I love to research. The smell of old books, card catalogs, and cranky librarians are just a few things that I love about research. When I moved to France a few months ago I had no ambition to figure out where I could find my mom’s family. One main reason, I figured they were no longer living.
However, after a trip to the Musee l’armee I realized something. I want to be proud of my French heritage, culture, and family. And thanks to my 23 and Me report, which tells me that, I reign from the North of France, I owe it to myself to know more about my background.
That DNA test convinced me to look into the family background. I mean, I spent money on figuring out where my heritage came from, what I am made from. Through the test I learned many traits that I inherited from my French side, and again what areas in France my DNA stem from.
Armed with this argument I had to accept that I needed to do research.
Where to start! For me, because it is common for Europeans to keep things on a “need to know” basis (at least my mother and grandmother’s generation), doing a simple online search is not as easy as they make it out to be on the commercials. One thing I did learn upon completing some research into immigration records, last names and birthdays are often recorded misspelled or wrong. For instance, my grandmother’s name (first and last) were both written incorrectly, as was her birthday.
In addition to that my mother’s information was also wrong. Why? Simply because they had different last names.
My sister as well has a need to find out more about our heritage. She had her DNA tested with Ancestry, and her results were shockingly different from mine! However, her results also fueled the need to discover other things about herself.
Ok, back to the research. Since I need to do a lot of planning and research, most of it in person. I will have to make some appointments with the Paris archives. But again before I do this I will need to get a bit more information on how to start researching in the archives and planning a trip to Angouleme.
Part of my plan is to also take a trip to where my Grandmother was born to look into the archives there. I am hoping this will lead me to the next leg of my journey, which I am confident will lead me to Britney. (Based on things I remember from conversations my mom and grandmother would have when I was little).
Of course, as with anyone who does research on their family, there is a tiny bit of hope of being related to someone famous. For me, I know it is silly but I have my fingers crossed to be related to King Louis XIV! I know it is probably not going to pan out but one can dream! Perhaps I’ll find out I am related to Napoleon! Or maybe Joan of Arc…who knows!
I know for sure I have some DNA evidence showing that I am related to Charlemagne, but really any European can claim this! The guy got busy with a LOT of women.
Stay tuned for part two of my research!