Paris Genealogy

Enjoying the Enemy's Elegance During War - Finding Your Foreign Ancestor in Paris

Place du Chatelet

As with every war in Europe, it seems, while battles are fought, ships filled with me are sunk, and people are slaughtered, there is always a contingent to be found partying with impunity in Paris. During the Napoleonic Wars, a rather significant number of enemy nationals, especially British, lived comfortably in Paris. Some were technicians whose expertise was so valued by the French that they were allowed to live in Paris and other cities and to practice their trade, so long as they taught all of their skills and secrets to their French counterparts. Some were so wealthy and owned so much property in France that they were friends with those in the highest realms of First Empire society (and were permitted to bribe the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the all-powerful Talleyrand) and feared neither surveillance nor expulsion. Some were prisoners of war or detenus granted parole who could afford Paris and whose requests to live on parole there had been granted. (Many such requests were not granted, others were but only for vastly less glamourous cities.)

The partying folk of wartime Paris were not limited to the British, by any means. There also were Swedish, Prussian, German, Russian, Turkish, Polish, Spanish, Italian and many more foreign nationals living in Paris under police surveillance. The Police Générale kept registers on all of those under surveillance, noting the names, sometimes the addresses, and often a few details on those being watched. Sometimes, these registers offer the only surviving documentation on a foreigner in Paris during this period (recall the fire of 1871 that destroyed so many Parisian records about people).

These police surveillance registers (codes F/7/2248 through 2254) are not online but must be viewed, on microfilm, in the Archives nationales at Pierrefitte. We will be going there in three days' time and, by way of thanks to our patrons on Patreon, we will look up your ancestor in the registers and send you as good a photograph of the microfilm as we can manage. Send us the full name and the nationality before the 16th of November. With luck, we will find the person you seek.

©2023 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy


Family Disputes Found in Notarial Acts Bring Joy to the Genealogist

French Family Disputes

Ah, Dear Readers, notarial records can yield such delights of familial disharmony, as they document spitefulness, resentment, vengeance or, most useful of all, the fierce desire of some to cheat their nearest and dearest of every last sou to be found amongst the clan. Our example comes from the notarial archives of Paris, the Minutier Central des Notaires de Paris in the Archives nationales. In the carton with the code MC/ET/XV/1645  (MC = Minutuer central. ET = étude. XV = 15, the number in Roman numerals of the étude. 1645 = the carton number of that étude's archives.)*

Reconnaissance Barrière

The document reveals that Françoise Eléonore Barrière, a woman who had buried three husbands, finally succumbed herself and was buried in Paris in 1819. Her sister, Magdeleine Thérèse, claiming to be her only heir, quickly requested that a death inventory be made of the deceased's effects. It was done and in it, she was named as the only heir to the estate. However, there was a son and, though he lived somewhat remotely on the Île d'Oléron, he got wind of his mother's death and his aunt's shenanigans. Of unpleasant portent for Magdeleine Thérèse, he was a "man of law", and he was annoyed. He arrived with a copy of his baptism register entry (nicely included in the act) and his mother's cousin, Marie Françoise Durand, Madame Girault of Orléans. 

Leonard Marie Durand

It proves that he, Léonard Marie Durand, born in Paris on the fifth of January 1764, was the legitimate son of Françoise Eléonore Barrière and her (first) lawful husband François Durand. (A different copy of his baptism survives in the "reconstituted" registers of Paris and can be seen on the website of the Archives de Paris here (go to image number fifty).  Therefore, the act concluded, the first inventory was wrong and the sister was not the sole heir of Françoise Eléonore Barrière, widow of Pierre-Henri Mulet de la Girouzière (her third husband), the son was the sole heir.

This act of recognition (acte de reconnaissance, which normally serves quite a different purpose) required that Magdeleine Thérèse Barrière recognize that her nephew existed and was the sole legitimate heir. She did not show her face. She sent a representative, duly authorized, who signed for her.

This family is not easy to research, so how very nice to come across a single document that gives so much genealogical information. Dear Readers, we shall never cease to tout the value of notarial acts and we urge you never to cease looking for any that may relate to your research.

©2023 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy

*See our booklets on Notarial Records and Parisian Genealogy to learn more about this type of research.


A Few British Workers Discovered in the Police Archives of Paris

Mirror making 2

Image source: https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fichier:Coul%C3%A9e_d%27une_glace_%C3%A0_Saint-Gobain_en_pr%C3%A9sence_du_directeur_Pierre_Delaunay-Deslandes.jpg

 

Wouldn't you know it, Dear Readers, that the moment we finish our talk on finding British prisoners of war in France during the Napoleonic Wars in French archives, we stumble upon a few more. Truly, they pop up everywhere, (which was the point of our talk).

The tiny archives of the Paris police, les Archives de la Préfecture de Police, is amongst our favourites. The collection is small but always interesting and the staff are eagerly helpful. It is in such a remote place at the end of such an awkward journey, that the few researchers who succeed in completing the marathon to get there are all quite dedicated and keen, the frivolous and mildly curious having given up many Mètro stops earlier. It is also one of the few archives that has some series organized by the Sections of Paris, which is most useful when researching people of the Revolutionary and First Empire eras.

Buttes des Moulins

Here, we found police dossiers on some British people who had been living and working in Paris. Unlike so many, they were not all in the textile trades. Living in section Invalides, John Bond, aged thirty-five, and John Farrands, aged forty, both worked in a factory making mirrors on the Ile des Cygnes. [This was not the modern Ile aux Cygnes, but was a different island, where "insalubrious trades", such as malodorous tripe shops, were permitted, and that is now partially submerged in the Seine]. The twenty-six-year-old Thomas Quine was a carpenter at the mirror factory. At the other end of the economic spectrum, in the Hôtel de la Haie, on rue Saint Dominique, lived a young English gentleman named Trench, his wife and their servants.

The police took statements from them all but did not arrest them under the law of May 1803, that required the arrest of all British males in France. We wrote about these détenus here.

John Moore, however, who was living in rue de Charenton, in section Quinze-vingts with his wife, Eliza Jane Anderson, endured a different fate. He ran a factory for making tulle. A Monsieur Terlay claimed that the tools and machines within the factory actually belonged to him. In Brumaire an XIII (October 1804) the police entered and made a very complete inventory of said tools and machines, which was signed by Moore's wife.

Eliza Jane Anderson signature

Could this possibly be the same John Moore, escaped détenu, who was arrested by the French for bigamy in 1808? That would require quite a bit more research.

These little dossiers do not contain a great many such enemy aliens in France during the Napoleonic Wars but, should one be your ancestor, it could be a great find in a somewhat obscure archive.

We do like obscure archives.

©2023 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy

 

 


Finding Irish Jacobites' Descendants in Eighteenth Century Paris

Irish in Paris

Some years ago, we explained here how thousands of Irish came to France with King James II. Though they did not plan to do so, most of them stayed. They were joined by the refugees of the failed 1715 Jacobite Rising and the failed 1745 Rebellion that ended in the disastrous Battle of Culloden (in which our own ancestors fought on the losing side). Their descendants became thoroughly integrated immigrants' children in France. Perhaps the best discussion of them is Guy Chaussinand-Nogaret"s article "Une élite insulaire au service de l'Europe : les jacobites au XVIIe siècle".

For the most part, they lived initially  in Saint Germain-en-Laye, Versailles and Paris. As you will recall, genealogical research in Parisian records is most difficult. The dogged and diligent work of the volunteers at the Projet Familles Parisiennes is beginning to yield wonderful documents, some of them full of genealogical detail about the children of the Jacobite immigrants who were in Paris. You also will find many Irish priests, monks and others who were residing in one of the religious houses or Irish colleges in Paris.

The documents  are those concerning heirs and inheritance that were filed with the court at Châtelet such as the closure of wills, or probate, and the decisions concerning guardianship, known as tutelles.  They can be found by the surnames of the people involved via the surname index of Familles Parisiennes.

Beware of creative spelling!  The name, O'Brien, for example, might be found in "OB" as OBRIEN, or under "O autre" as O'BRIEN. "Mac" may appear at the front of a name in all lower case, with a space, or in upper case without a space. It may be spelt as "Mack". So, when searching, one must be imaginative, to say the least. The reward is a link to a photographed document (hosted on the website of Geneanet but free to view) that may give the names of many relatives in both France and Ireland, places of birth, regiments in the French Army, and the names of trusted acquaintances. The Irish genealogist, John Grenham* writes that "The single most important item of information for Irish family history is a precise place of origin." Finding that place of origin, and much more, for Jacobite refugees can be greatly helped by the Projet Familles Parisiennes as its work progresses.

Bonne chance dans votre recherche!

©2023 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy

*Grenham's website also has a superb bibliography on the Irish in France, though most of the books listed are almost impossible to find.


Help in Working With the Paris Census Returns

Paris census

The Paris census returns are online on the website of the Archives de Paris. They have there the census returns for the years 1926 (the earliest), 1931 and 1936. They are only partially indexed on Filae. Thus, you may have to do a long slog through many pages yourself. Since Paris has thousands of rues, boulevards, avenues, places, passages, etc., it could be a very long slog, indeed. As ever in online genealogy, you can save a lot of time if you look before you leap.

For a bit of background, we explain a fair amount about the history of Paris geography in this post. It will help you to understand some of the many changes over the years. We explain about the French census generally here. We recently looked at the 1946, post-war census here.

When you are ready to take the plunge, by all means, begin with Filae. Using the link above, narrow your search to just the censuses. Target your search by giving the spouse's first name.  Be sure to change the event being searched from Filae's default of just deaths to "All". Recall that the indexing is not complete so, if your search brings no results, that is not a definitive answer. You simply must work harder.

To search the census returns on the website of the Archives de Paris, you must know the address of the person you are seeking, for on this website the census is indexed by geography, not by names. How to find the address? Generally, people who are searching the census returns have already gathered some genealogical information, such as birth, marriage or death register entries, all of which, if French, give the addresses of the people who are the subjects of the events. If the person you are researching were a member of a professional association, its directory may be online and may have an address.

Armed with an address, go to the website of the Archives de Paris, click on "Sources généalogiques complémentaires", and then on Recensement de population. There, they explain that the 1946 census is not online yet, for reasons of privacy protection (which Europeans take much more seriously than Americans). They also explain that each of the three censuses that are online have three parts:

  1. Census of people according to their usual residence (the section most familiar to genealogists) This is Part A
  2. Census of people in group residences separate from normal homes, such as prisons, hospitals, monasteries, boarding schools, etc. This is Part B in 1926 and 1936, and Part C in 1931.
  3. Census of people in hotels, hostels, guest houses and other places of short term residency. This is Part C in 1926 and 1936 and Part B in 1931. (This is where you will find migrant workers, newly arrived immigrants, foreign students, visiting artists and such.)

The search selections are five, all with drop-down menus:

  1. Category of person, based on the three types in the Parts above
  2. Year of the census
  3. Arrondissement
  4. Quarter
  5. Whether or not you also wish the pages of statistics

Options three and four are geographical, and to make the correct selection, you need to know where your Parisian rue is. If you already have a birth, marriage or death register entry, the arrondissement will be indicated, as it will if you have the post code on a letter. The quarter, however, is not usually known. For anything about the location of the street, the Archives have a wonderful aid, the Official Nomenclature of the Streets of Paris

In the upper right hand search box, type in the name of a street. To the left, from the selection of centuries, in Roman numerals, select one. The search result will give all the information you need about the street, including the quarter, which will allow you to narrow your search of the Paris census returns to a manageable size. Wikipedia also has a nice list of the quarters of Paris, with maps; you also could look up the street on Wikipedia, to get the quarter and arrondissement, but the Official Nomenclature is altogether better.

We do hope this will help you to find your ancestor in Paris. If not, enjoy reading the hôtes de passage section of the Jazz Age 1926 Paris census. We found here, on page four, one Fernando "Sonny" Jones, a dancer from Chicago.

©2023 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy

 

 


FGB Free Clinic - Case no. 9 - Marie Fouyol, Parisian wife of Thomas Mansell, part 11 - Fanny Mansell's Sampler

Sampler

From Monsieur E, we have received the most astonishing of responses to our series attempting to identify Marie Fouyol. He sends us a beautifully told and well-researched study of a lovely sampler by Marie Fouyol's daughter. Read on.

Fanny Mansell’s sampler of 1818

Recently I followed a link to Anne Morddel’s wonderfully helpful French Genealogy Blog and soon came upon her ten-part series of blogposts on her quest for records of Thomas Mansell, the Yorkshire weaver detained at Fontainebleau and then in Paris when renewed conflict between England and France erupted in 1803, and his French wife Marie Fouyol.

I was greatly excited by this because, some years ago, I purchased at an antiques show in Canada a textile sampler (marquoir) made in France by Joséphine Fanny Mansels (sic) in 1818 at the age of seven. The dealer thought it was French Canadian, and somewhat unusual for that reason. [Salahub] But upon doing some research I soon identified Fanny as Thomas Mansell’s daughter, the later Mrs. Greig, and realized her story was a lot more complicated. The wording on the sampler records, in French, the day they left Paris, which she evidently added later. This is the only sampler I have seen that records an act of migration. As it was produced in Paris under French influence it differs from English samplers in a number of respects. And it introduces some new hints about the family’s life in France.

Samplers originated as exemplars: oblong pieces of cloth bearing sample stitches as teaching and memory aids for young seamstresses. Over the course of the eighteenth century they became more ornamental: a demonstration of a young girl’s accomplishments and something to be framed rather than kept in a drawer for reference. Sometimes a series of samplers was produced as a girl gained in knowledge and experience [Mouillefarine 88]; usually only the last was retained once her training was complete. As many were produced in schools and female academies, they reflect standardized motifs typical of their time and place as well as occasional unique elements specific to the maker.

Some scholars view samplers as a form of life writing or autobiography. This viewpoint has been popularized by a spate of articles about an unusually introspective English sampler from the 1830s consisting of the textual lamentations of a servant girl who had been abused by an employer. [e.g. Flower, Pezzoli-Olgiati] Samplers in the English tradition tend to be more didactic than introspective. Many contain moralistic verses derived from books of instruction for children, but most are personalized to the extent of naming the maker of the textile, and stating her age and the date it was made. A location is also fairly standard, and less often the name of the school or instructor under whose direction the child produced the item. Samplers reveal or at least suggest information about the creator’s education and values: or at least the values which the instructor sought to inculcate.

Typically of early 19th century French examples, Fanny Mansell’s sampler was worked in silk threads on linen using cross-stitch. [Pouchelon 5, 108] Her sampler tells us nothing overtly about its creation – she names no school or teacher – but as is typical it gives her name and age and the year. But the text is in French, and the conventions of the sampler are culturally more French than English. Though French samplers are less likely to include moralistic or religious verses than English ones, they are more likely to include religious symbols. Fanny’s resembles other French samplers from the First Empire and Restoration in using an alphabet based on the Encylopédie of Diderot and d’Alembert and featuring discreet Catholic religious symbols and naïve flowers and animals, [Mouillefarine 48] with about 80% of the space devoted to the motifs. [Pouchelon 108]

The top row begins with the monogram of Jesus in blue: IHS with a cross atop the crossbar of the H, but with the S reversed. To the left of the alphabet is an outlined cross atop a stepped base. The alphabet commences, as in most French samplers, with a small cross with equal arms called the Croix de par Dieu:  Sampler historian Catherine Pouchelon explains that a French child reciting the alphabet began by making the sign of the cross and, following the Encyclopédie, model alphabets included the symbol as a reminder to the student. [Pouchelon 91-94]

While many French samplers from this period feature a centrally-placed altar, Fanny’s centres a monstrance (a stand incorporating a glazed shrine for displaying the host) below the alphabet but omits the altar. Above it two birds face a crown, as in an example from c.1814 [Pouchelon 110]. An 1819 example [Mouillefarine 66] similarly shows a crown above the monstrance but flanked by lions instead of birds. Even lacking the lions the crown may reference the Bourbon restoration of 1814. The monstrance in Fanny’s sampler is smaller than many of the other motifs. To the right below her name are five small tools. The third may be an arrow, the fifth a pair of tongs or pincers. If these are intended to represent the instruments of the Passion, a common set of symbols on French samplers, they are given a fairly token presence. Various potted plants dominate, with a few small birds and animals and in the bottom row a windmill, ship, and table-and-chairs, common motifs in samplers of the era.

The alphabet is in blue, with only a few letters having both capital and lower-case letters: Aa, Cc, Mm Nn Qq. The capital Q interestingly is in English form but with the tail pointing left, rather than resembling a backwards P following the Encyclopédie. As in most French alphabets there is no W. Z is followed by an ampersand and the numbers 1 through 10. In the texts toward the bottom of the sampler Fanny employs mostly lower case letters in recording her name and age (also in blue) but with upper case D and G (the lower case letters for which are lacking from her alphabet). But she makes liberal use of the lower case e despite not recording an exemplar in her alphabet. And again we find a reversed capital S. She is careful to include the accent on the “e” where appropriate, something her teacher may have emphasized. In recording her departure from Paris, in red, she employs all capitals apart from in the opening word “quiter”. Her arrival in England is added in white using mixed characters, omitting an “r” from “ARIVé” and abbreviating the month “Juillet” to “Jet”.

Despite the muted Catholic symbolism and the attempt at an anglo capital Q, Fanny’s sampler suggests she was raised in the Parisian cultural milieu of her mother – French and Catholic – rather than in a self-isolating English émigré community. In the 1901 census of Carleton Place, Ontario, Fanny stated her mother tongue as French, again suggesting she was raised and educated in a French Catholic environment. As her father seems to have been illiterate, this should not surprise.

Needlework was an integral part of girls’ education whatever their social rank, whether that education was formal or informal, though the formal education of girls in France lagged behind that in England. From practical exemplar to demonstration of accomplishment, learning this dexterous manual work was integrated with other types of knowledge. While some girls may have been instructed by their mothers, the samplers resulting would likely be less elaborate than those that were worked under the tutelage of a skilled needlewoman.

We have a clue to the possible identity of her instructor. Fanny’s godmother at the time of her baptism in 1814 at the age of two years and two months was Joséphine Thomassin, Mme. Cartier, a chamareuse [Morddel parts 2 and 6], one who decorates clothing with trimmings, lace, and braid. [Reymond n.p.] This implies that Thomassin made her living through sewing rather than embroidery and indeed chamareuse was accounted a humble occupation. But Mme Cartier was able to sign her name capably, and she may have worked below her skill level. Anne has traced Thomassin’s background, found record of her marrying Jean Baptiste Joseph Cartier in 1802, living in rue du Petit Lion Saint Sauveur, and having children in 1810 and 1812. While she has not tracked her beyond 1813 when she stood godmother to Françoise Joséphine Mansell (who likely took her middle name from her), the fact that her death has not turned up makes it plausible that she was still living in 1818 when Fanny made her sampler.

It is interesting that though she was baptized as Françoise Joséphine, she stitched her name as Joséphine Fanny Mansels, including the proper accent on the e but giving the name by which she was known, Fanny rather than Françoise. That she spelled Mansels with an s adds another spelling to the list of variants associated with documents relating to her English father, who was stated in French baptismal records as unable to sign.

The sampler includes an unusual biographical element in recording the date Fanny left Paris (April 1, 1819) and the day she reached her destination (July 20), presumably where members of the wider family were then living in Yorkshire. This was perhaps Strensall just northeast of York, where Thomas’s brother Robert lived in 1809, and where his brother John married in 1817. More likely Thomas joined his mother at Nunnington, in Ryedale, 21 km north. Here his father George had acquired a freehold by 1807 (having returned to his parish of birth) and had died in 1816. His widow Frances died there in 1829.

The information about the return from Paris appears to have been added later. The move is dated a year after the sampler itself, and the text breaks the symmetry, as for that matter does Fanny’s signature, which intrudes into the bottom tier of motifs. It is as if the idea of signing the sampler occurred as it was nearing completion, and even later the details of her travels were inserted in a small space remaining to the left.

Fanny understood the significance of leaving France, and gave it a permanent record here, and thus far this is the only record discovered of the precise dates of the family’s departure and arrival. She did not record their destination, but she did not have the space, and perhaps she thought they would be remaining there. Later changes to samplers are not unknown but they are unusual. Several authors refer to samplers in which the age or year have been unpicked later in life in an attempt to conceal a woman’s age. [Scott 47] Leaving Paris, journeying to England, and settling in rural Canada was also a major cultural shift for Marie Fouyol. Living in an Anglophone milieu, in localities where the Catholic minority was mostly Irish, she became Mary and appears to have made no attempt to retain her Catholicism. (Though recorded as Church of England in 1861 and in her death certificate, in the 1871 census the space for her religion was left blank: her son Alfred was Anglican but his wife was a Scot and she and the children were Presbyterians.) Did Fanny’s sampler move with her to Carleton Place, or 120 km north to Westmeath where Mary lived with Alfred? Hanging in either parlour, as it likely did, it was a tangible reminder of an earlier and very different life.

The story was not forgotten as Fanny’s gravemarker in the Auld Kirk Cemetery near Almonte, Ontario, records her birth in Paris, and the story is recounted in somewhat more detail in her newspaper obituary.[Morddel part 1] There are one or two factual errors due to the story being recounted by one of her children rather than by Fanny herself. Her younger brother Alfred was not born in England, as her obituary suggests, but rather in Elizabethtown Township near the St Lawrence River before the family relocated 90 km north to Ramsay. In the 1901 census Alfred gave his birthdate as April 28, 1821, and his death certificate states his place of birth as Elizabethtown. [Ont. d. cert. 1907/027101] This is consistent with Fanny’s obituary stating that the family lived at first near Brockville, though they may not have resided there all of the four years it claims.

Select bibliography

    • Flower, Chloe. “Wilful Design: The Sample in Nineteenth-Century Britain”, Journal of Victorian Culture 21, no. 3 (2016): 301-21
    • Lukacher, Joanne Martin. Imitation and Improvement: The Norfolk Sampler Tradition. Redmond, WA: In the Company of Friends, 2013
    • Morddel, Anne. French Genealogy Blog, Free Clinic, Case no. 9: Marie Fouyol, Parisian wife of Thomas Mansell (10 parts). https://french-genealogy-typepad.com
    • Mouillefarine, Laurence. Les Marquoirs Anciens de Catherine Pouchelon. Éditions Mango Pratique, Cahier du Collectionneur, 2005
    • Pezzoli-Olgiati, “’As i cannot write I put this down simply and freely’: Samplers as a Religious Material Practice,” Journal for religion, film, media www.jrfm.eu 7, no. 1 (2021): 95-122
    • Pouchelon, Catherine. Abécédaires Brodés du Modèle a l’ouvrage. Paris: Les Éditions de l’Amateur, 2001
    • Reymond, Paul. Dictionnaire des Vieux Métiers. Paris: Brocéliande
    • Salahub, Jennifer E. Quebec Samplers: ABCs of embroidery. Montreal: McCord Museum of Canadian History, 1994
    • Scott, Rebecca. Samplers. Botley, Oxford: Shire Publications, 2009

 

Thank you so much Monsieur E!

©2023 Monsieur E

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


The Men of the Gardes Mobiles Who Joined the California Gold Rush

Garde Mobile to California

Dear Readers, we are quite chuffed to be able to tell you that our article about the men of the Gardes mobiles who went to California to find gold has appeared in the Fall 2021 issue of The California Nugget the journal of the California Genealogical Society. As some of you may recall, we have been working on this subject for quite a while, writing about passenger lists of the California-bound here, and writing reviews of books on the subject here and here. It was in the last that we read the essay, Une émigration insolite au XIXe siècle, Les soldats des barricades en Californie (1848-1853), by Madeleine Bourset, and learned for the first time of the men who had fought in Paris during the Revolution of 1848 and who were sent to California afterward. 

Who were they? Their names could be found nowhere, had been published nowhere. What was their story? It took many years, many visits to archives and even more e-mails and letters to archivists before we, at long last, had the complete list of all the names of the Gardes mobiles who went to California. We cannot take full credit for finding it; the last hunt was done by a superbly diligent and generous archivist in the naval archives at Toulon, Madame Boucon, under the auspices of Monsieur Triboux,* but we shall take credit for persevering, even pestering, in the quest. 

We are grateful to the editors at The California Nugget for accepting our article, with the entire passenger list of the guards' names, for publication. They then did some very impressive further research to discover the stories and descendants of as many of the men as possible, producing biographical sketches on the following men:

  • Deligne
  • Ducroquet
  • Dulac
  • Gaillard
  • Lucien
  • Mené
  • Pelissier
  • Sauffrignon
  • Souillié
  • Tridon

With this issue, the editors have created what we believe to be the definitive study to date on the Californian Gardes mobiles and we are quite honoured to have been a contributor to it. Should you have an ancestor  amongst this fascinating and hitherto unnamed group, we hope that you will find this issue of The California Nugget to be of aid to your genealogical research.

©2021 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy

* Read here of other generous acts of research on the part of French archivists.


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

 


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

Marie Fouyol

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

©2021 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy