The Family Association was founded on 31 January 1914 at a meeting at Hotel Kongen af Danmark in Copenhagen. The purpose of the association was to strengthen unity in the family, as it can be read by the following letter, which was sent to 50 of Pierre’s descendants on 15 January 1914:
Dear Relatives !
In just two years we celebrate our ancestor Pierre Dornonville de la Cour’s 200th birthday. 16 year old he immigrated to this country and from him all Danes who have the right to wear our good family name decend. We have over the years become a big family thanks to the excellent qualities and abilities of many of its members – also a distinguished family since several of its members in many areas and at different times have made a significant effort to the development of our people and homeland.
This fact, which rightfully fills us with joy and pride – and with thanks to those who made gave our name honor, must not close our eyes to another fact: that the larger a family becomes the more difficult it is to keep it together and the more difficult it is to keep up its acquired reputation. But it is a strength for a family to feel as a unit, whose name at the same time shows forward and commits. No one is there among us who have never felt the joy and pride when he noticed how the name la Cour opened his way to strange people’s trust, because it in all regions of the country has a good ring to it, and no one is there among us who would not feel fortunate if he through his life and his work may contribute to and increase the family’s reputation.
It has been said of us that we la Cour’er have a lot of family feeling. Relatively speaking, that it is indeed true – absolutely taken, it unfortunately can easily be disputed. Admittedly, the first generations kept together. The situation provided for that: The immigrant, distinct family with the foreign-sounding name, it’s still relatively low number of members and – not least – the short distance back to the common ancestor, which made it easy for every one to disentangle the various lines of relationship and find its place in the greater whole.
But now that it is indeed unfortunately true that the family is broken down into its various branches and lines. The young do not know each other anymore, barely know about each other’s existence and remember little or nothing about the family’s history or its genealogical structures through the different stages. If this movement continues, we will in just a few generations no longer be a family but scattered flock namesakes whose ancestry and relationship for the most part long since passed into oblivion. Branch by branch we may stick together, but the unit is gone. One by one we will hopefully still work honorably, each in his vocation, but the family’s individuality is lost. The definite, easily detectable and partly valuable traits that have created and even partially maintain our family feeling will fade.
But if this happens, the family saga has ended. Each person’s honorable deeds would not be able to keep its reputation and name up. Without a center the family’s scattered components would become strangers to each other and lose weight in the general population. It is thoughts of this kind, which during the last years have forced themselves on us and brought us to wish that there must be some form of assembly, a means of unity among us la Cour’er.
Not that we should form a state within a state, cool retracted the midst of the people. But precisely because each of us will go out to our vocation with double fire and force when we to our other pride can add a sense of belonging to a good and stalwart family that knows its cohesion and gives its individual members backrest and cherish the name of good and evil days. And we have since said to ourselves: If something should gather our scattered long-term relationship and keep it together, it must be a task of a practical nature. And what is there more than that we all, as many as we are, to agree to gather our family a fund – a family foundation – which interests some day may be useful in the family, pay scholarships for young, ambitious la Cours, scholarships where it might be desirable to help someone in our family would come distress.
We have so far been a relatively wealthy family. Few have had abundance of worldly goods, but very few, if any, have suffered really distress. Most have been living in regular conditions and sought to lead an industrious and frugal life. But as the family grows, and perpetually new blood is brought into it through marriage, the hitherto prevailing equality of conditions in all probability will be depleted. Meanwhile, the struggle for existence continually becomes harder for every year and every day, the struggle in life becomes harder and for the individual person as for the individual people, it is becoming more and more necessary to be most desirable equipped to assert themselves.
The same applies to the individual family! Also the family will fractured and divided succumb, but assembled and prepared to assert itself it will be preserved. If our family for a generation ago had begun to assemble such a fund, so that we today were faced with a capital of half or a whole hundred thousand – how much strengthening could that not have provided our generation? And how much skill there could have been added to our family through grants for the training of young la Cours?
Where would we not have been differently placed to come to the aid if the failing sun or involuntarily distress some day would hit one of the family’s many home and threatened to put it to waste? And how would not the mere awareness of the existence of such a fund, the symbol of the family unity and sacrifice, been lifting and forces all of us? Where would we not feel deeply associated with those who had begun such a work for the family’s benefit, and how it would link us together, generation by generation, as we built on such a solid fortress for what we took in heritage from our fathers?
Dear relatives ! Let us practical people to take up this task and in order to strengthen our family as we gather on a large common task. We ask you, along with a few other of our family that we can easily hope to connect with, to gather for a meeting at Hotel Kongen af Danmark , Holmen Kanal 15, Copenhagen, Saturday 31 January at 3 o’clock afternoon, so that we can discuss our plan and possibly prepare its realization.
We will probably easiest be able to raise acomplish this task by forming an association for the family and thus seek to organise the work. We enclose therefore draft bylaws for such an association and ask you to think them through before the meeting so that we may at this time give them a final shape. We place, as you see, great emphasis on the formation of a strong family foundation. But we are not blind for the fact that such an association could perform many other important tasks than the collection and administration of the fund. It will, through its Secretariat continue the family genealogy and be the link between the various members, it will through a yearly publication preserve from forgetfulness and spread among the family’s young people the knowledge of the many handsome and good memories of which our family is so rich, could gather for meetings and parties, when the occasion arises, and through its annual general meeting bring together those which blood ties very connect.
If we such gather our family, we act thus in our fathers’ spirit, and the coming days will show that the sacrifices we must bring to carry the proposition through will gather and strengthen even those who after us will bear our family name on through ages.
Colonel Victor Dornonville de la Cour,
Member of parlament Christian la Cour
Editor Jørgen Carl Barfoed Dornonville de la Cour