A Shocking Revelation! Vendée Family Connections!
If you have read other feature stories in my blog, you will have learnt about my wonderful aunty Blanche, who was a matriarch of the family and is held dearly in all our hearts - still having a huge impact on our thoughts and decisions and continuing to walk with us all in what we do daily somehow.
Well, since putting my blog out, I was contacted out of the blue by her older brother, Jean, who I have fond memories of meeting when I was younger and he came to visit my Aunty Blanche and stay with her and my cousins.
Jean is Canadian. He and my aunty Blanche share a different father than my mother and her twin, who are 12 years younger than my aunty Blanche. The way we see it, any family of my aunty Blanche is family to us.
I have spoken to Jean, who has confirmed that he is happy for me to use his email for this feature in my blog - in fact, he said it would be his pleasure, so, here it is as it was sent:
"Nicola, I don't know if you remember me but I am your aunt Blanche's Canadian brother. I read with interest your new Blog but as well your adventure that brought you and your family to France.
You probably don't know this but the ancestors of your aunt Blanche also come from France and from the Vendée area.
The first to immigrate to Canada was Jean Bourasseau (later changed to Bourassa) who originated from Saint Fluvent, which is about 55 km from your residence.
Jean Bourasseau immigrated in 1657 to Levis, Quebec, Canada. He married twice after the death of his first wife and had 6 children. And this is where the Canadian side of the Bourassa family originated from. The name was changed to Bourassa probably because of poor spelling on birth certificates.
So if you ever run into a Bourasseau in the Vendée area, there is a chance he/she is related to your aunt. It is no doubt a coincidence that you now live in the Vendée region of France, but an interesting one none the less.
By the way, I also live in Vendée, a small village in Quebec. I look forward in reading more of your Blog and good luck with your venture and say hello to your mom for me."
What an extaordinary and extremely interesting email to receive! To me, this really is a revelation! Such a strange coincidence which is a reminder of what a small world we live in! What are the chances!? And that Jean also lives in a Vendée is even more bizarre!
It is nice to learn more on my Aunty Blanche's roots and therefore also my cousins, Claire & John's - who I am also very close to.
Jean later asked the question as to whether this knowledge perhaps makes me feel a little more at home. My answer was that that is probably the biggest problem - I already do feel very at home here and am completely in love with the place, but as they say - home is where the heart is, and my heart is with my family.
However, this new information is hugely insightful and makes my tie with the area feel even stronger. In a strange way, even though these roots stem back all the way to 1650's, it feels like there is a bit of Aunty Bla here with us too, which (as you would have read in other posts) I kind of already felt before.
Thank you, Jean for getting in touch!