EVENTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES
The following events and circumstances, both in North America and France, unearthed some very interesting findings which greatly enhanced our family genealogy.
In the summer of 1988, our son Marc was involved in a Rotary International student exchange. As fate would have it, his exchange would be with a French family from Lyon, France, His hosts were Yves and Martine Marquié
from the very city where Fortuné Mollot was born. The Marquié family took great interest in Marc’s ancestry by reading the memoires of Fortuné Mollot and touring him in and around Lyon. They even went to the village of Blandin and visited Château Blandin.
Then in 1993, Lucille and I went to France and we had the opportunity to meet the Marquié family. Yves was so intrigued with the family history that he transcribed the 93 page handwritten manuscript of the memoires of Fortuné Mollot into printed text so that we could all read it more effectively. European handwriting at times can be difficult for North Americans to read. Since that time, the Marquié family has visited us in Canada and we have developed a very close family bond. These experiences further impressed on us the richness of our family ancestry and motivated us to pursue our family roots!
Another event occurred in September 1999. Lucille and I were visiting Châlons en Champagne in France with our cousins Marcel and Louise Mollot. We were looking for the village of “Chouan le Grand” as it was spelled in the transcription of the Memoires of Fortuné. We were pouring over a map in a cathedral in Châlons en Champagne and were simply unable to find “Chouan”. An elderly volunteer supervisor in the church came to our rescue explaining that she knew of no such a village as “Chouan”. Explaining to her that it was on the river Lhuitre, she surmised that we were likely looking for the village of Trouan le Grand and not Chouan le Grand. Upon examining both the handwritten memoires and the transcribed copy from which we had been working, she showed us that in the transcribed copy, a “T” had been mistakenly written as a “C”, thus creating the non-existent village of “Chouan le Grand”. This lady saved the day for she set us on the way to “Trouan le Grand” and on the right track in our family research.
Credit goes to our cousin Louise Mollot for her perseverance with the map that day, thus leading us to the discovery of the small village of Trouan le Grand, (population 207 in 1999), the cradle of the Mollot family. On that day the rest of us had virtually given up finding Trouan le Grand but thanks to Louise’s tenacity, on a beautiful, summer Saturday afternoon we drove to this tiny, typical, quiet, French village where, among other things, we even toured an old abandoned 13th century St. George’s church. What an awesome experience that was! At the time, little did we know that our family ancestry in Trouan le Grand would date back to the year 1613! From the memoires of Fortuné Mollot, we only knew that his father’s family originated from this tiny village.
An event which bonded our “large family” occurred in July, 2002. We held a three day Mollot Family Reunion in Winnipeg, Manitoba, the city to which our ancestors Fortuné and Léopoldine first emigrated from France in 1892. Some 160 relatives from all across Canada, the U.S. and New Zealand got together where, for many of us, acquaintances were made for the first time. That weekend was a great success for all.
In the year 2004, prior to leaving for France in August of that year, Lucille and I received a phone call from our friends Michel and Arlette Auclerc, who are the present owners of Château Blandin. They suggested that rather than meeting them in Blandin, we should meet them in a little village called Lhuitre (population 261 in 1999) which is close to Châlons en Champagne. Michel told us, “I want you to meet some people there whom you will find most interesting”! We accepted without having any clue as to what this was all about. On Aug. 31, we drove from Brussels, Belgium, to Lhuitre, France. Little did we realize at the time that the town of Lhuitre was only a few kilometers away from the village of Trouans, the village to which we had journeyed in 1999 with our cousins Marcel and Louise Mollot. There, we met our friends from Blandin at the summer home of an elderly couple by the name of René and Yolande Rosez. After about six bottles of French wine and a six course meal that lasted, in the real French fashion, for several pleasant hours, we discovered how Michel and Arlette had come to know Yolande and to invite us to meet them at Lhuitre.
The story goes this way! A few months prior, a friend of Yolande’s was going to Blandin (population 200 in 1999) to visit some friends. Yolande, with interest, asked her friend to go to the château to inquire on her behalf whether some Mollot family members were still living there. Michel and Arlette Auclerc indicated to her friend that the Mollot family, who had previously owned the château, had been gone for over a century……some 110 years ……. that, in fact, they had sold the château and had immigrated to Canada in the year 1892. However, Michel explained to Yolande’s friend that they knew of some Mollot descendants in Canada and that, coincidently, they would soon be in France for an autumn holiday. Michel and Arlette Auclerc and Yolande’s friend exchanged particulars which were then passed on to Yolande Rosez. A week or so later, the Auclerc and the Rosez families made arrangements for all of us to meet together in the little village of Lhuitre, France which we later realized is only a few kilometers away from Trouans, the cradle of the Mollot family. Through that circumstance, we got to know the Rosez family. But the story did not end there. This was just the beginning!