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Sue Mackay
06-11-2008, 2:45 PM
|wave| Hi Pottoka

Seeing your various helpful replies to people searching for French baptisms, can you tell me if that website you mentioned (if you gave a link to it I can't immediately find it) would be any good for tracking down a British Subject born in Marseilles in 1819?

I 'did' my father's family the hard way (pre computers) in the late 1980s and rather left my great great grandmother's origins as something I would never know, and concentrated on the male line. I am now revisiting a lot of this old research and realising I can possibly get further.

She was born Amelia DOWNIE (according to her children's birth certificates) and on the 1861 and 1871 census returns her place of birth is given as Marseilles, with BS for British Subject. Age at death and census returns indicate she would have been born in 1819. I looked in the Overseas and Military Births on FMP, but no joy.

pottoka
12-11-2008, 6:19 PM
Hello Sue, |wave|

I'm sorry not to have replied until now, but I have only just seen this post. But there is obviously some sort of divine coincidence working here as today I also received six French certificates for someone else and I'd been waiting for them for ages!

The site is genealogie.com; no link possible as it is a paying site! I have been lucky with a couple of families by putting a post on their "mains tendues" forum where each department has a thread with volunteers who go to the Archives départementales - this would be the County Library in England, where all the registers are collected together and filmed, but I don't know anything about how such things are organised in Australia. They take photos and send them to an email address. I'm registered so can do that if you like.

It's also possible to write to a Town Hall and ask for a birth certificate (un acte de naissance) which is free in France. The only problem there is that you have to know which Town Hall to write to as they only have their own registers, as a parish would.

I don't want to be overly pessimistic, but Amelia could have been born near Marseilles and given Marseilles on the Census as being the nearest biggest town. Still, it's better than ancestors who just put France! So, not to be defeatist, we can start with there.

Do you know her father's first name? It would help as the French are sometimes a bit pernickety and demand lots of information. Can you give me her husband's name so that I can have a squint at her Census returns? Did she get married in England, France or Australia? Are you looking for her marriage certificate as well?

http://freesmileyface.net/smiley/Animals/mini-frog13.gif (http://freesmileyface.net)

Sue Mackay
12-11-2008, 6:55 PM
Hi Pottoka, love the frog smilie!

We can eliminate Australia altogether as I am based in South Wales, not New South Wales ;)

I'm afraid I don't know anything about Amelia's family. I only know her maiden name from the birth certificates of her children.

She married John CHANDLER, my great great grandfather, but I haven't got a marriage certificate. Their first child was born in Marylebone on 10 June 1838 so they probably got married 'somewhere in London' just before civil registration. Strangely enough this very morning I have broken down a huge brickwall concerning John, who was a plumber and glazier. John and Amelia appear on the 1841 and 1851 censuses together in Norwood. Their last child was born in 1856 and John just disappeared. Amelia lived until 1875 and is on the 1861 and 1871 census for Norwood, but not marked as a widow. I have been trying to work out what happened to John for 20 years, and just this morning found a snippet in the Liverpool Mercury for August 1858:

Notice was on Monday communicated to the Metropolitan Police that Mr. John Chandler, plumber, Norwood, had embezzled large sums of money and decamped. His body was immediately after found in the River Lea.

|woohoo| - a black sheep!

But I digress.

Amelia appears on the census returns as follows:

1851 HO107/1575 f523 p2 aged 32 b France, British Subject
1861 RG9/367 f92 p23 aged 40 b France, Marseilles BS
1871 RG10/693 f26 p5 aged 49 b British Subject, Marseilles, France

Have just noticed from my old notes that she was 24 in 1841, so she could actually have been born any time between 1817 and 1822 depending on which census return you believe. Not looking good this, is it? :( I can see why I concentrated on other lines when I started this lark :D

Sue Mackay
12-11-2008, 7:07 PM
Should have said that her death certificate says she was 56 when she died on 12 December 1875, which is why I had born c 1819 on my database.

Kerrywood
12-11-2008, 9:06 PM
As she was a British Subject, perhaps it is worth looking at the Bishop of London's copies of foreign baptisms, marriages and burials (International Memoranda). These cover Anglican chaplaincies in Europe and overseas. There is some information here (http://www.history.ac.uk/gh/overseas.htm). It might be worth emailing Guildhall Library, in case the staff will take a look for you?

Kerrywood

Sue Mackay
12-11-2008, 9:23 PM
As she was a British Subject, perhaps it is worth looking at the Bishop of London's copies of foreign baptisms, marriages and burials (International Memoranda). These cover Anglican chaplaincies in Europe and overseas. There is some information here (http://www.history.ac.uk/gh/overseas.htm). It might be worth emailing Guildhall Library, in case the staff will take a look for you?

Kerrywood

Thanks once again Kerrywood. I can definitely feel a trip to London to Guildhall Library and Colindale coming on :D

pottoka
12-11-2008, 9:36 PM
http://freesmileyface.net/smiley/Animals/grenouille-saute.gif (http://freesmileyface.net) I couldn't find a blushing frog, so this is one covered in a rash of embarassment, instead. I don't know what to say, apart from that I'm very sorry that I misread your place of residence!

Sue Mackay
12-11-2008, 9:43 PM
No problems. I've been doing so much digging today on lines I last dealt with years ago that I'll probably end up in Australia anyway |laugh1|

pottoka
12-11-2008, 10:13 PM
No problems. I've been doing so much digging today on lines I last dealt with years ago that I'll probably end up in Australia anyway |laugh1|

And it sounds as though you're getting results! Well done on tracking down John Chandler, especially so far from home. Does that mean you can find a death registration for him, too? It's interesting having a black sheep - but I pity Amelia! http://freesmileyface.net/smiley/Sad/sad-034.gif (http://freesmileyface.net)

I have discovered that the Archives for the Bouches du Rhône are online, so it might be possible to find Amelia that way. However, so far, I have only managed to get the births of 1819 (for example) without an index, so it would mean trawling through the births in Marseilles for the whole year. Rather Herculean, I fear.

I will look into that further. Otherwise, it is possible to contact the Town Hall by email apparently (they usually ask for a letter), and it takes about 10 days for a reply.

pottoka
12-11-2008, 10:15 PM
Parlez-vous français, Sue?

pottoka
12-11-2008, 11:07 PM
I've found the online ten-year indices for births in Marseilles! Keep your fingers crossed!

pottoka
13-11-2008, 2:25 AM
I have found a family called DOWNER producing children in Marseilles in the late 1820s. To me, this is too much of a coincidence to be a different family, but there is one leetle problem ... I haven't found Amelia!

The ten-year indices turned up the following children:
Georges Jean Downer, February 1821
Jhine Charlotte Mary Downer, September 1822
Blanche Henriette Downer, September 1823
Christine Chte Downer, August 1824

Their father's name is Richard Clarke.

I carried on to the end of 1827 and, when there were no more births, looked to see if the mother had died, but found instead the death in December 1824 of Josephine Chtte Mary Downer.

pottoka
13-11-2008, 2:41 AM
There doesn't seem to be any way to download the records to a hard drive, so here is the link to get to them: http://doris.archives13.fr/dorisuec/jsp/system/win_main.jsp

Choose 'Marseille' and 'Registres paroissiaux et d'état civil', then click on 'rechercher'. You will get a new page. Ignore the first line; in the second line, tick 'Baptême, naissance'; in line three, put in the year of birth in the box to the right of the one with the drop-down menu (which you ignore); in line four, choose the month of birth; in line five, as follows:
Georges - février - 2
Joséphine - septembre - 2
Blanche - septembre - 4
Christine - août - 4

Click on 'rechercher'

You will get an image of an open book with four "actes" in it.

pottoka
13-11-2008, 3:23 AM
The children's father is Richard Clarke Downer and their mother Charlotte Van den Helm or Denhelm. He is given as a man of property or landowner. Unfortunately, unlike all the other French certificates I have seen, these give no indication of the age of the parents.

George's birth is registered on page 6 (of 61), top right.

Josephine's birth is in register n° 4 (not 2) and is on page 34 (of 52), bottom left. Her death (tick 'Sépulture, décès' in line 2 and choose register n° 5) is on page 18, of 28, bottom right.

Blanche is on page 39 (of 48), bottom right.

Christine is on page 27 (of 45), bottom left, and is given there as Christina Charlotte.

pottoka
13-11-2008, 3:49 AM
Finally, the IGI has a christening for a Richard Clark Downer aged 1 on 18th June 1780 at St Botolph Bishopgate, London.
http://freesmileyface.net/smiley/Sleepy/sleep-027.gif (http://freesmileyface.net) I shall now go and try not to dream about Amelia (I'm miffed that she didn't turn up!)

Sue Mackay
13-11-2008, 10:05 PM
Parlez-vous français, Sue?

Je comprends presque tout mais ....

Pottoka this is fantastic

|jumphappy

Sorry not to reply sooner but I got up at 6am and went on the train to Kew to photograph more South African BMDs for my transcription project, and I have only just got back.

Will digest all your postings and follow that link and be in touch tomorrow.

Merci bien |woohoo|

Sue Mackay
14-11-2008, 12:03 PM
Well, this has certainly given me something to think about. Whether or not the Downers turn out to be the same family as the Downies, I have learnt a bit of history and geography this morning :D

I put the name Richard Clark Downer into Ancestry and it came up with some original slave owner documents for 1819. In 1819 Richard was a plantation owner in Berbice, which I confess I had to look up. It was apparently combined with Demerara to form British Guyana.

At first it seemed unlikely that this could be Amelia's father. Then I noticed that the other slave owner on the same page was a Hector DOWNIE! The only Hector Downie I have found came from Ross and Cromarty, and I have come across a few families in Ross and Sutherland who had connections to plantations in Demerara. All very tantalising!

I also put the name DOWNIE into the IGI for France and it came up with some hits, but all later that 1819 and in Biarritz, Paris and Le Havre!

Plenty to get my teeth into here! Will also try out the records that Kerrywood mentioned at the Guildhall.

pottoka
27-11-2008, 12:56 PM
If you want anything looked up in Biarritz, give me a shout as the records are only just down the road. :)

Sue Mackay
27-11-2008, 2:24 PM
If you want anything looked up in Biarritz, give me a shout as the records are only just down the road. :)

Thanks Pottoka. I am now leaning towards a naval/seafaring connection for my DOWNIEs, but I can't prove anything. I keep getting frustratingly close and then coming to another dead end :(

I did a census search for anyone called DOWNIE who was born in France and found two sisters, Hannah Bouchier and Agnes DOWNIE in Portsea in 1861with their stepmother, who was decribed as the wife of a RN Inspector of Machinery. The IGI showed me that this was John DOWNIE, who had married Hannah KILGOUR in 1839 in Southampton. The two girls were the ones born in Le Havre. I downloaded John's service record from TNA and acme to the conclusion that he could, just possibly, be Amelia's brother. I got his marriage certificate, which says that his father was a mariner called Alexander DOWNIE. I downloaded a will for an Alexander DOWNIE, master mariner, which is quite difficult to read, but I haven't found any reference to an Amelia :(

Ah well, if it was too easy we'd all get bored, wouldn't we? Thanks again for causing me to re-open this one and have another look!

Sue Mackay
17-01-2016, 11:45 AM
Am updating this old thread as I have finally made a bit of a breakthrough (I think) with Amelia DOWNIE, thanks to an updated tree online of someone I know to be distantly related to me.

I have found Amelia's marriage to John CHANDLER, which took place on 29 May 1837 in St.Giles in the Fields, London. She is listed as DOWNING, and certainly appeared to sign her name this way. This couple seem bent on confusing me, so it is no surprise that they rushed to get married a few weeks before civil registration started! One of the witnesses was John's sister, and their first child, Edward, was born in London in June 1838, so I am satisfied this is the correct marriage.

The tree I have found lists Amelia's father as Edward DOWNIE from Scotland (which would fit with her naming her firstborn son Edward), who was a soldier in the 14th Regiment. His service record says he was born in 1790 in St.Quivox, Ayr, son of another Edward DOWNIE/DOUNIE and a Jean TAGGART. The regimental history of the second battalion of the 14th indicates postings in Malta and Marseilles, and the tree lists two other daughters, Elizabeth (born in Malta in 1813) and Jane (born in Marseilles in 1815), but I have as yet found no proof of this. The Miltary Births on FMP does seem to list a Jane DOWNIE born in Marseilles, so I might be able to get that certificate, although I can't quite make out the references. Is anyone with a sub willing to have a look?

Kerrywood, if you read this I have just re-read your advice to look in the Guildhall records, which I never got round to, but I will try to do this before too long, though we have a big trip coming up for my husband's retirement so it will probably be after that.

Just shows though. It's always worth revisiting previous dead ends!

Sue Mackay
17-01-2016, 12:03 PM
Mmm. Further deciphering of the small writing on Edward DOWNIE's service record shows that he died in Chatham on 22 March 1819, which is around the time Amelia was supposedly born in Marseilles! The 2nd battalion of the 14th was in Malta in 1813 and in Marseilles in 1815 (which would fit for the births of Elizabeth and Jane) but was apparently disbanded in 1818. |help|

Sue Mackay
22-01-2016, 5:07 PM
The regimental history of the second battalion of the 14th indicates postings in Malta and Marseilles, and the tree lists two other daughters, Elizabeth (born in Malta in 1813) and Jane (born in Marseilles in 1815), but I have as yet found no proof of this. The Miltary Births on FMP does seem to list a Jane DOWNIE born in Marseilles, so I might be able to get that certificate, although I can't quite make out the references. Is anyone with a sub willing to have a look?


I found a clearer copy and sent for the certificate. It arrived this morning and Jane Emily Downie was born in Marseilles on 10 October 1815 and baptised on 12 November 1815 by the Chaplain to the Forces for 14th Regiment of Foot, daughter of Edward and Catherine. The regiment was sent back to the UK shortly after this, and Edward died in Chatham in 1819, so I am now wondering whether this is in fact my Amelia, rather than her older sister.


Should have said that her death certificate says she was 56 when she died on 12 December 1875, which is why I had born c 1819 on my database.

There is no age on her marriage, as it was just prior to civil registration, and the census ages don't tally, though none seem to indicate a birth quite as early as 1815.

1841 HO107/675/4/12 aged 24 N
1851 HO107/1575 f523 p2 aged 32 b France, British Subject
1861 RG9/367 f92 p23 aged 40 b France, Marseilles BS
1871 RG10/693 f26 p5 aged 49 b British Subject, Marseilles, France

Maybe she just liked shaving a few years off her age and her son, who registered the death, didn't know better. Oh for a crystal ball to the past!

At least I now know that her mother's name was Catherine. I grasp at small nuggets these days :smile: The only other thing I have found is a burial for an Edward Downie, aged 2 and a half, in St.Mary Magdalene, East Ham on 26 January 1813. I wonder if this might be Edward and Catherine's first child - sadly no parents are listed on the burial, and I can't see an equivalent baptism in the same parish in 1810/11.