Tag: terms

Translating French words for genealogy research can be tricky.

Translating French words for genealogy research can be tricky.

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In researching genealogy, translating French words for genealogy research can be tricky, and the same goes for other languages as well, and mistakes can easily be made.


Getting one term, phrase or word wrong can mean taking your research off in the wrong direction based on the interpretation of that word.


Obituary for Paul-Henri Boily, 1926-1998

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 retraite retired
agriculteur farmer, husbandman
aide de sous commis helper to asst clerk
apothicaire pharmacist
apprenti(e) apprentice
apprêteur(euse) tanner, dresser of skins
archer bowman
architecte architect
argentier silversmith
armurier gunsmith
arpenteur, arpentier land surveyor
arquebusier matchlock gunsmith
artisan handicraftsman
aubergiste innkeeper
aumonier army chaplain
avocat, avocate lawyer, barrister
bailli bailiff
banqier(ère) banker
becheur(euse) digger
bedeau church sexton
bédeau beadle
beurrier(ère) butter-maker
bibliothécaire librarian
blanchisseur(eusse) laundryman, woman
bonnetier(ère) hosier
boucher(ère) butcher
boulanger(ère) baker
bourgeois(e) privileged person
boutonnier button-maker
braconnier poacher
brasseur(euse) brewer
briqueteur bricklayer
briquetier brick-maker
bucheron woodcutter
cabaretier(ère) saloon keeper
caissier(ère) cashier
calfat caulker
camionneur truck driver
cannonier gunner (canon)
cantinier(ère) canteen-keeper
capitaine de milice captain of the militia
capitaine de navire ship captain
capitaine de port port captain
capitaine de vaisseau ship captain
capitaine des troupes troup captain
cardeur(euse) carder(textiles)
chamoisseur chamois-dresser
chancelier chancellor
chandelier chandle-maker
chanteur(euse) singer
chapelier(èr) hatter, hatmaker
charbonnier(ère) coal merchant
charcutier(ère) port-butcher
charpentier carpenter, framer
charpentier de navires shipwright
charretier carter
charron cartwright, wheelwright
chasseur hunter
chaudronnier coppersmith, tinsmith
chaufournier furnace tender
chef cook
chevalier horseman, calvary
chirurgien surgeon
cloutier nail-maker, dealer
cocher coachman, driver
colonel colonel
commandant commander
commis clerk
commissaire d’artillerie arms stewart
commissaire de la marine ship’s purser
compagnon journeyman
comptable accountant, bookkeeper
concierge janitor, caretaker
confiseur(euse) confectioner
conseilleur counsellor, advisor
contrebandier smuggler
contremaître overseer, foreman
controleur superintendant
cordier ropemaker
cordonnier cobbler, shoemaker
corroyeur curier, leatherdresser
coureur-des-bois trapper
courrier courier, messenger
courvreur en ardoise slate roofer
coutelier cutlery maker
couturier(ère) tailor, dressmaker
couvreur roofer
couvreur en bardeau roofer who roofs with shingles
cuisinier en chef chef
cuisinier(ère) cook
cultivateur(trice) farmer
curé pastor
débardeur stevedore
défricheur clearer (of forest)
dentiste dentist
docteur doctor
domestique indentured servant, farmhand
douairière dowager
douanier(ère) custom officer
drapier clothmaker, clothier
ébeniste cabinet maker
écclésiastique clergyman
échevin alderman
écolier(ère) student
écuyer esquire
électricien electrician
éleveur(euse) animal breeder
employé(e) employee
engagé ouest hired to trap furs out west
enseigne ensign
enseigne de vaisseau ship’s sub-lieutenant
ferblantier tinsmith
fermier agricultural worker
fonctionnaire civil servant
forgeron smith, blacksmith
huissier sheriff
ingénieur engineer
journalier(ère) day laborer
maçon mason, bricklayer
marchand merchant
médecin doctor
mendiant beggar
menuisier carpenter
meunier miller
maître d’école school master, headmaster, principal
maîtresse d’école school mistress, headmistress, principal
navigateur sailor
notaire lawyer, solicitor
ouvrier worker
pecheur fisherman
peintre painter
pilote ship’s pilot, harbor pilot
pompier fireman
potier potter
prêtre priest
rentier retiree
scieur sawyer
seigneur land owner, landlord
sellier saddler
tailleur tailor
tanneur tanner
tonnellier cooper (barrel-maker)
vicaire vicar

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This is my Cautionary Tale about Copyright

This is my Cautionary Tale about Copyright


Copyright Matters, and this cautionary tale about copyright is just one example of how important it is.


Cautionary tale about copyright.
Cautionary tale about copyright.

Let me just say first, I don’t like bullies. I was bullied as a child. I’ve been bullied on the job. I know the feeling of being bullied and I feel bullied tonight.

As I write this, my stomach is churning because I’m so upset, but I do need to speak of this as a caution to those who wish to avoid similar circumstances.


Cautionary tale about copyright.
Cautionary tale about copyright.

A little over a month ago, I got a ‘brainwave’ and decided to set up a feed display page on my blog, Empty Nest Genealogy, as an extra service for my readers. I created a sub-page, called it Genealogy News, and set up the RSS feeds of my favorite websites.

The first thing I noticed was that the vast majority of the feed entries consisted of only headlines, and a short excerpt of limited words, followed by (read more), or (continue reading) or just plain (…). This draws the reader to the original author’s website.

I have never been stingy about directing my readers to others’ websites through references in my articles and links. One such reference was to a website from which I included the RSS feed on my feed display page.

Upon checking once everything was up and running on the feed page, I discovered that this site was publishing the full article to his RSS feed, not just an excerpt. Being concerned at the time, I checked the ‘blurb’ included at the bottom of all of the feed posts, which reads as follows:

“If you enjoyed this article, Tweet it, share it on Facebook or on your preferred social network. Republishing of this article in newsletters, blogs, and elsewhere is allowed and encouraged. Details may be found at http://goo.gl/hoHH1.”

Based on the words “allowed and encouraged”, I believed everything was fine.

Cautionary tale about copyright.
Cautionary tale about copyright.


Tonight I was shocked to receive an email from the site owner with the following in it:

“From: richard@xxxxxxxxxx.xxx
Date: Sun, 18 Sep 2011 17:42:29 -0400
Subject: Copyright violations on emptynestgenealogy.com
To: christineblythe500@hotmail.com

It has been brought to my attention that your blog, or “splog” at emptynestgenealogy is violating U.S. copyright laws by republishing articles I wrote without my permission and in violation of my copyright statement. Please stop immediately or else bring your site into compliance with the guidelines at http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/copyrights-and-other-lega.html

The copyright statement is very liberal, one of the most liberal ones in genealogy. I was surprised to see you ignore it.

 – xxxx xxxxxxx”

Right away, I responded to his email, stating most of what I have covered above. I also stated that I was offended by his use of the term ‘splog’ in reference to my website and by his legal threats. As far as I knew at the time, there were no copyright issues based on the ‘blurb’ at the end of his posts.

His response to my objection to the term ‘splog” was, “”Splogs” is a well known term in the blogging community. Your pages certainly qualify. Do a bit of reading. I certainly am not the only one who will call it a splog.”

This person seemed very concerned about the fact that my blog is a commercial blog and is against his written copyright policy. However, again this policy was only evident once one clicked through the link in his ‘blurb’. The small amount of revenue I receive is through Google advertising and paid posts. I do not charge my readers and there is no subscription necessary to access any of the information on my site.


There were several email responses bounced back and forth. In his he pointed out that his blurb contained a link to a specific copyright policy on his blog. I pointed out to him that his blurb only indicated ‘more details’ through the link. I stressed that this had not signified that his statement “is allowed and encouraged” with regard to publishing the feed was not indeed true and that this rendered the disclaimer insufficient and misleading.

I went so far as to suggest that instead of saying, “details may be found”, it would have been better to say something like, “to fully comply with my copyright restrictions, please read (link).”


This site owner chose to publish his entire posts to his RSS feed. Very few others do so, opting to post only excerpts. At the time I set up the feed, I was not aware of this and when I checked once the feed page was up and running and saw the whole article, I read the disclaimer at the bottom, where the words stated, “allowed and encouraged”.

As a long-term member of the genealogy research community, I have become used to the good-natured sharing of information among genealogy enthusiasts – and I am highly offended by Mr. Eastman. I subscribe to this philosophy, as anyone who looks at this blog will see. I freely reference sources with links where possible, link to my complete and extensive genealogy research database, and freely respond to inquiries about my research.

I have removed the reference to this website and also removed his feed url from my feed page. I will never again publish a feed that shows the entire articles, despite what the disclaimer says, and I suggest the same to anyone else.

advice about copyright


I honestly feel there is no place in this pursuit for pettiness and bullying such as I’ve experienced tonight.

Thank you to all you genealogy buffs who spend your valuable time and resources and then freely share it with others. I’m so grateful for you and so thankful this is the first negative experience I’ve ever had.