The Longest Branch of My Family Tree

Today’s Bloganuary prompt is:

How far back in your family tree can you go?

I spent a long time using to fill in my family tree several years ago. It was fun but exhausting, and eventually, I had to just stop. So when I saw this prompt today, I was a little jazzed about digging back into my tree to remind myself of the long branches I’d followed back then.

Unfortunately, my past research doesn’t match up with what the tree currently shows. I’ve apparently lost some branches over time. I’m not sure how that happened. 

The longest branch I can find now is my dad’s lineage, the Fontenot tree. (My maiden name is Fontenot). Here are some images to help you visualize.

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As you can see, this is traced back to 1728 when my 6th-great-grandfather was born (and my 6th-great-grandmother was born a year earlier in 1727). Actually, there’s one in the middle of the branch there that is older, with birth listed as 1686. That’s the problem with trees. Bad data in, bad data out. I’m sure someone, somewhere got something mixed up – perhaps me – but I’m not dedicated enough to worry about it. The tree’s data may not be perfect, but it’s close enough to give me an idea of what my ancestral history looks like. 

Regardless of the exact oldest date listed here, I’d originally traced the line back to the 1400’s, so this is a bit disappointing.

In any case, this is what I currently have, and I suppose I can probably retrace the lineage I lost if I ever have the energy and desire to do that.

I also lost some branches for my grandfather on my mother’s side. The maternal branches of both sides vary in length. All of these branches have tempting hints, encouraging me to continue my journey. Maybe one day, I will. 

Where in the world…

Here’s what Wikipedia lists as information on the geographic region that Jean Louis Fontenot came from.

Saint-Germain-des-Bois (French pronunciation: ​[sɛ̃ ʒɛʁmɛ̃ de bwa]) is a commune in the Cher department in the Centre-Val de Loire region of France.

It is a farming area comprising the village and a couple of hamlets situated about 13 miles (21 km) south of Bourges at the junction of the D28 and the D132 roads. The A71 autoroute passes through the northwestern part of the commune.

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This is the church of St. Germain, dating from the twelfth century, and according to Wikipedia, the area also shows traces of a Roman road. Pretty cool.

There is also a link on the Wikipedia page that leads to this site. I’m not completely sure that this is the same exact place, but if so, here is what it currently looks like.

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A little history about the name, Fontenot

First, if you’d like to know how to pronounce it, it’s sounds like FONT-KNOW, with the emphasis on the first syllable, FONT.

Fontenot is one of a few variations of the name Fontaine, which is usually a topographical name given to someone who lived near a spring or well, i.e., a “fountain”. It may also refer to one of a few regional areas of France that include the word “Fontenay” in the region’s name. Our particular Fontenot family is from a line of Cajuns that migrated from France to Nova Scotia and then to Louisiana, as most Cajuns did.

And finally, here are a few photos of my parents, because they were more than just names and dates to me. They were amazingly wonderful people.

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This post is part of the WordPress Bloganuary Challenge for 2023, where everyone participating is provided a writing prompt each day. Today’s prompt was to write about how far back in my family tree I can go.

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