Being a descendant of the DuBois family of New Paltz, NY, I have long been intrigued by our relationship to pioneer sociologist and civil rights leader W. E. B. DuBois. The Du Bois Family Association makes note of the link (see http://www.dbfa.org/family_history.htm
I recently came across an excerpt from Dr. DuBoisâ€™s "The Autobiography of W.E.B. DuBois: A Soliloquy on Viewing My Life from the Last Decade of Its First Century," (New York: International Publishers Co. Inc., 1968), pp. 61-77, in which he recounts his own ancestry back to Chretian Du Bois and his son Jacques, the brother of my ancestor Louis (see http://www2.pfeiffer.edu/~lridener/DSS/DuBois/DUBOISP1.HTML
). In his account,
â€œIn the early 17th century, two French Huguenots, sons of Cretian Du Bois, migrated from Flanders to America. Perhaps a third son who spelled his name Du Bose went South. Louis and Jacques Du Bois settled in Ulster County, New York State. They were in all probability artisans descended from peasants; but the white American family declares they were aristocrats, and has found a coat of arms which they say belongs to them. From Jacques in the fifth generation was descended James Du Bois, born about 1750, who became a physician in Poughkeepsie, New York, and migrated to the Bahamasâ€¦ Whether, as is probable, he took a slave as a concubine, or married a free Negro woman--in either case two sons were born, my grandfather Alexander in 1803 and a younger brother, John.â€
As a web search did not turn up a ready-made family tree for cousin W.E.B., I turned to the Mormonsâ€™ much-maligned International Genealogical Index to see if it would fill in the blanks. W.E.B is the subject of a number if IGI submissions, but none of the submissions link beyond his parents, Alfred DuBois and Mary S. Burghardt.
Using the trial and error method to work forward from Jacques and back from James, I put together this possible line of descent. Consolidated IGI information is in [brackets], while the other information comes from the DuBois autobiography:
1. Cretian Du Bois [(b. 1597, Wicres, Artois, Spanish Netherlands; d. before 1655, 1653, or about 1628) may have married (1620, Wicres) Jeanne Masic Brunel (b. 26 Mar 1599, Chenille-Change, Main-et-Loire, France) and/or (1619 or 1626) Cornelia (last name unknown, sometimes reported as Brunel)].
2. Jacques Du Bois [(ch. 27 Oct 1628, Wicres, Artois, Spanish Netherlands/France; d. 1676, Kingston, New York; brother of Louis) married (25 Apr 1663, Leiden, Holland) Pierronne/Pierrone Bentyn/Bentyne (ch. 1632, Leiden, Holland)].
3. [Peter Pierre Du Bois (ch. 18 Mar 1674, Kingston, NY; d. 22 Jan 1738, Fishkill, NY) married (12 Oct 1697, Kingston, NY) Jannetje/Janneke Burhans (b. 1676, Brabant, NY; ch. 15 Oct 1689, Kingston, NY; d. 1732).]
4. [Matthew DuBois (b. ca. 1725, Kingston, New York), son of Peter Du Bois and Jannetje Burhans, could be the Matthew DuBois (b. 26 Aug 1724?; d. 24 Aug 1799?) who married (ca. 1744, New York) Mary Welling (b. ca. 1726) and fathered James Du Bois (b. ca. 1750, of New York), who could in turn be the father of Alexander Du Bois.]
5. Dr. James Du Bois (b. ca. 1750, New York) took as a concubine or married a black woman in The Bahamas.
6. Alexander Du Bois (b. 1803, The Bahamas; d. after 1883, Springfield, Mass.?) first married a Haitian woman.
7. Alfred DuBois (b. 1825, Haiti; d. unknown; Pvt. Union Army) married (1867, Great Barrington, Mass.) Mary Silvina Burghardt (b. 1831, South Edgemont Plain, Mass.; d. 1885, Great Barrington, Mass.)
8. Dr. William Edward Burghardt DuBois (b. 23 Feb 1868, Great Barrington, Mass.; d. 27 Aug 1963, Accra, Ghana; Ph.D, Harvard, 1896)
Beyond the issues of IGI reliability and lack of documentation, there are three problems with this hypothesis. First, while there is one IGI individual record that lists Matthew DuBois as the son of Peter DuBois and Jannetje Burhans, a complete family group record for the DuBois-Burhans marriage apparently based on church records lists 12 children between 1698 and 1722, but does not include Matthew. Second, we must make a leap of faith that two records for Matthew refer to the same person, and again for James. Third, James appears in the fourth generation from Jacques, while W.E.B. recalled that he was in the fifth generation.
Any comments from other DuBois family researchers or W.E.B. experts?