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November 5, 2016

Meme: Immigrant Ancestor The Walloon Philip Casier

There is a lot of discussion about immigration in America right now. Tempers have flared, and different groups hold various strong opinions. There is also Brexit, where immigration was a large focus of the recent vote which resulted in the U.K. leaving the E.U.

I've been following this for several months and it occurs to me that those of us in Canada, America, and Australia have immigrant ancestors. Have you researched yours? Do you know who they were, why they came to your country and when? Do you know how they fared once settled in their new land? Were they welcomed? Were they shunned? Was their discrimination based on their religion or ethnic origin? These are all questions that are important, and interesting to discover. With that in mind, I'm the dedicating Saturdays (as many as needed) as the day to join me in discussing your immigrant ancestors.

You will be able to read any you are interested in by using the keyword Immigrant Ancestors. I'm going to share each week what I know of my immigrant ancestors to North America (whether that is USA or Canada)

My 10th great-grandfather Philippe Casier was born circa 1616 in Flanders France. We can summarize his life in these few words:  

Philippe, a Walloon,  fled religious persecution, escaping France for the West Indies in 1635. Forced out of West Indies he took his family to Holland, then fled to New Netherland on the Gilded Otter in 1660. He died in 1663 in Harlem New York. 

But wow! Think about what those words mean. What a life he led - full of adventure, turmoil, no doubt tragedy, and a great deal of hard work in forging a new life - several new lives in each country to which he fled for safety and freedom of religion. 

The Casier family is first mentioned in the Huguenot settlement of Martinique in the French West Indies. In 1635 a party of old and experienced settlers had gone to Martinique from the neighbouring island of St. Christopher, which had been settled by French Huguenots in 1627. Philippe and Marie (Taine) Casier's first two children, Jean and Marie, were born on Martinique. In 1645, Philippe Casier and others left the island and returned to Europe. Casier went first to Calais, then to Sluis, Flanders where his daughter Hester was born. Many French and Walloon exiles from England and from the Dutch seaboard were fleeing to Mannheim, drawn there by assurances of freedom and protection under the government of the Protestant Elector, Charles Lewis who held out strong inducements to the refugees to settle there. Some time after 1652, Philippe and his family moved to Mannheim in the Lower Palatinate of Germany, along with other Huguenots and Walloon Protestants.

On 16 November, Philippe was made a magistrate, but near the close of the ensuing winter, he died.  The widow bought a house in the Markvelt-steegie in New York and lived there for some years with her sons Jean and Jacques who were bakers. In 1671, she married Jean Le Roy of Harlem. 

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