Your information is very informative. My clan is Southern Illinois, more specifically Saline, Hardin, Williamson, and White counties. In searching our family history, I have found it very interesting the nexus that Southern Illinois is for the family.
I also have heard of the possible French origin, but like you I could never find any connections.
I was born in Saline County and raised in Southern Illinois. Because of my dad's job (telephone lineman) we lived all over Illinois until he was promoted. Dad's family was from Southern Indiana and the Shawneetown, Illinois area. My grandfather had a sister who lived in Mt.Vernon, Indiana and one in Carmi, Illinois. Dad had a cousin living in Williamson County and his brother, my uncle, moved to Carbondale, Jackson County, Illinois. My cousins and I attended Southern Illinois University.
It is my opinion, that most if not all, Vin(e)yards are related at some point. So i suspect that your branch and mine are connected at some point. The questions is where. Greene and Madison Counties are in Southern Illinois close to St. Louis. I know my great grandfathers mariage certificate has his name without the "e".
You are right about the given names being carried through. The most common in my family has been Charles (my grandfather), other given names used were - George, Lawrence, Albert, Frank, Geneva, Mary, Thomas, Alferd, and Lee. How about your branch?
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