Former resident searches for her roots at father's request
PLYMOUTH — What began with a simple request from her father has grown into a lifetime search for Coni Dubois.
Dubois, who grew up in Marshall County with her parents Rex and Nancy Allen, first began searching for her ancestors 18 years ago.
“(My father) said, Coni, find our Native American roots,” said Dubois, who added that her father was raised Native American but had no idea where he had come from.
“(Their family) just didn’t talk about it, being Native American was considered bad,” said Dubois.
Dubois, who now lives in Louisiana, decided to do exactly what her father asked, embarking on several trips to Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts—places where her research led her to believe her ancestors might have lived. She discovered that she is a descendant of the Mohegan, Pequot and Narragansett tribes—sub-tribes of what are known as the Long Island Indians.
In her travels, Dubois met and worked with many archeologists and Native American tribes who she said appreciated her pure intentions in finding her family.
“Tribes do not want to give genealogy out because of tribal rights,” said Dubois, “(but) I’m not in this for my tribal rights, I want to find my ancestors.”
Since beginning her search, Dubois has uncovered reams of valuable information, including that she is a descendant of Chegonoe, the Native American who interpreted John Eliot’s Bible.
While searching for her ancestors, Dubois has used www.ancestry.com and said that the website has been the backbone of her work. She is planning another trip in October to Long Island to do hands-on research.
Dubois’s father, Rex Allen, passed away in 2010, an event that Dubois said spurred on her search.
“When my dad died, he knew I was close,” said Dubois, continuing, “but when he passed away, I guess it was the grief—I just dug in.”
With her father in mind, Dubois continued on her mission. She said she doesn’t believe her search to discover her ancestors will ever end.
“It will never be done,” said Dubois.
Dubois dedicates six hours every day to her research. Rather than being tedious, Dubois said that what she finds is so exciting that it keeps her coming back for more.
“It’s a quest,” said Dubois. “I want to know my roots. I want to honor my ancestors. Their story is too beautiful not to be told.”
Because of her through search, Dubois said she has been invited to speak on genealogy in various forums. Although she has more than enough information to write and publish a book, Dubois said that she has no plans to do so at this time.
“I’m not an author, I’m a researcher,” Dubois stated simply, although adding that members of her family who are in the book business may develop a book later.
Dubois carefully documents all her findings on her blog, www.conidubois.wordpress.com, and so far has more than more than 70 research books filled with information. She also maintains a Facebook group where fans can view updates and photos called Barkhamsted Lighthouse.