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Madison “Mat” Bibbins: A legacy of rising above oppression

There is in this world no such force as the force of a person determined to rise. The human soul cannot be permanently chained.-W. E. B. Du Bois Madison “Mat” Bibbins grew up during one of the most turbulent periods in U.S. history. Born in 1853 to Dan and Harriet Bibbins, Mat likely began life on one of the cotton plantations in the Old Natchez District located along the Mississippi River. With more than 340 planters in this district who...

Marguerite Lamain: Our pioneer ancestor on TV

To watch the full episode of “Finding Your Roots” on PBS click here More than a year ago I wrote a story about the Filles du Roi, Our French Canadian Matriarchs. Recently one of the Filles du Roi in the Gregoire/Granpre family tree, Marguerite Lamain, was featured in an episode of “Finding Your Roots” on PBS. During the show, actress, fashionista, and model, Chloë Sevigny, discovered that her French Canadian roots run deep in Quebec. Chloë’s 8th great grandmother, Marguerite...

Jung/Young family roots: Washday wine and food

While researching the life of Philip Conrad Jung I was immediately drawn to the beauty and culture of his home in Hahnheim, in the heart of the Rheinhessen wine region. Then I discovered this traditional recipe for potatoes and pork belly and had to share. The Tuesday Backesgrumbeere According to an old Rheinhessen tradition, every Tuesday while the women did laundry they prepared Backesgrumbeere (or potatoes with pork belly). This slow cook dish, featuring the local wine, was their version of...

Jung/Young Family Roots Part 1: German or French?

Above: Battle of Trafalgar by William Lionel Wyllie A Family Mystery: German or French? In 1948 Samuel (S.A.M.) Young wrote a letter addressed to the postmaster in Saulheim, Germany (a small town about an hour Southwest of Frankfurt) hoping to connect with distant cousins and learn more about his ancestry. One of the ongoing questions within the Young family was whether they descended from a German or French family. Samuel’s German father, Johann Adam Jung (changed to Young when he...

Grandpre Roots Part 2: Coming to America

Joseph Nazaire Grandpre 1820-1902 Joseph Nazaire Duteau de Grandpre was born in St. Cuthbert, D’Autray, Quebec, the oldest son of Joseph Duteau de Grandpre and Marie “Angele” Dacier Trunet. He was baptized in the St. Cuthbert parish (shown left) on December 16, 1820. Joseph’s 3rd great-grandfather was Charles Duteau, who fled France with his mother Jeanne Perrin in 1658. Their story is told in Grandpre Roots Part 1.  Marriage and Family On February 5, 1844 Joseph married Marie “Adeline” Berard...

The Thanksgiving Bird

As I wait for my fresh, pre-brined turkey to be delivered to my door I decided to check on Thanksgiving turkey recipes in the Compendium of Cookery, a cookbook which was passed down from my second great-grandmother, Maren/Mary (Haselhaugen) Ove. Here are preparation instructions from her 1890 cookbook…for those of you who are brave enough to attempt them....

Honoring Our Family Veterans Part 2: Marvin Leo Gregoire

Marvin Gregoire in his Army Air Force uniform. early years Marvin “Marv” Leo Gregoire was born in Marshall, Minnesota to Robert and Lillian (Grandpre) Gregoire, both of French Canadian descent. For more stories about this French Canadian family click here. Growing up on the Gregoire farm taught Marvin hard work and at the age of 17, he left school for the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). This New Deal program established by President Roosevelt offered employment to young men who struggled...

Marin Boucher: A Pioneering Percheron Emigrant

Building New France After French explorer, Samuel de Champlain founded the city of Quebec in 1608, Louis XIII, King of France needed craftsmen and other industrious individuals to build, settle, and grow the region. Robert Giffard, Champlain’s ship surgeon, received one of the original land grants from the King in exchange for recruiting settlers. Giffard sailed back to the Perche region of France, his homeland, and began traveling from town to town creating excitement about the opportunities which awaited travelers...

Hans Bürki: A Story of Persecution and Perserverance

Nijmegen (Nimewegen), Holland in 1641 Hans Bürki: Langnau, Switzerland 1710 “For the remembrance of my descendants and of all my fellow believers, I, Hans Bürki, of Langnau, want to relate what happened to me. I had gone to the mountain called Bluttenried (Community of Langnau), in company with my wife and two sons. There a poor man came to us to whom we gave something to eat; this man subsequently went to Harvag to the authorities and told them that...

Samuel Rider: American Pilgrim

Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor by William Halsall Nineteen years after the Mayflower’s 1620 arrival in America, Samuel Rider, and his family sailed from England to join the Pilgrims in the Plymouth Colony. By the time Samuel arrived in New England, Plymouth’s population was nearing 600 families. Over the next few decades, Rider would become a prominent name throughout the colony, with several of Samuel’s children and grandchildren marrying the descendants of Mayflower passengers. The early years of samuel rider Samuel Rider...