The French Connection
6/1/2001
Vive la French roots! If you have ancestors who came from France, follow these six steps to get started tracing them and discovering your French heritage.
You can see the French influence on America every time you go to McDonald's. But it's not just “potatoes fried in the French manner” (as they were dubbed by that famous Francophile, Thomas Jefferson, who brought us French fries) or even quiche and omelets — French footprints are all over, maybe even in your ancestry.

After all, the French were among the first explorers of North America. French colonists and their Native American allies waged war on English settlers for most of the 18th century, and if the French and Indian War had gone differently, we might all be parlez-vous-ing Francais. If not for the French supplying much of the arms and munitions used by the Continental Army, our own Revolution might have gone differently. And the Louisiana Purchase from the French doubled the size of the United States.

Think about how many commonly used phrases — deja vu, carte blanche, prix fix — are of French origin. The French gave us places like St. Louis and Detroit. Even the Statue of Liberty is a French immigrant.