For sure, finding a link to Ellis Island is much more likely from an American genealogist’s blog. But, where did these immigrants come from? Europe, of course. I knew, from family, about a « oncle d’Amérique » from whom my great-grand-parents received an heritage. Not a big one, likely because it was shared between a lot of nephews and other even less related family members. So yes, this American uncle is one of the family mysteries that I have tried to solve. I haven’t succeeded. Yet.
So why Ellis Island ? This place is part of the American common inheritance, not of ours. However, those who went through it were Europeans. By the way, some of them went back to Europe as it’s shown by people who were recorded several times. As soon as I found the Ellis Island online database, I searched for this uncle I’d heard about for years. I’ve tried all the names I know, with various spellings. But so far, no track of him (1).
But as I was searching around, a name popped up: Lesoin. So to say, somebody who was likely to have a link with Marchienne (Nord), my grandmother’s place of birth, as this name was quite common there until at least the beginning of the XXth century. Indeed laure Léontine Lesoin was born on July 22th in Marchiennes. I don’t know if she ever married, I don’t know when she died (would be the oldest people in the world). All I know about her is that she arrived in New York on April 19th 1919 on board the Rochambeau(1).
I searched for her marriage in Marchiennes, thinking that she may have been a war widow. But after all, let’s be a bit romantic et imagine that she met an American soldier was was fighting in France. However, the most logic and probable is just that she crossed the ocean to find a job at a time when, as I can see, many members of the family flew away from Marchiennes to find a job. I’ve found tha one of my granmother’s uncles worked in Buenos Aires (thanks to his military records), but this was in 1908 and he went back.
So, why writing about that? No just for the « E » ! I’m always surprised by what I get from such a post on the internet. It’s often very short, but sometimes more than interesting. Thus, I may think that some forgotten cousin may find it. Who knows the destiny of a message in a bottle?
- I’ve wondered whether the “oncle d’Amérique” was a descendant of Nicolas Joseph Groulez, who fought during the American Revolutionnary War with « Régiment de Metz », although this does not seem very likely
- Rochambeau is much less known than Lafayette. However he was commander-in-chief of teh French expeditionary force sent by king Louis XVI to fight the English army as allies to the American army, in which was Lafayette. His name was given to the French School in Washington DC and also to a ship that was doing the Athlantic crossing from Le Havre to New-York.
Note: most of this is already outdated, I’ve found relatives in New York state! I don’t think they are directly related to the uncle who is kind of a family legend, but definitely we share ancestors.
This post is my English version of "E" comme dans Elis Island