Were your Breton ancestors from Nobility?

I subscribe to a great blog called The French Genealogy Blog. Today their post is about The Beleaguered Nobility of Brittany. In short, it describes how Louis XIV wanted to establish who in his realm was truly of the nobility and who was not. Apparently, nobility did not pay many forms of taxes, which meant that there was obviously a financial incentive for many to become what were known as “false nobles”. This problem was particularly severe in Bretagne. I was unaware of this until now.

Within the post, other links to very useful websites are provided which may or may not help you with your research into your Breton ancestors, but they are never-the-less all worth a look at.

Tudchentil - which has pages on 18 Breton Knights in a Tournament in 1238 or An Armorial Breton

 

Ploeuc Genealogy - which is about the history, genealogy and heritage to ploeuc and its surroundings, including Notaries of Ploeuc from 1739 – 1907

 

I doubt I have any nobility in my Breton ancestors, the Rabet’s. So far their statuses have been:

Laboureur – which has a variety of meanings including ploughman/ peasant or small tenant farmer rich enough to own their own plough (p228 – Soldier and Peasant in French Popular Culture, 1766-1870)

Cowman – herder of cows

 

Agricultural Labourer - a person who tills the soil for a living.

laboureur image

 

 

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!

Summerland Factory

Summerland Factory staff photo – Grace is sitting in the front row 4th from the left.

At some point during my grandmothers teenage years she was employed at the Summerland Factory in Rouge Boullion, Jersey, Channel Islands. I know that according to her identity card , on the 16th January 1941, Grace was employed as a machinst.  Jersey was being occupied by the Germans at this point.

I haven’t been able to find out much about the factory, unfortunately. I did send the photo to the J.E.P. a few years ago in the hope that they would put it in their Temps Passe section. I never heard back from them, which is a shame and not the first time they have failed to reply. It is a shame on the grounds that I sent it when  two of my grandparents were still alive, and therefore so would have been more of their generation. It is possible quite a few locals might have written in to give some very useful feedback and memories. So, I use my blog, this website to share these resources with you.

On the website jersey.com there is a little section about the conditions of everyday life during the Occupation, here is an extract from their page about shopping and a mention of the Summerland factory:

Shopping hours were reduced to 10 am – 12.30 pm, and 2 pm – 4 pm, as goods became scarce. Textile shops were open only on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. They received limited supplies from France, the Summerland factory in Rouge Bouillon, and from local residents. Textile factories were re-opened to provide employment for local women, as well as supplying much needed raw materials.

So these women in the photo above would have had an awful lot of work on their hands. I do not know what work they did exactly although there is a possibilty they made the ‘Jerseys’ and the ‘Guernseys’ jumpers that were often seen worn on the local fishermen. I would love to hear from someone who is more knowledgeable than me in this area, so please fell free to contact me.

The fantastic thing about this photo is not only the image itself, but on the back my grandmother had written down everyone’s name!

My grandmother’s sister Barbara Rabet is also on the photo in the 2nd row, second from the left. I even think that Betty Boucherie that is in the photo is the sister of my other grandmother Edith Bouchere.

Here is a list of the names I could decipher:

Nina Steptowe

Muriel Windsor

Mary Frane

Freda Hutchings

Miss Mallet

Edna Druby

Miss Le Marquand

Mavis ?

Doris Holley

Bessy  ? Moyse

Betty Boucherie

Doreen White

Dorothy Wiverl ?

Jose L’affoley

Mrs Sleep

Emmie Hall

Evelyn de Gruchy

Barbara Rabet

Margaret Hunt

Jone Moyse

? Smith

Rhoda Smith

? Lane ?

Grace Rabet

Winnie Norman

Irene Bisson

Mrs Perchard

Joan Labou

Joan De La Cour

UPDATE: Since writing this post, I have since discovered that Sumerland Factory was opened next to Sacre Coeur Orphanage. According to islandwiki.org the factory would provide ‘lessons in housekeeping, sewing and knitting for the older girls in the orphange.’

I know that my grandmother lost her mother when she was only 9 years old and that at some point she and most of her siblings went into orphanages. I have not been able to find out which ones exactly or the dates but it makes sense that she is working for Sumerland Factory which is right next to Sacre Coeur Orphange.

Check out this photo, maybe your grandmother or another relation is in the photo somewhere?

Did they come from the Orphange too?

If so let me know, I would love to hear from you.

Henry Rabet marries Florence Gallienne

Henry and Florence in 1933, nine years after their marriage.

On this day 23rd June 1924 my great grandparents Henry Yves Rabet and Florence Anna Gallienne were married in the Parish of St. Saviour, Jersey, Channel Islands.

  • Henry was 22 years old, a bachelor, living in St. Saviours (I don’t know where exactly). He was working as a Labourer, maybe with his father Yves Rabet, also a Labourer, who is on the marriage certificate.
  • Florence was 18 years old, a spinster, living in St. Andrew/St. Helier. Her father Albert Gallienne is on the certificate working as a mason.

Screenshot of marriage certificate.

Henry and Florence married in the presence of Peter Le Vannais and Hilda Maud le Vannais. Hilda is one of Henry’s sisters. How Henry and Florence met is unknown, and in the next six years they start a family and have four children together. My grandmother told my mother that she was brought up in a place called Paul Mill Cottage as seen in the photo below, in Mont de la Rosiere Lane.

Mont de la Rosiere – where Florence and Henry lived in the late 1920, early 1930′s.

 

Certificates are always an exciting purchase and in my eyes are always worth it for the extra details they record.

Eg:

  • professions of both fathers of the bride and groom
  • residence of bride and groom at time of marriage
  • witnesses at the marriage

Liberation Day

On the 9th May 1945 members of my family living in Jersey, Channel Islands, experienced something I have been fortunate enough never to have lived through. They were finally liberated from a five year occupation by the German Forces during World War 2. The mixture of feelings must have been incredible: happiness at being free, sadness for those who didn’t make it, anger that they had to endure such conditions in the first place. These are just to name a few…

During 6th form I was lucky enough to be part of a project at Hautlieu school where we made recordings of our Grandparents experiences through that time.  Unfortunately, I have not been able to get hold of a copy. Now that my grandfather has passed away I feel that it would be a great thing to have in my possesion and to be able to share his memories. (I will let you know if I manage to obtain the recording).

Something I was lucky enough to get hold of was a poster from a show held in Jersey in 1995. In the photo is a family member.

Henry Rabet amongst the celebratory crowd on Liberation Day in Jersey

On the left side of the poster is a young boy hanging off a moving vehicle. He is Henry Rabet my grandmother’s younger brother. I would love to know who’s caring hand  is holding onto Henry just to make sure he doesn’t fall off the vehicle and get trampled in the crowds. Henry is 17 years old and has been living under German occupation from the age of 12. It is likely that he would have had to learn some German in school, the cinema had German movies and money in the new form of the Reichmark had been introduced.

Relief must have been a huge emotion on this day, especially for those older generations like my Great grandfather George Davey. George had already been through World War 1 as a teenager and was lucky enough to get through World War 2.

If the Germans had been the victors of World War 2, I would be writing my blogs in German, the stories my grandparents would have passed down to me would have been quite different and the photo above would not have been taken. I would never want to experience war, but I admit I would love to have been their on Liberation day!

Muratti Final 1933

My great grandparents watching Jersey and Guernsey play football.

Seventy eight years ago today, on the  20th April 1933  my great grandmother Florence Anna  Gallienne (sitting at the top) and her husband Henri Yves Rabet (to her right) watched the Jersey football team play against Guernsey for the annual Muratti Final.  Florence is 28 years old and Henri is 30 years old when this photo is taken. By this time they have been married  for 9 years and have had five children. Florence is to have sadly died only 3 years after this photo was taken.

What is great about this photo is that it gives you an insight into your ancestors leisure times and social activities. The fact that they both went to watch football together shows a shared social interest (although I am presuming that Florence enjoyed watching football, I may be wrong!) It also makes sense that later on in time their son Henry (who was 3 at the time of the photo) was mad about football and played well in the school team.

New St. Junior 1940 - 1941

Henry Rabet Jr. is sitting in the front row, first on the right. Notice the date on this photo, I wonder if it was taken just before Jersey was occupied by the Germans during World War 2? It is likely that this may have been New Street Primary’s football team (the school no longer exists). Henry was living at 45 New Street, Jersey with his father the time this photo was taken.

Anyway, I know very little about the Muratti football games and therefore had to do a little research online. The Muratti is the annual men’s football competition which began in 1905 and is between Jersey, Guernsey and Alderney. The only years where the Muratti did not go ahead was during World War One 1915 – 1919 and World War Two 1940 – 1946.  The teams wear their island colours of green and white (Guernsey) and red and white (Jersey) and blue and white (Alderney).  I came across the website: Guernsey  FA and amazingly enough they have a History section which includes the Junior Muratti Guernsey Team and results:

Date & Place: 1933 April 20 – Jersey

Score: Jersey 4 Guernsey 2.

Team players: R Le Tissier, E Sauvage, W Breton, N Brouard, C Guilbert, G Taylor, H Duquemin, W Stevens, R Martel, S Robert, E Le Flocq.

These are the Guernsey players and I don’t recognise any family names. I couldn’t find the list of players for the Jersey team, but I will try and find them. The website was a great find as it confirmed the date of the Muratti, plus Florence’s grandfather was born in Guernsey so maybe she had family playing in one of the teams???

If you recognise anyone else in either of the photos, I would love to hear from you!

Mystery person in photo is identified – photo 4

Yesterday a reader identified the person in the photo below from my selection of photos on my  Mystery people & places page. It is so great when this happens!

We now know that this young lady in the photo above is Barbara Rabet, my grandmother’s older sister. Her age and the outfit she is wearing is still unknown. I know that my grandmother joined the Wrens for a very brief time, but from my research on the web, Barbara’s outfit does not match the wrens uniform, in particular the hat. Unless Jersey Wrens wore a slightly different hat?

Anyway my thanks goes to the reader for identifying one of my mystery photos, and I look forward to sharing this information with my family!