Misc French Canadian Genealogy Info

A Measured Timing of Baptism, Burials and Marriage Contracts

I have just completed a 3-month exhaustive recompilation of my over 2,200 French-Canadian ancestors and my wife's over 1,800 F-C ancestors. My wife and I have 222 persons as common ancestors at the 9th, 10th, or 11th cousins. As I entered my data into the Brothers Keepers program, I kept track informally about certain BMD relationships that I'd like to share with you:

Over 55% of the Baptisms in the 17th and 18th centuries were performed the day after the birth. About 35% of the time the baptism was performed the same day as the birth. About 10% of the baptisms occurred more than one day after the birth sometimes several months later.

Marriage Contracts in the 17th and 18th centuries were written typically (over 50% of the cases) a week or two before the marriage ceremony. But the range was from a 1-1/2 years before to a year after the marriage.

Burials in the 17th and 18th century occurred most often (over 65% of the time) the day after the death. About 35% of the time the burial was the day of death. Once there was a burial 2 days after, and once 3 days after death. So, if you have only a burial date, you can make a fairly good guess that the death was the same day or the day prior.

I am offering this information primarily so that you readers might have a rough approximation when a birth, marriage or death occurred if you have only the baptismal, marriage contract or burial date. Jerry Lesperance Aiea, Hawaii

French Military Archives
How to contact the French military archives.

Here's the address I used:

Service Historique de l'Armee de Terre

Chateau de Vincennes

B.P. 107

00481 Armees

Let me review my experience. I initially wrote them with my request and they replied several months later that they couldn't find a record of my LANDIE dit LESPERANCE. A year later while I was in Paris I went to the Chateau to find the Army archives staff was on vacation for the month of August. (No wonder they lose so many wars.) The following year I especially chose other than August to visit Paris and the archives. I was there before they opened to find that "registered" researchers had priority. After several hours of bouncing from one bureaucrat (notice it's a French word) to another I was allowed into the hallowed chambers. After waiting another 1-1/2 hours the records that I might be interested in were found. They were the original enlistment records of the Company of the LaSarre Regiment that I was looking for. An hour later I found my man...about 6 lines of biography and a fairly complete physical description. I actually cried. Then more bureaucracy. I was told that I couldn't get a copy of his enlistment that day. (I made a longhand copy of the entry.) I couldn't even leave a written request for a copy. I had to send a letter which I did in Paris that day and included about $10 worth of Francs to make sure I didn't get another round of letters for extra money. Over a month later, in Hawaii, I received a photograph of the enlistment with a detailed accounting of how my $10 was spent. Some observations: every entry in that register...and I'm talking thousands...had a dit name; and many only had a simple one-line entry. I was lucky.

I suggest you do as I did and search www.google.com for "Franche de la Marine" where you'll find all sorts of goodies. I strongly suspect that the archives for your group are NOT at the Chateau de Vincennes archives. Jerry

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