Vitter-Weaver Genealogy

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Bienvenue and welcome to the genealogy website of the Vitter-St. Raymond-Artigues-Ferran-Hofeline-Dureau-Cougot-Péré-Weaver-Kohlenberg-Bendorf-Grimes-Bell-Mayberry-Wren-Nicolay Family! (That's quite a mouthful!)

Your co-hosts are Jeffrey Scott "Jeff" Vitter and Sharon Louise (née Weaver) Vitter. Our family tree database (updated 23 October 2023) includes photos, documents, histories, and reports for 87,477 individuals — some actually related to us ;-). Documentation consists of 196,573 citations to source records.

To get started, see the note on the right (or down below on mobile devices) for how best to explore this site.

For privacy reasons, no personal information about living individuals is shown in the public version of the family tree (unless published or we are given permission to do so). We welcome information you can send us for the family tree, the more detailed the better.

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guestbook imageWe'd like to hear from you. To contact us, please sign our guest book and leave your comments or suggestions. We take a research-centric approach and value your input. We are always interested in new discoveries, across the gamut from newly born to distant relatives. We welcome any detailed information you can send us.

DNA Ethnicity Analysis of Website Co-hosts

As DNA analysis techniques improve, we get better and better estimates of our ancestral ethnicities and communities, including estimates for the ethnicities that come from our father and those that come from our mother. The charts below (as of August 2023) depict the current Ancestry DNA analyses for website co-hosts Jeff and Sharon Vitter, along with estimates for their parents' contributions.

Caveat Lector: Ethnicity estimation from DNA is an evolving science and still approximate. Even more tenuous is estimation of a parent's ethnicity from the DNA of a child, since different siblings inherit different proportions of ethnicities from a given parent. The parents' ethnicity estimates can differ depending upon which child's DNA is used to do the estimation. For example, Sharon's ethnicity estimates differ noticeably from one of her siblings, who also did a DNA test, even though they were verified by DNA to be full siblings, and the estimated ethnicity contributions from Sharon's parents to her are also noticeably different from their ethnicity contributions to that sibling. Jeff's DNA analysis, on the other hand, is consistent with that of one of his siblings, who did a DNA test, as well as with what we know about his parents' ancestry.

Jeff Vitter Ethnicity

Jeff Vitter DNA Map Jeff Vitter DNA Breakdown Jeff Vitter's ancestry (the "You" column above) is roughly 1/2 from extreme southwestern France and northern Spain (from his mom's side), 1/4 from mid-southwestern France (from his dad's maternal side), and 1/4 from eastern France, Switzerland, and Rhineland Germany (from his dad's paternal side). The map regions are broader than the core regions that are pictured in colors above. For example, the "England & Northwestern Europe" region actually extends to Belgium and Luxembourg and from Normandy across northern and eastern France into western and mid Switzerland. And "Germanic Europe" includes eastern France and most of Switzerland. These ethnicity estimates match those of one of Jeff's siblings, who also did a DNA test, as well as what we know about Jeff's parents' ancestry.

Sharon Weaver Vitter Ethnicity

Sharon Vitter DNA Map Sharon Vitter DNA Breakdown Sharon (née Weaver) Vitter's ancestry (the "You" column above) is estimated as roughly 41% from the "England & Northwestern Europe" region, which is actually much larger than the lime green core region pictured above; in reality, the region extends through Normandy, Belgium, Luxembourg, and northern and eastern France into western and mid Switzerland. So the part of Sharon's ancestry that is English as opposed to Swiss is uncertain. There is also 13% of her ancestry from Germanic Europe, which also extends into eastern France and most of Switzerland. Sharon's full sibling (see Caveat Lector above) has a much larger (46% vs 13%) Germanic Europe component and a smaller (25% vs 41%) England & Northwestern Europe component compared with Sharon. Other components for Sharon include 17% Scandinavia, 13% Scotland, 7% Wales, 5% Ireland, and 4% Finland and Eastern European.

The following two histories — one on Charlemagne and the other about Pilgrim John Howland — are a short preview to whet your appetite for the histories you'll find on the Relativity Research webpage, which delves into over two dozen vignettes about Vitter and Weaver relatives as well as tantalizing open questions yet to resolve. Check 'em out!

Charlemagne Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne (click photo for more info).

Charlemagne and the EU

Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne (748 AD–814 AD) was ahead of his time. Known generally as the "Father of Europe," he is perhaps the patron saint of the very notion of "European Union" that politicians in Europe are working so hard to sustain. In fact, he literally almost was a saint — or more precisely was for a short time — but his canonization in the year 1165 AD by Antipope Paschal III was overturned 14 years later at the Third Lateran Council. However, his beatification still stands.

We've included a history of Charlemagne here because he's sort of a patron saint of this website as well — bringing together multiple cultures and lands into one vibrant union.

And we have a direct connection to him: Through her research, Sharon Vitter unearthed that Charlemagne is Jeff Vitter's 39th great grandfather via multiple lineages! Often the hard task for for those in the USA in tracing generations is to identify the ancestor who emigrated across the ocean and to show that it was the same person on both sides of the ocean. And if there is nobility in the lineage, the difficult part can be confirming the connection to the most recent ancestor holding a title; thereafter older generations of nobility are typically recorded in manuscripts. In our case, we have extensive family and civil records that document the immigrants on both sides of the Atlantic, and we have clear documentation of the Pujol ancestors as sieurs and seigneurs (lords) holding landed titles in the Tarn department of southwestern France. Combinatorial models and DNA analysis suggest that most people of European ancestry may be descendants of Charlemagne. But at least we know all the names of the ancestors in Jeff's direct lineage!

Here's a graphical listing of some of Jeff's direct lineages to Charlemagne. (It's the same chart you'd get by going to Charlemagne's page, selecting the "Relationship" tab, choosing Jeff Vitter as Person 2, and clicking on the "Calculate" button.) Jeff's known lineage extends even further back to the Gallo-Roman era. For example, the first King of France was Saint Clovis I (circa 466 AD–511 AD). Clovis I and his wife Saint Clotilde (circa 474 AD–545 AD) are Jeff's 48th and 49th great grandparents (and Charlemagne's 8th great grandparents). The line of kings can be traced back three generations further to Childeric I (circa 437 AD–481 AD), Merovech (circa 411 AD–458 AD, founder of the Merovingian dynasty), and Chlodio (circa 390 AD–circa 450 AD).

Here are some links that provide listings in Jeff and Sharon's family tree of several kings and queens as well as cannonized saints and bishops!

Charlemagne is "claimed" by both the French and Germans as one of their own, but in actuality, he was truly European. As shown in the photo, his garments and heraldry include the French Fleur de Lys (lily flower), the German Reichsadler (imperial eagle), and symbols of the Church. Each year, the Charlemagne Prize is awarded annually in his hometown of Aachen, Germany to recognize work done to advance European unification.

Charlemagne's father King Pépin le Bref (circa 714 AD–768 AD) and grandfather Charles Martel "The Hammer" De Herstal (685 AD–741 AD) were very successful as leaders of the Franks — surpassed only by Charlemagne himself. When Pépin le Bref died in 768 AD, Charlemagne and his brother Carloman assumed co-rulership, though not amiably. In the following year, without Carloman's help, Charlemagne squelched an uprising of the Aquitaines and Gascons in what is now southwestern France, where most of Jeff's ancestors hail from. Carloman died suddenly two years later, and Charlemagne assumed sole control.

During the eighth century, much of southern France was controlled by Saracen invaders who came from Northern Africa via Spain. Through a series of battles near the end of the eighth century, Charlemagne decisively ended Saracen dominance and brought peace and stability to all of Gaul — the portion of his kingdom consisting of France, Luxembourg, Belgium, most of Switzerland, and parts of Northern Italy, the Netherlands, and Germany, especially the lands west of the Rhine River. The local people then began to restore and rebuild many of the holy places that had been laid to waste by the Saracen invaders. For many centuries, there were rumors that the remains of Saint Anne (mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus) were hidden for protection from outsiders by Saint Auspicius in an ancient crypt near the cathedral in Apt, France. As the cathedral got restored, search recommenced. During the reconsecration of the Apt cathedal in 792 AD, Charlemagne played an important role in the remarkable rediscovery of Saint Anne's relics by a 14-year-old deaf, dumb, and blind boy named John, as detailed in the letters between Charlemagne and then-Pope Adrien I in Rome.

Charlemagne garnered many more titles during his long and impressive reign — perhaps the most important in the history of the Western world. At the height of his rule, Charlemagne consolidated control over most of what we now call Western Europe. As protector of the Church, Charlemagne was crowned by Adrien's successor Pope Leo III on Christmas Day 800 AD as the first Holy Roman Emperor.

You can find lots more histories
on the Relativity Research page
and in the family tree itself.


If you haven't visited this website in a while,
you can find out about the latest updates
by clicking on What's New.

John Howland John Howland saved from drowning (click photo for more info).

John Howland: Mayflower Pilgrim

It's a good thing for the 2+ million descendants of John Howland (circa 1592–1673) that he survived his fall overboard on the voyage of the Mayflower in 1620 that brought him and fellow Pilgrims to Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts. Our sister-in-law Stacey Ann (née Walters) Weaver and two of her and Sharon (née Weaver) Vitter's 2nd cousins are his 9th great granddaughters. Here's a chart depicting Stacey's lineage. (It's the same chart you'd get by going to John Howland's page, selecting the "Relationships" tab, choosing Stacey Walters as Person 2, and clicking on the "Calculate" button.)

Along with Stacey and her second cousins, other direct descendants of John Howland include former U. S. presidents Franklin Roosevelt, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush; Teddy Roosevelt's first and second wives; vice presidential candidates Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. and Sarah Palin; U.S. Attorney General and Supreme Court justice Robert H. Jackson; pediatrician and author Benjamin Spock; poets Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; actors Humphrey Bogart, John Lithgow, Christopher Lloyd, William H. Macy, Anthony Perkins, the Baldwin brothers (Alec, Daniel, William, and Stephen), and Chevy Chase; singer/songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter; and Mormon founder Joseph Smith Jr. and his wife Emma Hale. An impressive group! They are all roughly 8th, 9th, or 10th cousins to one another.

John Howland's onboard accident occurred during a stormy time at sea when the passengers were confined to the ship's hull for safety's sake. John could no longer take the stench of staying indoors and ventured out for fresh air, but was promptly tossed overboard by the boat's rocking. By future Governor William Bradford's account, John managed to catch hold of the topsail halyards that hung overboard, and even though he went several fathoms under water, he was hauled back by the same rope and brought onboard with a boat hook. It took a lot out of John, but he survived!

John was manservant to another Mayflower passenger John Carver, who became the first governor of the colony, though he died a few months later. John Howland's future wife Elizabeth Rogers Tilley (Stacey Weaver's 9th great grandmother, 1607–1687) was also aboard with her brother Robert, parents John and Joan Rogers (née Hurst) Tilley, and uncle and aunt Edward and Ann (née Cooper) Tilley. The older generation of Tilleys died shortly after arriving in America. Elizabeth was said to have became smitten with John Howland following his rescue at sea, and though now an orphan, she remained in America and eventually married John.

The Pilgrims on the Mayflower endured the most harsh of pandemics, which continued after they landed: Half of the Mayflower's 104 passengers perished from disease during the first year, setting the stage for the first Thanksgiving in the autumn of 1621 when things stabilized. John and Elizabeth Howland lived long and healthy lives (each about 80 years) and had 10 children together. John has the distinction of being the last male to die among the original pilgrims on the Mayflower. (That fact is pretty impressive, given that he was almost the first to die!)

John garnered an upstanding reputation among Pilgrims and took on roles of increasing responsibility, including oversight of their Kennebec River trading post in Maine, where he also served with John Alden as magistrate. (John Alden, in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's epic poem The Courtship of Miles Standish, was the recipient of the famous line uttered by his future wife Priscilla: "Why don't you speak for yourself, John?")

On one sad day, rival traders led by John Hocking encroached upon their territory near the trading post. John Howland notified them that they should leave, but they refused. Howland then sent Moses Talbott and three others to cut the cables of the other group's canoe, but Hocking returned armed and threatened the men. Howland pleaded with Hocking not to shoot his men but instead to turn his aim upon him as their commander; however, Hocking refused to listen and shot Talbott in the head at point blank range. Before Hocking could get another shot off, one of Howland's crew promptly shot Hocking dead, and the rest of the rival group fled. A trial ensued for the two killings, and Howland and his men were exonerated for self defense.

Such was life on the wild frontier of colonial America!


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Getting Started

You can look up people in the family tree via the Search bar above; use maiden names for females. Or click on the other menus and links at the very top or bottom of this page.

There is also a "Surname cloud" of last names on the home page that you can click on to see all the people in the family tree with that name.

When you navigate to someone's page in the family tree, you'll see several display options at the top of the page: The "Individual" tab (furthest left) gives a detailed view. Try some other tabs ("Ancestors," "Descendants," "Timeline," and "Family") for different views.

And click on the "Relationship" tab on someone's page to see graphically how that person is related to another person of interest (or to you if you're in the tree!). Just fill in the name of the other person of interest under "Person 2" and click "Calculate." For examples, see the lineages for Charlemagne and John Howland shown in the histories about them on the home page. A faster text-only alternative is to click on the down-arrow in the person's "Relationship" row; you may first need to set the "anchor" to be the other person of interest.

Don't miss the histories on the Relativity Research page.

Explore and have fun!


Here's a graphical illustration of the genealogical terminology we use on this website, such as "39th great grandfather," "grandaunt," "great grandnephew," and "2nd cousin 4x removed" (where "x" stands for "times").

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