s father, Isaac Dubosc, was from Dieppe in Normandy and immigrated to Carolina between 1685 and 1687, probably by way of London where it appears he had immigrated by 1682. (There is a record of his giving testimony at the Threadneedle Street church in London on August 23, 1682.) Isaac’s wife, Susanne Couillandeau, was born in La Tremblade in the region just north of Bordeaux known as Poitou-Charente.

Conflicting sources raise questions about whether Susanne immigrated separately from Isaac, or if she, too, immigrated first to London before going on to Carolina with him. It does appear that her mother Marie Fougeraut was in London and was a widow (perhaps for the third time?!), before she immigrated to Carolina. In any case, Isaac, Susanne, Marie, and Susanne’s brother Pierre appear on a “List of French and Swiss Refugees in the Province of Carolina who wished to be Naturalised English,” a document prepared in 1695/1696 from the passenger manifests of various ships arriving in Charles Towne at that time. The South Carolina archives include a 1691 deed she signed along with her son Peter (Pierre) Couillandeau, her son-in-law Isaac Dubosq (sic), and his wife and her daughter Susana Dubosq (sic). Dubosc’s name was later transcribed in The Royal Land Grants book, now archived in Columbia, as both “Isaac DuBosek” and “Isaac Dubose,” hence the several variations of the original name used at different times even by the same person. According to some records, Isaac and Susanne were married in French Santee in 1688 and had ten children, of which Andrew was the sixth. Other records indicate that they married as early as 1680 (either in France or in England).

A list of Huguenot settlers at Santee in the Carolina colony. In the first column you can see my 7th great-grandfather, Isaac Dubose, and my 8th great-grandfather (his father-in-law), Pierre Couillandeau.
A list of Huguenot settlers at Santee in the Carolina colony. In the first column you can see my 7th great-grandfather, Isaac Dubose, my 8th great-grandmother (his mother-in-law), Marie Fougeraut, and her son, Isaac’s brother-in-law, Pierre Couillandeau. Source: Lee, Hannah Farnham Sawyer. The Huguenots in France and America. Cambridge: John Owen, 1843.
Here you see the continuation of the list of settlers, including Benjamin Marion, who was the grandfather of the
Here you see the continuation of the list of settlers, including Benjamin Marion, who was the grandfather of the “Swamp Fox,” General Francis Marion, under whom my 5th great-grandfather, Peter DuBose, fought as a captain during the American Revolution. This is an interesting discovery for me, because it shows that the grandparents of both Francis Marion and my ancestor, Peter DuBose, were from the same Huguenot settlement. Source: Lee, Hannah Farnham Sawyer. The Huguenots in France and America. Cambridge: John Owen, 1843.

Now, a little background:

The period during which my French ancestors came to America was one of relatively heavy Huguenot emigration, not only to America (particularly Carolina), but to England, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, and the Dutch colonies in South Africa as well. Despite the Edict of Nantes, which King Henry IV issued in 1598 to end the religious wars in France by granting limited freedom of religion to Protestants, the position of Huguenots fluctuated continuously according to the tides of domestic politics and France’s foreign relations with neighboring Protestant powers. During the reign of Henry’s son Louis XIII, and especially after his son Louis XIV acceded to the throne, persecution of Protestants increased significantly.

In 1668, as the crisis was coming to a head, the Huguenot leadership elected a delegation to go to the King’s court to plead the Huguenot cause. The delegate from the churches in Normandy was a distant cousin of my ancestor Isaac Dubosc: Pierre du Bosc, the minister of the Protestant church in Caen and considered by some the greatest Huguenot preacher of his day. His words to the King were said to be so eloquently delivered that the King retired to the Queen’s chambers to reflect upon them, saying to the Queen — in the presence of the court — that he had just heard the most eloquent man in his realm. From Du Bosc’s address:

“We are everywhere forced to the wall. Our condition is one of calamity; it is no longer endurable. Our houses of worship have been taken away. We are forbidden to practice our trades. We are not allowed to make a living. When they see the dike broken, they will expect the waters to burst through in a great flood. And in confusion and fear, each man will seek safety in flight. The Kingdom of France will witness the departure of more than a million people, to the great harm of business, manufacturing, farming, the trades and the arts, and to the whole prosperity of the Realm.”

The Protestant Church in Caen, where du Bosc was minister
The Protestant Church in Caen, where du Bosc was minister

Despite du Bosc’s eloquence that day and the esteem in which the King subsequently held him, the situation continued to deteriorate over time. Ultimately, the King revoked the Edict of Nantes in 1685, and Protestantism was once again illegal in France. The wars of religion were not reignited but, as du Bosc had predicted, the floodgates of emigration were opened, and  the trickle of immigration that included my ancestors Isaac and Susanne turned into a veritable exodus in which at least 400,000 Huguenots fled the country.

So there you have the story of my French connection … how perhaps the last of my purely French ancestors was also one of my first ancestors born in America. Having a sixth great grandfather (my grandfather’s grandfather’s grandmother’s grandfather) who was French makes me just 1/256 French, but at least it’s nice to know where that 0.4% comes from!

* The name DuBose is generally said to derive from the French “du bois” meaning “from the woods.” The name “Dubosc” or “du Bosc” derives from the Norman dialect for the same expression.

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© 2011, Samuel Michael Bell, all rights reserved

47 thoughts on “The French Connection: At Least 0.4%

  1. Thank you. The information you shared is with style and meaning.

    In the lower branches, or amongst leaves and twigs under the family tree, perhaps there might be a trace of me.

    Recently, just outside Opp, AL, some maintenance was necessary to the grave of my grandfather, Hillary Hubbard DuBose, which is located alongside the grave of his father, CSA Pvt. Jeptha DuBose.
    The occasion was intriguing and stirring.

    1. So happy you enjoyed the post! I have always been a fan of history (including family history), so it’s always a treat when the two nicely coincide. During my next trip to Bishopville, I think I’ll contact the owner of this tract of land to see if I can arrange a visit to the gravesite of Capt. DuBose. What a treat that would be.

      1. I’m a bloodline descendant of Andrew DuBose, nice to meet you and your story, absolutely beautiful and well thought out.

        Charles W. DuBose II

      2. You must be my cousin. I am a great …….. granddaughter of Captain Peter Dubose, Isaac and Pierre.

      3. Hi Christine, if that’s the case, we’re definitely family! Peter Dubose is my 5th-great grandfather through my mother’s family, so … bonjour cousine!

  2. Enjoyed the article! But I have prove of my relationship to Captain Peter DuBose. Put 5 in front of grandfather from Middleton DuBose, his son. i lice in Sumter, SC and I know where the grave is and I have had problems finding out who the owner of the property is now. I do know it is rented out for farming. Would love to compare history.
    Jean McCaskill

    1. Thanks for the message, Jean. It’s great to hear from another descendant. I’m descended from Captain DuBose through his daughter Elaine, who married Asa Woodham. Their daughter Pheriba married James Simpson Skinner, my great-great-great grandfather. Their son, William James Worth Skinner was the father of Henry Lee Skinner, who was the father of my grandfather, Willard Buddin Skinner. Do you know my mom, by any chance? Frances Skinner Bell? I don’t know if you have family in Lee County, but we know lots of McCaskills, and my mom used to teach in Sumter at LcLauren High School.

      I still haven’t checked on the owner of that plot of land to see if I can make it out to the gravestone, but I really need to call the Chamber of Commerce and see if I can arrange a visit there. I drive by it often,

      1. My line starts with Middleton DuBose, Peter’s son. His daughter Frances married Robert Scarborough and one of their sons Middleton, married Lousia Carter and thus my grandmother Willie Mary Scarborough married Charles Beasley and my mother came along Betty Jean and married my Dad O.D. McCaskill, I also am on the line of Middleton DuBose youngest daughter Edwina who marrried James A Beasley, their son Lucius married Geneva Nichols, whose son Charles married Willie Mary Scarborough. I am double kin to myself. The McCaskills that I am mostly kin to live in Kershaw county. I went to McLaurin when I was in 7th-9th grades. My grandparents Charles and Willie Mary lived in Bishopville. They are buried at Bethlehem Cemetary in Bishopville as well as a lot of DuBoses. Did your mom used to live over behind Davis Street in Bishopville and teach Home EC?

      2. That’s her! Apparently she used to ride the bus to school with your mother and knows your family. Small world! Very cool that you found my article since we’re apparently distant cousins!

      3. Yeah!!!!! She was my Home Ec teacher, and she went to school with my mother. Never knew though that we were related. Small world when youstart looking at family history. And I am glad that I found your article.

      4. Yes, indeed! Very glad that you found the article as well. I hope you’ll like other articles on the blog, too. It’s a pretty eclectic mix of subjects, but something interesting for everyone. 🙂

  3. I am a descendent of Isaac’ DuBose’s son, John, and live in Sumter County, South Carolina. The grave of Captain Peter DuBose is in a small cemetery that is very close to the highway and an short walk through planted fields.

    1. Well, hello distant cousin! Thanks for the post. Yes, we drive past the historical marker on Hwy. 15 just before Lynches River very often. I will be back in South Carolina in September and I want to make plans to see the family cemetery. Having been there before, do you think I should contact the owner of the land beforehand? I don’t want to make anyone mad by tramping through his fields.

  4. Would you contact me privately? I have several important points I’d like to discuss with you concerning Isaac & Suzanne (Couillandeau) DuBose and her mother, Marie.

      1. Greetings. Nice blog. I was always curious about the different spelling (DuBosc) and you’ve explained it. I, too, an descended from Isaac and Suzanne. I must say I’m quite curious regarding Anita’s post mentioning them. If possible, could you email me as well, Anita? My email is Thank you!

  5. My name is john dubose descedant of the same isaac and susanne dubose. It is always a joy to read anything written about the family. Most of the public record information and some that is not has been apart of my evryday life since i was a child taking in the services at the huguenot church in cha as i dorleston as my father was a geneaoligist for our family.
    If you love history as i do then our family history a rich one. I urge you to do as much digging and learning as possible into the lives of these ancestors and other family branches. Thank you for your interest and your post.

    1. Thanks for your comment, John. This has truly been a great experience for me. Thanks to Isaac and Susanne, I’ve finally joined the Huguenot Society of SC. I’ve written a few more articles on the blog about that process. Again, thanks for the comment and for visiting the blog! Take care, “cousin”!

      1. Just this week have forwarded an application to join the Huguenot Society of South Carolina.. Direct descendant of Andrew Dubose through Andrew (Jr) also a Captain during the Revolution under Francis Marion. Peter ( named after his Uncle) .. Elias..and on.. Must be a ton of Dubose’s in the group. If approved, look forward to the April meeting.. Wife and I both love Charleston…

    2. Hey brother, didnt expect to find you here. Glad to know youre interested in the geneology. Dad showed me the mcdowell book and i never figured out which of isaacs sons we descended from. If someone could tell me id greatly appreciate it as its been burning in my mind for 30 years

      1. Laurence, you are descended from Isaac & Suzanne’s son Isaac DuBose & Madelaine Rembert. I have your lineage, also, David R. DuBose (on DuBose Forum on Facebook) is in your line.

  6. Hello,
    I am trying to help a man named Frank Dubose put his coat of arms on something large like a blanket as he is going blind. The image on your page is very similar to the tracing he gave me to show what his coat of arms is. Could you possibly direct me to a place where I could get rights to the image to use for the purpose of enlarging it for him? He has traced his family back to the 13th century, so I don’t want to direct him to a different coat of arms like I am finding on the commercial websites. Thanks!

  7. Well hey there cousin. I am also a Dubose. My line was from Peter and then to John Franklin married Tina Elta who are my great grandparents. Cool find thanks for the info.

  8. I too am a direct decendant of Andrew DuBose. Pleased to meet you all, love and peace be with you and your famlies.

  9. I am preparing for my first trip to France and found this while exploring my DuBose history. I too and from the line of Issac and Susanne!

  10. Just discovered that I, too, am a descendant through John. I realized that the only thing I knew about the word “Huguenot” was that it was French. To my surprise, I have French ancestors. Thanks for sharing your work.

    Oh yes, and “Hi, Cousins”! 🙂

  11. Hello, Huguenot Cousins!

    I am also a direct descendant of Isaac DuBosc (DuBose) and Suzanne Couillandeau. Then, my line descends from their son, John DuBose, and then through John’s daughter, Martha DuBose who married John Warren.

    That group ended up in the Jackson/Brandon, Mississippi area for many generations, and my mother was born and raised there, too.

    Like you, I have also submitted my application to the “South Carolina Huguenot Society”, and I have received a nice email from their genealogist who says she is working on my line now.

    I find genealogy fascinating, and my Huguenot line is one of my most interesting. The “South Carolina Huguenot Society” has a Word doc of acceptable surnames. After downloading their list, and comparing it to my family tree, I have at least four other Huguenot names from which I descend. I believe they married into the other Huguenot families often.

    One of my Huguenot lines is also from my father’s line. The last name is “Beauford/Beaufort”.

    Check your family trees closely. Also in my father’s line, I am a direct descendant of the Fuqua/Fouquet family, but they settle in Virginia, not South Carolina. Virginia also has a Huguenot Society, but the South Carolina group interested me more… probably because I love Charleston, and they have the oldest Huguenot Church in the country.

    Well, nice meeting all of the cousins, and cross your fingers for me. I hope I don’t have to produce a lot of info for my Huguenot membership!

    My line: DuBosc (DuBose), Warren, Warren, Warren, Ball, Lewis, Lewis, Spann, Branum.

    1. Very interesting! Thanks for sharing with me, Susan. It’s always a real pleasure to connect with my distant cousins. The descendants of Isaac and Suzanne are indeed many! Good luck with your membership application, but I’m sure it’ll be approved with no problem. The staff at the Society are very helpful folks.

    1. You’re very welcome! It’s great to “meet” distant cousins through my Isaac and Suzanne line. 😊 I’ve got a few other related articles on the blog. I hope you’ll check them out too.

  12. My name is H. Darrell DuBois and I am also a descendant of Isaac and Suzanne. My family was mostly from Arkansas and I now live in Texas. I enjoy reading this…..

  13. Hey Michael,
    I have saved this, your blog, in my favorites because it has pix and info on my ancestors that I haven’t found anywhere else. So, thank you for that. My wife and I planned a trip to France last year just before Covid struck to go to Dieppe to visit where Issac DUBosc was from. Hopefully we will get to do that yet.

    I was in Bishopville last week as I had been to the beach and was returning to Greenville and wanted to stop and visit my parents grave at Cypress Crossroads. I have a cousin who lives on the Cypress Rd off the Hartsville Hwy., Fred DuBose, so we stopped and visited with him too.

    Wondered if you are still living in France and when is the last time you were in Bishopville?

    A distant relative, Curtis

    1. Hi Curtis, thanks for your comment. I am indeed still living in France, but I was home in Bishopville for an extended visit back in May to see my folks. I don’t know Fred, but the name sounds familiar, so it wouldn’t surprise me if my mom knew him. We’ve got lots of family on that side of Lynches River, Shannon Hill, Cypress, Lydia. I hope you’re well and I hope y’all can get that trip to France in this year. We just opened the borders to vaccinated Americans!

  14. Great stuff SMB et al. Thanks for your energy and efforts! Your comments about constantly imagining living in another place and time – I’ve always had that same affliction! 🙂 There’s an Edna Bell (b.1832) in my direct line – maybe a relation to your dad? Anyway, my direct line is from John DuBose (b. 1738 Christ Church Parish, SC). I have pretty good records thru to my great grandmother Verma DuBose of Silas, AL (b. 1898) whom I knew, but I’m having a bit of trouble piecing something together: Can anyone confirm who John’s wife was? I’m finding a Lydia Carter (b. 1702), but then also see his son Jeptha DuBose (b. 1771) with a wife as Lydia Carter (b. 1739)….. things that make you go hmmm. ???

    Thanks All!


    1. Hi Trey,

      Thanks for your comment! It’s always nice to hear from distant cousins descended from our illustrious common ancestors Isaac and Suzanne.

      Regarding Edna, it’s possible that she’s also a cousin on my dad’s side, though my connection to the Duboscs … later DuBoses … is through my mom’s side.

      Personally, I have no information about John DuBose, but if he’s a grandson perhaps of Isaac and Suzanne, the Huguenot Society of South Carolina may be able to help you. They’re quite adept at helping pin down connections. They seem to have a wealth of verified information on Isaac and Suzanne and their descendants, at least through the first couple of generations. Here’s their website:

      Wishing you the best of luck tracking it all down,

  15. Thank you so much for this informational post. I am a descendent of Andrew’s brother, Stephen Du Bose. I am fascinated with the history of my Father’s family and the Huguenots. Proud of the rich history of military service from the American Revolution to present times.

  16. Thanks to all of my “cousins” for keeping this blog alive and well. My niece Margaret Hein got me into this little circle of family history and I really enjoy it! Hello cousins~!

  17. Hello, I am not related at all, but I use to work at Rizzo Conference Center, Chapel Hill, NC , historic hotel that use to be a house built in 1933 by David St. Pierre DuBose and Valinda Hill DuBose. My husband still works there as a chef and they have dinner plates with family crest (just like the one of the beginning of your article) and print “ Du Bose” on them. I took picture of it and decided to google it online to learn more about its history and I found your post! The hotel have 3 new buildings around it but DuBose House ( is the name of one of the buildings) is original house and have many beautiful family portraits and antique furniture. Also gorgeous garden and small family cemetery in the garden. Library in the DuBose house have many old original books and some books have original notes inside. It’s open to the public and I would definitely recommend you to visit this gem.
    You can also find more information and pictures online searching : Meadowmont, Chapel Hill, NC or
    Rizzo Conference Center
    Thank you for sharing your family history!

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