Old Photographs, Recognition, Handwriting Deciphering => Handwriting Deciphering & Recognition => Topic started by: carmar on Thursday 18 March 21 11:31 GMT (UK)

Title: French Document 1804
Post by: carmar on Thursday 18 March 21 11:31 GMT (UK)
Hi can anyone make any sense of these words I have underlined, and how they would be used in a sentence so they have meaning. I have used google translate, but the words seem nonsense, I suspect that the words are so old, (1804) and just not used anymore.

Judith has kindly done the main Translation / Deciphering for me, its just these odd words I'm stuck on.

Title: Re: French Document 1804
Post by: manukarik on Thursday 18 March 21 15:35 GMT (UK)
pignon = gable
fournis (had to ask French friend as this doesn't seem to be used any more) he thought this was a storeroom attached to a house.
He thought a parbas was an old word for a fire fender.

Where in France is this from? There is a commune called Le Fourg the Doubs department in the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region in eastern France.

Will look again later, but most words seem local or archaic.
Title: Re: French Document 1804
Post by: carmar on Thursday 18 March 21 16:15 GMT (UK)
Thanks Manukarik.
The document is from the Mayenne, Pays de la loire.
Yes fire fender might make sense. might be another way of saying fireplace even.
I would like to see how the words would fit to make sentences.
Gable I think is what Google translates Pignon. I think that is possibly correct.
Not sure about the storeroom though.
Fourg might be oven, which would normally be Four in French. But then again.

Title: Re: French Document 1804
Post by: jayaygee on Friday 19 March 21 14:31 GMT (UK)
Me again hoping I can be of some help.

The words you have underlined:

- parbas - I definitely think this is the word but can't find it anywhere though it could be a fender, but it is part of the description of a dwelling (maison manable) so sounds to me more like the ground floor room ("bas") with a hearth, a loft above and a cellar below. Needs confirmation.
- pignon = gable as already stated
- fournis : may be what Manukarik suggests or "fournil" as before
- fourg : probably "four" as Manukarik says.  Writer perhaps influenced by "bourg" which he may have written elsewhere.
- été oté = removed
- étrages et foulages : see below
- Nommé = named/called
- Nommées : as above
- Baudonniere ou Bandonnière or another combination of 'n's and 'u's : part of the name of one of the two "pièces de terre"

"Etrages et foulages" seem to be very local words I can't find even in online dictionaries of Norman dialect.  I did find the two, again together, in a book about rural customs in the canton of Laval: see attachment, but it doesn't help.  I also asked a friend from Normandy but he said a lot of dialect words are very local and that even his father from la Manche and his mother from Calvados sometimes had different dialect words for things.  "Foulage" is the process of fulling textiles, of course, and I think this must have some relation to the cultivation of hemp in the area but I can't find the necessary confirmation.  Have you tried asking the Archives départementales?  I would love to know too.

If you don't mind, perhaps I could ask about the mystery words on the Mayenne forum on Généanet. There is an English version of Généanet but it only has one big forum for the whole of France.

Title: Re: French Document 1804
Post by: jayaygee on Saturday 20 March 21 22:26 GMT (UK)
Having realised that Mayenne is not really in Normandy though part of it seems to have been at times in the past, I have been looking for a dictionary of Mayennais. and/or Angevin, etc., but still no luck with a translation of "étrages" though it does appear in some definitions in a book on the Internet Archive site : Glossaire des parlers du Bas-Maine (Département de la Mayenne) by Georges Dottin.  This one seems appropriate from what I remember of the document I translated which unfortunately I didn't keep:

"étréj", m. pl. : étrages, cours, issues, chemins qui se trouvent devant les bâtiments d'une ferme
In other words yards, ways out, lanes in front of farm buildings.
I seem to remember seeing something about an "enclos" or enclosure too at one point but can't remember where.

The other references in the glossary might be useful to you as you know the lay out of the buildings, yards, etc.

"étyéj" : étrages, jachères which seems to be fallow land

"mani(l)", fumier, engrais, débris que l'on met à pourrir dans les étrages Cf. fulaj
So the étrages are places where you put debris, probably of vegetation in view of the quote in my previous post, to rot into manure/fertiliser

And fulaj seemes strangely like foulages
"fulaj" : feuilles et débris de paille que l'on met à pourrir dans les étrages, près des bâtiments = leaves and bits of straw you put in the étrages to rot

So presumably nothing to do with the cultivation of hemp or fulling.  It would be worth asking local people when you are able to visit.


Title: Re: French Document 1804
Post by: jayaygee on Sunday 21 March 21 11:06 GMT (UK)
For "fulage" see:

Title: Re: French Document 1804
Post by: carmar on Monday 22 March 21 09:32 GMT (UK)
Hello Judith
Nice to hear from you again.
Hope you are keeping well.
Thank you for the information you supplied. It is very helpful, and makes the document more understanding now.
It did not really cross my mind that there might have been regional differences as to how things were named, especially within a legal document.
With reference to your interpretation to the word "étrages" That does make sense as a courtyard, as it is mentioned in the original 1795 partage document, where the courtyard is divided into two. One half to the first Lot, and the other to the second Lot.
I think it does also mention the word "parbas" but its not too clear.
I have posted this section.
The actual building this refers to, consists of two floors ,the second floor being in the roof space. There is a fireplace on the second floor, so think this would have been the living area. Not sure what the ground floor was used for. The building is now derelict, but I still find it amazing how many people would be living in these tiny properties, and with no amenities like electric or toilets etc.  The Census for the property is very interesting too, mainly tenant farmers though.

Going back to the 1804 document. I did find it quite strange, the use of the word "vulgairement" which seemed to translate to "vulgarly" Which possibly just means, "a slang name for".  Maybe you can confirm this.

Yes, by all means you can contact Mayenne forum on Généanet. That would be great.

Thanks again for all your help Judith.

Title: Re: French Document 1804
Post by: jayaygee on Monday 22 March 21 09:51 GMT (UK)
Glad to have been of help.  I found the searching interesting and instructive too.

Is there a cellar in the derelict building? If not, I would suggest the three floors are from top to bottom "grenier", "parbas" and "cave".  Certainly sounds as if the "parbas" is the floor with the hearth.  I don't remember seeing "parbas" in what I translated but, as I said, I didn't keep the document and I wouldn't have known what it meant anyway.

"Vulgaire" can also mean common or popular in the sense of the common or ordinary people for instance and so, as you thought, it means a term used by the local people.

Most of our ancestors certainly survived in very crowded and uncomfortable conditions but, as with everything else, if you've never known anything different ,it must just have seemed normal to them.

Title: Re: French Document 1804
Post by: carmar on Monday 22 March 21 10:19 GMT (UK)
Hi Judith
Thanks for the reply.
Regarding the building, I am sure that it is only two levels. There may be a fireplace on the ground floor, but I cannot remember.
We are stuck in the UK at the moment, so just relying on memory.
The building in question does have other buildings tagged onto it, a bit like a terraced effect. I dare say to accommodate growing family and business.
Did you see the picture I have attached from 1795, referencing the word "etrages"  I feel you are correct with the translation to be courtyard. I have looked at a 1834 land parcel register, and it is registered  as "maison et cour"
Title: Re: French Document 1804
Post by: jayaygee on Monday 22 March 21 10:46 GMT (UK)
Hello again Marcus

Yes, I did see the photo.  The word "étrages" does seem to mean a sort of courtyard which, at least originally, was specifically used for letting vegetation rot to provide green manure.  Not exactly what one would want just in front of the house in my opinion, but those were different times.

Re the derelict building, could the roof space originally have been divided into a loft and a room below?  Just trying to think of possibilities.

Hope you manage to get back there in the not too distant future.  When you do, local people may be able to solve some of the mysteries.

Best regards
Title: Re: French Document 1804
Post by: carmar on Monday 22 March 21 11:17 GMT (UK)
Thanks Judith
I am just waiting for my second vaccination, and then hopefully get back to France, restrictions permitting.
We have contacted the Archives in Laval. They are open but obviously with restrictions in place.
As you say, there may be a historian expert that might be able to help.
Thanks again Judith.
I will contact you if I need any more help, if this is okay.
Title: Re: French Document 1804
Post by: jayaygee on Monday 22 March 21 12:51 GMT (UK)
I hope you manage to get back here soon, just as I very much hope we'll be able to come to the UK before too long.

No problem if you have other strange words which I may or may not be able to help you with.

Title: Re: French Document 1804
Post by: carmar on Monday 22 March 21 13:30 GMT (UK)
Thanks Judith.
Very much appreciated.
Regards Marcus