Janvier - January Family Main Page

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Hello from Center, Shelby County, Texas.  I have put a few pages
together on the JANVIER - JANUARY families. 
Please browse these pages and  I hope you find a connection.

                                    -----Reba January James

        Family traditions and written accounts of the European origin of the Janvier family differ in numerous details. It has been said the genealogy records are filled with errors, purposeful and otherwise. Certainly there are contradictions about Pierre Janvier, whom we believe was the father of Thomas I, the "founder" of our American family.  The family name Janvier was used until in 1750 when Peter Janvier legally changed his name to Peter January in Peters Township, Cumberland, Pennsylvania.

        The Janvier's of France are traceable through several centuries. The usual family tradition has been that Pierre was born in Bos Herpin, France in 1620, the son of Pierre Janvier and Michelle de la Barre. One reference refers to him as Viscount de Bois Herpin, thus giving to him and his family the position accorded by his time to birth and wealth. 

        Most Janvier's in America have believed for generations that as a young man he visited Scotland, fell in love and married Claude Marie d'Elbouf, the daughter of a Scottish peer. This is contradicted by other information stating that her name was Claude Marie d`Beaumesuil and that she was not a Countess. In any case, she was a Scot and she was Protestant. Pierre was born Catholic but after his marriage he adopted the Reformed Religion (Huguenot). This changed respect to persecution by the French monarchy and his fortune was confiscated.  He and his wife, Claude Marie, are said to be exiled from mainland France to the Isle de Re, which although belonging to France was at that time a haven for Huguenots. On the other hand, there is conflicting evidence that he may have died in Paris. Likely we will never know the true facts but the charming version that was a Viscount, married a Scottish Countess, became a Huguenot and was persecuted by the French monarchy who confiscated his fortune and that he was buried in his cellar likely will continue to be the most accepted and loved family tradition, as it has been for generations.  There is one source suggesting that Pierre died childless. Almost certainly this is not true. Instead, we believe that Pierre and Claude Marie had three sons, probably born in La Flotte, Ile de Re. At separate times they fled to England and migrated to America.  

        There were three brothers THOMAS I, our ancestor, came in 1686, on the ship "Desire", landing in Philadelphia and moving later to New Castle, Delaware, where he became quite successful,   PHILLIPE migrated  to Manikintown, (Fredericksburg), Virginia and PIERRE to the Island of San Domingo, and later to Louisiana. There is a rumor that there was a daughter as well who is reported to have settled in Virginia, perhaps coming to America with Phillipe, but this has not been widely quoted. 

        Still another version of the Janvier-January genealogy has surfaced by the research of Donald J. Sublette, Birmingham, Michigan. He states flatly that the usually accepted story about Pierre Janvier is pure fiction. He claims that there is not the slightest evidence that such a person and the Scottish Countess ever existed. His research in La Rochelle, France (near La Flotte, Isle de Re) indicates that our immigrant, Thomas, was born in La Flotte, the grandson of Phillipe Janvier and Marie Annonnier and the son of Thomas Janvier and Susanne Mousenier. All of this is stated in a baptism certificate which also indicates that the Godparents were Abraham Jonneau and Marie Janvier (probably an aunt).  Apparently we will never know the exact truth about our French ancestry.  Whatever the truth may be let us let Pierre and Claude Marie rest in peace.  One thing is certain: Thomas I came to America in 1686 and is the progenitor of many of we American Janviers-Januarys.


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