The first of my ancestors to arrive in the New World was Louis Hebert. He’s regarded by many historians as the first European farmer and apothecary in New France. He traveled with Samuel de Champlain to Nova Scotia in 1606 and settled his family in Quebec in 1617, three years before the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth on the Mayflower.
Antoine Roy dit Desjardins was the first of my direct paternal line to come to New France, in 1665, as a member of the Carignan-Salières. After immigrating from Joigny, France to Canada, he married Marie Major Roy, a Filles du Roi, three years later. Antoine had an affair with his neighbor’s wife and was murdered by her husband as a result. My direct paternal lineage traces back to Jean Roy (Antoine’s grandfather) born c. 1575 in France. My FamilyTreeDNA Y-DNA results show a connection to others who also descend from Antoine’s father, Olivier Roy.
My mtDNA side (mother’s mother’s mother, etc) traces back to Mary Weyman/Weimer of Lancaster, Pennsylvania in the 1800s. No record of her parentage exists, but I share DNA with many descendants of Michael Weimer, who immigrated from Alsace, France to Lancaster County, PA and was murdered in 1831. Mary married Johannes Bussinger a Swiss immigrant.
Joris Rapelje and his wife Catalyntje Trico Rapelje immigrated in 1624 as part of the Dutch settlement, first at Albany, then at New Amsterdam. They were quite successful, owning land in Manhattan and over 300 acres in what’s called Brooklyn today. It’s estimated that they are responsible about a million descendants today.
There are many French Canadian Catholics in my tree and they are some of my best-documented ancestors I have. Four years of high school French were invaluable to me in researching their parish church baptism, marriage & death records that survive to this day. Pierre Boucher was a soldier, officer, naturalist, author & governor and Boucherville, Quebec is named for him.
My tree contains many military members. William McDougald, served in the 104th Regiment of Foot in New Brunswick and took part in a march from Fredericton, New Brunswick to Quebec City in -25° temperatures in mid-winter. Charles Walton, my 5th great grandfather, was a member of the Royal West India Rangers.
Four of my great-grandfathers served in the American Civil War for the Union. Francis Wells, fought at Gettysburg in the 99th PA Infantry. He was shot at Boynton Plank Road, resulting in the loss of his leg. J. Gottlieb Nagele of Wurttemburg, Germany, immigrated to Philadelphia in 1853 and served in the 75th Pennsylvania Volunteers. William Bubar served in the 1st Maine Volunteer Infantry.
Another interesting character, George B. Brown, was orphaned very young in Ireland and joined the British Army and was decorated for bravery in India. He came to Canada where he deserted and eluded capture by hiding his uniform in some bushes and sneaking across the border to the United States. He later fought in the Civil War for the 30th Maine Infantry years later as a substitute.
Many of my ancestors were small business owners. My grandparents owned a restaurant in Limestone, Maine. Richard Coffey operated a roofing business in Philadelphia in the 1800s. John Nagle owned a coal delivery company and worked a night job to get through the Great Depression. Jerry St Onge owned National Granite in Montpelier, Vermont.
Haze McDougal Sr ran a small firearms dealership from his home. Harriet Nagle Coffey made and sold Barbie clothing at a shop in the hotel where my great-grandfather John Coffey worked, in West Palm Beach. A generation beyond my great-grandparents, most of my ancestors were self-sufficient potato farmers.
I have many ancestors from these places
- Philadelphia, Bucks & Lancaster, PA
- Cheshire & Hillsborough, NH
- Barre, Montpelier & Bloomfield, VT
- New Brunswick, Canada
- Stuttgart, Württemberg, Germany
- County Galway, Cork & Tyrone, Ireland
- New Brunswick & Salem, New Jersey
- Joigny, Paris & Normandy, France
- Baselland, Switzerland
- Goderich & Gravenhurst, Ontario, Canada
- Nova Scotia, Canada
- Nottinghamshire & Surrey, England
- Licking County, Ohio