Tag: French

Translating French words for genealogy research can be tricky.

In researching genealogy, translating French words as well as words from other languages can be troublesome and mistakes can easily be made. Getting one term wrong can mean taking your research off in the wrong direction based on the interpretation of that word.

Translating french words to English in obituary for Paul Henri Boily

Translating French words to English for obituaries can be problematic.

While researching my French Canadian, Acadian and French Canadian ancestors, I frequently came across terms that needed translation. From past experience, I knew it was important to not make a snap judgment of the meaning of a term based on its similarity to another French word, an English word, or words in any other language.

The most obvious example that comes to mind is ‘journalier.’ Upon first impression, I thought this might mean ‘journalist’ but after checking into it further, I discovered it meant a ‘day laborer.’

Here is my list of the French terms for occupations that are encountered most frequently in vital documents and records.

à la retraiteretired
agriculteurfarmer, husbandman
aide de sous commishelper to asst clerk
apprêteur(euse)tanner, dresser of skins
arpenteur, arpentierland surveyor
arquebusiermatchlock gunsmith
aumonierarmy chaplain
avocat, avocatelawyer, barrister
bedeauchurch sexton
bédeau beadle
blanchisseur(eusse)laundryman, woman
bourgeois(e)privileged person
cabaretier(ère)saloon keeper
calfat caulker
camionneurtruck driver
cannoniergunner (canon)
capitaine de milicecaptain of the militia
capitaine de navireship captain
capitaine de portport captain
capitaine de vaisseauship captain
capitaine des troupestroup captain
chapelier(èr)hatter, hatmaker
charbonnier(ère)coal merchant
charpentier carpenter, framer
charpentier de naviresshipwright
charron cartwright, wheelwright
chaudronniercoppersmith, tinsmith
chaufournierfurnace tender
chevalierhorseman, calvary
cloutiernail-maker, dealer
cochercoachman, driver
commissaire d’artilleriearms stewart
commissaire de la marineship’s purser
comptableaccountant, bookkeeper
conciergejanitor, caretaker
conseilleurcounsellor, advisor
contremaîtreoverseer, foreman
cordonnier cobbler, shoemaker
corroyeurcurier, leatherdresser
courriercourier, messenger
courvreur en ardoiseslate roofer
couteliercutlery maker
couturier(ère)tailor, dressmaker
couvreur en bardeau roofer who roofs with shingles
cuisinier en chefchef
défricheurclearer (of forest)
docteur doctor
domestiqueindentured servant, farmhand
douanier(ère)custom officer
drapierclothmaker, clothier
ébenistecabinet maker
éleveur(euse)animal breeder
engagé ouesthired to trap furs out west
enseigne de vaisseauship’s sub-lieutenant
ferblantier tinsmith
fermier agricultural worker
fonctionnairecivil servant
forgeron smith, blacksmith
huissier sheriff
journalier(ère)day laborer
maçon mason, bricklayer
marchand merchant
mendiant beggar
menuisier carpenter
meunier miller
maître d’écoleschool master, headmaster, principal
maîtresse d’écoleschool mistress, headmistress, principal
navigateur sailor
notaire lawyer, solicitor
ouvrier worker
pecheur fisherman
peintre painter
pilote ship’s pilot, harbor pilot
potier potter
prêtre priest
rentier retiree
scieur sawyer
seigneur land owner, landlord
sellier saddler
tailleur tailor
tanneur tanner
tonnellier cooper (barrel-maker)
vicaire vicar

Genealogy News Bites – April 28, 2014

Genealogy news: checking newspapers.In an effort to help ease the load of searching for genealogy news and genealogy events, I prepare a ‘Genealogy News Bites’ post to gather together what I feel are the most important or informative genealogy news headlines from the previous week (or thereabouts).

Following are the most recent and relevant genealogy news headlines from a broad range of sites and blogs.


Olive Tree Genealogy

Long Lost Love Letters Found & Returned to Descendants

This is one of those feel-good stories we all love. And wouldn’t we all love to find such a treasure? Joshua McKinney, of Casnovia, Michigan, was removing old insulation in his home’s attic when he found a stack of old love letters from World War II. The letters and certificates (birth and marriage) he found all concerned the Kissel family. It didn’t take long for Joshua and his sister to

Genealogy Canada

Counties council asked to back naming County Road 34 ‘British Home Children Commemorative Highway’

Jim Brownell who is the director of the Ontario East British Home Child Family (OEBHCF), wants to rename the roadway that goes through the towns of Lancaster, Green Valley, and Alexandria on County Road 34 as the ‘British Home Children Commemorative Highway.’

Rewriting the pages of history Shelburne student corrects foggy account of war crime

Learn how a student changed history by researching a soldier in their Second World War and discovering the story of how he been executed with six other soldiers near the small town of Mouen, France

RootsTech 2015 Call for Papers

RootsTech 2015 will be held in Salt Lake City from February 11–14, 2015, and the RootsTech Content Committee is calling for dynamic presentations that inform and educate both those seeking to begin and those continuing to discovering their family story through technology

Google Blog

Hungary’s far-right and the ‘Jewish ancestry’ slippage

Today, on Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah in Hebrew), we commemorate the 6 million Jews slaughtered during the Holocaust, as well as the millions of Roma, homosexuals, people with disabilities, political

FamilySearch Blog

Free Guide to Hampshire England Ancestors

FamilySearch is pleased to announce a new online guide to tracing ancestors in the ceremonial County of Hampshire England. Also known as Southampton, and including the Isle of Wight, Hampshire has a long maritime history. It is the birthplace of the Royal Navy, British Army, and Royal Air Force

Free Classes Offered at the Family History Library—May, 2014

If you are planning on visiting Salt Lake City, Utah during the month of May, you may want to plan some time to come visit the Family History Library across from Temple Square. The Family History Library is offering several free classes during the month of May. Classes are free to the public. Below is information about topics, times and locations

Irish Genealogy News

Major Irish genealogy conference in Waltham, MA

A two-day conference – Celtic Connections, The Leaving of Home: Migration, Motivation and Myth – will be held in August in Waltham, Massachussets, and will witness a gathering of many of Irish genealogy’s best-known presenters from both sides of the Atlantic

Library and Archives Canada

An Arpent, a Toise, a Perche, a League… Understanding Old French Measurements

When looking through old French records, you will frequently come across old measurements that are rather mysterious nowadays. These measurements are found in records originating in France, Quebec and Louisiana. Below is a table showing the equivalencies, but many online sites offer conversion calculators, even for these old standards

Chicago Tribune

Fifteen Days Remaining for Reduced Cost Registration for Genealogy Conference

Fifteen days remain to receive a reduced rate to The Computer-Assisted Genealogy Group of Northern Illinois’ (CAGGNI) full day genealogy conference, GeneaQuest. GeneaQuest is a full day of genealogy highlighting genealogy news and technology of the future and

Genealogy and History News

Find-A-Record Helps you Find Records

Let me tell you about a new website I’ve been playing with recently. It’s called Find-A-Record. And that’s not to be confused with ‘Find-A-Grave‘ as they are two entirely different sites. Both useful for genealogy, but both with different purposes

Ancestry.com Blog

Virtual Cemeteries, Rotating Photos, User Profiles, and More in the Updated Find A Grave iOS App

Today we’re releasing the first new features update for the app. We have a lot more we’re going to do, but these first features were the most requested and are ready to release, so we hope you like them

photo credit: Public Places via photopin cc