Loulabelle’s FrancoFiles

Going back in time... one Aussie discovers her French history.

April 23, 2023 Emily Lawrence Gazal Season 3 Episode 108
Loulabelle’s FrancoFiles
Going back in time... one Aussie discovers her French history.
Show Notes

A number of years ago Emily Lawrence Gazal brought her family from Bondi in Sydney Australia to live in Chatou 20ish minutes from the centre of Paris. 

Emily knew her great grandmother was French but her grandmother would tell her no more. She didn't really know the story further down that branch of her family tree. Interestingly the other branches for Emily are all English speaking, which is sometimes the way. As English-speaking Australians, we often know more about the anglophone history than the non-English speaking.

Emily's grandmother's name was Lorraine so Emily took a guess that the family was from the Alsace-Lorraine area and may have named her after the region they were originally from. Emily was right and commenced a journey of uncovering the secrets of her family history her grandmother had kept hidden. I was fascinated to chat to Emily about this journey of discovery. 

After checking out the situation on Ancestry.com where nothing was evident, she wrote to the Department of Births, Deaths and Marriages in New South Wales and received a surname. She also got a naturalisation certificate. Emily then went on a French ancestry website and found a similar name and putting 2 and 2 together, worked out that her great great grandfather was Jewish and when moving from France to Australia changed the family name slightly.

Emily ended up visiting the village in Alsace that her family came from, Ribeauvillé. She met with an archivist there who did more research on her family and found out some details that were immense discoveries for Emily. It turned out that she had family, the siblings of her great great grandfather Vernon, who had been highly regarded in the community and others who were taken away to Auschwitz and killed. 

I love the importance Emily places on her French family history. Strengthening our ties with the past actually helps us learn more about ourselves. 

Emily still has questions, such as why did her grandmother hide her Jewishness? Emily now feels connected to the area they were from as well as feeling connected to the French Jews she encounters.

Louise Prichard is the host of the Loulabelle's FrancoFiles podcast.
Other Loulabelle's links:
FrancoFile Fix on YouTube
Loulabelle's FrancoFiles Spotify Playlist
Loulabelle's FrancoFiles Instagram
Loulabelle's FrancoFiles website