Episode 022-October 21, 2014
As we did with baptism records in episode #13, today we look at the components of a marriage record. In Language Tip #22, we cover some of the common French words or phrases found in most marriage records. In the main segment, we inspect the record segment by segment, covering some of the variations you might find.
French-Canadian Heritage Society of Michigan
- November 8-11 AM, Mount Clemens Public Library:‘Researching in Ancestry.com, PRDH, Québec Records or the LaFrance database from the Drouin Institute’ by members Gail Moreau-DesHarnais, Suzanne Boivin Sommerville, and Diane Wolford Sheppard. They will give examples of results for a Fille du Roi or a member of the Carignan – Salières Regiment from all of these services.
Vermont Genealogy Library in Colchester, Vermont
- October 25, 10:30 AM; $5.00 fee: ‘Google Your Family Tree’ with Ed McGuire
- November 1: ‘Genealogical Research Methods’ with Joanne Polanchek
- November 8: ‘How to Find that Missing Ancestor’ with Tom Devarney
- Special interest groups on Scottish, New York, Irish, genetic, English, and German genealogy also meet on either Tuesday evenings or Saturday afternoons. See schedule.
American French Genealogical Society of Woonsocket, RI
- October 18-9:00 AM: ‘Importance of Using Genealogy Software and the Different Types’ with Bill Pommenville
Listener Joe wrote: “My French ancestors came to Philadelphia via St. Domingue between 1793 and 1795. Is there a French American organization such as yours devoted to the French immigrants who came here via the southern route?” St. Domingue is referred to as the French Santo Domingo located on the western side of the island of Hispaniola and eventually became Haiti.
Joe is specifically trying to find out if it was common practice for the father of an illegitimate child to be named as godfather on old French baptism records.
There is a St. Domingue special interest group associated with the New Orleans library, and Joe had been in touch with them a few years ago. But if any of our listeners have knowledge of this practice or know of any other resources that might help Joe, please let us know in the show notes for this episode.
Language Tip #22-Terms and Phrases Found in Marriage Records
Marriage records, as was the case with baptism and burial records, followed a particular formula with occasional changes due to time period or location. However, there are more opportunities for variation in these records as compared to baptism or burial records due to the inherent complexity.
After the date (see episodes 13 & 14), marriage records will give the groom’s information followed by that of the bride. That information will usually include name, residence, whether he or she has reached the age of majority, occupation for men, parents’ names, parents’ residence, and a notation indicating that one or both parents are deceased, if applicable. If it is not the first marriage for either the bride or groom, it will say that he or she is widowed followed by the name of the deceased spouse. Look for the words in the chart below in this portion of each marriage record.
After the priest recorded that he had married the couple, he then listed the witnesses. Names were sometimes followed by relationship to the bride or groom and occasionally occupation for the men. To translate occupations, see the Collins French Dictionary online at collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english-french or the Occupations & Trades in New France page on Lucie LeBlanc Consentino’s wonderful Acadian site at acadian-home.org/occupations.html. See the chart below for common relationships.
Dissecting a French-Canadian Marriage Record
To walk through a typical marriage record, I will use the record produced when Joseph Parent married Amanda Forgues. (Images from genealogiequebec.com)
Let’s start with the date.
- “Le trois Novembre………….mil huit cent…………………….quatre vingt dix-sept”
- “The third of November….one thousand eight hundred…ninety-seven”
Now for the boilerplate:
- “…après la publication….de trois bans de mariage….”
- “…after the publication..of three bans of mariage….”
- “…faite au prône………………….de notre messe paroissiale,”
- “…made during the sermon…of our parish mass,”
We now find out the details pertaining to the groom:
- “…entre Joseph Parent…”
- “…between Joseph Parent…”
- “…fils mineur de Prospère Parent, cultivateur,”
- “…minor son of Prospère Parent, cultivator,”
- “…et de défunte Olivine Lévèque,”
- “…and of the deceased Olivine Lévèque,”
- “…de cette paroisse d’une part…”
- “of this parish, of one part…”
And now the bride’s info:
- “…et Amanda Forgues,”
- “…and Amanda Forgues,”
- “…fille mineure de feu Napoléon Forgues,”
- “…minor daughter of the deceased Napoléon Forgues,”
- “…et de Pulchérie Lévèque,”
- “…and of Pulchérie Lévèque,”
- “…aussi de cette paroisse d’autre part;”
- “…also of this parish of the other part;”
- “…ne s’étant découvert…”
- “…not having found…”
- “…aucun empêchement au dit mariage…”
- “…any impediment to the said marriage…”
- “…et du consentement des parents…”
- “…and with the consent of the parents…”
- “…des parties mineures,”
- “…of the minor parties,”
- “Nous prêtre, curé soussigné,”
- “We [the collective ‘we’ used by many priests] the undersigned parish priest,”
- “…avons reçu leur mutuel consentement de mariage,”
- “…having received their mutual consent of marriage,”
- “…et leur avons donné la bénédiction nuptiale…”
- “…and having given them the nuptial blessing…”
Witnesses and signatures:
- “…en présence de Prospère Parent, père de l’époux soussigné,”
- “…in the presence of Prospère Parent, father of the groom who signed,”
- “…et de Camille Rivet, beau-père de l’épouse,”
- “…and of Camille Rivet, step-father of the bride,”
- “…qui ainsi que l’époux ont déclaré ne savoir signer.”
- “…who as with the groom declared not knowing how to sign.”
- “L’épouse sousignée. Lecture faite.”
- “The bride signed. Reading made.” [The record was read aloud to all present.]
Signature of spouses or witnesses:
- Amanda Forgues
- Prospère Parent
- Signature of priest:
- Laferrière, ptre Curé (parish priest)
Now, that’s a basic record.
Sometimes you will find one that has other information interspersed. Can you read these?
- “Après la publication des trois bans de mariage faite le premier, quinzième et vingt deuxième du mois d’aoust,”
- “After the publication of three bans of marriage made the first, fifteenth, and twenty-second day of the month of August.”
Follow along. These are the sections of records mentioned in the podcast:
- “après la publication de trois bans de mariage faites aux prônes de nos messes paroissiales”
- “after the publication of three bans of marriage made during the sermon of our parish mass”
- “…après la publication de trois bans de mariage faite par trois dimanches consecutifs…”
- “…after the publication of three bans of marriage made during three consecutive Sundays…”
From the marriage record of François Parent and Arméline Piquette, indicating the dispensation granted by the Archbishop of Montreal:
From the marriage record of Moise Girard and Virginie Bastien:
- “Après la publication de deux bans de mariage faite sans opposition quelconque”
- “After the publication of two bans of marriage made without any opposition whatsoever”
- “…la dispense d’un ban ayant été accordée par Monseigneur des Trois-Rivières…”
- “…the dispensation of one ban having been granted by the Monseigneur of Trois-Rivières…”
Very specific dates for the reading of the bans, from the marriage record of René Pelletier and Marie Magdelaine Leclerc:
- “…après la publication des trois bans de mariage faites le jour de la feste des Sts Simon et Jude, le jour de la feste de tous les Sts et le Dimanche suivant…”
- “…after the publication of three bans of marriage made the day of the Feast of Saints Simon and Jude, the day of the Feast of All the Saints, and the following Sunday…”
Then there was the marriage record of Jean Collet and Jeanne Dechard where Jean’s military affiliation is given in detail:
- “…le mariage de Jean Collet soldat de la Compagnie de Monsr Petit Capitan dans le Regimt de Carignan Sallière…”
- “…the marriage of Jean Collet soldier in the company of Monsieur Petit, Captain in the Carignan-Sallière Regiment…”
Now try your hand at deciphering a French-Canadian marriage record. Be sure to check your answers, and if you’d like, post your results in the comments.
Where to Find Images of French-Canadian Marriage Records Online
FamilySearch-Quebec Catholic Parish Registers, 1621-1979 (free)
For record description and how to use the records:
For missing/out-of-place records: https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Quebec,Catholic_Parish_Registers(FamilySearch_Historical_Records)/Known_Issues
LaFrance Collection ($$)-
Marriage records from the beginning to 1913 at https://www.genealogiequebec.com/en/
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