One of the fascinating things about genealogy is following different lines from the same ancestor to see where they go. It doesn’t matter if it is my line or one of the siblings of my ancestor. It’s interesting to see where they lead to especially if it’s a different locality.
Today, I was doing a little research on my brother-in-law’s Boisvert line. This line has been full of discoveries. The family originated in France and moved to Canada in the 1600s. By a twist of fate, a young man named Philias Boisvert trying to deal with his grief after his young bride died, took a trip to see relatives in Lowell, Massachussetts. It was there he married Elzire Duclos. Elzire had a child in Lowell. They then move back to Asbestos, Quebec, Canada. That is where they raised my brother-in-law’s grandfather. All of this happened in about a 3 year span. By the 1920s, my brother-in-law’s ancestors, Alphonse Boisvert, had migrated back to MA and ended up in NY.
This is one of those old lines easy to trace back to the original settlers in Canada. That is once I realized that the line went from Canada to Massachusetts returned to Canada and then back to Massachusetts in about a 20 year span.
The most curious thing I found out about the Boisvert’s is that Boisvert is not their surname at all! Back in the mid 1600s in Canada one of the earliest ancestors owned property with a lot of Greenwood trees. Boisvert is a nickname for those trees. Originally, the surname was De Nevers (aka Denevers). But, Boisvert stuck and that’s how it remained until today.
I knew about this Canadian line as I researched it myself all the way back to Etienne De Nevers dit Brantigny who was born in the Champagne region of France. Is birthplace is given as “d’Espinay” but it appears that may be the name of the person who originally owned the castle and Etienne lived on. I’m still trying to figure this out. I’m more familiar with Southern France where my own ancestors lived!
So, today as I was fooling around, I came across a descendants chart for Etienne. Only this line stayed exclusively in Canada. My brother-in-law’s line and this person’s line both were grandchildren of Etienne Denevers of Champagne, France: Descendance de Etienne Denevers. These people lived in Quebec, but did not end up in Asbestos.
It’s fascinating to me to see where the migration trails lead. I’ve always been stricken by the fact that many people descendant from the same ancestor 300 or 400 years ago spread out across countries and states. Yet others may be in the same town or cities for that same period of time. What are the motivations for staying or leaving? It’s hard to say considering how many generations one would have to ask.
It gives me the feeling that relatives could be anywhere–not in a “stalking” kind of way though. Today, we could be passing by our cousins at the grocery store or the library and not even know it!
Genealogist and writer. Creator of the Portuguese Hawaiian Genealogy and Heritage website, yourislandroutes.com