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The FGB
Paris
I am a writer and professional genealogist from California living in France.
Interests: French genealogy, American seamen in France during the War of 1812 and the Napoleonic Wars.
Recent Activity
Brigitte, Thank you for writing. "Turf war" was meant only playfully. Even so, the discussion with the FFG should be very interesting.
Sophie, Thank you for your comment. I think your arbitration is a very good idea, but there is a risk of people spending too much energy on discussion and not actually doing the work!
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We have observed that the modern French psyche would seem to suffer an occasionally debilitating dichotomy: on the one hand, there is a commitment to democracy, community, unity, and to the state improving society for all, while on the other,... Continue reading
Posted 16 hours ago at The French Genealogy Blog
Dear Monsieur S. Addressing your points by number: (1) Timing is important here. Marie Thérèse was born in 1820 in a midwife's house in rue du Faubourg-Poissonnière. Before the Revolution, that was an area of property speculation and some elegance; later in the 19th century, it was to become so again. In the early 19th century, it was an area of artists and theatre people and of artisans' workshops. Backing onto the road was the prison-hospital for women, Saint-Lazare, which was not closed and demolished until 1824. A midwife so close to that prison would surely have attended some births of the inmates' children, as well as those of local actresses and artisans' daughters. (The website of the l'Assistance publique-Hôpitaux de Paris (AP-HP) isn't much good these days, but it may be possible to search their records for Saint-Lazare around the relevant date to see what comes up.) While it is entirely possible that a woman of wealth could have gone to a midwife's establishment in a street of shops behind a woman's prison, it is unlikely. As others have written in comments elsewhere on this blog, at that time, no woman of wealth in her right mind would have gone to a hospital or midwife to give birth. She would have done so at home or at the home of a trusted relative. At this period, going to a midwife was an indication that there was no home where the woman could, or felt that she could, give birth. There is no way to extrapolate with any certainty any information about the mother or father based on the address of the midwife. One can imagine a number of scenarios as to why the child may have been born there, but we are not interested in imagined lives at the moment, only the bare facts. (2) "Enfant naturelle" appears on registrations in which the mother gave her name. As the mother and father did not give their names, the child would have been automatically illegitimate. Recall that legitimacy was so emphasised in order to guarantee the right to inherit. A child of unnamed parents had no inheritance and was illegitimate. It was not necessary to write it as it was, de facto, the case. (3) As stated in the blog post, the Paris records from their beginning to 1860 -- approximately 8 million of them -- were all burnt in 1871. It would be unlikely that you would have found a death record, though I would recommend that you look again around the date of the 22nd of March. Most women who died "in childbirth" died either quickly, of pre-eclampsia, or roughly two weeks later, of puerperal fever. However, the fact that you found nothing may be a slight indication that the mother was not prominent and/or did not remain in Paris, for those people did tend to submit copies of births, marriages and deaths to the authorities, while those who did not remain in Paris or had no need, did not. To the second part of your question, please study this blog's posts; there are numerous data-bases about Paris that are superior to what can be found on ancestry.com. (4) The Fr. might mean Françoise. It is only a guess as to the signature being of the woman herself. "Marie Thérèse" is a common enough name in France, but there would have been a reason for the recreation of this birth document. Someone would have needed the birth record of Marie Thérèse - perhaps for her own registration with some authority? Perhaps the marriage of a child at about that time? Perhaps the death of her husband at that time? I would suggest that you check 1880 in the family's history. As to finding more real facts about the lady, I would suggest that you pursue the suggestions in the post and that you also try the various French family trees online to see if anyone mentions her and has more information, and then to try DNA matches with those people. I have seen some remarkable discoveries come up that way, one in which the descendants of the legitimate children of a man had no idea that there was a second, illegitimate family. The descendants of this second family had only stories as to the relationship, for the man in question had left absolutely no written record to connect himself to his mistress and children. DNA testing then confirmed the relationship. Keep researching and keep reading history of the time and place. You never know what may turn up.
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We have received an interesting case from Monsieur S., who is researching a woman who was a foundling in Paris. He had already leapt some high hurdles in acquiring from the Archives de Paris the documents relating to her as... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at The French Genealogy Blog
Thank you so much, Annick, though I envy you the opportunity to have seen that exhibit.
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Last year, we wrote a small post about the maps of French Florida. The French settlements were such a small blip in the wide-screen extravaganza that is French history that they get little attention. The subject may be dear to... Continue reading
Posted Sep 17, 2016 at The French Genealogy Blog
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Of late, we have been working on a small group of Swiss Mennonites who emigrated to the Alsace and Montbéliard regions during a period when they were not French, and of whose descendants historians estimate some seven hundred to one... Continue reading
Posted Sep 14, 2016 at The French Genealogy Blog
Richard, Do you really need to purchase the books? The contents are online on the Vosges Genealogie website: http://www.vosges-genealogie.fr/genealogie/actes/index.php Anne
Toggle Commented Sep 14, 2016 on Contact Us at The French Genealogy Blog
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We are very grateful to those of you who have written with concerns as to our welfare, having noticed the long silence here. After a bit of trouble with our eye, all is well again. As soon as we could... Continue reading
Posted Sep 13, 2016 at The French Genealogy Blog
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In our last post, we wrote of the ship documentation on the website of the Departmental Archives of Seine-Maritime. Generally, it covers the period of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries for ships from Le Havre and Rouen, with many gaps.... Continue reading
Posted Aug 4, 2016 at The French Genealogy Blog
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It used to be that, to research a person who sailed for North America or the French colonies from Le Havre, we had to go to the Departmental Archives of Seine-Maritime in Rouen to look at the microfilmed passenger lists.... Continue reading
Posted Jul 30, 2016 at The French Genealogy Blog
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We have recently returned from a research junket at the Departmental Archives at Doubs. Besançon remains a very pleasant small city and the archives continue to improve their service. The indomitable Yvette, resident genealogist volunteer, continues to offer assistance to... Continue reading
Posted Jul 21, 2016 at The French Genealogy Blog
Henry, No, it is not possible to but a Livret de Famille at all. It is a formal document provided once and only once to a family by the mayor.
Toggle Commented Jul 15, 2016 on The Livret de Famille at The French Genealogy Blog
Thank you so much for this comment, Annick. I suspect there are many others who have made similar mistakes but who have not your courage to tell of them or intellectual integrity to correct them!
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We do feel that it is time for some reminders to those of you researching your French ancestors, for we have been contacted by people hell-bent on thundering down the wrong track. When we have refused to join you on... Continue reading
Posted Jul 10, 2016 at The French Genealogy Blog
Hello, Ahna, You will need to find the name of a town where your ancestors lived in order for your research to proceed.
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We have just received word from Monsieur M., who writes the excellent blog on Alsace, Elsasser Wurtzle, asking for help from our very own Dear Readers. He is researching the village of Pfaffans, once located in Alsace, from which a... Continue reading
Posted Jul 5, 2016 at The French Genealogy Blog
Hello William, Thank you for your comment. Even with the DNA results, your research must begin with documentation, beginning with yourself and working backward through the generations. When you reach a French ancestor, you can then begin your DNA comparisons. Good luck!
Toggle Commented Jul 4, 2016 on Who We Are at The French Genealogy Blog
Annick, Well done finding them! Many are very hard to trace.
Mary, Thank you for your comment. It is true that many young men in the post-Franco-Prussian War annexed territories of Alsace and Lorraine emigrated to escape German military service, but it is more complicated than that. Not all those in the regions despised the Germans. Many families spoke German and felt themselves to be more German than French or, more precisely, to be more Alsatian than either French or German. They spoke German at home, had German-sounding surnames, were Protestant, etc.. It is important to note that, while there were thousands of those from the regions who opted to leave and keep their French nationality ( so-called "Optants"), there were millions who stayed.
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Following on from our last post about a young man who emigrated from France after he was ordered to report for his compulsory military service, we wish to explain why this was not at all uncommon. Conscription into the modern,... Continue reading
Posted Jun 30, 2016 at The French Genealogy Blog
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We were pacing the espace d'attente, or waiting area, of our bank the other day, up and down in front of four uncomfortable plastic chairs. We picked up each of the tattered magazines and each of the shiny brochures encouraging... Continue reading
Posted Jun 25, 2016 at The French Genealogy Blog
Cathy, Thank you so much for listening to the podcast. I am glad if you found it helpful. It was a lot of fun to do.
Thank you , Annick! Let's see what Bryna has to add.