This project originally began as a search to determine the actual orgins of the first 3 men pre-1700 to French Canada who carried the surname now most commonly known as Cyr. Searching has revealed they are not genetically related and their original names are Andre Suire, Pierre Sirre and Louis Cyr.
Andre Suire has been identified as having arrived by indenture from the Fontenay le Compte region of France: but his family tree goes back to Geneva Switzerland.
Pierre Sirre: b. 1644 or so is unidentified. There is no proof whatsoever he came from the west coastal regions of France. We have many DNA samples for him and his type is primarily found in the regions of Calais and Dieppe, Wallonia and Luxembourg. Based upon his handwriting style that he left a sample of on a signed document: he was of a more privileged north eastern European background. Secondary reviews of the 1671 census of Acadia also throw into question that the long held belief he was an armurier or gunsmith is valid. The actual writing for his profession beside his name does not support the word Armurier. We should also note that the use of the double "r" in the way he spelled his name is characteristic of 17th century French grammar: primarily in Picardy and Calais.......but is also found in the lowlands of Holland and nearby. It is found occasionally in the La Rochelle/Poitou regions: but mostly attached to persons of the Suire family surname. Rarely it is found in the hills of the Pyrenees.
Pierre's DNA is of a fairly rare type as tested so far today. It indicates he was from a population that didn't migrate much to America: as it is mostly North Americans doing the tests. So while we can identify at least 1,000 basic 12 marker matches: which are little more than basic ancient tribal matches........we cannot make a single 13 marker match to date. Thus finding roots for him geographically is still a challenge. However the majority of them indeed come from where we expect them to be: north eastern France, Belgium, Netherlands and southern Germany and the odd Frisian location and some in southern England as expected due to tribal migrations. As more and more tests are done: we expect one day to get some closer matches to try and figure out a tighter geographic zone to search in.
Louis Sire appears in Acadia at the time of his wedding. The priest records he is a member of a parish in Dieppe: while his parents are from "nearby".......his parents attending the mass wedding ceremony indicates they were residents of Acadia as well. We can only speculate that Louis was likely born in Acadia and Dieppe was home to the French navy at the time: could he have joined, been stationed there and returned to Acadia upon discharge to settle down? DNA tests show Haplotype C and SNP P39: so far exclusive to Native American heritage and Central and Eastern Canada almost exclusively. Members of this family tree are also encouraged to join the P39 project as well as the AmerIndian Ancestry out of Acadian project at no extra charge.
The name Cyr was not carried by anyone arriving to Canada as a legitimate surname. In Acadia it wasnt seen for either Louis or Pierre until the mid 1700s...and then most often as Cyre. Until then it was always written as Sire and Le Sire. The surname Le Sire is very common in the regions around Amiens, Flanders and over into Belgium today. Cyr was the spelling that the early French Canadian priests wrote down for their subjects simply because it was the spelling they knew: relating to the Saint of that name: Saint Cyr.
The family of St. Cyr who arrived in Canada via the Carignan solidiers are not related in anyway to the other 3 Cyrs. St. Cyr in this case was a nickname for the DeShaies family from Normandy as was customary for soliders at the time to take.
Most persons who stayed speaking French eventually used the spelling Cyr while the majority of the others that became English speaking now use Sears.
In the USA there are no less than 50 original persons to that country who carried some variation of the surname: Sayers, Zahre, Siers, etc. and most are all called Sears today. We should note the spelling Sears is primarily a North American invention: most original Europeans did not spell it this way and a search for records under that spelling is nearly futile pre 1700 in any country.
What nearly all these original men to North America have in common is a geographical base in southern England: mostly along the English channel: both sides. This is consistent with the roots of the surname. The fundamental root is the word Sayre: or Sayer. ........which referred to one who worked in the cloth (silk) industry and the variation Sayer is primarily a Flemish term. Le Sire is similar: it represents one who works with patterns: and has its roots in Belgium with the ancient iron workers who used "patterns" to create the beautiful scroll work of the 12th century churches in Picardy, Paris and Amiens. Sire in any of its spellings is one of the worlds most ancient surnames going back to the middle east in Persia. One can find references to the Ceres: an ancient people who plied the Silk Road in silk sales.
Syr is the root for Syria as well: in this case it's meaning was Great or Magical. We see it travel over to Greece and Italy: and becomes the backbone of the term Sire and Sir for one of high station. However: that version: to mean: Lord: was never anyone's surname: it was always an adjective.
The term made it's way to Scotland: and here it was the adjective form: Syr was usually applied to great hills.
In Ireland there is only one valid version: Seer which carries the original root and is attached to the Seer O Sullivans......Seer in this case again meaning a builder: This too is the version found in Cornwall and South Western Britain.
Otherwise Britain had no original version of this surname: it came to Britain as an import from Europe.
The Germans used Seir and Sier: the Norwegians used Syr as in King Syr and the Dutch and Norwegians used Sirre: In all these cases its the adjective meaning Great or Handsome.
What's challenging about the French version: is that prior to about 1800 French grammar did not require the use of accents. So what's hidden to us today is the fact that nearly everyone other than the Swiss Andre Suire lineage: actually sounded the surname as SEEREY: There should be an accent on the end even when you see the spelling as Sire.
On the west coast of France and south: its most often De Sire and in Belgium its most often Le Sire. The west coast version really is an abberation of Serre: or farmer while the northern version is nearly always a metal or cloth related term.
We are hoping DNA will one day fully reveal some roots in Europe and clear up once and for all who all 3 Cyr men are. Please feel free to join the project if you carry any related version of our surname and add to the scientific global knowledge.
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