The following article was written by my long-time friend, Marielle A. Bourgeois. Marielle wrote numerous articles for me when I was editing Heritage Quest Magazine, most with a French-Canadian slant to them, but others of a more general nature. While visiting with her a few weeks ago, I invited her to send along some materials for GenealogyBlog – and she obliged.

Marielle Bourgeois, M.A. A genealogy research rule – when the search of a man’s surname in a particular area/ country does not lead anywhere, look at the surname of his wife and try to trace HER country of origin.

A client testimonial appearing on my webpage at www.searchancestors.com, written by Richard from California, explains the steps I took to trace his ancestors in Europe.

Richard wrote:
In search of my Bêche ancestors
“I had searched for my great grand-parents’ documents, Louis Bêche and Marie-Louise Henriette Nottet, for fourteen years and had accumulated a lot of genealogy information in America. In Europe, I had traced only the baptism of my great grand-parents’ oldest daughter, Marie-Louise Clémentine, in Paris, in 1873. Feeling a bit lost, I reached out to Marielle A. Bourgeois, genealogist, for help.

“Marielle transfered the search of my family from the Bêche side in France to the Nottet side in Belgium. She found the marriage of Louis Bêche and Marie-Louise Henriette Nottet in a small village – Tavigny – of the Luxembourg province in Belgium. From that important finding, we traced many generations of Bêche and over 300 original documents on both the Nottet and Bêche families, in Belgium and in France. The Bêche-Nottet marriage document gave us the name of the place where Louis Bêche was born, Saint-Georges, Moselle, France, which allowed us to trace Bêche generations in places named Imling and Lixheim, Moselle, France, all the way back to about mid 1600′s. Marielle also helped me find the younger Bêche generations, many of whom had moved to Paris or surrounding areas. As for the Nottet siblings and relatives of Marie-Louise Henriette Nottet, they stayed, lived and died in Belgium.

“In different parts of America I had traced the living and burial places of Louis Bêche in Pennsylvania, age 54, Marie-Louise Henriette Nottet, in Indiana, age 89, my direct ancestor Marie-Louise Clémentine Bêche, in Pennslyvania, age 33, and Marie-Louise Clémentine siblings – Mamie, Auguste Louis, and Victoria Caroline – in Indiana, at the respective ages of 73; 78; and 83.

“Because of Marielle’s findings, I have been able to connect with numerous descendants of my distant relatives, in Europe and in America, and have created meaningful friendships with many of them. Marielle is an excellent researcher and has contacts around the world. Richard, California, Email address: fburda@sbcglobal.net”

Some readers might like to understand my reasoning for leaving France and going to Belgium to search the wife’s surname Nottet.

After checking Richard’s work, in America and in Europe, I realized that he had done an excellent research job and figured there must be a reason explaining why he was stuck in his search in Paris. I therefore checked the surname Nottet / Notet, in Europe, on various internet sites and other places, and reached the conclusion that the surname was prevalent in Belgium. Nottet or Notet was especially traceable in geographic areas situated in the South-East part of Belgium, Wallonia region, close to Luxembourg. So I searched in South-East Belgium, using LDS microfilms, for the Nottet Bêche marriage about 1870′s (knowing that their daughter, Richard’s ancestor, was born in 1873). Searching this way, I traced the marriage document of Marie-Louise Henriette Nottet, in the very small village of Tavigny, who married Louis-Joseph Bêche on 19.6.1874. She was born on 2.6.1852 in the village of Buret, Belgium.

From Louis Bêche and Marie-Louise Henriette Nottet marriage date, we knew that Richard’s great grand-parents’ oldest daughter, Marie-Louise Clémentine, arrived in this world prior to the marriage of her parents, a fact which made it challenging for Richard to trace the marriage of his direct ancestors Louis Bêche and Marie-Louise Henriette Nottet in Paris. We now understand the reasons why Richard was stuck in his search for many years.

Should you need help with your search, feel free to contact me, Marielle A. Bourgeois, M.A., P. O. Box 31172, Santa Barbara, California 93130, USA, telephone 805 683 7768, Email: amarielle@yahoo.com webpage www.searchancestors.com