Francois Joseph Savoie SOLVED

Started by Joseph Bolton on Saturday, September 15, 2018
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9/15/2018 at 4:32 PM

In genealogy research, oral family traditions have more than just a grain of truth in them and quite often will point in the direction of historical truth ahead of the more traditional “paper” evidence. A notable example of this was the case of the descendants of Thomas Jefferson’s slave, Sally Hemmings. The Hemmings family for centuries have maintained that Thomas Jefferson himself is the father of her children and by extension, they too were descendants of the 2nd president.

The claim was hotly contested by the more traditional Jefferson descendants while the Hemming family remained firm in their oral tradition even in the face of intense opposition. Finally, DNA evidence was discovered that supported the Hemming’s family claim as Jefferson descendants. The Hemming’s oral tradition is now accepted as true.

A similar situation exists with the North American descendants of Francois Joseph Savoie. Many of his descendants found in Canada, New England and Louisiana have long claimed in for centuries that Francois Savoie was the son of Tommaso Francesco Francois Savoia di Carignano (di Savoia), Prince of Carignano, an Italian Prince of the House of Savoie of Turin Italy. For simplicity, he will be referred to as Tomaso. Tomaso’s father was Charles Emanual, Duke of Savoy, his mother was Princes Catherine, the daughter of King Phillip II of Spain. Through both his parents Tomaso has ancestors from the House of Savoie, the French Royal houses and the famed Medici family.
Although Francios Savoie’s descendants have stood by their oral family tradition, the story has it’s detractors who cast doubt on the story asking “where is the paper trail”. So far, no one has found any baptismal records stating that Tomaso is Francois’ father and it’s unlikely that any have survived the four hundred years since his birth. Can DNA evidence prove the claim that the north American Savoie’s are from the House of Savoy from Turin Italy? DNA tests taken from Fancois Savoie descendants with strong signals of Spanish, French and Italian are consistent with the assumption that Francis Savoie is the son of Tomaso. On a side note, many Savoie males also have a weak signal of East Asian ancestry. As compelling as the DNA results are, they are not the smoking gun. What is needed is a DNA sample that would serve as a “rosetta stone” bridging the North American Savoies to the European House of Savoy.

That rosetta stone may have been found in a Mr. Bill Gabunia Debuque. Bill, as he will be referred to, is only about three percent European. His European ancestry DNA is from Spain, Portugal and Italy. His European ancestors come from the House of Savoy from a generation before Tomaso. It is his only European link. What Bill has discovered, and this is the key, is that he matches the DNA sample from three of my mom’s sibling, who are Savoies through their father. I will refer to them as the 3 Savoies.

As Bill explains: “The extrapolated MRCA of the average match size on the 3 Savoies is exactly 17 (8.5/3.4x6.8) and not 16.8 as initially calculated. The individual extrapolated MRCA of the 3 Savoies would be as follows: Savoie A (3.0 cM) = 19.3 MRCA, Savoie B (3.3 cM) = 17.5 MRCA, Savoie C (3.9 cM) = 14.8 MRCA. My paper MRCA of 15 with Charles Emmanuel I and 16 with Felipe II fall exactly within this range.”

This match to Bill has been found only among Savoie descendants and not among other French Canadians.
Bill further explains: “The extrapolated MRCAs are now within or very near the estimated paper MRCA ranges (not more than 16 for me; not more than 13 for the Comeau and Boucher descendants). This strongly supports the possibility that these Acadian descendants have a common Acadian ancestor who descended from the Habsburgs and/or the Bourbons. And currently, the Acadian who has the most well-supported claim for the same is Francois Savoie, who is supposed to be a grandson of Felipe II's daughter.”

And Bill’s conclusion: “I have a 6.8 MRCA autosomal match with a Comeau descendant at Gedmatch. And I have no other known possible connection with Acadian descendants other than through the Savoies. I am both a Bourbon and Savoy descendant through the Ponce De Leons who got exiled to the Philippines. So I am inclined to believe that Francois is also a blood descendant of both the House of Bourbon and the House of Savoy.”

Bill has no ancestors from North America, they only way this DNA match to the 3 Savoies is if they share a common House of Savoy ancestor and the only way that could be possible is if Francois Savoie is the son of Tomaso. Add this evidence to the strong and persistent centuries old family tradition and it becomes beyond reasonable doubt that Francois Joseph Savoie is the son of Tomaso.
Now I know this conclusion will still have its detractors, even now the Hemming’s family has faced a few hardline hold outs to their claim of Jefferson ancestry. However, there is no such thing as 100% certainty in genealogical research! Like a good detective, you build a case from ALL the evidence and accept the most likely and the simplest conclusion. In the mystery of Francios Joseph Savoie, the strong evidence is that he is the son of Tomaso.

9/16/2018 at 9:28 AM

I think the main issue here is the rules of evidence that should be applied to establish that Francois Savoie is indeed the son of Tomasso. And we have these so far:

1. Direct Evidence
a. The deathbed confession of Francois himself.

2. Circumstantial Evidence
a. The surname of Francois.
b. The timeline of his life.
b. The historical context of his migration to the New World.
c. The accuracy of other similar oral ancestry claims.
d. The autosomal DNA test results on three (3) of his direct descendants.

This is not a criminal case. We do not have to establish anything beyond reasonable doubt.

Currently, therefore, there appears to be enough preponderance of evidence to conclude that, more likely than not, Francois Savoie is indeed the son of Tomasso.

9/16/2018 at 10:04 AM

What is your Gedmatch number? I am a direct Descendant of Francois Savoie

9/16/2018 at 10:05 AM

To add: my Gedmatch number is A733975

9/16/2018 at 11:04 AM

All of the following Gedmatch numbers are Francois Savoie descendants and our siblings.

A034818 T Savoie (M)

A258374 J Savoie (F)

A386436 C Savoie (F)

A531526 D Savoie (M)

A680750 P Savoie (F)

9/16/2018 at 11:06 AM

One more Savoie Sibling: A744175 PA Savoie (M)

9/16/2018 at 12:04 PM

I’m really looking for Bill’s Gedmatch number.

9/16/2018 at 12:07 PM

I seem not to match any of the Savoie Gedmatch individuals you have provided John.
Unless I am not doing it correctly.

Private User
9/16/2018 at 12:43 PM

Well, this is interesting (hopefully!)..As I mentioned previously on this discussion group, I am descended from another branch of the Savoie family who were located in Belgium..I have been trying to establish my own links with this line..Anyway I have found two identical kit number matches on Chromosome 2, at 4.1, on each match, the Start number runs from 209943100-214697684....These are with Paul Savoie & Joan Savoie..So with these two people I am related at some point going back..I found Gedmatch links with others here, at slightly higher, & slightly lower chromosomal levels..With two people there was nothing at all..But given the time span we are discussing, going back, that isn't unlikely..But I'm very pleased to discover the Gematches with Paul Savoie, & Joan Savoie..I feel this does help, move the story along, given that I descend from a different branch of the Savoie family, though we (hopefully!) are all related further back. Of course I could be hanging onto a dream, so hope someone on here with more knowledge of how DNA works, can clarify/confirm this.

9/16/2018 at 12:49 PM

Glenn, We might have success if Bill runs the test.

9/16/2018 at 2:48 PM

Joseph Bolton

Is this the profile for Francois Joseph Savoie that you are referring
François Savoie

It would make it easier to follow these discussions if the links to the profiles mentioned are included.

9/16/2018 at 2:50 PM

One more thing, when the profiles are tagged, the discussion is also tagged under the Discussion tab of the profile.

9/16/2018 at 3:34 PM


How do I do that?

9/16/2018 at 3:52 PM

In Windows if I open the profile François Savoie

Click once in the web address window or search window it will turn blue

Put your mouse pointer on the blue text and 'Right Click' click on 'Copy'

Come back here in message window and click on 'Paste;

Another way to copy and paste is to use Ctrl C after the text turn blue then come back here in the message and press Ctrl V

9/16/2018 at 5:31 PM

Glenn Joseph Laffy I also am a descendent of Francois Savoie and we have the following match Chr
Start Location
End Location
Centimorgans (cM)

9/16/2018 at 5:41 PM

Also, I do have a match with Carol and David Savoie.

9/16/2018 at 5:48 PM

I have many Acadian descendants, including Babin. Francois Savoie is something like my 8th great grandfather. It’s hard to know how much of our matched DNA goes back to Savoie or is through other Acadians.

9/16/2018 at 6:19 PM

I made a similar comparison of the DNA of the 3 female Savoies with mine, and here are the results for Chromosome 1, Location 155M to 161M:

Savoie J (1.8 cM) = 32.1 MRCA
Savoie P (3.0 cM) = 19.3 MRCA
Savoie C (4.2 cM) = 13.8 MRCA

Average (3.0 cM) = 19.3 MRCA

My paper MRCA distance with them is 16 for Felipe II.

9/16/2018 at 6:27 PM

Glenn Laffy, Francois is also my 8th great grandfather.

Bill Gabunia Debuque my gedmatch # is M370383 in case you want to make a comparison.

9/16/2018 at 6:36 PM

By comparison, here are the earlier figures for the 3 male Savoies:

Savoie A (3.0 cM) = 19.3 MRCA

Savoie B (3.3 cM) = 17.5 MRCA

Savoie C (3.9 cM) = 14.8 MRCA

Average (3.4 cM) = 17.0 MRCA

The average for all 6 Savoies is 3.3 cM or 17.5 MRCA.

Just remember, Gedmatch estimates are known to deviate from the actual by as much 3 generations. And this is just an extrapolation of a Gedmatch estimate.

So, the actual MRCA distance will theoretically range from 14.5 to 20.5.

And my paper MRCA distance of 16.0 with Felipe II is well within that range.

9/16/2018 at 6:44 PM


Here are your figures for the same Chromosome 1 location:

3.7 cM = 15.6 MRCA

By comparison, our paper MRCA distance for Felipe II is 16.0.

9/16/2018 at 6:53 PM

Bill, honestly, it's all gibberish to me. What does that really mean?

9/16/2018 at 6:58 PM

It means that our Most Recent Common Ancestor is Felipe II - and that would only be possible in your case if Francois Savoie is a descendant of Felipe II. And he is, if indeed he is Tomasso's son.

9/16/2018 at 7:02 PM

Awesome Bill, thank you!

Private User
9/16/2018 at 7:45 PM

Does anyone know if Paul Savoie, & Joan Savoie are on this site, as I would like to see what the triangulation between us means.

9/16/2018 at 7:48 PM

They are not on this site. However, they are my mother's siblings. Can I answer any questions?

Private User
9/16/2018 at 7:58 PM

Well we share a triangulation..That is I share with both of them 4.1cms on Chromosome 2, at Start Location: 209943100- End Location: 214697684..Now speaking as very much an amateur in this field, this indicates to me that we three share a common ancestor.. I am the lady who has Savoie ancestry from Belgium

Private User
9/16/2018 at 8:02 PM

Trouble is, I don't know what difference it makes if you share chromosome 1, 2, 17, or whatever!..That is me showing my ignorance here!

Private User
9/16/2018 at 8:12 PM

Joseph..Do you have a family tree anywhere?..I am on a number of sites.

9/16/2018 at 9:05 PM

The % of DNA shared beyond 6th Cousins is below 0.01%. So even if you didn't get an autosomal match with other descendants, it does not automatically mean that you are not a descendant. It might just mean that you are not a winner in the multi-generational DNA lottery.

A good example is Savoie J above, who only got 1.8 cM, while her 5 other siblings got much more than that.

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