A man’s incredible journey tracing his lineage -

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A man’s incredible journey tracing his lineage -  Empty A man’s incredible journey tracing his lineage -

Post  Sirop14 on Sat May 14, 2011 12:13 pm

If he had only known he would have had such an incredible adventure tracing his lineage -- taking him across seas and over continents -- Gerard Lafortune would have done this a long time ago.

A civil engineer for 20 years by profession, last year he suddenly decided to have his ancestry line traced and so went to the local archives, paid a fee and waited it out.

Soon enough he got the results, a family tree traced back to eight generations, the lineage of which had him eager to find out more.

And so began a 12-month journey, after which Mr Lafortune presented his findings under the theme ‘Genealogy - An avenue through history’ to an audience at the National Cultural Centre as part of the Culture Talks organised by the Department of Culture.

“I was never really interested in history of finding out about my ancestors to begin with,” he said.

“But when I took that first step 12 months ago, I began finding out names of people I was related to who I never knew about – something which grabbed and held my interest – and prompted me to learn more,” he said.

Mr Lafortune said he has identified over 500 of his ancestors – with over 59 last names and from countries as far as India, Britain, France and Belgium – and said he has been able to trace his lineage as far back as 1460 – a fact which he said seems to confirm further the belief that all Seychellois might possibly be related.

“My presentation covers mainly a personal journey back in time but also the benefits one could gain from making an effort to trace back his ancestry, which is not as complicated as people might think and furthermore I think is really an enriching and worthwhile experience,” he said.

Some interesting information were picked up along the way, such as a relative who he found to be an inspiration, Charles Collet, who Mr Lafortune said in the 1940s to 1950s was appointed attorney general and did a lot to elevate the quality of life of the working class Seychellois.

“He really did a lot to reduce poverty among the ordinary Seychellois from the landowners, the former having no rights, a very meagre salary to name a few of the harsh conditions they had to live in,” he said.

“He changed laws, gave ordinary citizens rights, taxed the property owners, improved the education system and many more positive things, which were later built upon by political parties as a platform for further development.”

Although we have our cultural heritage – which includes our dances, food, art and so on – the majority of the population is losing touch or has lost altogether their lineage and have no idea where they hail from and this is a sad fact, he added.



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