This post was written by Elisabeth Zetland, researcher at MyHeritage. It was originally posted on our French blog.
I have long hoped to reconnect with the German family that had such a great impact on my grandfather’s life. I never met my maternal grandfather, Roger Dubuc. He passed away when I was only four months old. I don’t remember when I first heard his story but it quickly became a mystery that intrigued me, and I decided that I had to solve it.
Roger’s story began like that of many other French soldiers, but it suddenly took an abrupt turn. At the age of 20, on June 22, 1940, he was captured in Vannes without ever having fought in the war. When he left French soil, he didn't imagine that it would be five long years before he would return home again. His father Léon had also been a prisoner of war in Germany at the end of WWI, but had returned home after seven months.
Elisabeth is our new community manager for France & French-speaking communities around the world, including Switzerland, Belgium, Canada and elsewhere
At a very young age, Elisabeth became interested in her family history, especially her Italian roots. As a teenager, she constantly questioned her grandmother, eagerly taking notes. Her grandmother, soon to be 98, still loves sharing stories from her past.
In college, it was only natural that Elisabeth chose to study history. At 20, she lived for three months in Venice with her Italian cousins. Unfortunately, on that side of the family she only knows the names of her paternal grandparents’ parents. The archives of their small village – Mansuè, in the province of Treviso - were apparently destroyed in a fire, but she hopes to learn more one day.
Today, July 14th, is Bastille Day, the French National Day.
Known as La Fête Nationale (The National Celebration) or le quatorze juillet (the fourteenth of July), in France, Bastille Day doesn’t commemorate the storming of the Bastille prison, but the Fête de la Fédération, which was first held in 1790 on the first anniversary of the storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789.
It’s a small distinction, but an important one.
While the storming of the Bastille was part of the early machinations of the French Revolution, the Fête de la Fédération one year later was seen as the end of that revolution and the commencement of the Constitutional Monarchy.
DID YOU KNOW?: Did you know that the Fête de la Fédération was held on Paris' Champ de Mars, the present-day site of the Eiffel Tower? (see the painting below to see what it looked like back then)
Politicians, stay-at-home dads, academics and businesswomen - they all know the value of family and the joys of keeping in touch. But what is on their family photos? How often do they call their mother, and what celebrity do they secretly admire? Get ready to find out through the MyHeritage interview series!
Anne Morddel is an American genealogist in Paris and the author of the blog ' The French Genealogy blog'. Her interest in genealogy dates back to the young age of 14, when she caught the 'genealogist bug' and decided to interview her grandmother about every single relative she could recall in order to understand her roots.
Since then she's come a long way, not only becoming a professional genealogist, but a librarian, researcher and even children author. She's a globetrotter too, having lived around the world until she found herself in France more permanently together with her French partner and children. In search for her childrens French ancestors, she began to learn about genealogy in France until she felt ready to share her insights in the blogosphere. Started in 2009, her hugely successful blog aims to