Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Wednesday, December 31st, New Year's Eve for Bonzo


Since we arrived home from Antartica last week (see, I've been contacted by a couple of cousins looking into English Fearon history.  Completing that today, I decided to take another look at my grandmother (the name I gave her as a child was "Bonzo") Marie Eleanor Gagne's history.

In one of the last times when I grilled her for memories of the past, she mentioned the name Letourneau.  As her side of the family is mostly French, I have been looking for a connection to that name for years.  Her father's family resided for almost three centuries in the Quebec area, having been among the founders.  Her mother's family disappeared beyond her mother in Penobscot, Maine. Finding the right relatives named "King" (Stephen?) in New England is not easy.  Bonzo always believed that the name "King" was the english version of "Le Roi du Plessis", which she believed would be found somewhere back into her mother's father's side of the family.

And then, I took another look at the second page of her mother's marriage certificate.  The one which contained information not included in the cover summary.  It had the last name of Bonzo's mother's mother - Mary Latno. What a strange name?   Searching in detail for Latno's in and around Penobscot, I found that the Letourneau family from Quebec area had found their way to the town, and Mary's father had changed the spelling of the name.  Bonzo's father's father also had a name change from Gagne to Gonyar, reportedly by an official not familiar with French.

A long lineage now exists on my family's tree for Bonzo's mother's french Canadian history, and even longer go on the southwestern coast of France.  Shortly after her father's side of the family came at Cardinal Richelieu request to establish New France in Quebec, her mother's side of the family followed.  The middle of the 1600's were exciting for our French family adventurers, and the next 300 years found them pioneering French Canada.

And thanks, Bonzo, for your belief that you were truly French.  You have every right to claim it, and to have been proud of your ancestors!