Re: The Legend of the Count de Latourrette
The count legend was never part of my family history, in fact I first heard of the fable not from my family but from a woman named Jean Mercreau way back in 1983 when I first started researching my grandmother’s family here in Southern California. It was the first time I had heard of it and I did run with it for about two decades never really questioning it. It was not until I was presented with the facts that I really started to question the legend – I wish someone would have presented the facts to me years ago but no one did. Any genealogist worth his or her salt, either a professional or an amateur like me, must go on ONLY the facts and not legend or fables – no matter how colorful they may be. It is very true that DNA may put an end to the entire matter once and for all (or will it?! I kind of doubt it people wont even look at the facts now……), but as many of us know the DNA test is very expensive having my own DNA tested some years ago. My feeling is that the entire count fable was never part of my family history because we remained on Staten Island even up to today (members of my great uncles/aunts); the fable could not be perpetuated because there are just too many ancient families still residing on the island that would have laughed us off the island if we tried to perpetuate such nonsense. Having researched my father’s family for decades I have come to appreciate how complex family relations are when they reside in a confined space such as Staten Island, everyone on Staten Island were related to each other in numerous ways as all the old families married into each other time and time again. In the old days it was really like a huge family, so much so when the trial of Polly Bodine (for murdering her sister in law and niece in the 1840s) took place the venue had to be moved from Staten Island since most everyone was either related to her, her husband or her victims (she was acquitted and spent the rest of her days on the island- her grave can still be seen today). I am even related to Polly 4 known ways. My point is that there were perhaps too many “witnesses” on Staten Island to allow such a fable to take hold there, it was only fostered by those Latourette far removed from their Staten Island roots. My research indicates that the fable is strongest with the descendants of Jean’s son Henry and may have its roots in that family and it is interesting to note that it is the descendants of Henry who started to migrate west within just a few generations loosing their connections to their roots.
But one fable that my dad told me was that there were three brothers, one went to America (this would be Jean), one went to Canada and the other brother owned a tavern in Paris. This of course is hogwash and rubbish – I often wonder if my dad just made that up or is he heard it somewhere? Do I believe what my dad told me or the facts? I have noticed a pattern, persons who simply just dabble in family history, and do not take serious time to do research, tend to believe the more fanciful stories than actual facts. I think this is just human nature. I rather just stick with the facts than to try to force a square peg into a round hole.