MyHeritage’s acquisition of Filae and subsequent release of millions of exclusive records from France has been game-changing for people searching for their French roots… and even some who don’t even have family from France.
Take, for example, the case of Petra from Czechia: she discovered, thanks to the records from France, that her great-great-grandmother’s brother became a citizen of France after fighting there in World War I.
When Petra was a young girl, she found a letter and an old photo of a soldier among her recently deceased great-grandmother’s possessions. “All I knew was that this man was her uncle named Vit Blažek, as this was written in the letter,” says Petra. She was intrigued: the letter was written and sent from France in 1921, and she learned that Vit was the owner or manager of a restaurant in Cognac.
Then, for the next 20 years, she found out nothing new.
“During the pandemic, I started to search for my ancestors very intensively,” says Petra. She searched through many registers and uncovered the histories of around 50 people from her great-grandmother’s side of the family. Through this work, she was able to find out exactly how Vit Blažek was related to her and connect him to her family tree.
“There comes the big help of the MyHeritage Photo Enhancer,” she says. Using the Photo Enhancer, she was able to look more closely at Vit’s uniform. “This was a French uniform with the number 22 on the collar,” she says. “It led me to the idea that Vit was probably a member of the Czech foreign legions.”
Petra is not the only person in her family who is interested in family history research. She says her wonderful children are very supportive of her research and that it brings her real joy to share all her results with them. Her son, Lukas, mentioned something about her findings to a classmate who is interested in the topic of Czech foreign legionnaires during World War I. This classmate pointed Petra to the website of the Military Historical Archive, where they were able to find Vit’s military records: he was a member of the 23rd Czechoslovakian Legion in France.
“Since I am not a French speaker, it was hard for me to translate the soldier’s card,” says Petra. “But now I know that he was in the hospital in Paris, most likely injured. Then he was reassigned to guard a post office in Bordeaux, and then to Cognac. He was discharged in 1919.”
Petra doesn’t know how Vit ended up in France, but she guesses that it was through the Russian frontline. She still wants to find out how he joined the war effort. “There are still so many facts to find and secrets to unmask, but I keep searching!”
Last year, thanks to the newly added French records on MyHeritage, she feels a little bit closer. “Thanks to the French record collection, I discovered that Vit became a French citizen in 1924,” she says. “I would really be so thankful to find any of his descendants in France!”
Petra’s story goes to prove that even if your family isn’t from France, you just might discover hidden treasures in our vast collection of French records! Search our French collections today and find out.
The post I Uncovered My War Veteran Ancestor’s Journey in the French Records on MyHeritage appeared first on MyHeritage Blog.
Source: My Heritage