Question of the Week: Do you have any French roots?

+67 votes

Do you have any French ancestors?

Be sure to check out the French Roots Project.

Like in other parts of Europe, many French left to escape religious persecution. Were your ancestors part of the Huguenot Migration?

Do you have family lines that can be traced back to the colonists who helped to settle Acadia? (Visit the Acadians Project to see how you can help research these branches.)

Additional French projects:

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in The Tree House by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (2.5m points)
edited by Ellen Smith
That was me! I have been looking at the Huguenot pages you sent me to. I would like to be able to prove this.Thank you for your help.
Wanda and Crystal,

It seems that I'm a cousin to the both of you then. Thomas Clarell, Jr (1402-1450) is my 15th great grandfather, which would make us something like 16th cousins, maybe a time or two removed.
That's Wonderful, Gail. I Love finding New Cousins, no matter how Distant. That's one of the reasons I like the Relationship Finder so much. I've found so many people I am connected to in one way or another, as well as Ancestors I Never new I had.
yes I know many of my ancestors have french roots because many spoke only french  which I had to learn to communicate with them   but do not know how to find all this information or connect it to my profiles -but I would like to be able to get this information into my wiki tree profiles

           Martha-Beaugh             Leger
Yes, but most went to England, Wales,Ireland, and Scotland, having been part of the 'Invasion'.  And some of those french ancestors had been of Scandinavian descent.
Hi Darrell,

I also have Venable ancestry, but it is way back. I believe my closest ancestor is William Venables, born 1376 in Wilmslow, Cheshire, England and died 1421 in Bollin, Cheshire, England. He is my 15th great grandfather.
Hello, Gail,

 I Believe that is what happened with Many of My Ancestors as well.  England, Scotland, Ireland, Sweden, ect, My  Mom's side was mostly English, Scottish, Irish, Welsh, and a bit if German. My Prince side, so far immigrated from France to Canada. I am also trying to prove my Amerindian on both sides. I just haven't definitely confirmed anyone.
yes, I have many ancestors with french roots  Richard - [[ I have a Richard one name study but do not know how to add to it or get my ancestors names in it ]]  Savoie or Savoy - & many others  but have no idea how to compile all that information in the correct way -would need lots of help with that

hi Gail -well if you are related to Crystal then I guess you & I are also related - Crystal could explain it better then me  

             Martha Beaugh-15      Leger
Yes, my great grandparents are French. Im relatively new to genealogy but the French branch is the one i have most info about, due to a family tree that has been handed down some 100 years in an old Bible.

Surnames: Thebaud, Landais, Maurice, Passaquin, Gourbil, Mesnager, Audrain, Bézier, Dibon, some others are starting to appear, all from the Nantes, Bretagne area.

I have not added them all until i have documents and sources to back up the family tree. I have found a couple trees online that are similar to mine so i think those records do exist and i just need to find them!

77 Answers

+21 votes
Yes, my French ancestors landed in the Caribbean and hopped Islands until they landed in the US Virgin Islands.
by Lynnette LaPlace G2G6 Mach 2 (24.6k points)
+22 votes
A little.. just about 90% of my ancestors.. ;-)
by Carl Savard G2G3 (3.5k points)
+19 votes
Seems that every time I turn around I'm finding another ancestor with French connections. My maternal grandfather, while born in the USA had French Canadian (Quebec) parents. My maternal grandmother had a French Canadian mother. When I get my other lines back to 1600-1700 range, there are French roots here and there. I haven't done much work on the Quebec side yet..
by Doug McCallum G2G6 Pilot (542k points)
Yes, Henri La Marchand. Need proof of his marriage to Mary Ruscoe.  Both were possibly lost at sea on return voyage to New Jersey.
+17 votes
Yes, one of my ancestors was a Huguenot who moved to New Netherlands.
by G Gaffin G2G4 (4.1k points)
+17 votes

French ancestry is very rare in my family tree. However, I do have two distant direct ancestors who are French and ironically one, Jean Bossard, my 8th great grandfather, is a Huguenot  from Alsace-Lorraine and the other, Lt. Col. John Jarboe, my 8th great grandfather, is French Catholic from Dijon.

by James Stratman G2G6 Pilot (104k points)
+19 votes
The vast, vast majority of my lineage has French roots, which is not uncommon for many French-Canadians of Quebecois heritage. I wonder if there exists interest in creating the link between French Roots project and Nouvelle-France projects (Quebecois, Acadia. Louisiana) involving the categorization of place of origin in France of immigrants to Nouvelle-France according to France's ancient provinces? This sort of categorization could in my view nicely fill the gap between these projects.
by Living Lambert G2G6 Mach 1 (12.6k points)
edited by Living Lambert
hi Claude, want to send me a pm with more extensive outline of what you are thinking of?
Not sure this is what Claude is thinking of, but we have at least a set of categories for historic provinces which includes categories for Perche, Aunis, Saintonge, for instance.

I'm a bit reluctant to add historic counterparts to the current geographic categories (in large part because these categories are under-populated I'm not too keen on splitting them further), but for localities that produced a lot of emigrants (think Tourouvre or La Rochelle) it would probably be worth it.
I for one would prefer having categories that reflect the era, putting a category for example La Rochelle, Charente-Maritime on a profile that should have it as La Rochelle, Aunis always seems odd.  Still looking at ways to get the categories for this province straightened out through time, name changes abound.

To illustrate only, CEFAN's L'Origine des immigrants français de 1608 à 1700 shows:

1. Normandie  
2. Île-de-France  
3. Poitou  
4. Aunis  
5. Saintonge  
6. Perche  
7. Bretagne  
8. Anjou  
9. Champagne  
10. Guyenne  
11. Maine  
12. Beauce  
13. Picardie  
14. Angoumois  
15. Touraine  
16. Limousin  
17. Bourgogne  
18. Orléanais  
19. Gascogne  
20. Languedoc  
21. Berry  
22. Périgord  
23. Brie  
24. Auvergne  
25. Lyonnais  
26. Dauphiné  
27. Provence  
28. Lorraine  
29. Flandre  
30. Artois  
31. Savoie  
32. Béarn  
33. Bourbonnais  
34. Nivernais  
35. Franche-Comté  
36. Marche  
37. Comté de Foix  
38. Roussillon


Total des immigrants

4894 100

This tabulation:

  •  is consistent with Fichier Origine listing of 4250 immigrants in 2005; 
  • thus provides a measure of the province category  population problem.

In terms of mixing Tourouvre with Perche and La Rochelle with Aunis, I would think that Tourouvre & La Rochelle are sub-categirues of Perche & Aunis.

The Percheron Immigration Category already lists ~325 immigrants mostly from Perche with other immigrants from neighbouring Normandie, Maine, Beauce, Orleonéais, Ile-de-France.

Motivation for distinguishing categories by immigrant and province would best come from accuracy and completeness, as the Percheron Immigration category does and Chronicles of New France's 1666 and 1667 censuses sub-categories do not. For example, 25% of the 1666 are said to be missing, which is what 1667 attempted to correct. Would it not be useful to for example say WT has 98% of pioneers in PRDH's list?

You get my drift?

So, if I understand correctly, we're talking categories like "Migrants du Perche vers la Nouvelle-France", "Migrants de Champagne vers la Nouvelle-France" in order to have a count of migrants in each category and be able to compare it against PRDH, for instance?

This should definitely be discussed with the Categorization project. But it should be presented as a set of categories the project Quebecois needs for its goals.

(Very interesting figures by the way - Aunis has a really large contingent when you think that it was the tiniest province).

Well, considering the wars of religion, and the large presence of protestants in the area, plus La Rochelle itself suffering plague and such, I think it's not really surprising that people left from that region.  And ready access to a seaport also.  Lots of recruitment contracts were also done there.

As far as categorization goes, seems to me they would definitely fit as sub-categories of the existing category French immigrants to New France.

PRDH list of pioneers only names males who had male descent, leaves out the men who only had daughters marrying, and leaves out the women totally.  I mean really, talk about chauvinism, wink

PRDH list of male Pionniers with posterity is available for free but equivalent data for all Individus, male and femaie , with or without posterity, is available on subscription basis. 

I mention PRDH list of pioniers is a good benchmark against which to gauge how categories are doing. In final determination of categories it may turn out that PRDH is too much of a mismatch for WT purposes but Fichier Origine may be comprehensive enough.

The big issues: 

  • Is such categorization along immigrant-province lines attractive enough and useful enough? 
  • Is discriminating categories along immigrant-province lines too fine-grained a criterion?

What happens for example to people born in Perche then, or born in that part of post-revolution Orne, who did not immigrate to Nouvelle-France then or to Canada or elsewhere more recently?

Oh yes, it would be useful.  Right now, the only immigration category for New France is

If you take a look at it, it is already pretty large, and I know it doesn't contain all the immigrants to New France by a long shot, find more every day not tagged.  As far as the people who stayed home, they would fall under the projects for France, not Québécois project.  Would let them determine what they wish to do with them.

As far as a ''benchmark'', to my mind neither PRDH nor Fichier meets the criteria for being a good one.  While Fichier doesn't care about gender, it has its own criteria about who will be included in their publication, regularly correspond with them, they need good sources also to allow publication, some that were there previously have been withdrawn due to a defect in one form or another.  Your table from CEFAN that you posted above is much better for that, and it only covers until 1700.  Although I do wonder how they determined patoisant and francisant.  From the region?  By the way, can you give me the link for that?  Looks interesting.

Université Laval's CEFAN acronym stands for Culture d'expression française en Amérique du Nord so CEFAN would surely have a lot to say about patoisant and francisant.

Link for above CEFAN table is

Asked about immigrant-province categorization issue in G2G question a few months ago, Guy indicated that this was up to French Roots project. But I agreed that immigrant-province categorization is both attractive and useful.

Edit: Link to Entre les patoisant et les francisant.

nice, will have to come back to this later.  Thanks.
From Valenciennes, France and I have baptism records from there on my direct 1580...MONTFORT, .in Amsterdam Holland by 1620 and in 1624 the family sailed to the new world on a ship fitted out by the Dutch West Indies Company, the first ship of settlers sent by DWI to settle what is now NYC.......four names known as passengers on the first two ships...Montfort and Rapalje on EENDRACHT...sailed Jan 1624, arrived off Manhattan Island March 1624...the Niew Nederland sailed in March 1624 with Vigne and de trieux names on board..... I also have Sohier, Demarest, de Ruine, De Baun, Terhune, Pasquier, dePlanck, all in Nieuw Amsterdam colony by 1660.
+16 votes
Yes .. Barbeau, Barbeaux, Barbaud, Baribault, Barbu, Boisdore, Poitevin, Burran, LaForest, Rochon, Menard, Hebert, LaPlante, Barbot, Barboteau .... etc etc etc ..

C'est Bon Magnifique !
by Stanley Baraboo G2G Astronaut (1.4m points)
Jerry, You and I connect with the Rochon heritage :)
i too have french connections through my mothers side the Tardif/LE Tardif family line and their branches,it is hard to find records on them,i have relied on the family for sources to check,they came from france to canada then to the US.
+20 votes

Yes, I definitely have French roots. While my mother was born in Wales, I have deep French roots through my father's side. This summer, the Labossiere family is celebrating the 300th. anniversary of the arrival in New France of our patriarch, Jean Baptiste Labossiere.

  He arrived in New France in 1718 as a young soldier with the French army. He was granted land and given permission to marry at Contrecoeur in 1720. The original house still stands and will be a highlight of the anniversary tours this summer.

I am descended from at least 37 different Filles du Roi. Through pedigree collapse, I am double descended from five of them and triple descended from another.  They are variously my 6X, 7X, or 8X GG grand mothers. All of them are connected into the overall tree.

In addition to the FIlles du Roi, I am descended from 20 Filles a Marier. They are my 7X GG, 8X GG and 9X GG grand mothers. There are five sets of double relationships due to pedigree collapse. All of them are connected into the overall tree.

In addition to this, I am also descended from at least nine Carignan Soldiers.

In addition to the above ancestors, I am also directly descended from Anne Couvent, a "Royal gateway" who is one of my 10X GG grand mothers. I am also descended from Louis Hebert, the first apothecary and European farmer in Canada. He is one of my 10X GG grand fathers.

Many thanks to those who have done so much work on the French heritage.

So, again, yes, I do have French roots.

by Jim LaBossiere G2G6 Mach 3 (36.8k points)
edited by Jim LaBossiere
Est-ce qu'il existe un contrat de mariage pour Jean Baptiste LABOISSIERE ?

Je m'interroge sur son origine. Le patronyme de sa mère, FOIDRY se retrouve en Haute-Saône et il y a justement des LABOISSIERE dans ce secteur.

Est-ce des actes ont été trouvés à Nantes ? Dans l'affirmative sur quelle paroisse ?
David, son contrat de mariage est ajouté à ma liste de contrats à trouver aux archives, éventuellement.
+13 votes
Perhaps.  Most of my 17th century ancestors lived on the British Isles, but DNA testing by Ancestry indicates 37% of mine is from western Europe while 23andMe estimates 10% is French and German.  While most of that might represent earlier immigration to the British Isles from the continent, there are a few mysterious figures at the ends of family tree branches who may have reached North America directly from France.  The closest is a Huguenot 4G-grandfather from Montbéliard, Franche-Comté, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1752 where he married the daughter of an Acadian named Tourneur or LeTourneur who was living among his Mi'kmaq allies of the French and Indian War to avoid deportation during the Acadian expulsion.

Another possibility is my 9G-grandfather Anthony Coombs (Coombs-55) living on the Maine coast of the Massachusetts Bay colony during the latter part of the 17th century.  Some sources suggest he was from Port Royale.  Acadia had a rather cosmopolitan population at the time, so he may have been British; but some sources suggest he is the same individual as my wife's 9G-grandfather Antoine Comeau (Comeau-280).
by AL Wellman G2G6 Mach 2 (20.1k points)
+17 votes
I am French (French born, French parents and grandparents, raised in France, living in France, French!). Though only about 1/4 of my earlier ancestors were French. The rest came from Switzerland, Belgium and Luxembourg.
by Isabelle Martin G2G6 Pilot (577k points)
+17 votes

Almost nothing but, easier to say I have one Irishman, one Englishman, a couple of Belgians, the rest are all French.  laugh  Our cousins in French Roots project also helped me find some early ancestors I hadn't found, lovely having them around to collaborate with Québécois project.

by Danielle Liard G2G6 Pilot (676k points)
Isabelle and David are good people. True facts. =D
+13 votes
Yeppers, just a few.  The Gue/Guions came from Ile de Re off the coast of  Gascony and settled in with the New Netherlanders.  At about the same time, Luke Mizell came from somewhere in Alsace-Lorraine and settled in Virginia colony via England.  Both were Huguenots.  Some others also settled in with the New Netherlanders, and eventually wound up marrying in with the Guions in or near New York City, or wound up in Albany.  These too were Huguenots, many of whom came from the far north of France or the Walloonia part of what is now Belgium. DelaHayes, Wibaus, all of whom are well known to New Netherlands project members.
by Dan Sparkman G2G6 Mach 2 (25.9k points)
+12 votes
Thanks to my father's mother, Nellie Mae Resseguie, I'm a direct descendant of French Huguenot immigrant, and early New England real estate king, Alexander Resseguier (son of London silk merchant Alexandre de Resseguier) and his wife Sara Bontecou. My branch of the Resseguies were loyalists during the American Revolution and eventually ended up in London, Ontario, Canada for awhile, leading to later family stories that we were French Canadian. DNA testing on my father's side, however, shows the Resseguies were actually more Spanish (Iberian) than French in origin, apparently coming from the Resseguia family of Catalonia in Spain. Remarkably, an ancient heirloom brought over from France has been kept well preserved in the family to this day, surviving even the devastation of the infamous San Francisco earthquake of 1906:
by Martyn Mulford G2G6 Mach 3 (30.2k points)
Actually I don't think that it's that strange that a Huguenot would be from Catalonia. Actually Catalonia was part of the Occitan. The Occitan is where most of the Huguenots were from. Actually Catalan is a dialect of Occitan.
Thank you. I agree.
+13 votes

Yes. An ancestor arrived in America as part of the Huguenot Migration. we all have so many ancestors that it is probable that many whose ancestors migrated hundreds of years ago have at least one French ancestor. Mine that I am aware of arrived in Prince George's County Maryland.

by Peter Rohman G2G3 (3.0k points)

indeed Peter, not to mention all the French Canadians who moved South at various eras. we're everywhere on the continent.  wink

+14 votes
I have French roots. They came from Alsace, and there are still some there,  as well as other parts of France. I’ll think about joining the Project.
by Bob Keniston G2G6 Pilot (266k points)
+12 votes
hello, yes i do and i just discovered them today.
by Becky Gouge G2G4 (4.0k points)
+15 votes
Very much so. My maiden name was Saucier. My family came from France to Canada and then in 1699 my ancestor Jean Baptiste Saucier went with Sieur Pierre Le Moyne D'Iberville to Louisiana and was one of the first settlers on what is now the Mississippi Gulf Coast. My latest arrivals from France was in the mid 1800's the De L'Herbe family and the Moulin's who came to Louisiana from the Doubs region. Just a few names are Rochon, DeDeaux, Nicaise, Savary, LaMare, Pey, Pernard, Gaillard, Girard and I could go on and on.
by Michelle Ladner G2G6 Mach 1 (16.3k points)
+14 votes

About three-fourths of my ancestry is French, with most of that total coming from those who lived in New France (later Québec) during the 1600s through the early 1900s.

That said, I have two 2nd great grandfathers who were natives of France.  Georges Cuvellier was born in Gisors in 1888, and eventually moved to the United States in 1917 after having spent a few years in Canada.  Louis Thiérart was born on New Years Eve 1850 in the tiny village of La Neuville-en-Tourne-à-Fuy, and lived out his later years in my paternal grandmother's hometown of Époye.  His wife, Zoé Brasseur, had been born in France as well.  However, her ancestors came not from France but from the Duchy of Luxembourg.

by Greg Lavoie G2G6 Pilot (374k points)
+13 votes
Definitely.  My mom's mother's family was largely from Alsace and Lorraine (surnames Toothman, Schmidt, Pferdschneider, Boeshertz) and her dad had some early Huguenot ancestors via Daniel Streng and Charlotte Le Mestre, who came from Orléans and ultimately settled in Rye, Westchester County, New York.
by K. Anonymous G2G6 Pilot (147k points)
edited by K. Anonymous
+13 votes

I have French roots on my mother's side. I don't know if anyone was a Huguenot, but, I have over 60 filles du roi in the tree. When I was growing up, my grandfather talked about the first Hamels that settled Québec. They were among the first two hundred settlers of the area. My maternal side is mostly French. My grandfather was of French-Canadian descent and my grandmother was French-Canadian/Scottish and English.

When I registered I made sure to join the Québecois and Acadian projects as I have roots there. Over time I joined the Filles du roi one. Great people in all of those groups! =D
by Chris Ferraiolo G2G6 Pilot (778k points)
Presumably so. There is a tradition that members of the Jaquith (Jacquet) family left the Loire valley for England (date uncertain), then migrated to Charlestown, MA, around 1640. Looking forward to discovering more about their roots on the Continent.
There may be something to that. My AncestryDNA results for my mother and I do not show "French" in the admixture. Just a mix of UK and "Western Europe" for her and I. So, it stands to reason that the French weren't that French. Also the towns they came from were pretty close to the English Channel.

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