View Full Version : James Sopers kids b.Le Havre France 1840s?

31-01-2011, 6:48 PM
Hi, I wonder it anyone could help my father who's looking into his grgrgrandparents James Soper (1815-1893) & Ann.

Looks like James's children Louisa & James were both b.'Hazore, France' c1847 & c1850 (from '61cen)

Perhaps this was 'Le Havre' like the 2009 enquiry previously on this forum, which asking about a uk, Le Havre birth 1845?

Wonder what he might be doing staying in France for at least 3 years? From a glance a wiki, it's perhaps a turbulent few years for a foreigner to take his family to France?

Were French coastal towns used at the time by working-class Brits to avoid creditors? (I heard Le Touquet was once a haven of upper-class Brits) (His taxi's fly-horse was put down after it bolted when 'carelessly' left unattended a bit after the '41cen. Presumably quite a loss, especially if mortgaged? In '61cen he was carrying a lot more than a fly whip, as a middle-age porter)

perhaps Pottoka is still on this forum & could pass on another enquiry to France?

Thanks Geoff -details of James below

'41 cen at Bannister Street, Southampton James Soper 25-9 a flyman, Anne 25-9, George 6, Frederick 4, Ann 1

c1847 & c1850 parents in Hazore, France? (no Hazore vis in www)

HO107/416[1/18]page 30 Crown Copyright TNA

'51cen family not visable

'61 cen at 17 Upper (?Banistead?), Southampton All Saints, James Soper 43 a porter b.Basingstoke, wife Ann 46 b.Winchester, George 24, Frederick H 22, Ellen 18, Jane 16, Sarah 15 all b.Southampton, Louisa 13 & James 11, a scholar, both b.Hazore, France
RG09/677/42/page 25 Crown Copyright TNA

'71cen : James Soper (c1820-?) a flyman marks? man 51, b.North Waltham; at 17 Carlton Place , Southampton, All Saints; wife Ann Soper 51, b.Winchester; unm dau Jane Soper 26, b.Southampton; grandau Ann Soper 1m, b.Southampton with brother in law William Hayter 23 unm flyman b.S.ton; (sharing property with John Glazen 29 a dock porter b.Hastings,Sx & wife Helen 29 b.Southampton) : (might this indicate a different wife Ann?) [who is grandau Ann? b.S'ton Apr>Jun 1871]
RG10/1192/14/page 21 Crown Copyright TNA

31-01-2011, 10:35 PM
Welcome to the BG forums!

Just as regards the place of birth ...

both b.Hazore, France
RG09/677/42/page 25 Crown Copyright TNA

I think it is actually written France Harvre. If so, probably Le Havre is intended.

31-01-2011, 10:46 PM
There's a possible baptism in 1849 for James SOPER in the GRO's Foreign Registers and Returns RG33/57, which records baptisms, marriages and burials in Havre, France, 1843-1863 (reference to record held by TNA).

A transcript and image of the baptism record are available on the pay site BMDregisters.co.uk, or via a subscription to TheGenealogist.

01-02-2011, 11:56 AM
>"There is an interesting note on the original image...."

Thanks notanotherminer, I don't think that margin comment was noted

I feel 'lifes sweet' this morning now I imagine poor widowed Ellen 36, working as a cook while maintaining a paralysed father 66, a blind mother 68 & a 10y old niece, presumably supported by modest rent from looking after a retired sgt 62

I can perhaps save poor Ellen's honour (she's suffered enough); She m.John Glazier Jul>Sep 1865 S'ton. He d.Apr>Jun 1871 S'ton age 28 & Ann Soper was b.Apr>Jun 1871 S'ton. It's just feasible that Ann was illegitimately hers, but I guess most likely a niece of 1 of her 2 brothers

James survived to 1891, so when my father returns from holiday, We'll check in his census page margin notes to see if it was he who was disabled (Ann d.Apr>Jun 1889 S'ton age 72) (an Ellen Glazier d.Oct>Dec S'ton, age 79, which is abt right age)

'91cen : James 75 b.S'ton living with son George 52 b.S'ton, Charlotte 51 b.Irl, George 18, James 16 both b.S'ton

Thanks for your help Geoff

01-02-2011, 12:17 PM
>There's a possible baptism 1849 for James SOPER in Havre, France.......

That's great, thanks Kerrywood, so it was Le Havre, France [& you imply it was just called Havre then, at least by us Brits]

Odd if James got recorded, that Louisa didn't make it onto the list 2 or 3 years earlier

I'll pass your links on to my father to check out

Meanwhile we notice that after the railways reached Southampton it was bursting with vessels from Le Havre & a fast paddle ferry had joined the two rail lines. British businesses had moved there, so it seems the 1840's were more like modern times than I imagined, and working in France was not so quite as adventurous a we first thought.

Thanks Geoff

01-02-2011, 12:36 PM
Thanks again for that overseas BMD source Kerrywood (bmdregisters.co.uk).

I see it lists a sad entry to add to my fathers's tree

A Sarah Soper bapt.1853 and bur.1853, father James, both at Havre

It means that James & his family stayed in Le Havre for at least 6 years; before returning to Southampton before the '61cen

01-02-2011, 4:31 PM
Hi again; I notice that bmdregisters allow wild card searches, so looked for all Louisa S*'s & found...

Louisa Soaper bpt.1846 Havre, father James

& searching Soaper gave 3 or 4 more. So Le Havre births are now....

1) Louisa Soaper* bpt.1846 Havre father James
2) Mary Ann Soaper bpt.1848 Havre father James
3) Anna Mercer Thornton Soaper bpt.1848 Havre father James [speculate from long name, it might not be his wife’s?]
4) James Soper* bpt.1849 Havre, France father James
Sarah Soper bpt.1853 & bur.1853, father James, both at Havre [bmd] (?a 1853 cholera epidemic in Le Havre took 300 victims)
5) Sarah Soper bpt.1853 & bur.1853, father James, both at Havre [bmd] (?a Le Havre 1853 cholera epidemic took 300 victims)
6) Unnamed Soaper** bapt 1855 Havre, father ... Soaper
?7) a James Soaper** bur.1855 Havre,

*of the 6 or 7 above, only Louisa 13 & James 11 made it back to England for ‘61cen, so assume Mary Ann & Anna (both bpt.1848) also died bef.1861

**as the James bpt.1849 was alive in 1855 (age 11 in Southampton '61cen); assume this burial is most likely one of James's 2 teenage sons, perhaps this 1855 death is of the unnamed Soaper bapt 1855 also?
- Assuming the Soper/Soaper family were all together in Le Havre in 1855, there were also the elder English born children; George 18/19, Frederick H 16/17, Ellen 12, Jane 10 & Sarah 9, all b.S'ton

(perhaps the mix of Soper & Soaper may mean James (or his wife) could not write, even to the extent of spelling their surname)

That mean James & family was in Le Havre for at least 9 years between 1846 & 1861. If 'Pottoka' from this forum sees this post, it would be great if she could enquire from her Le Havre contact. There's quite possibly some other Soper/Soaper mentions in Le Havre records over such a long period. Thanks again

01-02-2011, 8:44 PM
Glad to see you've made so many good finds, Geoff. :smile5:

02-02-2011, 3:22 AM
Bonjour Geoff,

I've not been around much due to a death in the family and now being away from home with access to the Internet only via a dongle. Whoever invented them might have thought he was doing a favour to benighted travellers without broadband, but it's so screamingly frustrating waiting for a page to load when it takes between five & ten minutes, and you're used to instantaneous!

Anyway, it was working tonight and, as I'd sent a message to someone on the forum, I thought I'd check to see if they'd replied, and thus, luckily, I came across your thread.

So I'll get on to my French friends in Le Havre and see what they can do for you, although maybe I should check if the department's records are on-line first.

And don't panic if you don't hear from me straightaway - it'll just be this //&@!#\\ dongle refusing to find a connection again.

02-02-2011, 9:25 PM
Hi Pottaka

Many thanks, I look forward to any results that may come from your fishing.

... & no urgency, I perfectly sympathise with your donglephopia. I invested in a Pay as you Go one in France last autumn & readied myself for the brave new world informed travel. Took 2 days to achieve 1st connection, then spent much of my time leaning out hotel bedroom windows, trying to get enough connection bars to buy enough credits to allow time to try & buy more credits. On the plus side, I got to read travel books waiting for web pages to occasionally refresh.

I'd rather expected Le Havre to be a fairly modest port, but seems it was packed & chaotic. Someone mentioned 70,000 Germans migrated to US through it in just one 1850's sailing season, so I suspect any records of residing Soper/Soaper foreigners may get swamped with the visiting ones


03-02-2011, 3:52 AM
Yes, mine is Pay as you go, but as my stay here stretches out, I keep looking longingly at broadband offers! What was particularly toothgrinding was that when the kids were here, one of them could pick up someone's unprotected wifi on his computer ... but mine is too bog-standard for that.

I have posted a message on the appropriate forum and so we now have to hope that Martine, the volunteer, doesn't have too many requests to fulfil and that her granddaughter's nanny keeps well so that she doesn't get saddled (she loves her to bits actually).

I don't think that migrants going through a port would affect the registration of a child's birth or death, even if the parents were foreign residents. It was the law, after all, that if you were born, married or died in a place, then you, or someone for you, was obliged to register that event at the local Town Hall. I don't know how British workers found out to begin with - I rather doubt that they could get a "Moving to France permanently" handbook from the Embassy like you can now - but presumably they picked up enough French to get by and to keep within the law. Maybe some of the first ones didn't do what was necessary, but found out after the event what they should have done and told new arrivals. There were so many of them, and, of those whose certificates I've translated, there were plenty who had French friends (fraternising with the enemy!) as is borne out by who were witnesses at the registation.

07-02-2011, 3:05 AM
I didn't expect a very quick reply, as I know Martine goes to the A.D. on Tuesdays, but I've just looked to see if she's posted anything, and it appears that she has copies of the ten-year tables at home. So she has already said that Louisa was born on 22nd September 1846 and James on 21st May 1849. However, she has a page missing where Mary Anne and Anna would be and she couldn't find either Sarah or the unnamed baby. She will look again on Tuesday at the A.D. and also take photos of the certificates she does find.

What's your French like? I can transcribe and translate the documents for you if you don't feel up to it. If you want proper photocopies of the originals rather than just photos as well, I can also write and get them for you.

07-02-2011, 9:24 AM
Thanks pottoka & please thank Martine

My father will be pleased; Our french is pretty grim & I can barely transcribe old english text, but we look forward to giving it a go


24-02-2011, 7:21 AM
Two "actes de naissance" are on their way to you; Martine's husband has been in hospital with heart problems so she's had other things on her mind just lately. I'll try and find out about writing directly to the Town Hall.