In 1765 Julien Rossignol Sr. a navigator on a ship that sailed from northern Brittany France landed in St. Denis, Kamouraska Quebec along the southern shore of the St. Lawrence seaway.
On labor day weekend this fall my father and his sister Virginnia and her husband Don and I visited the same exact farmstead where Julien Sr. arrived and where today Michel and Isabelle Rossignol have a dairy farm. It seemed a bit surreal and inconceivable to be standing on the same plot of land where my 9th generation ancestors lived, toiled and began their lives here in North America.
Why is it important or interesting to know about your roots anyway? My dad has recently been very excited about learning more about his genealogy and his recent discovery of his 8th generation Rossignol cousins. He also found out that his maternal family (Michaud) tree is firmly planted in this same region as well, in the small village of St. Andre just 10 km east of St. Denis. Maybe knowing where you’re from might in someway help determine where you are going and how to get there.
Many times I’ve driven through the Kamouraska region while on my way to Quebec city or Montreal. Usually I would always drive on the busy route 20 highway avoiding the “less traveled” road where the quaint villages and farms of this picturesque area dot the southern shore of the St. Lawrence. In these villages of my ancestors I discovered old churches, beautiful farms, Boulangerie Neimand, le Poisonnerie Lauzier and Le Brasserie “Tete d’Allumette, the only wood fired microbrewery in north America. These places are quite simply UNREAL.
Even more amazing was the hospitality and genuine warmth and friendliness displayed by our new found cousins, Michel and Isabella Rossignol. It is difficult to put into words or explain the kinship and overwhelming emotion of belonging or connectedness that we all experienced that evening as we “simply” sat around this hardworking family’s kitchen table discussing our common ancestry.
The conversation was delightful, questions asked and answered, some not. Why did Julien Sr. leave Sougéal France? Why did Octave Rossignol relocate from St. Denis to Frenchville Maine? The most likley reason(s) maybe quite obvious. . . a better life, land or other work opportunities. Perhaps they sought out other relatives or future spouses, new loves. What courage and fortitude it must have taken to leave everything behind across a wide wild open atlantic ocean in front of them with just a dream in their pocket. Surely the inherent ability to work hard and persevere allowed them to succeed. These are some important cultural traits of MY ancestors, I’m sure of it!
Thank you Michel and Isabelle for not only welcoming us into your house but to our beautiful ANCESTRAL HOME.