Close to Argentan, there is a little village called Le Pin au Haras with a beautiful national stud and a rather kitsch war memorial: the soldier bust is indeed painted in the original colours of the first World War French uniform, the famous bleu horizon that, along with red pants, made soldiers such great targets… Even the medal (presumably the Croix de Guerre) , the fourragère and the helmet jugular are painted in the right (?) colours… This may have been the original version of the bust, only recently restored to its original colors, as google shows there exist other painted war memorials in France.
Archive for first World War
Following the previous post on my grand-mother’s unknown soldier father, I came across an article in Libération that mentioned free access to archives from the French Ministry of Defence re. the death certificates of most soldiers “morts au front” during the “Great War”. The site “Mémoires des Hommes” gives “access to databases created from the digitalization and indexation of biographical records preserved in the services of the Ministry of Defence”. I thus looked for my grandfather’s father but could not find him, as he did not die in combats. I however found my great-grandmother’s brother, Florent Lefrançois, who died on September 1915 in La Marne.
The 11th of November is still celebrated as a bank holiday in France with ceremonies in every town in front of the “monument aux morts” and, even though the last “poilu” of World War I passed away in 2008, there still is a ceremony conducted by the President under the Arc de Triomphe… This year, it reminded me rather obviously of both my maternal grand-parents as they were children of this terrible war. Read more »
While looking on the Web for genealogy links, I discovered tonight that the village from where my grand-father’s family comes has online archives till 1601. So I spent two hours tonight trying to trace back the earliest direct ancestor. The 1630 register was impossible to read but I found the birth certificate of the third oldest ancestor, Simon Eude, born in 1706, as well as the death certificate (top) of the oldest ancestor, Simon (or Symon) Eude, born in 1623 (?), who died in 1715, when 92 years old. This seems like an amazing age for the time, which corresponds to the arrival of the Mayflower pilgrims in America! Although my other oldest ancestor, François Robert, died in 1682 at the age of 80…With time and patience, I think I could go over the 1601-1623 years in those online archives to try to get one more level in the family tree but this is enough for one evening!
A few days before heading to Scotland, I took a trip back in time by visiting my maternal grandfather’s birthplace in Normandy and trying to retrace his family tree. Next to the local church, I spotted my great-grandfather’s name on the World War I memorial (with a spelling mistake), as well as the former house of my great-great-grand-father… Using the records available from the tiny city hall, I then found that my great³-grand-father had moved around 1850-1870 from another small village. This stopped my search right away, but coming home I checked on the Internet and found that all records for this village were available on the Web, thanks to a genealogy buff who had transcribed them. I thus went back six generations on the paternal side, up to Simon EUDE(S), born in 1633, who died in 1715… Very exciting! Given that I did go about the same past on my father’s side with François Robert, who was born about 1605 (under Henry the IVth!) and died in 1685, I thus reconstituted (mostly through digitised records) some of my direct ancestry on both paternal and maternal sides up to ten generations. The most interesting part when digging through these ancestral documents are the little pieces of information provided on the side, like the job (“occupation”), mostly labourer, with the occasional farmer and potter, as well as the lifespans of those people (fairly long, rather surprisingly!) and the very small number of relocations in a small geographic area over the centuries…