Louis Braille

Louis Braille (1809 - 1852)

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Louis "Benjamin" Braille
Born in Coupvray, Seine-et-Marne, Francemap
Ancestors ancestors
Died in Paris, Seine, Francemap
Profile last modified | Created 18 Nov 2008
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Categories: Organists | France, Deaths from Tuberculosis | French Inventors | Printing History | Coupvray, Seine-et-Marne | Notables.

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Louis Braille is Notable.

Louis Braillewas a French educator and inventor of a system of reading and writing for use by the blind or visually impaired. His system is known worldwide as braille.


Louis Braille was born January 4, 1809 in Coupvray, a village 25 miles east of Paris[1].

His father was Simon-René Braille (born 1765), who was a well known harness and saddle maker, and his mother was Monique Baron (born 1769)[1]. They married 1792. His father also worked farm land and then a vineyard.

There were three older siblings: Monique Catherine Josephine (born 1793), Louis Simon (born 1795) and Marie Celine (born 1797).

Louis’ nickname was “Benjamin”.

Louis was blind in an accident at age 3 in 1812. The injured eye became infected and blinded both eyes a couple years later. Age 10, Louis attended the Royal Institute for the Blind Youth in Paris along the Seine River. There he learned by listening but not reading. Only method was to have raised letters, but it was a very slow method to read.

Louis met a soldier, Capt. Charles Barbier, in 1821, who told Louis about using 12 raised dots and dashes for alphabet letters to relay secret Army messages in the battlefield. Louis liked the idea and selected a cell of 6 dots, working on perfecting it between the age of 12 to 15. He was now able to publish his first braille book in 1829 in which he explained about using the new braille system. The book title: “Method of Writing Words, Music, and Plain Songs by Means of Dots, for Use by the Blind and Arranged for Them.”

Eight years later Louis added symbols for numbers and music. So the ability was given of not only reading but also writing using these raised dots. Most teachers of the blind were skeptic of this new form of reading.

Louis later became a teacher at the Royal Institute and secretly used his new system with his students.

In 1839, Louis published details of a method he had developed for communication with sighted people.

By 1840 with the assistance of Pierre Foucault, who was also blind, Braille developed a machine to speed up the printing process.

Louis' other interests included playing the piano, cello and organ. He played the organ in Churches for pay. He continued teaching at the Institute until his health started to fail. Louis died of tuberculosis in Jan. 6, 1852 in Paris (56 boulevard des Invalides)[2].

The Braille System (touch reading & writing) was not adopted at the Royal Institute for the Blind Youth until after his death in 1852. It started to become popular in 1868 when some English instructors at the Royal Institute pushed for its use world-wide.

All types of items using braille now-a-days, including signs, clocks, watches and elevators. It has been adopted in every known language in the world.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Acte de naissance: NMD 1809 Coupvray (vue 92), Archives de Seine-et-Marne en ligne cote 5MI2955 1804-1855
  2. Acte de décès reconstitué Reconstitution chronologique des actes de décès (série V.2E), 1630-1859 Décès 4 jan 1852-25 jan 1852, FamilySearch, May 19, 2018

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Memories: 1

On 18 Nov 2008 Alice Luckhardt wrote:

Louis Braille never married.

~~~This Jan. 4, 2009 will mark the 200th Anniversary of his birth.~~~

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No known carriers of Louis's ancestors' Y-chromosome or mitochondrial DNA have taken yDNA or mtDNA tests and no close relatives have taken a 23andMe, AncestryDNA, or Family Tree DNA "Family Finder" test.

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Louis is 52 degrees from Rosa Parks, 46 degrees from Anne Tichborne and 32 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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