Just when I thought I had all my research under control, a new item pops up and changes everything. The story I am going to relate to you in the pages of this blog will begin with my father’s family. I have been able to uncover a vast amount of information about the Doyon clan, going back to 13th century France. Then, a few weeks ago, I stumbled upon Histoire et Généalogie de la Famille Doyon, by Père Dominique Doyon , written after he retired in 1953 and published in Lewiston, Maine in 1978. Scanned by the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, UT in 1991, it has been hiding (at least from me) on a microfilm reel on the other side of the country. I had it sent to my local Family History Center and was able to scan it to a thumb drive (a day-long project using equipment at least as old as I am …) so I could work on it at home.
It is 256 pages long and covers the story of Jean Doyon, the first Doyon ancestor to emigrate from France and considered the father of all the Doyons in North America. It is a detailed story of the family from Jean’s arrival in “New France” in 1644 until 1978 when Père Dominique completed his work. If that didn’t constitute enough of a research coup, this comprehensive history and genealogy is a treasure trove of new information, revealing insights, citations and a bibliography, presenting me with dozens and dozens of new references to cross-check. Because it is written in French, I am typing up the (my) English version as I read and translate.
Père Dominque has led me to new sources, photos I didn’t know existed, and eventually to websites and blogs I missed in my original research, mainly because I never think to type my search queries in French. My bad! A great deal of the information contained in la Histoire adds to or, in a few cases, contradicts information I previously thought to be solid, proven and well documented. Consequently, I am doing further research in addition to the reading and translating. As of today, I have translated all of the text (the first 90 pages). The remainder of this treatise is a list of all Doyons born in North America from 1644-1978 and who they married. Thankfully, no translation required – but a great resource for filling in some of the twigs on my family tree.
Any of you who are also chasing down the rabbit holes of your family history will understand the thrill (goosebumps) of finding one’s own name among the research. Two hundred and twenty-eight pages into La Histoire I found proof of my own existence. It lists my father (Henri-Guy aka Joseph Henry) as being a member of the tenth generation of Doyons in the Americas (Jean Doyon 1619-1664 being the first generation). It shows his father, Irénée (Joseph Napoleon Irénée). It indicates that my father was married to my mother, Barbara Voigt, and goes on to list their “Issue”. Seems strange to see myself categorized as “issue”, but generations from now that is how some ancestor in my own family will see me. Kind of a “moving into the future” experience, if you know what I mean. So that makes me and my sister (and my first cousins) part of the eleventh generation since Jean. I noticed that my sister’s name was missing from this list. Her name was also missing from some of the very extensive family information available in the Centre de Généalogie, des Archives et des Bien Culturels de Château-Richer in Quebec, Canada when I visited there to do some research in 2015. I contacted the folks who produce and publish these evolving volumes of genealogy and made sure they had the information on my sister and her children. Having done this I now realize how much of what we find (or don’t find) in our research is dependent upon others keeping sources informed and information up-to-date.
So the lesson learned here is that one’s research is probably never really done and some of what we find can be incomplete or misleading. There is always something new and interesting waiting around the next corner. More about La Histoire and Pere Dominique later.
 A very interesting man in his own right, I will tell you all about him in a future post.