In the book, Les vielles familles d’Yamachiche: vingt-trois généalogies, v. 4 published in 1908 in Ontario, we discover that Étienne Hebert is one of two brothers who came from France and settled in Acadia, now Nova Scotia. Étienne married Marie Gaudet and Antoine Hebert married Genevieve LeFranc.
We know that Étienne and Antoine were brothers because in the 2nd marriage record for Jean-Jacques Hébert (1681-?) to Marguerite Leprince on April 27, 1734, at Saint-Charles-les-Mines, they were granted a dispensation from a 3rd degree consanguine relationship. The only overlap in their two family trees would be the parents of Étienne and Antoine Hebert.
Thank goodness for those church records.
Stephen A. White provided the following information about Étienne.
HÉBERT, Étienne, came from France with his wife Marie Gaudet, according to nine depositions: one from his grandson Jean Hébert (Doc. inéd., Vol. III, p. 11), one from Pierre Trahan, husband of his granddaughter Madeleine Comeau (ibid., p. 8), one from Pierre and Madeleine’s son Pierre Trahan (ibid., pp. 110-111) and one from their nephews Sylvestre and Simon Trahan (ibid., p. 30), two from husbands of Étienne’s great-granddaughters (ibid., Vol. II, p. 182; Vol. III, p. 90), one from a great-great-grandson (ibid., Vol. III, pp. 93-94), and two from husbands of his great-great-granddaughters (ibid., pp. 45, 92-93). Seven of these depositions name his wife as Marie Gaudet; only those of the two Pierre Trahans, father and son, do not.
Lucy LeBlanc Consentino documents these priceless depositions here.
There have been several proposed and presumed parents of Étienne and Antoine Hebert. None are proven, and some have been disproven. I’m not going to recount each theory here. I’ll briefly mention the most common ones and strongly suggest that anyone tempted to assign parents for these men consult existing resources and arguments first.
Tim Hebert’s website is no longer online, but you can view it here at Wayback Machine. Tim did an exceptional job documenting the various theories and Hebert descendants.
It has been said that possibly the brothers were from south of Loudon (LaChaussee, Martaize, etc.), however, since Charles Menou d’Aulnay’s family had land in that vicinity. If he recruited settlers from that area, there is a chance they came from there, but there is no proof of where they (or most other) Acadians came from. The linguistic studies by Genevieve Massignon tried to say that they were from the Loudon area, but perhaps she was focusing too much. It is probably true that they came from western France. But the lack of documentation in the Loudon region means that perhaps we’re looking in the wrong place. Michael Poirier has suggested they came from west of Loudon at the coast … near Baie de Bourgneuf.
He bases this on:
– the location of the monastery of the Assumption (on the island Chauvet), which was regularly attended by Richelieu and was the property of his brother, Alphonse.
– Port-Royal and the church of St Jean-Baptiste
– salt-water marshes in the area were drained … much like the dyke system utilized in Acadia
– it was a zone surrounded by Protestants and enclosing Catholics
Genevieve Massignon (1921-1966) argues that a number of familial alliances existed among the first Acadian settlers PRIOR to their arrival from France, pointing to a common French origin. She believes they lived in the Acadian Governor d’Aulnay’s seigneury in France near Loudun (comprised of the villages of Angliers, Aulnay, Martaizé, and La Chausée). The Hébert family was allied with the Gaudets through Étienne’s marriage to Marie. Marie’s sister Francoise was also allied with the Leblanc family through her marriage to Daniel. Evidence of their marriages in France is found in the Belle-Isle-en-Mer declarations in 1767. Moreover, a certain Jean Gaudet was censistaire in 1634 on land at Martaizé (Vienne) in the Seigneurie owned by the mother of Acadian governor Charles d’Aulnay. However, Massignon’s research failed to find any relevant baptismal or marriage records.
Another couple, Jacques Hebert and Marie Juneau have been debunked as parents, based on the date of their marriage and analysis by Stephen White. Jacques was found in Acadia 30 years before Étienne and Antoine, then moved into mainland Canada. It’s unlikely that his two sons would be found in Acadia and not near or with him. Not to mention the depositions that state that Étienne and Antoine were born in France.
Another parent candidate was Louis Habert who is generally considered to have been the first permanent settler in Canada, arriving in 1604. He married Marie Rolet in Paris in 1602 but wasn’t known to live in Acadia. Spelling variations of this family name include Hebert, Harbert, Herbert, Herbot, Harbelot, and others. You can read more about this at FamilySearch here.
One source stated that Stephen White reported that Etienne Hebert arrived on the ship, La Verge in 1648. Karen Theriot Reader, upon further examination, determined that the page given as the source does not in fact provide that information, nor elsewhere by White.
However, the Verve did arrive in 1648, chartered by Emmanuel LeBorgne, Sieur of Coudray, to transport supplies. No passenger list exists, and several ships arrived in Acadia over the years.
In a letter to Tim Hebert, Stephen White stated that their parents are “unknown.” No birth records have been found, and White found none of the proposed parents convincing or even probable.
We simply don’t know when and where Étienne and Antoine were born. It’s fair to say it was in France because families weren’t imported until 1636. The Hebert brothers were born in the 1620s. They would have been teenagers or young men in 1636.
What Was Happening in Acadia?
Warm up your tea or coffee, ‘cause this is a fascinating tale.
Acadia was truly the frontier and constantly caught in the middle in a tug of war between France and England for control of both the land and resources, along with the people.
Settlement in Acadia began in 1604, but we’re joining this history 28 years later.
In 1632, control of Acadia passed from the English back to the French, who immediately launched voyages transporting traders and workers, some of whom became settlers. Their initial goal wasn’t settlement, though, but trading posts.
Port Royal is shown on Champlain’s 1632 map.
Isaac de Razilly was a French noble sea captain and knight who convinced his cousin, Cardinal Richelieu, chief minister to the King of France, that colonizing and establishing fur trade with Acadia was a profitable business venture. As a bonus that probably sounded attractive to Richelieu, they could convert and baptize the Native people, too.
Razilly’s 1632 voyage on the L’Esperance a Dieu included about 300 people, mostly men with possibly 12-15 women. A French newspaper report from that time states that a third ship from Rochelle joined the other two. A mason, baker, nailmaker-blacksmith, joiners, gunsmiths, sawyers, laborers, and soldiers signed up.
In 1640, notarial records in La Rochelle, France, show many contracts of engagement for workers in Acadia, although most of those people aren’t shown in the 1671 census, meaning they either died or returned to France when their engagement was over. In 1640, at least 25 men and 5 women signed up.
Couillard-Despres in “Les Gouvernors” states that 63 men arrived on the Saint Clement in 1642 to assist Charles LaTour.
After Razilly’s death in 1635, his cousin, Charles de Menou d’Aulnay, de Charnisay prepared to take over the administration of Acadia. By this time, there were 44 inhabitants at Le Have, Razily’s base of operation. Sometime between 1635 and 1640, d’Aulnay moved the settlement to Port Royal, but the men who had married Native American women likely did not move with him.
However, Charles La Tour, who had lived in Acadia since he was 17 and was married to a Mi’kmaq woman, had other plans. His father, Claude, obtained a grant for Nova Scotia from the English king, and Charles was appointed Governor, serving from 1631-1642. In essence, the LaTour father-son duo had outsmarted d’Aulnay.
Workers still continued to arrive. The 1636 passenger list of the St. Jehan, including occupations and some location origins, still exists.
d’Aulnay and La Tour began as competitors, with LaTour working out of Cap Sable and the St. John River area with traders, and d’Aulnay, who moved the Acadian settlement from La Have to Port Royal, beginning cultivation. Given where we find Étienne Hebert living, he likely arrived with d’Aulnay.
However, the competition between those men soon became animosity, then open warfare, with both men claiming to be in charge of all of Acadia.
If you think there was no drama in a relatively unpopulated area, just try to keep this next bit straight.
In 1640, after LaTour’s Mi’kmaq wife died, he married a French Huguenot woman, Françoise-Marie Jacquelin, who had powerful connections.
In 1642, d’Aulnay had LaTour, a Huguenot, charged with treason against France. LaTour’s well-connected wife traveled to France to advocate on behalf of her husband, returning with a warship for him to defend himself.
Perhaps this was a bit hasty.
In the Spring of 1643, La Tour led a party of English mercenaries against the French Acadian colony at Port-Royal. His 270 Puritan and Huguenot troops killed three men, burned a mill, slaughtered cattle, and seized 18,000 livres worth of furs.
Apparently, LaTour was a traitor after all, at least from the French perspective.
LaTour then traveled to Boston seeking reinforcements from the English, and while he was gone, d’Aulnay seized all of his possessions and outposts, including Fort LaTour.
Are you keeping track of this? I think the score was 3 to 3 here, with a Hail Mary pass underway. Get the popcorn.
LaTour may have been traveling to Boston, but his wife, Françoise-Marie, had remained at home and was not about to relinquish Fort LaTour without a fight.
In the ensuing battle, Françoise-Marie, at the ripe old age of 23, defended Fort LaTour in the Battle of St. John for three days, using the warship. D’Aulnay lost 33 men but on the fourth day, was able to capture the fort. LaTour’s men were hung at the gallows as Françoise-Marie was forced to watch with a rope around her neck, just in case she got any bright ideas. She was clearly not a woman to be trifled with.
Françoise-Marie was not hung, but Nicolas Denys recorded in his journal that she died three weeks later as a prisoner in captivity. The cause remains unknown, but it’s safe to say that her death was a volley in war.
After learning that his wife had died, his possessions confiscated, and his men killed, LaTour sought refuge in Quebec City. He did not return to Acadia for several years, but return he would – eventually.
For the time being, d’Aulnay was firmly in control, but that only lasted a few years.
In 1650, d’Aulnay drowned when his canoe overturned, which provided the opening LaTour had been waiting for. LaTour sailed to France, obtained royal favor, his property restored, and returned to Acadia as governor in 1653, accompanied by several new colonists, including Philippe Mius d’Entremont, 1st Baron of Pobomcoup.
It was about this time, around 1650, that Étienne Hebert married Marie Gaudet. Perhaps they hoped that living near her parents, a dozen miles upriver, would be more peaceful and less exposed to attack and conflict.
LaTour had remained a widower since his wife’s death defending Fort LaTour in 1645, but in 1653, he married…wait for it… d’Aulnay’s widow, Jeanne Motin. It was not a marriage in name only, as they had five children. Some said they married to heal the rift between the warring d’Aulnay and LaTour camps, some think it was simply a marriage of convenience for both, and others feel it was LaTour’s final victory over d’Aulnay. However, Jeanne was no shrinking violet because she evicted Nicolas Denys when he attempted to exploit d’Aulnay’s death by setting up trading posts at St. Ann and St. Peters.
LaTour wasn’t off the hook, though, because in an odd sort of way, d’Aulnay still managed to be a thorn in LaTour’s side – even from beyond the grave.
Along with d’Aulnay’s property and wife came his substantial debts to Emmanuel Le Borgne, his main financier from La Rochelle. There were two sides to this story because, as part of the deal, La Bourg and other seigneurs were supposed to recruit and transport new settlers to Acadia and care for them by building communal resources like mills and bake-ovens, but they didn’t.
It appears that the Acadians and their French sponsors were both relatively unhappy. The French did not live up to their end of the bargain by building mills and ovens, and consequently, the Acadians resisted paying taxes. Everyone resented the English, but the English needed the Acadian settlers to work the land. And, of course, the land passed back and forth between the French and English from time to time, punctuated by skirmishes and outright attacks.
Acadia, for an Atlantic peninsula of land with few people, was drama-central.
By 1653, it was estimated that there were 45-50 households at Port Royal and La Have, which provides us an estimate of 300-350 people, including 60 single men. Étienne Hebert was lucky to find a bride, any bride.
In 1654, Port Royal was still small, with approximately 270 residents, as estimated by pioneer Nicholas Denys. Denys was a French prisoner at Port Royal who had been responsible for recruiting volunteers for the 1632 Razilly expedition of 300 men from Rochelle, France. They landed at La Hève near modern Bridgewater, the eventual site of the Gaudet village. This location was near the upper reaches of the tidal portion of the Riviere du Dauphine, and their boat probably could not progress further.
Denys did us the favor of describing Port Royal in 1653:
There are numbers of meadows on both shores, and two islands which possess meadows, and which are 3 or 4 leagues from the fort in ascending. There is a great extent of meadows which the sea used to cover, and which the Sieur d’Aulnay had drained. It bears now fine and good wheat, and since the English have been masters of the country, the residents who were lodged near the fort have for the most part abandoned there houses and have gone to settle on the upper part of the river. They have made their clearings below and above this great meadow, which belongs at present to Madame de La Tour. There they have again drained other lands which bear wheat in much greater abundance than those which they cultivated round the fort, good though those were. All the inhabitants there are the ones whome Monsieur le Commandeur de Razilly had brought from France to La Have; since that time they have multiplied much at Port Royal, where they have a great number of cattle and swine.
The commentary about the French settling on the upper part of the river may be very important for the Hebert family because that’s exactly where they are found.
Denys also recorded that Robert Sedgewick of Boston had been ordered by Robert Cromwell to attack New Holland (New York). As Sedgewick prepared, a peace treaty was signed between the English and the Dutch. Since he was “all dressed up with nowhere to go,” he attacked Acadia in August 1654 and destroyed most of the settlements, including Port Royal, La Have, and the Saint John River village. Sedgewick left the area but appointed an Acadian council with Guillaume Trahan in charge. Some of the French may have returned to France at this point.
Denys doesn’t say if Sedgewick burned the upper river homesteads and farms or if he was satisfied with torching Port Royal. Living 12-14 miles away in the out-country may have been the saving grace of the Hebert and Gaudet families. Or, their homesteads and farms may have been destroyed, too. Certainly, if not burned out, they were devastated by Acadia falling to the English.
Acadia was back under English rule and would remain so until being returned, again, to the French in 1667.
After Sedgewick captured Acadia for the English, LaTour went to London to regain his property, again. Being a Protestant would have worked in his favor, as well as having led the English in raids against Port Royal in 1643.
In 1656, Cromwell granted property to two Englishmen and LaTour, but LaTour sold his share to the Englishmen and moved to Cap Sable, on the southern end of the peninsula, to attempt to live the rest of his life in peace.
We don’t know positively that the Hebert brothers were in Acadia at this time, but it’s almost assured. They had probably been in Acadia for between 10 and 30 years. If White is correct, they had resided in Acadia for eight years. Windows of immigration existed, but generally only when the French were in charge, although France imported settlers to other nearby parts of New France. The French were not imported directly into Acadia when the English ruled.
In 1666, France stopped sending colonists, ostensibly for fear of depopulating the mother-country. However, the English were still arriving in the colonies to escape religious prosecution and for economic reasons. Therefore, the Acadians were exposed to at least some English settlers, probably spoke and understood at least a little English, and established some level of trade with the English colonies along the Eastern seaboard.
Given the 1671 census and the ages of his children, we know Étienne was married by 1651 and that his wife’s parents also settled in Acadia.
Life in Acadia always seemed to be contentious and apparently, in no small part, dangerous.
Étienne was probably in his mid to late 40s when he died, about 1670. He clearly didn’t die of old age, but probably as a result of hunting, fishing, or farming – some accident. Or, perhaps, there was a skirmish. It seemed like there was always some sort of skirmish, but a simple act of daily living such as fishing carried the risk of drowning.
The Catholic church records don’t exist, if they even had a priest at that time, so we don’t know when Étienne died. We can rest assured that, if possible, he was buried in the parish cemetery, now the Garrison Cemetery in Annapolis Royal, beside the fort and the Catholic church.
The First Acadian Census
Even though Acadia was officially returned to France in 1667, it didn’t actually happen right away. In 1670, the English surrendered the fort at Port Royal, apparently without incident. The new French governor arrived, bringing with him another 60 settlers and 30 soldiers. The new governor ordered a census, thankfully. He likely needed to know how many people would be paying taxes.
The first Acadian census was taken in 1671, documenting between 240 and 350 Acadian residents (depending which count you utilize) in 68 households in Port Royal and one household each in three other locations. Historians know some residents in settlements weren’t counted, and neither were Acadian/Native American families living with the Native people. Estimates of the entire Acadian population reach as high as 500.
Étienne was already deceased, but we can tell quite a bit from his widow’s census record, transcribed here by Lucy LeBlanc Consentino.
Marie Gaudet, widow of Étienne Hebert, 38. She has 10 children, two married children: Marie 20, Marguerite 19; Emmanuel 18, not yet married, Étienne 17, Jean 13, Francoise 10, Catherine 9, Martine 6, Michel 5, Antoine 1, 4 cattle, 5 sheep and 3 arpents of cultivated land.
This tells us that Etienne and Marie were married in about 1650, or maybe somewhat earlier. Their eldest living child was age 20. Étienne was probably about 25 years old when he married, so I’d estimate his birth year as 1625, give or take a few years. It appears that Marie Gaudet and her daughter, Marie Hebert, and her husband, Michel de Forest, and their families were probably living either on the same farm or even in the same house.
Marie’s youngest child was age 1, so we know that Étienne died sometime between 1669 and 1671.
His brother, Antoine Hebert is listed three houses away as a 50-year-old cooper, so he was born about 1621.
Hebert and Gaudet Allied Families
It’s clear that the Hebert family was somehow allied with the Gaudet family as early as 1650 when their children married. It’s possible that they married in France, or Acadia.
What we do know is that these two families lived in close proximity on the Riviere de Dauphine, now the Annapolis River.
This 1733 map at the Nova Scotia Archives is based on the 1707 census route and shows about a mile and a half or two miles distance between the Hebert and Gaudet homesteads – 57 years after Étienne Hebert and Marie Gaudet married.
Etienne Hebert lived along Bloody Creek, where the Hebert Village is found, courtesy of MapAnnapolis, below.
We know where Etienne, Marie, and their family lived and at least something about their life – but what else can we unearth?
The Hebert DNA Story
Eventually, the answer to where the Hebert brothers originated in France will be told through their Y-DNA, passed directly from father to son through the generations without ever being admixed with the mother’s DNA, or divided.
The Hebert family is well-represented in the Acadian AmerIndian Project with three Big-Y testers showing the same haplogroup. Haplogroup R-BY31006 was born about 1650, almost exactly when Étienne and his brother were marrying and having children near Fort Royal.
Click to enlarge any image
Two present-day project members descend from Étienne, and one descends from Étienne’s brother, Antoine. They have the same high-resolution haplogroup, so we know that their father had the same mutation that he gave to both sons. How I wish some Hebert men from France could test, but DNA testing for genealogy is illegal there.
Unfortunately, no other contemporary man of any surname is close to our Hebert cluster. The haplogroup ancestor upstream of R-BY31006 is the parent haplogroup R-BY31008 that occurred about 245 BCE, or 2245 years ago. The descendants of that man are also found in England, Norway, and Scotland, in addition to our Hebert men in France.
That’s quite interesting.
But there’s something even more interesting.
Looking at Ancient Connections in Discover, I note that one of the Hebert Ancient Connections was found in France and has been placed into haplogroup R-Z31644. I wonder what the connection is. Let’s take a look at that haplogroup.
The TimeTree shows us that nine ancient DNA samples are found on different haplogroup branches of R-Z31644, of which only one is found in Metz, France, and the rest in the British Isles. It’s unclear exactly what this means. Only the French sample and three others in England and Ireland are found in the current era, meaning after 1 CE. This was clearly prior to the Battle of Hastings in 1066, after which an influx of French settled in England.
Eight ancient DNA results are found in England, but none share a common ancestor earlier than 4300 years ago. Notably, one English burial from about 2000-2300 years ago shares a common ancestor with the Metz, France remains about 4000 years ago. The eight English remains, and our Metz guy descend from a common ancestor about 4300 years ago.
Did Étienne’s ancestors descend from the ancient sample at Metz? Maybe the study provides more clues.
According to the study’s authors:
The Sablon district, which is located in the southern part of the city of Metz, was, during the Gallo-Roman period, a huge necropolis where both inhumations and cremations are found. Towards the end of the 19th century, the exploitation of the sandpits enabled the uncovering of sarcophagi (stone), cists (brick and tile), coffins (wood) and vats (lead).
These characterise the new burial practices developed during late Antiquity. [Spans from about the 3rd to the 6th or 7th centuries.]
The largest funerary space spans almost a kilometre, on either side of the via Scarponensis (portion of the Reims/Metz road).
The Sablon area can be compared to the Collatina necropolis close to Rome by its chaotic organisation, although at a different scale
Looking at a map of Metz helps put this in context.
It’s unclear exactly where along this route the burials were discovered beginning in the late 1800s. They extend for more than a kilometer on both sides of the road in the Sablon neighborhood of Metz.
The Sablon neighborhood extends from near the old city center along the main artery that crosses railroad tracks that appear to sever the original road into the city.
Does the history of Metz tell us who lived there and what was occurring during this time? Indeed, it does.
Metz is located at the confluence of the Moselle and Seille rivers, near the junction of France, Germany, and Luxembourg. The original inhabitants were Celtic. The town was known as the “city of Mediomatrici,” a fortified city of the tribe by the same name.
The Mediomatrici village evolved into a Gallo-Celtic city after Julius Caesar conquered the Gauls in 52 BCE.
Named Divodurum Mediomatricum by the Romans, present-day Metz was integrated into the Roman empire in the first century CE, after which it was colloquially referred to as the Holy Village.
The historic district has kept part of the Gallo-Roman city with Divodurum’s Cardo Maximus, then called Via Scarponensis. Today, this is Trinitaires, Taison, and Serpenoise streets in the old city center, and the Decumanus Maximus, which is En Fournirue and d’Estrées streets. The Roman Forum was located at the Cardo and Decumanus intersection and is the Saint-Jacques Square today, as shown below.
The ancient burial occurred between 432 and 551 CE, as calculated from a molar and was found in a very large Gallo-Roman necropolis, more than a kilometer long, located on both sides along the old Roman road.
This cityscape shows Divodurum Mediomatricum in the second century CE, capital of the Mediomatrici, ancestor city of present-day Metz. The original Roman amphitheater is shown at far left, and the living quarters are located within the city walls, protecting them from attack. A wonderful summary of archaeological findings can be found here.
Today the the Centre Pompidou-Metzocation is found at the site of the original large Roman amphitheater. This amphitheater held upwards of 25,000 people and was the largest and most consequential amphitheater outside of Rome.
Rome’s influence ended when the city was attacked, pillaged and burned by the Huns on April 7, 451, then passed into the hands of the Franks about 50 years later. By 511, Metz was the capital of the Kingdom of Austrasia.
How Does the Metz Burial Connect to England?
How do the dots between Metz and the British Isles connect, given that the common ancestor of our Metz burial and the British Isles burials has descendants scattered throughout the British Isles and in Metz?
The Celts first migrated to the British Isles about 1000 BCE, or about 3000 years ago, so this ancient French man and the other ancient burials in the British Isles make sense. Their common ancestor lived 4300 years ago in Europe. The closest common ancestor of our Metz man and any English burial occurred 4000 years ago, 1000 years before the earliest Celtic migrations across the English Channel.
This man from Metz lived 1500 or 1600 years ago and shares an ancestor with several ancient British men in addition to our Hebert line and was likely Celtic..
Of course, not every Celtic man left Europe. Many stayed and eventually integrated with whoever the next conquering army was. That ensured survival. Metz was a prize to be won, controlled over the centuries by many masters.
We don’t know if this specific Celtic man buried along the Gallo-Roman Road was a direct ancestor to our Hebert line, but if not, they were assuredly related and shared common ancestors. The descendants of haplogroup R-BY31008 are unquestionably the ancestors of our Hebert line.
Back to Étienne
Étienne’s Y-DNA has identified his ancestors as Celtic some 4000 years, or 200 generations ago.
More recently, his Y-DNA confirmed his connection to Antoine Hebert, and the church records of both of their descendants confirmed them as brothers.
Depositions given by Étienne’s grandchildren, spouses of grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, and nephews confirm that Étienne was born in France, but, unfortunately, does not say where. This information alone debunked some of his parent candidates.
We find no suggestion of his parents in Acadia, although that’s not impossible. Many people died and never made it into existing records. The Hebert brothers likely arrived together as young men. Antoine may have married in France, as his wife’s surname is not found in Acadia. Of course, her father could have died and left no record. Étienne’s wife’s family lives next to the Heberts in Acadia, but we don’t know if Étienne and Marie Gaudet married in France or after arrival in Acadia.
How well did Étienne remember France? Did he look over his slice of countryside along the Riviere du Dauphine, with its dikes holding the tidal river at bay, and think of similar dikes constructed by his ancestors in France?
What about his parents?
Did they die, or did he sail away, knowing he and his brother would never see them or their siblings again?
Did their family shrink into tiny dots on the horizon, waving from the wharf, then disappear forever?
Did the brothers leave because they wanted to, or did they leave perhaps because they had no family left? Often, orphans had few options in their home country, and any opportunity was welcomed.
Did Étienne marry Marie Gaudet in Acadia, or did they marry someplace in France, then two Hebert boys immigrating to the new land with the Gaudet family?
In one way, we know so much – that Étienne matches an ancient Celtic burial in Metz who died about 1500 years ago, with whom he shared a common ancestor about 4000 years ago – yet we can’t identify Étienne’s parents. At least not today, but hope springs eternal. Two years ago, we didn’t know this.
Hopefully, one day, DNA testing for genealogy will be available to men in France. Our answers lie in Hebert men in some small French village, probably along a river that was once a highway of history.
I’m incredibly grateful to the Hebert men who have taken the Big Y-700 DNA test at FamilyTreeDNA, and to FamilyTreeDNA, because without those tests and the Discover tool that includes ancient DNA connections, we would never be able to peer beyond the mists of time into their deep ancestry.
As more men test and more academic studies and ancient DNA results are added to the Discover database, we’ll continue to learn more. The Big-Y DNA test is the gift that just keeps on giving.
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