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November 2015

Paris - 13 November 2015

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We wish to thank all of you Dear Readers, who wrote to ask as to our safety after the dreadful attacks in Paris last week. We and our family are all well, as are our friends, but not their friends, some of whom are among the wounded. Like everyone else, we send our sympathies to the families of those who were killed.

Glibness comes easily for us, but we can find no words to express what we think and feel about this aggression and tragedy. We give here the words of our son, which come very close to what we feel.

Today I am French.

Although I did not learn the language until I was ten years old, my father was born in Normandy in 1943, two years and a stone’s throw from D-Day. Although I still speak it with the accent of an outsider, it is how I speak to half my family. To me it is, always has been, and always will be a language of love.

Today I am Parisian.

Although Paris is but one entry in the long list of cities in which I spent my childhood, it was in Paris that I witnessed 9/11. It was Parisians who, upon hearing my American English, approached me to tell me how deeply sorry they were for the suffering my country had endured. It was Parisians who stood in solidarity by my side when I, and the world, witnessed the dawning of the modern age of terrorism.

Today I am a witness.

Although I am a child of France and Paris, last night I watched from afar. I saw horror, and then I saw love. I saw liberty, equality, and brotherhood overtake fear within minutes. I saw a city still under attack literally throw open its doors to strangers, refusing even for a moment to cower in fear. I watched‪#‎PorteOuverte‬, and my heart sang in the midst of tragedy.

Today I am human.

Although I am angry, although the rage that shakes me so that I can barely type feels like a force of nature, I will not direct that anger at innocents. The refugees who seek sanctuary in Europe are fleeing exactly this violence in their own countries. They are the victims, not the perpetrators, of these attacks. They are us, and we are them, and we must protect that knowledge in the face of our own anger.

Although the personal connection I have to Paris gives these events an immediate resonance, they are one example of myriad tragedies in the world today. Whatever action they galvanise must be on behalf of all humanity. There is no ‪#‎PeaceforParis‬ without ‪#‎PeaceforAll‬

Today I am human, because we all are.
Today I am a witness, because we all are.
Today I am Parisian, because we all are.
Today I am French, because we all are.

Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité.

Toujours. )






FGB Free Clinic - Case no. 4 - Laurent Desnoyers

Petits Soins

Monsieur Conroyd wrote:

I have several ancestors who were apparently in the French military, but I will pick one here, of whom I seem to have enough information to make a little bit of an interesting story, though I actually have more about his wife.  I have not been able to find his certain origin or baptism and would like to.  I suppose I am hoping that military records might unlock something about him, but I don’t know how to pursue them...

Laurent De[s] Noyer[s]  

  • abt 1697 born, perhaps native of Dain in Artois, bishopric of St. Omer [This is from a book by Winston Deville giving his wife’s origin]
  • "native of Dain in Artois" diocese Saint Omer [Saint Omer existed from 1559 - Revolution; 1801 merged with Arras] [Artois Province or County contained cities: Arras, Saint-Omer, Lens, & Bethune; now in Pas-de-Calais dept.] Dainville?, Pas-de-Calais?, just west of Arras; 54 km from Marconne (wife's native village)
  • [Natchez Post founded in 1716]
  • Perhaps about 1715-18 entered the French military, navy?
  • abt. 1718 married in France (marriage record not yet found, but a
  • baptism found for a apparently legitimate daughter Marie Angelique Desnoyers on 26 Dec 1718 in Marconne, France, dying 11 days later.) “fille legitime de Laurent” was inserted into the text.
  •  [1718, May 7 New Orleans founded]
  •  1720 Aug 20 departed France aboard the ship L'Elephant apparently with wife Angelique, sergeant in the Navy Regiment with hope of becoming Ensign, for New Orleans
  • 1722 Aug 15 a second sergeant at Yazoo[Mississippi], witnessed a testament of Father Nicholas Arquevaux a native of Verdun, Lorraine, aged 34 years [La. Museum, N.O., on-line, document 32 with signature of DeNoye[?]
  •  1729 Adjutant Major and manager of the Terre Blanche concession at Natchez. 
  • 1729 Nov 28 Slaughtered by the Natchez Indians at Fort Rosalie, later Natchez, he only arriving [perhaps returning] that morning, and like all the other French, not aware of the Natchez ruse: acting friendly, borrowing French guns claiming to go hunting, then upon signal using them to kill almost all the un-armed French men, and many women and children at close quarters instead.
  • He apparently married [no marriage record yet found in Hesdin or nearby Marconne, wife’s origin] Marie Anne Angelique Charton and had possibly 4 children; 1 in France, 3 in French Louisiana or Mississippi territory.

It is our experience that these very early settlers have been thoroughly researched and that what has not yet been found is not going to be found. Still, in genealogy research one must never say never, so here is what we suggest:

  • We spoke with the representatives of the Association Généalogique du Pas de Calais, who were very generous with their time and expertise, at their stand at the Congrès national de Généalogie in Poitiers. They checked their databases for the entire department and found no Laurent Desnoyers at all. They checked various spellings but found nothing. (They did find a great deal on his wife, Marie Anne Angélique Chartron, who, along with about twenty other women, is reputed to have been the inspiration for the story of Manon Lescaut. Monsieur Conroyd already has the Chartron information.) Mind, the content of their databases is what people have extracted from parish and civil registrations and one tiny variation in spelling means that a name could be missed. We would not continue searching the parish registrations with much energy without more clues.
  • All at the stand scoffed at a village named Dain. "There NEVER was such a place!" they all agreed. Possibly Dainville or Houdain (both of which Monsieur Conroyd has already searched) possibly -- based on the idea of pronunciation -- Dohem (which is in the modern arrondissement of St. Omer). Dohem's registers are not big and it would not take long to search them, bearing in mind that the spelling would probably be other than Desnoyers.
  • Desnoyers and Chartron my have had a marriage contract. If so, even if they married elsewhere, it may have been written in or near her home of Marconne or in St. Omer. Her father may have left a will. Checking the répertoires of the actes of the notaires who served Marconne for the relevant years, say 1715 through 1718 for the marriage, could reveal something that has not been found by others yet. A complete list of the notarial records for the department can be found here and it can be seen that not many go back as far as is required, so it would not be that much of a difficulty to look through them. However, only the finding aids are online. The search would have to be done in person at the Departmental Archives of Pas de Calais.
  • No search of the records for Louisiane and Natchez on the IREL search engine for the Archives nationales d'outre-mer brings up anything for Laurent Desnoyers. However, there is a great deal on Louisiana and Natchez, with quite a lot of correspondence, not all of which has been indexed online. Much of it is, however, digitized and can be viewed on the website. Reading the letters and reports for Natchez during the relevant years could yield something on Desnoyers.
  • The same holds true for correspondence and other documents held at other facilities, all of which are listed on the excellent government website La Louisiane française, under the heading Resources Documentaires. 
  • The Compagnie des Indes search page on Memoire des Hommes has the passenger and crew lists for ships to Louisiana from 1720, though these are not always complete.
  • It seems unlikely, given his military rank, but should Desnoyers have been one of the prisoners or his wife one of the women rounded up in Paris, then their names could appear in the records of the Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal


This will be a tough one for, as we say, it is unlikely that all of the above have not been combed by many researchers over the years. Nevertheless, we wish Monsieur Conroyd the best of luck. As always, suggestions from our Dear Readers would be most welcome.

©2015 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy