INDIA-L ArchivesArchiver > INDIA > 1999-04 > 0924161053
From: Jean-Claude F=?iso-8859-1?Q?=E9ray <>
Subject: Virginia Woolf's Indian ancestor
Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 08:24:13 +0100
The great British writer Virginia Woolf once wrote a few lines, with a
touch of pride, about her French great grandmother Adeline PATTLE née
de l¹ETANG. Adeline¹s father was Ambroise Pierrre Antoine de l¹Etang,
a French aristocrat, supposedly one of Marie Antoinette's pages, and
Adeline¹s mother, Thérèse Josèphe Blin de Grincourt, was born in
The biography and genealogy of Adeline¹s children, the six "Pattle
sisters", among whom the Victorian photographer Julia Margaret Cameron
(one of Virginia Woolf & Vanessa Bell¹s great aunts) was the most
famous, have already been published.
It has been conjectured that Pattle sisters¹ beauty came from their
Indian blood, through Thérèse Josèphe Blin de Grincourt.
I was curious to know more about this possible Indian origin and
eventually found that Adeline de l¹Etang, and consequently, Julia
Margaret Cameron, Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf had indeed an Indian
ancestor. This Indian ancestor was actually a Bengalee woman called
Maria Monica or Marie Monique. Her French marriage act says she was
"de caste gentille" i.e. her religion was originally Hinduism.
Here is the French genealogy of Adeline de l¹Etang, starting from the
Bengalee Marie Monique:
Marie Monique married the 2-07-1703 Claude BRUNET, a butler of the
French government in Pondicherry ("maître d¹hôtel du gouvernement"),
born in Bourges (France). They had 12 children, among whom:
Marie BRUNET, born in Pondicherry the 3-06-1704. She married
(17-11-1720) Abraham GUERRE, born the 24-11-1695 in Saint Imier
(Switzerland). They had 9 children, among whom:
Marie Françoise GUERRE, born in Pondicherry the 14-04-1725. She
married (29-04-1741) Etienne Mathurin CORNET, born in Paris in 1710.
They had 6 children, among whom:
Marie Madeleine CORNET, born in Pondicherry the 15-03-1747. She
married (28-07-1766) Vinditien Guillain Marie BLIN de GRINCOURT, born
in Arras (France). They had 6 children, among whom:
Thérèse Josèphe BLIN de GRINCOURT, born in Pondicherry the 13-12-1768.
She married (1-03-1788) Ambroise Pierrre ANTOINE, chevalier de
l¹ETANG, born in Versailles (France). They had 5 children, among whom
Adeline de l¹Etang.
It is worth stating that this "Indian heritage" was a matrilineal
heritage : it was transmitted from the Bengalee woman to Virginia
Woolf exclusively through women, exclusively through the mothers'
My apologies for being so long, but I thought this was worth telling.
|Virginia Woolf's Indian ancestor by Jean-Claude F=?iso-8859-1?Q?=E9ray <>|