I (Dina) have a great-uncle on my mother’s side who has spent a long time researching our family’s genealogy. He’s made quite a few discoveries over the years, including our famous “Early Bird of Aviation” uncle, Tex LaGrone. I remember feeling quite amazed as a young history buff when he showed us a photograph of Uncle Tex standing next to an airplane, and in the cockpit of the airplane was his friend, Charles Lindbergh.
In recent years, Uncle Terry has located and visited some more of the “Legron” clan in Schönau, Germany, near Heidelberg. Since we live only 4 hours away, he encouraged us to stop by the bakery there and say hello to the family.
Well, this summer we had our opportunity. On the way back home from our conference in Budapest, Hungary, we spent the night in Heidelberg and showed up at the bakery the next morning. I was told to ask for Alexander since his English was best, but when we arrived we learned that Alexander and his family were still in the US on holiday… visiting Uncle Terry! (More on that later.) The ladies behind the counter proved to be very good translators, however, and our visit with Adolf, Alexander’s father, was wonderful. We were treated as very special guests, with the best treats the bakery had to offer as well as our own private tour of the bakery and beautiful village of Schönau.
During our visit, we had another exciting discovery. Adolf shared with us that the Legron family arrived in Schönau in the 1550s from the Namur/Liège region of Belgium – the exact location that God brought us to exactly 15 years ago! The Legron family was part of a group of French Huguenots who fled Wallonia and found refuge in Germany. The King of Heidelberg at that time allowed them to use the buildings of a cloister in Schönau that had recently been closed because of the Reformation. Many of the original cloister buildings are still there (see photos below). Adolf also told us he still has a copy of a letter from Adam Laurenz LeGron, who sailed to the Carolinas of the New World in 1752 and who is the ancestor of most LaGrones in the US today. After we finished our tour of the village, Adolf pointed out the local hotel and invited us to come back. He also let us pray with him as we said our goodbyes, which were pretty emotional given that we had just met a few hours before!
Two days later, I flew to Baton Rouge to be with Callie when she moved into her dorms at LSU. It was then that I got another email from Uncle Terry telling me that Alexander and his family were driving across the US on Interstate 10 and would be passing through Baton Rouge the next evening. Another family reunion! and this time my mom, dad and Callie were there as well.
It’s pretty amazing when we think about it to see how God has brought us full circle from south Louisiana all the way back to Wallonia, the very region from where my ancestors fled persecution so many centuries ago. We really don’t know what more will come from the opportunity we’ve had of meeting this part of our family, but we’re pretty sure there is more to follow…