Reflections Upon My Ancestry
by Richard A. Dodge
I am seeking to help others of my lineage
make the necessary connections
to our family
tree - a tree that extends back
hundred years to Richard Dodge,
(1602 - 1671).
Richard, John, Josiah, Josiah,
Asahel, George, Oscar, Richard,
I have been researching my ancestry off and on for twenty-five years. It is very satisfying to know who you are and where you came from. At the beginning of my research, I had scant knowledge of my early pioneer ancestry.
My interest in family matters began at an early age probably because my father married late in life and every kid in the neighborhood had grandparents except me. I first asked him about his parents while he was reading me the comics in the Toronto Telegram. "What was grandfather's name?"
"His name was Oscar."
"What a weird name!"
"Your grandfather was very proud of his name," My father said frowning at me. "He was named after the king of Sweden."
Many years passed and my knowledge of geography increased dramatically.
"When did your parents leave Europe?"
My father looked at me with a strange expression on his face. "Whatever gave you the idea they came from Europe?"
"You said grandfather came from Sweden."
"He was named after the king of Sweden, but he never came from Sweden."
"Why would he be named after the king of a country he didn't come from?"
"Go and do your homework."
Since most of the kids in the neighborhood came from somewhere else, I wanted to know more about where our family came from just in case my family came from the same place they did. I waited until my father was in a better frame of mind before asking any more question about my ancestry. The opportunity came a few days later at the dinner table when he was eating a piece of my mother 's freshly-baked lemon meringue pie. It was a good time to ask prying questions about something my
father did not want to talk about.
"Where did our family come from, dad?"
"We came from back east somewhere."
"Where back east?"
"Finish your dinner."
The matriarch of the family was obviously more skilled at interrogation than her young son. She smiled as she served her husband another helping of the delicious pie. "Your father's people came from Newfoundland."
My father stopped eating. "Whatever made you think my people came from Newfoundland?"
"You said so," my mother said, moving what was left of the pie out of reach of her grasping children. "You said they were from Newfoundland."
"My people are Bluenoses," my father said proudly. "They came from New England."
"I know all about the Bluenose," I said eager to join the stimulating conversation. "It's a sailing ship built in Nova Scotia."
"Bluenoses were early pioneers in Canada," my father said as he made a bid for a third helping of lemon pie. "They came here before the American Revolution."
By the time my interest in family history began to blossom, my father had passed away, my mother had remarried, and all the family records were trashed by my stepfather.
I am very proud of my research of the past twenty-five years and hope that the information in my files will be of use to others in tracing their ancestry.
|Capt. Josiah Dodge III|
Our people are not Newfoundlanders. My mother
knew little of her husband's rich heritage.
She thought "back east" was Newfoundland.
In actual fact the"back east" my
father referred to was Annapolis Valley,
Capt. Josiah Dodge III (1718-1805) was my great great great great grandfather. In 1760, he settled in the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia. He was an officer in the Massachusetts Rangers. In 1758, he served under General Wolfe in the Battle of Louisbourg. In 1759, the fortress at Quebec City fell to the combined American and British forces. In 1760, Montreal fell to the British. When French forces capitulated, all of North America became British. (but your evolution sixteen years later changed all that)
Capt. Josiah Dodge and a contingent of army surveyors were given the task of subdividing the lands vacated by the French Acadians in Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia. The British expropriated the lands of all French inhabitants who refused to swear allegiance to the Crown. These lands were thrown open to officers and soldiers who served the Crown. Most of those who received the land grants were either disbanded British soldiers or colonial troops from New England. (most colonial reservists were farmers not professional soldiers)
Some Acadian families were shipped to Europe. Many Acadians were dumped in east and south coast ports of America. Most of the loyal expatriates ended up in the swamps of Louisiana. They are called "Cajuns." They speak a local dialect of French. "Cajuns" means "Acadians." They came from Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia.
Capt. Josiah Dodge III was granted 1000 acres of Acadian land in Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia. The land had been cultivated for one hundred and fifty years by the diligent French Acadians. Fruit orchards thrived in the rich soil . Stone cottages stood unoccupied, the fire still burning in the hearth. Barns were empty of animals purloined by the British. The Annapolis Valley was an empty Valhalla. The New Englanders simply moved in and took over everything that was formerly French Acadian.
Capt. Josiah Dodge III became a wealthy and influential man on the backs of the unfortunate "Cajuns." Evangeline Bellefontaine made an heroic journey in search of her Acadian lover Gabriel Lajeunesse. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote an epic poem about Evangeline Bellefontaine.