Monday, January 2, 2012

Convergence and Confluence

If you follow this blog you know it is dedicated to three individuals, Arthur Mylott, Al Rivet and Dorothy Wills. When expanded, it traces four French Canadian Families: Mylott or Millot dit Champagne, Rivet, and Bissonnette and Beauvais families.  An interesting fact comes to light as the family tree expands backwards to the 17th century, Arthur and Al , Arthur and Dorothy, Al and Dorothy as well as Al and Dorothy and Arthur together,  are all cousins several times over!  In other words, they share ancestors or  "Founder" couples who are relatively recent - in the past 12 generations - from old Québec and Acadia.  Call it "convergence".  It is an interesting fact how individuals who live in close geographical proximity, share the same language, economy, religion and customs are more likely to intermarry and develop complex extended families.  It is just a fact of life in closed social groups and one that is changing as complex communication networks (Facebook, internet) and international travel are the new "norm".  As diversity increases, no one is surprised with wide cultural and genetic mixtures.  I can still remember my surprise meeting a mother from Yemen, dressed in traditional hijab and abaya, who communicated to me in Spanish.  Her husband was Cuban and she couldn't speak English.  At my work it is not at all uncommon for a child to have grandparents from Jamaica, west Africa, Latino America, Italy or Ireland.

French speaking Québec families shared the Catholic religion and an agricultural livelihood. Marriages were made between 2nd and 3rd cousins with dispensations from Catholic bishops. Several brothers often married several sisters. They seldom entered into marital relationships with English, Scotch or Irish after the English took control of Québec after the conquest.  In the US, we call that event the French and Indian War.  The French Québec marriage pool was initially limited to the finite number of French families who lived in villages along the St Laurent River.  Like the honeycombed structure of bone matix, close interrelationships solidified Québec society together.

So let's consider instances where the family of Al Rivet, Arthur Mylott and Dorothy Wills converged.  We will look at a few of the most recent ancestors common to all three families.  To do this let's return to the post of September 18, 2011 about Our Forefathers in the Carignan-Salieres Regiment.  About midway through the story, it states Louis Robert and Nicolas Sylvestre dit Champagne were members of the Carignan-Salieres Regiment and common forefathers to three of the five families the story focused on.
For the sake of clarity, let's take a closer look at Nicolas Sylvestre dit Champagne.  Nicolas was born in Pont sur Seine, Champagne, France and married Marie Barbe Neveu on August 20th, 1667 in Québec.  The line of their daughter Marie Anne Sylvestre, continued to both Arthur Mylott and Al Rivet making them 8th cousins once removed.  Dorothy Wills, through her mother Elizabeth Bissonnette's line, descended from Nicolas Sylvestre, the brother of Marie Anne and youngest child of Nicolas Sylvestre and Marie Barbe Neveu, making Dorothy a 7th cousin once removed of Arthur Mylott and also a 7th cousin twice removed from Al Rivet!  Interestingly, Al Rivet is a cousin to himself - Nicolas Sylvestre and Marie Barbe Neveu are his grandparents via his paternal grandmother and his maternal grandfather!  Louis Riel, the leader of the Métis Rebellion in Manitoba, also could have claimed Sylvestre and Neveu as "grancestors".
Another Quebec couple, Jacques Lussier (1646-1712) and Catherine Clerice (1653-1715) are common great "grancestors" of Arthur Mylott, Al Rivet and Dorothy Wills (and, by extension,  any of their siblings).

According to my genealogical research, Al Rivet and Arthur Mylott have at least THIRTEEN cousin relationships, Arthur Mylott and Dorothy Wills have at least SIX cousin relationships, and Al Rivet and Dorothy Wills have FIFTEEN cousin relationships.  Additionally, there are at least EIGHT cousin relationships or eight common Quebec and Acadian founder couples that are shared by Arthur, Al and Dorothy!!

Any comments? Comments are most welcome and appreciated.

1 comment:

  1. After checking Wikipedia and a few other sites, I was surprised to learn that the negative effects of inbreeding occur relatively infrequently.

    With our ever increasing understanding of how DNA molecules combine, perhaps greater insights into complex relationships like this will be possible.