Thursday, August 5, 2010

Mystery #12: Lazier (Lasure) Legends

Many years ago, Mom gave me her views on our ancestral lineages via paper and conversation. One page was labeled "the Leisur/LaSure Family." She stated that her mother said her father (Barney) "came to this country without shoes. His father James had nothing, wanted nothing, except escape from the wars and economic chaos of France. Mom stated that James, a widower, migrated from Normandy into Canada, possibly settling in Nova Scotia first before migrating to New Jersey around 1811 and that James was married twice." Further written family history claims that he was a Huguenot. Another family report stated that James, a brother Henry and sons Baronett and Catherine, all born in France, migrated between 1851 and 1853.

With extensive, still continuing research, the truth is emerging. The Huguenot migration from France took place much earlier, starting during the late 16th century and continuing into the early 18th century as French Calvinists fled persecution. They migrated to places throughout the western world that were friendly to emigrating Protestants.

"The Commemorative Biographical Record of Northeastern Pennsylvania," a 'mug' book published in the late 1890s, includes a biographical sketch of Baronett (Barney) Lasure. "Baronett J. Lasure was born September 27, 1840 in Sussex County, New Jersey, a son of Henry and Rachel (Shurt) Lasure, who were born, reared and married in that State. The paternal grandfather, James Lasure, was a native of France, and on his emigration to America located in New Jersey, where his death occurred. Besides the father of our subject, his children were Joseph, a resident of Owego, N.Y. and Jacob and Mrs. Eliza Talmage, both of New Jersey." The above statement appears to be mostly true.

In the 1830 US Census, James "Lasher" was between 50 and 60 years old, therefore born sometime between 1770 and 1780 (long after the Huguenot migration). In 1830 he was living in Vernon, Sussex County, New Jersey. He could not have been the immigrant. Some documentation has been found and is being examined that place James' birth in Bergen County, New Jersey. This proved to be a different James, who moved to Canada. Later evidence points to James being born in Hamburg, Sussex County, NJ.

James lived in Vernon until his death sometime before the 1850 census enumeration date. In that census record, his offspring were Joseph, Eliza, Henry and Jacob all born between 1807 and 1818 in New Jersey.

Unfortunately, James' tenure in Sussex County is difficult to verify since the 1790-1820 census records for New Jersey were destroyed. Later census records for his children show their births in New Jersey.

As one can see, there is usually some grain of truth in family stories. The challenge is to verify what is fact and what is legend.

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