A Closer Look

The discovery of my great-grandmother Adele “Josephine” Cadignan’s birth record is perhaps my most exciting find yet because it contains quite a bit of new information, including some that allows me to fill in a few slots farther back in the family tree than I’ve ever been able to go before.  Let’s review the most important new facts, line by line:

“Mr. Joseph Cadignan, twenty nine years old, farmer, living in this city in the district known as Morue Acajou, has appeared before us and…”

  • Based on the age reported here, we can estimate that my great-grandfather was born around 1864.
  • Since the register Adele’s birth was recorded in was specifically  for the region of Francois, Martinique, this gives us even more specific information about where my Cadignans lived in 1893.  I wonder if there is still a district in Martinique called Morue Acajou.

“…presented a child of the female sex, born on April 4th of this year to him…”

  • Alright, we have an actual date of birth! Adele Cadignan will go down in the family tree as being born on 4 April 1893.

“…and his wife Mrs. Rose Lubin-Rose, thirty three years old, farmer, residing at the same house…”

  • This is our first introduction to Adele’s maternal family.  A new task will be to see what records we can find for this Lubin (or Lubin-Rose or Rose?) line of ancestors.
  • This also tells us that Rose, whose year of birth we can estimate as 1860, was a few years older than Joseph. I’m starting to notice a trend here, as both of my grandmothers were older than my grandfathers!

“…The presentation and declaration was performed in the presence of witnesses selected by the appearing party, Mr. Augustin Cadignan, also called Auguste, fifty four years old, farm owner, grandfather of the child…”

  • So now we have a name and approximate year of birth, which would be 1839, for my great-great-great-grandfather!
  • In contrast to Joseph, who is identified as a farmer, Augustin is a farm owner.

“…and Pierre Felix Dimbour, twenty nine years old, police officer, no relation to either parent or child, …only the second witness has signed the present document after reading the above, the father and first witness not having the capacity to do so.”

  • Though Pierre Felix Dimbour is not a Cadignan relation, the information about this witness struck me for a couple of reasons.
    • In previous blog entries (such as here and here) I mentioned that I was in communication with a couple of Cadignans with direct ties to Martinique, Christian and Jean-Pierre.  Well, Jean-Pierre’s full last name is Cadignan-Dimbour. After taking a look at Adele’s birth record for himself, he wrote the following to me via Facebook (with minor edits for readability): “Pierre Felix DIMBOUR was born on May the 29th 1863 and me: May the 29th 1963. He was my grandfather’s grandfather. That’s my father’s side, they come from “Le François” too. Son of slave but free guy, first policeman of Martinique.” That last sentence is intriguing for obvious reasons. I’m waiting to hear back from JP, as I call him, about how he knows all of this.
    • The other notable piece of information taken from this excerpt was that both Augustin and Joseph were not able to sign their names.  Perhaps for that reason they made a point of asking Pierre Felix to be the other witness: he was educated enough to be able to sign his name and was a member of law enforcement, presumably a respected post.  This also gives an idea of occupational and educational differences among black Martinicans near the turn of the century.

*Contented sigh* So nice to go to bed tonight knowing something more than I knew before – specifically, that Hilarion’s mother is Adele, and Adele’s father is Joseph, and Joseph’s father is Augustin. Believe it or not, I have also found some information about the identity of Augustin’s parents, but we’ll save that for the next post…


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