Where Can I Find Help Reading Medieval Records from 1597 France?

+3 votes
Hello fellow Wikitreers!

I'm in a dilemma. I am researching my Jewish ancestors that immigrated to France, I'm guessing now, around 1250 or so BCE. I've found a variation of their "French" name in Inquisition docs from 1597. Not the original 1200 inquisitions from the Monks. Anyway, they seem to be in Latin, not French. I can make out some words like variations on the names but that's about it. Do you know where I can get some help with this?
in Requests for Project Volunteers by Connie Carter G2G5 (5.4k points)
retagged by Connie Carter

This document, about reading Latin, may be helpful but it is focused more on later documents. https://net.lib.byu.edu/~tke8/feefhs_2018/09_%20Medieval%20Latin%20short.ppt

This page is about reading midieval documents https://guides.lib.uchicago.edu/c.php?g=813534&p=5805557

This webpage is about paleography https://script.byu.edu/Pages/paleography/home It also has some useful links.

definitely give us a link to documents in question, some of us remember our Latin and also speak French.  Is the name Guyon you tagged in your question the name they went by?

First of all, I want to thank everyone who has responded so far. you are all awesome! I will add the suggested tags to my query. Someone mentioned my faux pas of BCE....ah yes, I grew up in the era of BC and AD...I should have stuck with AD....my bad...

The record in question is: 

Index chronologique de consanguinité 1597-1818 -- Registres des consanguinité V. 1: 1597-1662
The names that I am looking for are Giuan/Cerf. I think I found Margarmim Guyonnan? (who might have later become Guyon).  Not only can I read limited bits of Latin but I'm visually impaired.
So for anyone who wants to take a stab at it, I'd sure appreciate it. And I will take a look at the other links that were sent as well.
Again thank you all so very much. It is greatly appreciated!
I am not a Latin specialist so hopefully others will drop by. These are just notes.

The file seems to be about consanguinity cases. Consanguinity refers to relatives marrying which the Catholic church had rules about. Eventually these rules came to have a lot to do with needing to pay for a special license (dispensation).

I see words such as "in premissa de opportune absolutionia beneficio ac dispensationia"

I see the name(s?) Margerine [a?/et?] Buyonna. Remember that the ends of words change in Latin depending on the grammatical role the word was playing, so you'll see various endings to her name.
Well I got the context of the document wrong but the name was close!  Without going through more of the doc I won't know for sure. Does anyone know of a glossary of medieval latin terms online offhand?
Hand-writing is one thing. But keep in mind that this particular style was used over much of Europe, so also in English. So you can practice in different languages and once you have the skill you can use it in several languages.

Latin is another thing. Laura is correct to say it is basically still Latin though, and if anything a lot simpler than classical Latin, at least in this type of document.

A third thing is specialist vocabulary. These are official documents and each type of document will have had its specialized terminology and key words. Luckily the modern jargon used in official documents in European languages today is very heavily influenced by church Latin.

...So what you might want to try, is to google some of the key words relating to this type of document. Such as inquisitio and consanguinitas or "carnali copula consumarunt" (4th line), because this may bring you to books about similar cases.

oh boy, long baby, starts on previous page to what you linked and continues on next pages, it appears to be a petition to get dispensation for marriage, I see the terms de facto __ carnali copula in there, the name of the woman seems to be Margarinna Guyonna, this will take a lot of work to read through and figure out what all the words even are, although there are some that are set phrases you see in church documents regularly.  I just can't figure out where the name of the other party is.

One of the techniques I use for complex foreign language documents is to simply transcribe it before trying to translate it. Use ellipses ( ... ) for parts that you cannot initially read, whether they represent letters, words! Or phrases. Only after getting the document readable do I attempt to translate.

Once you have a transcription, use your word processor to display the document in a columnar format with the Latin original in one column and the translation next to it. Separate the document into paragraphs.
Danielle, but are you sure the ligature between Margarina and Buyonna is not an "et"? Could these be the two names?

Thanks for pointing to the first page. Over there it looks a bit like these might be two people named Margarina Septvant and Buyonna Belin?? Funnily enough Septvant is a Norman surname, also found in medieval England. The other name makes me think of the Southwest, but that's just a wild guess.
INteresting for sure! I'm going to use some of these suggestions and see if i can get through the rest of the document and some others to see what else I can find!

I'll go back to the first page and check it out again. and thank you so much!

Andrew you are correct, they are referring to both people when they go Margarinna et Guyonna, the first page actually names them both fully, Margarinni Septuant Lairi et Guyonna Belin is found on first page.

Strange. I tried googling Guyonna and it is a real name but it normally seems to be a female name.
The names are Margarinus and Guyonna, which would translate in French as Marguerin (male) and Guyonne (female). It is usual in those latin texts to have French given names replaced with their latin equivalents, with declension, while family names are kept in their original form and are invariable.

According to the (later) marginal note, the document is a consanguinity exemption from 3rd to 4th degree, meaning that one grandparent of Marguerin and one great-grandparent of Guyonne were siblings. The note also tells us that the marriage took place in 1597 in Montbray (50). This is even clearer on page 7. You will not find the marriage record itself, as the oldest surviving records for Montbray are from 1629.

However, if you are interested in the family name Guyon (a fairly common name), this particular document is probably not what you are looking for.
It is and that is what I was trying to figure out. Thank you so much! Thank you all for your time and input on this. It is greatly appreciated!

4 Answers

+4 votes
If you provide a pointer to the docs, someone might be able to help. Also, did you really mean BCE? I suspect CE. There are a number of people who can read the Latin and/or French.
by Doug McCallum G2G6 Pilot (425k points)
+4 votes
Posting here is probably the best way.

You could probably get the attention of the people who could be able to help if you change your tags to "documents" "transcription" "translation" "French" "Latin"
by Lois Tilton G2G6 Pilot (127k points)
+6 votes
Members of the pre-1500 badge and members of the Medieval Project can generally read Latin. Several of us also read French. The bigger problem is reading the handwriting so you have the right words to translate..It is often a struggle.  Mainly because of the handwriting.  And my eyes are not what they once were.  A side effect of aging.  

 I would add tags for pre-1500 and Medieval and translation that are specific to this document and question.
by Laura Bozzay G2G6 Pilot (673k points)
I think you're right. The handwriting leaves something to be desired combined with some form of medieval latin....I'm lost! I took a look at a medieval latin lesson and its not so different than the latin I flunked in High School! LOL!

I'll keep plugging away at it. even a glossary would be helpful. Google Translate didn't seem to like it either....
Latin is pretty much Latin without a lot of changes from time period to time period.   There are some common and not so common abbreviations in Church records often called Church Latin by my former Jesuit teachers.    I use these helps when I get stuck







I often find that if I scan a list of possible words one will make more sense and if I try it generally it works.  

Finally I created an 8 language genealogy translation aide with native speakers of each language. There are some languages that need additional help but it is a start.  It is here on WikiTree  

Thank you so much! This looks awesome!
The Latin came from the Jesuit priest who performed my marriage to my husband 44 years ago.
+2 votes

There are a lot of Free Translation sources online, here are a few:  www.myeasytranslator.com   get a free app

 www.translationsearch.net     one time safe install, free service

 www.productopia.com/search_fast/save_time    translate free online

Babel Fish was a free web-based multilingual translation application but in 2012 it was replaced by Bing Translator.

by Betty Kennedy G2G3 (3.8k points)

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