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Genealogy : Through History to a real encounter

24 juin 2019

Interest in History, Genealogy and relatives can go a long way. When vacations change into investigations full of surprises

In Criquetot l'Esneval (76), an old temple
transformed into a dwelling house

Until recently our vacations consisted for the most part in exploring places most people visit : castles, museums, monuments, caves, historical and symbol-laden places.  We became especially curious about places which seemed to carry with them a particular energy such as the Desert Museum, le Bouschet de Pranles, Aigues-Mortes or – along the way – some rare churches open to the public.  Our deepest pleasure : going to a service in the cities and villages we crossed, from Provence to Normandie while passing throught the Sarthe, Britanny or the Paris area. Ah, the joy when we met with other protestants !

Understanding our history

Now retired, we associate these biannual protestant vacations with the general leit-motif of our holidays over the past 15 years : genealogy.  The psychologist Anne Ancelin-Schützenberger, pioneer in the area of psychogenealogy, has written :  If one does not understand his history and the times which circumscribe it, one cannot be free to make one's own choices ». This is exactly what motivated our passion for genealogy :  a need to understand, to find one's identity, to recognize oneself. What is the correlation between the two ?  Some of our ancestors during the persecution period were Norman protestants from the Caux area.  We found their names on numerous documents :  certificates of baptism, lists of collective abjuration, qualification of consistorial members or emigrés...Naturally we began to include our genealogical research in our vacation time by scheduling real research sessions, particularly in Normandy.  This enabled us to establish ties with genealogical associations and to attend conventions.  We found distant cousins through the internet, visited homesteads and even castles that belonged to some ancestors, and we discovered an extremely varied rural and cultural heritage.  With these « genealogical journeys » we went backwards in time by sharing the present with our occasional hosts.  A human and spiritual adventure.

Isabelle et Jean-Michel Rolland