Catalyntje’s Brave New World

The Arms of de Rapelje

Catalyntje’s Brave New World is one for the ladies, especially for the next time a shopping trip to The Big Apple NY is planned. In fact, it is really the chapter of this collection that inspired my interest in family history, some 35 years ago. My American mother, Barbara Linington Lyons, had told me about our ancestor’s The Rapeljes who had been the earliest European settlers in North America in 1623. It’s hardly surprising that a little published book with all the lineage from The Rapeljes of 1623 to me and my family of today might inspire me; it would, I suggest, inspire anyone. Being a supposed descendant of the French noblemen Gaspard Colet de Rapalye of Rochelle in France may allow some of us to have aspirations, based on unexamined claims, of being descendants, too, of The Holy Roman Emperor Charlamange (Charles the Great, King of the Franks – 742 –  814)  and no lesser an English monarch than William the Conqueror (1027 – 1087). Please, if we are related, don’t get too carried away with this revelation, family history is not about this, I argue, and having accidentally drawn blood many times during my life I can assure you that mine is red not blue!

Family Crests may need an explanatory chapter, eventually, but in the meantime it may be worth mentioning that Family Crests are actually individual to a person and not passed down to descendants, although sometimes illusions of some perceived grandeur make us attracted to their use. Crests were actually the ‘colours and mark’ of an individual and his kinsmen on the battlefield and I think, except when it comes to Premier League Football, we have little need of these today.

Catalyntje’s Brave New World is about the hardships, challenges, and the sheer endurance of the Early Settlers of America. The story inspired me and I don’t think the family crest was flying above the hut made of bark with a dirt floor where Catalyntje’s daughter Sarah de Rapelje was born in 1625; she was the first child born to Europeans in the New World… more