My Channel Island Ancestry

My family history in the Channel Islands and beyond!


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Blanche Jehan was born – 1890

On the 9th August 1890, my great grandmother, Blanche Jehan was born. Like many other french families at the turn of the century 1900, Blanche arrived in Jersey with her family for work and to live. It might have been a temporary move until the family had earned some money or a permanent move as there was no work in their home towns.

The following timeline shows the events of Blanche’s life that I am aware of:

  • 1890 – Blanche Marie Josephine Jehan is born in Plancoet, Cotes-d’Amor, Bretagne, France. The names of her parents are unknown.
  • 1911 Census – Blanche is 21 years old and is living with her husband Pierre, a farm labourer, at Samares, St. Clements, Jersey.
  • 1912 – Blanche, aged 22, gives birth to a son, Peter Gosselin.
  • 1914 – Blanche, 23, gives birth to another son, my grandfather, Rene Jean Gosselin on the 25th April.
  • 1916 – Blanche, 26, gives birth to her third son, Henri Pierre Gosselin.
  • 1921 – Blanche, 30, gives birth to a daughter, Blanche Olive Gosselin.
  • 1922 – Blanche, 31, gives birth to a second daughter, Antoinette Gosselin.
  • 1924 – Blanche, 34,  gives birth to another daughter, Genevieve Augustine Henriette Gosselin.

Map of coast of France, Channel Sea and Jersey – highlighting the close distance and route travelled by my ancestors.

The stars in the above image of the map show Plaine Haute (first star on left), where Blanche’s husband was born. Plancoet, where Blanche was born, St. Malo the possible harbour they left from to sail to Jersey and the island of Jersey. It is unknown how Pierre and Blanche met. Maybe it was on their travels by road through France. Maybe it was at the harbour or on the boat. Or maybe it was in Jersey? Whatever the circumstances, without that meeting my grandfather Rene would not have been born, nor my father, nor me.

That is all I have about Blanche’s life. Maybe you can provide more information. The following list shows some things I need to find out about Blanche:

  • When did Blanche marry Pierre Gosselin?
  • When did Blanche die and where is she buried?
  • What were the names of her parents?

As I get ready to send this post I find an old note with two names that seem to be Blanche’s parents names:

her father – Eugene Marie Joseph Jehan- born April 1857 – Plancoët, Côtes-d’Armor, Bretagne, France

her mother – Blanche Félicie Marie LeClerc – born February 1854 – Plancoët, Côtes-d’Armor, Bretagne, France.

Although, I have not been able to confirm these details that I discovered on ancestry, they look pretty close to being the correct parents. It is always exciting to make new discoveries!

Thanks for stopping by :-)


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Tracing Your French Surname

I have the following French/Jersey surnames in my ancestry:

JEHAN

GALLIENNE

GOSSELIN

LE BRETON

LE BROCQ

LE MARQUAND

LOZUET

RABET

Therefore, I have to do a lot of research amongst French records and websites. I have subscribed to a great website called The French Genealogy Blog.

I can’t recommend it highly enough for it’s value and substantive knowledge about researching your French ancestry. One of the posts focuses on French surnames and all the books and resources out there that may help you with your research.

A website they suggest that might be of great use to you is:  www.geopatronyme.com

Good luck with your research!


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Pierre Marie Jean Baptiste Gosselin – born 1885

Pierre standing in the grounds of Eden House.

On this day 26th June 1885 (126 years ago), my great grandfather Pierre Marie Jean Baptiste Gosselin was born in Plaine Haute, Cotes du Nord, France. He was the son of Jean Louis Gosselin and Marie Louise Boutier. Jean’s profession is recorded as ‘profession de marichal’ (I am still unsure what this means). I found the records online at Archive Departments of the Cotes D’Amor. I have discussed this website before in the post French Digitized Records & Online Databases explaining  how I discovered the record of my great grandfather, which took a lot of work but was very worth it and so exciting.

Here is Pierre’s Timeline from what I have found out so far:

26th June 1885 – Pierre is born to parents Jean Louis Gosselin & Marie Louise Boutier. the ‘premier temoin’ (which I think means first witness) was Pierre Oger. The second temoin or witness was Michel Boutier.

1900 – At some time around the turn of the century Pierre must have been one of the many French Breton farm workers who emigrated to Jersey.

1911 – In the census Pierre (age 25) is living at Hope Cottage, Samares, St. Clements, Jersey. He is working as a ‘day labourer’. His wife Blanche(age 20) is living with him at this time and is working as a ‘charing’ lady eg: char lady.

1912 – Birth of son Peter Gosselin.

25 April 1914 – Birth of Rene Jean Gosselin (my grandfather).

1914  – Beginning of World War 1.

1916 – Birth of son Henri Pierre Gosselin.

1918 – End of World War 1

1921 – Birth of daughter Blanche Olive Mary Gosselin.

1922 – Birth of daughter Antoinette Marie Gosselin.

1924 – Birth of daughter Genevieve Augustine Henriette Gosselin.

1939 – Beginning of World War 2, Jersey is occupied by the Germans.

1941 – Pierre is living at Eden House, St. Clements, Jersey.

1945 – End of World War 2.

1956 – Pierre dies at the age of 71 and is buried in St. Clements Parish Curchyard with his wife Blanche. This is a grand age considering he lived through two World Wars.

 

Tip: It is always useful to take note of witnesses at births, marriages and deaths as they may be related somehow. As you can see in this case one of the winesses for Pierre was a Michel Boutier, a relation to his mother, but I don’t know how yet?


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French Digitized Records & Online Databases

Just as you are about to give up, you come across a familiar name and then BINGO! You have found your ancestor! That is what happened to me last night at about ten o’clock. I had recently found a great website which had digitilized records for the Cotes D’Amor area of France (ar mor meaning the sea in Breton)  which was previously known as Côtes-du-Nord until 1990 when the name was changed. To get what you want from it’s records you really need to know the area and date you are searching for first, as there is no option for name search. This can be very time consuming but as I found out late last night it was all worth while!

The website – http://sallevirtuelle.cotesdarmor.fr

  • Name - I was looking for evidence of the birth my great grandfather:  Pierre Jean Baptiste Gosselin
  • Place - I knew he was born in the area Plaine Haute, Cotes du Nord.
  • Date - He was born on the 16 June 1885.

 

Pierre's parents are: Jean Louis Gosselin & Marie Louise Boutier

 

 

The website is in French and although I know some French my knowledge is limited. Luckily Google transalated each page for me.

  1. So I selected the ‘Entree’ button to enter the website which presented you with the alphabet.
  2. I then selected the letter ‘P’ for Plaine Haute – dates from 1575 to 1905.
  3. Next step is to select the option: Registres D’etat civil de 1793 a 1905.
  4. I have to admit from here it was just a lucky guess as you are presented with a whole list of dates. I think I selected Lot 11 as it was the nearest to 1885.
  5. 8 images come up on screen, look for the ones which look like they have a list on them and select that page. Check all lists until you find the name you want. Then try and figure out whether to go back wards or forwards to find your page.

There may have been an easier way to search, but I couldn’t find it.

Anyway, it was all free and all very exciting because I have now found the parents of Pierre Gosselin which means I can now go one generation further back! Also I realise that the date I had was slightly incorrect and may be down to a transcription error from the Jersey Archives. The new birth date was the 26th June, not the 16th. An easy mistake to make because the writing from that time period can be quite difficult to read.

The other extra piece of information on the record is the age of Pierre’s parents, their occupations and names of the witnesses.

 

Names of witnesses: Pierre Oger & Michel Boutier.

 

Now all I need to do is brush up on my french!

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