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October 2012

Was Your French Ancestor a Glass maker?

 

Verre

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At the Genco 2012 forum, GenVerrE, (the acronym is for Généalogie des Verriers d'Europe) was a significant and pretty interesting presence. They had a large stand, laden with their many publications, and one of their members, Benoît Painchart, gave the talk "Les gentilhommes-verriers, entre légendes et héritages culturels".

As GenVerrE write in their brochure, glass makers, or glass blowers, were flourishing in what is now Rhineland-Palatinate from at least the fifteenth century. Much of that region and Alsace-Lorraine were decimated by the "most murderous and devastating war ever endured by Lorraine", e.g. the Thirty Years War, ended by the Peace of Westphalia. 

Louis XIV had fortresses contructed in his acquired territory and then tried to lure new people to live there and replace all those killed during the war. With a sense of security thanks to the fortresses and with the privileges promised by Cardinal Mazarin, chief minister of France, whole villages moved to the region. They came from Picardie, the Swiss Confederacy, Savoie, Italy, happy to accept freely distributed land and tax exemptions. The glass makers came mostly from Bade-Wurtemberg, the Swiss cantons, the Tyrol and Italy "and found in abundance all that they needed for glass making: sand, fire wood, and water".

These migrations "relaunched the industry and art of glass making in the entire north east of France. The small glass works of the eighteenth century became the world-known manufacturers Portieux, Baccarat, Saint-Louis, and Meisenthal."

GenVerrE is committed not only to the further discovery of the history of glass making but also to the identification of the families of glass makers of France and Europe. They publish "Eclats de Verre" a revue of the genealogies of glass making families and of which the twentieth number has just appeared. They maintain close links with other national associations of those studying the families of glass makers in their countries. As so many moved around so much, these links are very important to the research. Their publications list is impressive, with original research as well as extracts from civil and parish registrations.

If one of your French ancestors happened to have been a glass maker, these people will be pleased to help you to know more. Bonne chance!

©2012 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy


Psychogénéalogie at Genco 2012

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Psychogénéalogie (transgenerational psychotherapy in English) is fairly new as a field of study and work. It was founded in France by Anne Ancelin Schützenberger, a psychotherapist with a background in psychodrama and group therapy, in the 1970s. Essentially, the theory is that a trauma that occurred in a family long ago could be felt still in the descendants, causing them suffering even when they may not know of the trauma. Suffering that is untreated passes from one generation to the next. This is described at length in her book, The Ancestor Syndrome.
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At the Genco 2012 forum, psycho-généalogiste Liliane Vaschalde had a stand with leaflets. She explained her process, which is not dissimilar to that of other practitioners. It entails researching one's genealogy back, ideally, five generations and, crucially, filling in as much history and cultural understanding as possible. A génosociogramme, or genogram, is constructed, providing the framework for the therapy sessions. These sessions cover family secrets and inexplicable coincidences, such as people dying on the anniversary of an ancestor's death, or the passing of psychological traits -- such as rage -- down through the generations.
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We have neither undergone such treatment nor studied it in any depth, and so we cannot in any way vouch for it; but we can affirm that, for some, the need to understand often leads to genealogy. We have been asked on occasion to research a lineage purely because someone hoped to find an explanation for a parent's or grandparent's behaviour. In one case, we were able to locate a case file from the late nineteenth century which went a long way toward such an explanation. It would have made a psycho-généalogiste beam exultantly.
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The following videos are from a France 2 presentation on psychogénéalogie, from Dailymotion.com.
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La psychogénéalogie 1 par apocalyptique00.

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La psychogénéalogie 2 par apocalyptique00 .

                  
La psychogénéalogie 3 par apocalyptique00

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©2012 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy


Genco 2012 - A Local Genealogy Get Together

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We recently had the opportunity to attend a local genealogy gathering, in Brive-la-Gaillarde, capital of Corrèze. At such a gathering, or forum de généalogie, as is the term here, representatives of genealogy cercles, or associations, set up stands in a hall or garden and offer to help anyone researching in their department. A couple of years ago (Heavens! Have we really been writing this blog so long?) we wrote of such a forum at the national level in Paris, Géné@2010.  
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The cercles are generous with their time and resources. They come with computers laden with data bases. They display copies of their publication. They bring their impressive expertise and a kind willingness to share. In this way, they help people who cannot travel to various Departmental Archives to do research and those who have hit a brick wall in their research. Members of the various cercles will give a couple of hours of free advice and suggestions; they will search their data bases of details extracted (and alphabetized!) from parish and civil registrations and print out the results at no cost. A forum généalogique is a rather lovely example of human sharing and unselfishness.
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Forum stands
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At this forum in Brive, we were pleasantly taken aback at the number and size of stands at what is really only a regional event. There were 156 stands. To be sure, some were there to present the works of local authors, not all of whom were writers on genealogical subjects. Others presented local crafts, such as truffle hunting, paper making and -- our favourite of the day -- basket weaving.
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Basketry
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There were talks as well. Madame Marie Odile Mergnac, probably the most published author in French genealogy, explained the use of cadastres in genealogy. Monsieur Christophe Drugy elaborated upon his book about researching Belgian and Dutch ancestors. There was a competition, which we did not win.
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In our next post, we will tell of some of the more interesting stands and the work of their cercles.
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©2012 Anne Morddel
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French Genealogy

A Citizenship Dispute During the American Civil War - Part 3

 

Citizenship dispute copy

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Mr. Fauconnet was still waiting for an answer from Washington and so continued on his own, trying to keep various men whom he considered to be French nationals from being drafted into the United States Army. In April, 1865, he wrote again to Major General Hurlbut, repeating his argument that a man born in the United States, the son of a French citizen who was residing in the United States but who had not taken American nationality was a French citizen like his father and therefore a neutral in the American Civil War and not eligible for the draft. He rather heroically said of his work on their behalf:

"...I will continue to fulfil my duty, which is to protect, with all means in my power, all those French nationals so declared to me, wherever they may have been born."

 He then added a claim for the exemption of another young man:

"The attached pages which I have the honour to send to you concern a young Frenchman, a minor of 21 years, who consequently has not relinquished his French nationality by exercising the rights of an American citizen [eg. by voting in an American election].

"For minors living with their parents, I am certainly not in the habit of requiring that they register [as French citizens with the consulate] until they reach the age of majority, however this young man was entered into the register on the 11th of August, 1864, which is to say at the age of 20 and a few months. According to his father, he was born in France* and his registration reflects this and is shown in the certificate of nationality attached. Additionally, I send you affadavits made before a notary by the father, the son, and two witnesses that neither the one nor the other ever violated their neutrality nor committed any act that would have compromised their French nationality.

"I do believe, General, with all these considerations, that you will be pleased to admit the French nationality of Antoine Aimé Dupierris and will give the necessary orders for him to receive a certificate of exemption, which you will please send to me immediately."

Hurlbut was having none of it:

"...In the case in question [of Pierre Camille Dubos], the party has never put himself beyond the control of his native state since his birth. The general right of transfer of allegiance must be exercised by a change of domicile as this is the only evidence to the Government of the fact. In this case, even if the party had gone to France and become a naturalized citizen of that country, upon a return to this country, his national character would revert with his domicile.

"...Holding as I do to these premises, I must decline to exempt this party [Antoine Aimé Dupierris] from the Draft, nor can I admit the right of the class of persons referred to by you, to demand time to remove from the country. Neither am I authorized to suspend the Draft until the question has been settled at Washington. But I can assure you that, should the authorities decide in favor of the rule held by you, those who shall claim exemption in time will not be held to service. 

"I am your most obedient servant, S.A. Hurlbut. Maj. Genl. Comd'g"

 

Mr. Fauconnet wrote back, repeating his argument again, and quoting Wheaton and Major General Banks once more, to no avail. He received this from Major General Hurlbut:

"Headquarters Department of the Gulf

"New Orleans April 8th 1865

"I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your communication the 7th of April, inst.

"I have had the honor to inform you that the principle of Law settled heretofore by Major General Canby in approval of my views must stand unless overruled in Washington, and that the whole business of the Draft moves under his orders.

"I will do all I can; if you contemplate an appeal to the Secretary of War through the French Minister, I will grant time to those who claim your intervention, until the appeal can  be decided, upon their giving the usual bond of $1000 to appear in case they shall be held to service.

"If this meets your wishes, you will please forward to me the names and residence of the persons of American birth claiming  French nationality who have been drafted, and I will frame the necessary orders for delay.

"I am Sir, with high respect,

"Your Obedient Servant,

"S.A. Hurlbut, M.G.C."

 

No list of names appears in the file. We fear that Mr. Fauconnet, for all his bravery, may have had to surrender. 

And so, we see that 150 years ago, the views on nationality between New World and Old World countries was even then as we described in our post On Nationality:  in the New World, nationality is determined by political borders, in this case a person having been born or residing within them; in the Old World, nationality is a matter of race, which is why Mr. Fauconnet insisted that a man with a French father was himself nothing other than French.

Europe has been a crowded place for a long time. America is only just beginning to be so. One wonders if, in another 150 years, the United States will so fervently insist on the American nationality of anyone residing within its borders.

©2012 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy

*Apparently, not quite true, if the birth record for the man on Ancestry.com is to be believed.


A Citizenship Dispute During the American Civil War - Part 1

Citizenship dispute copy
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During the American Civil War, there were those who were ready to serve in one or the other of the two armies, and those who preferred to avoid them both, if possible. Those who were not Americans were not expected to serve, quite naturally, and some of those who wished to avoid military service chose to point out that they were of foreign nationality. Some of these were French who were living, visiting or born in the United States, and thinking of themselves -- either honestly or conveniently -- as French  nationals and not as American. In some cases, the government, whether Union or Confederate, disputed these claims.
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In our happy ramblings in archives, we have come across such a dispute - epistolary and particularly clear and well written on both sides of the argument. For those of you with French forebears in the United States during the 1860s, an awareness of the nationality wrangles that were going on at the time may provide a deeper understanding of the reasons behind your ancestors' behaviour and migrations.
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The combatants over the body and nationality of Pierre Camille Dubos were, on the French side, [Charles Prosper} Fauconnet, director of the French consulate in New Orleans, and on the American side, Colonel H[arai] Robinson of the First Louisiana Cavalry and his superiors. The exchange opens, seemingly in the middle, with a refusal from Colonel Robinson of a prior request on behalf of Mr. Dubos by Mr. Fauconnet, dated the 5th of February, 1865:
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" Sir, I have the honor to inclose "Certificat de Nationalité" of Pierre Camille Dubos and to acknowledge receipt of your note relating to it.
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"The Major-General commanding this Department directs me to state to you that he differs from you in opinion regarding the nationality of young Mr. Dubos.
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"His father is a foreigner, but is permanently domiciled in this country. Mr. Pierre Camille Dubos being registered in your office according to Article "10 du Code Napoleon", may be considered a french subject when in France, but not in this country - As the fact of his being registered in your office does not prevent him from being an American citizen, by birth, at the age of twenty-one - nor can your Government, now or hereafter, claim him as a subject, or compel him to expatriate himself from the land of his birth and to proceed to France to take up arms in defence of it.
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"A man must owe allegiance to the country of his birth, when every year of his life has been spent there, and his father before him has been permanently domiciled in the country.
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"I cannot grant the pass you solicit until such time as other American citizens, subject to the impending draft, may have the same privilege.
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"Your obedient servant, H. Robinson, Col. 1st Louisiana Cavalry, and Provost Marshall General"
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Mr. Fauconnet, who had fought this battle for others, replied with force the following day:
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"Colonel, I have received the letter which you have done me the honor of sending to me on the 5th inst., together with the Certificat de nationalité française of Mr. Camille Dubos.
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"I have read carefully the opinion of the Major-General Commandant of the Department on the subject of the nationality of persons born here of foreign parents. I cannot at all accept this opinion and I take the liberty, before submitting a request to the Government in Washington for the intervention of the French Legation, of offering you some observations.
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"I will not cite anymore article 10 of the French code, which you tell me is not applicable in this country, nor that article 9 of the same code does not require any person born in France to American or other foreign citizens, to suffer, against their will, because of the consequences of their birth; it would be good if the same consideration could be extended here to people born in this country of French parents.
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"But I will cite the act of Congress of the 10th of February 1855 concerning persons born outside of the United States to American citizens and who, in the exact wording of article 10 of the French code, consequently affirm and endorse the privileges of said article.
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"In addition, I find in Wheaton, the 1863 edition, : 'In view of the military draft proposed in August 1862 on account of the Southern insurrection under the head of Aliens, it was declared, by the Government at Washington, that all foreign born persons are exempt who have not been naturalized, or who are born here of foreign parents who have not become citizens, and who have not voted, nor attempted to vote, in any state or territory of the United States.' (Papers relating to foreign affairs 1862 p. 283. Mr Seward to Mr.  Stewart Aug 20th 1862)'
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"Finally, I will extract the following from an official letter which Major-General Banks, commandant of the department, did me the honor of sending to me on the 10th of June 1864:
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" 'In this state there are a large number of citizens of french descent, who until the occurrence of the rebellion had claimed and enjoyed all the privileges due from the American Government to american citizens. At the outbreak of the war they claimed to be french subjects, and being of french origin many of them doubtless believe that they can claim the protection of the french Government. It has been deemed necessary to require from such persons, in addition to the neutral oath, a declaration that they had not assumed to act as American citizens in the elections of this country.
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" 'Should such declaration be affirmed they are admitted to any privileges that we confer upon the statement embodied in the neutral oath. Should they declare that they have exercised the privileges of American citizens, that admission will not be held to change their relations to the French Government; but it is sufficient to justify a special examination of the case where such admission is made and to grant or withhold the privileges claimed, according to the equities of the case. This is the only variation from the simple oath properly required of a foreign subject not to identify himself with the contest going on in this country.'
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"I will finish with these observations and citations, which I ask you please to bring to the attention of Major-General Heurlbut, that it would be most trying if the laws of a country are such that they are subject to the interpretations and contradictions of those charged with their execution.
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"As I await your response, I offer you the assurance of my greatest respect.
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"The Director of the Consulate of France, Fauconnet."
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Was Robinson a match for Fauconnet? Read the next post!
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©2012 Anne Morddel
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French Genealogy