August 18, 2017 (Friday)

by Yule Heibel on August 17, 2018

While A. was still here, I opened an account on Ancestry, and we played around with it for some time.

I can trace some lines back to the later 16th century – my Belgian (and French, it turns out) ancestors were obsessive about keeping records, much more so than the Germans, whose records are sketchy to put it kindly (a fact that frankly makes me suspicious – but of what, exactly, I’m not sure; kuddelmuddel, likely as not).

Last night, fooling around with it some more, one of Ancestry‘s entirely credible “hints” suggested that, on the aforementioned Belgian ( / French) side one of my ancestors, a woman named Jeanne Hubert is the same Jeanne Hubert who in 1721, at the age of 18, was part of the cohort of young women sent to New Orleans on the Baleine, the ship filled with eighty-eight “Biloxi brides,” plus one nun.

It seems that Jeanne Hubert returned to Europe, as there is no subsequent record of her having stayed in Louisiana – which makes sense, otherwise she couldn’t be my ancestor.

Since these girls, basically all orphans or otherwise unwanted in France, had volunteered (and it seems Jeanne stepped in at the last minute, subbing for a young woman who didn’t go on the Baleine, but left on a later ship), “the future brides may not have been chained at the waist like other groups of women deported to Louisiana.” Small mercies.

It would make sense, given the rotten conditions in France for an orphan housed at La Salpetriere, that she wouldn’t return to France, either, perhaps instead reaching Calais and then squirreling herself away in Belgium to start over. There’s no ancestry history on Ancestry for Jeanne Hubert, except that she was from Paris; she was an orphan, after all, and likely illegitimate, and her parentage is lost.

Jeanne Hubert is my direct great-grandmother (and I mean “great-grandmother” multiple times over) according to the records I have, and from the data Ancestry has regarding her birth, location, etc., she might well be the same Jeanne Hubert who was on that ship. She must have been a tough cookie – but she didn’t like Louisiana enough to stay there. Probably hated the hot and humid weather (something I inherited…).

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