Jean Fournel (1686-1749) and Jeanne Berkin (1683-1759)

After working on the earliest ancestors of my FOURNELLE (also seen as Fournel, Fourny, Fournier) line, I am now writing about the married children of my 7th great-grandparents, Jean FOURNEL (1655-1721) and Catherine SETON (1657-1702) of Saulnes (Meurthe-et-Moselle, France).

The third child of Jean and Catherine was my 6th great-grandfather Jean FOURNEL (1686-1749).

1686 Baptismal Record of Jean Fournel. Image courtesy of Archives départementales de Meurthe-et-Moselle (54), 5 Mi 259/R 1 vue 42 de 529

Jean was born and baptized on 9 May 1686 in Saulnes (Meurthe-et-Moselle, France). His godparents were Jean QUERIN and Marie Madeleine CHERLOT (a variation of CHOLOT).1 He was welcomed into the family by his eight-year-old sister Françoise and his nearly three-year-old brother Nicolas.

Jean had five more documented siblings. A brother Henri was born when Jean was 2, a sister Jeanne at 4, a sister Sébastienne at 5, a sister Marie at 10, and a brother Jacques at 12. Marie may have also been known as Marie Catherine. Proof has not been found that Marie and Marie Catherine were the same person. It’s possible that Marie Catherine was another sister, possibly born between 1800-1802.

Jean was sixteen when he and his siblings lost their mother Catherine SETON on 21 September 1702. She died in Saulnes where the family lived and was buried in the church cemetery.2

The FOURNEL family, father Jean and the children, remained together until Jean’s oldest sister Françoise married in January of 1708.

Later in the year, on 22 August 1708, young Jean became the godfather of Elizabeth, a daughter of Nicolas RAISER and Catherine TONNELIER. A family relationship with this couple is not known. Jean’s surname was written FOURNY on the baptismal record.3

Jean’s next oldest sibling, Nicolas married in June 1710. Jean was now the oldest child living at home with his widowed father Jean and his younger siblings.

Jean marries and starts a family

Jean married Jeanne BERKIN, daughter of Domange BERKIN and Anne WARCOLLIER, on 22 January 1713 in Rodange (Luxembourg).4 Jeanne was three years older than Jean having been baptized on 18 May 1683 in Rodange.5 She was likely born the same or previous day as it was the custom to baptize children as soon as they were born.

Present at the marriage of Jean and Jeanne were Jean FOURNEL (father of the groom), Nicolas FOURNEL (brother of the groom), Nicolas BERKIN (brother of the bride), and Jean WARCOLLIER (cousin of the bride). All of these persons signed the marriage record along with Jean and Jeanne – with their marks.

1713 Marriage Record of Jean FOURNEL and Jeanne BERKIN. Image courtesy of Archives départementales de Meurthe-et-Moselle (54), 5 Mi 259/R 1 vue 266 de 529

The parents of the bride were named but there is no mention of their being alive and present at the marriage. In-depth research has not been done on the BERKIN (also seen as BERQUIN) and WARCOLLIER lines. The father of the bride, Domange BERKIN may have been deceased at the time of the marriage of his daughter Jeanne. The mother of the bride, Anne WARCOLLIER died 13 years later, on 12 April 1726. The phrasing of the marriage record suggests the bridal couple were assisted by their parents and friends and then continues by naming the ones who signed or witnessed the marriage.

A little less than seven months after the marriage, the first child of Jean and Jeanne was born. Pierre FOURNELLE, my 5th great-grandfather, was born and baptized on 12 August 1713 in Rodange. Pierre WARCOLLIER, a young man from Lamadelaine, and Marguerite MARC, a young woman, were the godparents of Pierre.6

The second child of Jean and Jeanne took a bit more time to join the family. Nearly four years later Christianne was born and baptized on 11 April 1717. Her godparents were Samson HOTTON of Russange and Christianne LELIÉVRE.7 [Note: Samson HOTTON was the son of Jean HOTTON and Elisabeth BERKIN (parentage unknown, an aunt or sister of Jeanne BERKIN?]

Jean FOURNEL, now the father of a son and daughter, may have been present at the marriage of his sister Jeanne on 28 July 1720 in Obercorn to Jérôme PETRISOT. The marriage entry in the church records gives only the names of the bride and groom.8 We do know that Jean witnessed the marriage of his sister Sébastienne to Jean FRANÇOIS on 24 November 1720 in Saulnes as he and his brother Jacques were present and assisted the bride.9

Two months later, the third child of Jean and Jeanne was born. Their daughter Anne Marie was born and baptized on 21 January 1721, a day before their seventh wedding anniversary. The godparents of the child were Jean’s brother Jacques FOURNEL and a young lady named Anne Marie LELIÉVRE.10 The relationship to Christianne’s godmother is unknown. [Note: Jeanne BERKIN’s sister Barbe BERKIN married Nicolas LELIÉVRE before 1703. Are Christianne and Anne Marie children of this marriage?]

While marriages and births were being celebrated, the elder Jean FOURNEL, widower of Catherine SETON, must have been in declining health. He was last seen as a witness at his son Jean’s marriage in 1713. On 3 September 1721, Jean FOURNEL died at the age of 66 years in Saulnes. His two oldest sons, Nicolas and Jean were witnesses to his death and burial record.11

The following spring the fourth child of Jean and Jeanne was born in Rodange on 30 March 1722. Jacques was baptized the same day in the presence of his godparents, Jacques FELTEN and Elizabeth LEINS. The surname of the father and son was spelled FOURNIER on this record.12

Jeanne, the youngest child of Jean and Jeanne, was born and baptized on 27 August 1725 in Rodange. Her godparents were Jacques MARC (signed MARQUE), a young man, and Jeanne KERGEN of Russange.13 [Note: 1. This is the second child with a godparent with the surname MARC. What is the significance of this choice? 2. Is there more than one connection to the village of Russange for the FOURNEL and BERKIN families – other than the HOTTON-BERKIN connection?]

Jean FOURNEL was a witness at the marriage of his sister-in-law Barbe BERKIN to Michel THOMA on 8 February 1728 in Rodange.14 Barbe had been a widow since 1712 when her first husband Nicolas LELIÉVRE died. Also present at the marriage was Nicolas BERKIN, sister of the bride. This record is proof that Nicolas, Barbe, and Jeanne were siblings.

Jean FOURNEL was a witness at the marriage of his friend Laurent BOULANGER to Anne BURKEL on 16 February 1738.15

The children are old enough to marry

In 1743, Jean and Jeanne’s children were grown up and old enough to marry.

Their youngest child, daughter Jeanne married Henri DE CHAIVE (1704-1789) on 18 January 1743 in Herserange. Jeanne was 17 and Henri was 38 years old. Jeanne’s father Jean and her uncle Jacques were witnesses at the marriage as well as Jacques BURQUELLE and Pierre JACQUINET.16 The couple lived in Rodange and had five sons. Of these, three died at a young age and one has not been found after his baptism. Only one of the sons married and continued the line. His marriage to his second cousin Marie Catherine BERKIN, granddaughter of Jeanne BERKIN’s brother Nicolas, would be fruitful. She bore him 13 children although not all would reach maturity.

A month later, Jean and Jeanne’s oldest child married. Their twenty-nine years old son Pierre FOURNELLE (1713-1765) married the twenty years old Jeanne NEU (1723-1783) in Aubange (Belgium) on 25 February 1743. Permission for the marriage to take place in Aubange, (demissoriale pour union) was acquired from the parish of Herserange and recorded in that register.17 The bride was from Athus (Belgium). The marriage was recorded in the Aubange church register.18 This couple, my 5th great-grandparents, will be discussed in more detail in a later post. [Note: Today Rodange is a tri-border area – the geographical point at which the boundaries of three countries meet – Luxembourg, Belgium, and France.]

Jean FOURNEL was 58 years old when he witnessed the marriage of his nephew by marriage Jacques LOUIS, son of Jacques LOUIS and Elisabeth BERKIN (Jean’s wife Jeanne’s sister) on 16 November 1744 in Rodange. Jean was described as a member of the church council (synodal) or sinodal de cette paroisse.19

Five years later, Jean FOURNEL died at the age of 62 years on 21 January 1749, the day before his 36th wedding anniversary. He was an ancien sinodal (an elder synodal or member of the church council) and was buried in the choir of the chapel of Rodange.20 Jean’s brother-in-law Nicolas BERKIN (seen here as BERQUIN) was a witness to the record.

1749 Death/Burial Record of Jean FOURNEL. Image courtesy of Archives départementales de Meurthe-et-Moselle (54), 5 Mi 259/R 1 vue 469 de 529
1749 Death/Burial Record of Jean FOURNEL. Image courtesy of Archives départementales de Meurthe-et-Moselle (54), 5 Mi 259/R 1 vue 469 de 529

This is the first time one of my ancestors had a special burial. As the sinodal, my 6th great-grandfather was a  representative for the village of Rodange which was dependant on the parish of Herserange. From his death/burial record, it would appear that Rodange had a chapel in 1749. I asked one of my genealogy contacts in Luxembourg about the “choir of the chapel” and did a bit of research on the architecture of Catholic churches. In the past, behind the front altar, there were a few steps up to a raised dais with a railing behind which the main altar was found. The area around the main altar —the choir or chancel— was reserved for the clergy who performed services. The chancel was considered one of the most desirable burial locations in early times. I haven’t been able to learn if the chapel still exists in Rodange or if the present church might be built on the same spot. I’ve visited churches in Europe with inscribed stone slabs laid into the floor to mark the burial place of important deceased persons never realizing I might have an ancestor buried in this way.

Life in the family after the death of Jean FOURNEL

It’s not known if daughters Christianne and Anne Marie were still at home with their mother Jeanne and brother Jacques after the death of their father. No records have been found for marriages or deaths of either of them.

Jacques married Barbe CLEMENT in Herserange on 31 August 1756.21 He was 34 and she was 21. The marriage lasted only nine years as Jacques died at the age of 43 on 29 March 1766 in Saulnes.22 They were the parents of four children, one of whom died at the age of one month. Their only daughter died at the age of eleven. No trace of their youngest son was found after his baptism. Their oldest son married, had a large family, and lived in Obercorn and later in Mamer. It is not known how long Barbe lived nor where she died.

A decade after the death of Jean FOURNEL, his widow Jeanne BERKIN died on 16 February 1759 in Rodange at the age of 75. Her oldest son Pierre was one of the two informants. Jeanne was buried in the cemetery of Rodange.23

Of the three living children of Jean FOURNEL and Jeanne BERKIN, Pierre FOURNELLE was the first to pass away on 23 July 1765 in Rodange. He was 51 years old.24 As mentioned earlier, Jacques died the following year in Saulnes at the age of 43.

Following the deaths of Pierre and Jacques, Jeanne FOURNELLE, the youngest child of Jean and Jeanne, was the only living child. On 20 March 1779, she stood up as the godmother of her grandson Jacques, the 7th child of her only living son Jean Henri André DE CHAIVE and his wife Marie Catherine BERKIN.25 Jeanne lost her husband Henri DE CHAIVE on 23 October 1789 in Rodange.26 He was 85 years old. She died on 15 December 1802 in Hussigny (Meurthe-et-Moselle) where her son lived at the age of 77.27

I spent extra time on this post as Jean FOURNEL, son of Jean FOURNEL and Catherine SETON, and Jeanne BERKIN were my 6th great-grandparents, i.e. my direct line. Working through the records for this family group brought to light relationships with the BERKIN and WARCOLLIER families which will help in later research Jeanne’s parents Domange BERKIN and Anne WARCOLLIER.

Next up will be Jean’s brother Henri who unlike Jean remained in his native Saulnes.

Going Back to the Earliest Fournelle Ancestor (Part 1)

Going Back to the Earliest Fournelle Ancestor (Part 2)

Going Back to the Earliest Fournelle Ancestor (Part 3)

Françoise FOURNEL (1678-1729) and Jean COURTOIS (1684-1745)

Nicolas FOURNEL (1683-abt.1748) and Barbe AGARANT (abt.1678-1758)

© 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 >  image 42 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. 1686 Baptismal Record (right page, last entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b5380766086 : accessed 10 July 2020). 
  2. Ibid., Herserange > 1668-1773 > 5 Mi 259/R 1 > image 333 of 529. 1702 Death Record (right page, last entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b538082e2f7 : accessed 7 July 2020). 
  3. Ibid., Herserange 1668-1773 > 5 Mi 259/R 1 > image 302 of 529. 1708 Baptismal Record (right page, last entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b538081603f : accessed 31 August 2020). 
  4. 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). 
  5. Ibid., Herserange > 1668-1773 > 5 Mi 259/R 1 > image 28 of 529. 1683 Baptismal Record (3rd entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b538075f780 : accessed 2 July 2020). 
  6. Ibid., Herserange 1668-1773 > 5 Mi 259/R 1 > image 272 of 529. 1713 Baptismal Record (left page, first entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b53807f1dbe : accessed 11 September 2013). 
  7. Ibid., Herserange 1668-1773 > 5 Mi 259/R 1 > image 236 of 529. 1717 Baptismal Record (left page, first entry).(http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b53807d3ca6 : accessed 8 July 2020). 
  8. Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, 1601-1948 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Obercorn > Baptêmes 1704-1727, 1746, 1794-1797, 1800-1805, mariages 1795-1797, 1800-1807, sépultures 1794-1797, 1802-1807 > image 6 of 296. 1720 Marriage Record (left page, 4th entry from bottom). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89WS-9SK3?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-N3T%3A1500974001%2C1500974302 : accessed 12 July 2020). 
  9. Archives Meurthe-et-Moselle (54), Herserange > 1668-1773 > 5 Mi 259/R 1 > image 178 of 529. 1720 Marriage Record (left page, 2nd entry).(http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b53807b09bb : accessed 8 July 2020). 
  10. Ibid., Herserange 1668-1773 > 5 Mi 259/R 1 > image 179 of 529 . 1721 Baptismal Record (right page, last entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b53807b1406 : accessed 8 July 2020). 
  11. 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). 
  12. Ibid., Herserange > 1668-1773 > 5 Mi 259/R 1 >image 187 of 529. 1722 Baptismal Record (left page, first entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b53807b6129 : accessed 8 July 2020). 
  13. Ibid., Herserange > 1668-1773 > 5 Mi 259/R 1 > image 211 of 529. 1725 Baptismal Record (right page, first entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b53807c3c3a : accessed 9 July 2020). 
  14. Ibid., Herserange > 1668-1773 > 5 Mi 259/R 1 > image 171 of 529. 1728 Marriage Record (right page, top). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b53807a8049 : accessed 14 July 2020). 
  15. Ibid., Herserange > 1668-1773 > 5 Mi 259/R 1 > image 485 of 529. 1738 Marriage Record right page, last entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b53808aece0 : accessed 9 September 2020). 
  16. Ibid., Herserange > 1743-1791 > 5 Mi 259/R 3 > images 197+198 of 328. 1743 Marriage Record, right page, last entry (part 1). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3ebca/54b536f06e6ad : accessed 9 July 2020) and 1743 Marriage Record, right page, last entry (part 2).(http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3ebca/54b536f06f031 : accessed 9 July 2020). 
  17. Ibid., Herserange > 1743-1791 > 5 Mi 259/R 3 > image 200 of 328. 1743 Pierre Fournelle and Jeanne Neu marriage record (left page, 2nd entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3ebca/54b536f070323 : accessed 8 July 2020). 
  18. Belgique, Luxembourg, Registres paroissiaux, 1618-1868, (images), FamilySearch (original records at België Nationaal Archief, Brussels / Belgium National Archives, Brussels), Paroisse d’Aubange (Luxembourg) > Film #619924 DGS #007944121 > Baptêmes 1729-1783 Mariages 1729-1776 Sépultures 1729-1776 > Image 342+343 of 605. 1743 Marriage Record, part 1 (right, bottom). (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSZV-FS5T-F?i=341&cat=74664 : accessed 26 November 2017) and 1743 Marriage Record, part 2 (left, top). (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSZV-FS55-K?i=342&cat=74664 : accessed 26 November 2017). 
  19. Archives Meurthe-et-Moselle (54), Herserange > 1743-1791 > 5 Mi 259/R 3 > image 193+194 of 328. 1744 Marriage Record, part 1 (right page, last entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3ebca/54b536f06bdc9 : accessed 6 Spetmeber 2020) and 1744 Marriage Record, part 2 (left page, first entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3ebca/54b536f06c729 : accessed 6 September 2020). 
  20. Ibid., Herserange > 1668-1773 > 5 Mi 259/R 1 > image 469 of 529.  1749 Death Record (bottom left and top right). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b53808a0bb3 : accessed 8 July 2020). 
  21. Ibid., Herserange >1743-1791 > 5 Mi 259/R 3 > image 126 of 328. 1756 Marriage Record (right page, last entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3ebca/54b536f0423eb : accessed 10 July 2020). 
  22. Ibid., Herserange > 1668-1773 > 5 Mi 259/R 1 > image 412 of 529. 1766 Death Record (right page, 3rd entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b538086dcc5 : accessed 8 July 2020). 
  23. Idib., Herserange 1668-1773 > 5 Mi 259/R 1 > image 434 of 529. 1759 Death Record (right page, 3rd entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b5380882189 : accessed 1 July 2020). 
  24. Ibid., Herserange 1668-1773 > 5 Mi 259/R 1 > image 416 of 529. 1765 Death Record (left page, 1st complete entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b538087141a : accessed 8 July 2020). 
  25. Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, 1601-1948 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Rodange > Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1779-1793 > image 4 of 108. 1779 Baptismal Record (left page, first entry). (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-32463-15032-95?cc=2037955 : accessed 1 September 2020). 
  26. Ibid., Rodange > Baptêmes 1767-1777, 1779-1796, confirmations 1791, mariages 1767-1777, 1779-1795, sépultures 1767-1777, 1779-1797 > image 95 of 102. 1789 Death Record (left page, 2nd entry). (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-32463-15224-80?cc=2037955 : accessed 9 July 2020). 
  27. Archives Meurthe-et-Moselle (54), Hussigny-Godbrange 1714_1809 > 5 Mi 268/R 1 > image 621 of 677. 1802 Death Record (right page, first entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea53d8a/54b01054ebc5f : accessed 9 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.

11 thoughts on “Jean Fournel (1686-1749) and Jeanne Berkin (1683-1759)”

    1. I found an amazing site with a surname study for Berquin (Berkin) that includes my most distant ancestor Domange. Your comment reminded me of this and I’ll be off to check it out further for the Berkin line in Russange – if it has been documented. Thanks, Luanne.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, I found Elisabeth Berquin from Russange on the site with the surname study. She is listed with a “placeholder” father who has parents and grandparents with names. Now I have to figure out how the researcher made the connection and if my Berkin/Berquin line is from the same line. They are both on the same page and the numbering system indicates a connection. It’s a bit confusing and I need to take some time to work it out. It’ll keep until I finish the Fournelle line.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. So your fifth GGF was born seven months after his parents’ marriage. 🙂 And how interesting that Jean was buried inside the church. I guess that was not an uncommon practice (like Westminster Abbey)—is that still done these days?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Right, Amy. I knew his “early” birth would get you. 🙃 As for the burials in the church, I think today it is only done where they have crypts or vaults. In some old churches the tiling on the floors is uneven indicating burial places. In medieval times it was even more common – with people wanting to be buried as close to God as possible.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I did some google map searches to see where the church and cemetery in Rodange are today. In the center of town which makes me think the chapel may have been in the same location as the church is today. I’m off to check old Luxembourg newspapers to see if I can find anything on the chapel, church, and cemetery.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Premarital sex was never something new, Sharon. 🙂 I think this is as far back as I’ll be able to go with these. I’m lucky they were in the parish of Herserange. Other villages in the area are missing records for the 1600s and early 1700s.

      Like

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