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September 2019

You May Now Purchase Recordings of Our French Genealogy Lectures

Learn French Genealogy

Many of you, Dear Readers, expressed regret at not being able to take our online French genealogy courses offered a few months ago with the Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research (which has, sadly, ceased operating). Each of those two courses consists of four lectures of an hour and a half each; to take them was rather a big commitment. Now, you can purchase the recordings* of the eight lectures separately, enabling you to learn at your own pace and to select only the lectures that you think you may need, in whatever order you prefer to hear them.

The lecture titles are:

Series 1 - First Steps in French Genealogy

  1. The History and Development of French Parish and Civil Registrations - The purpose, structure and requirements of the registration of population data changed over the centuries of the Ancien Régime, through the Revolution and into modern times. What information was written, how and why, are covered, as are the non-Catholic registrations of populations such as the Jewish and Protestant peoples.
  2. Birth and Death Registrations - While French death registrations normally provide very little information, birth registrations, particularly from the mid-nineteenth century onward, are often a rich source of detail. How to find, interpret and use this information is explained.
  3. Marriage Registrations - French marriage registrations often run to two full pages in the registers, with a wealth of information. Their format is explained and examples are examined.
  4. Online Resources and How to Use Them - There are dozens of French websites of use to the genealogist, most of which are free to use. However, most are in French. This session discusses them and gives guidelines for the non-French speaker in how to navigate them.

Series 2 - French Notarial Records

  1. History and Definitions - The course begins with an explanation and history of notaires and notarial records and with a discussion of their importance to French families. The six degrees of relationship, so important in French inheritance law, are explained. The case study family is introduced.
  2. The Death Inventory and Wills - The structure and format of the death inventory is explained and discussed, followed by a discussion of French wills. Examples from the case study are examined, showing how such documents not only reveal much about a life but can also provide much genealogical information.
  3. The Marriage Contract - Marriage contracts have been common in French families for centuries. Why this is so is explained, as are the main types of contract. The structure and format are explained and examples examined. Because an entire family is usually involved, these contracts can be of enormous genealogical value and should never be ignored. Two marriage contracts from the case study family are examined.
  4. How to Find Notarial Records Online - Finding notarial records is complicated. This session explains how they are stored, how the indices to them are structured, and how to find the record sought. The unique case of Parisian notarial archives is also explained.

The price for each recording is $15. This includes the syllabus.

The recordings are MP4 files and can be played with Quicktime and a number of other programmes.

The files are quite large (70 to 90 MB) and will be shared with you via DropBox, so you will need to be able to access DropBox.

To purchase a recording, write to us at TheFGB(AT)protonmail(DOT)com .

©2019 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy

*We are most grateful to the VIGR Director and eminent genealogist, Michael Hait, for the suggestion and permission to make our lectures available in this way.


Further to Gallipolis and "The French 500" - a Guest Post

Monsieur C. who is very modest, indeed, writes that he followed the suggestions in our previous post on this subject and purchased the book we there recommended,   Gallipolis : Histoire d'un mirage américain au XVIIIe siècle, by Jocelyne Moreau-Zanelli. He then tested the website of the Departmental Archives of Seine-Maritime and has this to contribute:

Let me offer some advice for non-French-speaking researchers attempting to glean the maximum benefits from the suggestions you provided concerning the French sources:

A.  Starting from a higher level view, the online archives for the department of Normandy named Seine-Maritime are found here:

http://www.archivesdepartementales76.net/

B.  At this writing, their main page has a link entitled "Inscription Maritime" which will take you where we want to go.  However, the business of maintaining interesting web pages being what it is, it may be that by the time you want to go there, they will have re-organized the navigation of their web presence and that convenient link may have become obscure.  If you don't see it, try this.

The upper right corner -- across traditions and writing styles of many types worldwide -- usually provides a search facility of some sort.  In this case, the magnifying glass is your language-independent iconic friend.  Enter the phrase [without the quotes] "inscription maritime" and you should find what you are looking for in the list that will be returned.  For lazy folks too used to Google, do not expect google-like interpretation of your desires -- spell each word correctly and you will be happy, otherwise you will remain lost.

On that page, the link reading "click here to access the Inscription Maritime listings" will keep its promise.

C.  Now, at least with today's user experience design interface, you will have two drop-down lists from which to hone your request for relevant information.  The top one [Quartier] will let you select as between the two key ports present in the department.  The first is for the port activities at Le Havre, the second is for the activities at Rouen.

Let me interject that in my hours of browsing, I have looked at activities for both ports.  My simplistic, non-informed conclusion is that you get about what you would expect.  Le Havre is the major port handling sailings around the world.  If you need to make a trans-oceanic sailing, you would like the harbor best suited to ships of that size and the administrative support infrastructure to go with international trade and commerce.  If, on the other hand, you mostly want to move smaller amounts of cargo and passengers from port to port within France, or the ports of its [at that moment in time] friendly neighbors, Rouen might be more convenient.  The bottom line, for our limited purposes, is that the likelihood of stumbling upon persons involved in emigration to the anticipated Northwest Territory paradise, is several orders of magnitude more likely for the Le Havre listings than those for Rouen.

D.  The next drop-down lets you select the type of source material you wish to browse.  Here I would truly love it if our hostess, Ms. Morddel, might find a moment to update and expand upon the information she gave us in July, 2016, when we celebrated the first availability of this online gold mine.  The number of, and the nomenclature for, the different alternatives do not line up simply with what you will find present in the drop down lists at this point in time.  If she does not have the time to do an update, you ought to find that Google Translate is at least 95% reliable, and can perform the task very well, but the problem is that translating something like d’armement et de désarmement to arming and disarming is really sort of an anachronistic thing that we would really need Peter Seller's Inspector Clouseau reincarnated to perform with appropriate charm.

As an ex naval officer, I can handle the military basis of the terminology, but our relatives heading to Gallipolis were not soldiers and sailors and they were not carrying munitions to stave off the nasty Brits they might have met at sea, so I, for one, would appreciate definitions more representative of the arrivals and departures characteristic of immigration travel.  So, until that may be accomplished, here's what I think I have learned:

     a.  The "finding aid" that a répertoire may well represent does not seem to have come into general use until after the period of time in which we are searching.  There is, as far as I can see, no nice, brief list give the names of vessels which entered or left Le Havre in the 1790 time-frame.  The materials elsewhere found under "Matricules" provided some names of some vessels, but my non-French-reading-eye was unable to extract any really useful information from the summary of voyages found therein.

     b.  The following summarizes voyage/passenger factoids that I hope will turn out to be a part of Ms. Moreau-Zanelli's research and analysis.  The two voyages of Le Patriote and La Liberté are clearly the most important, and form the basis, as best I can tell, of the work of the Gallia County Genealogical Society.

      • Quartier du Havre (6P)
      • Roles des batiments de commerce
      • Long cours, cabotage, bornage et grand pêche
      • 1790 (910)
      • désarmement n° 002-201
          • The most interesting passenger lists relate to Martinique. I have seen not a single sailing to New Orleans -- should I be surprised, or should I know the historical situation seemingly preventing them from going there. I found nothing relating to America.
      • 1791 (938)
      • désarmement n° 001-200
        • 156-173 Le Patriote
        • 280-304 La Liberté
        • 507-517  Le Navire Les Citoyens de Paris
          • Seems to have sailed from Bordeaux to La Havre in July, 1791, but this document says nothing about sailing to America.
      • 1792 (894)
      • désarmement n° 001-193
        • 232-235 Le Jeune Cole
          • Just 3 passengers -- with some connection to Britain -- destined for Philadelphie en Virginie.
        • 387-389 La Gracieuse
          • To Richmond en Virginie.  This item has a note from Vice Consul Oster explaining that some returning cargo has been sent via another ship on another route. There is no information concerning passengers.
        • 447-450  La Victoire
          • To Baltimore en Virginie.  Third footprint of Vice Consul Oster, but no useful passenger facts.
        • 505-508 L'amiable Antoinette
          • Outbound there is an American citizen named John Stuart, but embarking in Alexandria for the return to le Havres du Grace are ten passengers presumed to be French.
        • 575-578 Le Prince Royal
          • To Petersburg en Virginie.  Another Oster footprint, again no useful passenger facts.
        • 652-658 L'Alexandrine
          • To Petterbourg en Virginie.  Another Oster footprint, again no useful passenger facts.
        • 688-692 Le Ferier
          • To Norfolk from St. Valery sur Somme, Department De Dunkerque.  No passenger facts.
        • 826-829 La Mouche
          • To Philadelphie en Virginie came Michel Ange Bernard Mangourit to be Consul General at Charleston. He would be crucial to Genet's plans. There are quite a few other legible names on this list of passengers.
      • 1793 (448)
      • désarmement n° 001-163
        • 118-120 L'Aigle
          • To Hampton en Virginie. No passenger facts.
        • 167-170 L'Aimable Antoinette
          • James Cole Mountflorence is aboard the vessel heading for Alexandrie, leading the way for Genet.
        • 204-207 L'Adelaide
          • Two citizens to Newiorck en Virginie.
        • 334-337 La Jeune Alexandrine
          • Sailed from St. Valery sur Somme to Fredericksbourg en Virginie. There is no passenger data.
      • 1794-5 (103)
      • désarmement n° 003-043
          • Almost all voyages internal, few external, none U.S. related.
      • 1795-6 (133)
      • désarmement n° 001-035
          • The nomenclature of the Republique has arrived in force. The sailings take place in the 2nd and 3rd years of the Republique and are to/from the Arrondissement du Havre-Marat; the Department du Normandie is passe and America is off their radar entirely.

NOTA BENE:  The two 3-digit numbers separated by a dash give you the page number of the listing where the voyage of the named ship will be found.  This should save you hours of work in repeating my effort in culling the listings.  Native French readers, and more, those trained to more easily identify the forms of abbreviation and style of composition of that era, ought to be able to quickly navigate directly to the pages noted and could summarize the welter of in-line as well as the marginal notes found there.

Well! Dear Readers, we do hope that you will find the hard work of Monsieur C to be helpful to you in searching through the passenger lists. We extend our heartfelt thanks to Monsieur C for this contribution.

©2019 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy


Filae Launches an English Version

Filae languages

Sound the fanfare, Filae.com, one of the two major French commercial genealogy websites, now has pages in English. Click on the French flag in the upper right hand corner and a blended US/UK flag will drop down. Click on that and away you go.

Filae English

For those of you who have been intimidated by the French, you may now jump in and explore many, many French genealogy resources, all of them pretty well indexed.

Enjoy!

©2019 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy


Protestant and Huguenot Research - The TT Series

Series TT

Those sly pixies at the Archives nationales have been working diligently and without fanfare. Archivists above the fray, perhaps holding the cult of celebrity in contempt and scorning the celebrity's unseemly lust for self proclamation (a sign of a flawed personality) disguised as self promotion (a sign of a brain that spent its developmental years absorbing televised used car adverts), may have taken their modesty too far. No one noticed when they quietly slipped onto the Salle des Inventaires virtuelles, the finding aids for the TT Series, accompanied by some of their wonderfully explanatory essays. Even more excitingly, some of the original archives have been digitized and can be seen online (at no charge) on the website of the Archives nationales.

We have mentioned the TT Series before, in our post on Huguenot Genealogy. How things have progressed since we penned that essay! A large number of Departmental Archives  have digitized their Protestant registers and now have them available on their websites. 

The TT Series is the collection of records concerning the Protestants and the property confiscated from them after the 1685 revocation of the Edict of Nantes, when persecution of the Protestants, after nearly one hundred years of tolerance, began again. Specifically, the sub-series are:

  • TT//1 to TT//83 - Records concerning the management of Protestant property from 1686 to 1751. Arranged alphabetically by location.
  • TT//84 to TT//229, plus TT459 and TT460 - Queries, investigations and statements concerning Protestant property, much of which had been confiscated. Arranged alphabetically by the property owner.
  • TT//230 to TT//276B - Archives des Consistoires. All of the records and registers confiscated from the suppressed Protestant churches, (consistoires or temples,) these are thought to be "the most important part of the series concerning the history of Protestantism, both before and after the Edict of Nantes". They are fully explained in the section entitled "Description" here. There is also a complete index here. Joy of joys, some of these may be seen online. The diligent and expert people at Geneawiki have created the easiest pages of links:
    • Selected folders from TT//264 through TT//275A linking to the Archives nationales films of the documents. Keep checking the main page of Consistoires listings for new films as they are added.
    • Selected folders from TT//230 through TT//276, linking to digital photos on Geneanet taken by volunteers. Unfortunately, many are very blurred and almost impossible to read.
  • TT//277 to TT//429, plus TT//461 and TT//462 - Records concerning the management of Protestant property from 1686 to 1789. Arranged by subject, this section is a bit less clearly structured. An extremely detailed listing of TT//376 to TT//429 can be read here.
  • TT//430 to TT//464 - Miscellaneous - A few of these may also be seen as digital photos on Geneanet taken by volunteers here.

The complete and detailed listing of the above can be seen here.

The availability of these archives on the Internet will enhance Protestant and Huguenot research significantly. Really quite exciting.

©2019 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy

 


Gallipolis and "The French 500"

Wilderness

One of you, Dear Readers, has written, asking us to write about the poor French dupes of some early American scam artists. Known in Ohio as 'The French 500", they were a group of people, some of the nobility, some artisans, and their families who thought that they might have a better future anywhere else than in revolutionary France. A glib Yale man who spoke French, Joel Barlow, and who had more passion than integrity, took advantage of their fears and hopes and sold them land that neither he nor the company he represented, the Scioto Company, actually owned. The Wikipedia article on Barlow states that "Scholars believe that he did not know the transactions were fraudulent."

Oh, yes he did, and the superb, definitive study on Gallipolis, proves it, using French notarial records, beyond any doubt. Gallipolis : Histoire d'un mirage américain au XVIIIe siècle, by Jocelyne Moreau-Zanelli, is the book published from her thesis and it is a masterpiece of historical research clearly presented. She explains first the background to land speculation in America, and then describes that shady character, William Duer, and his creation of the Scioto Company. We like that she sees, in this context, the American Dream as the American Mirage, and property speculation as a uniquely American tradition, (reminding us of our father, a very unsuccessful realtor who truly believed that every next deal would put us on Easy Street). She digs deep into notarial records of the sales, examines the economic, social and historical reasons that people might quit Paris for the wilderness of the Northwest Territory, and reveals the types of people who went.

For most of you, Dear Readers, language throws up its proverbial barrier, for the book is in French. We really do think there is a call for it to be translated into English for there are many who would appreciate it, so please do urge your friends in publishing to consider it. We will here extract what is perhaps the most genealogically useful information.

With very impressive sleuthing, Ms. Moreau-Zanelli has identified seven vessels that carried French emigrants:

  • Recovery
  • Pennsylvania
  • Patriote
  • Liberté
  • Mary
  • Lady Washington
  • Nautilus of Scarborough
  • Union
  • Citoyenne de Paris

Not all of their ports of departure are known but she discovered their three ports of arrival as Amboy, Alexandria and Philadelphia. For two of the vessels, the Patriote and the Liberté, departing passenger lists survive in the Le Havre passenger lists on the website of the Departmental Archives of Seine-Maritime. (Both are on roll number 6P6/19) They have been transcribed by  the "Gallia County Genealogical Society OGS Chapter, Inc." reached via their page on The French 500.  Beware that these are partial transcriptions and that some names have been missed. For example, on the Patriote, there were André Joseph Villard, his wife, Noel Agathe Sophie Demeaux, and their two daughters, Constance Eugenie Etiennette and Félicité, along with two domestic servants. The transcription misses out six-year-old Félicité.

It will never be possible to compile a list of all of the passengers' names, for the documents have not survived. Additionally, many of the aristocrats, not wishing to voyage with the hoi polloi, booked their own passages, often by way of Saint-Domingue. However, Ms. Moreau-Zanelli has compiled a superbly helpful list, entitled "Tableau de Ventes", with over three hundred names of people who bought land from the Scioto Company through Barlow. In the table, she gives about each purchaser his or her:

  • Name
  • Profession
  • Sex
  • Place of origin
  • Amount of land purchased
  • Amount paid

This table, along with the two surviving passenger lists, will probably be the the most complete list of names of The French 500 that will ever be possible. We hope that you will be able to find your ancestor among them.

Please, we beg of you, if you have an interest in this subject, to buy Ms. Moreau-Zanelli's book and to encourage others to do so; do not steal her hard work and put it on some Rootsweb list. That is the sort of thing that brings scorn upon all of us who are genealogists.

Gallipolis : histoire d'un mirage américain au XVIIIe siècle

Jocelyne Moreau-Zanelli

published by l'Harmattan in 2000

ISBN-13: 978-2738489173

458 pages

 

©2019 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy