We found the door shown above in an attic, where it had opened to a servant's miserable little room. It is encrusted with newspapers from 1869, presumably for the combined purposes of insulation and edification. To the owner, it was rubbish; to us it is a minor treasure. Attics are still releasing treasure, even in this day of cameras and snoops and treasure hunters everywhere, and recently a joy for genealogists has come out of the cobwebs in Cantal.
On the 21st of January, the archives of the diocese of Saint Flour, in the department of Cantal, turned over to the Departmental Archives of Cantal a set of parish registers for a few towns, ranging in dates from the early 1600s to 1803. They had sat in an attic for more than two hundred years. No one knows why. Somehow, when the government after the Revolution gave the order to all dioceses to give all parish registers to the newly created Departmental Archives, these were not handed over but were placed (hidden? dumped?) in an attic. The imagination soars: a priest wanted to defy the sacreligious government, a drunken caretaker left them there and forgot them, a family with a lot to hide hid them, someone was hoping to sell them, they were bundled and ready to be sent but the cart had all ready left. Oh, the story possibilities are endless, but the truth remains unknown.
Cantal surely merits another prize for, in less than two months, they have filmed all of the registers and have placed them online. Here is the list of communes and the years of the registers:
- Apchon - baptisms and burials from 1632 to 1633 and baptisms, marriages and burials from 1667 to 1669
- Boisset - baptisms, marriages and burials from 1663 to 1705
- Condat - baptisms from 1613 to 1624, from 1655 to 1661 and for 1707; burials from 1613 to 1629
- Girgols - baptisms, marriages and burials from 1664 to 1695
- Ladinhac - baptisms, marriages and burials from 1790 to 1800 (including the secret baptisms performed by Abbot Delport)
- Leucamp - baptisms for 1653 to 1668 and baptisms, marriages and burials for 1674 to 1693, 1790 to 1792 and for 1799 to 1800
- Madic - baptisms, marriages and burials for 1687 to 1792
- Mentières - an index for baptisms, marriages and burials from 1780 to 1800, baptisms and marriages from 1794 to 1800
- Montmurat - baptisms, marriages and burials from 1639 to 1778
- Saint-Saury - an index of baptisms, marriages and burials from 1770 to 1792
- Sauvat - a copy of baptisms, marriages and burials from 1716 to 1717, an index of baptisms, then of births, for 1716 to 1717, and indices of baptisms, marriages and burials from 1741 to 1803
- Le Vigean - a copy of baptisms, marriages and burials from 1632 to 1700, indices for the same from 1700 to 1792
- Secret baptisms, marriages and burials performed by the priest of the parish of Moussages from 1795 to 1799 and including the parishes of:
- Chastel-Marlhac/Le Monteil
- Le Vigean
From the number of registers of secretly performed rituals, we can make a more likely guess as to the reason the registers stayed in the attic for a bit.
If your ancestors came from any of these towns, this could be your lucky day. We do hope so.
©2012 Anne Morddel