Thursday, June 02, 2016

400 years

"Let's stop in La Rochelle," my husband said. We were about to leave Caen, Normandy and were headed for Argelès-sur-mer for the summer.

I agreed. 

I'd wanted to see the place where sometime in the early 1600s my ancestor Michel BOUDROT/(later changed to BOUDREAU) had left for Nova Scotia although it was known as New France in that period.

I did not expect it to look the same, but he did leave from the Vieux Port where these photos were taken. He must have left in a ship that looked much like the one above and the castle like structures in the background were probably there.
I was told that I could find more information in the library or the Maritime Museum that my husband had already sussed out. Our time, however, was limited.

I doubt that he had any idea that centuries later part of his DNA would be strolling around the same area. Of course, he wouldn't have known about DNA.

What his life would have been prior to making the decision to spend three months on the dangerous seas, I have no idea. The Maritime Musée had a drawing of people working with fish, certainly a logical profession for any village on the sea.

What was his educational level?

Did he know about the history of the region? 

Did he know that the Romans had occupied the area and in the 12th century it had become a major port?

With major conversions to Calvin's Protestantism, the city became known as the Geneva of the West.

Was my ancestor a convert or did he stay Catholic? 

Under Henri IV the Calvinists flourished but religious battles raged in the early 1600s when Michel BOUDROT would have been growing up.

Did he see people dressed as in the photo and costume displayed in the museum or maybe would he have worn this type of clothing himself?

A search on the internet brought forth this information. A Michel (1) BODROT/BOUDREAU was born about 1600 in Cougnes, Diocese de Larochelle, France. He died between sometime between 1688 and 1693 in Port Royal, Nova Scotia.

Is this my ancestor, who became a Lieutenant General in the new world?

This Michel BOUDROT/BOUDREAU was married to Michelle AUCOIN in about 1641 in Cougnes which meant that he would still have been in France during the siege of the city by Cardinal Richelieu. 

If he were Protestant would he have been expelled with 300 other Protestants in 1661? That doesn't seem likely since so many Boudreaus were Catholic down to my father's generation.

And was there another Michel and this wasn't my ancestor at all.

At one time our complete family history was on-line from Michel up to my father's two marriages and my brother and myself. I printed it out but lost the papers in a move. All my cousins were listed and with the correct parentage.

Someday I would like to go back, look at the church records in Cougnes, explore the library.  

Too much time has passed for a diary or papers to be found that would reveal what my ancestor did, how he lived and how he felt.

Instead I may have to be content to trod in the same place he once did.

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