The dappled light through the poplar trees plays on the rippling water, as the bright turquoise flash of a kingfisher startles a heron who lifts himself gracefully into the air and glides off along the river with long beats of his elegant wings... Yes, it is that peaceful most of the time but sometimes being … Continue reading Oh, the romance of an old water mill – not!
Cartulaires (or 'If only I had paid attention in school...') Have you ever thought “Oh, how I wish I’d paid more attention to that in school”? Three of the lads in our gang of friends in my teens couldn’t wait to leave school and celebrated crazily when they left to start apprenticeships in local garages, … Continue reading Tracing the history of our French home – Part 6
Google is your friend During the confinement, at the start of my search (and not really knowing what I was looking for!), I got a bit bored and started googling the name of the mill/ the river we’re on/ the name of the village in various permutations. Once I had got through several pages of … Continue reading Tracing the history of our French home – Part 5
Local historians, past and present You’ll have seen from my last post, Thank you Abbé Toublet, that one particular local historian has helped me to trace our mill back a thousand years. Yes, you read that right – A THOUSAND YEARS! Read about it here There’s no doubt about it. Local historians, past and present, … Continue reading Tracing the History of our French home – Part 4
So it probably won’t come as a surprise when I say that some of the most useful resources I found for finding out about the history of our French water mill were local historians. One of our first visitors when we moved into the mill was a local historian eager to find out how much … Continue reading Thank you, Abbé Toublet.
Military service records - Les matricules militaires Yeah. I know. I didn't think it would be relevant either at first. I was well into my search for clues regarding the history of our watermill in France and had seen the link to Les matricules militaires, registers of military service, whenever I visited the website of … Continue reading Tracing the history of our French home – Part 3
Using the births, deaths and marriages registers If you read my last post about how I used the census returns in the online departmental archives to make a start on tracing the owners of our mill, you’ll know just how useful they are. But as a census is only conducted once every few years I … Continue reading Tracing the history of our french home – Part 2
Using census records When I ponder about the history of our French water mill, I guess one of the things that immediately comes to mind is the people who lived and worked here. One of the old post cards that I had managed to find shows a couple standing outside the mill. The figures are … Continue reading Tracing the history of our french home – Part 1
From the initial exploration of the fabric of the building, it didn’t look as if our home was more than a couple of hundred years old. However, one quite important thing to know if you own a water mill in France is what droits d’eau, water rights you have, if any. As Colin was quite … Continue reading Mapping the past
When we bought our mill I was hoping to receive a sizeable pile of old deeds which I could study when whiling away the grey winter hours by the log fire with a glass of wine. I was rather disappointed therefore when it appeared that the old documentation had somehow been ‘discarded’ during the most recent changes of ownership. So I'm on the hunt...