A few years ago, I found a Casaux/Lacrouts family tree on MyHeritage which I believed was related to me. Unfortunately, the tree was private and I got no response to my PM. I found a snippet of this tree and it intrigued me because it lead from France to Spain.
My French ancestors all lived in villages in Southern France in the Pyrenees Atlantiques department. They are very near the border with Spain, it stands to reason, there’d be migrations both ways.
Finding Marie Marguerite
You know I had to follow this trail! These would be my first known cousins in Spain.
Using French records online for free, I was able to learn enough to know that this person’s ancestor Marie Marguerite Lacrouts Puyau was the same as Marie Marguerite Lacrouts in my tree (my 2nd great aunt).
She was the sister of my 2nd great grandmother, Marie Anne (Lacrouts) Mazeres. They both are depicted in this chart.
An Unexpected Occupation Leads to Border Crosding
The Casaux and Lacrouts men had an interesting occupation. For generations, they were known as expert hongreurs or by the French term chatreur.
What is a hongreur, you ask? It’s an animal castrator. My 3rd great grandfather, Jean Pierre Lacrouts, was one and several of the men on this line followed in his footsteps.
Their services were sought on both sides of the border. It took them from their home in Ogeu-les-Bains, France throughout Southern France and into Northern Spain.
You can see it in some birth and marriage records. The recorder made the effort to note that the father, a chatreur, was away in Spain or another French village, when the event was recorded.
Casaux Casaux Spreads to Spain
That double surname is not a typo. Let me explain. In the 1800s, the surnames collide. Pierre Casaux Lacrouts married Francisca Casaux. Their son was Esteban Casaux Casaux. He married a woman in Spain which was what first caught my eye.
I found this photo of Esteban in my cousin’s tree. Do you think he resembles my grandmother, Anna (Mazeres) Lassalle? She was his second cousin.
It is Pierre and Francisca who left the village of Ogeu-les-Bains, crossed the border, and started their family in La Hiniesta, Zamora, Castille-Leon, Spain. Their son, Estaban Casaux Casaux born in 1900 in that village married Walerica Rodrigues Martin. And thus, the French DNA that we share spread to Spain.
This is the origins of the Lacrouts family tree in Spain. I’m sure they are not the only ones who made this migration. Giving the number of Spanish DNA matches I have, I’d say there were a few relatives who followed suit.
French civil records are online for free.
This article was written for 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Week 2, Origins