Help with French translation needed

+5 votes
At the bottom of the left page, continuing into the top of the right page, of the first Drakenstein baptism register, there is a note to the effect that the Rev Pierre Simond had baptized all those children and that Paul Roux had registered them "autant quil ma ete paisible", which my Level-1 French renders as "as long as it had been peacable for me".

Is this a perfectly innocent phrase in the French of 1700, or may one detect a veiled reference to the controversy and turmoil that marker Rev Simond's tenure?
WikiTree profile: Space:Drakenstein_Dope
in Genealogy Help by Dirk Laurie G2G6 Mach 3 (35.7k points)
retagged by Ronel Olivier
as much as it was possible for me...

3 Answers

+5 votes
Best answer

In french, it was common to write a double s in a way that resembles fs. Note that the loop below the apparent f is to the left instead of the right as it would be for a true f.

It looks like sf (not fs), but the word is  possible.


info and example from


autant qu'il m'a été possible = as much as I could (Google translate)

by E Martin G2G6 Mach 7 (74.7k points)
selected by Philip van der Walt
Yes, I agree it is an odd variation.
Indeed. "Is as far as I could" / "In as far as it was within my possibiltiies" might be the rough modern day translation.
+5 votes
I don't know where you have it from, but could it be 'possible'?
by anonymous G2G6 Pilot (257k points)

I don't think so. Open the image and look for yourself. There's a long s in the word, but no preceding short s, which elsewhere is quite pertinent. The 'i' is not dotted, granted, but this scribe does not always dot his i's, see e.g. the first word on the right-hand page.

To me that reads 'possible'. It is the standard Germanic double 's' - like 'sf'.
20-century Germanic usage is not relevant, since this writer was a 17-th century Frenchman. At the time, the double 's' was prevalent all over Europe, including England.

Five lines lower (also two frames back, in the entry for 3 May 1700). one can see how the double 's' in the name Rousseau was written. The first (short) 's' in one case is fully formed and in the other is sharp, not rounded, at the bottom.

My actual question involves the assumption that "paisible" is the correct transliteration and I would still like an answer on that from someone with at least a near-native knowledge of French.
I agree with Martin, whether or not the Germanic usage is relevant. That is what a French double S looked like until the end of the 18th century.

so the translation would be roughly "as far as possible" or if you prefer "to the best of my ability". He is only implying that he cannot guarantee his report is exhaustive. At least, that is how I understand it. The register is clearly a copy.
I should have said Gothic, not Germanic, and it is obviously not 20th C.

I'm just more used to reading it in older German documents and I didn't hesitate when I saw this. Plus the fact that it then makes sense, as Isabelle says.
Thanks, Isabelle.
+2 votes
go to google translation and put in the whole phrase. autant quil ma ete paisible.  Google says it means ''as much as he was peaceful"  You can translate languages at > <
I do wonder at Google's translations. Still machine translation is a dead loss except for very restricted contexts.

Related questions

+2 votes
0 answers
+6 votes
1 answer
+8 votes
2 answers
+10 votes
1 answer
+1 vote
2 answers
94 views asked May 17, 2019 in Genealogy Help by Krys Feyen G2G6 Mach 1 (10.2k points)

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

disclaimer - terms - copyright