Randy’s newest challenge for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun involves the three degrees of separation concept. I’m supposed to take myself back to the last ancestor who I knew, then take that person back to the last ancestor they knew, and finally one more time.
This proved to be a tricky assignment for me. I knew three of my grandparents. Three of them were immigrants. One was dead before I was born.
My grandpa, Joao Pacheco Smith, was born in San Francisco Bay aboard a ship from Hawaii in 1907. He died before I was born, so that ended that degree of separation.
My Grandma, her mother, and her grandmother were all born in the US. However, her grandmother died young. She did know her grandfather, but not his parents. Her paternal side was a lost cause since all I know is her father’s name.
Not one to give up easily, I went through my notes on the research I did in French civil records last Winter. Finally, I was able to fill in the death date on an ancestor in my Grandpa and Grandpa Lassalle’s lines.
Here are my degrees of ancestor separation for me (paternal side):
I knew my grandpa, Jean Lassalle. He was born in 1888 in Ogeu les bains, France. He died in 1974 when I was 10 years old. We went to their house every Christmas Eve as well as having them over many times throughout the year. I went to the 50th anniversary celebration for my grandparents back in 1972. I remember that all our visits ended with sitting on Grandpa’s lap to say goodbye. He kept plenty of change in his pockets. Sometimes we got a quarter. If we were lucky he gave us 50 cent or dollar pieces.
My Grandpa must have met his grandfather, Jean Lassalle. Jean was born in 1825 in Escou, France. He died in 1898 in Ogeu les bains at the age of 73. Jean was quite well known in the village as he was the Miller. He was sometimes noted in records as a “Master Miller” and was referred to as “Mouli Lassalle”. (Mouli means Miller)
And then it stops. Jean Lassalle’s grandfather, Jean Pierre Bouchet, did stick around when his own son was born. Jean Lassalle’s grandmother, Catherine Lassalle, died young. So my degree of separation ends with an ancestor born in 1825.
Well, this was frustrating! At least it was instructive. It shows me that I need to fill in the death dates on my French ancestors. I also learned that some of grandparents did not know any of their ancestors beyond their grandparents. The rest were back home in the mother land.
Genealogist and writer. Creator of the Portuguese Hawaiian Genealogy and Heritage website, yourislandroutes.com