History Plain & Simple

Roof Tile Makers - a Look at an Old Skill

Sarlat Roof

A couple of months ago, one of our kind supporters via Patreon, Monsieur P., sent us this message:

Stateside [my ancestors] were stone masons. In France, I think I found them in the census in Delle, where their profession was marked "tuilerie" which I took to be some sort of roofing or tiling. I would like to learn more about that industry in general and what that would have meant at that time.

As we are most grateful to Monsieur P. for his support, we have a done a bit of research on the métier, or skill, of the tile-maker, le tuilier, who would have worked in a tuilerie, a tile factory (from which you now understand the name of the lost palace in Paris and the Tuileries Gardens.).

In France, a large number of houses and barns and outbuildings are made of stone and roofs are made primarily of tile or slate. (It was a bit of an adjustment for us, a native of California, where such construction is banned, because of earthquakes.  When one is reared in a place where, at any moment, not always with warning, the ground can suddenly rear up, whip and shake violently, even rip open, the presence of tile roofs and stone walls is most unnerving.)

Collapsing roof

The production of roof tiles may be more mechanized than it was in the nineteenth century, but it has not changed much. There are also some manufacturers who make the tiles in the traditional way, as millions of these are required when those old chateau roofs need to be restored, which is pretty much a constant requirement. 

Essentially, terracotta clay is kneaded, then worked into shape by molding, stretching and pressing. The tiles then must dry, then be fired. This little film gives a nice presentation of a more traditional works.

St Robert roof

Roofs need more than tiles, as Monsieur P.'s query indicates. They also require rather specialist carpenters, termed, charpentiers because they make charpentes, or frames or frameworks.

Roof Charpenterie

They also require masons, not only to ensure that the supporting walls are in good shape and can take the weight of the roof, but for chimneys and edging.

Dordogne roof

Perhaps the ancestors of Monsieur P. had a mixture of these skills while in France but, in their new home, could or wished to find work in only one of them.

©2024 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy


Geneanet's Humour Collection

Rire comme un baleine

Somehow, one gets the feeling that the people running Geneanet are a bit more intelligent and a bit wittier than the other commercial genealogy websites. They seem actually to enjoy history and genealogy rather than to be solely interested in profiting from genealogists' research needs.

They have a delightfully quirky category entitled "Archives insolites" or "Unusual Archives", which is something of a misnomer. The images uploaded are not of a single archival collection; they are images of individual parish and civil register entries that have been submitted by users either because they are oddly humourous or because they are quite unusual.

Recall that French burial and death register entries almost never give a cause of death. In birth register entries, the only comment beyond the facts is as to legitimacy. So, to find an entry that gives something more, something out of the usual pattern is unusual and interesting. For example:

A sad account, of interest to medical historians of a cesarian section, followed by the death of the mother.

1630

A humourous account of a bishop scolding an ecclesiastic for engaging in hunts.

Hunt

Unusual weather, such as snow in June, may be noted.

Snow

Often, the examples are quite sad, exhibiting the great struggles of this life. Too often, they exhibit the prejudices of the time and, in the comments, of our own time. Still, they can be both educational and entertaining, so do have a read. Perfect for a rainy afternoon.

©2023 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy


Was Your Ancestor an Internal Refugee in France?

Alsace girl

We recently attended a most interesting talk, hosted by one of those highly recommended local history associations. The presenters were François and Catherine Schunck, who spoke about the internal refugees who fled Alsace at the beginning of World War Two. 

There were two separate waves of Alsatian refugees, the Evacuees of 1939 and 1940 and the Expelled of 1940.

The Evacuation of 1939 - At least two years prior to the evacuation, a plan had been devised to evacuate people of the region in the event of an invasion by Germany. The plan concentrated on evacuating the people living in the narrow band between the Maginot Line and the border. When Germany invaded Poland, the plan was implemented and some 600,000 people were evacuated from Alsace and Moselle in September 1939. The evacuees were allowed thirty kilos of baggage and four days' worth of food. All else, including animals, had to be left behind. They were sent by train, in all types of cars, from passenger to cattle to freight, to the interior of France. Concurrent with the Battle of France in May and June of 1940 (which we touched on in this post), thousands more were evacuated.

Those Alsatians from the department of Bas-Rhin were sent southwest to the departments of:

  • Charente
  • Charente-Maritime
  • Dordogne
  • Vienne
  • Haute-Vienne
  • Landes

Those Alsatians from the department of Haut-Rhin were to the departments of:

  • Corrèze
  • Gers
  • Landes
  • Hautes-Pyrénées
  • Lot-et-Garonne

Those from Moselle were sent to the departments of:

  • Charente
  • Charente-Maritime
  • Dordogne
  • Vienne

The entire University of Strasbourg was evacuated and set up in Clermont-Ferrand.

The Expulsions of 1940 -After the Fall of France, in June of 1940, Germany annexed the Alsace region (yet again), and expelled some 87,000 people considered "undesirable". There was no plan for how to help them or where to send them.

In both waves of refugees, there was little order or plan for settling them when they arrived. There were a number of initial difficulties.

  • Language - Most of the Alsatians, especially the older generation, spoke German with little French. Not only did those in the departments where they arrived speak French, with  no German, but they viewed the refugees as highly suspect, speaking the language of the enemy.
  • Food - No one had prepared or gathered enough for the thousands arriving, tired and hungry, on the incessant trains. Later, on a more cultural level, the Alsatians did not like the local fare and missed their sausages. In time, some opened shops selling Alsatian foods that they made locally.
  • Housing - In the recipient cities, the refugees were placed in houses and apartments. In the countryside, however, they had to live in barns and farmhouses. At that time, the rural southwest could be quite primitive, without electricity or indoor plumbing. Many of the refugees were appalled.

And it was all for naught as, by 1942, all of France was occupied and there was nowhere else to go.

How would you research an ancestor who was such a refugee? Firstly, read through the superb finding aid produced by the Departmental Archives of Bas-Rhin, which lists every record series concerning the topic in the department. Secondly, if you know the town to which your ancestor was sent, check the 1946 census. Even though the war was over by then, it took time for people to return to Alsace after the war (and a few chose not to do so), so there is a good chance of finding them in hat census. For those who appear in the 1946 census, the place of birth, in Alsace, will be given. This will allow you to research in the pre-war records for that town. This will also show those who married local people, which will allow you to request the marriage register entry from the mairie, or town hall.

Further reading:

Williams, Maude. To Protect, Defend and Inform: The evacuation of the German-French border region during the Second World War'

 

Catherine and François Schunck. D'Alsace en Périgord

©2023 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy


The Journey from Alsace to the Port of Le Havre

Alsacienne

Our good friends at the blog Généalogie Alsace have asked us to share another post and we are pleased to do so as we think it may be of great interest to those of you with ancestors from Alsace. Michael Nuwer of Potsdam, New York sent to them a well researched account of how people from Alsace made the arduous overland journey to Le Havre in order to emigrate from that port. You can read the post, in English and French here; you also can read, in full, his excellent paper, "Journey to Le Havre", for as long as he leaves it on Google Drive. 

By the by, this touches on the subject of our upcoming webinar with Legacy Family Tree, "French Emigrants: They Were Not All Huguenots, or Nobles, or From Alsace-Lorraine" on 20 December at 12.00 midday Eastern Time (not 2 am on the 21st!)

©2022 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy


Last of the Summer Reading: Mutinous Women

Mutinous Women

Years ago, when we were enjoying a lazy afternoon in the Arsenal branch of the Bibliothèque nationale, we came across some remarkable and fascinating lists of women prisoners sent to Louisiana in the early eighteenth century.

Genevieve Hurault

We knew there was a story there to be told, and in the newly published Mutinous Women: How French Convicts Became Founding Mothers of the Gulf Coast, Joan DeJean tells it very well and very passionately. Essentially, women were rounded up in Paris by the police and imprisoned on false charges, then marched to the coast and loaded onto vessels and banished to Louisiana, where the descendants of those who survived live today. DeJean does more than tell their individual stories. She places them and their fates within the context of the histories of France and Louisiana to explain why they were sent there. The French economy at the time, the rise of the charlatan John Law and his Louisiana project, the French Indies Company (Compagnie des Indes), the wicked prison matron at Salpêtrière, the hopeless colonial administration, etc. are fully described so that the reader can understand the social, economic, legal and political forces that ruled these women's lives, (almost certainly something that they themselves never understood).

DeJean has "taught courses on seventeenth- and eighteenth-century France at Yale, Princeton, and the University of Pennsylvania, where she is Trustee Professor. She has done research in French archives since 1974, primarily in the archives of Parisian prisons held in Paris’s Arsenal Library. It was in the Arsenal that, a decade ago, she came across the earliest documentation describing the arrests and deportations of the Mutinous Women who helped found and build New Orleans." (as per the University of Pennsylvania page about the book.) The depth and breadth of the research is most impressive. To piece together the stories, DeJean had to traipse back and forth across Paris, west to the coastal archives and down to the south of France. She had the help of many researchers in many locations, according to her acknowledgements. Yet, even with help, it would not have been easy, as we know from our own visits to many of the archives facilities on her impressive list. Another reviewer called this DeJean's "archival virtuosity" and we cannot improve upon that exquisite term.

As a history of early Louisiana, as a history of forgotten women, this is a fascinating tale told with excellence, but perhaps the reader is clubbed with the hammer of indignant outrage at injustice a bit too often and a bit too hard? At times, DeJean seems not to be writing as a historian but as a crusader. Her intention seems to be not only to cleanse the reputations of these women of calumny but nearly to canonize them. As she tells it, they all were victims of injustice, none of them committed a serious crime, none was a prostitute. Yet, by her own account, one of them, Anne Françoise Rolland, looks to have lived a suspiciously greedy and dishonest life in Louisiana (see p. 349). She implies that the initial "seditious revolt", e.g. something along the lines of a prison riot, in Salpêtrière, never took place or at least was exaggerated, when, in fact, there was a rebellious event during which the women prisoners took to shrieking en masse, long and loud, attempting to drive their jailers mad. DeJean tells the story of suffering and injustice so well and thoroughly that she does not need to remind us, on nearly every page, that this was wrong; it induces in the reader a sense of being patronized by the author.

Nor, surely, is it necessary to overstate, in every case possible, that some of the women rose higher in status in Louisiana than the people who had denounced them in France could ever have hoped to do. She does this so often that it ceases to point out the very real stamina, intelligence, creativity, diplomacy and diligence of these women but seems to be taunting some snob whose presence is not evident to the reader.

Concerning those women whose own parents asked the police to lock them up because they were recalcitrant, while DeJean expresses the natural shock and disgust that any modern person would sense at such parental cruelty, she fails to state that this was a common practice in France at the time, used by parents against children of both sexes, relatives against one another, neighbours against each other, and anyone else who had a grudge against someone. The entire system of Lettres de cachet was monstrous, and not at all uniquely applied to these women. Why leave that out when she explains so much else so well?

Small but niggling points indicate the publisher's failure to provide a decent editor and proofreader:

  • a bourgeois de Paris was not a financier, and Amboise Jean Baptiste Rolland, the father of the Anne François Rolland above, may have had the right to use the term (p. 115)
  • Jeanne Mahou's husband Laurent Laurent died on 14 August 1737 (p. 230); though she remarried quickly, it could not have been on 27 January 1737 (p. 231)
  •  two or three times, paragraphs are repeated

Do not be put off by these stylistic oddities. On the whole, Mutinous Women is a wonderful work of scholarship that expunges three hundred years of lies from these women's life stories.

 

A PDF list of women who sailed on the Mutine can be seen on the website Mémoire des Hommes here.

A very nice map of early New Orleans, showing where some of the women  lived, can be seen here.

©2022 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy


French Jewish Genealogy - Ancien régime Geography Is Important

Hexagon of modern France

When researching Jewish genealogy before the French Revolution, the reach back into the past is long, well into the Medieval era. Borders were different then and France looked quite different, not at all like the "Hexagon" (above) of today. Prior to the final expulsion of 1394, Jewish people were permitted to live only in specific places. These might have been certain towns, within which they may have been limited to just a few streets for residence and work. They endured long years of persecution and previous expulsions, but lived throughout France. It is important to note that, in 1394, the country looked more like this:

France in 1328

 

Quite a bit less than modern France:

France-map-1328

This makes the map below, claiming to show French Jewish communities at the time of the expulsion, quite misleading, as a significant few of those supposedly French Jewish communities were not within the France of that day.

French Jewish before expulsion of 1394

 

The expulsion, in all its horror, was successful, in that no known Jewish families remained in what was then France. However, their communities just outside of France did survive, as can be seen in this map.

France-silhouette-map-1328

If you are working with only a modern map of France, you will have the impression that the three main areas of Jewish communities:

  • The Southwest
  • Alsace-Lorraine
  • The Papal States and Provence

survived the expulsion within France. That would be wrong, because they were not within France at the time of the expulsion and so, if this is not putting too fine a point on it, were Jewish, of course, but not French. The areas in black in the map just above were controlled by other powers:

  • By the English in the far northwest and the southwest region of Aquitaine
  • A tiny bit in the south belonged to the Kingdom of Navarre
  • The Holy Roman Empire held the northeast
  • Free Burgundy, Savoy and the Papal States owned all the rest of what is now eastern France

Paris, as ever, was a special case. Though no Jewish people were supposed to be living there, most likely they were. Robert Anchell, in his fascinating article on "The Early History of the Jewish Quarters in Paris", maintains that it is unlikely that Jewish people were ever, at any time since the Medieval Era, absent from Paris. He points out that they certainly must have been very discrete, for there is almost no documentation of Jewish people in Paris for nearly 300 years after the expulsion.

For research purposes, in each of the three main regions of Jewish communities there were different laws, rules, languages, customs and attitudes, making for different search methodologies today. Firstly, the language differences:

  • The Southwest received many refugees from the expulsion of Jewish people from Spain in 1492 and from Portugal in 1497, so many of the surviving documents of the region are in Spanish
  • Alsace was part of the Holy Roman Empire for eight hundred years, while Lorraine was an independent duchy that was then governed by Stanislas of Poland. In both regions, the documentation is as much in German and Latin as in French.
  • The Papal States or Comtat Venaissin, did not become a part of France until 1791, but Provence was annexed in 1481. The documentation can be in French or Latin

In all locations Jewish documents may also be in Hebrew.

For each of these regions, some of the best research may be done at the relevant Departmental and Municipal Archives. Some of these have been uploading onto their websites some very interesting Jewish materials. These are the departmental and municipal archives relevant to the specific regions:

  • Southwest:
    • Departmental Archives: Landes, Gironde, Pyrénées Atlantiques
    • Municipal Archives: Bayonne, Bordeaux
  • Lorraine:
    • Departmental Archives: Moselle, Meurthe-et-Moselle, Meuse, Vosges
    • Municipal Archives: Metz, Nancy
  • Alsace:
    • Departmental Archives: Bas-Rhin, Haut-Rhin
    • Municipal Archives: Strasbourg, Mulhouse, Colmar
  • Papal States / Comtat Venaissin:
    • Departmental Archives: Vaucluse
    • Municipal Archives: Nîmes

Do visit those websites and start exploring!

©2022 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

 

 


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

Marie Fouyol

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kreenfelt's system is described:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the old 12th arrondissement/new 5th arrondissement

Mansell-Fouyol Paris

 

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

Saint Jacques du Haut Pas

 

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

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

Rue du Cloître St Benoît

 

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

Saint Benoît in 1810

 

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

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

Rue du Petit Lion

 

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

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

Rue de la Paix

 

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

On a modern map of Paris with names

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

Verniquet

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

Vasserot

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

295 rue Saint Jacques

...and the neighbourhood:

Around 295 rue St Jacques

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

Paris parishes in 1802

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

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

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

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

©2021 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy

 

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

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

2. Ibid. p10.


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

Marie Fouyol

Thomas Mansell's Profession and Historical Context

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

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

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

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

During her research, Madame J contacted someone who studies the British prisoners of Napoleon, who wrote:

"He was recorded ... as MANSSALL sic, Thomas, ... on the list of Detenus (or Detainees) that was compiled by the French authorities .... This list is held in the [ Service Historique de la Défense ] at the Chateau de Vincennes in Paris. That list does not state his age (it does for several others), but very usefully it states his occupation as ’Tisserand’ meaning a Weaver. ...

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

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

All of this is very much examined and discussed in a Thesis by Margaret AUDIN that was submitted for an MA at the University of Birmingham, and copies of that Thesis can be seen in the Library at Birmingham University, and there is a copy in the Library of the Society of Genealogists in central London .........

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

Yj33 PG Anglais list first page

Yj33 PG Anglais list folio 29

Yj33 PG Anglais list folio 45

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

©2021 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy

 

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

The Paris Commune 150 Years Later

Sacre Coeur

As with many great cities in relation to their nations, Paris is not France. Every once in a while, certain Parisians rise up and rebel against oppression and poverty and, then, the rest of France reacts, with equal excess, with a show of disunity with and disavowal of the rebels. Even today, for almost every demonstration, there will be a counter-demonstration. Perhaps the greatest of these rebellion/counter-rebellion events in French history was the Paris Commune, which was linked to the Franco-Prussian War, both of which were linked to the reaction of the rest of France that was the construction of Sacré Coeur in Paris.

It is one hundred fifty years since the Paris Commune and the press is taking note. We have written about its disastrous effects on Parisian genealogical research:

Should you be interested to read some of the retrospective reports,

Sacré Coeur

 

An absolutely crucial moment in French history to understand.

©2021 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy