Peach Genealogy - Newsletter, Issue 9
THE PEACH/PEACHEY PROJECT The Electronic Peach Tree Issue 9 Editor: John Harding Peach Peachroot@aol.com
Before I begin this issue, I need to express the frustration I have experienced over the past few weeks. I prepared and sent out two separate Electronic Peach Trees, neither of which AOL (my internet provider) delivered. The first one I worked on for over a day, and I was devastated to find that it was sent into never-never land. My immediate response was to give up altogether.
However, after a couple of days of recovery, I woke up in the middle of the night determined this crushing calamity would not overwhelm or defeat me. So I got up and went at it again. This time I was overly cautious to properly send this and was deliberately determined to make sure it got to you. (I was placing the blame on me for possibly losing the prior Peach Tree).
Much to my chagrin though, it happened the second time! I now have two Electronic Peach Trees that have vanished in thin air! Once again, I was ready to hang this project up for good. But after the encouragement of those who has emailed me lately, I am back on board to try it again.
One of the passengers was so dismayed she hadn't heard from me recently, that she thought we had thrown her overboard. I thought I better get something in the mail before more of you feel the same way.
If you know of a better way to get this newsletter to you than by direct email, please let me know. If I could save it as I go (so it would be preserved even if it didn't get delivered) it would be ideal. Since I am having this frustration, I am going to return to my former method of sending this Peach Tree is parts.
I want to welcome those who have come aboard The H.M.S.Peachey cruise liner while we have been docked in Normandy. Anyone who needs to get all the past issues of the Electronic Peach Trees, go to the web page TODD PEACH has donated for this project: http://home1.gte.net/Genealogy/Genealogy.htm
(Webmaster's note: if you're reading this, then you probably don't need this correction; the correct address is http://home1.gte.net/tpeach/Genealogy/Genealogy.htm )
Yours 'til Part 2, Captain John
While we have been docked at Normandy for the past week or so, we hope you have enjoyed the intriguing beauty, along with the demoralizing history, of Le Havre, our port where the England Channel and the Seine River intersect.
First, we want to tip our hats to all the veterans of the allied forces during D-Day at Normandy. Undoubtedly, this was the turning point of World War II, and without these dedicated men who risked their lives, we may not have a free world today. Do we have any veterans of Normandy aboard? We would love to recognize you. If you were at war in Normandy, you probably have a lot of mixed emotions as we visit this country. Alan Tucker in THE PENGUIN GUIDE TO FRANCE gives us the following description of what we see in Le Havre today.
"Le Havre was not a place to be in the 1940s. It was bombed 146 times by the Americans and English alone, making it the most heavily damaged port in Europe. Nearly 10,000 buildings were flattened, another 10,000 damaged. More than 4,000 people were killed. For their part, the Germans were extra tenacious in Le Havre.
"After the Battle of Normandy was over - even after Paris was liberated - the Wehrmacht held onto the port. During the first weeks of September 1944 Allied raids reached crescendo, which the Germans topped with a farewell of dynamite that destroyed what was left....Le Havre was burning. Excavating its rubble after the war took two years."
Thus, as we visit Le Havre today, we see a mixture of the beauty of the restoration along with some reminders of the devastation of the past. While we have been ported here, we have had the opportunity to take an excursion up the Seine River and spend a lot of time in the queen city, Paris. Each of you have had your favorite things to do there.
We now will trace the history of our Viking ancestors as they captured Normandy over a century ago. According to Nigel Calder in his book THE ENGLISH CHANNEL:
While the Danish Vikings prospering in England, "Norwegians took Normandy, which is named for the Northmen. Peasants living far from the sea would look up to find their quiet river filled with a column of longships, as menacing as the battle tanks of later blitzkriegs. But the fierce Scandinavians were only doing to the Franks and Anglo-Saxons what they had done to the Celts four centuries earlier, as they evolved from pirates to invaders to settlers.
"Vikings assailed Normandy from the Loire River in the south, as well as from the Channel shore. In 857 raiders in the Seine River fought their way up to the Frankish stronghold in Paris, and completely destroyed it.
"By 911 the king of the Franks had to recognized their possession of Normandy in a treaty made with the chieftan Rolf." (Rolf was also known as Rollo or more literally as Gongu-Hrolf). "The intruding Normans," continued Calder, "adopted the French language and ways, and William the Conqueror was Rolf's great-great-great-grandson." Magnus Magnusson in his book, VIKINGS, shares the legend of this Viking who was bigger than life.
"The story of Normandy as a Viking duchy starts with a man called Hrolf, who was such a huge man that no horse could bear his weight. So he had to go everywhere on foot. For that reason he was known as Gongu-Hrolf...History would get to know him better as Rollo, the founder of the Duchy of Normandy.
"We know nothing of Rollo's activities in France until 911, when he is reliably reported as the leader of a force that laid seige to Chartes. But on this occasion the Vikings suffered a severe reverse and withdrew. King Charles III of France saw the chance of a diplomatic initiative to reach an accord with these particular Viking marauders after their setback, and summoned Rollo to a parley.
"They met in the chapel at St.Clair-sur-Epte, which is now a little village on a tributary of the Seine beside the old highway, the N14, between Paris and Rouen. Today, the somewhat decayed-looking church there has a stained-glass window commemorating that historic meeting.
"At their meeting in 911, King Charles III agreed to grant to the Viking invaders the lands they already occupied. He was therefore not giving much away; indeed, he was shrewdly using the Vikings as settlers who would be sure to defend that part of his realm against any future Viking invaders. In return, the Vikings swore to him oaths of allegiance as their king.
"The stained-glass window in the church depicts a pious scene, with Rollo on one knee before King Charles. But legend has it that the giant Rollo treated the act of making homage with something less than the respect due to majesty.
"When the time came for him to kiss the royal foot, he bent down and grasped it and then, straightening to his full height, hauled the foot up to his lips. The king, naturally, fell flat on his back, much to the merriment of the assembled Vikings, who always liked their fun to be on the boisterous side."
I hope most of you are enjoying the history of our ancestors as much as I have enjoyed researching it for you. It may be a little tedious now, but the more background we have of our Viking and Norman ancestry, the better we will be able to grasp the overall picture of our ancestry.
Sincerely until the next issue, your captain, John Peach
Back to the Genealogy Page
Back to the Home Page
Send e-mail to: Todd & Sharon