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Hunting Down Your French Freemason Ancestor

French Law Professors In Your Family's Past?


Here on the FGB we have discussed the many possible reasons your ancestor may have left France and how those reasons may help to discoveries of his or her origins. You may be descended from a young man avoiding his military service, or from a family opting to leave Alsace-Lorraine when it became German, or from someone who went to Quebec or Louisiana, from an adventurer who hoped to strike it rich in Mexico or Argentina, from a Communard, or from a bagnard. We have noticed, in our long and misguided life, yet another reason a person -- usually a young man -- may leave the land of his roots for somewhere, anywhere, else.

These are the sons of prominent, respected, pillar of the community, over-achieving, impossible to match fathers (see above). Unable to endure the weight of Papa's shadow, some sons run. Sometimes, they run very far. In our experience, sons of medical professors dominate this category, but sons of law professors are also known to bolt free of the paternal reputation and eternal comparison with it.

Should your family have stories of a French law professor in the clan, it is now possible to check up on that.   The website Siprojuris is that of the System d'information des professors de droit (the information system of law professors). Its content covers the late eighteenth through the twentieth centuries. It has three categories, each of which may be searched:

  • Professors - Les enseignants
  • Universities - Etablissements d'enseignement
  • Courses - Enseignements

 On the page about each professor are tabs for the categories:

  • Biographical details - Eléments biographiques
  • Education and degrees - Formation et diplômes
  • University career - Carrière universitaire
  • Family data - Données familiales
  • Professional works - Production scientifique
  • Location map - Carte

The sources for the information are impressive:

  • Personnel files held at the Archives nationales or in various Departmental Archives
  • The Bulletin Officiel du Ministère de l'Instruction Publique
  • The Journal Officiel
  • Parish and civil registrations
  • The Légion d'honneur files
  • Many other printed sources, including local newspapers, judicial revues, publications by the professors, law societies' publications, etc.

The research has been exhaustive and would be very, very hard for a family genealogist, working from afar and without a French law background to do alone. Siprojuris will lead to the breaking through of some genealogical brick walls for a lucky few, we are certain, most especially for those researching their Parisian ancestors. There are twenty-three names of those born in Paris before 1860, all of whose birth and possibly marriage records were most likely burned in the fire at the Paris City Hall in 1871. We give their surnames here:

  • Berthelot
  • Boistel
  • Boitard
  • Caqueray (de)
  • Carpentier
  • Cauwès
  • Chambellan
  • Colmet d'Aâge
  • Colmet de Santerre
  • Delvincourt
  • Demante (2)
  • Dufrayer
  • Duranton
  • Flandin
  • Labbe
  • Lyon-Caen
  • Michel
  • Neuville
  • Rataud
  • Roustain
  • Vermond
  • Véron-Duverger

Even if these names are not among those you recognise in your family, click on the tab for Données familiales to check a spouse's surname.

Very fine new source, indeed.

©2015 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy