ONffroy de Verez, An Historical Account


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Phil OnffroyA fascination in the Onffroy de Vérez family history seems to be part of the genetic makeup of those of us born into it. Discussions about the family and its beginnings are part of my earliest memories.

Of course it helps being an American that was born into a family of Francophiles - my father Paul, mother Jeannette and sister Janine were all professors of French. Through their teaching of French at the high school and university level, they were able to communicate their own love of France, the people of France and French culture.

We had the opportunity to visit la belle France plusieurs fois and met and developed friendships with many members of the Onffroy and Onfroy families in France and elsewhere. Wherever Onffroys gather there seemed to begin a discussion of family history.

When I was 6 years old, in 1956, we stayed in Paris with Maurice Onfroy and later visited his sister, Guite Onfroy in her Chateau Loroux near Tours in the Loire Valley. Of course the discussions often came around to Onffroy history with Guite telling us that if we could trace our ancestors to the cemetery in Saint Malo, we were most probably related - in spite of us having two "f's" in our name (I can now tell you the answer is YES!). I have a hand-drawn coat of arms done by Marcel Onffroy at a restaurant in Casablanca Morrocco in 1960, when I was 10 years old. There is another hand-drawn family tree date March 19,1922, by whom? Don't know.

A mimeographed extensive typewritten tree is notated "probably by Yves Hilaire". There's the family get-together in Des Moines Iowa when we actually were successful in getting the American Onffroys together - Roland Tancrede, Paul Dennison and Jeannette, Joan Rolande , Steve and Janine and myself where there was a marathon two-day family history session. Joan Onffroy at one time corresponded with Alain and Sophie Onffroy who sent her a huge packet of mimeographed family history and documents. Another time we developed a tree at a dinner attended by Yves Hilaire, Louise (Tante Loulou) Molere, Jehan and Lucie Hilaire and our family while at dinner at Christiane Molere's home in Deauville. Here's just one of the pages from that session:

      Onffroy Family Tree

As you can see, this often got complicated.

Most recently, I have corresponded via messaging, email and Skype (yes, it's a new world) with Olivier Onffroy, the true genealogist of the Onffroy de Vérez family, who provided very valuable information on the family.

In reading my grandfather's journal, written in 1885 when he was 16 years old while a student in Montreal Canada, I was interested to see him writing about the Hautevilles and the death of Serlo. My great-grandfather, Roland Marie Pierre Onffroy wrote letters to his grandsons, my uncle and my father, telling them of the Onffroy family heritage of which they should be proud. He always promised to tell more of the story... which he never got around to.

I could go on.

Phiip Max and ToriI thought it was time to try and write the store down - as much as I knew and could find. Finding family history is quite a bit easier with the advent of the Internet and Web and actually, a search on "Onffroy" brought up some things that maybe were better left unfound. But, in the interest of history, I've included those too.

I too am now a grandfather and want to pass on the legacy of the Onffroy de Vérez family to my own son, Joshua Paul, and my grandchildren, Philip Robert, Maxwell David and Victoria Mary Onffroy de Vérez. This historical account, then, is dedicated to you.


If you are an Onffroy, an Onffroy descendant or someone who is just interested in this family or these times,

Feel free to contact me via email.

Philip Crandall Onffroy

Southampton NJ, Sept. 1, 2011