Reading old French documents

Years ago, my father found a document about a French ancestor, named Abraham VALLET, from Montignac-le-Coq, in the Charente, who married a French woman named Jeanne BARBIER, from La Rochelle, a harbour on the Atlantic coast of the Charente. Their ancestry has always been unknown, but today, a cousin who descends from the same couple told me that he found a series of scans from Montignac-le-Coq on Geneanet:

The couple married in Amsterdam, and the age reported by the husband suggests that he was born around 1664. And that year starts at page 132 of this series of scans, which is why I place this specific link.

Is there anyone who can help reading these scans? I can read about half of them, and checked this year and a couple of years before and after that, found a few people named VALLET, but no Abraham, so he might be in the other half that I can’t read.

Most Dutch genealogists that I know are not very proficient in reading French, let alone old scripts, which is why I’m asking here.

P.S. although the link shows a Dutch page title in my preview, Geneanet can be used in lots of European languages, so don’t be scared by what you see in that preview.


this is indeed batisms from Montignac-le-Coq. Curiously the name suggests that the scans were taken at the department archives but I can’t a trace of it on their web site (that unfortunately does not include a complete index of documents).

VALLET’s first name and the fact they married in Amsterdam suggest that their were protestant. The scan mentioned here and there “baptised at the church” so I suspect this is a catholic register so your ancestors baptism could be in a different register (it really depends on the local state of relations between catholics and protestants).

I’m not good at reading old french scripts, but e.g. on p134 bottom left is the baptism of a Jeanne VALLET.

I looked at 1662-1666 but could not find Abraham, there might be a Catherine VALLET at p124 (second to last) with the same parents(?).
When did your ancestor marry in Amsterdam? Is it after 1685? 1685 is when the “Edit de Nantes” (kind of peace treaty that gives save places for protestants) have been ended by the king of France, making protestantism basically illegal. Some had to convert to catholicism, some had to flee to the Netherlands or England (some from my village flew to South Africa!). I would look in catholic registers in 1685 abjurations for VALLET in Montignac.


Hello Laurent, thank you, and welcome to the forum.

My ancestors married in 1688, so that is after the Edit de Nantes was ended. They got a marriage license from a local court, and married two weeks later in the French (Wallon) church. It is through that marriage license that we know that he was a merchant, who identified himself as Sieur de La Barrière, and I later found out that La Barrière is a hamlet east of Busserolles. I also know that a cousin was Sieur Du Fraisse, and Le Fraisse is another hamlet, next to La Barrière, on the same road east. I saw glimpes of both on Google street view.

The fact that he was here at the time suggests that we was indeed a protestant, and fled France. And I think that, because my literature suggests that his family was quite wealthy, and owned paper mills in the area. And if he was a protestant indeed, it also explains why his name does not appear in this register. And I assume that the protestant register was destrioyed at the time.

To tell you the truth, I was quite surprised to see these scans on Geneanet, because I already had searched Geneabank, and the sites of the archive and the Association Généalogique de la Charente (AGC), and Geneabank had no results for an Abraham born around 1664. They have one for 1661, but I can’t see that without paying, and the search results don’t show a location for that record, and it’s also quite complicated to transfer money to them.

What I do know is, that these scans were contributed to Geneanet by a user or organisation named agc1600, and to me that suggests that that is the AGC.

The fact that I know so much from this ancestor’s origin is because a friend on usenet pointed me to publications on this site:

I’ve read in the geneanet forum that AGC has decided to put on geneanet the scans of registers they took that are not online on the archives site.


Hummm. Reading these old documents is not easy.

I’ve done some little searches:

All registers from Montignac available on Geneanet (GNN), there is one other document for that time (before in fact):

It’s seems Charente department archives (AD16) fonds description (and scanned documents) are very poor on their website. So this is why these ones are probably physical registers photographied by ACG members and shared on GNN as unavailable on AD16 website.

This document about protestants sources can also be found on AD16 website:


My Chrome browser have crashed after that. I’ll try to find again other documents I’d found to send them to you.

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