The baptismal record is written in Latin, should his first name at birth be the Latin version or the French?

+8 votes
This person's baptismal record is in Latin. His first name is given as Carolum Josephum which is Charles Joseph in French. What is the accepted practice for Wikitree. Should his First Name at birth be the name his parents would have told the priest in French or the Latin translation written by the priest?

BTW I know his LNAB also needs to be changed. I have left a message on the profile for the manager to change LNAB.

Christine (Mama Kiki)
WikiTree profile: Joseph Pageot
in Policy and Style by Mama Kiki Lajeunesse G2G6 (9.2k points)
Historical Note: Some authors have suggested that in the early Nouvelle France, Louisianne and Acadia years many Jesuit priests used Latin to indicate their "closer" connection to the Pope and to Rome. French Recollects and Capuchins used French to indicate their closer relationships to the French King who at the time represented the head of the Catholic Church in France. Later , especially after 1763, with further establishment in Nouvelle France and Louisanne French became the majority for French families.
Fascinating, Thank you Gerry! It is always interesting to get historical context.
hmm, not entirely sure about that frankly, I think whoever those authors were, they were stretching things pretty thinly.  Latin versus French in church records has no clear clerical bias between religious communities, [[Lalemant-3|Hierosme Lalemant]] who was a Jesuit and one of the earliest priests for Québec city wrote in both languages.
I'm not entirely sure either. I'm not validating the many but not all information, nor any bias.

( My Understanding)

French historians have pointed out the conflict between The French King as head of the Catholic Church for France and its Colonies and the Pope as Head of The Catholic Church In Rome over many issues during the time period in question. One issue was the use of Latin versus French Romantic Latin/ Gaelic for documenting records. The issue became a politized power struggle. The French King ultimately prevailed. Another issue was the fact that ( French) Jesuits closely connected themselves to the Pope recognizing Rome's authority and did always follow the French King authority during the power struggle.

 In the French Colonies where support, land and money flowed from the French King , most Jesuits quickly followed where their bread was being buttered, and documented in the French language of the time. Existing Latin records ( including Spanish Latin ) later became transcribed by the Kings representatives into French and French became standard.
Lol, the Jesuits were into politics up to their neck, the colony was originally under the diocese of Rouen in Normandie, Msgnr de Laval was first sent here in 1659 as bishop de Petrée, his nomination was subject to lots of politics, and he finally got named as bishop of Québec, which covered all of North America outside the English and Spanish colonies.

From the various records I have seen over the years, the use of Latin rather than French seems to have been an individual choice of the priests writing those records.  As late as the 1670s there are some in Latin, Sillery records for example are like that.  

The French king issued edicts in France obliging priests to keep records of BMD.  A bit later, he required them to get them copied to central registries.  Simple reason being that single copy is more easily lost.  The biggest reason for these edicts was that the church was the only place where BMD records were routinely kept, and when there was a question of succession for example, they were needed.  Not aware that the edicts specified a language for them, but I haven't looked at the edicts themselves.
Yes Yes .. Great historical Information Danielle .. The Jesuits that migrated to Nouvelle France and Louisanne (French and Spanish)  where indeed into politics up to their necks ! Your example is superb ! "Msgnr de Laval" was a strong ally of the Jesuits and as Bishop he welded much power. In Nouvelle France the governing Sovereign Council included the Bishop, Intendant and Governor  . After 1763 in Nouvelle France and in any area that Spain collected from France after 1763 , the Jesuits became less politically influential and actively suppressed in North America. ( 1764 French Colonies and France, 1767 Spanish Colonies and Spain)

I agree the human nature of a Jesuit Priest to practice or display one's use of Latin ( for BMD) was not a uniform act of protest nor political statement.

I think that on an individual level many Jesuit Priests had very strong religious reasons, personal faith connections and strong Catholic loyalty to the Pope over several hundred years for the use of Latin in their literature, documentation and services.
Latin was actually the language of diplomacy and of literate people back then, was often the ''linga-franca'' people used.  Récollets and Sulpicians also had a strong presence in New France, the Récollets were not particularly political, the Sulpicians were large landholders, including Montréal island fief.
Danielle and Gerald what a great discussion. Thank you both for your insights.

and ..

and from the Jesuits :

I've enjoyed understanding their Global Work. 

P.S. If you are interested in Jesuit historical stamps :

Tres Bien !

3 Answers

+11 votes
Best answer
Use the French version, the priests only wrote in Latin at first, but nobody spoke it ouside of them.  Records soon started being written in French.  The parents and godparents certainly did not name the children with Latin names.
by Danielle Liard G2G6 Pilot (348k points)
selected by Mama Kiki Lajeunesse
Some churches in various places were still entering names in the Latin versions as late as 1919. I have a photo of my father's first marriage record in a Catholic Church in South London, U.K. after the end of WWI. It also seems to be quite common throughout New England Catholic Churches in the 19th. century.


yes Jim, I have also seen some relatively recent Latin entries.  I think the priests were practising their Latin personally.  wink

+10 votes
I have had the same issue. I would use the French version as it’s what they would have used in their lives.
by Alison Palmer G2G6 Mach 1 (10.8k points)
+5 votes
it depends on the naming conventions for your country on wikitree. My family is all from the Netherlands and we use the name in the earliest record as the official first name. All other variations go in other names.

But you should loook for the naming convention of the country this person was born in.
by Eef van Hout G2G6 Pilot (106k points)

Related questions

+2 votes
2 answers
+8 votes
1 answer
+4 votes
2 answers
77 views asked Jun 18, 2018 in Genealogy Help by Benoît Bousquet G2G4 (4.8k points)
+5 votes
4 answers
+5 votes
2 answers

WikiTree  ~  About  ~  Help Help  ~  Search Person Search  ~  Surname:

disclaimer - terms - copyright