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04 January 2014

Do You Have Double Crossers?

In working on my list of immigrants with dates, I discovered a potential reference to an ancestor on a passenger list that I had never located before a few years after he immigrated. The name combination is very rare and the age is close enough to have been my ancestor. The earlier immigration matched his year of birth and the "family story" of his age at immigration so I never thought to look for him in other passenger lists.

Immigrants did go back home only to immigrate again. It might be worth your while to see if your ancestor was a double-crosser of the pond.

1 comment:

  1. I have a family (2x great-grandparents) which came over in 1851 and went back home to Remilly, Moselle, France, in 1863 with the father's niece (by his brother) and her family. It's one of my more favorite stories as the family had become embroiled in a civil lawsuit just before they left with a neighbor whose wife was from the nearby French town of Aube and the sister-in-law of my 2x great-grandmother (her brother had married the neighbor's sister in France). Seems my 2x great-grandmother had pulled an April Fish (Fool's Day) prank on the neighbor in 1863, spooked his team of horses, and as he claimed caused them to become useless.

    They had two trials. The first was a conducted by a justice of the peace with a jury made up mostly of immigrants - most of whom were French-speakers. That decision was in favor of my ancestors. The neighbor appealed and the case landed in the Court of Common Pleas where a more 'native American' jury heard the case and awarded the neighbor about half of that he had been asking. It didn't stop there as the neighbor swore out a warrant for my ancestor's arrest because he found out they had sold off their property and were leaving for France. My ancestor posted a bond in the amount of the judgement & costs and that ended that episode. While back in Remilly the mother of the family was godmother for one of the niece's children. Yet by 1866 the family was back in Indiana and had bought another farm about 2 miles northeast of their prior farm.

    But even with all those facts one cannot help but wonder what prompted the return to France. I tend to think the April Fish prank had nothing to do with it and instead consider the American Civil War may have been at the root of the move. The niece had first come to America with her brother who was a Catholic priest. He had come to be a parish priest in the Diocese of Vincennes, Indiana. In a letter he wrote to an American bishop (in the archives of Notre Dame), he stated that he was forced out of France. I can only assume that had something to do with some form of expression of loyalty to Napoleon III which he did not make. So it seems to me that French political unrest may have been the cause of the family's first emigration to America, and thus, the unrest caused by the Civil War then may have been the reasoning for returning to France. Why they returned to American may have been due to the weight of many factors, perhaps even the prospects for their three daughters.