Claude Roche Was a Frenchman

Last week I told you a story about my great great great grandmother Jeanne Zerbine Dupuy Landry.  I was thinking that I would move on to a post about my mom’s side of the family, but I’ve decided to go further up the line of Zerbine Dupuy.  Mainly because I ended up researching that family line  when I discovered some new sources when looking at last week’s information.

My dad was Robert Joseph Landry, Jr., though most people knew him as Bob, Bobbie, Pluto, Pappy, or Daddy.  His mother was Germaine Erie Patureau Landry.  She was known as Erie, Mama, or Mee Maw.  They spent many years researching their family lines and I have the results of all those years of research.  Mee Maw was the daughter of Vincent Maximilian “Max” Patureau.  My dad knew his Grampa Max, but only until he was about six years old.  Mee Maw didn’t know her grandmother Emma Landry Patureau because she died in 1892, which was a few years before Mee Maw was born.  But just because she didn’t know her grandmother didn’t mean she didn’t know about her.

But it didn’t stop there. She knew a few more generations back.  My dad had the records that Mee Maw kept with her sister Lorena.  So when he put together his book about family history, he marked the profiles of family members with PFR – for Patureau Family Records.  Mee Maw knew about Zerbine, too.  Though I don’t know if she knew the story about Zerbine that I shared with you last week.  That came down another family line.  Mee Maw also knew about Zerbine’s parents Magloire Dupuy and Henriette Serrette, though she had Henriette’s last name as Lerrette.  That’s pretty good.  She knew the names of her great great grandparents.  Most people don’t know that.  And she did that long before computers and the internet help so much in finding information.  She did not have an oracle in her purse like the one I have in my pocket.  So Magloire and Henriette were as far back as she went.

My dad took over the research when my grandmother died in 1973.  He found out that the parents of Henriette were Jean Serrette and Anne Sigur.  They were both from France, but they immigrated to Louisiana and died here.  He also learned that Anne Sigur was the daughter of Pierre Laurent or Lorenzo Sigur and Anne Roche. I recently found an interesting thing about Laurent Sigur.  He once sold some property that is now where the Marigny neighborhood is in New Orleans.  I’ve been there many times and didn’t realize there was any family connection.  But today we are more interested in the Roche line, right?  I did mention that name in the title!

Marriage record from June 16, 1759, in France for Laurent Sigur and Anne Roche. Note all the Roche signatures. This is from Lay St. Christophe, Meurthe-et-Moselle, France.

Daddy didn’t know the names of Anne Roche’s parents, but now we do.  Someone posted a marriage record on WikiTree for Laurent and Anne, and it gave the names of all of their parents.  As you can see in this French record from 1759, Anne’s parents were Claude Roche and Jeanne Guedon.  Claude is described as ‘defunnt,’ which  means deceased.  I was intrigued with the many Roche signatures on the document.  Many documents from this period will have an X for people to mark their approval.  It looks like the Roche family was literate enough to at least write their names.  I’m really interested in the flourishes at the end of J. C. Roche and DRoche’s signatures.  I wonder if there is any significance to that design?

So the person who added this record – I think it was the same person that assisted me in getting Further French Facts for the Patureau family – also provided a link to the original French records from the 1700s.  And it’s free.  How could they do that to me?  Don’t they know that is like dangling a carrot in front of a ravenous rabbit?!  I couldn’t resist.  I wanted to know more about this Claude Roche.  I also wanted to know about Jeanne Guedon, but those flourishes on the Roche name drew me in.  So I started looking…and looking…and looking.  How could they do that to me?

I started at first in 1759 since the link took me to the marriage record.  I found a few Roche family records and I figured they were relatives.  But I wanted to find out when Claude died and I already knew that it was before 1759.  I also had conflicting dates for Anne Roche’s birth.  It was somewhere between 1726 and 1740.  So I decided to start on earlier pages.  The group of records had 771 pages, so I went back to the beginning, which was around 1700 in this case.  Maybe I could find his birth.  So I looked and looked.  Looking through old French records is tiresome.  It made my eyes hurt.  Oh, no.  That was the stye that I had this week.  It also made me sleepy.  Staying up past midnight will do that.

Record of Claude Roche and Jeanne Guedon’s wedding on Nov. 21, 1719, at Lay St. Christophe, France.

But then it’s so exciting when you find something.  I found the marriage record for Claude and Jeanne from November 21, 1719.  This record had the parents of the couples named as well.  Claude was the son of Gaspard Roche and Magdelaine Faure.  Jeanne was the daughter of Jean Guedon and Francoise Thiery.  Once I found their marriage, I figured that children would soon follow.  I found a few births of Roche children, but their father was Dominique.  I thought he might be family and then it was confirmed in a record.  One of the children of Dominique listed Claude as the godfather and he was identified as the uncle.  So Dominique was the older brother of Claude.  Both of them used a dit name of Roxe.  I’m not sure what it means.

I was happy to finally see a daughter of Claude and Jeanne in 1722.  She was given the name Magdelaine.  Sadly, she died just a few months later.  Such a tragedy.  They had a son named Dominique two years later.  Uncle Dominique was the godfather, of course.  In 1726, I found the birth record for Anne Roche, but not our Anne.  This Anne was the daughter of Dominique.  The brothers both had children with the names Claude, Dominique, Jean Claude, Anne, and Francoise.  The families seemed close.  Most of the documents of any family member would usually have the signature of Claude on it.  He must have been respected.

I finally found the birth record of my Anne and it was in 1740.  She was the youngest child of Claude and Jeanne.  At least I didn’t see any more children recorded for Claude and Jeanne.  And like I said, I looked…and looked.  I found weddings and children of other Roche family members – children of Claude and Dominque.  I kept looking because I wanted to find the death record of Claude.  Later in the year of 1740 I found a death record for Francoise Thiery.  It could be our Francoise, and she lived to be about 100 years old.  As I approached the end of the group of 771 pages of records, I started to doubt that his death record would be there.  In a 1751 baptismal record, they name Jeanne Guedon and identify her as the wife of Claude Roche.  I knew he was still alive, because he was not identified as defunct!

Death record for Claude Roche in 1755.

And then, with only two pages remaining, I found it!  There in black and white was the death record for Claude Roche – my ancestor – the Frenchman.  He died on October 15, 1755, in France.  This was about the same time that many of our Acadian ancestors were being rounded up to be Exiled from their homeland.  It is a nice write-up for an official record.  Some other records only showed ‘mort’ or death on the side of the page.  This one says who he was, when he died, and who his wife was.  The most important thing are the last two lines, which read “enterre’ dans l’eglise pres de la chaire”. This translates to “buried in the church near the pulpit.” Wow! That’s a very significant honor.

In the body of the information they give details about when and where he died and how he received the Eucharist and Extreme Unctions.  This is to show that he was a Catholic in good standings and he received the last sacraments.  But even more unusual is that they say that he was ‘honorable et bon et charitable.’  That’s pretty easy to interpret.  They claim that he was an honorable, good, and charitable man.  That’s nice to hear. 

And now that I’ve seen a bit of his history through the records, I know who some of the signatures at the bottom belong to.  J.C. Roche and DRoche must have been his sons Jean Claude and Dominque.  Claude Roche LeJeune was the name his son Claude used to show that he was a junior.  They were paying their respects to their father – an honorable and good and charitable man.  I still want to know what those flourishes were about!

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