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Family Matters

Four and a half centuries ago, in 1555, Amath Diegui Fall was born in Futa Toro the Fulani/Tukulor region of northern Senegal, the cradle of Islam in Senegambia and beyond. His mother was Djegui Ba, his father Pathe Fall, a descendant of the damel (king) of Kayor. Amath, called Amar in Kayor, was an erudite , devout Muslim who became known as Khaly (judge) Amar Fall. He founded the town of Pire. Fall's erudition attracted believers and scholars from a vast area and in 1611, he founded the Islamic university of Pire that still exists and had for students historical figures such as Suleyman Bal and Abdel Kader Kane who blocked the slave trade on the Senegal River (see Servants of Allah and Fighting the Slave Trade.) A prolific author, Fall died in 1638.

I am a descendant of Khaly Amar Fall. Like him I highly value education, research, knowledge, writing and sharing what I have learned.

In 1555, a man named N. Mustel died in Rougemontiers, in Normandy, France. He was born in 1495. Contrary to Fall, nothing is known about him, not even his first name. He came from a locality that had been invaded by the Danes in the 9th century. The red-headed and freckle-faced generations that followed him were farmers deeply rooted in Normandy. Many were illiterate and their knowledge was nature based.

I am a descendant, 16 generations later, of N. Mustel. Like those who preceded me in Normandy (and Burgundy,) I have freckles and a passion for trees and plants, forests and little villages; and in New York, I live one block for a hilly park, a river, and medieval cloisters.

No originality whatsoever. Who I am was already in the works 500 years ago. History, including family history, is fascinating.
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