Episode 027-January 20, 2015
French-Canadian researchers have it so good compared to many other ethnic groups thanks to the prolific recordkeeping of the Catholic priests and missionaries. We have access to vital records that some others can only dream of.
We’ve already dissected a baptism and a marriage record. So today the burial record gets its turn. To be better prepared, Language Tip # 27 will cover words and terms found in burial records.
- Vermont Genealogy Library, Colchester, VT- spring schedule of classes
- 13th New England Regional Genealogical Conference (NERGC)-April 15-18, the Rhode Island Convention Center, Providence, RI (Early bird registration ends Feb. 28) –
Maple Stars and Stripes News
Maple Stars and Stripes episodes will be released approximately every three weeks from here on. I am hoping to use the extra time to produce other items of interest to French-Canadian researchers.
Language Tip #27- Terms and Phrases Found in Burial Records
With burial records arguably being the easiest of the three records to decipher, even if you can’t read French well, knowledge of a few key words and phrases will make it so much easier.
All burial records begin with the date, so please refer back to episode 13 and become familiar with numbers and dates first. The other most common words follow:
Dissecting a French-Canadian Burial Record
The basic parts of a burial record are:
- Name of the deceased
- Occupation, if an adult
- Relationship to parents or spouse
- Day of death and age
- Names of witnesses
Each priest wrote the name of each subject of the baptism, marriage or burial record in the margin for quick reference. He usually wrote a B above the name for a baptism, M for marriage, and S for burial (sépulture). Occasionally, instead of the S for burial, he wrote a cross, as seen in the record below.
The phrases in this record are in the chart below. The handwriting is beautiful, so it should be easy to pick out each word or phrase.
After an adult male’s name, you will often see his occupation. After a child you will see “fils de” or “fille de,” son or daughter of, followed by the names of the parents.
Where to Find Burial Records
- Original parishes
- Drouin microfilms (at various repositories-see episode #12)
- Familysearch.org – free
- LaFrance collection at genealogiequebec.com – $$$
Once you think you’ve grasped the terms and layout of a burial record, try your hand at deciphering a complete record. Can you pick out the vital information?
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