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Report on the Family Reunion

 

(Pour version française cliquez ici)

Report on the Amirault Family Reunion, by Ina Amirault

 

The quest for family ties and the strengthening of these bonds was the underlying theme of the gathering of the descendants of François Amirault dit Tourangeau and Marie Pitre, married around 1683. 

 

It was a beautiful Sunday, August 8, 2004 in West Pubnico, NS, when 750 people took part in the reunion activities.  This was a return visit to Pubnico for many, but an emotional first trip to Nova Scotia and the cradle of l’Acadie for others. 

 

They answered the irresistible call to come home, from New England, California, Oklahoma, Yukon, Ontario, Québec, Nova Scotia, and elsewhere.  The different spellings of the family name were astonishing – Amirault, Amero, Amiro are common in Nova Scotia, but there were also Mireault, Amireault, Mero, Emero, Mirault and Merrow. 

 

The usual accoutrements for family reunions were available – name tags, lapel pins, family pictures, genealogical research, refreshments, kids’ activities, and hand-made crafts to buy.  The music and dancing started right after lunch and went on into the early morning the next day as talented family members and friends entertained.

 

But science played a part in this reunion too with the unveiling of an Amirault DNA project.  Using Y chromosome DNA testing, the Amirault family hopes to find the missing pieces of the family tree puzzle.

 

The family’s oldest known ancestor was said to be Tourangeau, so he likely came from the Touraine province of France, right?  Unfortunately, no records have been found to confirm where he came from, how or why he came to Acadie, or who he left behind.   

 

Given the fact that certain parts of the Y chromosome remain unchanged through generations of male descendants, DNA testing could identify a relationship between a known descendant of François Amirault in North America and an Amirault still living in France.   Once a match is found, a study of the Frenchman’s ancestors might produce leads useful in identifying François Amirault dit Tourangeau.

 

So far, the DNA of seven living North American male descendants of two of François’ sons was tested and they are an exact match – they have the same haplotype.  Eight living men in France with the family name Amirault or a variation were also tested.  To the surprise of all, they don’t match the North American men, and in most cases, they don’t even match each other!  Test results show six different haplotypes within the eight Frenchmen tested.  The project will continue.

 

At the end of the day, tired Amirault family members exchanged hugs and kisses, email addresses and genealogies.  DNA research will help complete their family tree, but not today….

 

© Ina Amirault

 

 

 

 

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 Dernier mise à jour / Last update:  avril 24, 2006 .