MSS-027-Dissecting a French-Canadian Burial Record

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.

French-Canadian News

NERGC-French-Canadian Topics

 

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:

Burial terms

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dissecting a French-Canadian Burial Record

The basic parts of a burial record are:

  • Date
  • Name of the deceased
  • Occupation, if an adult
  • Relationship to parents or spouse
  • Day of death and age
  • Names of witnesses
  • Signatures

Sample Record

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.

Burial record of Marie Louise Picard dite Destroismaisons

Image from www.genealogiequebec.com

 

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.

Terms found in burial record

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Quiz Yourself

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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2 comments on “MSS-027-Dissecting a French-Canadian Burial Record

  1. Suzanne Boivin Sommerville

    Thanks, Sandra. May I add that people were also buried within the church itself instead of in the cemetery. Most often this was a distinct honor, but I have also read that individuals could pay to have this privilege. For some of the names of places inside the church where people were buried at St. Anne du Detroit, see my one page article http://habitantheritage.org/yahoo_site_admin/assets/docs/Places_in_church_April_2011_-Suzanne.342145556.pdf

    1. Maple Stars and Stripes

      Thanks, Suzanne. When we were visiting I believe it was L’Ange Gardien, the caretaker gave us a tour of the crypts. No direct line ancestors, but fascinating nonetheless.

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