The Official Website of the Surname French

Last Updated by Mara French on 4/6/08. Back to FFA Home Page.

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The French Family Association began in 1984 and the staff produced 4 newsletters yearly. Our strategies have changed because of the high cost of printing and postage, but most importantly, the internet has changed the world and it seems like the best way to reach thousands of people. This also gives us more time to do research because there will be no accounting procedures, printing costs, address updates, collating, mailings, or money involved.

The newsletter, the Frenchline, was produced between 1984-1998, right after I published a book on my direct French line which I had been working on for 20 years. When I was 20, I applied for a job which required a top-secret security clearance, at which time my parents told me about all my relatives in the East. I became very fascinated with the idea of visiting these unknown relatives since our immediate family was the only French family who moved out west. After donating a copy of my book to the Albany library in New York, I received many requests for further research; hence, the start of the newsletter. The newsletter began with 5 subscribers, had 100 within the first 6 months, and over 1,000 by the end of its run. At that time, I wasnt able to put something in the newsletter to please all the members, and the accounting chores became horrendous. When my mother became ill in 1998, I stopped the newsletter and stayed with her until she passed away on Christmas Eve of 2004. Now Im retired, Ive moved to a small village in the Sierra Foothills of California, and genealogy and the French family are my passion.

You may wonder how the 4 original staff members got together in 1984. I produced the newsletter. Nancy Dodge was one of my subscribers. She read 2 ads in separate magazines about two men (Roland Rhoades and Art Westneat) who wanted to start a French Family Association. Nancy put the 3 of us in contact with each another, and we began right away. Roland found a wealth of French data stored in boxes in the basement of the New Hampshire Historical Library in Concord. He got permission to have this material from Harry Dana French copied, and sent it to Art, who in turn wrote a Basic program to organize the data. That was before there were genealogical programs. Mara handled the newsletter and Nancy answered queries.

Please see our Mission Statement for our goals. Thanks go to all the contributors who have helped put this website together and make it beneficial to the Frenches of the United States, and probably to the world.

Regards,
Mara French