The Fleur-de-Lis Found in Ancient Egypt

The image of the ancient symbol, the fleur-de-lis, conjures thoughts of ancient conspiracies and hidden secrets known only to a select few (nobility and those involved with them). It is now the symbol for France (and all things French and/or Acadian including the New Orleans Saints football team) because it was the symbol of the royal houses of France, dating back to the descendants of Charlemagne, the Carlovingian kings. Anglo-Saxon kings used it as well. The fleur-de-lis was an iconic symbol long before European monarchs were being established. It is found among Egyptian hieroglyphics. From t-shirts to tattoos, the fleur-de-lis arouses emotion and attitude. In colonial America during the 1700’s, the symbol was branded onto the shoulder of slaves who ran away for longer than a month. The punishment for running away again was another fleur-de-lis on the other shoulder. A third time and the slave lost an arm. In this instance, it probably became a symbol of resistance and rebellion, those sentiments no doubt exist today. Another example of using the fleur-de-lis as a strong symbol is the author Dan Brown and his book and movie, “The Da Vinci Code.”

Suellen Ocean is the author of the Civil War Era Historic Romance, Black Pansy.

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Land Grabs in American History… Including the Great Recession

Black PansyI ran across a word today that I have never seen before, primogeniture. It is the “state of being the first-born of children of the same parents.” The exclusive right of inheritance belonging to the first-born. It comes from the Latin primus which means “first” and genitura which means “birth” or “generation.” A primogenitor (notice the difference in spelling) is an “ancestor;” a “forefather.”

During America’s Revolutionary War Era, Loyalists (those loyal to England) sometimes had their estates confiscated by the state, breaking the tradition of land passing from generation to generation. If the state hadn’t seized the land, it likely would have gone to that family’s first-born son. This was a bit of a blow to the economic power of the aristocratic class. The old laws of entail, require that land be automatically surrendered or transferred to a person and his descendants. A “fixed” inheritance. But it changed hands after the state got ahold of it.

America was, and still is, a big land grab. Even as late as the “Great Recession” land ownership shifted. Before the Europeans came, the Natives cared and tended for their lands. But they lost most of it. Speculators were so hungry for it, they cared nothing for the hardships imposed on those driven away. My father said his family had a beautiful piece of land at Bay St Louis, a resort town in southern Mississippi. They lost it because they couldn’t pay the high taxes. Every family has stories to tell. The small piece of land where I live now, was originally part of a big cattle ranch. The story is; about fifty-years-ago, the owner got caught rustling cattle. As punishment, the judge broke up his land. It transformed into a rural sub-division. These things happen and they change the face of America.  Suellen Ocean is the author of many books on diverse topics. Her books are available here:

What Does the 1960’s Hippy Revolution Have to do with the Puritans of 1620?

New The Lies of the Lion Kindle CoverBelieve it or not, I’m reading the journal of the first governor of Massachusetts, John Winthrop. The manuscript is missing teeth. (There are gaps in the words where the ink faded or never printed correctly.) The first thing that struck me is the Puritan’s anger at the Church of England. In their new colony, they were embracing new worshiping methods, like the laying on of hands. History tells of their cruel oppressive ways regarding religion, something most modern people don’t agree with, myself included. But the new colonists wanted to do things their way, not the old way dictated by the church of England. It was their revolution, like the 1960’s when young hippies wanted to do things their way. Believe me, I lived through the 1960’s and there was oppression and religious push back everywhere.

Massachusetts’s Puritans probably thought that they were the “in” thing. They believed in their new spirituality and America was the place where they could grow it. As far as the intolerance and cruelty placed on those who didn’t go with the program, well… that was the status quo for everything back in 1620. But the two groups share one thing in common; they had new ideas about their spirituality and they were determined to keep the establishment from imposing the old ways on them. They came to America to live a new way… their way.

Suellen Ocean is the author of many books on diverse topics. Her books are available here:

American History… for the Loyalists… Canada was the Place to Go

I always wonder about the Loyalists (those loyal to Britain during the Revolutionary War). I hear about Loyalists in genealogical discussions and even after all these years, I think one must tread lightly with their words; egos are easily bruised (on both sides) and offense is sometimes taken. Today, we are good friends with our English neighbors. During the Revolution, we were enemies. Those loyal to the Crown fled or kept their mouths shut. Tight. During this period, as many as 100,000 Loyalists left America and returned to Britain or went to Canada. These were bright, well-educated citizens, many of whom were conservative. After the war, when Loyalists returned, they brought with them a lean toward conservatism.

Suellen Ocean is the author of many books on diverse topics. Her books are available here:



History… Who Came Up With the Name Yankee?

Butterfly BLUE VIOLET Front CoverI’m write Civil War era historical romance so I got a kick out of someone in my writer’s forum referring to Americans as “Yanks.” During the War Between the States, the Yankees were the Northerners who opposed the Southerners for breaking away from the Union, which was the United States of America. It likely derives from the Dutch pronunciation of the name Jan (John). The American Indians started it, before the Civil War. It became a nickname for a native of New England and eventually for someone from the northern part of the United States. My mother’s people are from the North, my father’s from the South. What does that make me? Yanked around? Half-Yank? 😉


Suellen Ocean is the author of the series, Civil War Era Romances. Available here:

Book One, Black Pansy:

Book Two, Blue Violet:

Genealogy… Do You Really Want to Find Your Ancestors?

Genealogy takes a lot of time but because it’s rewarding, it’s a popular pastime. No one wants to spin their wheels though, and believe me, I’ve done a lot of that. Over the years, I’ve grown to realize how important it is to study the area that our ancestors called home. That may sound like a given, but it’s easy to overlook territories our families passed through or settled in.

Because today, so many people have dug into their family trees, there’s a strong likelihood that others looking for the same ancestors have done the work for us. But there’s always more to learn and knowing the history of the region they came from will enrich your genealogical experience. It can be especially enriching if you don’t know who your ancestors were but only where they came from. Take for example, Native American ancestry. Do you know through oral history that great-grandma was a Shawnee but you have no idea what her name was? Study the history and traditions of the Shawnee. Find something similar about the culture that may have been handed down through the generations. I like to believe that if we listen carefully, our ancestors will hear our calling and we will feel their spirit.  Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees. Available here:

eBook or computer download through Smashwords:

Kindle COVER Secret Genealogy IV

American Born Spaniards… Creoles… Should Have Received More Respect

Spanish King Ferdinand made some bad choices. In his realm as master of the kingdom, he was quite cruel. He instituted the Inquisition, and followed through on his plan to make Spain a Catholic country, leading to the death or banishment of thousands of innocent subjects who refused to submit. But when Spain had colonies in the New World, his choices were also harsh. Ferdinand expected his New World subjects to trade only with Spain. That didn’t go over well. We have the history of pirates and smuggling to prove that. Those whose parents were born in Spain but they themselves were born in the New World were referred to as Creoles and they did not receive the respect they deserved. Laws that allowed only Spanish born subjects to hold higher offices in the government and within the Church brought discontent. Revolts of all varieties in the New World grew so strong, Spain was unable to control the colonies and eventually lost them.

Suellen Ocean is the author of the Civil War Era Historic Romance, Black Pansy.

Available Here:

eBooks and computer downloads available through Smashwords: