Tracing Hernames in Family Histories

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Being interested in genealogy as I am, I have found many a fascinating history while following female ancestoral lines.

For instance, my great-great grandmother, Louisa Marie Racer.

When I started tracing her line, I had no idea her ancestors had changed their surname to Racer, from DeCoursey. Once I discovered this, tracing her family line back took me on a very historical and amazing journey back to medieval days.

Her people were French Huguenots who had found refuge in Holland during the Reformation. They lived there for a few generations before their journey to New Amsterdam in the New World (then called the West Indies).

These Huguenots had become very Dutch while living in Holland for so many years, and one of them, my 11th great-grandfather, Jesse DeForest, was responsible for bringing a colony to what is known as New York now. They named it New Amsterdam. My ancestors lived at Broadstreet and Pearl circa 1634.

The story is quite intriguing, in that Jesse DeForest had previously tried to engage the English to colonize in the New World, but was refused, so he approached the Dutch and they financed the adventure. They came on a ship named Niew Netherland, not long after Henri Hudson sailed into the Hudson Bay on the Halve Moon.

On the DeCoursey line (French Huguenot/Dutch) our ancestor was Peter de Course, aka Pierre Coursen. He was amongst the first settlers in New Amsterdam, also, and his family eventually intermarried into the DeForest line.

There are many tales to be told about my great-great grandmother’s ancestors.

Hername was instrumental in seeding my further interest in family history. Since then, I have stalked many Hernames in my family, and found many an interesting adventure.


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