We continue with our discussion of little delights discovered in the Municipal Archives of La Rochelle, which really is turning out to be a revelation of what sorts of things may be found in communal and municipal archives generally. Each city's or town's holdings are different (read a survey of some of our visits here), they collected different types of information, and their collections survived differently the tricky and unpredictable selection process of centuries of war, relocation, hoarders and zealous cleaners.
A beautiful survivor in La Rochelle is a sort of early directory or annuaire, the Liste Générale of 1786. As La Rochelle had about twenty thousand people at the time, in five or six quarters, this list of ten or so pages is clearly not an effort to list all persons who might belong under its categories. Nevertheless, we found it to be useful as it did contain some names of Acadians who had arrived twenty-five years earlier.
The categories include:
- Doctors and Surgeons
- Ship outfitters and Traders
The only information given is a name and a street, which may be a home address or a commercial address or both; it is not clear. Yet, combined with other resources, this may help to expand knowledge of a person's life. On its own, it can place a person in the town with some certainty for at least some part of 1786, which could be the very thing needed to clarify a research problem.
This document was labelled as "Population Statistics" and was filed with Police records, in Series FF (see the classification system for municipal and communal archives here). We are quite fond of the Police archives and, whenever we have the time on an archives visit, we make a point of requesting those cartons. Throughout all time, it would seem, those who go into the policing line of work tend also to be those with a passion for noting down and listing names, any names, not necessarily criminals' names. We cannot recommend highly enough that the Police files in both municipal and departmental archives be examined for you may find that one of your ancestors was the target of the interest and listing of a spying and secretarial police officer of yore.
©2016 Anne Morddel