Ancien Régime

In an earlier post, I discussed the death record of my fifth great grandfather Jean Germaine Voisard, the mayor of Montécheroux, France from 1815 to 1826. In the record, Jean’s mother is named only by the initials NN. This means that neither of the witnesses knew her name. One of the men was a grandson.

Her name was Jeanne Antoine Jourot, and she died when Jean was in his early twenties; that is, before the revolution. Jeanne’s father’s name was Jean Jourot. He too died before the revolution in a period of history the French refer to as the “Ancien Régime” – the old government. One the many changes brought about by the revolution was that the Roman Catholic Church had been stripped of its powers, and, under the Napoleonic code, was no longer responsible for keeping records of births marriages and deaths (BMD).

This is from a collection of BMD records for Montécheroux covering the years 1740 to 1792; when records were kept by the church. In this part of France, BMD records of ordinary folks kept by both the Catholics and the Lutherans go back to at least the 1500s.

The record states that Jean Jourot, a “boulanger” or baker, was a resident of Montécheroux and he died on the 22nd of July 1778. He was 80 years old. This information was provided by two witnesses who signed below along with an authority of the church who is identified by the title “patre cure” following his name.

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