Paris Genealogy

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

Marie Fouyol

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

©2021 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy

 

 

 


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

Marie Fouyol

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kreenfelt's system is described:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the old 12th arrondissement/new 5th arrondissement

Mansell-Fouyol Paris

 

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

Saint Jacques du Haut Pas

 

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

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

Rue du Cloître St Benoît

 

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

Saint Benoît in 1810

 

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

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

Rue du Petit Lion

 

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

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

Rue de la Paix

 

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

On a modern map of Paris with names

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

Verniquet

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

Vasserot

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

295 rue Saint Jacques

...and the neighbourhood:

Around 295 rue St Jacques

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

Paris parishes in 1802

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

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

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

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

©2021 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy

 

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

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

2. Ibid. p10.


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

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

 


Is There a Statue of Your Ancestor in Paris?

Statue in Paris

Would it not be ever so lovely to be able to see one's ancestor honoured in Paris with a grand monument, a work of art? In these sad times, when the sheer crush of the planet's excessive human population (the antecedents of whom we so enjoy researching) is smothering all so that there is not enough space, not enough air, not enough water, not enough food for our children, and when celebrity is the goal of any poor soul who can crawl to the top of the heaving mass,  how pleasant it is to think of earlier times when accolades were accorded for accomplishment and to find one's own ancestor among the recipients. To be sure, the adage that "history is written by the winners" applies to the erection of statues as well, and many statues in public spaces were erected by vile rulers or generals wishing to honour themselves or their own ignominious ancestors. This is currently going through a period of correction and balance as angry crowds haul down statues and dump them in rivers or smash them to bits.

Schoelcher down

Personally, we do not much mind this emotive vandalism, though our brother in Oregon is outraged and says it is the equivalent of book burning. To this we say: Nonsense. A book contains information that can be read by one or many; a statue is decoration. We rather hope that the demolished statues might be replaced by new statues, perhaps of dolphins or dinosaurs or, dare we say, of one, just one, of the many women who have made important contributions to the betterment of this sorry species that is humanity.

So, Dear Readers, of the many hundreds of statues that remain in Paris, if one may be of your ancestor, here is an excellent website to facilitate the search for it, Les Statues de rue de Paris. It would seem to have been created by George Belleiche (though he prefers to remain anonymous) since all of the contents seem to come from his two books on the subject. The statues are listed geographically, by arrondissement, and can be searched by either the name of the sculptor or of the subject. We wish you a successful search.

©2020 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy

 


Our Eleventh Birthday - In Quarantine!

11th Birthday under lockdown pink

Ah, Dear Readers, many predicted this but could any of us have imagined life under quarantine? When we began our series about researching American mariners on the twenty-second of January, the press contained a few reports of an epidemic of some concern in far away China. By the time the series came to an end, a couple of weeks ago, the entire world was battling a pandemic and most of us in quarantine at home.  Like everyone else, The FGB is soldiering on as best as possible, doing French genealogical research.

In truth, much as we adore visiting the currently shut archives of France, we also take great pleasure in online research. For any of you who have been with us since the beginning, you will know that part of our mission is to explain to you, in English, how to research your French ancestors online. What better time than now to do an update on our favourite sites? 

GENERAL, BROAD RESEARCH

The index to the finding aids of the Archives nationales

Forever being updated, so always worth checking again and again, this is one of the first places to begin researching any French, especially Parisian, ancestor. It is not only for the prominent. All kinds of people from all parts of the country crop up here. Our post here explains how to log on.

Ancestry

Ancestry is not particularly useful for French research but it is excellent for tracing all possible documentation on a French ancestor who went to another country, in that country. Immigrant records of the USA, Australia and the UK about a French ancestor's new life can be excellent in finding all versions of the person's name, his or her birthdate and birth place. The same holds true for MyHeritage.

FamilySearch

The site has more and more French records scanned but the indexing than a kindergarten crafts room when the children have just left it. Use with grave caution or only when you know exactly what you seek and where it should be.

Généanet

This and the next are France's largest and most important commercial genealogy research sites. Généanet has a messy, outdated interface but is a superb resource, especially for original documents from Paris and especially for people of the eighteenth century.

Filae

Filae is better for researching people in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Of particular value are two national censuses that have been indexed, that of 1872 and that of 1906. Additionally, the French office of statistics (INSEE) death records are, in many cases, the only way to find a death that occurred after 1902. With access in English.

Geopatronyme

Check your surname here. French names were contorted, some beyond recognition, in anglophone countries. Once you start researching French records, you need to have the correct name. Playing with your variations on Geopatronyme will help you to see what is and what is not possible. Read our original post about this site here.

 

LOCATION SPECIFIC RESEARCH

Begin with the websites of the Departmental Archives relative to the department where your French ancestor lived. See the links in the column to the left. Recall that many large cities have their own websites. Marseille, Brest, Paris, Lyon and many more have digitized documentation not found on the websites of the Departmental Archives. To find the sites, search, or google, the city name and "archives municipales".

ANOM

For ancestors who lived in the French colonies, overseas territories or overseas departments, the Archives nationales d'outre-mer are the best place to begin. Read our report on a talk about this service by the archivist here.

Optants

If your ancestors said they were from Alsace-Lorraine, this website has listed the names of those who, from outside the region in 1872, claimed French nationality. Read our first post about the Optants here.

Projet Familles Parisiennes

This superb site is a treasure of documentation on eighteenth century Parisian families. The index links to digitized documents from the National Archives hosted on the website of Généanet but are free to view. Read our post about the project here.

 

 

We will list more good sites in our next post.

During this time of confinement for the public good, perhaps we all can extend our French genealogy networks. Take very good care, Dear Readers.

©2020 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy

 


More Pariahs of Paris - Your Auvergnat Ancestor in the Capital

Auvergnat

Well, Dear Readers, we can now confirm with unpleasant certainty that Lyme Disease is not confined to New England but is far flung with infectious abandon even to France. We hope that there may be no need for updates but be assured that, should there be, you shall receive them here. On to genealogy.

Parisians, like Londoners or New Yorkers, do seem an unwelcoming lot, treating all new arrivals as “pariahs”. There were so many such new arrivals in the nineteenth century that any modern Parisians who have no pariah antecedents are wholly imaginary. We have covered here the scorned Savoyards and the pariah Bretons, driven to Paris, like our subject of today, the Auvergnats, by need, where the starvation caused by the many failed crops in the 1840s or by the economic crises of the 1850s, or by the singularly volcanic terrain of Auvergne. All quite sad for the descendants of the fierce tribe the Arverni, known in Roman times for (once) defeating Caesar in battle.

The first time we read the term Auvergnat, oh so many years ago, was in Balzac, the only writer who could truly dissect the French soul. He referred to the people of Auvergne as the most sou-pinching of France. Balzac lived in Paris and was a dedicated drinker at a time when most bars and cafes were run by folk from Auvergne. We are tempted to suspect a barkeep’s refusal to extend credit to the great man as the seed from which this insult sprouted.

Nevertheless, it cannot be disputed that the Auvergnats, on arriving in Paris, nearly all sank to services and trades have to do with liquid, whether for bathing or drinking, and for carrying it, heating it, or serving it. This being in the days before plumbing brought running water to every home, they became water carriers, porteurs d'eau, filling jugs or pails at public fountains or straight from the Seine and carrying the water, two pails of twenty liters each on a yoke, to the homes of those who could pay. They were pioneer pariahs, for they were known as the water-carriers of Paris as early as the 1730s. Those who could do so invested in a barrel, un tonneau, on a cart. Some had the bright idea of heating the water and selling it for bathing, hauling it into a home, pouring it into the bath, waiting outdoors and then hauling away the used bathwater. Their compatriots who helped with the heating of the water often moved into the trade of charbonnier, a maker and seller of charcoal. They were despised by Parisians, who considered them coarse and rude, a type our grandmother termed disparagingly (speaking at the time of our latest step-father, mind you) a rube. Combining the words charbonnier and Auvergnat, the Parisians created a new word, Bougnat, which they considered a jibe of stellar wit.

As is the way of the world, the Auvergnat migrants integrated and assimilated, but with a peculiar insistence, they generally would not leave their attachment to liquids. They moved up socially a tad by selling milk and a tad more by selling lemonade, and quite a bit more by selling wine and a great deal more by opening a bar and selling alcoholic drinks to the likes of Balzac. We all know how, under certain conditions, a barkeep becomes a dear friend with miraculous rapidity and so it came to pass that a person was called a Bougnat not with snide superiority but with condescending affection. Successful Auvergnats even named their bars Le Bougnat; one such, in Pantin, became so belovèd a local institution that, when the authorities determined to bulldoze it, there was a bit of an outcry (to no avail; it was reduced to rubble in 2017).

Thus, in conducting your research into an Auvergnat ancestor in Paris, be alert to such professions mentioned in documents as :

  • porteur d'eau
  • charbonnier
  • limonadier
  • marchand de vin
  • garçon de café
  • cafétier

Clearly, not all those working in the above trades were Auvergnats but, in the late nineteenth century in Paris, very, very many were.  Should you suspect that your Parisian ancestor had origins in the Auvergne, research avenues to try are:

  • In the mid and late nineteenth century, the Auvergnat migrants tended to live in the eleventh arrondissement, especially on rue de Lappe, so if you must trawl the tables décennales of the birth, marriage and death registrations of Paris, you might want to begin with those of the eleventh.
  • As with Breton women, some Auvergnat women had unfortunate encounters with results that caused the desperate measure of abandoning a child. The Parisian authorities went to great lengths to find the mothers of such children. You can begin a search for such a child on the website of the Paris Archives in the records of Enfants assistés (1859-1906). You could be very lucky and find where the mother was from in Auvergne.
  • Some professions, such as water carriers who used barrels, the cleanliness of which had to be verified regularly, required registration with the police. The registration files may be searched in the archives of the Paris police, in series DA.
  • For those who opened shops and bars, the Paris Archives hold the records of the Tribunal de Commerce, the commercial courts; these are not online.

Sources and Further reading:

It may be time for all descendants of pariahs of Paris to unite to form one big Cercle généalogique des Parias parisiennes. Raise a glass to all migrant outcasts, Dear Readers, past and present, for we are they.

©2019 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy


Your Breton Ancestors in Paris

Breton girl

Poor Brittany. As a region, it has suffered rather more than its share of economic difficulties, prejudice and administrative neglect or misguided experimentation on the part of the government in Paris. Just now, its largest source of income, tourism, is being wiped out by tides of poisonous algae that are caused by the dumping  of the slurry from the intensive pig farming that has boomed in the region at the behest of some bureaucrat in Paris. The slurry seeps into the ground water, flows to the sea, feeds the algae that thrives in the increased warmth of our new climate and washes onto the shores, exuding so much toxic gas that people (and even a horse) have been killed and beaches must be closed. One would think that, by now, we all have learned that mass agricultural policies have been proven a very bad idea. Yet, there is sure to be a new idea and it is sure to be tested on Bretagne first.

It has always been a region separate from the others in France, with its own government for many centuries and its own language. More importantly, it seems to us, the eye of the Breton is always on the sea, while that of the rest of France, (but for Normandy) is on its fields. So much so that, for a very long time, the Navy took only men from Bretagne, apparently on the assumption that they all were by nature seamen and needed little training.

In the 1840s, when all of Europe suffered harvest failures, many people from Alsace and Lorraine emigrated to America but fewer from Bretagne did so. The Revolution of 1848, after it was quashed, brought a certain amount of emigration to the Californian gold fields as the government encouraged all subversive types to go seek their fortunes there, even paying the passage for some. (How quickly our ideals and hopes for a better society for all can crumble when that sly offer of personal wealth is slipped in, eh?) The "Hungry Forties" were followed by economic crises in the late 1850s that began in the United States and spread to Europe. Bretagne was hit hard by these crises. Additionally,  those dependent upon growing and weaving linen and hemp lost their livelihoods when cheaper cotton began to be imported.

What set people who were hungry and could not find work on the move was the opening of the Quimper-Nantes-Paris railway in 1863. Presented with a vastly safer journey to a place where there was employment and where one did not have to learn a new language, many Bretons, perhaps for the first time in the region's history, emigrated inland. Within twenty years, at least twelve thousand Bretons were living in Paris; ten years later, there were seventy-five thousand; by the 1930s some 125,000 people of Breton origins appeared in the Paris census returns.

As is always the case in such migration waves, most found no paths to wealth but they did find work, nearly always of the most difficult kind. The tunnels of the Paris Mètro were dug primarily by Bretons, wealthy and middle class children of Paris had Breton wet-nurses and nannies, and every household that could afford a maid had Breton housemaids. The Belle-Epoque was maintained, in a large part, by the migrants from Brittany (as well as from Savoie), so much so that, by 1905, the character of a Breton nanny, Bécassine, was created, soon became a huge success in many children's books, and remains a belovèd classic in France. Yet, just as the "Mammy" characterization of enslaved women belies the truth of outrageous oppression, so Bécassine gives a false impression of how Bretons were accepted and treated in Paris; Leslie Page Moch's "The Pariahs of Yesterday : Breton Migrants in Paris" gives a truer picture.

How to research a Breton ancestor who seems to have gone to Paris or, more likely in your hunt, who was in Paris but whose Breton place of origin you cannot find?

  • Firstly, check on Geopatronyme and the Public Office of the Breton Language (follow the latter's links) to become familiar with Breton surnames and to determine if your ancestor's is such a one.
  • Initially, large numbers of Breton migrants settled in the 14th arrondissement of Paris, near the train station of Montparnasse, their point of arrival from Bretagne. If you have no idea at all of where in Paris they may have lived, and if you have to search all the tables décennales (ten-year indices)  for all twenty Parisian arrondissements, start with the 14th.
  • Many Breton women had unfortunate encounters with results that caused the desperate measure of abandoning a child. The Parisian authorities went to great lengths to find the mothers of such children. You can begin a search for such a child on the website of the Paris Archives in the records of Enfants assistés (1859-1906). You could be very lucky and find where the mother was from in Bretagne.
  • Eventually, many Bretons settled outside of central Paris, in Seine-Saint-Denis, Yvelines and Hauts-de-Seine, so you might extend your search to the larger cities of those departments, especially those containing railway centres. The 1872 and 1906 census returns for some, not all, of these departments have been indexed on Filae.com. Recall that there was no census in Paris until 1936.
  • The Bretons maintained close ethnic communities in Paris and they still do. They published a directory of Bretons living and having a business in Paris, the Annuaire des Bretons de Paris, the 1911 edition of which can be seen on Gallica. You may wish to contact a branch of the Amicales des Bretons appropriate to where your ancestor settled. (See the links at the bottom of this article or simply search the association name online to get branches all over France. Searching "Breizh" and a location will bring some very interesting discoveries as well.)
  • As you dig deeper, there are genealogy manuals specific to Breton genealogy

Good luck in finding your Breton ancestor (and should you wish to help the region and are in France, you could always boycott jambon)

Sources and Further Reading:

RetroNews

The blog En Envor and the excellent essays by Thomas Perrono

"Les Bretons de Paris et Saint-Denis"

"The European subsistence crisis of 1845-1850: a comparative perspective" by Eric VANHAUTE, Richard PAPING, and Cormac Ó GRÁDA

 

©2019 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy


Book Review: L'Emigration française

Emigration

This book is not new but we are newly discovering it, so it gets its review. We begin by not beating about the bush: it is brilliant. The contents are a collection of scholarly and very well researched and fully sourced essays on emigration from France to Algeria, Canada, and the United States. Each article covers a very specific group and era. We give here the Table of Contents, which are not easy to find on all the mentions of the book:

  • Le "voyage organisé" d'émigrants parisiens vers l'Algérie
  • L'Emigration française au Canada (1882-1929)
  • Les milieux d'origine de l'émigration aveyronnaise vers l'Amérique dans le dernier quart du XIXe siècle
  • Une émigration insolite au XIXe siècle, Les soldats des barricades en Californie (1848-1853)
  • Les passeports délivrés à Bordeaux pour les Etats-Unis (1816-1889)
  • Conscrits en Amérique. Le cas de l'arrondissement de Sarrebourg (Meurthe) 1829-1870
  • "Comme un oiseau sur la branche..." Emigration aux Etats-Unis et retour des Basques des Baïgori
  • Les voyageurs français et l'émigration française aux Etats-Unis (1870-1914)

Before jumping in with all the glee that this excites in us, we remind you that the French view history very much as a social science, science as in lots of statistics and social as in society, with never a thought of or interest in the story of history. Thus, these essays will give you a picture (with lots of charts and tables) of group behaviour but no gossipy revelation of someone's life, loves and losses that might have been discovered in the archives. Bearing that in mind, if your immigrant ancestor falls into one of the groups studied, you will receive two invaluable things: an understanding of the forces that may have influenced your ancestor to leave and, in the notes, a very good guide of where you could find the documentation about your ancestor's departure.

The two essays that we have put in blue text are concerned specifically with the poor workers of the Revolutions of 1848, discussed in the previous post. We have written about the workers' convoys to Algeria here. The essay about them in this book studies them in great detail. Pointing out that many of the workers in Paris had come from the countryside, hoping for work. The author, Yvette Katan, charts their origins. Most, it seems, came from the northern half of France. She quotes the reports of one of the doctors who accompanied the workers; he wrote that their poverty was extreme. Many had no shoes or coats. They had pawned everything they could, even their beds, in some cases. The government decree that authorized sending them had promised to each "7 to 10 hectares of land to farm, a house which the state would pay to build, free transport all the way to their new land, food for the entire family for the first three years." What starving worker would not accept such an offer?

The second essay we have marked in blue discusses those sent to California. Again, this was just after 1848. When the news of the discovery of gold in California was heard by the French authorities, they must have thought that the gods intended to smile their societal troubles away. Here was a way to get rid of even more of the Parisian malcontents and at less cost: hold lotteries, make certain that most of the winners Paris's poor, and ship them off to California. This, too, is incredibly thorough and gives a very deep understanding of these emigrants.

It does not, however, list the names of the emigrants to California, not even the lingotiers. To our knowledge, no published book gives their names. We are wondering if we should not write one ourselves. Dear Readers, do you think there could be an interest in such a list? Do let us know your thoughts.

 

©2019 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy

 

 

Fouché, Nicole, ed. L'Emigration française : Etude de cas, Algérie, Canada, Etats-Unis. Série Internationale no. 24. Paris : Publications de la Sorbonne, 1985.


Interviews With the Last of the Paris Communards on RetroNews

Communards

 

Mostly, as French genealogy researchers, we tend to revile the Communards for having burnt the Paris town hall and destroyed hundreds of years' worth of parish and civil registrations. We tend to forget that they were the desperate poor. We tend to forget that they had endured a siege so long, so horrific and in such cold that Parisians were eating dogs, cats and rats, when they could find any still alive. We tend to forget that France had just been invaded and lost the Franco-Prussian War and was saddled with a very heavy bill to be paid to the victor.

The Communards saw themselves as freedom fighters driven by desperation, hunger and poverty to create a new order by smashing the old. Whether we agree with their ideals or not, we cannot help but sympathize with their sufferings and this may help us to understand. (Who among us has not lost judgement when forced to desperation by whatever unendurable suffering life has thrown at us?)

These memories recounted to the press by some of the last survivors of the Paris Commune are fascinating. If your ancestor were among them, it may open your eyes to more of their world.


Paris Cemetery Records Online!

Montmartre Cemetery

Very good news, indeed, from the Archives de Paris for anyone seeking to know where in Paris an ancestor was interred. Parisian cemeteries are overcrowded, as our photograph of Montmartre above shows, making it almost impossible (however delightful the stroll on a sunny day may be) to happen by chance upon the grave one seeks. It could be impossible, due to the French habit of digging up untended graves, tossing the bones into an ossuary, and reselling the plot to someone who will take better care of it.

What has long been needed by family genealogists is access to the interment registers, showing all entries, even of those long ago dug up. And now you have them online, on the website of the Archives de Paris, here. There is also a clear and complete explanation of the twenty current cemeteries of Paris. Through links at the bottom of that page, you can examine the annual burial lists for each cemetery or the daily burial registers for each cemetery.

The first set helps to locate the physical grave. Clicking on répertoires annuels d'inhumation, (the annual burial lists), takes you to a search form in which you can select a cemetery to search, and  supply a name and range of years to search within that cemetery (the concept is identical to the way that civil registrations are searched by arrondissement, record type, name and date range on the same website). The results are each a string of images within the alphabetical range to search. Click on the eye and start looking. 

Search Paris cemeteries

You will then see the pages of the register for that cemetery and be able to find out where your ancestor's grave is (or was).

 

Paris cemetery register

 

Remember the month abbreviations!

  • 7re - September
  • 8re - October
  • 9re - November
  • Xre - December

You want to note the exact date of burial, as that is how you will search in the second set, the registres journaliers d'inhumation, the daily burial registers. On this search screen, you will select the cemetery from the drop down menu (we chose Bagneux), then enter the date of burial, date de l'inhumation.

Remember the European style of writing dates!

The tenth of July 1892 is written 10/07/1892

As before, you will get a string of the date range in the register to search. Click on the eye to see the pages and to read along to find the correct date. On the fifth page of this particular string, the tenth of July begins:

 

Bagneux cemetery

Here, you can discover the full name of the person buried, his or her age at the time of death, and the arrondissement where he or she died (this last allowing you to find the death registration, if you could not do so before). This register also tells exactly where the grave is. The registers styles and column headings vary from year to year and from one cemetery to another but they generally give the same information. If the remains were dug up and removed you will find in the "Observations" column the word "Repris" followed by the date of that sad administrative decision.

BEWARE!

All is not as it seems. For our test search, we checked each cemetery's annual burial list for a particular name for the year 1845. The name appeared in none. We also found that, while many of the cemeteries were operational that year, the registers that early are not available online. Then, we began to check the daily burial registers and there, in Batignolles, we found our burial. Though the annual register existed and is available online, the original indexer had  missed the entry. So, try both registers, if you have a date or at least the year of death. If the register for the year is not online but the cemetery was in existence, keep checking back for new additions to the registers on the website.

Have fun with this hunt!

©2019 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy