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FGB Free Clinic - Case no. 9 - Marie Fouyol, Parisian wife of Thomas Mansell, part 6 - Community Context

Marie Fouyol

Context remains our focus, Dear Readers. We have looked at the historical context in which we found Thomas Mansell and Marie Fouyol and at the most complicated geographical context of Paris after the Revolution and during the First Empire. In the previous post, in looking at the prisoner of war file of Thomas Mansell, we also looked at the political context in how the wars affected him. In this post, we shall look at the few friends and co-workers we have been able to discover, their community, and its context.

Our only sources for acquaintances of Thomas Mansell and his wife, Marie Fouyol, are the baptism register entries for their three children and the prisoner of war file. Researching each of the employers or work acquaintances of Thomas Mansell mentioned in his prisoner of war file brought, as expected, no mention of Marie Fouyol.

  • John Glasin, Mansell's employer in Paris at rue Menilmontant number 2, apparently spent some time in Bordeaux. There, he and his wife had a stillborn son. The child's death registration, dated the 23rd of July 1802, names the parents ass John Glasin and his wife, Kitty O'Connor, and that they lived at rue Doidé number 14 in Section Two. In January of 1808, he was looking for work, having placed an advertisement in the edition of the 4th of January of the Affiches, annonces et avis divers "To Manufacturers of hemp and linen - An Englishman and his two sons, knowing how to construct machines and knowing very well spinning technology, desire employment. Contact Mr. John Glasin at rue d'Arbalète, number 26."
  • Burdin and Caret, the company, located in rue de Charenton, went bankrupt in 1811. The first names of the individuals could not be found online.
  • Daniel Heilmann, whose cloth Louis Bergeron said was of poor quality, may not have been a manufacturer. In 1813, he and his wife, Adelaide Le Blanc, had a son, Ferdinand Daniel. The birth document gives his address as in rue de Charenton and his profession as a professor at the Imperial Institute for the Blind (Institut Impérial des Aveugles)

Recall that Thomas Mansell wrote to the Minister of War that he had worked to help set up a spinning factory for the blind, Aveugles. This was most likely the Institute where Daniel Heilmann worked and it may have been connected to Burdin and Caret as both were in rue de Charenton.

Looking at the godparents of the Mansell children:

  • Josephine Thomassin, the wife of Cartier, living in rue du Petit Lion Saint Sauveur, was the godmother on the 1814 baptism. She married Jean Baptiste Joseph Cartier in Paris in 1802. They probably met in Paris, as he was from the department of Nord, possibly from the city of Valenciennes; she was from a large family in the department of Haute-Saône. They had at least two children in Paris. In 1810, a daughter, Geneviève Françoise Cartier, was baptized in the church of Saint Eustache. The baby died a year and a half later at the home of a wet-nurse in the department of Oise. In December of 1812, the couple had another daughter, Louisine Françoise Cartier. Josephine Thomassin's birth register entry was not found, but the 1782 entry for the death of her mother, Louise Ronot, was found. Thus, Josephine Thomassin was born before that death, making her the same age as or slightly older than Marie Fouyol. Her husband, Jean Baptiste Joseph Cartier, was a bit older, as his mother died before his father, a charcoal maker, remarried in Valenciennes in 1777, making him about the same age as Thomas Mansell.
  • Jean François Varrinier, who ran a boarding house in rue du Cloître Saint Benoît number 17, was from the town of Dunières in Haute-Loire, where his brother, Joseph, and his sister, Marie, remained. On the 12th of March 1796, in Paris, Varrinier married a divorcée from Belfort, Marie Thérèse Metrot. Her first husband was Jean Pierre Erhard, whom she had married before 1785, when their son, Pierre Antoine Erhard, was born in Belfort. Thus, the wife of the godfather, Jean François Varrinier, Marie Thérèse Metrot, born by at least 1770 and probably earlier, was old enough to have been Marie Fouyol's mother. Varrinier's brother was born in 1768 and his sister in 1774; if he were about twenty-five when he married, he would have been born in about 1771, betweeen his siblings, making him slightly older than Thomas Mansell. No documents for children of this couple were found.
  • After struggling with the handwriting in the 1816 baptism, we now think that the person we initially identified as Marguerite Cocq... had the surname of Coigner, possibly spelt Coignet or Coigné. In all cases, the name is so common and the details so few that nothing about this specific person could be found with any certainty.
  • The same commonality of name and lack of detail applies to the godfather in the 1816 baptism, Pierre Rey. Numerous men of the same name in Paris were researched, with the goal of finding a document with a signature that would match the bold one in the baptism register, but none was found. The name, Rey, seems to have originated in Franche-Comté.
  • Thomassine Lorguilleux, the godmother in the 1818 baptism who lived at rue des Bourguignons number 6, was from a family of textile printers in the town of Corbeil in the department of Essonne, where she was born in about 1793, making her about ten years younger than Marie Fouyol. In 1819, four years into the Restoration, Thomassine Ursule Lorguilleux married an English textile machinist named James Wilson in the British Embassy Chapel in Paris.  That same year, their son, Auguste Achille, was baptized in the church of Saint Jacques du Haut Pas. They left Paris for a while for, in 1824, in Charenton-le-Pont, in the department that is now Val-de-Marne but was then Seine, they had a second son, Henry Victor Amedé Wilson. Thomassine Lorguilleux lived a long life, long enough to appear in the 1872 census, which shows her as aged seventy-nine, the widow Wilson, living with her second son in the town of Saint Pierre du Perray in the department of Essonne, about four kilometers from Corbeil, where she was born.
  • James Wilson's prisoner of war file shows that he was held at the prison camp at Valenciennes from at least 1808. He was released, with thirteen others, to work for a French textile manufacturer, Samuel Joly in the town of Saint Quentin in 1809. Joly posted security bonds for them all.

The names of neither Marie Fouyol nor Thomas Mansell appear in any of the documents related to the research into the people above. They were not godparents to the children; they were not witnesses to the marriages. Recall that the Paris records were lost and many of the recreations are not full copies so, the names we seek may have been in the original records that were lost.

More importantly, not a single person in the Mansell-Fouyol community was a native Parisian. They came from Haute-Loire, Nord, Haute-Saône, Essonne, Belfort and England. They were working class people who lived in small accommodation in Paris, part of the great influx of people from the provinces to the capital that began even before the Revolution. This community of provincials in Paris poses the question: was Marie Fouyol also from the provinces? 

©2021 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy


FGB Free Clinic - Case no. 9 - Marie Fouyol, Parisian wife of Thomas Mansell, part 5 - The Napoleonic Prisoner of War File

Dossier Thomas Mansell

As we wrote in Part Three of this case study, Thomas Mansell was one of Napoleon's "hostages", a British détenu, and there is a file with his name on it in the archives of the Service Historique de la Défense. We have seen the file, now, and photographed its contents. Chronologically, the correspondence begins with three letters from Thomas Mansell to the Minister of War, Louis-Alexandre Berthier, written in late 1803 and early 1804. The administration of the prisoners of war was the responsibility of the Ministry of War and many prisoners wrote pleading letters to the Minister, so the existence of these is not unusual.

On the 15th of December 1803 (he used the date of the Republican calendar 23 frimaire An 12), Mansell wrote that he was an Englishmen who had been living in Paris for sixteen months (putting his arrival at about August 1802) and had been employed in weaving cotton stuffs at the workshop of Jean Glasin at no. 2 rue Menilmontant. He requested an extension of his permission to stay in Paris, which originally had been granted by General Junot.

On the 24th of January 1804 (3 pluviôse An 12), apparently having had no reply, he wrote again, repeating that he was an Englishman, a machinist weaver of cotton stuffs, who requested permission to remain in Paris. He added that he was living in the rue des Filles du Calvaire.

On the 28th of February 1804 (8 ventôse An 12) he wrote again, repeating all of the information given in the two previous letters and saying that he had now been in Paris for seventeen months. (This again places his arrival as August of 1802.) He added that General Harty could give him a reference.

Clearly, he had been released from Fontainebleau before the 15th of December 1803. As the edict to arrest all British citizens had been issued in May of 1803, he was held in detention at Fontainebleau for no more than about six months. 

We can verify the timing and names of some of his information:

  • Chassagne has a very small mention of John Glasin, saying that he and a Michael Webster, both of Manchester, were in Paris from at least the spring of 1802 and had offered to the government their method of weaving piqués.1
  • General Jean Andoche Junot was the Military Governor of Paris in 1803 and 1804. Though Thomas Mansell seems to have arrived in Paris in August of 1802, he would not have required a residence permit from the military until his country went to war with France again in May of 1803, so Andoche (and not his predecessor) would have been the person to grant permission to Mansell to stay in Paris.
  • Major-General Oliver Harty was an Irishman in the French Army who, according to this article in the Dictionary of Irish Biography online, had been praised by Berthier for his fighting in the War in the Vendée  That phase of the war ended in 1800; it is unclear where Harty was between then and the resumption of war with Britain in 1803, so he could have been in Paris in 1802 and early 1803 and he could have encountered Thomas Mansell. Mansell may have hoped that using Harty's name would have made a good impression on Berthier.

 

There are then two letters from Mansell to the Minister of War written in September and October of 1809. By then, Berthier was no longer the Minister of War; in 1807, he had been replaced by Henri Jacques Guillaume Clarke, a French General of Irish descent. There is also an exchange between the Ministry and the Chief of Paris Police about Mansell's request.

On the 26th of September 1809, Mansell wrote, identifying himself still as a mechanician weaver who had lived in Paris for seven years. Now, perhaps hoping to appeal to Clarke's imagined sympathies, he said that he was Irish. He stated that he had worked to set up many factories, particularly one in the Saint Avoye quarter called Aveugles. His reason for writing was that he had lost his wallet, containing all of his papers and he requested a new permit to remain in Paris. His address was at number twelve in rue du Picpus, the home of a Mr. Rocher.

On the 27th of September, he sent another letter with testimonials from two employers: Burdin and Carret  (a company that failed in the financial crisis of 1811) and D. Heilmann, whose "calicos were of a poor quality".2

On the 5th of October, the Ministry of War's bureau that dealt with prisoners of war wrote to the Chief of Paris Police, recounting the tale of lost papers, repeating that Mansell was Irish, adding that he was aged about thirty and saying "I have no information on this man. I have some letters but they all have different spelling of the surname. I fear he may have made a bad use of his papers for one of his compatriots. Please investigate his character." (Many English desperate to get out of France at that time did buy or steal papers of those there legitimately.)

The Chief of Police replied to the Minister of War on the 14th of October, repeating the details Mansell had given, affirming that he was Irish and lived at rue du Picpus, number twelve, and that he had worked for Burdin and Carret. He added that Mansell also was known to the conservators Mille and Morand, both of whom worked at the Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers, which had established a department in about 1804 or 1805 to teach mechanical weaving.

On the 26th of October 1809, Clarke issued his decision that, with the recommendations of the conservators and of his employers, Burdin and Carret, who also offered to post a bond for him, Mansell could remain in Paris, under police surveillance. Clarke wrote to the Governor of Paris, then Pierre-Augustin Hulin, asking him to give a new permit to Mansell.

Frustratingly, there is no request from Mansell to marry and no mention of Maire Fouyol. 

Signatures

The letters from Mansell all are written in different hands and none is the same hand as the signatures. 

1803

1803

1804

1804

1804

1809

1809

Though the surname is spelt three different ways, as Clarke noted, the signatures above do appear to be the same hand. If the signatures were Thomas Mansell's, they contradict the statement in the baptisms that he could not write his name. Just in case he had already met Marie Fouyol and asked her to sign his name for him, we can compare the above with her writing of his name in the 1814 baptism:

By MF 1814

There is not much similarity between her hand and the signatures. More importantly, the signatures never spelt the surname with the letter C, as Marie did, but always with the letter S; so it is unlikely that she was signing for him. No certain identification of the signer can be made at this point.

So, our prisoner of war file on Mansell gives a great deal more information about him, but it provides none about his wife.

©2021Anne Morddel

French Genealogy

 

  1. Chassagne Serge. "L'innovation technique dans l'industrie textile pendant la Révolution". Histoire, économie et société, 1993, 12ᵉ année, n°1. [Theme:] "Entreprises et révolutions". pp. 51-61; doi : https://doi.org/10.3406/hes.1993.1660 https://www.persee.fr/doc/hes_0752-5702_1993_num_12_1_1660. p59.
  2. Bergeron, Louis. Banquiers, négociants et manufacturiers parisiens du Directoire à l'Empire. Paris : Éditions de l’École des hautes études en sciences sociales, 1999. https://books.openedition.org/editionsehess/195. p313.

FGB Free Clinic - Case no. 9 - Marie Fouyol, Parisian wife of Thomas Mansell, part 4 - The Geography of Paris

Marie Fouyol

 

All cities change over time. Streets and roads appear and disappear, city boundaries expand, construction seems endless. Paris is over two thousand years old and has seen her share of changes, some of them extremely radical, especially in the past two hundred fifty years. We can give no better summary of pre-Revolutionary Paris addresses than that which appears in the World Bank publication, Street Addressing and the Management of Cities :

"The need to identify buildings arose with the growth of cities in Europe and China in the 18th century. Addresses consisted of a street indication where the house was located as well as additional information on the approximate location. Here is a Paris address from 1778 : “from Sahuguet d’Espagnac, rue Meslé, the fourth door on the right entering from the rue du Temple.” The building numbering system adopted in France in the 15th century was not systematically adopted until the 18th century for several reasons: “The population wasn’t big enough for the need to be felt. The fear of tax authorities, adherence to old habits, the fairly legitimate desire not to become a mere number—all of these factors contributed to things being left as they were.”  The numbering of buildings addressed several different concerns:

"In the 15th century, the numbering system for houses near Notre-Dame in Paris reflected the city’s concerns with the management of its assets and properties.

"Beginning in the 16th century, the main concern was controlling illegal housing construction in the inner suburbs, where “carriage houses,” whose construction was forbidden, were given numbers.

"Beginning in 1768, security became an important concern and was reflected in efforts to number houses “in all the cities, towns and villages where troops are housed”.

"In 1779, street addressing was part of the “citizen project” set up by a private citizen named Marin Kreenfelt, who proposed assigning exact and convenient addresses in order to promote good relationships between citizens."1

Kreenfelt's system is described:

"[He] added an identification number to the addresses already listed in his publication by street [the Paris Almanac]. He requested the assigning of numbers to all doorways and, through his own efforts and at his own cost, provided the first examples, when he obtained authorization from the chief of police to number houses in the Opera district. This operation was sometimes perceived as preparing the way for some new tax law and was therefore performed in part at night. Numbering began on the left with the number 1 and continued to the end of the street, continuing on the right side of the street so that the first and last numbers were opposite each other."2

Thus, the numbers snaked up one side of the street and down the other. At that time, and from 1760, Paris was divided into three parts (Cité, Ville and Université) within which were twenty quarters or quartiers, as shown on a map, with a street concordance here. Then came the Revolution. Not only was logic to prevail but so were fiscal requirements. The properties of the Church and many aristocrats were confiscated and sold. To do this properly, a national census of buildings was made. Additionally, the map of Paris was redrawn. Quarters were abolished and the city was divided into forty-eight sections, which we discussed in some detail here. Many of the streets were renamed and all of the buildings were renumbered.

The Revolutionary sections, street names and numbering did not last long. (Here is an excellent map of the Paris sections.) In 1795, the city was divided into twelve arrondissements, numbered from west to east, firstly on the right bank and then on the left bank. In 1805, the numbering was changed. In 1860, the city expanded and the map was redrawn again, with twenty arrondissements, numbered in the famous spiral from the centre that continues today. The concordances that existed showing the house numbers before the Revolution, during the period of sections and then the period of twelve arrondissements were burnt in 1871, when the City Hall was burnt by the Paris Commune. Concordances for the old and new arrondissements are readily available, such as this one on the website of the Archives de Paris. Probably the best expert on all of this is Dominique Waquet, who discusses resources for sorting out the geographic puzzles of this period here.

Parallel to these changes, the parishes of the city, (once the most customarily used identities for a neighbourhood) were abolished, then reinstated and grew and changed separately from the administrative divisions of arrondissements. This finding aid of the Archives de Paris gives three Paris parish maps, for the year 1802, when churches were allowed to function again, for 1856, when the city still had twelve arrondissements, and for 1866, after the city had expanded to twenty arrondissements.

Additionally, the government, embodied in Napoleon III, commissioned Haussmann to redesign the city, supposedly to bring in "air and light". It was also to make certain that the small streets of the poor areas could not be barricaded and turned into battle grounds as they had been in the revolutions of 1789, 1830 and 1848. Many streets and buildings were demolished to make way for the wide avenues we know today. Read here Wikipedia's tour de force of an article on the changes.

This has been a long introduction to explain why it is difficult to place exactly the residences of Thomas Mansell's family and friends. Recall that the addresses of many were given in the documentation analyzed earlier. We have added the years when these addresses were recorded.

  • The Mansell couple lived at number 16 or 46 of rue du Faubourg Saint Jacques in 1814, then at number 295 of rue Saint Jacques in 1816, then at number 26 or 261 of rue Saint Jacques in 1818
  • Jeanne Richard Mansell died in the ninth arrondissement of Paris in 1818
  • Jean François Varrinier's boarding house was at number 17 rue du Cloître Saint Benoît in 1814
  • Josephine Thomassin lived at number 5 rue du Petit Lion Saint Sauveur in 1814, as did, presumably, her husband, Cartier
  • Pierre Rey lived in the same building as the Mansells, at number 295 of rue Saint Jacques in 1816
  • Margueritte Cocq... [her full name is illegible] also lived in the same building as the Mansells, at number 295 of rue Saint Jacques in 1816
  • Richard Thompson lived at number 6 rue de la Paix in 1818
  • Thomassine Lorguilleux's address is illegible 

To find an address, we use the various concordances given above. Many these streets no longer exist or have changed their names, so we look them up on both Wikipedia and Geneawiki.  We also refer, for this period, to the wonderfully digitized maps of Paris on Gallica, Plans Routier de la Ville de Paris by Charles Picquet. This link is to the map for 1814. We were able to find the approximate addresses above and show them on Picquet's map.

The Church of Saint Jacques du Haut Pas (circled in red) and two homes of the Mansell family (marked with black dots)

In the old 12th arrondissement/new 5th arrondissement

Mansell-Fouyol Paris

 

A near-contemporary drawing of the church of Saint Jacques du Haut Pas

Saint Jacques du Haut Pas

 

The rue du Cloître de Saint Benoît (marked in red), where Varrinier had a boarding house.

In the old 12th arrondissement/new 5th arrondissement, the rue du Cloître Saint Benoît was ordered to be demolished in 1855 for the construction of rue des Ecoles.

Rue du Cloître St Benoît

 

A contemporary drawing of the church and cloisters of Saint-Benoît

Saint Benoît in 1810

 

Rue du Petit Lion (circled in red), where Joséphine Thomassin lived

In the old 3rd arrondissement/new 2nd arrondissement, this street no longer exists and has become part of rue Tiquetonne.

Rue du Petit Lion

 

Rue de la Paix, where Richard Thompson lived, at no. 6

In the old 4th arrondissement/new 1st arrondissement, this street began in 1806 as rue Napoleon. The name was changed to rue de la Paix in 1814. Thompson may have been surrounded by jewellers' workshops. Only three years later, in 1821, in the same building at no. 6, the Aucoc jewellers would set up their business. In 1815, the Mellerios had moved in to no. 22.

Rue de la Paix

 

All of these addresses (marked with red, with the name on the right margin) shown on a modern map give a sense of the distance between them.

On a modern map of Paris with names

Another tool for looking at the same area of Paris through time, using numerous historic maps, can be found here. In the map on the left, zoom in on the street or neighbourhood. Then, on the timeline on the upper right, select the time period to see how that area looked through time. On that brilliant website, this shows the area around Saint Jacques du Haut Pas on the Verniquet map of the 1770s and 1780s:

Verniquet

This shows the same area twenty-five years later on the Vasserot map about thirty years later, when the Mansell children were baptized in the church.:

Vasserot

The Vasserot map can be seen in a much better resolution on the website of the Archives de Paris here. It even shows numbers, so that we can see number 295 rue Saint Jacques, where the Mansells and others lived:

295 rue Saint Jacques

...and the neighbourhood:

Around 295 rue St Jacques

The Paris parish map of 1802 shows that these addresses were not at all in the same parish of Saint Jacques du Haut Pas.

Paris parishes in 1802

Number 38 is the parish of Saint Jacques du Haut Pas, partly in the old eleventh and partly in the old twelfth arrondissements. Number 36 is Saint-Benoît, the probable parish of Varrinier. Number 2 is Saint Eustache and number 4 is Saint Leu; either could have been the church of Joséphine Thomassin. It is likely that Richard Thompson was English and likely that he was a Protestant. In any case, he was living in the parish of Saint Roch. However all of these people knew one another, it seems unlikely that it was through their churches.

Additionally, the baby, Jeanne Richard, died in the ninth arrondissement. Her parents' home in rue Saint Jacques was in the twelfth. Was she taken to a hospital? Perhaps the Hôtel-Dieu in the old ninth? No admission records for that hospital for the year 1818 are digitized on the website of the hospitals of Paris, (they have not survived for they, too, were burned by the Paris Commune in 1871) but those for the Pitié-Salpêtrière are and they show a number of admissions of people with smallpox in November of 1818. Without a record, there is no way of knowing what killed the child: a birth ailment, an accident, a disease, neglect, or any of the hundreds of other possibilities. The anomaly of the location, however, is something we must keep in our notes for future reference.

Alternatively, could Jeanne Richard Mansell have been at the home of an unknown Fouyol relative in the ninth arrondissement? Or, as may have been likely if Marie Fouyol were working, could the baby have been with a wet nurse, or nourrice, in that arrondissement? Usually, at that time, working class mothers sent their children to wet nurses in the countryside, but this was not always so; in either case, placing a child with a wet nurse often was fatal, as we wrote here

We are not yet at the point of being able to draw conclusions about Marie Fouyol and Thomas Mansell but we have a better picture of their world and its geography. This will be of help as we progress. One hopes.

©2021 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy

 

1. Farvacque-Vitkovic, Catherine; Godin, Lucien; Leroux, Hugues; Verdet, Florence and Chavez, Roberto. Street Addressing and the Management of Cities. Directions in Development no. 32923. Washington, D.C. : The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / The World Bank, 2005, pp8-9.

https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/7342/329230Street0Addressing01not0external1.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y  Accessed 3 August 2021

2. Ibid. p10.


FGB Free Clinic - Case no. 9 - Marie Fouyol, Parisian wife of Thomas Mansell, part 3 - Historical Context

Marie Fouyol

Thomas Mansell's Profession and Historical Context

As any serious genealogist will tell you, Dear Readers, context is crucial to your research.  Most will say that it is necessary in order to give a fuller picture of an ancestor's past but, as Alison Hare, CG, explained in her recent BCG webinar, "The Time of Cholera: a Case Study About Historical Context". You may even get quite lucky, as she did, and find a clear reference to one of your ancestors. We are hoping for such luck in searching for the origins of Marie Fouyol.

Thomas Mansell was a mécanicien and a tisserand, a machinist and weaver, as we learned in the previous post. He also was English. His daughter's obituary stated that he "went to France about 1801. Soon thereafter war arose between England and France, and, with hundreds of other Englishmen, he was made a prisoner at Paris and could not escape." This is where historical context can be important.

The industrial revolution was not a smoothly progressing event. A great deal of industrial espionage and poaching of expertise went on. As early as 1719 Britain had passed a law forbidding British masters of trades to take on foreign apprentices, in order to prevent expertise transferring to competitor nations and economies. To no avail. Technology was being transferred at a snapping pace. Even at that point, there were living in France over one hundred British technicians and their families, teaching their skills.1 By the late eighteenth century, the emphasis was on the technologies for creating textiles. From the 1790s, James, John and Juliana Collier, from Manchester, began to work for French textile manufacturers, constructing machines based on the English designs they had learned, and teaching French workers how to use them.2 Serge Chassagne, one of the experts on the subject, lists dozens more British and Irish textile workers and experts who brought their skills to France before and during the Napoleonic Wars, including the two Dean brothers, based in Normandy.He adds that the French state did not only poach technology and lure technicians, it also  fostered "directly the innovations by the national competition for the best spinning machineries, in 1803, and by the opening, the following year, of a training school for the mule-spinning in the Conservatoire [des Arts et Métiers] in Paris." The number of spinning factories (filatures) jumped from six in 1789 to two hundred thirty-four in 1806.4 Though Thomas Mansell's name could not be found in any of the abovementioned studies, he almost certainly was just such a British expert in textile machinery who went to France to work and to teach his skills. 

The obituary of Thomas Mansell's daughter, Françoise Joséphine Mansell, places his arrival in France in 1801, then says that war broke out and he was made a prisoner. This looks to be very close to what happened to many. The French Revolutionary Wars lasted from 1792 to March of 1802, when the Treaty of Amiens was signed. Hundreds of British travelled to France as soon as the peace made it possible to do so safely. The safety did not last. War broke out again in May of 1803 and Napoleon ordered that all British men in the country at that time be rounded up and detained as enemy aliens. (For more on this, see our post on the British détenus.) We suspect that Thomas Mansell may have arrived in France not in 1801, while fighting was still going on, but in 1802, when travel would have been much easier. We are also certain that he was rounded up with the other British nationals.

During her research, Madame J contacted Professor Peter Clark, who created and maintains the British Prisoners of Napoleon database. He wrote to her:

"He was recorded on my DataBase as MANSSALL sic, Thomas, since that is how his surname was entered on the list of Detenus (or Detainees) that was compiled by the French authorities following the General Arrest of all British Visitors and British Residents in France on the orders of the then First Consul Napoleon BONAPARTE that was made in May 1803. This list is held in the Service Historique de l'Armée de la Defence (SHAD) at the Chateau de Vincennes in Paris, and I examined and transcribed that List of 1181 named Detainees at Vincennes now some 20 years ago. That list does not state his age (it does for several others), but very usefully it states his occupation as ’Tisserand’ meaning a Weaver. I have no reason to doubt that this is your relative.

At that point in time he was being held at Fontainbleau, which is where many of the British visitors were being gathered to live on parole until further arrangements were made for where they were eventually going to be allowed to live. At that early date in the detention process those five places were Paris, Fontainbleau, Verdun, Valenciennes, and Nismes [Nîmes].

In the story of the Detenus the Weavers were a very special group, since they were men, often in France with their families, who had been brought over to France by French Business Entrepreneurs in order to help develop the textile industry in France, which then very much lagged behind the British Loom Inventions of the Industrial Revolution. In due course almost all of these detained Weavers were allowed to return to their own dwellings and to their French Masters/Employers, and to the work places where they had been working. They were not free to go back to Britain, but they could live in peace with their families and carry on working for their French Employers.

All of this is very much examined and discussed in a Thesis by Margaret AUDIN that was submitted for an MA at the University of Birmingham, and copies of that Thesis can be seen in the Library at Birmingham University, and there is a copy in the Library of the Society of Genealogists in central London ........ When you say that Thomas MANSELL was in some later document recorded as a ‘Mecanicien’ Mechanic, this is particularly interesting. This may well indicate that he was not just acting as an artisan weaver, but that he was perhaps constructing and maintaining the Weaving Looms which required much knowledge and skill, and that is why so many Weavers had been recruited to work in France. Very early on it looks as if he had been given permission to live on parole and work in or around the Paris area. There was little interference with such a group of workers as long as they were employed and did not cause trouble.

If he needed to ask for any special privileges from the Police or from the Government, then his letter/s to the French authorities may well of ended up in the Archives at the Chateau de Vincennes....

We were able to provide Madame J with a copy of the page of the Fontainebleau list of prisoners showing Thomas Mansell.5

Yj33 PG Anglais list first page

Yj33 PG Anglais list folio 29

Yj33 PG Anglais list folio 45

 

The list also contains the names of a number of other weavers, machinists, textile workers and factory directors, many of whom are mentioned in Chassagne's "Les Anglais en France", including the Dean brothers.

  • Archer, George, Mécanicien
  • Avington, John, Oeuvrier en coton
  • Bowie or Bosvie, John, Tisserand, aged 25
  • Callon, Thomas, Fabriquant de coton, aged 42
  • Callon, Charles Fabriquant de coton, aged 39
  • Callon, Jean, Fabriquant de coton, aged 30
  • Clark, William, Tisserand, aged 26
  • Dean, Edward, Mécanicien, aged 22
  • Dean, John, Mécanicien, aged 26
  • Dawin, Francis, Mécanicien, aged 26
  • Flint, James, Directeur d'une filature de coton, aged 30
  • Fleming, William, Mécanicien, aged 25
  • Honels, John, Mécanicien, aged 37
  • Keaivesnay, John, Mécanicien, aged 36
  • Kestledam, Robert, Inspecteur d'Indienne [Indian-patterned fabrics], aged 28
  • Le Roy, Michael Alexander, Mécanicien, aged 34
  • Lacy, Peter, Mécanicien, aged 26
  • Macfie, Daniel, Mécanicien, aged 33
  • Macloude, John, Mécanicien, aged 53
  • Mansall, Thomas, Tisserand, aged 34
  • Orell, James, Director of a filature de coton at Gisors (Eure)
  • Oxford, Thomas, Mécanicien, aged 38
  • Richardson, Alexandre, Imprimeur en Indienne, aged 24
  • Riller, Edward, Mécanicien, aged 23
  • Robson, William, Mécanicien, aged 29
  • Richardson, James, Mécanicien, aged 26 (possibly listed twice) employed at a
    manufacture de filature à Malaunay (Seine-Inférieur)
  • Tailord, James, Oeuvrier mécanicien, aged 40

 

This confirms the details in the obituary of Thomas Mansell's daughter and clearly places him amongst the group of British textile workers in France taken prisoner in 1803. 

Professor Clark pointed out that there may be a correspondence file in the archives of the SHD relating to Thomas Mansell. Indeed, there is, and we shall obtain a copy of it for this Free Clinic case. With luck, it will contain a request from Mansell for permission to marry. Such permission was required for military prisoners to marry, but it may not have been for civilian prisoners allowed to continue working and to live outside of the prisons. If Mansell's file does contain such a request, it could give details as to the identity and origins of his future wife, Marie Fouyol.

As it can be seen here how useful to genealogical research a bit of historical research can be, we hope that you all, Dear Readers, are now committed historians as well as genealogists. In the next post, we will look at a different aspect of context: geographical context.

©2021 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy

 

  1. Chassagne, Serge. "Les Anglais en France, et plus particulièrement en Normandie, dans la «révolution industrielle» (1715-1880)". Études Normandes, 62e année, n°2, 2013. [Theme:] "L'art d'être original - Singularités, reprises et innovations dans l'art et la culture en Normandie du XIX° siècle à nos jours". pp. 121-140; doi : https://doi.org/10.3406/etnor.2013.1904. https://www.persee.fr/doc/etnor_0014-2158_2013_num_62_2_1904. Accessed 29 July 2021.
  2. Hémardinquer Jean-Jacques. "Une dynastie de mécaniciens anglais en France : James, John et Juliana Collier (1791-1847)". Revue d'histoire des sciences et de leurs applications, tome 17, n°3, 1964. pp. 193-208; doi : https://doi.org/10.3406/rhs.1964.2344 https://www.persee.fr/doc/rhs_0048-7996_1964_num_17_3_2344
  3. Chassagne Serge. "L'innovation technique dans l'industrie textile pendant la Révolution". Histoire, économie et société, 1993, 12ᵉ année, n°1. [Theme:] "Entreprises et révolutions". pp. 51-61; doi : https://doi.org/10.3406/hes.1993.1660 https://www.persee.fr/doc/hes_0752-5702_1993_num_12_1_1660.
  4. Chassagne. "L'innovation technique", p51.
  5. France. Archives de l'Armée de la Terre. Prisonniers de Guerre anglais. "Etat nominatif des anglais considerés comme prisonniers de guerre..." Service Historique de la Défense, Vincennes. code: Yj 33.