What do the French words and phrases in old documents mean?

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Many of the original documents which will be encountered when researching Jersey families are written in French, sometimes in Jerriais, and sometimes in a mixture of the two.

Here is a list of some of the words which will be found in these documents and their meanings.

Contents

A

Acheter to buy
acteur plaintiff
acquereur purchaser
appartient belonging to
approuver to approve, agree
apres after
assermenter to swear in
aujourd'hui today
autre other

B

bail lease
bailleur lessor
baptême baptism
baptême en particulier private baptism
baptême à la maison baptism at home
bas low, sometimes lower
beau pere father-in-law, stepfather
beau fils son-in-law, stepson
beau frere brother-in-law
belle fille daughter-in-law, stepdaughter
belle mere mother-in-law, stepmother
belle soeur sister-in-law
beau parents parents of spouse
boisseaux bushels

C

carriere quarry
cession transfer
chacun each
chemin road, path
chose thing
coignoissance awareness
courtil field
curé living
curateur guardian

D

defunct deceased
demi half
deiers pennies
deffenseur defendant
delesse widow
douaire widow, in will being divided
douit fresh water ditch or stream

E

entier the whole
entre between
est east

F

femme wife
fermier farmer
fief area owned by a seigneur
forgeron blacksmith
fournivont produced
fraerie expenses
frere brother
fils son
fils puisne next born son
fille daughter
froment wheat

G

garantirent guaranteed
garenne rabbit warren
gardien guardian
grandmere grandmother
grand oncle grand uncle
grandpere grandfather
grand tant grand aunt
grange granary

H

haut high,higher
heritage inheritance
hers heirs

J

jeunesse youth
jouira will enjoy ownership of
jurer sur serment swear on oath

L

leurs theirs
les dits the said
livres pounds
locataire lessee

M

maison house
maree tide
marraine godmother
meneur minor
mercier habadasher
mesnage paddock
meubles chattels, furniture
minue, mynue contract

N

nord north

O

ouie de paroisse audience of the parish
ouest west

P

paiera will pay
parenté near relation, close family
paroisse parish
parrain godfather
par retrait theright of a family to buy back inherited land sold within 40 days
partage division of property in a will
partu divided
piocher pickaxe, mattock
poule hen
preciput principal son's share of a will
preneur buyer
pré(s) meadow(s)
proche near
procureur legal representative
puîné(e) younger, youngest

Q

quartier quarter
quelque some
qui which

R

recevra will receive
relict widow
retour return
rente rent, regular payment

S

saisie seized
seigneur lord of the manor
selon according to
situé situated
soeur sister
soit that is
sou shilling

T

terrassier navvy
terre land, ground
tous all
tresor church funds
triezieme thirteenth
tuteur guardian

U

utérin(e) half - brother/sister

V

vendeur seller
vendre to sell
vendu sold
vente price
vergee land measure
veuf widower
veuve widow
vieillesse old age
vivier fish pond
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