Thanks for joining me!
Good company on a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton
Appropriately said: the journey begins. Writing history is like going on a journey. A journey into the past, a journey into another place and culture, and when you go even more granular, a journey into someone else’s life story.
When I began the research into my family tree, I had no idea I would end up in the colony of New France in the 1600’s.
I knew nothing about that time period. I had learned about the European Renaissance and about the colonization of North America when I was in school. But what did that have to do with my family? It turns out: a lot.
If not for king Louis XIV, my family would never have come across the Atlantic Ocean to the New World. If not for European nations seeking trade and empire-building strategies, my ancestors would have all remained on that side of the Atlantic.
I can trace all my roots back to three main countries: France, Britain (more specifically Scotland) and Holland. My DNA results show I am 40% French, 30% Germanic, 23% Anglican, and 7% Scandinavian. This fits with the fact that my father was born into a French-Canadian family and my mother into a Dutch family.
Even though my French ancestors came to the New World in the 1600’s, they remained very insular, and as a result they didn’t create much diversity within the gene pool. French-Canadians who stayed put in the countryside of Quebec province, tended to marry other French-Canadians, so there’s only one small branch of my tree that is not French-Canadian, but Scottish. However, since my French ancestors also were from Northern France, they share DNA with Britain, since for centuries England and Normandy were under common rule. The Dukes of Normandy were descendants of English kings who were descendants of Norman invaders.
The Scandinavian DNA is no doubt due to the invasion of Vikings into England, especially in Scotland, into Northern France and into the northern part of The Netherlands (Frisia) where my grandfather was from (although it’s said they didn’t “invade” Frisia as much as they peacefully settled there). Many of my family members have red hair and blue eyes.
As it turns out, my family story (and yours probably as well) is a result of the voyages of these ancestors. Crossing seas to conquer lands inhabited by other natives, mingling with them and creating new gene pools. As well as crossing an ocean to find new economic opportunities in savage, untamed lands that were fairly mysterious and were inhabited by natives no European had met before. Then, bonding together to form a new society and ethnicity of their own.
Journeys are indeed how we all came to be where we are today. Whether hundreds or thousands of years ago.
Come with me on some of these journeys to the past.