Thursday, March 19, 2015

Started the Ball Rolling

Well I went and did it.
I sent an inquiry about joining one of those "Genealogical Societies".

You know what I mean.......
The DAR-Daughters of the American Revolution
The SAR-Sons of the American Revolution
The UDOTC-United Daughters of the Confederacy
The SCV-Sons of Confederate Veterans
The JS-Jamestowne Society
The PS-Pilgrim Society(both UK and USA)
The SDWAVF-Society of Descendants of Washington's Army at Valley Forge cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

The list goes on and on.

I am not a big fan of these organizations or any big organization.  It's full a people who seem full of themselves, right?

They go to meetings, hold offices, throw parties and/or conferences and try to out snob each other as to their ancestry.
And they charge BIG $$$ to join and be members and I suppose(though I don't know for sure)they solicit you to donate $$$ to them and their causes.

And just to document your line to join said societies can cost you a lot of $$$$$ gathering legal/genealogical documents which said societies will deem acceptable.

And an aside, these types of genealogical groups started out as a way to separate the people who were here before the American Revolution from the large wave of later immigrants to American in the mid to late 1800's.
Yes, "we" are more American than you because our forebearers were before yours so "neener, neener, neener"! ;-)

But anyway, I went and started the process to join one such society......

Not the National Huguenot Society but the HUGUENOT SOCIETY  FMVC.
This is a much MORE "exclusive" club society. 8-)

The HS-FMVC is the "Huguenot Society of the Founding Members of the Virginia Colony".

Background--Way back in 1400's France there was a small faction of French who were members of the Protestant Reformed Church of France and followers of John Calvin's teachings, rather than the Catholic Church.

Long story short, the crowned heads of France persecuted those Protestant French(called Huguenots)and either killed them or drove them from France into other European countries like Holland, Belgium, Germany and England which granted them refuge.

With the opening up of exploration to the New World with the founding of Jamestowne in 1607,  many of these Huguenots hoped they would be free to practice their faith peacefully across the sea in this new land.

In the 1630's a few intrepid Huguenot souls made the journey to the Virginia Colony on their own in small groups.  Two of my ancestors, my 11th Great Grandparents, Gyles Taverner, a Huguenot, and his wife, Elizabeth Payne, made the trip around 1635 and they eventually settled in York Co., Virginia where their three sons were born.  Gyles is said to have gone to England and returned at least once with Nicholas Martiau(who claimed Gyles as one of his headrights on that trip).  Nicholas Martiau had come to Jamestowne in 1620 for the first time and was to become the 3x great grandfather of George Washington(Nicholas Martiau, Elizabeth Martiau, Mildred Reade, Mildred Warner, Augustine Washington, George Washington).

Then there is another Huguenot ancestor, John VASSAR(9x GG), who came on his own to the Virginia Colony in July 1635 on a barque "The Alice" with his wife, Elizabeth Dowe/Dewe and their infant daughter, Ann, and an indentured servant, William Baker.

Anyway, Gyles and John, though my earliest Huguenot ancestors to settle in the New World, weren't founders of Manakintown, the first Huguenot settlement in the Virginia Colony.

That honor would fall to Abraham SOBLETor SUBLETT(8 x GG)and his wife, Suzanne BRIANT and their son,  Pierre Louis SOBLET/Peter Lewis SUBLETT(7 x GG).

In 1700 5 ships were contracted to transport between 700-800 French Huguenot refugees from their embarking point at Gravesend, London, England to the new Virginia Colony.

In April of 1700 the first of these ships, "The Mary & Ann" with over 200 French and Swiss passengers headed for Virginia, among them Abraham SOBLET and 2 of his older children. 

The Governor of VA and the wealthy planters already there by then were eager for new settlers.  Dr. Daniel Coxe, a favorite at the court of King William III(of William & Mary fame), held massive tracts of land in the new Colony, and the Crown agreed that these immigrants could settle on his Norfolk County lands(encompassing present day Norfolk/Virginia Beach Counties of VA).  The English Crown, having religious/political upheavals of it's own in England, was anxious to help these Huguenots leave England and monies were raised for the transport and supplies.

Upon landing at the mouth of the James River the ship was met by Virginia Colony Lt. Gov. Francis Nicholson.  Other wealthy planters in the Colony had other plans for these Huguenots.  They redirected that the immigrants should settle on William Byrd's vacant lands instead.  This 25 mile tract was the site of an abandoned Monacan Indian village and was a sort of no man's land that stood between the confederated Algonquin native tribes in the area and the English settlement at Jamestowne.  These wealthy planters wanted somebody between them and the Indians to bear the brunt of an attacks and raids by said natives.

In Oct 1700, the second of five ships arrived in Virginia, "The Peter & Anthony".  On board were Abraham's wife, Suzanne BRIANT SOBLET, and their three remaining children.

So even though the land around the abandoned Monacan village was fertile it was cut off from Jamestowne and any services they needed.  Plus many of these Huguenot immigrants were tradesmen and not farmers.  Between a hard winter in inadequate housing, having to learn to work the land and a lack of supplies and sickness(malaria in the Summer and other deadly diseases in the Winter) these hardy souls set to building a town, named Manakintown, built and founded a church(King William Parish) and a community.

After many hardships over the first few years in Manakintown, most of these settlers moved out into adjacent lands and new towns sprung up around the area.
Manakintown, though no longer a town, is located in what is present day Powhatan County, Virginia.

My Sublett ancestors on two different family lines moved, over successive generations, west and slightly south of the Manakintown area until my mother's parents moved back East from Charlotte/Campbell Counties area, to South Norfolk, VA in the late 1930's.

So to bring this to an end(thanks for reading it all!), I've started the process to join the Huguenot Society FMVC and we'll see how/where this goes.




  1. Who cares whether these organizations were originally started for reasons you might consider questionable today or why some people join them today. As long as it suits your interests (and you definitely have interest in the subject of genealogy), then just join up! Join all of them if you want, and get from them what you like.

  2. Since my being of Huguenot descent will benefit me, I want to join. Maybe there would be benefit for my grandchildren if my son joined since there is free or reduced tuition for the children of the members of some Huguenot Society. My son has eight more years until he has a child in college, so I will see how it goes for you. Thanks for the trailblazing. By the way, slugmama informed me of tuition advantage.

  3. I'm going to second the first comment here! Go Sluggy go!
    The club... I mean society will be happy to have you, you Huguenot descendant.

  4. Here I am again with my two-pennyworth on a genealogy post. I belong to two societies and find them very, very helpful and at a modest price. I am probably biased as I am the PR officer for one - The Anglo-German Family History Society - and we do have members from all over the word.

    I also belong to La Societe Guernesiaise - The Guernsey Channel Islands Society again with an international membership.

    With regards to the Huguenots my DH's ancestors came to the East of England from possibly Holland in the 1600s and have Huguenot names one of which is Margetts. This time last year we were in South Africa where we visited the Huguenot Museum of the Cape and spookily I have the booklet - Huguenots who came to the Cape - open on my desk as I am listing those who left areas that were at the time in Germany and went to South Africa for the journal of said Anglo-German FHS.

  5. My mom was a DAR so I could be too but since I have her certificate I don't really feel the need to get one for myself. And for the exact reasons you stated (snobbery) I haven't joined or attended any of their events. I felt the fees were a bit too much, then there's the travel etc so it's a no go for me (for now anyways).

  6. Hope you get into the Huguenot Society. I have the DAR certificate also, but lack the desire to join. Instead I want to start a secret society that stands for nothing and has basically no rules. But I still want it to be terribly exclusive and allow black balling potential members only if you can physically bean them with a black rubber ball and yell "blackballed!" on contact.


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