Tutorial 3a- Examining Baptismal Records

In this tutorial, you will be looking at real documents with varying degrees of difficulty and from various departments in France from 1792 and down. The important and extractable information has been underlined. This will help train you to zone in on the words and phrases that matter, and zone out the ones that don’t. You will write and translate only the important words, then extract that information

Make sure you have your notebook, pencil and magnifying glass out.
Print out from page 4 on of this handwriting chart , to help and aid you in figuring out the difficult letters in names and places; ‘n’ can look like ‘u’, ‘r’ can look like ‘v’ or ‘e’, squiggly line, or ‘chicken scratch’. It’s a matter of training your eyes, and repetitive viewing of records before one can recognize the confusing letters for what it is.

Refer to the printed out list of common words on baptism records. For a more comprehensive French word list including all the date numbers I haven’t covered Click here

After you’ve studied the handwriting samples and gone over the flash list. You’re ready to begin. Examine the two examples before reading the translations, look at the highlighted words and phrases, then look it up in the flash list if need be.

Just take one or two at a time. There will letters and words, and church yadda that are hard to understand or are undecipherable. You just have to give it your best guess. Click on the first image, (it should enlarge). I will write out just the highlighted phrases, translate it, and then list the information for you. Follow along and study:

Let’s begin-

Example 1

Click on image to view




Le vingt un de decembre mil sept cent quatre-vingt onze

The 21 of December 1791

est né , baptizé

is born, baptised

Auguste Joseph Guilman

fils legitimate de Mare Guilman, Laboureur au hameau de Manquéville

legitimate son of Mare Guilman, laborer in/at the hamlet of Manquéville

de cette pariosse

of this parish

et de Leonore Blondel, son epouse

and of Leonore Blondel, his spouse

parain et marain

godfather and godmother

Pierre Joseph Guilman, cousin germain

Pierre Joseph Guilman, first cousin

et Seraphine Joseph Duhameller

and Seraphine Joseph Duhameller

The words ‘baptizé, parain, maraine’ tells us what kind of record it is. In records, this is the second thing you try to look for in a document.


Extractable Information

Type of Record: Baptism

Date of Record: December 21 1791

Place of Record: Manquéville, (Lillers, Pas-de-Calais, France)
Place of Baptism: Manquéville, (Lillers,Pas-de-Calais, France)
Date of Birth: Looks to be the same day as baptism

Name of Child: Auguste Joseph Guilman
Names of Parents: Mare Guilman, a laborer in Manquéville, and Leonore Blondel

Names of Godparents: Pierre Joseph Guilan, first cousin; Seraphine Joseh Duhameller (no relationship listed)


Example 2

This next record has additional information concerning the godparents, which is nice.


L’an mil sept cent quatrante trois, les treize d’April

The year 1743, the 13 of April

baptizé une fille né aujourd’hui

baptized a girl/daughter born today

legitime mariage de Nicolas Roch, chartier, en cette pariosse et de Marie Hamelin

Legitimate marriage of Nicolas Roch, waggoner, in this parish and of Marie Hamelin

Le parain Michel Duhayes fils de Pierre

the godfather Michel Duhayes son of Pierre

La maraine Denise fille de Toussaint Calais tous deux de cette pariosse

the godmother Denise, daughter of Toussaint Calais, all two(both) of this parish

nommée de Marie Marguerite


Extractable Information

Type of Record: Baptism

Date of Record: April 13, 1743

Date of Birth: Same day

Place of Record: Dammaire (Eure-Loire, France)
Name and Sex of Child: Marie Marguerite, female

Name of Parents: Nicolas Roch, a waggoner and Marie Hamelin, both of the parish of Dammaire

Name of Godparents: Michel Duhayes, son of Pierre Duhayes; Denise Calais, daughter of Toussaint Calais, all of Dammaire


On to Examples #2 –>