French In Name Only

A Genealogical Blog about the French and Grace Families



This blog is living document that continues to develop out of a desire for knowledge of the genealogical history of my fathers family line (French/ffrench) and my mothers family line (Grace). As the name of the blog implies, any true french connection to France occurred far, far in the past.

The surname “French” is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is from an ethnic name for someone from France, derived from the Middle English (1200 – 1500) “frennsee, frenche” a development of the Olde English pre 7th Century “frencisc”, meaning french.

Besides providing names, dates and locations, I plan to use the blog to tell short stories to open a window on the history of the United States and Canada through the migration of these families.  My family includes European settlers arriving from England as early as 1621 to what would become the United States of America and from Scotland and Ireland to Nova Scotia, Canada by 1800.

My research continues to uncover previously unknown branches of our family.  Recently, I learned that my 5th g-grandfathers, Joseph Simonds and Joel Viles, where two of the seventy-seven men of Captain John Parker’s Company of Lexington Militia who engaged the British on the Green and part of the “shot heard round the world.”  Under our Foster family line, William Hilton was one of 35 brave colonists sailing on the ship Fortune who came to the rescue of the Mayflower colonists just after the “first thanksgiving” in November 1621.

Due to the tilt of history, my research frequently turns up historical records (wills, deeds, military service) on the men in my family tree.  Sadly, there is often scant information provided on the women.  A perfect illustration is found my post, Post Cards from the Fowler’s.  Included in that post is  a photograph of a proud Edward with two horses standing on his farm with his house in the background…and by the way, his wife.  I will endeavor to shine a light on the women in my family tree whenever possible, I have one in mind one already about a snowshoeing midwife!

I have discovered during this endeavor that genealogical records are often imperfect and are subject to questions about the validity and quality of information. With this noted, I consider this blog and my research to be an ongoing process and will make corrections and add (hopefully) new information as it becomes available.

  • David R. French


  1. HI!
    Great start! I love your artwork! Plus your blog just feels good! I’m looking forward to reading more about your family and your search. It sounds so very interesting!

    Best of luck to you!
    Rochelle Butler

  2. Hello, I’m curious about Effie MacPherson, who also shows up on my family tree, and I believe lived in Skye. Would you please email me for the purpose of comparing notes? Thanks.

  3. Shelby Putnam Tupper

    July 12, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    Greetings David—
    My name is Shelby Putnam Tupper, and while looking for information about Abiram Spencer, I landed on your page. I am delighted to learn that you and I share our 2nd great grand-parents, Annie Eggleston and John W. Spencer. I have their original wedding photograph, which I would be overjoyed to share with you. I was born (08 07 62), raised and live in the San Francisco Bay Area. I went to school at Trinity in Hartford (my daughter will matriculate there in the fall.) I live with my husband (who took my last name) and two children 18 and 16. I would love to hear which of the Spencer children became your great grandparent. Mine was Samuel.

    I look forward to the possibility of hearing from you,

  4. Hmm doing genealogy I found something interesting trying to connect the dots, I have a 4 x great uncle a Jacob Winnemore from Phila Militia, he named his son a Samuel Engleston Winnemore which I found odd, well on records Jacob Winnemore was a patriot revolutionary war prisoner on the ship HMS Jersey in new York harbour, also listed was as a prisoner Samuel Engleston, hmmm, must have named his children for for namesake, also noticed the name Stiles, well Jacobs grandchild was named Ezra Ely stiles Winnemore, their pastor at Old Pine Church in Phila was an Ezra Ely Stiles connected to Princeton university, hmmm strange have you known each other? Have you seen anything related to that?

  5. Darryl Thompson

    January 17, 2017 at 1:32 am

    My name is Darryl Thompson. I’m an historian devoted to the history of the American Shakers. I’m researching the forestry work of Brother (later Elder) Omar Pease, a self-taught, pioneering amateur forester from the Enfield, Connecticut Shaker village (and which should not be confused with the Shaker village in Enfield, NH). Your ancestor Nathaniel Hillyer Eggleston was the acting pastor of the Congregational Church in Enfield, CT Congregational Church for several years during Omar’s lifetime. I very much want to find out if they had contact. Enfield was a relatively small town at the time and they were both leaders of religious organizations in that town. I think they must have at least had an acquaintanceship. Are any of Rev. Eggleston’s papers at Yale or at another archive? I would very much like to communicate with you. My e-address is given below.

    • Darryl –

      Thank you for your note, I enjoyed your article on The Neglected Nexus. I am aware the the Manuscripts Division – William L. Clements Library at the University of Michigan has some Hillyer-Eggleston documents, including correspondence.

      The Library of Congress
      has several (similar) articles on Elder Omar Pease:
      Vermont Phœnix. (Brattleboro, Vt.), August 29, 1879, Image 4
      The Wellington enterprise. (Wellington, Ohio), August 14, 1879, Image 1
      Evening star. (Washington, D.C.), July 22, 1879, Image 3

      The WPA Guide to Connecticut: The Constitution State
      By Federal Writers’ Project makes reference to Elder Pease.


      – David

  6. Darryl Thompson

    January 18, 2017 at 3:56 am

    This information is very helpful! Thank you so much!!
    Best wishes,
    Darryl Thompson

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