Making French Genealogy Easier

The Horrifying French Revolution

The Terror, the deaths, the drownings and the Guillotine.

One American’s opinion..

The Reign of Terror and the madness there of, have inspired varying educated opinions written by historians and knowledgeable individuals on the reasoning, politics, psychology, and other aspects of that horrible time. The Revolution started with noble ideas such as installing a Constitution for the people. But, to me, looking at the revolution through 21st century lens, it was hijacked by radical ideologues with a lust for absolute power to impose their will on the country by force. Much like any other tyrannical dictator or monarch in the world would.


Living in Nantes of 1793, in the department of Loire-Inférieure (now Loire-Atlantique) was the site of absolute power and horror unleashed by military leader, Jean-Baptiste Carrier on it’s citizens; men, women and children. Was it genocide or thwarting an uprising? War Crimes or hard but necessary military decisions ? Quillette’s Jaspreet Singh Boparai explains, what he terms, the white-washing of a genocide. Read his article here

There have been many varied and interesting opinions written by historians and knowledgeable individuals on the reasons, events, politics, psychology, and sufferings on what I think is one of France’s most darkest times!

How can any civilized society go insane, round up people of all walks of life and kill them without mercy.

Well, Professor Michael R Lynn, professor of history at Purdue university, has a few words to say on the subject that puts a fresh and different perception on this brutality. His article ” EXECUTIONS, THE GUILLOTINE AND THE FRENCH REVOLUTION is very enlightening and informative on acts of the savage executions prior to the Revolution that led the way to this more ‘humane way’ of executions.

Before the French Revolution, nasty crimes in France were dealt with imaginative and gruesome death sentences.

Regicides were tortured and then drawn and quartered. This occurred during an extended ceremony designed to emphasize the particularly awful nature of the crime. François Ravaillac, who assassinated the French King Henri IV in 1610, had molten lead and boiling oil poured on him. His arms and legs were then tied to four horses, each of which literally pulled him apart as they set off in different directions.


(If you haven’t fainted yet, read on:)

Which led this gentleman to design this horrifying capital punishment machine

Joseph Guillotin, a medical doctor and member of the revolutionary National Assembly, championed the guillotine, proposing its use to the state in October 1789. The new guillotine was presented as a quick and rational means of execution, perhaps in answer to Enlightenment critics like Cesare Beccaria who had argued against torture and capital punishment in his book, On Crime and Punishment (1764). 


The irony here is that many of the main players who ushered in the Revolution and Reign of Terror , including Robespierre and Jean-Baptiste Carrier were later themselves tried, condemned to death and guillotined.

o look for the names of those who were condemned to death, with some of the executed having brief to lengthy details, is recorded in Louis M. Prudhomme’s books  (1796). ‘Dictionnaire des individus envoyés à la mort judiciairement: révolutionnairement et contre-révolution, pendand la révolution France ‘

It’s a wonderful resource but has some errors of towns being in the wrong departments and other spelling infractions.

Tome 1 A-H , start on page 105. Also, includes information and background of the French Revolution. Unfortunately, it’s all in French.

Tome 2 I-Z start on page 11. This tome also contains supplementals of the executed, divided by several different filters. Nantes, Women, Men, year, crime ect

Browse through the Rathelot Collection of those who were brought before the French Revolutionary Tribunal in Paris and executed between March 1793 – September 1794.

Names beginning with …

Ab to Goy

Gra to Zol

Search the French Revolutionary Dictionary of Names of those who were executed at
The Condemned of the French Revolution
This is an ongoing project

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