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Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Debeneau of Meerut Should Be Dubignon

I was curious about the daughter of Major Owen (John) Jacob (he died 1857) whose daughter (according to Mesrovb Seth 'Armenians in India' Page 141) married a Frenchman called Debeneau, I thought I’d do a little research on her.

Seth says: “[Major John Jacob] had an only daughter who married a Frenchman Debeneau, who was distantly related to General Ventura of Ranjit Singh’s Sikh Army. Their son, James Denbeneau, with his wife and children lived at Sirdhana with their grandmother, Major John Jacob’s widow, in rather crippled circumstances.”

Having spent a few hours researching, it would appear that Seth doesn’t seem to have got it quite right.

The name is not Debeneau but Dubignon, James Dubignon was a son of Robert Walter Dubignon and an Armenian lady called Ellen nee Moses his wife. Ellen’s sister Ann married the well known Colonel Jean-Baptiste Ventura.

James Dubignon married Ellen (or Helen) Jacob Petrus daughter of Major Owen (John) Jacob. Ellen died after giving birth to her second child in 1861, the child also died and was buried with her in Meerut Cantonment. James and Ellen’s first child John Dubignon survived, married and went on to have issue with descendants living today.

This is something to be aware of. If you are using Seth's book as a reference for Armenian family history you should remember he does not source or cite references to his work, so it is imperative to independently verify anything that he quotes. The British Library is a good starting point for such verification and now that their birth, marriages and death records are online, it makes researching and double-checking a whole lot easier

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