Going Back to the Earliest Fournelle Ancestor (Part 3)

This is the third post in a series on my earliest FOURNELLE ancestors. In Going Back to the Earliest Fournelle Ancestor (Part 1), I set up the stage for the series with a discussion of surname variations for FOURNELLE, a short history of the village of Saulnes (France), and an explanation of the availability of the records. In Going Back to the Earliest Fournelle Ancestor (Part 2), I added the main characters as I proved the children of my 7th great-grandparents Jean FOURNEL and Catherine SETON of Saulnes in the parish of Herserange, Meurthe-et-Moselle, France.

Now it’s time to introduce some of the supporting cast.

In my last post, I brought the reader’s attention to the mark Jean FOURNEL used to sign his wife’s 1702 death/burial record1, the 1708 marriage record of his daughter Françoise to Jean COURTOIS2, and the 1713 marriage record of his son Jean to Jeanne BERKIN.3

In all of these records, he used what looks like a capital A for his mark. In 1696, Jean HAIS used the same mark to sign the baptismal record of Jean FOURNEL and Catherine SETON’s daughter Marie.4:

Who was Jean HAIS? Was the mark used by him and Jean FOURNEL a family symbol or a symbol of an occupation? If it was a mark used by the family, how was Jean HAIS related to Jean FOURNEL?

During the years 1678-1700 when Jean and Catherine were having children, there were no other records in Saulnes for persons with the surnames FOURNELLE (or other variations) and SETON.

The surname SETON was only found for one person in Saulnes – for my 7th great-grandmother, Catherine SETON (1657-1702). In records of some of her children, the name was spelled SATON. Other possible spellings, i.e. CYTON, SATIN, SETIN, and SAITEONE, were found in the index of the FamilySearch collection, France, Births and Baptisms, 1546-1896 in the department of the Meurthe-et-Moselle in the towns of Ansauville, Lunéville, Pont-à-Mousson, and Toule for the period 1600-1700. Although Catherine didn’t appear to have relatives in Saulnes with the surname, she could have had maternal relatives in the area. Another possibility is that Jean FOURNEL brought his bride to Saulnes from who knows where.

The records of Herserange, the parish Saulnes was part of, began ten years before Jean and Catherine’s first child was born in 1678. In these ten years, I found several records for persons using the FOURNELLE, FOURNEL, FOURNY spelling of the surname of interest.

Nicolas FOURNELLE…

…named as a godfather in a baptismal record
1672 Baptismal Record of Nicolas HENRION with godfather Nicolas FOURNELLE. Image courtesy of Archives départementales de Meurthe-et-Moselle (54), 5 Mi 259/R 1 vue 13 de 529

As can be seen in the image above, the earliest records of Herserange are not in the best condition. In the entry above, on 16 April 1672, a Nicolas FOURNELLE is named as the godfather (parrain, spelled parin in these early records) of a child named Nicolas, son of Arnould HENRION. The godmother’s name was likely in the missing section on the left. She was either the wife or daughter of Grégoire DIEUDONNÉ.5

…named in a death/burial record
A page from the church register. Image courtesy of Archives départementales de Meurthe-et-Moselle (54), 5 Mi 259/R 1 vue 21 de 529

A large part in the middle area of the left side of the page of the church register is missing including where the entry of interest was made. Here is a transcription of the record with the missing parts in brackets.

Sosne
[date] est mort Nicolas FOURNELLE muni
[de foi des sacrements et] inhumé au cimetière de Herserange.

1675/6 Death/Burial Record of Nicolas FOURNELLE. Image courtesy of Archives départementales de Meurthe-et-Moselle (54), 5 Mi 259/R 1 vue 21 de 529 (cropped)

About 1675/6 Nicolas FOURNELLE died in Saulnes provided with the sacraments and buried in the cemetery of Herserange.6 The estimated year of death has been assumed from the entries that include dates. No age at the time of death is seen in the incomplete death/burial entry.

There were no further entries for a Nicolas FOURNELLE. It’s a good possibility that the records are for one person.

Anne FOURNELLE, wife of Jean HAIS

Four baptismal records were found for children whose father was named Jean HAIS (with alternate spellings being HEIS, HAYS, and HAISSE).

1668 Baptismal Record of Margueritte HAIS. Image courtesy of Archives départementales de Meurthe-et-Moselle (54), 5 Mi 259/R 1 vue 9 de 529 (cropped)

On 30 December 1668, Margueritte, daughter of Jean HAIS, was baptized in Saulnes. The godfather was François BOURMON and the godmother was Margueritte DOLHAY, both of Hussigny.7 The mother’s name was not given.

The first letter of the godfather’s name is missing on the record. In the Familles de Saulnes de 1668 à 1920, the compiler read the name as BOURMON.8 I originally thought the name was FOURNIER and was a bit disappointed when I checked the family book for Saulnes.

1672 Baptismal Record of Margueritte HAIS. Image courtesy of Archives départementales de Meurthe-et-Moselle (54), 5 Mi 259/R 1 vue 13 de 529 (cropped)

On 8 February 1672 in Saulnes, Margueritte, daughter of Jean HAIS, was baptized. The godfather was Nicolas BILLON and the godmother was Margueritte LOUIS.9 As in the previous record, the mother was not named.

1672 Baptismal Record of Anne MARTIN with godmother Anne FOURNELLE. Image courtesy of Archives départementales de Meurthe-et-Moselle (54), 5 Mi 259/R 1 vue 15 de 529 (cropped)

Eight months later, on 18 October 1672, Anne, daughter of Anthoine MARTIN, was baptized in Saulnes. The godfather was a man with the first name Jean; the godmother was Anne FOURNELLE. The record indicates she was the wife of Jean FOURNELLE.10

The priest made an error when he entered the name of the husband or, as has been seen in other records, the husband was also known by his wife’s surname. The compiler of Familles de Saulnes de 1668 à 1920 made the connection and listed the godmother Anne FOURNELLE as the wife of Jean HAIS.11

Anne FOURNELLE was the wife of Jean HAIS as we will see in the next entry.

1680 Baptismal Record of Catherine HAIS. Image courtesy of Archives départementales de Meurthe-et-Moselle (54), 5 Mi 259/R 1 vue 25 de 529 (cropped)

On 28 December 1680 Catherine, daughter of Jean HAIS and Anne FOURNELLE, was baptized in Saulnes. Her godfather was Pierre DASSIS and her godmother was a lady by the first name of Catherine.12

Could the missing the surname of the godmother be SETON? Baby Catherine was the first child of Jean HAIS and Anne FOURNELLE to be baptized after Jean FOURNELLE married Catherine SETON. Jean and Anne had no sons who would have had Jean FOURNELLE as a godfather.

A fourth child born in 1673 will be discussed in the next section.

No further children were born to the HAIS-FOURNELLE couple in the parish of Herserange.

There is a good possibility that they moved to the neighboring Hussigny as in 1696 one Jean HAIS was the godfather of Marie, daughter of Jean FOURNELLE and Catherine SETON.

1696 Baptismal Record of Marie FOURNEL with godfather Jean HAIS. Image courtesy of Archives départementales de Meurthe-et-Moselle (54), 5 Mi 259/R 1 vue 365 de 529 (cropped)

On 9 June 1696 in Saulnes, a child Marie was baptized in the presence of her godfather Jean HAIS (HEINS) of Hussigny and her godmother Marie LEJEUNE of Aix. Her parents’ names were listed as Jean FOURNY and Catherine SETON.13

Pierre FOURNY

1673 Baptismal Record of Maria HAIS with godfather Pierre FOURNY. Image courtesy of Archives départementales de Meurthe-et-Moselle (54), 5 Mi 259/R 1 vue 16 de 529 (cropped)

On 5 June 1673, a baby girl was baptized with the name Maria. Her godfather was Pierre FOURNY and her godmother was Maria HENRION. The child’s surname was HAIS but neither the name of her father nor her mother survived as part of the page is missing. 14

Analysis of the records

Was Nicolas FOURNELLE the father of these three persons living in the same town with the same, if differently spelled, surname?

  • Anne FOURNELLE, wife of Jean HAIS
  • Pierre FOURNY
  • Jean FOURNEL, husband of Catherine SETON

From the records found, I estimated their years of birth. Anne was born before 1646 if she married about 1667 at the age of 21 and was the mother of all daughters of Jean HAIS (Heis, Hays, Haisse). Pierre was born before 1652 assuming he was a young man in 1673 when he became a godfather. Pierre was likely older than Jean who was first seen in records in 1678. Jean was born about 1655 per his death record.15

The estimates for the birth years of Anne (bef. 1646), Pierre (bef. 1652), and Jean (abt. 1655) place them in the same generation. As Saulnes was a very small village in the years from 1646 to 1655, it is likely that they were siblings and possibly the children of the Nicolas FOURNELLE who died there in 1675/6.

Another event may point to Nicolas being the father. Jean FOURNEL and Catherine SETON became parents only after the death of Nicolas. Their firstborn son was named Nicolas. Did they choose a godfather with the first name Nicolas to follow a tradition of naming the firstborn children after the paternal and maternal grandparents, the first male child being named after the paternal grandfather?

At this point, I believe Nicolas FOURNELLE who died in Saulnes in 1675/6 was most likely the earliest FOURNELLE ancestor.

It would appear that I am now at an impasse with the supporting cast I’ve found. The descent of Anne FOURNELLE and Jean HAIS through their daughters born 1668 to 1680 is made more difficult due to the variants seen for the HAIS surname. No leads have been found for Pierre FOURNY.

This leaves Jean FOURNEL and Catherine SETON’s children and their descendants. Of their children, seven married and will each be discussed in separate posts in the coming weeks.

© 2020, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. Archives départementales de Meurthe-et-Moselle (54), browsable images of microfilm collection of parish and civil records (online http://www.archives.cg54.fr/), Herserange > 1668-1773 > 5 Mi 259/R 1 > Herserange B. (1668-1688, 1694-1742, 1745-1746), M. (1684-1686, 1688-1692, 1694-1742, 1745-1746), S. (1676-1679, 1681-1689, 1694-1742, 1745-1773) image 333 of 529. New terms of use: En application du règlement sur la réutilisation des données publiques adopté par le conseil départemental de Meurthe-et-Moselle (délibération de sa commission permanente n°17, en date du 16 janvier 2017), je m’engage à mentionner la source du document téléchargé (Arch. dép. de Meurthe-et-Moselle, [suivi de la cote complète]), en cas de réutilisation. 1702 Catherine Seton death record, age at death about 45 yrs (right page, last entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b538082e2f7 : accessed 7 July 2020). 
  2. Ibid., Herserange > 1668-1773 > 5 Mi 259/R 1 > image 300 of 529 . 1708 Marriage Record of Jean Courtois and Françoise Fournel (right page, last entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b5380814b5d : accessed 7 July 2020). 
  3. Ibid., Herserange > 1668-1773 > 5 Mi 259/R 1 > image 266 of 529 . 1713 Marriage Record of Jean Fournel and Jeanne Berkin (right page, top). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b53807ed8f7 : accessed 2 July 2020). 
  4. Ibid., Herserange > 1668- 1773 > 5 Mi 259/R 1 > image 365 of 529. 1696 Marie Fournel baptismal record (right page, 2nd entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b5380847004 : accessed 7 July 2020). 
  5. Ibid., Herserange > 1668-1773 > 5 Mi 259/R 1 > image 13 of 529. 1672 Baptismal Record (right page, 2nd entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b5380759111 : accessed 7 July 2020). 
  6. Ibid., Herserange > 1668- 1773 > 5 Mi 259/R 1 > image 21 of 529. 1675/6 Death Record (left page, 6th entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b538075bfd4 : accessed 2 July 2020). 
  7. Ibid., Herserange > 1668-1773 > 5 Mi 259/R 1 > image 9 of 529. 1668 Baptismal Record (right page, 2nd entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b5380757038 : accessed 15 July 2020). 
  8. Catherine Goncalves, Bernard Batrthélémy, René Bréden, Aimé Tarnus, Familles de Saulnes de 1668 à 1920, three volumes published by the Cercle Généalogique du Pays de Longwy, p. 1305-1306 family 3362. 
  9. Archives Meurthe-et-Moselle, Herserange > 1668-1773 > 5 Mi 259/R 1 > image 13 of 529. 1672 Baptismal Record (left page, first entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b5380758a4c : accessed 14 July 2020). 
  10. Ibid., Herserange > 1668-1773 > 5 Mi 259/R 1 > image 15 of 529. 1672 Baptismal Record (left page, 2nd entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b53807597ad : accessed 8 July 2020). 
  11. Familles de Saulnes de 1668 à 1920, p. 1937-1938, family 4969, Anthoine Martin and his wife Françoise. 
  12. Archives Meurthe-et-Moselle, Herserange > 1668- 1773 > 5 Mi 259/R 1 > image 25 of 529. 1680 Baptismal Record (left page, 5th entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b538075dfa2 : accessed 29 July 2020). 
  13. Ibid., Herserange > 1668- 1773 > 5 Mi 259/R 1 > image 365 of 529. 1696 Marie Fournel baptismal record (right page, 2nd entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b5380847004 : accessed 7 July 2020). 
  14. Ibid., Herserange > 1668- 1773 > 5 Mi 259/R 1 > image 16 of 529. 1673 Baptismal Record (right page, 2nd entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b5380759dd3 : accessed 4 July 2020). 
  15. Ibid., Herserange > 1668-1773 > 5 Mi 259/R 1 > image 183 of 529 . 1721 Death Record (left page, first entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b53807b3cf3 : accessed 7 July 2020). 

Author: Cathy Meder-Dempsey

When I’m not doing genealogy and blogging, I spend time riding my racing bike with my husband through the wonderful Luxembourg countryside.

17 thoughts on “Going Back to the Earliest Fournelle Ancestor (Part 3)”

    1. Thank you, Linda. I’m quite there sure there are likely notary records as the compiler of the family book for Hussigny-Godbrange (the town with the missing records) used notary records as well as several other collections available at the archives but not online.

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  1. Between the condition of those records and the constantly changing spelling of the surnames, I am amazed you were able to piece all this together. When did standardized spelling of surnames reach Europe? And as I read the various spellings of Seton, I was relieved to see it never was spelled SATAN! About the only variation that’s missing!

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