FGB Free Clinic Case Studies

FGB Free Clinic - Case no. 9 - Marie Fouyol, Parisian wife of Thomas Mansell, part 8 - Next Steps - Know the Sources

Marie Fouyol

To summarize, Dear Readers, we have looked at our few records in a number of ways  in an effort to find the origins of Marie Fouyol:

  • We have analyzed the Paris baptisms of three of her children, the burial record of one of them, and some Canadian records concerning her life after emigration.
  • We have looked at the French prisoner of war records concerning her English husband, Thomas Mansell
  • We have studied various contexts concerning the couple while they were in Paris: historical, geographical, social
  • We have analyzed signatures
  • We have studied various Parisian families with variations of the name of Fouyol

To no avail. No other record or document could be found to give even a hint as to the origins of Marie Fouyol. Most frustrating. We would have expected to have found, at the very least, one of the following:

  • One of her reputed two marriages. The Canadian obituary of her daughter stated that Marie was the widow of a French officer when she married Thomas Mansell. Given that it was war time, the marriage and death of an officer is plausible. Not to be able to find one marriage is frustrating, but not to be able to find either is most curious.
  • A death or burial record for the child Pierre George Alphonse. We found the burial record for the baby, Jeanne Richard, but not for Pierre. Did he die in England? In Canada? Did he die in France, at the home of a wet-nurse, as was the case with one of the daughters of the Cartier-Thomassin couple? (Recall that Joséphine Thomassin was the godmother of Françoise Mansell.)

There is another puzzle. Marie Fouyol was probably Catholic, for it seems likely that she, and not her English Protestant husband, insisted on baptizing the children in the Catholic Church. Why was their first child not baptized until she was two years old? Were they away? Perhaps in England? (As odd as it may seem, travel between the two warring countries was still possible.) 

However, it is possible that the failure to find all of the records: the two marriages, the three birth register entries, the two children's death register entries, the death register entry for an officer whose widow was Marie Fouyol, can be explained by the destruction of the Paris Town Hall archives during the Paris Commune, if and only if every single one of those events, including the officer's death, took place in Paris. It is possible, but a bit unlikely.

In no way can this be termed a "brick wall", a complete lack of information on a person and a complete inability to identify the person. We have exhausted only what documentation and archives are available online, with the addition of a couple of prisoner of war files seen in the archives; we still have to get through a plethora of material that has never seen the lens of a camera.

Where to look next? We propose pursuing the following lines of enquiry:

  • Thomas Mansell was a prisoner of war on work release, more or less. We know from his prisoner of war file that he reported that he had lost his papers in 1809 and that he was permitted to remain and work in Paris but under surveillance. 
    • The archives of the Paris Police contain records of just such reports in Series AA, as can be seen here on the Geneawiki page, which links to images of many of them. Unfortunately, they do not go up to the year of 1809, though they probably should be searched anyway.
    • The Archives nationales contain the police surveillance files of the period, as well as any surviving passport requests by foreigners, as explained here. Either could contain something on Thomas Mansell, which might also mention his wife and her origins.
    • There are a number of other possibilities in the Archives nationales but it is not entirely clear from the series descriptions if they would have something on Thomas Mansell:
      • Dossiers des détenus des prisons de la Seine. (Files on those held in prisons of the Seine department) It is not clear if this is purely criminals or also the foreigners briefly held in prison, as was Thomas Mansell at Fontainebleau, nor are the dates given.
      • Demandes de résidence à Paris. Dossiers individuels (an IV-an XI) (Requests to reside in Paris, individual files, 1795/6 to 1802/3) Thomas Mansell certainly requested to remain in Paris, and his employer probably made a request in his name in about 1802. It is not clear if this collection includes foreigners or not.
  • Neither a civil nor a religious record has been found for the Mansell-Fouyol marriage, so the precise dates of the marriages are not known. Marie Fouyol Mansell had her first known child, Françoise, in 1811. If she were single while pregnant, between her two marriages, it is possible that she may have had to make a pregnancy declaration, even though these were almost outdated.
    • Again, the archives of the Paris Police contain records of some of the declarations in Series AA, and Geneawiki has arranged the digitization of some of them. Unfortunately, not all arrondissements of Paris are included and most do not go as late as 1811.
  • Michel Fouyol of rue de la Tabletterie, who is a reasonable candidate to have been the father of Marie Fouyol, is slightly documented.
    • The Archives nationales have the originals of the cartes de sûreté, or security cards, which contain the subject's signatures. Some of these have been digitized by Geneawiki volunteers, but they have not yet reached the number of his card, 142296. Obtaining a copy of his signature for future comparison would be very useful, should we be so lucky as to find more documents concerning him.
  • Many other weavers and machinists were held prisoner with Thomas Mansell at Fontainebleau. There are prisoner of war files on some of them:
    • George Archer
    • John, Thomas and Charles Callon
    • John Dean
    • James Flint
    • William Fleming

These files should be read to see if, as often happened, a mention or even a page about Thomas Mansell did not end up in someone else's file.

  • Looking much more broadly:
    • British records could be searched for the death of Pierre Mansell and even the Mansell-Fouyol marriage
    • All Marie Fouyols born in 1782 or 1783 outside of Paris could be identified, with each being followed through civil registers until she can be ruled out as a possibility. Special attention should be paid to those in towns known to have been the origins of some of the Fouyols of all spellings identified in Paris.
    • The lives of the godparents could be pursued further, especially to see if any of them emigrated to Canada.
    • The Fouyol-Ackermann couple who had the one promising marriage in Paris in 1780 cold be researched thoroughly, to see if they had children.

Any other ideas, Dear Readers? If so, please let us know.

SUGGESTIONS SENT BY READERS:

  • Madame T wrote: "...regarding the death of the child Pierre George Alphonse , he may have died aboard ship and his burial was at sea. If Marie Fouyol was going to and from Canada to France/England, she would have been on a ship. Are there any passenger lists that document her or her husbands travels?"

With this post, we will pause this case study to give Madame J time to pursue some of the avenues above.

©2021 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy


FGB Free Clinic - Case no. 9 - Marie Fouyol, Parisian wife of Thomas Mansell, part 7 - Name Study

Marie Fouyol

So, Dear Readers, to date, we have had little luck in our search for the identity of Marie Fouyol prior to her marriage to Thomas Mansell, her place of origin, her parents' names, her supposed first husband, and so forth. Bearing in mind that two thirds of the burned Paris archives have never been replaced, we will sort through what does exist, examining occurrences of her far too changeable name. We found people living in Paris at the time as she with the following variations of the name:

  1. Fouillolle
  2. Fouillol
  3. Fouyolle
  4. Fouyol
  5. Foulliol
  6. Fouyeul
  7. Fouieul
  8. Fouilleul

There are slight differences in the pronunciation. Numbers one through four are all pronounced the same, with the last "o" similar to that in the word "no" in English. Numbers six through eight are pronounced the same, with the ending "eul" sounding, to an English speaker, pretty close to the way Peter Sellers says "bump" in this scene. Number five is in a class of its own but is more like the first four than the last three. Spoken in a crowded marketplace, they all would have sounded pretty much the same. 

Marie would seem to have pronounced her own name with more of an "o" sound in the second syllable, as the spelling versions used for her name in the baptisms of her children are numbers two, three and four. She was not the only person to spell the name in more than one way. Many of the individuals used two or three of the above spellings.

Looking at the website Géopatronyme, it can be seen that none of the first four spellings survived to the late nineteenth century; number seven also does not survive. There is only one case of number five and a few cases of number six. It is number eight, Fouilleul, that dominated. It is found predominantly in the west of France, in Mayenne, and less so in Manche. The name means, by the way, "leafy" or "shady", which could occur anywhere, including a spot in Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe.

In Paris during the period of roughly 1770, when the parents of Marie might have married, through 1830, some ten years after she left, all but one of the above names is found on the Right Bank, clustered around Les Halles, the vast warren of shops and markets, in the parishes of Saint Eustache, Saint Merri and Saint Germain l'Auxerrois. The Foulliol family, number five, lived to the west, near Invalides, where they also worked. The Invalides Foulliols were studied to some extent, through baptism, marriage and death register entries, as well as through probate inventories until, eventually, it became clear that Marie could not have been a member of this family. The remaining couples of interest are:

  • Michel Fouyeul, a widower from Saint Maurice du Désert in Orne, who married a second time in Saint Eustache in 1786.
  • Michel Fouieul, of rue du Poirier, who married Marie Jeanne LeLièvre in Saint Merri in 1807. They had a son, Michel Victor, in 1808.
  • A man named Baratte, whose wife was Françoise Fouillol. Their son, born in 1805, married in Saint Merri in 1831.
  • Michel Fouilleul, who married Jeanne Ackermann in Saint Germain l'Auxerrois in 1780.

Recall that there could have been a dozen or more couples of equal interest of whom all trace was lost in the burnt archives. Nevertheless, working with what we have, Michel Fouieul and Françoise Fouillol Baratte may have been of an age to have been siblings of Marie Fouyol. The two remaining Michels each could have been the father of Marie Fouyol, the widower from his first marriage, in 1778, to Margueritte Pinson, and the Michel Fouilleul who married Jeanne Ackermann in 1780, two or three years before Marie was born.

There is also a lone man of interest, Michel Fouyol. His carte de sûreté, issued in Paris on the 23rd of May 1793, on which his surname was entered as "Fouyolle" but his signature was "Fouyol", gave his address as number 103, rue de la Tabletterie, near Les Halles. He was aged fifty-three, a cleaner of animal skins and furs, and had lived in Paris for twenty years. He had been born in Le Teilleul, Manche. Apparently, he was a keen revolutionary, perhaps a true sans-culotte, for the author Darlene Gay Levy, in her book Women in Revolutionary Paris, 1789-1795, cites archival documentation showing that he denounced a neighbour who did not support the Revolution. It took little time to find the birth on the 25th of July 1740, in Le Teilleul, of a Michel Foüilleul, son of Julien and his wife, Jeanne Geffroy. Is this the same person? Did he go to Paris, marry and have children there? Could he be the same man who married Jeanne Ackermann in 1780 and could they have been Marie's parents? That would be tidy, indeed, but, Oh! Dear Readers! what a lot of work  and luck would be needed to prove all of that.

In our next post, we will look at further avenues of research Madame J can pursue and how to determine the most likely resources to use.

©2021 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy

 

 

 


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 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 2

Marie Fouyol

Analysis of the French Documentation

We give here our rough translations of the three Mansell baptisms entered into the registers of the Paris Catholic church of Saint Jacques du Haut Pas (to see the originals, follow the links in the previous post):

1)

Margin:

Françoise Josephine Mancell
no. 26

Body:

On the thirteenth of February 1814 was baptized Francoise Josephine, daughter of Thomas Mencell and of Marie Fouyol, machinist living at rue du Faubourg St. Jacques no. 46 [? 16?]. The godfather is Jean François Varrinier, boarding house keeper, rue du Cloître Saint Benoît no. 17, the godmother is Josephine Thomassin, wife of Cartier, embroiderer (or, more precisely, one who decorates clothing) living at rue du Petit Lion Saint Sauveur no. 5, who have signed with the mother and me, the father having declared that he does not know how to sign, neither does the child, aged 27 months and 25 or 26 days, born the 18th of November 1811.

Signatures:

Varrinier

Marie Fouyol w[ife of] Thomas Mancell

Josephine wife [of] Cartier

Menil (priest)

 

2)

Margin:

Pierre Georg. Alph.
Mansall
32

Body:

On the ninth of February 1816 was baptized by me the undersigned priest Pierre Georges Alphonse, born the 9th of January last, son of Thomas Mansall, weaver and of Marie Fouillol, his wife, living in this parish, rue St. Jacques no. 295. The godfather was Pierre Rey, cotton worker, same residence, the godmother was Margueritte Cocq... [? the rest of the name is illegible], same residence. The godfather only has signed with me, the father and mother having declared that they do not know how to sign.

Signatures:

Rey

M.C.S. Mouzou priest

3)

Margin:

Mansann
J. Richard

Body:

On the thirty-first of October 1818, was baptized Jeanne-Richard, born the 10th of this month, daughter of weaver Mansann ... [illegible] ... rue St. Jacques no 26 [? 261? illegible], and of Marie Fouyolle, his wife. The godfather was Richard Thompson, rue de la Paix no. 6, who has signed, and the godmother Thomassine Lorguilleux, rue des ... [illegible]. no. 6, who declared that she did not know how to sign.

Signatures:

Richard Thompson

Hézelle, vicar

 

The last child, Jeanne Richard, did not live long. The line for her entry, number 3372, into the burial register of Père Lachaise, shows that she died at the age of six weeks in the ninth arrondissement and was buried in the "common pit" or paupers' grave, on the 23rd of November 1818.

*

What stands out most glaringly is the question of whether or not Marie Fouyol could sign her name. The 1814 baptism register entry stated that she could and did sign, as "Marie Fouyol wife of Thomas Mancell".1 The 1816 register entry stated that she could not sign her name. and there is no signature for her. The 1818 register entry made no mention of her ability to sign and there is no signature for her. The burial register does not contain signatures. That the 1816 clearly stated that she did not know how to sign her name calls into question the validity of the signature in the 1814 register entry, as do the various spellings in the three entries. Were she literate, she would have been able to spell her name to the person writing the entry. 

However, we have seen similar cases in other registers where the priest wrote in some entries that a person could not sign while in others, the person could and did sign. This occurred with both women and men. It is not clear why this was done. Additionally, the royal decrees of the Ancien régime that established how parish register entries were to be written stated, in 1667, and re-stated in 1736, that baptism entries were to be signed by the father, the godparents and the priest.2 There was no requirement for the mother to sign. The Mansell children's baptism register entries were made more than twenty years after the 1792 establishment of civil registration, replacing Catholic Church registration as legal establishment of identity. It could be posited that the church registers would be expected to comply with the old rules, yet neither the priests nor the vicar of Saint Jacques du Haut Pas were following precisely the old rules for the composition of a baptism entry in ignoring the mother and having the father sign if he could. Thus, the structure and wording of the entries do not allow for any assumption about the mother's ability to write. Unless another signature by Marie Fouyol turns up in another document, it cannot be certain that the signature of the 1814 baptism is hers.

 

Another point to note is the question of the marriage of the parents. In the 1814 baptism, there was no mention, as would have been normal, of the fact that Thomas Mansell and Marie Fouyol were married, or that she was his wife, yet, in the 1816 and 1818 baptism entries, the mention is made. The statement does appear in Marie Fouyol's single, attributed signature, on the baptism of 1814. It may well have been that that signature "Marie Fouyol f[emme] Thomas Mancell", whoever wrote it, was a way of correcting the omission, leaving no doubt that the child was legitimate.

 

The professions of all involved are not given but those that are, particularly of Thomas Mansell, are also important to note:

  • Thomas Mansell was a mécanicien and a tisserand, a machinist and weaver. There is much discussion on various French genealogy websites about the difference between the three words tisseur, tissier and tisserand, all of which mean weaver. The general consensus, with no one citing any source or authority, seems to be that a tisseur or tissier is a weaver as classically understood, someone who works at a manually operated loom. A tisserand, however, seems to be someone capable of all aspects of weaving, from selecting the threads, to choosing the pattern, to setting up the loom, to weaving, to approving the final product. Thomas Mansell was a tisserand. He also was a machinist. In this context, he almost certainly a machinist of power looms, possibly also automated looms. 
  • Though the fact that Jeanne Richard Mansell was buried in the paupers' grave does not indicate anyone's profession, it does indicate that the Mansell family were not wealthy.
  • Jean François Varrinier ran a boarding house, renting out furnished rooms. 
  • Josephine Thomassin  was a chamareuse, one who decorated clothing, including such skills as embroidery and sewing on embellishments such as pearls, beads, etc..
  • Pierre Rey was a cotton worker, ouvrier en coton, probably involved in carding, sorting and spinning cotton.

A picture begins to form of a social circle of people working in textiles and clothing.

 

The places of residence, all in Paris, are:

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

 

As to relationships, none of the godparents were stated as being married to one another and none seems to have been related to one another or, frustratingly, to the child baptized or to the parents. Josephine Thomassin is identified as the "wife of Cartier".

 

Analysis of the Canadian Documentation

The Canadian documentation on the Mansell family as provided by Madame J, is also quite sparse:

  • The grave stone for Thomas Mansell, in the Wesleyan Methodist Cemetery, Mississippi Mills, Lanark County, Ontario, Canada states that he was from Yorkshire and that he died in 1852 at the age of seventy-five. This would make his year of birth about 1777. There is no grave stone for his wife. 
  • The 1861  Census Canada West, Renfrew North, Westmeath shows a Marrey Mansell living with her son, Alfred Thomas Mansell. Born in France, she was aged seventy-eight.  This would make her year of birth about 1783.
  • The 1871 Census Canada, Ontario, Renfrew Co., Westmeath shows a Mariah Mensell, aged eighty-eight and born in France, living with her son. This would make her year of birth about 1783.
  • The Westmeath, Renfrew, Ontario death register entry for Marie Mansell dated the 2nd of October 1872, stated that she was ninety years old and had been born in Paris, France. This would make her year of birth about 1782.
  • The obituary of Marie's daughter, written in 1903, states that:
    • Thomas Mansell was an English weaver
    • He arrived in Paris in 1801
    • He became a prisoner when war broke out and could not leave Paris
    • Marie [Fouyol] Mansell was the widow of a French officer
    • The family left Paris in 1819 and returned to Yorkshire, where the Mansells' "only son", Alfred T. Mansell was born
    • The family arrived in Canada in 1820

The most useful facts about Marie Fouyol from the above are that:

  1. Marie's age is quite consistent with her year of birth having been about 1783.
  2. She was the widow of a French officer when she married Thomas Mansell.
  3. Her first son probably died at such an early age that her grandchildren, the probable informants for the obituary, knew nothing of his existence.

 

In the next post, we will begin to look at the above information groups in more detail.

 

UPDATE - We received this delightful and most helpful comment from Madame R by e-mail:

"Re Marie Fouyol's signature or not, I have found the same issue in the English registers, sometimes a person signed, on others a cross for his or her mark was inserted. Skilled trades who were masters, employing others and training apprentices, could write and calculate, or they could not function as a business, yet sometimes they too have a cross inserted. The reason may be that the registers were not necessarily written up on the day of the event or by the person officiating, instead written up by the clerk later - a week, or a month or so. They were sometimes inserted as a bunch all together and the register signed by the priest/rector in a long column down the right hand side. In marriage banns, some are signed, some crossed.

At this time, in Britain, the clergy often had responsibility for several churches (and the living from them) so record keeping could be a hit and miss affair at the smaller ones. (I don't know if this was true in France). In more significant churches, the record is more accurate but snobbery can affect the entries. I have an ancestor Ann Adair who signed at her marriage, her groom, a Scots gunner, could not. Both are likely to be the case. Then he lied about his father's profession, and the Rector at the protestant Cathedral in Londonderry (or Derry), recorded her father as a labourer - which meant any working man, basically not gentry like him.

Apparently, before the Famine in rural Catholic Ireland, baptisms were at the family home (for a first baby often the mother's parents house) and was followed by 'wetting the baby's head' - the drinks. The priest stayed for the drinking and then somewhat later went back to the parochial house and tried to remember who was called what. Boys names and fathers are usually recorded accurately, who the mother was or was she the witness, caused mix ups, and what was the little girl's name? Mothers and godmothers were often confused.

From which I conclude, that there were many things apart from simple truth that could affect the registers.

Thanks for the blog, very enjoyable."

©2021 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy

 

1 The priest also wrote that Thomas Mansell and the child could not sign, giving the child's full age, probably to make a point of the fact that this was a very late baptism.

2 Le Mée René. "La réglementation des registres paroissiaux en France". Annales de démographie historique, 1975.
Démographie historique et environnement. pp. 433-477; https://www.persee.fr/doc/adh_0066-2062_1975_num_1975_1_1296 (Accessed 27 July 2021) p451.

 


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

Marie Fouyol

Not so long ago (but longer ago than we should like to admit, we are ashamed to say) we were contacted by Madame J. with a submission for the FGB Free Clinic. She had been able to find little on the origins of her French ancestor, Marie Fouyol, and asked if the FGB could be of help. The following is her summary of her research:

MARIE FOUYOL (c. 1783 - 1872)
Also spelled Fouyolle, Fouillol, Fouillot, Fouyot

Born in France (possibly Paris) c. 1783

1st Marriage: French Officer (widowed - no known name, place or date)

2nd Marriage: Thomas Mansell (also spelled Mencel, Mansall, Mansill)
- no known place or date of marriage
See below re Thomas Mansell.

Died: 2 October 1872 in Westmeath, Renfrew, Ontario, Canada

Marie had four children with Thomas Mansell
Three were born in Paris (all baptised at St Jacques du Haut Pas) and one was born in Canada (Thomas Alfred in 1821). Links to the childrens' Paris baptismal records are here:

• Baptismal entry at St Jacques du Haut Pas, Paris, Françoise Joséphine ‘MANCELL’, 13 Nov 1814, 26, https://en.geneanet.org/archives/registres/view/26945/21

• Baptismal entry St Jacques du Haut Pas, Paris, Pierre Georges Alphonse ‘MANSALL’ 9 February 1816, no. 32, p.139, https://en.geneanet.org/archives/registres/view/26945/139

• Baptismal entry St Jacques du Haut Pas, Paris, Jeanne Richard ‘MAUSANN’ (1813-19, p.335/378, https://en.geneanet.org/archives/registres/view/26945/335.


THOMAS MANSELL (Mansill, Mancell, Mansall, Manssall, Mausann, Mencell)

Born: 19 July 1777, Rillington, Ryedale, N. Yorkshire
Parents: George Mansell (1744-1816), a weaver
Frances (Dinsdale) Mansell (1748-1829).

Occupation: Weaver (tisserand, mécanicien)

France – went to France for work sometime before 1801
Detained: 1801-1814 (Dépot de Fontainebleau and Paris)
Left France c. 1819

Emigrated to Canada c.1820
Died: 13 Nov 1852, Ramsay, Ontario, Canada

 

Madame J. and her sister both had done a great deal of previous research, as evidenced above. Additionally:

  • They had found that the child born in 1818, Jeanne Richard Mansall, died at the age of six weeks and was buried in Père Lachaise cemetery. (https://tinyurl.com/vkz8f49j)
  • They had found the family in Canadian census returns of 1861 (and possibly other years; we are waiting on that).
  • Based on the precise dates above, they would appear to have found the Canadian death registrations for Thomas Mansell and Marie Fouyol Mansell. (We are waiting for those to be sent to us.)
  • They contacted us previously and we were able to send them the page showing Mansell's name on a list of prisoners of war, or détenus, held by the French at Fontainebleau in 1803.
  • They had found an obituary for the surviving daughter of Thomas and Marie, Françoise Joséphine, who married James Grieg in Canada in 1832:

Friday April 3, 1903, The Almonte Gazette p.4: The Late Mrs Jas Greig –

"The Gazette last week mentioned the death of Mrs Jas Greig of Carleton Place, which occurred on the 24th of March, and this week is enabled to give some interesting particulars regarding her life. She was born in Paris, France, in 1811. Her father, Mr Thos Mansell, was an English weaver, who 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. He married the widow of a French officer killed in war, and in 1811 their daughter, the late Mrs Grieg, was born. In 1819 Mr Mansell returned to England and Yorkshire, and here their only son, Mr. A.T. Mansell, of Westmeath, now 82 years of age, was born. In 1820 the family came to Canada on the strength of reports sent back from relatives. For four years they lived near Brockville and then settled in Ramsay near Almonte. The father died fifty years ago. The mother some years later. The former was 90 years of age, the latter 75. [reverse seems correct because the 1861 Census for Westmeath ON, lists her mother [Marrey Mensell] as born in France; 78 years of age, which would mean she was born approx. 1783]. Mr and Mrs Grieg were married in 1832. He was a native of Clarkmannshire, Scotland. They came to Carleton Place in 1863. For six years Mr Greig operated the grist mill. Then he retired altogether from business life and for many years the two enjoyed unbroken pleasures. The children living are Peter, James, Andrew, Mrs Jas Cram, Alfred, Mrs John Donaldson, Robert and Christena. The dead are John, Mrs Templeton and Thomas. All the children were present at dinner on the day of the funeral, Robert and James coming from far western States and Mrs Cram from Pilot Mound. The funeral took place on Saturday afternoon, interment being made in the family plot in the 8th line Ramsay cemetery, quite a number going from Almonte to join the cortege, some at Carleton Place and others as it neared the cemetery. Five sons and her son-in-law, Mr Donaldson, were the pall-bearers."

 

For a number of reasons, this is not an easy case.

  • The many spelling variants of both names make searches of any indexed records exceedingly tedious and fraught with missed possibilities.
  • Thomas Mansell was not French, so there will not be  much French documentation about him to link back to Marie Fouyol.
  • Most of the parish and civil registrations of Paris prior to 1860 were lost in conflagrations; those that were reconstructed from other records were done so by families that remained in France and needed the documentation for one reason or another.
  • The Mansell-Fouyol family emigrated to Canada and so were unlikely to have bothered to re-establish their French documentation. However, if Marie Fouyol had relatives who remained in France, they may have done so.

The above reasons can help to explain why Madame J and her sister, in spite of their stellar research on various genealogy websites extensively, were not able to find:

  • A record of the Mansell-Fouyol marriage, whether religious or civil.
  • A record of Marie Fouyol's first marriage.
  • A record of Marie Fouyol's birth or baptism.

 

In the next post, analysis of what we have.

©2021 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy

 


FGB Free Clinic - Case no. 8 follow-up - Uniformologie - Success!

Band Practice

After our Case Study on Uniformologie, in which we reported an expert's view that the uniform in question was no French Army uniform and his speculations on what it could be (all wrong, by the way, but we are still grateful to him for his expertise) Monsieur R had no intention of giving up on the quest. Indeed no, he continued with heroic amounts of energy and determination and solved the riddle. With his kind permission, we give his account of the research below and hope that you may be inspired, even find new courage and ideas, to carry on your own research.

First, I would like to thank you, and tell you how much my wife (Madame R) and I enjoyed your "Uniformologie" Article, and your interest following our "needle in the haystack" search for the uniform identification and the ultimate confirmation of the identity of the man in the photo.

We were hoping to fulfill a dying wish of my wife's mother to learn about and tell her anything we could learn regarding her biological father. You see, due to the reasons unknown, my wife's mother, born in 1924, in Germany, was not told who her biological father was until well after she and her family had migrated to America in the 1930s. In fact, her mother was much older when her own mother (Madame R's grandmother) finally revealed who her biological father was. It was the handsome French man in uniform, in the old photo. The photo in question was always in my wife's grandmother's box of photos that she brought with her to America. They left their family village, located near the French Border, in search of work and a new life. We believe my wife's grandmother had met this man while across the border in France in search of work(?) Growing up in the Midwest, my wife had always been told by her grandmother that the man in the photo was a special friend. Eventually, my wife was told that the man in the photo was named Jules Martin, and that her grandmother had met him while in Sarrebourg, France.

So, in the last months of my wife's mother's life we began a search in earnest to confirm the identity of Jules Martin and perhaps of his life back in France. Unfortunately, to blur our endeavor, the name "Jules Martin" is about like Robert Smith in the USA. I always believed that the path to confirm the identity of Mr. Martin was along the route of first identifying the uniform, especially since it bore officer stripes. As you explained in your "Uniformologie" our search for the uniform identification was nearly in vain, even after exhaustive internet research. As a part of the search, my goal was to get this photo out on as many sites as possible, and to get the photo showing up in Google image pages as often and as early as possible-hoping someone may see it and know the man. We knew the photo was taken in Sarrebourg, France, by the photographer's imprint on the image. We also knew that the photo had to be taken in the early 1920s. We assumed the man, Jules Martin, to be about 20-25 years in age. We also searched under the assumption he was from that Alsace-Lorraine Region. At this time we were never able to confirm his existence through any mandatory military registration records, even though we reviewed many from Classes 1918-1924, in several "Departments." Nor, could any of the historical military forums I posted in, identify the uniform or insignia. Therefore, I began launching strategic darts, by way of emails containing the photo along with an explanation to civic officials in Sarrebourg and other Alsace-Lorraine Region Communes.

Finally, I received an email from a helpful director of tourism in Sarrebourg, whom I had contacted. She had distributed it to some folks in the Community, including the President of the Organization, "les Amis du Vieux Sarrebourg", translated as the “Friends of Old Sarrebourg.” And, thus, the needle was found! Through this Group, they identified the uniform as the "band uniform" of one of the local civic associations, known as the "Bengeles." (I suspect, that perhaps the uniform was from military surplus, because I had recently found that his uniform was remarkably similar to the Saint Maixent Military Academy uniform in the early 1900s.) One of the men of the "Friends of Old Sarrebourg" showed the photo to another friend in Sarrebourg, and this man identified the man in the photo, as indeed Jules Martin (aka Julius Martin)-his grandfather! He initially offered some sketchy information that his grandfather was born in 1899, and that he was a farmer, grocer and musician. Interestingly enough, the grandson has the exact same photo that was in my wife's old family box of photos.

With much pleasure, I shared this discovery with my wife and she listened with great emotion. Sadly, her mother had passed away earlier in the summer. Before we could tell her what we had finally learned of her biological father, Jules. My wife, Madame R, gave much consideration, thought, and prayer on how to take the next step. The dilemma of making contact with the living grandson, in France; considering the possible delicate situation arising from the relationship of my wife's grandmother and Jules Martin, long ago, in France, resulting in the birth of my wife's mother. Recently, my wife did send the email with an attached letter to Jules’s grandson. A letter she spent much time composing trying to be sensitive to the reader. After many rewrites, she finally had a friend, who could write and speak in fluent French, write a translation. We have now received a reply from the grandson still living in Sarrebourg, France. Though he was quite surprised, he offered more information regarding their common biological grandfather, Jules Martin. At this time, my wife does not know where this new relationship is headed. However, should they become friends, she hopes to visit Sarrebourg and so they may better share their stories of life and family.

A Happy Ending!

Note also how generous with their time and how interested in and willing to help with French genealogy puzzles the local official and history/genealogy buffs were. We have found this to be the case very, very often. There may be the odd over-worked official fed up with genealogy requests who will send a letter of rebuff to you, but most are keen to be of help and to connect with distant cousins in far-off lands. This post tells how you may find more about each department's local history associations. This website can be used to find the address of every town hall (mairie) in France, should you wish to emulate Monsieur R and write to one.

Monsieur and Madame R, thank you so much for sharing this research journey with us. (Suggestions for how to prepare are given here.) We look forward to a report on the discovery of Sarrebourg and family there.

©2016 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy


FGB Free Clinic - Case no. 8 - Adventures in Uniformologie

1923 Sarrebourg

Back in March, we received the above photograph from a Dear Reader, Monsieur R., who hoped that we could help to identify the uniform. Not our strong point, uniforms, pretty as we find them to be at times.

Monsieur R. has very little to go one concerning the subject of the photograph: his name is uncertain but may be Jules Martin. The photograph was taken in Sarrebourg, Moselle in about 1922 or 1923, at a studio called Gaertner. The hope has been that identification of the uniform would lead to a regiment and, perhaps, a positive identification of the man himself.

Monsieur R. has done a great deal of research on the Internet about the Gaertner studio, about various fellows named Jules Martin (could there be a more common name?) and about Sarrebourg. He has tried posting the photo and his query on many uniform forums and websites. We also contacted the people we know who are passionate about uniforms. Many people suggested that the beret was surely that of the Chasseurs alpins, but theirs seems to be quite a bit larger and darker.

Uniform 6-2

 

Yet, as that is the only regiment that wears a beret, people kept coming back to it. No one, however, could find an example of the uniform in the pictures of the Chasseurs alpins. We had no success in identifying the uniform at all, nor, so far as we know, had Monsieur R. found the name of the regiment. 

Because there was none for that uniform, we have learned, and that is because it is not an official uniform. At a loss, we had gone to the military archives at the Service Historique de la Défense in Vincennes for, at times, one must go to the source. We do so adore going there, at the end of Metro Line 1, although the many changes in the archives administration have meant much more planning is required than in the past. The stumble down the long cobbled road past the chateau and jewel of a church brings one to the still musty but increasingly efficient archives. Once settled into our place, booked weeks earlier, we sought out our good friend, Madame B., and asked for help with a tricky uniform. She immediately rang Monsieur L..

Monsieur L. is no procrastinator and was at our side in a flash, studying the photo, as well as an enlargement of the part showing the collar and its insignia, which could be seen as GG or CC.

Col et beret

The first thing that Monsieur L. said was "This is all wrong!" He elaborated. "The beret, tunic and trousers do not go together; the tunic is iron grey and the trousers are white and such a mix is NOT acceptable!"

The beret is not of the Chasseurs alpins at all but it could help to date the photograph as after 1915. In the summer of that year, the army issued to all infantry regiments a beret of light blue, or bleu d'horizon. Monsieur L. identified the beret in the photograph as being such a one. The Chasseurs alpins apparently were furious that their unique uniform element of the beret had been given to all and sundry. In September of 1915, the light blue beret was withdrawn and no longer to be worn. Thus, it was available for only about three or four months though one can imagine that those already issued were not destroyed.

Yet, this is no help in identifying a regiment, since the beret was issued to everyone in the infantry. Nor does it help in dating the photograph as after 1915, as Monsieur R. already knew that it was from about 1922. The two bars on the beret and the tunic sleeve indicate a rank of lieutenant which, again, Monsieur R. had been able to discover already.

So, what is this hodge-podge of a military get-up? Here, Monsieur L. had no doubt at all. "He had to be either in a hospital or a prisoner, and patched together this uniform for the photograph. Perhaps it was from clothing the photographer's studio had." Others in the forums contacted by Monsieur R. had noted that no shoes or boots were shown in the photograph and Monsieur L. wondered if the trousers that had gone with the tunic might not have been ruined when the man might have been wounded, and that these two oddities could indicate a leg wound of some sort. 

Thus, from Monsieur L.'s most helpful advice, we can suggest to Monsieur R. to give up the hunt for a regiment to go with this non-uniform and rather to investigate military hospitals and prisons around Sarrebourg between the wars. Alternatively, he might concentrate on a Jules Martin with a leg wound or who had been a prisoner. Not much help, we know, but if Monsieur L. cannot say more, we doubt that anyone else can do so.

©2016 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy

 


FGB Free Clinic - Case No. 7 - Gleanings From Foundling Documents

  Un

 

We have received an interesting case from Monsieur S., who is researching a woman who was a foundling in Paris. He had already leapt some high hurdles in acquiring from the Archives de Paris the documents relating to her as an enfant assisté, which he sent to us with this request:

I am attempting to determine who the parents of this woman were. As you will see by looking at the attached documents, which I received from the Paris Archives, Marie Thérèse Charlotte Augusta was a foundling, and a very unusual one. She was born in a well-to-do section of Paris and her parents are listed as undisclosed. Apparently, however, they were married, as there is no indication that she was illegitimate. She appears to have spent only three days in a Paris orphanage before being fostered (or adopted) by a Vertus family.

Would you know any way of determining who her parents were?

We are afraid that the birth record is not at all unusual. The first document (see above) states that the child was born at the establishment of a midwife (sage-femme), Madame Girnet or Ginet; the parents could have lived anywhere else, so the place of birth indicates nothing of their financial circumstances. From this registration, as neither parent is identified, there is no way of knowing if the father were even alive or if the mother survived childbirth.

This first document is an informal attestation, made sixty years later and signed with the initials M. Th. Fr. - could those have been of the lady herself? The original would have been destroyed in the 1871 burning of the Paris City Hall (as we have explained here) and this copy would have been one of the millions that Parisians submitted to authorities (who were pleading for such replacement documentation) to prove their identities after that fire, (though it does not appear in the index of "reconstituted" Paris registrations online, which could indicate that she did not live in Paris or need to establish her identity there.)

Deux

 

The second document (above) shows she was assigned the number 1120, and that a surname, Michery, has been given to her, perhaps by the hospice. This is the name of a town and is not a surname much at all in France, as you can see on Géopatronyme. It may have been the home town of someone working in the hospice, or perhaps names were given simply by looking at a map of France. It also states that she was born in the (pre-1860) twelfth arrondissement, or borough, and that her birth registration number was 472. This, as we say, would have been burnt.

Trois

 

The third document (above) is a hospice form showing what happened to her since her arrival. She was baptised at the receiving hospice on the eleventh, the day after she arrived and three days after her birth, so she was given up almost immediately. That she was immediately placed in care indicates that the couple probably had no intention of marrying later and recognising her, something that often happened (reconnaissance of a child is explained here). On the 13th of March, when she was five days old, she was sent to a woman, probably a wet-nurse, named Marguerite Laurent Grognet (not Vertus, read on), living in the town of Coligny in the canton of Vertus. This town was amalgamated with others in 1977 to form Val-des-Marais, as Wikipedia states here. The column to the right of that document, for "Information on the child since she arrived at the hospice" is rather hard to read, but says that on the 5th of April 1851 a certificate confirming her birth was issued to the adjunct of the commune(?), for her to marry, of the town of Vertus (Marne), about fifteen kilometres from where she was sent as an infant.

Quatre

 

The fourth document (above) concerns her baptism, done jointly with the child received after her. The godparents were most likely employees of the hospice.

Cinq

 

Six

 

The fifth and sixth documents, a two-page spread, probably in a ledger, list the children placed with wet-nurses, giving the woman's name and town of residence. The Michery child is third from the bottom. As can be seen from the deaths shown in the columns on the sixth document, she was lucky to have survived. We have written about wet-nurses in France here.

Continuing the Search

How to proceed to learn more? Firstly, Monsieur S. should look for her marriage registration in 1851 in Vertus, if he has not already done so. The website of the Departmental Archives of Marne is excellent, free to use and has online the parish and civil registrations of its towns, including Vertus and its register of marriages from 1841 to 1851. Images 196 and 197 of that scanned register show the marriage of André Julien David and Marie Thérèse Charlotte Augusta on the sixth of May 1851. Here, Augusta is given as her surname, as it would have appeared on her birth registration, and presumably as the surname given by the hospice, Michery, was never added to her name legally. The Officer of Civil Registrations noted that he had received a copy of her birth details (most likely the one mentioned in the third document above) and that her parents were unknown. 

When a person married and his or her parents were deceased, copies of the death registrations had to be presented at the time and the details noted in the registration. This was not possible for the bride and the fact that she and her witnesses did not know where her parents lived or died is duly noted. Other details include that both of the couple were aged thirty-one, that "Marie Augusta", as she signed herself, was a resident of the town of Le Mesnil-sur-Oger at the time of her marriage, as was one of her witnesses, Jean Louis Hamé, a wine grower, aged fifty-three. It is also noted that the couple did not make a marriage contract with a notaire, which is a pity in terms of genealogical research.

The Departmental Archives of Marne also have on their website census records, from 1836 onward. We recommend that Monsieur S. look at those for Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, Vertus and Coligny as they might show where Marie Thérèse lived and with whom. She would have to be sought under both possible surnames: Augusta and Michery as well as that of her witness, Hamé, and that of her original wet-nurse, Grognet or Grougnet.

Unfortunately, without further documentation, there is no way to find out who her parents were via traditional genealogical research. Hints that could, possibly, be of help are:

  • Her many names, which could relate to her parents or their friends or family
  • Any court documents concerning her, especially while she was still a minor
  • Inexplicable wealth, which could indicate that a wealthy father cared for her. As she had rather nice clothing when she arrived: a "green silk bonnet", a blue and white checked shawl, etc., it may indicate that one parent or the other wanted to show love or at least care before surrendering her to the foundling hospital.

However, each of these possibilities is nothing on its own but could, with more information, indicate a direction of research. The sad truth is that, if a parent, especially the father, did not want to be identified, he could ensure it and had the law on his side. Thus, we fear that, barring a surprise in the census returns or a lucky DNA match, the parents of Marie Thérèse Charlotte Augusta may never be identified.

 

N.B. - Do read the comments and our response below in the Comments to this post.

©2016 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy

 

 

 

 

 

 


FGB Free Clinic - Case no. 6 - Surname To Place Name To Surname

Petits Soins

We have been asked by a Dear Reader to help discover the origins and meaning of his surname, which is Labrunière, not a common name. We thought that the search process might be of interest to others seeking to answer the same sort of question. 

Firstly, one must be armed with a good French dictionary. We use our grandmother's Petit Larousse illustré, the pink one. The word brun, which would seem to be the core of the name, means the colour brown; in a name it meant someone with brown hair or dark colouring. We then did a trawl of surname sites and books:

  • We looked on Geopatronyme. Though the earliest date is 1891, which is not very early at all, this still gives an idea of the distribution of the name. A strong concentration in a single region would be a very good indication as to the origins of the name, even, perhaps, of it deriving from another language or dialect. The name being scattered all over France would indicate that it derives from something more universal, such as religion or Latin. In this case, the name Labrunière is exceedingly rare, with just one occurrence and that in the Marne. Separating the article (La Brunière) brought no results at all. Eliminating the article (Brunière) brought nine results in two towns in the department of Ardèche. A rare name indeed.
  • With such a paltry usage of the name, we thought to check the telephone directory  -- l'Annuaire des Particuliers -- to see its usage today, again checking the three versions. It occurs as De La Brunière just thirteen times and as plain Brunière a few more times, many of them in Ardèche, indicating the growth of that family seen above, probably. Our Dear Reader has no ancestors from Ardèche. His Labrunière ancestors come from Savoie.
  • We looked at one of the many books on the origins of French surnames, in this case, Les noms de famille en France : Histoires et anecdotes, edited by that indefatigable workaholic, Marie-Odile Mergnac. Unsurprisingly, the name does not appear, though others based on the word brun are: Brun, Bruneau, Brunel and Brunet. All of their meanings derive from that indicating a person with brown hair.

There is a castle with the name Labrunière. There is a family linking the name to the de Medicis. Both are very tempting, but our Dear Reader Labrunière has no evidence linking his family to either. As this is a quest for meaning more than extending genealogical connections, we did not pursue the castle or the Italians.

We decided to look deeper into the meaning and usage of just the suffix -ière. A number of academics seem to be dallying in supposition. Monsieur Touratier in Morphologie et morphématique: Analyse en morphèmes made something of the fact that some words with the suffix mean small thing and some mean large things and that is confusing; then he wandered off into wondering how the word lumière fit into the small versus large dichotomy. Monsieur Cassagne in Villes et Villages en pays lotois announced that the suffix -ière comes from the Latin -aria, meaning territory or around a place. This would make Labrunière to mean "the place around the brown" which is rather baffling, unless it were to mean "the place around where the brown one, e.g Brun, is or lives", which is more promising.

We are much enamoured of nineteenth century academics, not only for their erudition and expertise but also for the occasional and unintentional humour of their outlandish arrogance. So we turned to the 1851 Grammaire française: lexicologie et lexicographie: ouvrage spécialement destiné à servir de base à l'enseignement scientifique de la langue maternelle dans les collèges, gymnases, écoles moyennes et autres établissements d'instruction publique by Cyprien Ayer and there found a reassuring plethora of suffix discussion, which we summarize.

  • In essence, the suffixes -ier, -ière, -er, and -aire all have been used to make a new word, sometimes and adjective, but usually a noun or proper noun. Thus the adjective originaire from origine, and the nouns libraire from libre and antiquaire from antiquité. 
  • The development of the word has to do with habitual use or behaviour. A place where there are always wasps becomes a guêpier,   for example. The habitual aspect of the suffix use has lead to 
    • nouns indicating a person's work or métier, such as joaillier, saunier, cloutier, fromager, chevalier, maraîcher
    • nouns indicating a plant, especially trees and of those, especially those that produce a fruit: bananier, cerisier, noisietier, sorbier, mûrier, laurier, osier
    • nouns indicating a tool, especially a receptacle, that is habitually used for the same purpose: brasier, collier, soupière, théière

Monsieur Labrunière, our Dear Reader who sent us on this search, thought the name might have had to do with Saint Bruno. We are inclined to think not for names related to saints usually contain the word saint in them: Saint-Martin (the most known saint in France, for he Christianized the Gauls), Saint-Georges, Saint-Gilles, Saint-Vincent and so on. An alternative that might indicate a religious derivation could be the honourific dom as in Dommartin or Dombrun. No, we think it may have more to do with some kind of repetitive or habitual use, as explained by Monsieur Ayer.

Two websites discussing local place names shed a lovely lumière, we think:

  • That on the history of Bournezeau in the Vendée has a page by Jean-Claude Couderc on the Origines des noms de nos villages. Here, he tells us that "in the Gallo-Roman period, it was common to name a place after its owner" and that many such hamlets and villages in the area provide examples of this custom, including:
    • La Brunière owned by the Brun family
    • La Borlière owned by the Borel family
    • La Martinière owned by the Martin family
    • La Louisière owned by the Louis family
    • L'Hermitière owned by the L'Hermite family
  •  Monsieur Henry Suter's website contains a great deal of study on the Noms de Lieux de Suisse Romande, Savoie et environs. He has a large glossary of place names, many of which follow the same pattern as above. There, also (and recall that our Dear Reader's family are from Savoie) can be found places called La Martinière and Martinière, La Borlière and La Brunière, as well as Les Brunières.

It would seem to us that Labrunière the family name comes from a place -- a village or even a single house -- known as La Brunière, which in turn took its name from owners named Brun or something close to that. What do you think, Dear Readers?

©2016 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy