Family From Normandy, France, Migrated to America in 1600s

Couple planning a trip to France to visit distant relatives.

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My dad's family originated in Normandy, France. From there they migrated to England, where they shortened their name from "du Jeanes" to the simpler form "Janes."

The first of my ancestors, William Janes, came to America in 1637. Settling in Connecticut, he continued to be a schoolteacher.

By the early 1700s, several of my ancestors had left Connecticut and settled in Pennsylvania. Among these was a man also named William Janes, his wife, Hannah, and their three children, a 12-year-old girl, a 7-year-old boy, and a new baby son.

One day when William was away getting supplies, Indians attacked his family. When he returned, he found all three children dead. The two oldest had been scalped, the baby dashed against a tree. Hannah, also scalped, had been left for dead. Amazingly, she survived and bore her husband four more children.

Now, after nearly 300 years, my husband and I are anticipating a trip to France. Thanks to help from French friends-whom we talk with regularly via amateur radio-and my husband's ability to speak a little of the language, the possibility of being able to locate some of my distant relatives is exciting.

Mary M. Meyers
Aurora, Missouri


Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.