Brick wall in the French Pyrennees

+2 votes
I have a brick wall in my tree, my great-great-grandmother Josefina/Josefa Pambron or Pambrun (AKA Ambron, Ombron). Due to the many different spellings of her surname i have been unable to locate her birth records. Someone told me this surname is from the Pyrennes region.
The only info i could find, is a birth announcement in a newspaper (L' Echo des Vallees) for a Marie Pambrun in 1862, in Bagneres. There is also a Maria and Juan Pambrun, bakers, listed in a passenger list as immigrating to Argentina.
Today i gave a second look to my documents, and i see that in a baptism record for one of the children of Josefina the witnesses are Juan Pambrun and Catalina Solari his wife. The couple also appear in the Argentinian Census 1895, the birth year of Juan is 1865.
This info makes me think that Marie and Josephine/Josefa are the same person. Can someone help me locate any records about her or Juan/Jean? I have no experience looking in the Pyrenees records since most of my French ancestors are from Loire Atlantique.
WikiTree profile: Josephine Pambrun
in Genealogy Help by Laura Lopez Van Dam G2G6 Mach 1 (10.4k points)

Indeed, Pambrun is a name from Hautes-Pyrénées, and more specifically from around Bagnères-de-Bigorre. So this is a good place to start with. Unfortunately the website of AD65 seems to be down at the moment.

The name is also present in Pyrénées-Atlantiques (Basque country), but not as much.

Could you give a link to the passenger list that names Maria and Juan Pambrun, bakers?

AD65 is back online. No Joséphine Pambrun born in Bagnères-de-Bigorre between 1843 and 1872. I am not going to check all villages around...

The same question was asked last year in the Geneanet forum (by David Quénéhervé, who is well known here), without a definitive answer. There is one Françoise Joséphine Pambrun born 1861 in Aureilhan, and she has a brother Jean Marie born 1863, they could match Josefa and Juan. However, she married in France in 1880. Is it possible that Josefa came to Argentina later than 1880, and that she was a widow when she married Luigi Vallassina?

2 Answers

+1 vote

There are some things that can complicate research in the Pyrénées:

  • Are the families French or French Basque. This is important for surnames. French Basque is not exactly the same as Spanish Basque.
  • Instead of a family surname, French Basques often used the name of the house where they lived, ultimately the name of the house can evolve into the family name. If they moved (or bought) to a new house their name may change, as they are usually known as the maître/maitresse of the house.
  • If they lived very close to the Spanish boarder, they could have frequently crossed, and births/marriages could be registered on either side. I have found Spanish records more difficult to find.
  • At the time of the French Revolution official record keeping transitioned from the Catholic Church to the civil authorities. Gaps should be expected in the transition years. Also, the French Republican calendar was used for several years. 
  • If you can make the transition to the church records they could go back to the early 1600s, and are frequently quite good.
by George Fulton G2G6 Pilot (508k points)

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