Friday, June 28, 2013

Getting To Know Me

I have always been interested in my ancestry.....where did my ancestors come from?

So, about 10 years ago I set out to find out who they were.

I gathered as much information from family members as possible 
and put that into a good software program that would sort it all
into 'branches'.

I spent one summer going to local graveyards looking for
deceased family to get proper dates of birth/death.

I went on line and looked into local archives and records of deaths
of people with familiar surnames as mine.

During this process I came across 'bulletin boards' online
where people are also looking for family heritage and ancestry.

This proved to be invaluable to me as I contacted a few people 
who were directly related to my family through my great great grandfather
on my father's side, and one that was my maternal grandfather's first cousin.

This latter one lives in New York state and had volumes of information
he sent to me about my mother's father's branch of my family tree.

In the information, I found that my mother's surname, MacIsaac,
was originally Isaac a few hundred years earlier.
It was said that three brothers arrived in what is now Ireland
from the Middle East and spoke Hebrew. Their name was Isaac.

They married into that culture of the time and eventually (in a few generations)
were given the 'Mac' to add to their name Isaac
to become MacIsaac.

This designation was given to them by the MacDonald clan in Scotland
for the help they gave them in fighting the Campbells.
To this day MacIsaac's do not have their own tartan....they use the MacDonald one.

The former 'bulletin board' contact was a woman in Florida
who is a direct descendant of my great great grandfather's sister,
her name was Catherine. His was Theodore Cuvelier.

She had been looking for his grave site and I have been ever since.
He lived most of his life in Halifax and died here.
But his grave cannot be found.....yet.

I know where his wife, Sophia (yes, Sophie's namesake!), is buried
but he is not recorded as being there with her.
So the search continues for Theodore.

He was a character from what information I have gathered:

Left Paris, France in 1850 on a ship heading for New York City.
He worked his way across as a purser. 
He was 25 years old when he arrived in NYC.

From there he joined the U.S. Army and was immediately
sent to fight in the U.S./Mexican War for a year.

Then he deserted the army and headed for Canada.

A year later or so he arrived in Nova Scotia,
met and married a woman of German descent named 
Sophia Knickle.

They had about 14 children and raised them in Halifax.
He was a shoe-maker as were a couple of his sons.
About half of his children moved to the 'States'
and settled there. I have been in touch with one
'Cuvelier' family in Indiana.

So as you can see from my experience digging into
family history, you never know what you will find.

I found out that I have multiple ties and links to a number
of cultures and backgrounds,
French and Scottish being the prime ones.
I also learned of a link to French Acadians
and a Mi'kmaq (native to Atlantic Canada) link as well,
on my maternal grandmother's side.

I was and am fascinated by my discoveries and am still searching for
the 'guy' who deserted the army.
I'd love to sit down with him to 'pick his brain'.

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