Sunday, May 15, 2011

The French Connection

This Family Sunday column, I'll be exposing a branch of my family tree with roots leading back to France. In Maine, there is quite a bit of bigotry against the French, so it's not something everyone would admit, but I really don't care. I've known plenty of good people with French ancestry, and considering our new governor is LePage, I don't think the old hatreds mean much anymore.

My "Frenchness" comes from Jacques Pineaux, born circa 1667 in Lyons, France. He was a Huguenot who fled from his homeland at the age of 17, rather than face persecution and death at the hands of an intolerant Catholic establishment (The Edict of Nantes was revoked in 1685, thus depriving Huguenots of civil and religious liberties). I have not been able to discover who his parents were, though it's probable they were also Protestants, and possibly killed for their beliefs.

Jacques Pineaux became a naturalized English subject in 1688, and soon changed his name to James Pineo. He immigrated to Plymouth, Massachusetts, and settled in Bristol, Rhode Island shortly thereafter, where he worked as a weaver. He married Dorothy Babcock on May 9, 1706, and they had many children, one being my 7x great-grandmother, Submit Pineo, who married Silas Newcomb. The line continues down through Guiles, Tuckers, Gambles, and eventually Counts, before finally hitting Ingham.

The name Pineo (sometimes spelled Pinneo) is principally found in New England and the Maritime Canadian provinces, for this is where most of James and Dorothy's descendants settled. I have a million cousins, however distant.

So, there you have it, my French connection. It is possible I have more French ancestors, but this is as much as I've uncovered thus far. Most of my ancestry seems to be English, Irish, Scottish, and German, with just a touch of Welsh and Dutch for seasoning.

Due to my current workload, and the various other writing projects I have undertaken, I may have to scale back on certain blog features, my Family Sunday posts in particular. These actually take a lot of effort to write, and I have to focus my energy on more pressing matters, including several books and shorts I have to complete. So, if I miss a week or two of family history, you will understand.

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