J.K. Rowling, WW2, the Franco-Prussian War

Discussion in 'Biographies' started by Valkyrie, Oct 15, 2015.

  1. Valkyrie

    Valkyrie New Member

    A while back, I watched an episode of Who Do You Think You Are? It's a documentary series that traces the family tree of celebrities. J.K. Rowling, author of the phenomenally successful Harry Potter series, knew that she would be exploring her French roots and cultural claims to that as her mother's maiden name was Volant when she agreed to have the historians help her in one episode.

    By the end of that episode, she noted a family legacy of being in exactly the wrong place when war broke out. Her grandfather patrolled the highways of France, part of a troop of men above the age of 35 who only had ten days training because they were not supposed to engage in combat ever...at that point, in what was supposed to be a peaceful task, of course, they were ambushed by enemy forces.

    Even further back, Rowling's great-grandmother had lived in a sleepy agricultural town in Alsace. They were farmers, but because it was on the border of France and Germany during the Franco-Prussian war, the whole town was essentially taken hostage and everybody's citizenship changed at bayonet-point. So, technically, very technically, Rowling also had German ancestry.

    It makes me wonder how many of each of our own ancestors had survived battles that they weren't warned about. Of course, few of us might get a television episode about it with professional historians scouting backup archives, but perhaps even if the documentation is lost there are family histories that get passed on. That's legacy, too.

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