Wouldn't you know it, Dear Readers, that the moment we finish our talk on finding British prisoners of war in France during the Napoleonic Wars in French archives, we stumble upon a few more. Truly, they pop up everywhere, (which was the point of our talk).
The tiny archives of the Paris police, les Archives de la Préfecture de Police, is amongst our favourites. The collection is small but always interesting and the staff are eagerly helpful. It is in such a remote place at the end of such an awkward journey, that the few researchers who succeed in completing the marathon to get there are all quite dedicated and keen, the frivolous and mildly curious having given up many Mètro stops earlier. It is also one of the few archives that has some series organized by the Sections of Paris, which is most useful when researching people of the Revolutionary and First Empire eras.
Here, we found police dossiers on some British people who had been living and working in Paris. Unlike so many, they were not all in the textile trades. Living in section Invalides, John Bond, aged thirty-five, and John Farrands, aged forty, both worked in a factory making mirrors on the Ile des Cygnes. [This was not the modern Ile aux Cygnes, but was a different island, where "insalubrious trades", such as malodorous tripe shops, were permitted, and that is now partially submerged in the Seine]. The twenty-six-year-old Thomas Quine was a carpenter at the mirror factory. At the other end of the economic spectrum, in the Hôtel de la Haie, on rue Saint Dominique, lived a young English gentleman named Trench, his wife and their servants.
The police took statements from them all but did not arrest them under the law of May 1803, that required the arrest of all British males in France. We wrote about these détenus here.
John Moore, however, who was living in rue de Charenton, in section Quinze-vingts with his wife, Eliza Jane Anderson, endured a different fate. He ran a factory for making tulle. A Monsieur Terlay claimed that the tools and machines within the factory actually belonged to him. In Brumaire an XIII (October 1804) the police entered and made a very complete inventory of said tools and machines, which was signed by Moore's wife.
Could this possibly be the same John Moore, escaped détenu, who was arrested by the French for bigamy in 1808? That would require quite a bit more research.
These little dossiers do not contain a great many such enemy aliens in France during the Napoleonic Wars but, should one be your ancestor, it could be a great find in a somewhat obscure archive.
We do like obscure archives.
©2023 Anne Morddel