The Association was established on 31 January 1914 at a meeting at Hotel Kongen af Danmark in Copenhagen.
The objectives of the association were to strengthen the coherence of the family, as set out in the following letter, which was sent to 50 descendants of Pierre on 15 January 1914:
In just two years we celebrate the 200th birthday of our ancestor Pierre Dornonville de la Cour.
At the age of 16 he immigrated to this country and from him all Danes who rightfully bears our great family name descend. Through the years we have become a large family due to outstanding properties and abilities among many of its members – as well as a well-regarded family which in numerous areas and at different times have made a not insignificant contribution to the development of Denmark and its people.
This fact, which justifiably fills us with joy and pride – and with thanks to those who did our name honor, must not, however, close our eyes to another fact that the larger a family gets the more difficult it becomes to keep it together, and the more difficult it is to maintain the reputation it has gained.
But it is a strength for a family to feel like an entity whose name has been forthcoming and committing at the same time. There are no-one among us who never felt joy and pride when he noticed how the name la Cour opened the doors to the confidence of strangers, because it has a good ring to it in all parts of the country, and there are no-one among us who would not feel happy if through his life and work he could help to firm-up and increase the good reputation of the family.
It has been said of us that we la Cours have a lot family pride. Relatively speaking, that it is true – in absolute terms, it can unfortunately easily be disputed. Admittedly, the first generations kept together. After all, it was natural: The immigrant, sharply delineated family with the foreign-sounding name, the still relatively low number of members and – not least – the short distance back to the common ancestor, which made it easy for everyone to explain the relationship between the various lines and find its place in the whole. Now, on the other hand, it is unfortunately true that the family is being dissolved in its various branches and lines. The young people no longer know each other, hardly know of each other’s existence, and have little or no knowledge of the family history or of its genealogical structures through the generations.
If this movement is continued, in just a few generations we will no longer be a family but a scattered bunch of names whose origins and interrelationships for most people have long since gone into oblivion. Branch by branch we may stick together, but the unit is broken. Hopefully, we will still work honorably each in his vocation, but the individuality of the family will be lost. The certain, easily detectable and partly valuable traits which created and still partially maintain our family pride will be blurred.
But if that happens, the family’s story is over. An individual’s deserving deed would not be able to uphold the family’s reputation and name. Without a center, the scattered constituents of the family would become strangers to one another and lose weight in the rest of the population.
It is thoughts of this kind that have forced us over the past year, and made us want that some sort of gathering, a means of unity between us la Cours, could be created. Not for us to form a state in the state, coolly retracted in the middle of the people. But precisely because each of us would be able to go to our deeds with double the energy and power, when we can add to our other pride the awareness of belonging to a good and kind family who, by their unity, give back to their individual members and protects the name in good and bad times.
And we have said to ourselves: If something can bring together our scattered family and hold it together, it must be a practical task. And what is closer, than that we all – as many as we are – agree to establish a fund for our family – a family fund – from which annual interest can benefit the family, pay out grants to young, aspiring la Cours, grants where it may be desirable, help if someone in our family should be distressed. We have so far been a relatively well-off family. Few have had an abundance of earthly goods, but even fewer, if any, have suffered actual distress. Most have lived in regular terms with means to lead a diligent and austere life.
But as the family grows, and ever-new blood is brought into it through marriage, the hitherto prevailing equality in all likelihood will be erased. At the same time, the struggle for existence becomes ever harder every year and every day the fighting struggle in life intensifies, and for each individual as well as for the individual people it becomes still more and more necessary to position oneself in the best possible way in order to assert themselves. The same goes for the individual family! It too will, if split and divided, succumb, but unified and equipped it could assert and preserve itself. If our family a generation ago had started collecting such a fund, we would today have had a capital of half or a hundred thousand – how much strength would our family not have gained from that? And how much skill would not have been given to our generation and our people through scholarships for education for young la Cours?
How differently we would have been equipped to come to the aid if failing sun or undeserved distress one day hit one of the family’s many homes and threatened to destroy it? And would not the mere awareness of the existence of such a fund, the emblem of unity and sacrificial will of the family be uplifting and strengthening for us all? Would we not have felt deeply connected to those who had begun such a work for the benefit of the family, and link us, generation to generation, building on such a strong fortress for what we inherited from our fathers?
Dear Relatives! As practical people, let us take up this matter and thereby strengthen our family as we gather it around one major common task.
We ask you, along with others of our family, with who we hope to get in touch, to gather at a meeting at Hotel Kongen af Danmark, Holmens Kanal 15, Copenhagen, on Saturday 31st at 3 pm so that we can discuss our plan and possibly prepare its realization.
Probably we would most easily be able to progress the matter by forming an association for the family and thereby get the job organized. We therefore enclose a draft statute for such an association and ask you to read them through before the meeting so that we there can give them their final shape.
As you see, the emphasis is on the formation of a strong family fund. But we are not blind to the fact that an association such as the one suggested will be able to take on many other important tasks besides the collection and administration of the fund. It will, through its secretariat, be able to continue the genealogy of the family and be a link between the various members; through an annual publication it will be able to preserve from an oblivion, and spread among the young people of the family the knowledge of the many beautiful and fond memories of which our family is so rich; it will enable us to gather for meetings and parties when occasion are given, and through its annual general meetings bring them together, which the bond of blood so earnestly should bind.
If we thus gather our family, we thereby act in the spirit of our fathers, and coming days will show that the sacrifices we will bring to carry through this proposal will also gather and strengthen those who after us carry the name through the ages.
Victor Dornonville de la Cour, colonel
Christian la Cour, member of parliament
Jørgen Carl Barfoed Dornonville de la Cour, editor