## military records of two great-grand fathers

Posted in Kids, pictures with tags , , , , , , , on December 15, 2018 by xi'an

Here are the military records [recovered by my brother] of two of my great-grand-fathers, who both came from Western Normandy (Manche) and both died from diseases contracted in the Army during the first World War. My grand-father‘s father, Médéric Eude, was raising horses before the was and hence ended looking after horses in the Army, horses from whom he contracted a disease that eventually killed him (and granted one of my great-aunts the status of “pupille de la Nation”). Very little is known of my other great-grand-fathers. A sad apect shared by both records is that both men were retired from service for unfitness before been redrafted when the war broke in August 1914…

## remembering my grand-mother…

Posted in Kids, pictures with tags , , , on July 14, 2012 by xi'an

A few weeks ago, when I visited my mother in Caen for the 10k race, she gave me a copy of the following picture, which she recovered from my grandmother’s belongings. It features my grandmother holding my mother and a nephew (who most likely set the toys in front of both kids. Including the famous sailor I remember also playing with as a kid.) Just like the picture of my grandfather holding two sheep, posted a while ago (did I?!), I found this picture quite moving, both because my grandmother’s features had changed very little from those youthful days (she was 23 at the time) and because it brings back a distant past I only heard though my grandparents’ stories…

## Common ancestors

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , on June 8, 2011 by xi'an

In conjunction with President Obama’s visit to Ireland two weeks ago and in particular to his ancestral Irish town, I happened to glance at his family tree and saw that he shared a common ancestor with George W. Bush. (They are 11th cousins, meaning that a 12th-order ancestor is common to both their  family trees.) This sounds at first amazing, but it is another occurrence of the (von Mises) birthday problem. (The fact that it is not that amazing is demonstrated by the simultaneous presence of [French!] ancestors of Dick Cheney in the same tree.) If we consider President Obama’s mother side, the probability that all of her 11th-order ancestors differ from all of George W. Bush’s 12th-order ancestors is

$p=\dfrac{(M-2^{12})(M-2^{12}-1)\cdots(M-2^{12}-2^{11}+1)}{M(M-1)\cdots(M-2^{11}+1)}$

where M denotes the whole population of potential ancestors at this period. If we consider all those ancestors as coming from the British Isles, then about 1650, the population was about 8 million. This would lead to a probability of p=0.35, i.e. there is a 65% chance that they share a 12th-order ancestor. If instead we consider the whole European population at that time (if only to include German and French ancestors to President Obama), M is about 100 million and the probability increases to p=0.92, so there is then an 8% probability for them to share an ancestor. Obviously, this rough calculation relies on simplifying assumptions, avoiding the issue of inbreeding which means that the potential 2¹¹ ancestors are in fact much less than 2¹¹, and the fact that their ancestors are necessarily emigrants, which reduces the value of M(This post appeared yesterday on the Statistics Forum.)

## Oldest ancestor (?)

Posted in Kids with tags , , , , , , , , on July 20, 2010 by xi'an

While looking on the Web for genealogy links, I discovered tonight that the village from where my grand-father’s family comes has online archives till 1601. So I spent two hours tonight trying to trace back the earliest direct ancestor. The 1630 register was impossible to read but I found the birth certificate of the third oldest ancestor, Simon Eude, born in 1706, as well as the death certificate (top) of the oldest ancestor, Simon (or Symon) Eude, born in 1623 (?), who died in 1715, when 92 years old. This seems like an amazing age for the time, which corresponds to the arrival of the Mayflower pilgrims in America! Although my other oldest ancestor, François Robert, died in 1682 at the age of 80…With time and patience, I think I could go over the 1601-1623 years in those online archives to try to get one more level in the family tree but this is enough for one evening!

## Family trees

Posted in Kids, Travel with tags , , , , , on March 17, 2010 by xi'an

A few days before heading to Scotland, I took a trip back in time by visiting my maternal grandfather’s birthplace in Normandy and trying to retrace his family tree. Next to the local church, I spotted my great-grandfather’s name on the World War I memorial (with a spelling mistake), as well as the former house of my great-great-grand-father… Using the records available from the tiny city hall, I then found that my great³-grand-father had moved around 1850-1870 from another small village. This stopped my search right away, but coming home I checked on the Internet and found that all records for this village were available on the Web, thanks to a genealogy buff who had transcribed them. I thus went back six generations on the paternal side, up to Simon EUDE(S), born in 1633, who died in 1715… Very exciting! Given that I did go about the same past on my father’s side with François Robert, who was born about 1605 (under Henry the IVth!) and died in 1685, I thus reconstituted (mostly through digitised records) some of my direct ancestry on both paternal and maternal sides up to ten generations. The most interesting part when digging through these ancestral documents are the little pieces of information provided on the side, like the job (“occupation”), mostly labourer, with the occasional farmer and potter, as well as the lifespans of those people (fairly long, rather surprisingly!) and the very small number of relocations in a small geographic area over the centuries…