There is a lovely little bit of historical/genealogical research discussed on the BBC news pages at the moment, about a French letter sent from Paris to Normandy by hot air balloon during the Siege of Paris during the Franco-Prussian War, which somehow has ended up in Australia. Using research skills the same as those discussed many times here on the FGB, one Emmanuel Hamel, a pretty keen family historian in Normandy, traced the writer and the recipient of the letter.
The recipient was in a town in Eure, so he checked in the Departmental Archives of Eure. There, he found the death registration of the recipient. He then found the marriage registration of the sender, which proved to be, as they usually do, a font of information.
Of perhaps even greater interest is the story of the hot-air ballon, ballon monté, letters sent during the siege. Many of them were collected by Louis Moland and published, for they give an amazing and immediate account of those difficult times. We give the book here: