William Herzkey Tombow
William Herzkey Tombow
My Family Tree, by Patrick Tombeau, PhD White Feather
White Feather

  Toussaint LaVoy's log cabin in South Dakota (c. 1890)

About This Family Tree Project

This project consists of seven interconnecting family trees. There is one ascending family tree tracking down about 80-85% of the ancestors of Patrick LaVoy Tombeau and his siblings, Jerry Harvey Tambeau, Anne Elizabeth Tambeau Travis and Lucille Theresa Tambeau McMurtrie to their European origins.

The ascending family tree’s most distant ancestors include Charlemagne, Holy Roman Emperor of the West (743-814 AD) and five generations beyond him to our earliest known ancestor, St. Arnulf, Bishop of Metz, who was born 13 August 582 AD and died on 18 July 643. We also descend from the 7th Century Saints Itta and Begga. All are ancestors of the third Lord DuSault’s wife, Madeleine-Jacquet Turcot.

In addition there are six descending family trees tracing the descendants of six immigrant ancestral couples to present times (2010). It has been an ongoing project for 50 years and relies for its growth on emails sent to me with corrections and additions.

The six descending family trees are as follows:

1. Tombeau/Tambeau/Tambo/Tombo/Tombow/Tombos Family tree. The many spellings of the family name are attributed to the fact that every son for six generations in my line has spelled the family name differently than his father. By oral tradition this family is of “Black Dutch” descent which no doubt references an ethnic strain whose members have dark hair and brown eyes as opposed to the Hans Brinker blond and blue-eyed genetic strain in the Dutch. Further clues to our ancestry come from a 2007 analysis of the “Y” chromosome of Patrick L. Tombeau. This genetic material is transmitted with very little variation from father to son for thousands of years. The analysis was performed by the Genographic Project of the National Geographic Society. The findings were consistent with profiles of males found in the Province of Groningen, The Netherlands. Groningen is located on the Dutch German border. Our immigrant ancestor, William Tombos, came to America from the Netherlands in 1802 at the age of 14 and settled in the German-speaking area of Lancaster, PA. Further, William Tombos and his early descendants married into German, families. Additional details on this “Y” chromosome analysis can be found in the notes section of Patrick LaVoy Tombeau’s entry.

The name Tombos itself is also a clue. In Groningen, a last name ending in an “s” is called a patronymic name, a name derived from one’s father’s first name. Thus William Tombos was the son of a man named Tombo.

Genealogical work on this family was the result of the joint effort of four distant cousins: Patrick L. Tombeau of Saline, MI; Dorothy Tombow Boulware of Argyle Texas; Irene Westphal of Marshalltown, MN; and Shirley Ahern of Anaheim, California.

2. The family of DuSault/Dusseau/Duso is our second descending family tree. This family is of French Canadian origins. It is the family of my mother, Lucille Mary Cecelia Dusseau. Several distantly related branches of this family came to settle in the Erie, Monroe County, MI, area. The founding ancestor of all of these branches was Toussaint Toupin from Normandy, France, who settled near Quebec, Canada, in the mid 1600’s. This family soon distinguished itself by becoming part of the nobility of Canada, dropping the family name Toupin for DuSault, after their estate of DuSault aux Puces, the inelegant translation of which is Flea Falls, reflecting the humble origins of the five Lords DuSault de Belair who ruled their ancestral estate and its share croppers. Their American descendants corrupted the name to the sound-a-likes Dusseau and Duso.

After five generations of dividing the estate among the Lords and their heirs, in 1789 Jean Baptiste III, fifth Lord DuSault sold his land and title to an estate that was now too small to support a family. It is the fifth Lord DuSault’s grandson, Jean Baptiste DuSault IV who with his wife Tarcile LaForest and their children came by covered wagon from NY in the mid 1800’s to settle in Erie, MI. One of their sons settled in Toledo, OH, while another son settled in Kawkawlin, near Bay City, MI. A third distantly related branch still resides in Erie, MI.

3. The de la Voye/Lavoie/LaVoy/Lavoy Family, our third descending tree, is also of French Canadian Origin and is the family of my maternal grandmother, Gertrude Sarah LaVoy.

The name LaVoy was originally de la Voye, loosely translated as “road side dweller”. Our immigrant ancestor to the new world was Rene de la Voye, Jr. who settled near Quebec in the mid 1600’s. He came from the cathedral parish of Saint-Maclou, Rouen, Normandy, France. In the 1400’s St Joan of Arc was burned at the stake as a heretic in this town.

In Quebec and surrounding areas this name is as common as “Smith” is in our country.

Our ancestor was a stone mason. His fifth generation descendant, Francois Lavoie II, left his birthplace of Saint-Philippe-de-la-Prairie, south of Montreal, around 1808, and settled in the Detroit area where he married his half-Potawatomi Indian wife, White Feather, also known as Marie Gouin. (Her portrait can be seen in the upper right corner of this page.) They settled in Monroe County at about this time near South Dixie and Dean Roads. Prior to his marriage he was a coureur du bois, or hunter and trapper, in the Temperance, MI, area. Although many branches of the LaVoy family have come to America, our branch may be the oldest and is certainly the largest. The LaVoy Family tree is also the largest by far of the six descending family trees.

4. The Jarvis/Jarva/Gervais family, our fourth descending tree, is also of French Canadian origin and is the maiden name of my maternal grandfather’s mother, Matilda Jarvis. The founder of the family in Canada was a Parisian named Mathieu Gervais who came to Canada in the late 1600’s from Saint-Maur-des-Fosse parish near Paris. He married in 1676. His fifth generation descendant, Joseph Gervais II came with his wife Sophie LaMarre and children and settled in Berlin Township, Monroe County, MI, in 1848.

5. The Tremblay/Trombley Family comprises our fifth descending family tree. It is also of French Canadian origin. My maternal grandfather’s maternal grandmother was Mary Trombley. The family was founded by Pierre Tremblay who came from Rondonnay, France. The name can be traced back to Gervais du Tremblay in the 1400’s in Rondonnay, where the family appears to be hereditary owners of an iron works over the centuries. In the New World Trombley is the most common of French Canadian names. Our U.S. immigrant ancestor, Jean Baptiste Trombley came to northern Monroe County, MI, in about 1830. His first wife died, leaving him with two sons. He married a second time and this marriage produced several children, so that there are two branches of the Trombley Family in Monroe County based on his wives.

6. The Fitzsimmons family forms the sixth descending tree. My paternal grandmother was Elizabeth Fitzsimmons. The name Fitzsimmons indicates the family is descended from a Norman lord named Simon who invaded Ireland in the Middle Ages. (“Fitz” is a corruption of the French “fils” for son.) Our immigrant ancestor was Elizabeth’s father, Peter Fitsimmons, Sr. He immigrated in about 1887 to Scranton, PA, with his oldest son William and they worked in the coal mines to gain money for the passage of his wife and younger children. He repeatedly told my father that “We are from County Mayo, across the River Moy from county Sligo.” The closest town to that area is Bellina, Ireland.

At the age of 19, I started this family tree project when I wrote to my great aunt Julia Adelaide LaVoy Deszell on August 18, 1958, asking for information abou tthe LaVoy family. Now on July 16, 2014, having worked on the tree for 55 years, 10 months, and 28 days, I am terminating this project as I can no longer continue it at the age of 75 years using current technology. I have turned its contents over to Ancestry.com. Now it's your turn.

Patrick LaVoy Tombeau


Our Immigrant Ancestors

feature 1 William Tombos. Progenitor of the Tombos/Tombow/Tambeau families immigrated to American in 1802.

feature 2 Toussaint Toupin. The First Lord DuSault and first French-Canadian ancestor of the Dusseau family.

feature 3 Rene de la Voye, Jr. Our LaVoy ancestor immigrated from Rouen, France to Quebec in the 1650's.

feature 4 Mathieu Gervais. Known also by his nickname "La Parisien," this Jarvis ancestor immigrated from Paris to Quebec in the early 18th century.

feature 4 Pierre Tremblay. Arrived in Quebec in August, 1647 from Perche, France. Ancestor of our modern Trombley family.

feature 4 Peter Fitzsimmons, Sr. Our Irish ancestor came to New York from County Mayo, Ireland in 1887.

Contact Us

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