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False Start
8/1/2001
Was Detroit's historical hero a genealogical fraud?

Was Detroit's historical hero a genealogical fraud? Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, the city's founder, claimed to come from a noble family in southern France. According to Cadillac's marriage certificate, his father was a member of the Toulouse Parliament and his mother was descended from the aristocratic Malenfant family.

But Cadillac apparently forged his family origins. The Detroit Free Press recently exposed Cadillac's heritage hoax: As it turns out, Cadillac — ne Antoine Laumet — was actually a commoner. So was his mom. His dad was a local judge, not a member of parliament. Cadillac fabricated the coat of arms that the Cadillac car company later adopted.

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