Loyal and supportive reader, Monsieur V, has suggested that more information about the skills and professions in France long ago would not go amiss. It is true that there are some baffling ones, (and some we wish we had not learnt existed), generally found in civil registers, but also in the census entries and notarial documents. Aigulletier, nacrier, talonnier - what was Grandpapa doing?
Thus, we here give a few links to specialist lists around the internet:
- Les Métiers de nos Ancêtres - good, but not infallible. Since when is being a kaiser a skill?
- Métiers d'Autrefois illustrés sur le net - a messy site but with good explanations, especially as to what was regional
- Métiers anciens on the excellent Généawiki
- Studya is a website for skills training today, but it has a few pages on bygone skills, and some peculiar little film clips. Rove the site to see what métiers are still being taught.
- On Gallica, you have the classic, 13th century book by Etienne Boileau : Les Métiers et corporations de la ville de Paris
- On Heralogic, you have extracts of Boileau's book.
In using these lists, please surrender all dependency on those online translating tools. They truly are wacky and lead one down a path of ever greater, even hallucinatory befuddlement. Just say no. Invest in a proper, second-hand, French-English dictionary to help understand the modern terms for the old skills, les vieux métiers, explained on these websites.
©2010 Anne Morddel