We have picked up a military discharge certificate, un congé de libération, on one of our acquisitive junkets, and we find it most instructive. It was delivered at Privas on the thirty-first of December, 1860, and presents a goodly amount of information about its recipient, Sergeant Henry Joseph Beaumel.
- He was born on the thirtieth of September, 1833, in l'Argentière, Ardèche
- His parents were Antoine [Beaumel] and the late Victoire Blachère
- He served in the Twelfth Infantry of the Line
- His physical appearance is fully described
- His profession was that of hairdresser
- He lived in Lyon
- He married Adèle Poreau on the twelfth of November 1860 in l'Argentière
- His military inscription number was 4715 and he enlisted on the sixteenth of October, 1854
(click on the image to see a larger version)
But for his personal description (no. 4) and the fact that he was a hairdresser (no. 5) , each of the points listed above can lead to further research.
Knowing his date and place of birth (no.1), you can go to the online website of the Department of Ardèche (the link is in the list to the left of this page) to find his birth registration, or acte de naissance. While there, you can look for the death registration of his late mother (no.2), most likely in l'Argentière, between the years of 1833 (his birth) and 1860 (the date of the congé), for the banns and possibly marriage of his parents prior to 1833, and for his own marriage (no. 7) in 1860.
On the same website, you can see if his mother left an estate. The Bureaux de Succession appear in an online map which you can search to find the one for l'Argentière, now Largentière. (Best to line it up with a Google map of the region.) With the bureau identified (fortunately, Largentière had its own office) you can then search the list of names by year. Recall that you must search by his mother's legal name, Blachère.
Unfortunately, you cannot search for his enlistment record (no. 8) online, for at the moment the records for 1854 are not up. However, should you have the opportunity to visit the Departmental Archives, retrieving the information would be quick, as you already have the date and his enlistment number.
Should you wish to pursue his military career -- perhaps even researching the files of his regiment at the military archives in Vincennes -- enough information is given in the lower right hand corner:
Much is possible in terms of research from this one document. Should you find yourself in possession of a congé de libération for an ancestor, your only disappointment might be that you would find the subsequent research to be too easy.
©2012 Anne Morddel