Monday, 16 January 2012

The wonders of the Internet

Some might have noticed that I have alluded to my having some French ancestry.
My great grandfather Funning was a Prussian sailor, who settled in Le Havre, married a local girl and had four children there before very sensibly moving to South Wales.

Some years ago Genevieve, my wife's penfriend of  nearly 50 years, was working for a while in Rouen. Whilst there she undertook some family research for me. It proved relatively easy for her to track back to my  gggg grandfather, Michel Rabby. He was born in in 1771, and as that was around the time of the French Revolution I thought that would be as far back as it was possible to go but I was more than pleased with that.

However last week I was casually surfing the net when I looked at a genealogy site called GeneaNet and found that there was a match to Michel Rabby  on a family tree posted a lady, Monique, who originally lived in in Normandy but now lives near Nimes. I am descended from Michel Rabby's daughter Lucille and she from Lucille's brother (who I had no knowledge of) Louis Xavier Rabby. Her research goes back two further generations to Nicolas Rabby born in 1656. Amazing!

I sent an email to Monique to make contact, and received a reply saying that she was delighted to have an English (? !!) correspondent and offering to help further with my researches. In a second email to me, she enclosed a list of further siblings and we have agreed that she will write in French and I in English. We both concurred that whilst we could both read English /French writing in that language was harder and takes much longer.

A third email arrived with details of 7th generations back from my great-grandmother showing marriages back to 1682. All this within a week or so plus an invitation to stay with Monique and her husband in a village outside Nimes.

In the UK if you have a British grandparent you are entitled to a British passport. With a French grandfather would I be entitled to a French passport? The answer is no, to be entitled to one, if you were not born there you need to have a French parent. Good to see the harmonisation of laws across Europe !

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