As you may or may not know, I am a history buff. I love learning about different generations, eras, wars, cultures, etc. They truly fascinate me. So it was very exciting when I was granted membership into the Highland Park Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Membership into this exclusive organization is only given to women who can prove their lineage to a soldier or patriot of the American Revolution. My mom was able to get all the necessary documents to file for membership and I am now a proud member. With such a detailed, yet small record of my family history, I became curious, asking myself “Where did I come from?” Yes, I am related to William Mauzy, a private in the Virginia Militia, present at the Battle of Yorktown, but where did he come from? My journey led me straight to Michael Mauze, my 9th great-grandfather and a prominent French Huguenot.
Now are you ready for a history lesson? According to the biography, Genealogical record of the descendents of Henry Mauzy: a Huguenot refugee … By Richard Mauzy:
“So far as we have been able to learn with any degree of certainty, all the Mauzys in the various States and Territories of the United States have descended from a single ancestor, a prominent and zealous Protestant who would not abjure his religious faith to save his property, official position, or even life, and for his devotion to principle sacrificed home, friends, and country, and at the risk of his life made his escape from France to England, by concealing himself in a hogshead in the hold of the vessel, whence, after a time, he came to settle in the colony of Virginia. He left France in this way because of the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 by Louis XIV, which deprived the Protestants (at that time called Huguenots) of the freedom of worship and other liberties which were granted by that Edict of Henry IV in 1598, and thus authorized and encouraged cruel and fanatical Catholic persecution to harass and destroy the lives and to seize and confiscate the property of the Huguenots, whom they denounced as heretics deserving of death.”
Yeah. My great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather was hardcore. But seriously. I read that paragraph and was not only impressed, but deeply humbled. My ancestor stood up for what he believed in despite the consequences. His faith ultimately forced him to flee his home, his official position, and he risked his life for it. He was willing to conceal himself in a hogshead (a large cask or barrel) in the hold of a ship in order to have the freedom to worship how he pleased. And I get nervous sharing the gospel with children in Haiti! As my conviction began to grow I came across the following paragraph:
“The immediate family of which he was a member was one of prominence and of zealous protestantism, and was consequently under vigilant espionage, and hence had a trap-door in the floor under which they concealed their bible when not in use. Whilst one would read the bible in their daily devotions, another would watch to annonuce the approach of any one, and in such event the bible was instantly put beneath the trap-door.”
If my ancestors wanted to study the Bible and strengthen their personal relationship with their Father in Heaven, they would have to have someone stand guard as they retrieved the family Bible from the floorboards. I, on the other hand, have to force myself to stop staring at Facebook and do my quiet time. Here I am living in a country with the freedom of religion and the right to read my Bible without consequence, and I daily choose to do anything but. Talk about convicting. As I continued to research my family line, one thing stayed constant: their faith in Jesus Christ. My family was full of preachers and pastors (with the occasional doctor thrown in) with personal accounts from their friends and neighbors of their “remarkable fervency and power in prayer”. I hope that I too will leave that kind of legacy. I hope that I will keep my faith against all odds and without shame. Time and time again God has proven his love, mercy, justice, omnipotence, and omniscience. But I admit, it is a daily struggle to make Him my number one priority in the midst of this busy world we live in. However, if being a Christian has taught me anything it has taught me that nothing in impossible with God (Luke 1:37). And so I will end this post with a promise to myself: that I will make my ancestors proud and honor my Father.
and now I’ve got to read my Bible.