Antoine Hyacinthe Deshetres was born October 15, 1737 in what is now Niles, Michigan. At the time of his birth, it was a French settlement called Fort de la Riviere St-Joseph (des Miamis). His mother was named Marie Charlotte Chevalier, a second-generation Canadian born woman. His father was Antoine Deshetres, who’s roots are somewhat cloudy. It is known that he was born in what was considered New England. He was by some accounts either a master gunsmith or a plain old blacksmith by profession. Unfortunately, his parentage and origin of his surname has been lost by time. Antoine Hyacinthe went with his parents to the settlement of Detroit, though they lived on the side of the St. Clair River that is now Windsor, Ontario. He married Marie Anne Pilet, (great granddaughter of Marie Olivier Sylvestre) on February 6, 1764 at Ste-Anne’s parish and these two had 6 known children. Marie Anne died, and he went on to marry a woman named Marie Petit, though this couple seems to not have produced any children. Despite only 3 of his children surviving to adulthood, Antoine Hyacinthe left a good amount of descendants behind. His daughter Genevieve (my ancestor) married Joseph Mailloux and produced 13 descendants. His son Louis de Gonzague married twice and had twenty children. Son Antoine moved to the settlement of Florissant, in modern St. Louis County, Missouri. Antoine served in the Missouri Militia in the war of 1812, and even though he only had one known son, left a line of descendants there under the anglicized name Dehater. Antoine Hyacinthe was buried January 4, 1796 at Detroit.
Well, I might have hit a dead end in my Civil Registration records for the De Grandis side for now, after a little growth spurt in my tree. But the good news is that progress is being made, albeit not by me, on the Morianti side of things.
A male descendant of Arnaldo Morianti is having both his autosomal and Y DNA tested. Great news! Not only is he one generation closer to Arnaldo than my father is (meaning he inherited more DNA straight from Arnaldo, containing more potential information from that line) but he is also testing his Y chromosome, meaning that the search for the true paternity of Arnaldo, a foundling orphan, could be very easily uncovered – if luck is on our side.
Either way, since I now have the De Grandis side fairly well mapped, any shared matches between my father and his Morianti relative (and me, potentially! Though I am a few generations removed) that are not obviously from that side, could be excellent hints at the true parentage of Arnaldo.
This could be the second paternity mystery that is over a hundred years old that DNA might be able to solve for me this past year – previously, a close cousin match on my mother’s Latvian side strongly pointed to a local baron being the father of an illegitimate girl born to an unwed mother in rural Latvia, 1893.
Fingers crossed for some good matches!
I must be on a good luck streak right now. I’ve been indexing the civil registration records available at FamilySearch.org pertaining to my family’s surnames and it’s been very fruitful. Here’s the latest, my 4x great grandmother Giacoma Tognon’s death record, just months before her husband Giuseppe:
In the year 1900, on the fourth day of May. Giacoma Tognon, 76 years old, of the frazione of Campigo. daughter of Giacomo and Caterina Peron. Married to Giuseppe Ambrosi.
On a roll now, I found my 4x great grandfather Giuseppe Ambrosi’s death record, and in turn, my 5x great grandparent’s names.
In the year 1900, the 18th day of September. Ambrosi, Giuseppe, aged 78 years of Campigo frazione, Castelfranco Veneto. Son of Ambrosi, Bortolo and Cecchetto, Margherita. Widow of Tognon, Giacoma.
Giuseppe was 78 in 1900, so it could be assumed he was born around 1821/1822. His parents, Bortolo Ambrosi and Margherita Cecchetto would have been born around 1795.
I’ve found the civil death registration of my 3 great grandfather Giacomo DeGrandis AND IT LISTS HIS PARENT’S NAMES! Yahoo! One generation further into my Italian family tree! I was scanning my father’s list of DNA matches, disappointed at the lack of Italian matches when I finally spied one. After contacting him, we learned that our Italian families both hail from the Treviso province, just a little down the road from each other. That was amazing enough, since it lent weight to all my Italian research so far – surely I must have the right families (and my father’s true biological family, for that matter – him being adopted, you just never know!) if we are getting scientific, DNA matches with deep ancestry in the same area as my researched ancestors. Inspired by his genealogical success (previously, I believed a tree like his was impossible to build, due to a lack of records from the area!) I took a gander again at FamilySearch‘s database for Castelfranco Veneto and realized Giacomo’s death record as available in 1920.
I’m not going to pretend I can translate the whole thing in detail! Luckily Italian is close enough to French to be familiar, but these entries are very long-winded and official. I am just a beginner to these records! But I highlighted the important parts, that I took away from this:
In the year nineteen hundred and twenty, the month of February, thirteenth day. Giacomo, son of Bortolo DeGrandis and Celeste Luccato. Husband of Santa Ambrosi.
Click HERE for last week’s ancestor.
My next two ancestors share a common theme: they helped settle and develop a major city in the USA – Detroit. They were among the very first settlers to the area.
Jacques Campeau was born in May 1677 at Montreal, son of French immigrant and mason Etienne Campeau, Campau or Campo and Catherine Paulo or Polo. He was baptized at the church of Notre Dame de Montreal on May 31, 1677. He married Jeanne Cecile Catin on November 30, 1699 at Montreal, and shortly after in 1703-1704 with the Compagnie de la Colonie he travelled to the area that would become known as Detroit and Fort Pontchartrain.
In 1708 he brought the rest of his family to Detroit on the invitation of Antoine de le Mothe Cadillac, the commandant of Fort Pontchartrain who was looking to settle a colony there. His older brother Michel, who is also my ancestor had also brought his family in 1707. Jacques was a blacksmith and in addition participated in trading, mostly of furs. He and Cecile had 8 children in total.
In 1734 he was granted a piece of land 4 by 40 arpents just east of Fort Pontchartrain and he started a merchant store, buying and selling goods such as furs, corn, wheat, etc. He became ill in 1750 and passed away 8 May 1751. He is buried in Detroit’s Mount Elliott Cemetery.
An interesting point on Jacques, is like many other Detroit area residents of French background, he also began to be known by a more anglicized version of his name – James – as did his wife “Cecilia”.
Click HERE for last week’s ancestor.
Louis Bessette was born September 6, 1876 in Essex County, Ontario. He was the third of 13 children born to Joseph Bessette and Marie Ozilda Lavallee. Joseph and Ozilda were from Montreal, and their first two children were born in Fall River, Massachusetts (1873) and Detroit, Michigan (1875) respectively. They settled in Essex County just before Louis’ birth and that’s where they stayed. Joseph was a carpenter, and the family lived in the town of Sandwich, which would become central Windsor later on.
Louis was baptized with the name Joseph Louis Telesphore Bessette. He married Clemence Josephine Elisabeth – or Elise/Eliza Gagnon on November 16, 1897 at St. Joseph’s parish in River Canard. The couple first lived in Sandwich town, where Louis briefly worked as a labourer in a coal pit. But by the 1911 census they had moved to Lot #17, 1st Concession in Sandwich – Louis became a farmer. Interestingly because at this time many people were choosing to move to cities and industrialized. Coincidentally, being one of thirteen children, Louis himself had thirteen children. Their address was also noted as 938 Martin Lane in River Canard, but it appears that during the Great Depression, Louis fell on hard times and was forced to sell his farm, but remained in the River Canard area, living on 2nd Concession.
Louis died February 4, 1966 at River Canard, having been a lifelong resident of the area.