Tag Archives: translation

Translation Challenge: What does this say?

This 1663 Jesuit baptismal record shows Europeans acting as godparents to native children at the reserve at Sillery.  It is an unusual record in that most Jesuit baptismal records don’t record multiple baptisms in one entry.  I am having difficulty with it because of the thick ink, the old Latin, and the obscurity of the native names.  Anyone see this as a challenge and want to take a peek?

April 20th, 1663 baptism record at Sillery.  Source: familysearch.org

1663 baptism records at Sillery. Source: familysearch.org

I am primarily interested in the April 20 entry at the bottom, but have included three others for context and handwriting clues.  The first, second, and final (April 20) record are all in Father Bailloquet’s writing.  Entry 3 is in the very neat hand of Henri Nouvel.

If you don’t know Latin, googletranslate helps a lot!

April 20, 1663 baptism at Sillery.  Source: familysearch.org

April 20, 1663 baptism at Sillery. Source: familysearch.org

Line by line, this is what I think I see.  (Underlines mean word left out.  Parentheses mean my best guess at a native name.)

  1. I Father Bailloquet Society of Jesuits ______ baptize
  2. _____  ______  Sillery ______  ______ infant _____  ______  ______
  3. first child of mother Nicola (Nosnisaksa) and _____  of father (Piksachins)
  4. _____  ______  _____  (Nosnisaksa) born Gropius (Srxchelin)
  5. 3rd ______  born of mother Martina (Nigoty) and father ______ (Nikazhkasnt)
  6. ______  ______  Abenaki.  Stephen Brantigni ______ ______  ______  Stephen
  7. Godmother Trud 2nd & 3rd.  ______ Nicolas.

I believe that this is the baptismal record of three natives at Sillery.  Some believe it might be the baptism record of the founding Boisvert ancestor for whom no baptismal record has ever been found.  (Etienne Boisvert went by a dit name rather than his father’s name, not unusual in the era.)  In this understanding, the child in this record is later orphaned and raised by his godfather Etienne Denevers (called Brantigni here) as his own son.

What do you think?

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Scribbled Latin Obscures the Truth

I have been thinking about my 9G grandmother, Anne Leodet, and what happened to her after her husband Jean Nepveu was convicted of bigamy and exiled from Canada.

Records show that Anne went on to marry Gilles Pinel – and that after their marriage, her life seemed to go on without skipping a beat.  I assume that this is true because Anne had eleven children over the course of her lifetime.  She always had her children two years apart, with only two exceptions.  Twice she had children three years apart — once between husbands, and later between her seventh and eighth child.   She was nothing if not regular about childbearing.

But what stumped me was how Anne managed to meet Gilles in the first place.  After the bigamy episode she was a woman alone with two young daughters and a sordid past.

And then the PRDH gave me a fascinating clue – Gilles is listed on her second daughter’s baptism record.  So Anne and Gilles probably knew each other before her first marriage came to its dramatic end.  Anne and Jean might have even selected Gilles to act as their daughter’s godfather.  And if they did, he merely changed roles in the family.  Way to look out for his goddaughter’s life!

I wanted to settle my suspicion that Gilles had been a family friend by confirming his role as godfather on the original record, and that is where I got stuck.

Photot: Screenshot of Suzanne Nepveu’s baptismal record from the Druoin Collection via Ancestry.com

The record is scribbled in non-standard Latin.  I tried translating the document using the Latin word list from Family Search.   Unfortunately, I could only get as far as my handwriting interpretation skills and imagination would allow.  For example, the first few words “Ego patrus Bailloquet …” I translated as “I, Father Bailloquet …” – even though I couldn’t find the word “patrus” on the word list.  I made the guess because I could find:

  • Parochus (parish priest)
  • Pater (father)
  • Patruus (uncle – father’s brother)

I decided that patrus doesn’t seem that far off for father/priest.

And happily, the word “patrinus” or “godfather” does show up in the third line of the record.  But nothing here is easy.  Patrinus is followed by fuit, or “he was” by [unclear word] [inkblot] Pinel.  It looks like the blot could start with a G – but that might just be wishful thinking.

Does anyone have Latin or handwriting interpretation skills to share?

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This is how I have interpreted the record so far ….  Everything here is an educated guess at best.  I copied it line by line.

Record: Talli baptinati in ecclesia Sillesiana ab anno dominin 1655, 11 Octobris

Me: List of baptisms from the church of Sillery October 11, 1655 AD

Record: Ego patrus Bailloquet soietatis jesu sacerdos vice agent partchi babtizane

Me: I, Father Bailloquet of the society of Jesuit priests ___ have officially baptized

Record: Sol danifer in sa ville silleranno pullileu bedl nafum de Joeanneu dide et

Me: Sun _____ in her village of Sillery, child born of Jean ___ and

Record: Anne Ledette consigibus patrinus fuit asoidius ___ pinel, matrina Suzanna

Me: Anne Ledette married couple, godfather was ______ ____ Pinel, godmother Suzanna

Record: Barbet hac fanto nomde duo suzannan nuncopauit

Me: Barbet ,the latter ____ by the name of her ____.

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