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IN LOVING MEMORY
WHOSE ACTIVE INTEREST IN THE BEGINNING OF THIS WORK HAS BEEN THE INCENTIVE FOR ITS COMPLETION
THE object in compiling this book has been to collect and preserve the history and genealogy of Pierre Fauconnier and his Descendants, hence the title. In the arrangement of the material secured for these purposes there is given, first, the history of the subjects of each article; and second, the genealogical tables of them and their descendants, as far down and as full as obtainable; inserting also, in their proper places, histories of members of the different branches. This method, it is hoped, will make the work prove more interesting than if genealogy only had been printed, especially as nothing has ever before been written upon the subject. In the genealogy many dates will be found wanting, but this deficiency, and the absence of history in some places, were unavoidable, owing to many obstacles encountered in the consultation of public and private records.
At the present day, it being over two hundred years since Pierre Fauconnier came to New York, and some years before that period that the Valleau family, into which his daughter Madeleine married, arrived in the same colony, the difficulty of searching for records relating to them has been much increased by this lapse of time. These records had remained so long dormant that much care was required to verify the information obtained from them, and to closely scrutinize anything which appeared doubtful in any particular. Nevertheless these searches, upon which much time was expended, have confirmed some points of family history regarded as traditional, and upon others, that were obscure, thrown much light. But notwithstanding the best efforts put forth, there still remains considerable that could not be obtained, and which, perhaps, may be lost forever.
In Europe as well as in America many difficulties presented themselves, some of which it was found impossible to overcome and secure the necessary information. This was the case as regards the family history and ancestry of Pierre Fauconnier in France and in England, the meagre accounts from both places leaving much more to be desired upon these points. And it is a matter of regret that we are uncertain as to the name of his father; Jean Fauconnier being given as that parent from the best available knowledge obtained of the Fauconnier family. In a measure the same deficiency exists regarding the Valleaux, but something relating to them in France was found back to a certain point, at which the search was obliged to stop owing to a loss of records. It was thus found impossible, as regards either family, to discover its founder and place of origin. Other instances of these kinds of difficulties are mentioned in the text.
Another obstacle was the want of many church records. This was particularly true of the Huguenot Church at New Rochelle, N. Y., whose entries date back only to 1724 (a date too late for consultation), which is unfortunate, for it was at this town that Isaiah Valleau and his family settled shortly after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes; where he was undoubtedly buried, and where, also, must have been entered some of his first family records in the new world. This deficiency leaves wanting the date of death of Isaiah's wife, and the marriage of his son Peter with Madeleine Fauconnier, presuming, from lack of better knowledge, that these were recorded at New Rochelle. From the Hackensack and Schraalenburgh churches much was secured, but they contain no records of deaths. Nothing, covering certain desired periods, could be had from the Paramus church, which, had such been obtained, might have given much information relating to Pierre Fauconnier and his daughter Madeleine. Finally, in many cases, a church could not be located from which to obtain records.
From this short resume of the incompleteness of public records, it will be seen that the data secured from them are sometimes not as full as they should be, or might have been expected from an authority of this character.
The search for private records consumed much time, as in many cases it was difficult to find some members of the different branches. This source supplied the greater part of the genealogy, in whose tables will be found omissions which make incomplete some of the lines. These omissions are due possibly to carelessness, indifference, lack of genealogical interest on the part of those concerned in making entries of family dates and events, and, perhaps, in some cases, to a loss of records. An instance upon which there is insufficient information, due to the last cause, is the question of the parentage of Isaiah Valleau, who married Leah Harty, the facts concerning which had to be deduced from public records, as nothing relating to it could be obtained from his descendants.
Pierre Fauconnier and the Valleaux were Huguenots, and it is no doubt due partly to their membership in this persecuted and proscribed body that their records and careers cannot be made more complete, as they, like their co-religionists, had to flee from their native land; and shifting from place to place, the Valleaux particularly, they could not always take pains or time to make accurate family records, or which, as was often the case with this persecuted people, may have been forbidden, or else made under the supervision of their enemies. And in America, also, there is much regarding them that seems unobtainable by the usual methods of research. These same difficulties exist in the case of many other French refugees to this country, whose descendants likewise experience trouble in tracing their ancestry; for, very often with them, the process of time and a long residence in the new world have so changed the spelling of the name that the original is scarcely recognized in the modern one; but with the Fauconnier-Valleau descendants it is different, for both these names remain the same at the present day.
Some little reference to the Huguenots may be useful to those whose attention has not been drawn particularly to the subject; but for the origin and history of these people, works relating to them should be consulted, especially the writings of Mr. H. M. Baird. It is sufficient to state here that their great conflict with their persecutors in France began early in the sixteenth century, and continued until April 13, 1598, when King Henry IV, by the celebrated Edict of Nantes, granted them toleration and liberty to worship in their own way. But, notwithstanding the freedom thus given them, their enemies still continued to harass them, and for years brought such pressure upon the throne for their overthrow, that Louis XIV finally yielded and revoked the Edict on October 18, 1685. Immediately there ensued a general flight of these people in all directions; some escaped only with their lives, whilst others, more fortunate, were enabled to take with them much of their possessions. Amongst the first class were the Valleaux, who left at night, leaving behind their property, which was then confiscated by the government. On the other hand, Pierre Fauconnier and his wife had been naturalized in England some six months prior to the Revocation, so that they were enabled to come to America as English subjects, he holding an official appointment.
It is thought that the Revocation lost to France a half million persons, at the least, among whom were some of the most skilled artisans of the land. All the