I have a fascination with my family history, particularly the Jolivet side. In my research, I find that in France it’s not too uncommon a surname, and even a bit in Canada. But in the U.S., not so much.
Denise is a Belanger. That’s pretty common in all of the aforementioned regions. I mean there have been a more than an handful of Belangers who have played in Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League.
The Jolivets? None smacking around the horsehide. But golly, not even a single Jolivet played in the NHL? In Canada, in the more than 100-year old league? Really?
Despite these disappointing findings, I still enjoy researching my ancestors. We do have wine-makers and actors and musicians. I still want a hockey player.
On my ancestry search website, I find that my blood lines are 95 percent from France, then on to Eastern Canada, specifically Quebec. I also have three percent German/Swiss and two percent indigenous North American.
Digging deeper into my routes I actually found a few streets named after Jolivets in France; Paris, Tours, and a couple of others. But it’s the Rue Jolivet (Jolivet Street or Avenue). The peculiar thing about that avenue is that it is intersected by Rue Bellanger (it wasn’t uncommon for French immigrants to drop a letter from their names coming to North America.
I thought that was the greatest thing — the intersection of Jolivet and Belanger streets.
On New Year’s Eve of this year, Denise and I will mark the 45th anniversary of our having met, but from what I detected, the Jolivets and Bel(l)angers met a long time before that — at a quaint intersection in a rustic town 241 kilometers (150 miles) southeast of Paris; nestled between Rivière (River) Loire and Rivière Le Cher.
I guess Denise and I were just destined to meet, guided by an small intersection. I just wish it had been in France, instead of buying cigarettes (bad habit, long since discarded by both of us) on Pleasant Street in Fall River on the way to a New Year’s Eve party. The fates were kind, but not meeting in Europe kind.