Who do I think I am?

Taurus 2024

During Taurus time this year, I was planning to write a post on people (leaders in particular) being as stubborn as oxen. Yes, I know it’s as strong as an ox and as stubborn as a mule. But since we don’t have mules in astrology I’m going with stubborn and strong as an ox. Taurus of course. The sign of both Palestine and Israel.

ancestry astrology

On the road with wonderfully changing skies. My photo.

However, I ended up going on a more personal mission in Taurus time. One that took me to the verdant, rolling countryside of France. It was very Taurean, and not only because of the green! Of course, the food is delicious in France and much cheaper and better than in the Netherlands. And naturally, there is the wine. Visiting Sancerre was a holiday outing, as my business with my ancestors was elsewhere (although they were very close). All in all, it was a feast for the senses! Always good for my Moon in Taurus.


My photo of a lovely quiet Sancerre at lunch time.

Is an astrologer ever on holiday?

I was on the hunt for some of my ancestors. This came about because some of my foremothers and fathers have the same surname as some of my friends. So I hatched a plot to ‘bring my own’ French people on holiday (excuse: Are we related?), to help me look at French archives. In hindsight, this was a very good move, because my French is atrocious, except when it comes to food and drink. Although, having French friends didn’t help with deciphering the handwriting on old records, which none of us could fathom. However, speaking French was vital for some communication. And apart from all that, it was good fun!

sancerre astrology

My photo ‘Un Tox Hic’ in Sancerre.

Once an astrologer always an a astrologer

Although it was unplanned on my part, (what sort of astrologer am I ?!) I found it perfect timing. I was in France when the Sun was conjunct Uranus in the sky. Perfect for getting insight (Uranus) about father’s (Sun) ancestors. Making it more personal, the Sun and Uranus in the sky were in a square aspect to my own Sun. So it was an ideal time for uncovering surprises on my dad’s family tree line. I think he would have been delighted to know he had French roots.

Using astrology to look for links

Of course I had to look at the astrology, and I was delighted to see that if I calculate my chart as if I was born in the area of France of my 4th, 5th and even further back grandparents, (this is called relocation), I have Taurus at the base (IC), or the roots, of my chart. I feel at home and grounded in this part of France. I don’t have Taurus at the base of my chart with all my ancestors, who are from other countries, and so far, these French ones are the only people I have been seriously looking for by wandering about in graveyards! Although some time ago, I did find a link to family in a church near Oxford. But France was a good place to start in earnest, with Taurus, my roots and my Moon being connected here.

astrology records genealogy IC

My photo of the cemetery in Henrichemont.

Astrolocality and special places

There is another technique in astrology called Astrolocality. You may have seen your world map with planetary lines, often called Astro*carto*graphy. For me, there are no particular lines through the part of France where my ancestors come from, although I do have Mercury rising in South East France. One part of my French line comes from around Bourges, and the other part near Alençon in a town called Sées. So that was where we went. We visited two archives at the main towns of Bourges (all online and free!) and went to the very small town of Henrichement to see actual records.

genealogy astrology

Impossible to read in Henrichemont. Records from 1600s.

In Alençon we met an enthusiastic young woman who explained the complicated system. Thank goodness she spoke English. She got quite excited when we found records! It was amazing to touch some handwritten books and documents from 1709 – one a marriage contract.

ancestors astrology marriage

A marriage contract from 1709 for Jean Hommey and Marie Tavernier in the Alençon archives. Parents of Thomas, more on him below.


But back to the astrology and Astrolocality. In a technique called planetary directions, which I see as a kind of internal compass, I have my Saturn line passing between these places. It is a bit like the Aboriginal song lines. When you travel on these lines you tend to experience the planetary archetype in question. By going from Bourges to Sées, near Alençon, I crossed my personal Saturn line.

astrology local space

France showing my personal Saturn local space line.

My Saturn line

This technique is also known as Local Space. I normally use it on a smaller scale, for inside houses (see my blog ‘what colour is your bedroom?’) and for finding a nurturing place to live in a city (your Moon line). Saturn did seem fitting for my trip. Saturn represents old things. Ancestors fit that description 😛 . And hard work. Saturn gives focus and determination to reach a goal. And most of all, he slows us down, so we have to take time. I could have spent weeks in the archives. I find it fascinating, but it is quite hard work. You have to be really thorough or you end up with the wrong great-great-great-great-great grandmother called Marie Tavernier! There were quite a few of those.

family history astrology

One of the clearer records!


Although everyone in my tree is obviously fascinating to me, I spent time trying to imagine what some of these French lives were like. There were three people in particular whom I looked at in more depth in this particular rabbit hole research. One was Thomas Hommey, who was born in 1713 in Sées and died there in 1788. What did he do for a living? There is a street in Sées called Rue de Docteur Hommey. But which Hommey is this? Thomas? Or his father Jean? Or could it be his son Matthew Thomas Francis Hommey?  He was born in Sées in 1760 when his father was 46.

french ancestry

The Sées cathedral which is beautiful and enormous for the size of the town. My photo.

ancestry france

Sées Cathedral in daylight – my ancestors would probably have been there. My photo.

Matthew Thomas Francis Hommey

Matthew is interesting because he was the one who made a big difference to our tree by marrying an English woman, Hephzibah Henry, at age 46 in Kent. He died there in 1831. Hmm  – 46 is mid-life crisis in the Huber life clock method. A major turning point in life. I suppose it was for both Matthew and his father. Although Thomas had several children, Matthew was his last son.

Matthew probably left France due to the Revolution. But why did he wait so long to marry? His only child, Caroline Hephzibah, was born in London in 1807 – a year after his marriage. But how and where did he and his wife meet?  Moving to another country must have been a big step back then.

Ceres France

Lady of the fields (Ceres?) in Sées cathedral. My photo.

Françoise Catherine Chevalier

And then there’s Françoise Catherine Chevalier, Matthew’s mother. She married Thomas when she was 23 and he was 30. She married in Sées, however she was born in Soulangis, near Bourges. Her family branch is near Bourges, whereas Thomas’ family is from places near Sées. Having been there now, I know it’s a reasonably long way between these two places – about 350 kilometres. Now, it would take around three hours to drive, but how did Françoise end up at age 23 in Sées in 1743? Maybe they met and made a commitment on my Saturn line! Perhaps at a music festival in Orléans. My Saturn is in Libra after all. So mother and son both left home. That sounds familiar!

Below is the magnificent Bourges cathedral, which my ancestors, the Chevalier side of the family, would certainly have known. It’s now a world heritage site. All my photos.

A life with sorrow

I know many children died young at that time, but until I really looked at Thomas and Françoise’s family, it hadn’t really hit me as to how hard it must have been. It feels very sad and Saturnian to me. At age 24 Françoise (who was the one who crossed my Saturn line to move from home) gave birth to Charles, who lived to be 56. At age 27 she had twin girls, Louise, who was stillborn and Catherine Françoise, who died age 8. At 29, Françoise junior arrived. She died aged 6 on the same day as her sister, Catherine. At age 32 for Françoise, Victor Gabriel was born and survived until he was 9. And when Françoise was 35, she had a son who at last lived to age 54.

My ancestor, Matthew Thomas Francis was born when his mother was 39. He made it to 71. Their last child, Catherine Françoise Charlotte, was born when Francoise was 42, and this Catherine lasted until the ripe old age of 91! So of the 8 children that Thomas and Françoise had, only four survived past childhood. Luckily my ancestor was one of them. Otherwise my blog might have been in French!

This tree branch
family astrology

Tree branch showing how I am linked to the three people mentioned.

The New Zealand link

And there are many more to research. The person who ended up in New Zealand from England in this branch was Francis Sisson, my great-grandfather. He was the next person to make a big change in our tree. The Sisson family had orchards near Christchurch, where both my father and his mother were born. As was I.

Annie Blake astrology ancestry

The gravestone of my Scottish great-grandmother, Annie Blake in Christchurch. She’s a whole other story!

Using horoscopes to find insights on family patterns

The Saturn line made sense to me and I could see a couple of patterns so far, but of course, now that I have actual birth data I can make horoscopes for these three. Do we all have Taurus energies? Or other similarities?

Connections with Thomas and Françoise

Thomas and Françoise, the parents in question were both air signs. Thomas was a Gemini, and Françoise was an Aquarian, like me. Interestingly their son, who ended up in Kent was a Capricorn. Perhaps it was because he was working so hard that he waited a long time to take a wife! Both Thomas and Françoise have Neptune in Taurus which is generational, however Thomas also has Mercury in Taurus and Françoise has Mars there. So I would have appreciated Thomas’s plain speaking and Françoise’s ‘just getting on with it’, which probably was needed with having so many children, and so much loss.


The cemetery in Sées, the Hommey’s family dwelling place. No sign of them here though.

Sun and Uranus again!

They both had the Sun connected to Uranus – that pattern again – maybe they were both ‘for the revolution!’ I’d like to think they were different and rebellious, but who knows? It was harder to make use of Uranus back then. My father and I definitely share this energy in being different. I have many other connections to both of them, but that’s too long to go into here. I will just mention one that intrigued me. The North Node of Françoise, a karmic point, falls exactly on my Pluto, the planet of birth, death and perhaps DNA. I do feel a connection with her more than I do with Thomas.

Connections with Matthew

It took me a while to warm to their son Matthew. I probably shouldn’t have favourites! However, since I was researching in France he has turned out to be really interesting. I have contacts with him that are more Neptunian, so he is a bit of a mystery man to me. He too, like his parents, has the Sun in contact with Uranus. Again a revolutionary? Or did they just all go their separate ways? I never think I am going to be descended from anyone famous. I assume they will all have very ordinary lives. Or live in the poor house. That’s why Matthew was such a surprise after he went to England.

Matthew’s horoscope

From his chart I can see that Matthew was a clever, hard-working man who would love to travel and would have been a good strategist. He’s a Capricorn, with links to Jupiter and Uranus. This is a notice about him in a newspaper from 1803 from the Bonnycastle Genealogy site.

London astrology genealogy

Matthew Hommey information.

And from the same site – this is his obituary from 1831:

June 21. At Brixton Hill, Surrey, M.T.F. Hommey, esq. He was a native of France, and a highly intelligent and agreeable man. He formed a partnership with the late celebrated Mr. Bonnycastle, mathematical master of the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich, in the establishment of a private Military Institution at Charlton, near Woolwich Common; which was carried on with success for some years, under the firm of Bonnycastle and Hommey, and afterwards by Mr. Hommey alone. He married a half-sister of Mrs. Bonnycastle, the only daughter of the late David Henry, esq. of Lewisham, by his second wife. Mr. Henry married his first wife Mary, sister to Edward Cave, the founder of the Gentleman’s Magazine; and Mr. Henry and Mr. Hommey were successively its chief proprietors (see vol. LXII. pp. 578, 671, 697). Mr. Hommey has left his widow and an only daughter to lament his loss.

So now we see how he met his wife!

Yes – there are connections

Matthew was a teacher and clearly studied maths, so I have perhaps inherited both of those things from him. We both moved to London from abroad too, showing our Jupiterian connections. I love the ‘Gentleman’s Magazine’ link too. So English. And so the search continues. Perhaps next stop London. It’s been a while since I lived in London. What a pity I didn’t know all this back then.

London roots

St Mary’s church , Lewisham, London, where my great-great-great-grandfather Matthew Thomas Francis Hommey is buried. Image from 1959, David Wright.


local space france

On the road again – my photo.

Still researching

I have traced these families and some English ones back further. The records before the French Revolution are tricky. After that they were somewhat standardised. They are still very difficult to read, but at least records after the revolution dates, have been largely digitalised. Unlike on some websites, these are all free to access. So if you know your area, you seem to be able to easily access a specific website for the places it covers.

history archives France

The beautiful cathedral at Alençon, near the Archive office, which is in the Avenue de Basingstoke! My photo.

Although not free, searching English records is a bit easier, as is Scotland, unlike Ireland and parts of Australia! In New Zealand the public library in Christchurch had extremely helpful staff when I was there. And the historical newspapers in NZ are online and free, and sometimes the source of much hilarity. I now know what my father’s first wife wore to her debutant ball. And that my uncle was fined 5 pounds for theft. (No patterns there I am pleased to say.)

Researching ancestors is time-consuming stuff. I find it riveting, and adding astrology gives an extra dimension.


My photo Bourges.

So who do I think I am?

I’m not sure I am any closer to knowing who I am, but maybe my love of food comes from this side of the family. And perhaps Thomas taught astronomy. We are all a mixture of differing origins and countries, especially from down under, as many intrepid souls had to venture a long way to get there. I am grateful they survived and sallied forth for me to be born in beautiful New Zealand. Even though I left, it will always be my home.

Watching over us all.

Faye Blake (not really Blake I now know. Some fathers just don’t want to be named.)

Interesting websites

An explanation of Local Space by Steve Cozzi, who wrote the best book on the subject.

A short article by Tem Tarriktar on relocation.

Quotes of the month

From around the web

Very recognisable. I can’t find original source.

I think this happened a lot!

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