My 5 year-old daughter is watching the Disney movie Ratatouille this morning.

Not being one to miss a “teachable moment,” I casually mentioned to her that our ancestors were French, like the characters in the movie.

We’ve actually talked about this before. I’ve tried to teach her a few French words using the limited vocabulary I still have from 2 years of college French.

She gave me a confused look. It took me a few seconds to figure out why.

I then explained that our ancestors were French people, like Linguini and Colette, not French rats like Emile.

She looked relieved.


A short while later, there was a scene where Emile the Rat is looking out a window over the city of Paris, and the Eiffel Tower is standing tall in the background.

I told her that that’s a picture of Paris, a city in France, and it’s possible that her ancestors lived there (I don’t know where in France they came from).

Her: “That’s pwetty. I haven’t go there yet.”

Me: “Yeah, me neither. Maybe we can go there together someday.”

Her: “Yeah, that would be fun.”

So… there’s one more for the bucket list: Take my daughter to Paris.

Hopefully I can figure out where our ancestors came from first.

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Photo by Wikipedia user Taxiarchos228, and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O’Neal

Elizabeth is a professional genealogist and California native living in the Santa Barbara area. She has been researching her own family for almost three decades, and providing research services to others for about 8 years.

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