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Bienvenue and welcome to the genealogy website of the Vitter-St. Raymond-Artigues-Ferran-Hofeline-Dureau-Cougot-Péré-Weaver-Kohlenberg-Bendorf-Grimes-Bell-Mayberry-Wren-Nicolay Family! (That's quite a mouthful!)

Your hosts are Jeffrey Scott "Jeff" Vitter and Sharon Louise (née Weaver) Vitter. Our family tree (updated 18 October 2021) includes source information, photos, and records for 68,472 individuals — some actually related to us ;-)

See the note on the right (or down below on mobile devices) for how to get started and explore this site.

For privacy reasons, no personal information about living individuals is shown in the public version of the family tree (except for their names and family, unless they request otherwise). We welcome information you can send us for the family tree, the more detailed the better.

Enjoy your visit to vitter.org!

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guestbook imageWe'd like to hear from you. To contact us, please sign our guest book and leave your comments or suggestions. We take a research-centric approach and value your input. We are always interested in new discoveries, across the gamut from newly born to distant relatives. We welcome any detailed information you can send us.

The following two histories — one on Charlemagne and the other about Pilgrim John Howland — are a short preview to whet your appetite for what you'll find on the Relativity Research webpage, which delves into over two dozen vignettes about Vitter and Weaver relatives as well as tantalizing open questions yet to resolve. Check 'em out!

Charlemagne Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne (click for more info).

Charlemagne and the EU

Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne (748 AD–814 AD) was ahead of his time. Known generally as the "Father of Europe," he is perhaps the patron saint of the very notion of "European Union" that politicians in Europe are working so hard to sustain. In fact, he literally almost was a saint — or more precisely was for a short time — but his canonization in the year 1165 AD by Antipope Paschal III was overturned 14 years later at the Third Lateran Council. However, his beatification still stands.

We've included a history of Charlemagne here because he's sort of a patron saint of this website as well — bringing together multiple cultures and lands into one vibrant union.

And we have a direct connection to him: Through her research, Sharon Vitter unearthed that Charlemagne is Jeff Vitter's 39th great grandfather! Often the hard task in tracing generations is to identify the ancestor who emigrated across the ocean and to show that it was the same person on both sides of the ocean. Or if there is nobility in the lineage, the difficult part can be confirming the connection to the most recent ancestor holding a title; thereafter older generations of nobility are typically recorded in manuscripts. In our case, we have extensive family and civil records that document the immigrants on both sides of the Atlantic, and we have clear documentation of the Pujol ancestors as sieurs and seigneurs (lords) holding landed titles in the Tarn department of southwestern France. Combinatorial models and DNA analysis suggest that many people of European ancestry may be descendants of Charlemagne. But at least we know all the names of the ancestors in Jeff's direct lineage!

Here's a graphical listing of Jeff's direct lineage to Charlemagne. (It's the same chart you'd get by going to Charlemagne's page, selecting the "Connections" tab, choosing Jeff Vitter as Person 2, and clicking on the "Search" button.) Jeff's lineage extends even further back to the Gallo-Roman era. Here are some links that provide listings of several kings and queens as well as cannonized saints and bishops in Jeff and Sharon's family tree! If you want to learn the lingo we use on this website, such as "39th great grandfather" or cousins "removed," here's a helpful link to a nice explanation of genealogical terminology.

Charlemagne is "claimed" by both the French and Germans as one of their own, but in actuality, he was truly European. As shown in the photo, his garments and heraldry include the French Fleur de Lys (lily flower), the German Reichsadler (imperial eagle), and symbols of the Church. Each year, the Charlemagne Prize is awarded annually in his hometown of Aachen, Germany to recognize work done to advance European unification.

Charlemagne's father Pépin le Bref was very successful as King of the Franks — surpassed only by Charlemagne himself. When Pépin le Bref died in 768 AD, Charlemagne and his brother Carloman assumed co-rulership, though not amiably. In the following year, without Carloman's help, Charlemagne squelched an uprising of the Aquitaines and Gascons in what is now southwestern France, where most of Jeff's ancestors hail from. Carloman died suddenly two years later, and Charlemagne assumed sole control.

Charlemagne garnered many more titles during his long and impressive reign — perhaps the most important in the history of the Western world. At the height of his rule, Charlemagne consolidated control over most of what we now call Western Europe. As protector of the Church, he was crowned by Pope Leo III on Christmas Day, 800 AD as the Holy Roman Emperor.

You can find lots more histories
on the Relativity Research page
and in the family tree itself.


Wedding Congrats to …

… Scott & Lindsay (née Sena) Vitter
… Cameron & Mary (née Schott) Vitter
… Nate & Molly (née Manger) Hoover
… Quenton & Kortni (née Harp) Landry

Newborn Congrats to …

… Max & Abby (née Apicella) Jenkins: Madison Margaret
… Nick & Lizzie (née RePass) Vitter: twins Samuel RePass & Frederick Wilke
… Al IV & Allison (née Simon) Vitter: Archer Joseph
… Paul & Annie (née Artigues) Seaton: Faustine Patrice
… Kurt & Cace (née McDowell) Weaver: Bennett Eli
… Ross & Sara (née Zielinski) Jenkins: Tatum Jane
… Brad & Nicole (née Samii) Sena: Theodore Rudd

John Howland John Howland saved from drowning (click for more info).

John Howland: Mayflower Pilgrim

It's a good thing for John Howland's 2+ million descendants in the USA that he survived his fall overboard on the voyage of the Mayflower in 1620 that brought him and fellow Pilgrims to Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts. Our sister-in-law Stacey Ann (née Walters) Weaver and Sharon (née Weaver) Vitter's 2nd cousin Daleen (née Walters) Rybolt Williams are his 9th great granddaughters. Here's a chart depicting Stacey's lineage. (It's the same chart you'd get by going to John Howland's page, selecting the "Connections" tab, choosing Stacey Walters as Person 2, and clicking on the "Search" button.)

Along with Stacey and Daleen, other direct descendants of John Howland include former U. S. presidents Franklin Roosevelt, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush; Teddy Roosevelt's first and second wives; vice presidential candidates Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. and Sarah Palin; U.S. Attorney General and Supreme Court justice Robert H. Jackson; pediatrician and author Benjamin Spock; poets Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; actors Humphrey Bogart, John Lithgow, Christopher Lloyd, William H. Macy, Anthony Perkins, the Baldwin brothers (Alec, Daniel, William, and Stephen), and Chevy Chase; singer/songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter; and Mormon founder Joseph Smith Jr. and his wife Emma Hale. An impressive group! They are all roughly 8th, 9th, or 10th cousins to one another.

John Howland's onboard accident occurred during a stormy time at sea when the passengers were confined to the ship's hull for safety's sake. John could no longer take the stench of staying indoors and ventured out for fresh air, but was promptly tossed overboard by the boat's rocking. By future Governor William Bradford's account, John managed to catch hold of the topsail halyards that hung overboard, and even though he went several fathoms under water, he was hauled back by the same rope and brought onboard with a boat hook. It took a lot out of John, but he survived!

John was manservant to another Mayflower passenger John Carver, who became the first governor of the colony, though he died a few months later. John Howland's future wife Elizabeth Rogers Tilley (Stacey Weaver's 9th great grandmother, 1607–1687) was also aboard with her brother Robert, parents John and Joan Rogers (née Hurst) Tilley, and uncle and aunt Edward and Ann (née Cooper) Tilley. The older generation of Tilleys died shortly after arriving in America. Elizabeth was said to have became smitten with John Howland following his rescue at sea, and though now an orphan, she remained in America and eventually married John.

The Pilgrims on the Mayflower endured the most harsh of pandemics, which continued after they landed: Half of the Mayflower's 104 passengers perished from disease during the first year, setting the stage for the first Thanksgiving in the autumn of 1621 when things stabilized. John and Elizabeth Howland lived long and healthy lives (each about 80 years) and had 10 children together. John has the distinction of being the last male to die among the original pilgrims on the Mayflower. (That fact is pretty impressive, given that he was almost the first to die!)

John garnered an upstanding reputation among Pilgrims and took on roles of increasing responsibility, including oversight of their Kennebec River trading post in Maine, where he also served with John Alden as magistrate. (John Alden, in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's classic poem The Courtship of Miles Standish, was the recipient of the famous line uttered by his future wife Priscilla: Why don't you speak for yourself, John?)

On one sad day, rival traders led by John Hocking encroached upon their territory near the trading post. John Howland notified them that they should leave, but they refused. Howland then sent Moses Talbott and three others to cut the cables of the other group's canoe, but Hocking returned armed and threatened the men. Howland pleaded with Hocking not to shoot his men but instead to turn his aim upon him as their commander; however, Hocking refused to listen and shot Talbott in the head at point blank range. Before Hocking could get another shot off, one of Howland's crew promptly shot Hocking dead, and the rest of the rival group fled. A trial ensued for the two killings, and Howland and his men were exonerated for self defense.

Such was life on the wild frontier of colonial America!

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How to Get Started

You can look up people in the family tree via the Search bar above; use maiden names for females. Or click on the other menus and links at the top or bottom of this page.

When you navigate to someone's page in the family tree, you'll see several display options at the top of the page: The "Individual" tab (furthest left) gives a detailed view. Try some other tabs ("Ancestors," "Descendants," "Timeline," and "Family") for different views.

And click on the "Connections" tab to see how that person is related to other people in the tree (including you if you're in the tree!). See the Charlemagne and John Howland histories on this page for examples.

Don't miss the histories on the Relativity Research page.

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