It’s official!

With this post coming the day after Thanksgiving, you’re probably expecting a run-down of how I spent my fourth Thanksgiving living in France. Alas, this has nothing at all to do with that. We’re actually not celebrating this most American of holidays until tomorrow evening, so you’ll have to wait a few more days for that story. Instead, this article is just an update on a genealogy project of mine. It’s probably not very interesting or exciting to most of you, but it’s a big deal for me:

It’s official — I’m a Huguenot!
(… well, I’m officially the descendant of two of them.)

My welcome card. I also have a wallet-sized membership card to carry around with me. You never know what doors that might open ...
My welcome card from The Huguenot Society of South Carolina. I also have a wallet-sized membership card to carry around with me. You never know what doors that might open … or close.

Like I said … not exactly “breaking news,” but I was happy to get the envelope in the mail this week. It’s the culmination of a long process: first becoming aware of my distant French roots, then longing to know more about them, making the effort (and facing the frustrations) of tracing my lineage back three centuries, and finally having that history officially recognized by the “keepers” of such things. But what now? It’s a good question. I suppose I’ll pay my dues every year, get a newsletter in the mail, and think more about what importance — if any — this connection really has for me. Why did I want to know more about a young couple from ten generations ago? Why did I need to prove a link to them? What does it say about who I am now … or who I’m not? Why do I feel compelled to keep their memory alive? Is it my way of leaving a trace of who I am for when I’m no longer here?

A few related articles for you:

You’re a huge WHAT?
(about the genealogy project)

The French Connection: At Least 0.04%
(about my first Huguenot ancestors to immigrate to America)

franecdote 1685 : I Won’t Tolerate It
(about King Louis XIV’s policies that prompted their immigration)

Once upon a time …
(about how my research has sparked a creative pursuit)

Click here for more related articles.

© 2013 Samuel Michael Bell, all rights reserved

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7 thoughts on “It’s official!

  1. Your hard work has paid off and I knew you would not give up until you traced all the way back. Love you and will see you at Christmas. Aunt Ruth

  2. Stumbled across your blog while researching my family history. It took a long time but I was able to make it all the way back to Pierre Couillandeau Sr. There is supposed to be a book that details his role as well as other’s in the foundation of Jamestown and I am trying to obtain a copy of it since it is not available anywhere online. If I am able would you like me to copy the fundamental bits and send to you when I get this book? Thanks for all the details in this blog. I found them fascinating!

    1. Very interesting! It’s always nice to meet a distant cousin. I’ve yet to find a source that has a lot of information about the Couillandeaus, but if you find something, I’d be thrilled to see what it has to say. I’ve seen references to Pierre Couillandeau (and others from the family, like Isaac Dubosc/DuBose) in a few sources. For example, in Hannah Farnham Sawyer Lee’s “The Huguenots in France and America” (published 1843), he is listed as a settler at Santee (aka French Santee, St. James-Santee, and Jamestown). Arthur Hirsch’s “The Huguenots of Colonial South Carolina” (published 1878) cites him as an alien-born settler wishing to be naturalized in order to secure his lands to his heirs (Peter Colloando) and as a purchaser of a lot at Santee (Peter Cadeau). Bertrand van Ruymbeke’s “From New Babylon to Eden” (published 2006) cites him as the owner of a lot in Charles Town itself (Pierre Couillandeau). There is some significant discussion (of course) of Jamestown in the last book, by the way, so I recommend it to you! In fact, I suppose I recommend all three of these sources. There’s a wealth of information in general about the Huguenot diaspora with a few cursory references to our distant ancestors in them all. Keep in touch!

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