Biography of Matthew Fontaine Maury by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

Did you know that that National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency published a tribute biography about Matthew Fontaine Maury? This 74 page book was written by Howard J. Cohen of the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (now renamed National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency), a U.S. Department of Defense agency responsible for managing and providing imagery and geospatial information for diverse military, civil, and international needs. The book includes a summary of tributes to Maury, including photographs of Maury, buildings, ships, and places that carry Maury’s name, and provides a brief bibliography. A first edition was published in 2003, this more comprehensive version was published in 2006 by the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, then in Bethesda, Maryland.

As stated in the introduction of the booklet,

“He pioneered methodology and analysis in a broad spectrum of areas nearly 100 years before we coined “tradecraft.” Today, NGA and its partners throughout the National System for Geospatial Intelligence (NSG) are the stewards of the tradecraft borne out of his legacy and provide the nation with a critical capability—geospatial intelligence (GEOINT). Analysts continue to build on his methods and practices by discovering and exploiting new sources of information, leveraging deep intellectual capital and integrating innovative practices and technology. The result is quality GEOINT that precisely describes, assesses, and visually depicts spatial information, physical features, and geographically-referenced activities on the Earth. Analytical tradecraft is the cornerstone of GEOINT’s substantial contributions to the nation. NGA and NSG analysts currently support America’s decision makers in national security policy, international obligations, intelligence activities, and military operations. In the tradition of Maury and his fellow pathfinders, the dedicated analytical workforce continues to strive for high standards and constant innovation, pushing the limits of the tools and technology available to discover, exploit, and analyze source information. In all of our mapping and charting work, we take inspiration from the excellence of Matthew Fontaine Maury as we strive to ‘Know the Earth – Show the Way.’”

The booklet is dedicated to the late Captain James Maury Werth, U.S. Navy (retired), great-grandson of Matthew Fontaine Maury and, following in Maury’s footsteps, Superintendent of the U.S. Naval Observatory from 1968 to 1972. Captain Werth was a long-time member of our Society.

Maury DNA Study

The results are in for both our two participants in the Morey Maury DNA study! The participants are male descendants of the Reverend James Maury (1718-1769) and of Abram Fontaine (1731-1784), the two sons of Mary Ann Fontaine and Matthew Maury. The Y-DNA results list a unique number assigned to each of 37 strands of DNA that are uniquely passed from father to son to grandson and so forth, such that our test participants would have the same Y-DNA as ancestor Matthew Maury. The results for our participants are identified in the Paternal Ancestor Name column labeled “Matthew Maury (1686 France – 1755 Virginia)” and “Abram Maury.” The other results in the chart are for Morey descendants. The more strands that match between test participants, the more likely they share a common ancestor. Our participants have no close matches so thus far, there are no other study participants who descend from our Maury family.

At both the 2011 and 2012 annual meetings, the Society’s agreed pursuing the creation a Maury DNA study. In February 2015 we joined with a group of Morey researchers to form the Morey Maury DNA study.

Why did we want descendants from both sons to take the test? There is a 5 percent probability of a non-paternity issue; this probability is removed by testing descendants from two different sons of an early ancestor. As a reminder, we already participate in the Fountain/Fontaine study.

Documenting the Maury Y-DNA that passes through the direct male line largely unchanged would be a tremendous aid to other Maury family researchers who do not know as much about their origins. If they match or do not match our Maury family’s DNA, this would help researchers tailor their research.

The Fontaine Maury Society Grand Reunion in France – June 18-25, 2015

The Reformed Church Saintonge Océan in southwest France invited the Society to attend a dedication ceremony on June 20, 2015, in Saint-Palais-sur-Mer for the parish house renamed for the Reverend Jaques Fontaine (1603-1666). The area is rich in Fontaine history; the church has put together an excellent a week-long schedule of events to visit locations of importance to the Fontaine family, including a tour of the reformed churches part of the Saintonge Océan parish, family sites in Jaffe and Royan, la Tremblade from which the younger Jaques Fontaine sailed for England, La Rue du Roy the birthplace of Marie Chaillou, Jaques Fontaine`s wife and James Fontaine`s mother, and La Rochelle the safe haven for Huguenots.

The day of the dedication ceremony of the “Jacques Fontaine Protestant Center” in St. Palais-sur-Mer was a beautiful sunny day on the southwest coast of France when 40 members and friends of our Society joined with the parishioners, residents and political leaders in the extended Royan community to participate in the dedication ceremony to rename the parish house for the Reverend Jacques Fontaine (1603-1666).

The ceremony was led by Monique Chauvreau, the president of the Reformed Church-Saintonge Océan, who was joined by other speakers, including Dominique Bussereau, president of the County Council, Didier Quentin, Deputy Mayor of Royan, Claude Baudin, Mayor of Saint-Palais-sur-Mer, Marie-Pierre Quentin and Fabienne Aucouturier, departmental councilors, and Pastor Wolfram Steuernagel, one of our hosts for the full week of events. Two Society members presented our remarks to thank them for inviting our Society to join them in this dedication ceremony that honored our ancestor who was pastor of the United Church of Vaux and Royan from 1627 to 1666.

They explained that our Society bases its origins on the wishes expressed in the memoirs of Jacques Fontaine`s son, Jaques (1658-1728), who left this place 330 years earlier. Jaques wrote that he wished that all members of the family remain close through the ages. Our Society was founded on these wishes, with membership representing descendants of three of his four children, grandchildren of the Reverend Jacques Fontaine honored, who went to live in colonial Virginia – the Reverend Peter Fontaine, the Reverend Francis Fontaine, and Mary Ann Maury. They noted that our Society was represented at the ceremony by descendants of all three of these siblings.

They then read the benediction read at each Society annual meeting written by the Reverend Peter Fontaine and then closed with another quote from Jaques` memoirs:

“The examples of those from who we descend may encourage you to dedicate yourselves to the service of God, whom they worshiped at the risk of their lives. I hope you will continue to cling to the reformed religion for which they suffered so many hardships and trials of faith.”

After their prepared remarks, the speakers together lifted the veil covering the plaque with the new name of the parish house. The ceremony was followed by a reception and then followed by a luncheon hosted by the church.

See the Society`s Facebook page for literally thousands of photographs from the trip!

The week-long visit was filled with activities. Thirty-five members of our Society were welcomed by a reception hosted by the parish of Saintonge Océan on the first night of our arrival in Vaux-sur-Mer, France. The parishioners served us an incredible meal, the first of several during the course of our week-long visit. We sang “Amazing Grace” in French and English to bless our food, which was surely heard by and pleased both Jacques and his son Jaques Fontaine. Marie-Claire André Delhaye who had the vision for the dedication and invited Society members to join in the celebration, organized a tour for us and gifted each of us with her book, Vaux-sur-Mer: Vingt Siècles d`Histoire [20 Centuries of History]. In gratitude, the Society presented her a bowl from the White House which left her speechless, and presented framed photographs for our colonial Virginia churches served by Fontaine ministers. Several of the parishioners joined us on our tours.

Several of the locations we visited are mentioned in the memoirs. These included: Mus de Loup, the spot on the Seudre River where the Fontaine family embarked for England – the wood of Jaffe/Chatelard/Jenouille where Jaques purchased land and raised his family with the help of his second wife Marie Chaillou – La Rue au Roy, Marie`s birthplace, the citadel on Ile d‘Oleron where Jaques` brother Pierre was probably held as a prisoner in 1682– the house at 6 Rue du Port in La Rochelle where the family may have lived – Saumur and its Protestant Academy where Jaques was enrolled – two sites near Le Mans, Chahaignes and Sévilly where members of the family may have lived in the 16th century- the Cathedral of Le Mans which was pillaged in 1562 by Protestants, that included Jean de la Fontaine. The group toured the Protestant museum in La Rochelle where they learned about the siege of La Rochelle in 1627-28 ordered by Louis XIII and Cardinal Richelieu.

The group learned about the hardships that followed the Revocation of the Edict of Nante a period known as “The Desert” during which Protestants secretly endured. If one was caught attending worship, owning a Bible, or singing Psalms, men were sent to the galleys, women to a convent or a prison, or even killed. Ministers caught preaching were hanged. Our group visited a cemetery where a leading pastor, Pierre Dugas, is buried, and a meeting place in the woods where Protestants are recorded to have met in large numbers to worship despite the danger. In 1789 religious freedom was restored by the Declaration of the Rights of Man. French Protestant churches today are known as Temples.

The Society group had a number of wonderful meals and was amazed at the number of local dignitaries who met with us and support the Protestant community. The way the state and church work together in the west of France was heartening to see. Thanks to all the many pastors and the dear people of Charente-Maritime who made us feel at home.

Society members and their hosts at the Jacques Fontaine Protestant Center

Photographs courtesy of Susan Proffitt

See the Society`s Facebook page for literally thousands of photographs from the trip!

Foundation of Jaques Fontaine`s Home in County Cork, Ireland, Found!

Following the visit to France, a small group of Society members traveled to Ireland to visit family sites there. With the help of local historian Connie Murphy and his wife, they located the remains of Jaques Fontaine`s home near Castletownbere. The site, known locally as Fontaine`s Fort, is described in detail in the memoirs. Jaques had set up a fishing operation there but was attacked twice by French privateers, being taken prisoner and held as a hostage the second time. The present land owner excavated the site to uncover the foundation and some of the walls of the structure, an exciting discovery both for our family and for the local community. The Society will have a longer article for the Fall Newsletter following the meeting in Oxford. Visit the Society`s Facebook page to see many photographs taken in France and Ireland.

Historic Fontaine Farm & Civil War Battlefield Saved with Society Help!

In 1759 Peter Fontaine, Jr. (1724-1773) settled his young family on land he purchased near the forks of the Pamunky River in Hanover County, Virginia, to be closer to the family of his wife, Elizabeth Winston. Among their children who grew up there was William Fontaine (1754-1810), who fought in the American Revolution and witnessed the British Army surrender at Yorktown on 19 October 1781. Almost 81 years later, the house and farm were in the midst of war as military operations rolled through the area between 1862 and 1864. The house, owned by William’s son James Fontaine (1799-1872), was ransacked in May 1864 and the historic memoirs of Jaques Fontaine (1658-1728) thrown onto a bonfire, but were saved by a Union officer (see related article below, “Society Sponsors Digital Version of Jaques Fontaine’s Memoirs”).

Some 255 years after Peter and Elizabeth Fontaine built their home there, the Fontaine Farm and the North Anna Civil War Battlefield on which it stands were at risk to developers. The Civil War Trust, the nation’s largest non-profit land trust dedicated to preserving Civil War battlefields, undertook its largest ever fundraising effort to purchase the 654-acre Fontaine Farm but it needs our help. The Society provided assistance with a history of the land, a donation to the Trust’s fundraising effort, and donations by Society members. The Trust successfully closed on the property on October 20, 2014.

This is a good news story in which the Society lent support to the Trust that resulted in saving a piece of American history and of our family history on this 150 year anniversary of the battle. Learn more about the battle, see a map of the battle, and the Trust’s announcement of the acquisition.

Any James or Reverend Francis Fontaine Descendants to Participate in Fountain / Fontaine DNA Study?

A group of Fountain family researchers has initiated the Fountain / Fontaine DNA study to determine if various Fountain and Fontaine families share a common ancestor. The study included descendants of Solomon and Israel Fountain, who both lived in the late 1700s in Edgecombe County, North Carolina.

There has long been conjecture that these Fountain families descend from the Fontaine and Maury families` common ancestor, Jaques Fontaine (1658-1728), but there is no definitive evidence to prove this. This DNA study could provide the physical evidence not yet located in documentation.

At the Society`s annual meeting in October 2006, it was agreed that the Society would recruit an eligible family member to participate in the DNA test. Since most Society members are documented descendants of the Jaques Fontaine family, a Society member`s participation in the DNA study should help other Fontaine and Fountain researchers in determining if they are part of this extended French Huguenot family.

We are pleased to report that in the first half of 2007, we had two members of our Society take the 37 marker test. The men match each other, but their results do NOT match anyone else currently in the study, so this means that his DNA does not match that of the descendants of Solomon and Israel Fountain. These results mean that Solomon and Israel Fountain do not descend from Jaques Fontaine as long believed.

As in all DNA studies, there is a 5 percent error rate. For optimal study design, we had two male descendants of two different sons of Jaques Fontaine to take the test. One of our Society members who took the test is a descendant of Jaques` son, the Reverend Peter Fontaine. The other member who took the test is a descendant of Jaques` son, John Fontaine.

We would welcome a male descendant of one of Jaques` two other sons – James Fontaine and the Reverend Francis Fontaine – to take the test, to further verify the current results. At the August 2011 annual meeting in Charlottesville, the Executive Committee agreed that the Society would underwrite another test participant. If you are interested in learning more about the study and possibly participating to assist you in your research, please contact the study administrator listed on the DNA study`s webpage. If you are a descendant of James Fontaine or the Reverend Francis Fontaine and are interested in taking the test on behalf of the Society, please contact the Society`s librarian.

Wanted: Descendants of James Fontaine and Elizabeth Fontaine Torin

Jaques Fontaine and his wife, Anne Elizabeth Boursiquot, had eight children – of these, six lived to adulthood and had descendants. Of these, we have descendants of four who are current members of our Society. We are seeking any descendants of the remaining two, James Fontaine and his sister Elizabeth Fontaine Torin.

James Fontaine was the eldest child, born 10 October 1686, in Barnstaple, England. He married twice, first in 1711 with Lucretia Desjarrie in the Diocese of Cork and Ross, Ireland, and second ca. 1737-1738 with Elizabeth Harcum in Virginia.

Elizabeth Fontaine was the youngest child, born 3 August 1701, in Bearhaven, Ireland. She married on 31 October 1729, with Daniel Torin in London. She died around 1764.

If you are a descendant of James or Elizabeth or have information on their families, please contact our Society!