Alsace-Lorraine Genealogy

ChallengeAZ 2021 - The letter T

Escrime - Challenge!

For the letter T, the bloggers contributing to the ChallengeAZ 2021 have provided some quite instructive posts:

  • Feuilles d'ardoise and Des gens d'avant have both written about témoins (witnesses). Specifically, they write about using the details given about witnesses  (especially witnesses to marriages) to identify family members and to correct mistakes made concerning ancestors with the same name. We write a great deal on this subject in our book.
  • GeneaBreizh looks at the succession tables, which we explain in English here.
  • Des racines lozériennes et bourguignonnes and Généalogie Alsace both write about transcription difficulties. The former discusses sixteenth century French script and the latter looks at German Gothic script. Unable to manage either, we use this wonderful service. We also note some useful books on paleography here and Geneanet's tool here.
  • Généalogie d'une famille ordinaire discusses successfully using the Archives nationales du Monde du Travail. These were explained in a talk on which we reported here.
  • Généalogie Tahiti, which has been writing fascinating posts throughout the ChallengeAZ, each with a genealogy of a family, writes about a man who began life as an abandoned child in Poiters, arrived in Tuamotu and remained in Tahiti the rest of his life. 

©2021 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy


ChallengeAZ 2021 - The letter R

Escrime - Challenge!

There are some very intriguing contributions for the letter R, and some that may be obvious but are also helpful.

  • Généalogie d'une famille ordinaire and Chronique familiale both write about using the French census returns for genealogical research.
  • Traces et petits cailloux gives a fascinating account of what happened to the parish registers of Acadia, telling how some were destroyed, some lost and some, astonishingly, discovered many years later. With links!
  • De Branches en branches, forgetting to cite the heavily quoted scholarly work of Catherine Denys on the subject, describes exhumation registers, unique to Lille it seems, and the wealth of information they provide of authorities' attempts to determine if a death were caused by an accident or by something sinister.
  • Sur nos traces exposes the really quite wicked criminal practice of creating false Holocaust documents to sell at auction and warns readers to beware.

©2021 Anne Morddel

Frenrch Genealogy


ChallengeAZ 2021 - The letters P and Q

Escrime - Challenge!

Up to the letters P and Q in the ChallengeAZ and the contributor numbers are slipping a bit. We recommend:

  • Généa79, writing on the improbable surnames given to foundlings and illegitimate children. Should you have such amongst your ancestors, Dear Readers, do peruse this to try to get an idea of what sorts of surnames can help to identify (as was, surely, the intention) such children. It can save you much time in wasted research on a fabricated surname.
  • Sur nos traces gives a superb history lesson, using the military records, of the Fourth Legion of Reserves in Napoleon's Army, the Peninsular War and the sufferings of prisoners of war in the British hulks and on the island of Cabrera.
  • Généalogie Alsace describes something we also have found on occasion: a local census written by a parish priest and entered into a parish register. They are rare and precious and a good reason to look at the back of every register on which you are working. Always.
  • Sandrine Heiser explains the different types of identity cards issued to the people of Alsace-Lorraine from 1918, when the region became French again and when some very unpleasant expulsion of ethnically "undesirable" residents was practiced.

©2021 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy


ChallengeAZ 2021 - The letter M

Escrime - Challenge!

The letter M marks the half-way point of the ChallengeAZ. Perhaps we have lost a couple of participants along the way, for their number dropped for the last letter, but they may submit a number of posts in a rush, or we may never hear from them again. Today's better contributions include:

  •  La Chronologie familiale looks at the basics of a nineteenth century marriage registration, very briefly, as we once did in English here.
  • Once again, Généalogie Alsace is quite helpful for researchers in providing a small lexicon of Alsatian-German terms used in marriage registers.
  • Chronique familiale explains marginal notes in civil registers.
  • Antequam... la généalogie! continues to be excellent with a long explanation of how to use the Monuments aux morts (the monuments to war dead found in every town and village of France, as we described here) for genealogical research.
  • Passerelle généalogie shows remarkable courage in discussing the Mormon church, then proceeds to give an extremely thorough and practical tutorial on how to explore the French records on FamilySearch.

Some very good work here.

©2021 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy


ChallengeAZ 2021 - The letter L

Escrime - Challenge!

We are happy to report that things are picking up, Dear Readers, as our intrepid bloggers have a new spurt of energy. Or it may be that L is an easier letter than others.

  • Traces et Petits cailloux continues to write about the Acadians, in this post about those deported in 1755 to England, arriving at various ports, including that of Liverpool.
  • Souvenirs d'ancêtres discusses laws and the importance of knowing them at any given time covered by your research, not only for historical context but to know how to interpret the documents you may find. Excellent.
  • Antequam la généalogie! explains the research usefulness of electoral lists. Our own post on the subject can be found here.
  • Des racines et des arbres gives a very helpful survey of Latin terms for genealogists.
  • Feuilles d'ardoise delves into the difficulties of spelling variations of surnames and how to find them all when searching a database. This is  important for too many of you, Dear Readers, search for just one spelling of an ancestral name, when there easily could have been half a dozen.
  • Sandrine Heiser, who writes Lorraine ... et au-delà!, has a suggestion for how to find the military record of an ancestor who served in the German Army by using the lists of men missing or killed to learn more about their rank and regiment.
  • Généa79 has a scholarly article by Monique Bureau on a complicated case of legitimation in the seventeenth century - with almost all of the research done on documents uploaded to Geneanet. We wrote a much smaller explanation of legitimation in France here.

©2021 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy


ChallengeAZ 2021 - The letter K

Escrime - Challenge!

Really, for the letter K one would have expected many posts illuminating Breton names. Instead, we have a rash of posts on the very French képi, quite a few on kilometer or kilogram, many on words that actually begin with the letter C but that are misspelt for the sake of the Challenge (this does seem like cheating to us). A couple of bloggers were honest and confessed to not being able to think of anything for the letter. 

  • Traces et petits cailloux cleverly looked at the dozens of native language words in Acadia that begin with the letter.
  • Not even GeneaBreizh wrote about Breton names but did give an excellent explanation of the archival Series K and its use for genealogical research.
  • Généalogie Alsace came up with a fine lesson on words for child, kind in German, enfant in French, that can be found in Alsatian parish registers, enabling researchers to have a better understanding of the entries.
  • The blog of the Archives nationales d'outre-mer, (ANOM) has been writing throughout the ChallengeAZ on individuals who lived in what were the French colonies. These little vignettes do not help much with research, but at the end of each the sources in the archives are listed, which could prove inspirational for some of you, Dear Readers. For the letter K, they write on the women of Kha Lao.

©2021 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy


ChallengeAZ 2021 - The letter I

Escrime - Challenge!

The ChallengeAZ continues through this long week-end. 

  • Des Racines et des arbres made the interesting observation that infirmities or handicaps are almost never mentioned in parish registers. The author found just four mentions, and shows them. To be sure, one would not expect to find many of such mentions for the registers were about basic identity and catholicité and rarely give professions, causes of death, physical descriptions, etc.
  • Archivistoires brings to our attention a new association and website dedicated to preserving personal archives of ordinary people, Mirco-Archives. This is in its infancy but could become quite interesting. 
  • Nos racines - Notre Sang has been dedicated, for the entirety of the ChallengeAZ, to using newspapers for genealogical research. The individual posts have been pithy, to say the least, but as the body of work grows, it is becoming a rather valuable tutorial.
  • Sur Nos Traces astonished us with the revelation that there was an effort to create a Jewish, or Israélite, regiment in Napoleon's Army. A very interesting a thoroughly researched article, with a transcription of the sole, surviving list of conscripts.
  • Généalogie Alsace has another gem of a post, this time on identity cards. We have written about French identity cards here, but these are the cards specific to this region, issued to the inhabitants after it was returned to France in 1918, and after each of them could prove they were truly Alsatian.
  • Autant de nos ancêtres also writes about identity cards, giving as an example one from the 1940s. 

 

©2021 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy


ChallengeAZ 2021 - The letter G

Escrime - Challenge!

Of the posts submitted to the ChallengeAZ for the letter G, many chose one of the obvious: généalogie or guerre (war), others continued with their studies of surnames or town names beginning with the letter and many write about food.

  • Traces et petits cailloux wrote of the expulsion of the Acadians from Nova Scotia, the Grand dérangement, with very nice illustrations. We have written a bit about Acadian research here.
  • GénéaBreizh introduces the curious word gésine and presents a tough act. The word is new to us and not in our modern French-English dictionary. Once again, our grandmother's pink Petit Larousse Illustré came to the rescue. As GénéaBreizh states, the word means the state of a woman being pregnant or of being in labur. As the verb gésir means to embed, gésine is similar to the old fashioned expression of a woman being "brought to bed" meaning that she was in labour, which is not very far from the currently used word, accoucher. Interesting post. We have nothing similar in our archive, but suggest our post on pregnancy declarations.
  • The only post in this batch to explain a research source is from Sandrine Heiser, who is turning out to be something of a star in this ChallengeAZ. She writes about the State Archives of Baden-Württemburg and how to use them. In her example, she found prisoner of war records on an Alsatian. Simple and superb post.

 

Are you keeping up, Dear Readers?

©2021 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy


Amodiateur, Amodiataire, Amodieur, Amodiatrice, Admodiateur

Farm land

Our previous post, on the Ferme générale, brought this query from Monsieur B:

Thank you for the treasure trove of genealogical information in your scholarly article “Was Your Ancestor an Employee of the Ferme Générale?”.

My ancestor.... from Moselle,  was “admodiateur de ruisseau”

Despite the imposing title, [he] evidently could not write as he signed his name with a + mark. His children’s marriage entries (1720s) identify him as admodiateur, but his 1729 Catholic burial entry has him simply as “laboureur....”

FamilySearch under France Occupations lists admodiateur as a national agent.

Geneawiki defines admodiateur as a person who takes land (sharecropper) for a fee either in money or in kind.

Questions:

1) Would these small admodiateurs have been a part of the Ferme Générale tax collection scheme in France?
2) If so, would there be written records as evidence for their precise activities?

I’ll be poking around at the links placed in your fine article and see how I fare ....

 

There seems to be a bit of misinformation floating about on this one. In the definitions above, FamilySearch would seem to be dead wrong and Geneawiki correct but incomplete. 

Firstly, language being the joyously fluid thing that it is, the word has more than one form and more than one meaning, depending on the time and place of usage. The three meanings we have found are: 

  1. A landowner who leases his or her land to another to be farmed
  2. A person who rents from another land to be farmed, synonymous with metayer, a sharecropper. Note, however, Alfred Cobban's description of the synonym in "The Social Interpretation of the French Revolution" (page 20), "A word such as métayer, like the large social group it described, has no English equivalent." He goes on to explain: "...the generally accepted picture of the métayer...is of a poverty-stricken tenant or a small-holding with a short three, six- or nine-year lease, hiring the equipment and stock as well as the land, and paying for it partly if not wholly, in kind." He cites the historian Paul Bois who found that, in many cases, the métayer could be quite well off, leasing as much as fifty hectares and owning the farm equipment, or he could be leasing as few as three hectares that had to be cultivated by hand as he did not even have access to a plough. The same broad definition may also apply to amodiateur.
  3. An agent of a large landowner (especially of an abbey) who manages such leases. 

In the first two meanings, amodiateur does not mean a profession but indicates a contractual agreement; only in the third sense could it be termed a profession, or métier. In the nineteenth century, linguists attempted to separate one of the meanings by assigning amodiataire to the second meaning but it seems not to have survived in usage. The law recognizes only the first two meanings for an amodiateur (masculine form) or an amodiatrice (feminine form).

Secondly, as to further different forms of the word, admodiateur was more common in the east, in Burgundy and Lorraine and as far as Switzerland. The verb, amodier, means to lease for a fee to be paid in grain.

Thus, Monsieur B, the ancestor who was an admodiateur de ruisseau, was leasing a stream, perhaps for fishing, perhaps for irrigation, possibly for milling (but this is less likely as he would then have been called a miller, meunier, a quite different activity from that of a labourer who leased stream rights). As to your questions:

  1. No, an amodiateur was not a part of the tax collecting operations of the Ferme générale. (FamilySearch's misunderstanding may come from this definition by the historian, François Lassus, which we translate rather freely: "The amodiateur of an estate was a sort of collector, 'fermier générale' who managed all of the land, the rights, the leases and collection of rents..." We emphasize in bold the key point that he is referring to an agent of an estate not the State.)
  2. Our definitions of the word in this post are based on the online dictionaries on DICFRO, and CNRTL. To know more about what your ancestor's specific rental agreement, it would be necessary to find the contract, probably among the local notarial records. To research from whom he was leasing the stream, we suggest that you look at the Cassini map for the town and locate the nearest large abbeys or estates that might have owned the stream (though it is possible that the owner was much further away; only the contract would reveal the owner with certainty).

Tricky one!

©2021 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy

 

 


The Best Posts for the Letters B-E in the 2020 Challenge A-Z

BtoE

Ah, Dear Readers, little did we imagine the enormity of the task we set ourselves of presenting to you the best of the posts submitted for the 2020 Challenge A-Z. It is rather like panning for gold. We have never participated in the Challenge because the rules are quite strict: one must be a blogger, writing in French, and the posts must all appear, Monday through Saturday, in a single month. We would feel faint after the first week. It would appear that it is all as overwhelming for some of the participants as it would be for us. Having to choose a subject beginning with a letter of the alphabet must be perversely limiting, and the resultant titles either lean heavily on names or involve some painful to read contortions of grammar and reason to make a word fit. Nevertheless, the following are those that we think might be of greatest interest to you, our most Dear and Loyal Readers.

 

Once again, Catherine Livet's blog, Becklivet, has come up with a very interesting post, this one on the subject of bigamy. With careful explanation of documents, she explores how one of her nineteenth century female ancestors appears to have been married to one man but lived as the wife of another. Of particular interest is how she refuses to make assumptions or assertions that cannot be proved by the documentation but, instead, presents, describes and documents the conundrum and lets it stand.

 

Geneafinder is a non-collaborative, subscription website built around the subscribers' uploaded family trees. It has links to the websites of the Departmental Archives and to many other free genealogy resources online. It has a regular blog that is rather interesting and that usually covers privacy issues as they arise in relation to online genealogy research. Geneafinder's submission for the letter B used the word Brexit (for anyone who has been completely without global news for the past five years, the word indicates Britain's exit from the European Union) to give a quite brief history of migrants between Britain and France, and then to discuss how to research them in British records online.

 

Sandrine Heiser writes about genealogy in Lorraine on "Lorraine...et au-delà!" Her contribution for the letters C and E introduced an archive hitherto unknown to us, the Centre des Archives industrielles et techniques de la Moselle. She describes how the archives can help with research on the people evacuated behind the Maginot line at the beginning of the Second World War. We learned that companies helped their employees and their families to evacuate separately from the rest of the population and that the documentation for this survives. Very interesting.

 

The coy Jean-François writes Aieux sur le plat which, for the letter E, discussed endogamy. He provides a procedure for compiling statistics on the geographic locations of his ancestors who married only people from within their locale. This is very much an approach to genealogy through the lens of French social history, with its emphasis on statistics and averages as a means to understand group behaviour. The errant individual who had an idea of his or her own to break away from the group (often the type who left and became an immigrant ancestor to many of you, Dear Readers) has no place in such a study (or such a weltanschauung, for that matter) but could be useful to those of you studying the ancestors who did not leave.

 

Sébastien Dellinger is the author of Marques Ordinaires, Généalogie de Moselle et d'ailleurs. His post for the letter E is on Emigrés of the Revolution from Moselle, an unusual and quite specific area of émigré research. Some of his research suggestions are of a more general nature, but it remains an intriguing post.

 

We do hope you will enjoy reading these posts. More letters to follow. One day.

©2021 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy