Military

ChallengeAZ 2021 - The letter L

Escrime - Challenge!

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

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

©2021 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy


ChallengeAZ 2021 - The letter I

Escrime - Challenge!

The ChallengeAZ continues through this long week-end. 

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

 

©2021 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy


ChallengeAZ 2021 - The letter H

Escrime - Challenge!

Rich pickings today, Dear Readers, with many choosing for the letter H to discuss something concerning hospitals. Quite a few explain resources to help with your French genealogical research.

  • Carole Croze writes about using the hospital registers of the Hôtel Dieu of Lyon, found in the Municipal Archives of Lyon.
  • Sur nos traces has a long a beautifully illustrated article on the very important Hôpital Rothschild in Paris, the archives of which we have found to be very useful in Parisian Jewish research.
  • GénéaBreizh makes the case, as we often have done, for you knowing your history, Dear Readers, giving a pithy but powerful set of examples showing why.
  • Sur la piste de mes ayeuls, under the guise of "H for Hispaniola", writes about Saint Domingue,  giving quite a lot of history but also discussing the research usefulness of the online passports from Bordeaux, which we discussed here.
  • Antequam... la généalogie! explains the use of the hypothèque archives, which we discussed here.
  • De Branches en branches gives a thorough example of how to use the online Legion of Honour files, which we explained in English here.
  • Archivistoires has an excellent presentation of the archival Series H in Municipal Archives, the series covering all things military.

Municipal Archives are a valuable and under-used resource for genealogists; it is nice to see them discussed in two posts on the same day.

©2021 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy


ChallengeAZ 2021 - The letter D

Escrime - Challenge!

Just to be clear, Dear Readers, as we select what we consider to be the best blog posts appearing for each letter in the ChallengeAZ 2021, we do not mean to imply that the others are not also interesting (or only rarely do we mean to do so). The many posts that tell a person's story or a village's history are charming but few of them reveal research skills or advice that can be of use to you in your French genealogy research. But for the odd recipe that looks too tasty to omit, our selections are those posts that we believe could help you to learn a new skill or resource that would advance your research into your own French ancestors.

The posts published for the letter D that we consider to be the best are:

  • Sur nos traces looks at how hospital registers noted the religion of a patient, a tiny mark yielding information important to identification.
  • Généa79 looks at a number of notarial records in one family that show how a couple were able to leave their estate to an adopted child.
  • Murmures d'ancêtres also looks at notarial records, from a unique angle, we opine.
  • Sandrine Heiser looks at records about dissidents in the military archives at Service Historique de la Défense
  • GénéaTrip discusses how to document one's genealogical research. This is not a common concern among French genealogists, so it is nice to find it covered here. (We had a number of posts on the subject of citation beginning here.)

We do hope you are not flagging; we have a long way to go yet.

©2021 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy


Salon de Généalogie 2021 - Three Good Talks

Salon de genealogie

The last Salon de généalogie was held in March of 2020, as the pandemic was just beginning to sweep the world. We were keen to attend but our children blocked the door, insisting that it was not wise. How grateful we are, for on attending this year's salon, we encountered a few people who were infected with COVID-19 in the previous event, one of them quite seriously and still suffering.

Unsurprisingly, this year's event was subdued and not particularly crowded; there was a somberness and lack of previous years' jollity. No one objected to wearing a mask or to having their health pass checked at the entry. We attended many talks, all of them interesting, and report to you on three of particular note.

"Les Archives nationales du monde du travail en ligne : quelles ressources pour la généalogie ?" ("The National Archives of the World of Work: What Resources for Genealogy?") presented by Raphaël Baumard, the assistant director for the archives.  For years, we have wanted to visit the ANMT, but have never been able to manage it, perhaps because the town of Roubaix, where it is located, is often acclaimed as the most dangerous town in France. However, the archivists have always been extremely helpful in responding to our requests to send copies of documents. The purpose of the talk was to introduce the ANMT's sparkling new website, a clear and well-presented resource.

There are a couple of things one needs to know about this collection. Essentially, these are corporate archives that have been willingly donated to the National Archives. The companies did not have to do so, for they were privately owned and France has no law requiring private companies to surrender their corporate history for public scrutiny, more's the pity. (Nationalized companies, however, such as Renault, are required to send their archives, covering the period of nationalization.) Some have privacy clauses that are a bit stringent. (By way of an example, we once requested a letter sent by a man to his bank in 1806. Though the ANMT holds the bank's archives, they were required to get permission to supply the copy.) To use the website, read the online guides first. We appreciate that Monsieur Baumard said they had been completely rewritten, for that indicates an high level of interest in helping users. 

If your ancestor worked as a miner or for the railways, there is a good chance of finding a personnel file. Failing that, the company histories can broaden your knowledge about where and how your ancestor worked.

 

"Comment entrer en contact avec des cousins potentiels : conseils, règles d’éthique" ("How to make contact with possible cousins : advice and ethical rules"). Presented by Marie Cappart. Now, this is a topic much in need of further discussion and we applaud Madame Cappart for broaching it. Her purpose was to advise on how and how not to communicate with different people on the subject of one's family history. Does this seem bossy? We assure you, it is not and it really is very necessary. She discussed best practices for communication with fellow genealogists, with institutions (such as archives), and with non-genealogists (such as the distant cousin who may not be happy to receive your e-mail announcing a hitherto unknown relationship). Particularly pertinent was her advice on what to do when one's genealogical advances are rebuffed and how to cope with such rejection.

 

"Les archives de Caen sur les conflits contemporains" ("The Archives at Caen of Contemporary Conflicts") Presented by Alain Alexandre, who is the head of this branch of the Service Historique de la Défense archives. The title of the talk belies its content. It really was about researching the French victims of the two World Wars, especially the Second World War. By "victims" is meant not only those who were deported, but those who were executed, tortured, imprisoned, disappeared or who died due to other "acts of war". Included also are the French who fought in the German Army, prisoners of war and those who worked in Germany, whether forced or voluntarily. This entire subject is still extremely sensitive in France, as reflected by the way the speaker said many times that, "c'est délicat".

As to access, he explained that, though the archives "are open to all”, research in the original records can be made by appointment only. To gain an appointment, one must send an e-mail with the name, date and place of birth of the victim being researched. The archivists will then find the file and give an appointment for when it can be viewed. At that point, not waiting for the end of the talk, the room pretty much erupted with fury of many people who have tried this only to be told that there is no file, or have been allowed to see only part of a file. Their view was that the archives are not at all open and that much is being hidden or suppressed. We have to say that the speaker looked rather smug as he denied this. We found it very interesting to observe this exchange between the researchers and the man in charge, much more interesting than the talk itself.

Let us hope that the pandemic will continue to recede and that next year's Salon will be a lively one.

©2021 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy


Was Your Ancestor an Employee of the Ferme Générale?

Tax collector

The royal general Farms, les fermes généraux, were the system of tax collection in France ( fermes in this usage means leases). From as early as the reign of Henri III, the collection of taxes and customs duties in France was leased out to private individuals. The lessor, necessarily wealthy, often of the bourgeoisie, bought a six-year, somewhat secretive lease to collect taxes in one of the large regions of France.  The amount of taxes to be paid to the King was stipulated in the contract; anything over and above that amount that was collected could be kept by the lessor. Did you ever come across a better school for corruption, Dear Readers?

The lessors (or contractors) became extraordinarily rich, of course, so rich that some were able to buy themselves a title or two and join the nobility. Some historians try to let them off the hook by pointing out that many of them were great supporters of the arts or that they financed public works. Better not to commit the crime than to atone for it, we say.

Corrupt though it was, the system was also extremely efficient. The corps des fermiers généraux was comprised of the lessors (fermiers) and their deputies (adjoints), many of them related, as nepotism was rife. From 1756, the administration of the Ferme générale was centralized in Paris. There, some six hundred eighty employees, divided into three functional sections, kept the accounts, managed the personnel, sent out inspectors and oversaw the work of more than twenty-five thousand agents across the country and in its colonies. These agents were either clerical, checking the accounts locally, or in quasi-military brigades (which often included retired soldiers) that hunted down and summarily punished smugglers. Needless to say, they all were despised by the general population. 

Fermes du roy example

Marie Colombe de Boulanger Death Register Entry, 5 May 1744. Carteret, Manche, Registres paroissiaux et d'état civil, 1722-1748, E2, online image no. 112

Archives départementales de la Manche

How to research that ancestor? Very little can be found online at the moment, but that looks set to improve.

  • Brief biographies, in French, of the men who were members of the corps des fermiers généraux from 1720 to 1751 are given in the work by Barthélémy Mouffle d'Angerville (who served in the French Navy in Louisiana) entitled La Vie privée de Louis XV, ou principaux événements, particularités et anecdotes de son règne, and currently can be read online on Google Books here.
  • Individual cards on the agents in employment in 1782 can be found in sub-series G1 in the Archives nationales (a single example of such a card can be found online here).

Further Reading:

  • Dictionnaire de la Ferme générale (1640-1794), an academic blog hosted by Hypotheses, this has by far the most complete and thorough discussion and research on the ferme générale. It contains no list of employees nor even much discussion of individuals, but it is new and will increase in depth of coverage quickly.
  • Wikipedia has a quite good article in English on the ferme générale; the article in French is much, much more thorough.
  • The finding aid of the Archives nationales lists not only the holdings relating to the ferme but explains their administration thoroughly in the introduction.
  • The ever brilliant Geneawiki has a page on the subject that lists the holdings in the Archives nationales, with links to any that may be online, and that gives any other sources that may be useful

Fascinating aspect of the French State.

©2021 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy


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 Peter Clark, who created and maintains the British Prisoners of Napoleon database. He wrote to her:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yj33 PG Anglais list first page

Yj33 PG Anglais list folio 29

Yj33 PG Anglais list folio 45

 

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

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

 

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

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.

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

 


Did Your French Ancestor Receive a Military Medal?

French Military Medals

Our father claimed to have been a captain in the United States Marine Corps. There hung on the wall in the corridor a box frame with a tastefully mounted display of the medals he said he had been awarded for his heroic service. However, he also was a con man, a perpetrator of insurance scams and a property developer of shoddy houses that collapsed. He was not very successful at it and was easily duped by con men of superior skill, so he bought air rights over road intersections that were never built and made high-interest loans of money that was never repaid. He managed to elude jail and the riches he so coveted managed to elude him. Given his civilian lifestyle of alternating boasting with cravenly hiding from the law, we had grave doubts about the authenticity of his medals for courage and bravery. We suspected they may have been a hodgepodge of dodgy coins and ribbons he picked up in pawn shops but, by the time we were tall enough to see into the box frame and read them properly, we had long flown that turbulent nest, so we will never know.

In the course of researching a French fellow of the same stamp as our father, we came across a nice little website that may be of interest to the many of our Dear Readers who send photographs of medals with questions as to what they were. How to tell an agricultural medal from school medal from a military one? Medailles Militaires, the website of one Sylvain Metivier, may be of some use in solving your puzzle. He has created two data bases that can be searched:

  • Military medals awarded from 1852 to 1870, the information being taken from lists published in the Moniteur Universel during those years, to which he has added the Légion d'honneur recipients and others found in archives. This has well over 58,000 names.
  • Commemorative medals awarded during the Second Empire, including the Crimean and other wars of the period. This has close to 36,000 names.

Type in a surname to either and you will receive some very useful details that could help to further your research, most precious being the regiment in which a person served. The full list of results possible is:

  • The medal
  • Date of the decree awarding it
  • Ministry awarding it
  • Regiment in which the person served
  • Surname
  • First names (all of them)
  • Rank
  • Reasons for the award
  • Notes

Monsieur Metivier welcomes contributions to the data bases. 

Very nice.

©2021 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy

 


The Best Posts for the Letter A in the 2020 Challenge A-Z

Letter A

As promised, we bring you what we consider to have been among the better contributions to the 2020 Challenge A-Z, beginning with those of the letter A. We base our selection not only upon quality but upon what we consider may be useful to you, Dear Readers. Thus, many quite charming but too personal essays are omitted. All are in French.

 

Catherine Livet's blog, Becklivet, is a personal blog about researching her own family's genealogy. Her submission for the letter A is entitled Androgyne and tells of a child's sex  given incorrectly on a birth registration. She exhibits the faulty registration, covered with marginal notes showing the modifications made to legally change the sex, so that the person could marry. The post is brief and very clear and covers something that could cause any of us to stumble during our research.

 

Brigitte writes the respected Chroniques d'antan et d'ailleurs - Voyages sur les traces des ancêtres de mes enfants, on which she submitted the post A comme Apothicaire (A for Apothecary). This is a long a thorough study of one apothecary. It is well-illustrated and has a list of links at the end so, even if your French is not very good, you should be able to garner some good ideas from it. Most valuable, to our mind, is her discovery of a couple of delightful, seventeenth century directories of apothecaries in Paris and Nancy. An excellent piece of genealogy writing.

 

Maïwenn Bourdic writes d'Aïeux et d'Ailleurs, généalogie et archives, with a strong emphasis on World War I research. She wrote A comme Absent militaires (A is for Away or Missing Military Personnel). She discusses in detail and with examples a specific series in the National Archives, Dossiers des absents militaires (1846-1893), the files on those military personnel who went missing during that period (which includes the Franco-Prussian War). Click on that link to see the PDF finding aid, which lists all those who were declared missing and the documentation that was submitted by their families for the declaration. With the codes, one can then request a copy of the file. Many of you, Dear Readers, have ancestors who were from Alsace-Lorraine. If they seemed to have served and disappeared, you may find them here. There are also quite a number who went missing on Napoleon's campaign in Russia in 1812. Madame Bourdic's blog is full of such discoveries that she shares. Highly recommended.

 

This year, we noticed that many more departmental and municipal archives joined in the challenge. Many of them chose to put their contributions on their facebook pages so, if you know the town or village of an ancestor's origin, look on facebook to see if the archives have a page. They often write about local citizens and history and your ancestor could be included. Some, such as the Communal Archives of Savigny-sur-Orge, even translated their posts into English!

As we read through the many fine posts, we will continue to share those we like best with you, Dear Readers.

©2021 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy