View Full Version : Advice on tracing and ancestor born in France

31-10-2006, 12:08 PM
I have a relative Frances Page who is described as being French on the 1841 census. (She doesn't appear on any census after that having died.)

I have found the parish record entry for her marriage so I do know her maiden name (Mason), however the parish record reveals nothing more of her origins. Her husband was a seaman

She had 3 children but they were all born before 1837 and their parish baptism entries reveal nothing further about her orgins.

Does anyone know of any other types of records I could look at to try to trace Frances back to France? I suspect it may not be possible but and help would be gratefully received!

Colin Moretti
31-10-2006, 8:55 PM
If she was last found in the 1841 census it would normally just give F for Foreign Parts as place of birth, not the country; are you confusing this for France?

You can get some idea of the occurance of a name in France here:
http://www.geopatronyme.com/ Unfortunately it only starts in 1891 so a little too late for your relative.

If she was born in France of English parents then I think it extremely unlikely that there will be any record of her entry to the country - no passengers lists or anything like that. TNA have a leaflet on the subject of immigration here:
There are some papers about French emigres before 1814. Close reading of the leaflet may suggest other records.

Good luck


Peter Goodey
31-10-2006, 9:36 PM
So what exactly does the census say? As Colin explained "F" doesn't mean France. If, exceptionally, the enumerator did add a more detailed note what exactly did it say?

It might be that she was born abroad because her father was in the army so it might be worth checking the overseas returns.

01-11-2006, 5:11 PM
So what exactly does the census say? As Colin explained "F" doesn't mean France. If, exceptionally, the enumerator did add a more detailed note what exactly did it say?

Thanks for the help and the information. I hadn't realised it was unusual to have anything other than a letter in that section.

In the column that says "Whether born in Scotland, Ireland or Foreign Parts" -it appears to say French. Certainly it is not just a single letter.

I'll provide the reference here in case anyone wants to have a look and provide a second opinion. Note she is listed as Francis Page rather than Frances and is married to a Robert Page.

Civil Parish: Chatham
County: Kent
Enumeration District: 15 (Medway)
Page: 9 .


01-11-2006, 6:10 PM
"it appears to say French."

Can't argue with that, but if she is genuinely French, not a British Subject born in France, I don't envy you trying to pin her down based on just a rounded age on the 1841 census and a surname from the marriage record - there are, just using the IGI, Lord knows how many girls called "Francoise Masson" who could be her before somebody Anglicised it.

louise ydw i
28-11-2007, 11:24 PM
Hi, I kind of have a similar situation - My great grandmother in 1901 census was born in Marseille as a british subject. I know she married in Bristol in 1893, but I'm unable to locate her in the 1891 census.
The family had always talked about her being a 'naughty nun' from France before I discovered this record so that kind of makes sense, the other thing is, and this is where it gets interesting.... my mother or anyone else never knew her maiden name. My grandfather never spoke of her. But my mother had a feeling it was something like 'le coq' and suprisingly it was cox. Florence Cox. Now, I'm not too sure of the naming etc but sounds like it could be something in the stories. How often did anglicising a name happen?
Also what are the chances that she lied about being a british subject?
How would i begin to locate her birth record either way. This is my first foreign born ancestor!