Research Updates

Just a little update on a couple of ongoing pieces of research.

The first from Missouri, as first mentioned here. After my 3 or 4 week wait I received a response from the good people at the Missouri State Archives. Unfortunately it wasn’t great news:

We have searched Lawrence County Probate Record Reels C3794, C3781, C3791, C3788, C3790 for records on an adoption of an Adams and Jacob and George.  Nothing was found for an Adams during this time frame.

However, they did find a couple of references to other Adams’ and suggested I contact the Lawrence County Probate Court directly. Which I have done (after a bit of jiggery-pokery – what is it with American offices and incorrectly listed email addresses??), and received a response from the Circuit Clerk who is going to look into the references provided. More on that if / when I get a response.

Lawrence County Courthouse (from Missouri Marble, by Norman S. Hinchey)

Lawrence County Courthouse (from Missouri Marble, by Norman S. Hinchey)

Secondly, the Frenchies. You know, the postcard people.

My study of the online records continues – and I’ll admit to being somewhat obsessed by it. I think, possibly, its because its something new to me. I am no stranger to the fluidity of surname spelling, but it does fascinate me seeing how the French spellings change. For example, one branch of the family is Clergeau, but going back only a few generations it becomes Clairjault. Virtually the same pronunciation, yet quite different (and before you ask – yes, the same family!). It happens with others. Baranger becomes Barangé, Doublié becomes Doublet, Massé becomes Massais. Families also seem to move around between parishes more frequently than I am used to seeing in my own English researches. The vast majority are – what we’d call in the UK – Agricultural Labourers. Perhaps the reason for this difference is the way the French system is structured – communes, cantons, prefectures.

I was talking to my ‘cousin’ the other night online (he lives in Connecticut) and he asked if I was going to try and find any descendants of these people still living and make contact. It got me to thinking. Initially I said that I wouldn’t because there’s a bit of a gap between the years available online and the present day. Admittedly, Amelie only died in 1972 – but Louise would’ve been 102 this gone January.  The fact that all of these photographs and postcards were being sold at a marché aux puces suggests that there is no longer anybody around who cares for these people.

Whilst it would be nice to connect with this family, somehow I don’t think its going to happen. In the mean time, this is how the ancestral tree for Louise is looking.

Vertical Pedigree Chart for Louise Baranger

Not too shabby. Still a lot of deaths to fill in (like some kind of assassins day-planner), but I’m getting there!

The tree is also on Ancestry. I wanted to publish and publicize it a bit on the off-chance that somebody at some point decides to search for their family and gets in touch!

 L'antique Pont-Neuf,  Argenton-Château

L’antique Pont-Neuf, Argenton-Château

Vintage Postcards – 9: Happy New Year!

Now, the original plan was to post one of the cards every other day (on the odd days) up until New Year’s Eve itself with the final hurrah.

29 December 1921 - To sister, brother and niece from Gabrielle Doublie

29 December 1921 – To sister, brother and niece from Gabrielle Doublie

However, I forgot to queue up some posts and got a bit busy and … then there was Christmas and one thing and another … And here we are on New Year’s Eve Eve with the final instalment – running from 1919 to 1922.

In the spirit of Lousie’s family:

J’offrir mes meilleurs voeux de bonne et heureuse année pour l’an 2014!


Some jolly festive children …


A fine pair of French lovelies …


That is one sassy fur coat at Christmas …

Vintage Postcards – 8

Fast forward several months (okay, a year) and we reach December 1918, and this card sent to Louis by his wife, Amelie. As mentioned previously, Louis was a soldier and by this time World War One had only been over for little more than a month.

I suppose this is the most overtly romantic of the cards – or at least one that lets us peek into the relationship between these two.

Je souhaite de tout coeur que soit la dernière année que tu passe loing de nous … Nous sommes tous en parfaite sante et je desire que tu soit ainsi. 

(I sincerely hope that is the last year you pass away from us … We are all in perfect health and I desire that you be so also.)

29 Dec 1918

Vintage Postcards – 7

Fast-forward a year and we reach le 28 décembre 1918, and another winter scene.

This was sent from Joséphine Doublié to her godfather and contains the usual best wishes for the oncoming year.


28 Dec 1918

Vintage Postcards – 6

Because a child with a goat just isn’t enough … here’s the old classic Girl With Dwarf Elephant.

Sent by Louise herself to her mother and dated 1 January 1918, it still has the hand-ruled pencil lines on it to mark the bottom of the lines and also the top of the lower case letters!

The card also sends happy new year wishes to Angele Denis and “petite Andree et chez elle“, as well as “la famille Biardeau“.

She signs off with ‘a thousand kisses’:

“Reçois chère maman les mille baisers de ta fille.”


1 Jan 1918


Vintage Postcards – 4

The next card was sent by Adrienne Doublié on 31 December 1913 and is addressed “Cher cousin et cousines“.

The subject of the card is quite romantic, with a dashing (albeit slightly … fey) young man and his charming young woman presented with a bouquet of flowers, underneath a heart-shaped woodland scene.

The message written on the back (presumably by the same pen and ink that was spilt on the front!) is exactly as you’d expect:

Je vous envoie cette carte pour souhaiter la bonne année à toute la famille.

(I’m sending you this card to wish a happy new year to all the family.)

… but the last sentence made me smile. All the other cards simply extend good wishes to the recipient … but Adrienne has this to add:

J’espere que vous m’en souhaiter autant.

(I hope you all wish me as much.)


31 Dec 1913

31 Dec 1913



Vintage Postcards – 3

What says “Happy New Year” better than a bunch of floppy roses and a toy caprid? Nothing, as far as I know – and neither did the maker or purchaser of this particular celebratory postcard.

Sent on le 30 decembre 1911, the card is addressed “Cher Frère  et Soeur“, and is from their sibling Marie Baranger.  She starts the card breathlessly …

Je m’empresse de vous écrire deux mots a l’occasion de nouvelle annee …

(I hasten to write two words to you on the occasion of new year … )

… but goes on to wish them both good health and happiness for the New Year. There is also mention of “petite Marcelle” who also passes on her best wishes to her godparents,  “son parrain et sa marraine“.

Perhaps it was little Marcelle who picked the card …

30 Dec 1911



Vintage Postcards – 2

The oldest postcard from the collection is dated le 31 décembre 1910,  and is addressed directly to “ma cher [sic] Amelie“.

The sender, identified as Angele, sends her best wishes but also those of her parents.


Votre amie, Angele

Votre amie, Angele



Vintage Postcards – 1

The first postcard I’m posting is undated, but the sender (Paul Aubry) wishes the (unnamed) recipient a happy New Year along with her “petite fille”.



There are a few of these ‘framed winter scene’ cards in the collection, but this is all very jolly and holly and other words ending in -olly.

Vintage – Rescued Lives

A long, long time ago … or at least that’s what it feels like … I picked up two boxes of old postcards when I was in France at a car boot sale (well, the equivalent). I am not a deltiologist by any means, but upon opening one of the boxes I found an old identity card and a lot of old family photos. Perhaps I was feeling particularly sentimental that day but I hated the thought of these going to someone who didn’t care about these people, or who wouldn’t respect that these represented somebody’s life.

Louise Gendron

Louise Gendron

It then became apparent that a lot of the postcards were written by a French soldier called Louis to someone called Amelie, who would later become his wife. Then there were later ones sent from Louis to his child Louise (chère Louisette). There are cards from uncles, aunts, cousins and godparents – and a number of people whose relationship was so well known that it was never written down – even a card to Amelie from “little Amelie”.

Eventually I was able to piece together that the soldier was Louis Beranger, and the young lady who became his wife was Amelie Doublié.

Is this Amelie?

Is this Amelie?

The collection of cards starts in 1901 and the last date I can find is 1975, and is not limited to those addressed to Louise or her parents.

Gateway gathering

A gathering in the gateway.

I’m not an expert in dating photographs – least of all French photographs, but looking at Louise’s date of birth (1912), I would imagine that the oldest photographs depict her grandparents, or perhaps even great-grandparents. Unfortunately none of them are named, and the only few with dates on are clearly of Louise as a mature woman, and dated to the 1950s.

Happy bunch ...

Happy bunch …


You may be wondering why, other than curiosity, I’m sharing all of this with you. And you’d be right to ask.

I honestly have no idea what's going on here ...

I honestly have no idea what’s going on here, but she’s sassy …

Amongst the postcards are various ones for Easter, May Day and “Thinking Of You” as well as the standard ones of towns and villages, ‘local’ attractions and the like. But there are also various “Happy New Year” ones. It might be worthy of note that in France the sending of Christmas cards was something unheard of until the last few years and the ever-encroaching Americanisation of the country. The standard was sending Bonne Année cards to friends and loved ones. The sending of what we’d call greetings cards is also a rather ‘new’ convention – traditionally it was all postcards. Even now the nicer cards are all in postcard format – with a folded greetings card often appearing, uh, cheap or tawdry, or aimed at small children.

So, yes, in the upcoming weeks between now, Christmas and New Year, I’ll be sharing some of these cards. The earliest dates from 31 December 1910, and the latest is from December 1921.

August 1923

Walkers at rest, dated August 1923