ChallengeAZ 2021 - The letter N

Escrime - Challenge!

Moving along at a snapping pace, the ChallengeAZ has reached the letter N.

  • There are, of course, many writers who chose the subject of naissances, births. Généa79 gives an account of the records on a particular illegitimate birth. La chronologie familiale explains civil registrations of births.
  • The subject of naturalization and citizens' rights was covered by GénéaTrip, with a good explanation of the naturalization files in the National Archives (which we covered on The FGB here, with further discussions here and here, with apologies for vacillations between British and American spellings) while Auprès de mon arbre, gives an interesting account of Swiss ancestors who acquired Belgian nationality.
  • Une Colonie agricole describes, in "N comme nomads" what the state did with the abandoned children of itinerant basket makers. For any of you with French ancestors who were abandoned children cared for by the State, enfants assistés, we recommend this blog in it entirety, for it is devoted to the examination of a single "agricultural colony", or work farm for children, and some of the thousands of the children placed there. The study is a work in progress and is a fascinating work of scholarship.
  • Sur nos traces, once again, also presents a scholarly post, on the subject of Jewish burials for those who lived in Paris in the eighteenth century and the development of the cemetery at La Villette, with some excellent links to useful resources for French Jewish research.
  • Au Cour du passé explains the function of a notaire royale, accompanied by a sample document explained in detail. (See our booklet on notaires.)
  • The blog on facebook of the APHP is about the Bureau des nourrices, the State administered registration of wet-nurses, which we covered in a post here. In response to which a Dear Reader contributed this marvelous post.
  • Many chose to write about names, and we found the post of Jeunes et généalogie to be a rather thoughtful meditation on what happens to women's names after marriage.
  • Traces et petits cailloux gives a splendid historical discussion of the Acadians sent to live in the tropics.

©2021 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy


ChallengeAZ 2021 - The letter M

Escrime - Challenge!

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

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

Some very good work here.

©2021 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy


ChallengeAZ 2021 - The letter L

Escrime - Challenge!

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

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

©2021 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy


ChallengeAZ 2021 - The letter K

Escrime - Challenge!

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

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

©2021 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy


ChallengeAZ 2021 - The letter J

Escrime - Challenge!

As we approach the middle of the alphabet, those participating in the ChallengeAZ  seem to be experiencing a bit of a slump in the imagination. For the letter J, there are many posts about one Jeanne or another, a couple of inexplicable lapses into Joy, and a couple each on Justice and Jumeaux (twins). We think that the best are:

  • Broderies ancestrales, writing about naturalization records in the Ministry of Justice.
  • 101 gènes, writing with understandable horror about one ancestor's run-in with the law, as found in judicial archives.
  • Au Cour du Passé, providing a much-needed post on the "profession" of day-labourer. All amongst you who, too lazy to pick up a dictionary, assume that journalier is French for journalist, we beg of you, please read this, with a dictionary. Failing that, at least look at the picture.
  • De Branches en branches writing the best post on twins, having found two sets with the same surname born on the same day.

Surely, a few letters from now, as we near the finishing line, inspiration will return.

©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


Women's Studies, Gender Studies - Suggestion for a Research Topic

Babies

Dear Readers, let us take a moment to step away from the ChallengeAZ to look at a topic that we find most curious and well worthy of further study - by someone else.

A few years ago, we wrote a post entitled "Did English Women Take Advantage of Anonymous Birth Laws in France?" and we are now quite convinced that the answer to the question is an emphatic yes. We have seen repeated many more times since writing that post the pattern that we described there: a small child appears, seemingly out of nowhere, on a British census, living with his or her mother. The mother and the child may or may not have the same surname, but there is no father in the household. The UK census shows that the child was born in France, often "in Paris". A possible French marriage may or may not be mentioned. Yet, while the illegitimate birth at times may be found in French registers, a search for the marriage will be fruitless.  The comment to that post, by Madame R. makes it clear that, in the last thirty years or so of the nineteenth century, the social stigma for a woman who had a child while not married would have been quite dreadful to endure. Those who could have afforded the voyage and stay, might have considered spending the confinement in France, where it would have been possible to register the child's birth either under a false name or completely anonymously. 

We think this would make an interesting study. In our own research, we have noticed that rather a lot of such births happened at small clinics in Neuilly-sur-Seine, just to the west of Paris. It would be possible to comb through the birth register entries of Neuilly for, say, the last three decades of the nineteenth century, seeking all births for which the mother had an English-sounding name. One would want to look at how many were illegitimate births versus how many were legitimate. Then, one could note the addresses where the births took place and check those addresses in the census returns for those decades. Did a majority of the illegitimate births take place at the same clinic or with the same midwife? (A list of Neuilly's maternity clinics and midwives would have to be compiled.) Did some of the women show up in the Neuilly census returns with the children? Were they at the same addresses? Finding the women and children afterward in the UK census returns would be the next step. Were they concentrated in the same regions or cities?

Ultimately, the most interesting question to answer would be "How did they know to go to Neuilly?" Did the French clinics advertise in British newspapers? Would the UK census returns show that they lived near a specific doctor or midwife and could that doctor or midwife have advised them to go to France? We now have seen too many cases of this for it to have been coincidence. In some unknown, perhaps "underground", way women in the early stages of pregnancy in England were learning that they could go to a rather obscure suburb of Paris to have their child under a different name or giving no name at all, then return to England with the child to claim on the census there that it was her own, the product of a fictional French marriage, or a friend's, later to be adopted. 

Any post graduates in gender studies and/or women's studies out there looking for a topic?

UPDATE:

We have had this very interesting comment on the above from Madame L.: 

"I imagine the topic of travel would have come up on the grapevine: that is in gossip between their mothers at some local event, like a church bazaar or a children's party, or perhaps through an intimate conversation with a school-friend. The other alternative for middle-class women, a 'nervous breakdown' in a distant private nursing home was so much more demeaning. I don't believe a respectable newspaper would have carried an overt advertisement, though the subject might have come up in a salacious gossip column, probably in the indirect code which English society uses and understands. Working-class women might stay with an aunt, but without a sympathetic relative or money, there was only the workhouse."

©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 G

Escrime - Challenge!

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

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

 

Are you keeping up, Dear Readers?

©2021 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy


ChallengeAZ 2021 - The letter F

Escrime - Challenge!

It is no surprise that many of the bloggers chose to write about famille, frère or femme for the letter F, but there were other topics as well and a few more on sources than previously.

  • Antequam... la généalogie! closely examines the military dossier of a man shot (fusillé) for desertion during the First World War, then extends the research to see its effects on family members. 
  • Généalogie Alsace examines a most important source in research into Alsatian ancestors, the fichier domiciliaire. These are the returns of the household census taken by towns during the period when the region was a part of Germany, 1871 to 1918. We have used these in the past with great success, particularly as they give the whereabouts of family members not present.
  • Passerelle Généalogie continues the series on emigration to Louisiana (the voyage is ended and the Lombards arrive),  giving a list of resources - excellent!
  • L'arbre des Brazier - Cartier looks at faire-parts, death and funeral service announcements, which we discussed here.
  • De Branches en branches examines the livret de famille for its genealogical usefulness, as we did here in English.
  • The Archives de l'Assistance publique - Hôpitaux de Paris are a wonderful archive that we wrote about here. They have had some serious difficulties with their website for some years now, which is a great pity. They have chosen to put their posts for the ChallengeAZ on their facebook page (also a great pity, but what to do?) So far, they have been exploring the records of various branches of the medical profession that they hold in their archives. Well worth enduring facebook to read them if you are researching a Parisian doctor, dentist or nurse..
  • Lastly, though it is useless for genealogy, we have a penchant for the entry of Sur nos traces, all about the felines in Montmartre cemetery in Paris. They enchanted us as well, as you can read here.

©2021 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy