Sunday, July 7, 2019

They let me in!

A few years ago, I learned that I have ancestors among the Filles du Roi, kind of Quebec's version of the Mayflower immigrants. I was fascinated by the story of these brave women leaving France to help colonize Quebec, some maybe seeking a better life or more opportunities in the new world (though given its underpopulated state, I'm not sure what opportunities they were expecting). As I began researching my French-Canadian ancestry, I found several of these Filles du Roi in my family tree. I thought this was really cool, and wanted a way to commemorate these ancestors. 

After a few minutes of searching on Google, I found a lineage society called "La Société des Filles du roi et soldats du Carignan," based out of Virginia interestingly enough, not Quebec like I would have imagined. I asked them if I would be able to join, given that my link to my French-Canadian ancestors was discovered through DNA research and not via paper trail genealogy. Surprisingly, they hadn't seen genetic genealogy used to prove a relationship to a specific individual. They knew about ethnicity results, and how that could show a general relationship to an ethnic group, but they hadn't seen it applied to a specific individual and family. I wrote back, and sent them a proof argument I'd written a few years ago, where I showed how I came to the conclusion that I was a descendant of William Vadnais. They wrote back and said the argument was very interesting, and I should apply for membership!

It took me a while to get my documentation together. Part of the delay was the amount of documentation I felt I needed to prove the connection between my chosen ancestor, Marie Boisleau (born about 1651 in Dercé, Vienne, France) and me, her ninth-great-grandson. That's 12 generations covering over 300 years, and I wanted to prove every birth, marriage, and death in the chain that I could. Then I realized that some of my documents were pretty poor quality images, so I needed to go dig up better images of them. Then came the task of filling out the application with all these names, dates, and places. But I kept at it, and eventually I had everything together. I sent it off, and didn't hear anything for a while. Then just yesterday, I got an email back welcoming me to the society! 

The society seems to have some cool benefits, chief of which is access to the society's newsletter. As I don't have a ton of personal research time, this is a great way to get access to information (hopefully a lot of historical context too) on this branch of my family tree without having to spend a ton of time learning it all on my own. They also have a really cool medallion you can buy, which would be neat to have. Most of all, I'm just excited that I was able to apply for this organization in a way they hadn't seen before, and was able to prove my ancestry well enough to be accepted. It makes me feel like I really do know what I'm doing, and it gives me a way to honor and celebrate another branch of my family history. I have a few other lineage societies I'm interested in joining - there's one for descendants of War of 1812 soldiers (my ancestor Elisaph Sanford was one), descendants of Civil War Union Veterans (I have at least two of those), and one I just learned about for descendants of American Farmers. At first I thought that was a joke, because who doesn't have ancestors in the US that were farmers? But then, don't all of our ancestors deserve to be celebrated and remembered, even (perhaps especially) those that don't seem to have the glamorous or noteworthy story or background? So yeah, lots still to do. Which is why I love this work!