Adolescent migrants from Normandy in Paris at the end of the 18th century

Adolescent migrants from Normandy in Paris at the end of the 18th century

History of the Family 6 (2001) 423 – 437 Adolescent migrants from Normandy in Paris at the end of the 18th century Cyril Grange*, Jacques Renard CNRS...

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History of the Family 6 (2001) 423 – 437

Adolescent migrants from Normandy in Paris at the end of the 18th century Cyril Grange*, Jacques Renard CNRS Centre Roland Mousnier, Universite´ de Paris IV-Sorbonne, 1, rue Victor Cousin, Paris Cedex 05 75230, France

Abstract The article deals with the social and family environments and modes of departure of migrants from Normandy to Paris at the end of the 18th century. It also considers in-migrants’ future once in Paris. This approach to long distance migratory phenomena — applied here specifically to follow a population of adolescents — was possible due to the fruitful linking of serial nominative sources, each created independently. For the departure zone, we have examined three regions in Normandy for which the population was reconstituted over a period covering the end of the 18th century. For Paris, we used the registers of identity cards, or cartes de suˆrete´, issued between 1793 and 1794. The typical portrait of the adolescent in-migrant consists of an individual who is the youngest member of a fairly large family. He was often born in a small town, not in a village. It is likely that his decision to migrate was not impeded by his father’s refusal. Indeed, the father of the in-migrant was often dead when the son left. In-migrations tended to be isolated; the adolescent rarely joined a family member in the capital. Migration to Paris often seemed to lead to a rupture with the childhood region. D 2001 Elsevier Science Inc. All rights reserved. Keywords: Parisian population; Urban migration; Adolescent migration

1. Introduction Simon Soret was born on September 16, 1769. Simon was the second son of Jacques Soret and his second wife, Marie-Anne Dumesnil, whom he married May 12, 1766.

* Corresponding author. E-mail address: [email protected] (C. Grange). 1081-602X/01/$ – see front matter D 2001 Elsevier Science Inc. All rights reserved. PII: S 1 0 8 1 - 6 0 2 X ( 0 1 ) 0 0 0 8 2 - 3


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Jacques Soret, a fisherman by trade, had married Marie-Madeleine Morfer with whom he had 10 children, at least six of whom died before reaching the age of 5. Simon Soret arrived in Paris in 1792 at the age of 23, claiming to be a surgeon. The address he gave when his identity card was issued was 2 rue Jean Robert in the Gravilliers section. He did not remain in Paris indefinitely because his marriage to Marie-Anne Baudel, daughter of Hubert Baudel and Marie-Anne Che`vremont, both residents of Vernon, took place in Vernon on April 29, 1798. On the marriage certificate, Soret is recorded as being a health officer. His stay in Vernon appears to have been more permanent, and it was there that the couple, Simon Soret and Marie-Anne Baudel, gave birth to six children between 1798 and 1807. Simon Soret was no doubt a student in Paris and was there to train as a ‘‘doctor,’’ but later he returned to his boyhood region to practice medicine. The son of Charles Pellerin and Catherine Merle de Salbrune, Charles Nicolas Pellerin was born on May 25, 1752 in Saint-Marcel (a suburb of Vernon). He was the youngest of six children; in 1768, at the age of 16, he arrived in Paris. In the early 1780s and probably in Paris, he married Marguerite Bernard. Apparently, she did not come from the vicinity of Vernon. The couple gave birth to two children: AntoineFranc¸ois, born in 1783, and Auguste, in 1784. When Charles Nicolas registered for his identification card, he lived at 486 rue Sainte Marguerite and declared himself to be a grocer. It can reasonably be assumed that in 1791, he took in his nephew, Charles Auguste Pellerin, who moved to Paris at the age of 15 (he was born April 22, 1776). Charles Auguste was the son of Pierre Augustin Pellerin (born in 1744), older brother of Charles Nicolas, and of Madeleine Leprieur. In 1793, Charles Auguste lived at 185 rue Sainte Margueritte in his uncle’s neighborhood and declared himself to be a shopkeeper, no doubt working for his uncle. Although there is no trace of Charles Nicolas’ return, we know that his departure for Paris did not lead to a definitive rupture with his home county. In fact, his two sons were sent to a nanny in Vernon where they died, the elder at the age of 3 months and the younger at the age of 2 months. Are these two life histories, both revealing persistent ties with the departure area, exceptional? Did migrants frequently return to their birthplaces or stay with close family members in Paris, or were isolated in-migration and definitive rupture more commonplace? These are the questions about social and family environments, modes of departure of migrants, as well as in-migrants’ future once in Paris that shall be dealt with in this article (cf. Courgeau, 1971; Henry, 1971; Kareiev, 1913; Poussou, 1983; Reinhard, 1962; Roche, 1979; Soboul, 1973). This approach to long distant migratory phenomena — applied here specifically to follow a population of adolescents — was possible due to the fruitful linking of serial nominative sources, each created independently. For the departure zone, we have used three regions in Normandy for which the population was reconstituted over a period covering the end of the 18th century: Vernon in the Eure de´partment, Pont L’Eveˆque in the Calvados de´partment, and Cherbourg in the Manche de´partment. For Paris, the registers of identification cards, or cartes de suˆrete´, issued between 1793 and 1794 have been used.

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2. The sources 2.1. Three demographic databases from Normandy 2.1.1. The population of Vernon and its surrounding area The database of the population of Vernon and 40 surrounding communes was prepared by Jean-Pierre Bardet and Jacques Renard of the University Paris IV. This database was created within the framework of a survey about the fate of children abandoned in Paris and taken into care in Normandy. Other topics were soon considered, such as the reproduction mechanisms of populations of small towns, tracking in-migrants from neighboring villages, and diffusion of birth control behavior from towns to the countryside. Finally, the geographic position of this region, located on the border of Normandy and Paris, enabled border effects on demographic behavior to be observed (Renard, 1998). This database now has information about almost 46,000 families for the period 1690–1836. 2.1.2. The Pont L’Eveˆque database The second database covered the geographic area of the town of Pont-L’Eveˆque and 20 neighboring communes. The information concerned some 25,600 families for the period 1690–1836.1 The base was prepared for a survey that sought to develop an original model of the forces regulating a population subjected to major agricultural changes. From the second half of the 17th century onward, meadows and cattle were continuously replacing crops. This trend accelerated during the 18th century and profoundly modified the landscape of the region. It also led to important changes in demographic behavior because creating meadows for cattle reduced optimum population numbers, since cattle breeding required less labor. Farming communities tried everything to re-establish a balance, such as migrating or raising the average age of marriage at the start of the 18th century. But this was insufficient. The agricultural world responded by voluntarily restricting birthrates, a trend that was adopted to such an extent that the generation born at the start of the 18th century was not capable of ensuring its own renewal. 2.1.3. Families in the Manche department The database used for families in the Manche department covers about a dozen parishes around Cherbourg between 1620 and 1836. The database contains approximately 33,000 families. The original geographic situation of this region — a peninsula difficult to access during the winter months under the Old Regime (pre-1789) — enabled reproduction mechanisms to be measured on a population that was virtually isolated. This population barely modified its behavior before the end of the 18th century. Population numbers grew slightly, but demographic pressure was not strong because the deforestation of Brix Forest, one of the largest in France, released new land for cultivation. Otherwise, a secular


This database was prepared by Jacques Renard of Centre Roland Mousnier. It is the principal data source for his doctoral dissertation (Renard, 2000).


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tradition of in-migration towards large cities, notably Paris, was a classic means of population regulation. 2.2. ‘‘Cartes de suˆrete´’’ from 1793: a virtual census of the male population aged 15 or older Under the law of September 19, 1792, ‘‘pertaining to security measures and public tranquillity in the city of Paris,’’ all citizens living in Paris for more than 8 days were required to register, within 24 h of publication of the decree, in the area of their home. The decree on security identification cards fell between the first two censuses (in the modern understanding of a census), which were dated July 1790 and July 1793. The measure was part of a gradually introduced means of identifying and controlling individuals (Faron, 1997, pp. 24–89). Security cards only affected adult males, i.e., those 15 years or older. In Article 2 of the decree of 1792, each person was required to declare the place of his original residence, the date of his arrival in Paris, any changes of address, as well as his daily occupation. Beginning in September 1792 and during all of 1793, Parisians were issued ‘‘security’’ cards (Faron & Grange, 1999). By combing through and extracting information contained in the registers of inscription that record when these cards were issued, a database of almost 135,000 people has been produced, which will contain approximately 200,000 people when completed. Unfortunately, these 200,000 people include only that the part of the male Parisian population which was 15 years or older. Registers have been found for 30 areas out of the 48 created, i.e., approximately two thirds of the ‘‘sections’’ in Paris, which from 1790 onward administratively divided the city.2 For each individual, we have the following information: a serial number; the date the card was issued; his surname, Christian names, and signature; his trade; age; place of residence and former residence; birthplace; and the year he arrived in Paris. In certain sections, the duration of his stay in the city is indicated; from this information, the year of arrival can be deduced by subtracting the duration from the year of registration in the security card registers. Thus, in addition to usual nominative information (name, Christian name, age), it is possible to understand the stages and processes of the person’s residential installation in the capital, from the date and place of birth, the year of arrival in Paris, and address before the current one, given in the document under ‘‘preceding address.’’ 2.3. Method The database of holders of security cards was then linked with the three databases on Normandy. One hundred and two individuals originating from the communes in Normandy were identified in the registers of security cards. From this population of 102 persons, 64 ‘‘adolescents,’’ who arrived in Paris between the ages of 12 and 24, could be extracted. The choice of these age thresholds, always a debatable issue, was based on pragmatic logic. The 2

For several years, the library Bibliothe`que Ge´ne´alogique de Paris has entered data into a computer on all registries of security cards issued and preserved in the national archives. To date, 134,042 individual entries have been made, of which 90,467 give the place of birth. We extend our sincere thanks to Philippe de Chastellux, Director of the library, who made this still-developing database available to us.

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lower limit of 12 was the age at which children started to be sent to out to work (Chassagne, 1998, pp. 224–272). The upper limit of 24 is the age of the 5-year group in which the probability of the individual being married is very low. Additional remarks are needed about the sample of adolescents: (a) Normans of 1793, arriving in Paris as adolescents, were the survivors of groups of in-migrants who arrived before that date. We could have made an adjustment,3 but only a small number of people would have been affected. We do not, in any way, claim that the results of this study are statistically significant. (b) Some individuals can never be counted. In this case, it is in-migrants who were younger than 15 in 1793.4 Thus, adolescents aged 12–14 years, who were 15 after 1793 or 1794, are not included in the figures (the registration was often extended to 1794), since they did not have to be registered. Thus, the youngest in-migrants are underrepresented for the period closest to 1793. (c) Finally, the last ‘‘category’’ not included in the statistics is that of the individuals who came to Paris temporarily and returned to their original region before 1793. The aim of this analysis is to understand the situation of in-migrants who were adolescents when they left their home regions, and their position when they arrived in Paris. Questions will be posed about the following details: the original family structure (its size, position of the siblings, age and profession of the father, matrimonial status of the in-migrant, and age on leaving home); circumstances of the migration (solitary departure or with family members, itinerary followed — direct or in stages); in-migrant’s installation in Paris (trade); and finally the duration of the migration. It is important to underscore that although the security cards, created between 1793 and 1794, give the age on arrival and therefore enable extraction of a population of adolescents, the actual arrival in Paris could have been during the period 1733– 1794. On the whole, individuals observed in 1793–1794 were no longer adolescents, and certain parameters — such as their occupations, addresses or degree of literacy — might have changed since their move to Paris.

3. People from Normandy in Paris Although all regions in France contributed to forming Parisian population at the end of the 18th century, de´partments located north of the line Saint-Malo-Geneva supplied most of its workers (Chevalier, 1950; Faron & Grange, 1999; Piette & Ratcliffe, 1993). The three Normandy de´partments played their role in making up this population.5 Of course, they were

3 The method is as follows: each individual who was in the age group x, arriving at the age x0, was weighted by the factor S(x0)/S(x), where S(x) is the survival at age x (Blum & Houdaille, 1986). 4 Finally, the problem of conscription remains, and also the effect of massive induction, decreed on August 23, 1793, for the age group 18 – 25 years. To compensate for these missing numbers, Alain Blum and Jacques Houdaille increased the figures for the number of Parisians they observed by 23% (Blum & Houdaille, 1986). For the reason given above, we have not carried out such a change. 5 Results presented in this section are based on the observation of the population of in-migrants from Normandy taken from the security card database. The number of persons observed are, respectively, 3790 for Calvados, 2139 for Eure, and 2919 for Manche (Faron & Grange, 1999, pp. 822 – 825).


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the source of fewer migrants than the de´partments surrounding Paris, or Oise, or Somme, but nevertheless, Calvados, Eure, and Manche represented, respectively, 1.9%, 1.07%, and 1.46% of the total population of Paris, if we use birthplace as the criterion for origin.6 For these three de´partments, the distance from Paris is not a favorable factor. Closer metropolitan areas, such as Caen or Rouen, competed with the capital, no doubt to their advantage. Although we cannot draw any conclusions on the strength of attraction of each of the above towns, it is worth noting that Jean-Claude Perrot clearly showed that the majority of migrants from Caen came from the Ge´ne´ralite´ of Caen, Alenc¸on, and, above all, the Election of Caen (Perrot, 1975, pp. 303–304). Similarly, Jean-Pierre Bardet examined the distance in kilometers from the birthplace of migrants from the Rouen area to reveal the importance of ‘‘local’’ migrants (Bardet, 1983, vol. 1, p. 213). When we consider the point of departure and calculate the number of persons per 1000 inhabitants in-migrating to Paris at the end of the 18th century, we obtain an identical ranking with Calvados, accounting for 7.89 departures, La Manche, 5.61 departures, and Eure, 5.26 departures per 1000 inhabitants.7 The department supplying the most Parisians is therefore also the one characterized by the highest proportion of departures compared to its own population. There is no inversion of ranking even if Eure does ‘‘catch up’’ with La Manche. The Normans settled in the following 11 sections of Paris: Amis de la Patrie, Arcis, Bonconseil, Bondy, Faubourg Nord, Fe´de´re´s, Gravilliers, Lombards, Montreuil, Observatoire, and Re´union. These sections each correspond to a reference from the French national archives, and there is no confusion as to the section in which the person belonged.8 The aim of the analysis was to reveal the specifics of each section by comparing the respective share of each region9 in the composition of the sections with figures calculated for the total Parisian population. We shall therefore inquire if the position (central or outlying) in the section can be related to the geographic origin of its inhabitants (see Table 1). When we consider all of Normandy — upper and lower together — differences appear in the distribution by section. In general, Normans tend to be found in central sections and to a lesser extent in peripheral sections. Examining the breakdown by upper and lower Normandy, using today’s boundaries, reveals some differences. Upper Normans tended to move to the sections of Amis de la Patrie and Fe´de´re´s, while Arcis tended to attract lower Normans. In the case of peripheral sections, lower Normans were mainly in Bondy, the only section with a concentration above the Parisian average. 6

In every case given, the percentages approaches 2.5%. Population figures for each of the three departments are from Histoire de la Population Franc¸aise (Dupaˆquier, 1988, vol. 3, pp. 82 – 83). 8 Indeed, when information is entered by volunteers working for the Bibliothe`que Ge´ne´alogique, in the majority of cases, they used uniquely the reference on the card (e.g., F 4789) and not the section of residence of the individual. The reference indicates where the individual information came from. Thus, when the reference covered individuals from several sections, it is not possible to distinguish their actual section of residence. This problem affected 19 sections out of 30. The 11 sections for which there is no chance of confusion are those given in the text. A re-coding operation should therefore be carried out. In no event does this difficulty present an obstacle for the production of statistical information on the scale of Paris. 9 This is the present-day division of regions. 7

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Table 1 Index of concentration of Norman in-migrants in the section of residence compared to the distribution of the Parisian population by section Normandya

Lower Normandy

Upper Normandy

All Paris sections

Situation of the section




Amis de la Patrie Arcis Bonconseil Fe´de´re´s Gravilliers Bondy Montreuil Observatoire

Central Central Central Central Central Peripheral Peripheral Peripheral

91 131 110 107 100 112 51 74

73 146 110 99 101 119 42 68

123 103 110 121 97 99 67 84

A figure greater than 100 signifies that the Norman region in question is better represented in that section than in the whole of Paris. Conversely, a figure less than 100 indicates a lower representation from the region in question. a This is composed of all the departments that today form lower and upper Normandy.

Unfortunately, this study is incomplete, since it is impossible to find the corresponding section of residence for each individual surveyed using the database of security cards in its present condition. All the same, there are regional specificities in each section, and the mixing of people that is bound to result from migration to a city has not completely eradicated specificities. Let us now examine the case of adolescent in-migration.

4. The background of adolescent in-migrants 4.1. The place of birth With respect to the population originating from the region of Vernon (i.e., the one with the most observable cases; 47 out of a total of 64 cases), the majority came from the town of Vernon itself: 34 newcomers in Paris declared Vernon as their birthplace. From outlying areas, the next ‘‘supplier’’ was Gaillon with seven cases. The other six cases came from the following villages: Aubevoye, Giverny, Houlbec, Panilleuse, Tilly, and Tourny. If the adult population (over 25 years) is considered, the results are slightly different, with a higher share of in-migrants coming from Vernon and Gaillon. Finally, for the other two regions examined, despite the low number of cases, we can see a preponderant share from the towns of Cherbourg and Pont L’Eveˆque. 4.2. The status of the migrant 4.2.1. Birth rank in family The effect of this criterion could be established from the observation of all individuals in our sample born on the second half of the 18th century and living until the age of 12. In Table 2, they are ranked according to age.


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Table 2 Birth rank of migrants Birth ranking

Proportion (%)

Migrants to Paris

Total children

1 – 3 years 4 – 6 years 7 – 9 years 10 years and older

0.13 0.18 0.21 0.46

15 11 5 3

11,514 6258 2412 646

A high birth ranking seems to be a favorable factor for in-migration. Junior members of the family tended to leave the region of their birth for Paris. Considering junior members almost naturally implies large families. It is likely that the majority of candidates for in-migration were mainly younger brothers. 4.2.2. Marital status upon departure In-migrants were exclusively single. The average marrying age for men in Normandy at the end of the 18th century was 28 (Dupaˆquier, 1988, vol. 2, pp. 304–305). 4.2.3. Situation of the migrant’s father It was possible to determine if the adolescent in-migrant’s father had already died when the in-migrant left for Paris in only 46 of 64 cases. In 18 cases out of 46, the father had died, which is equal to a quotient of 391/1000. This figure was compared to the mortality rate calculated for the population of children aged 5 and above, at the age of 23.10 The probability of being an orphan, using the above criteria, was .305.11 The large difference between 391/ 1000, for migrants and mainly youngest brothers, and 305/1000, for both mobile and immobile younger brothers, enables us to draw the conclusion that the death of the father was a factor that favored in-migration.

5. The trip to Paris 5.1. Age on departure Let us first examine the population of migrant Normans found in the three databases who were not uniquely adolescents. The majority of in-migrants were young when they left: more than half of them (54%) were between the ages of 15 and 24, and 12% was more than 30. The proportion of very young children was low, with only 5% under age 10 and 7% under age 12.


The average age of arrival in Paris was 23 for the population from the three Normandy regions as found in the security cards (cf. infra in the text). 11 The calculation was for children born between 1750 and 1799, from age 5 and above, observed at the age of 23. They numbered 7173.

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Table 3 Age on arrival in Paris for all in-migrant Normans Age Number Percent

0–4 1 1

5–9 4 4

10 – 14 11 11

15 – 19 25 25

20 – 24 30 29

25 – 29 15 15

30 – 34 4 4

35 – 39 4 4

40 – 44 2 2

45 – 49 3 3

50 + 3 3

The average age on departure was 23.3 years.12 By examining the in-migration of adolescents, the majority of the migrant population are covered. The absence of very young children and the weight of the age 15–24 group indicate that the migratory flow essentially contained single young men (Blum & Houdaille, 1986). The sample in Table 3, i.e., the group age 12–24 years, represents 63% of the in-migrating Normans. 5.2. The itinerary The question here is determining if in-migrants went directly to Paris or if their journeys were in several successive stages. The information contained in the section ‘‘Previous residence’’ is the only indicator about the itinerary of the in-migrant on his trip to Paris; yet what the census officer understood by that expression, notably the duration of the stay in that resident, remains unclear. Another methodological stumbling block is that the modality ‘‘Paris’’ does not provide any information about the itinerary of the in-migrant. Moreover, by taking into consideration all the populations of adolescents without distinguishing the arrival period, we overestimate the weight of this modality. Indeed, in most cases, the actual route of the oldest arrivals is unknown because as soon as they changed their address to Paris, information on how they arrived in Paris was lost. Consequently, the figures obtained for Paris will not be considered, only those for the other three modalities with previous addresses that were not in Paris. The proportion of direct arrivals (modality: birthplace) to indirect arrivals (modality: departments bordering Paris + other departments) was 60/40 (see Table 4, column 1).13 The three persons taking routes via departments other than those bordering Paris were a bosselier (embosser), a solicitor’s clerk, and a health officer. When we consider the most recent arrivals — those between 1785 and 1793 — (Table 4, column 2), the proportion of those declaring a Parisian address as their previous address falls, but the proportion of direct/indirect arrivals is almost the same as the one previously calculated. Here it was 66/34.14 Finally, the difference in the behavior of adolescents in comparison to that of their elders is another question. Let us examine the statistics established for all periods combined


The upper limit recorded was 65 years. The result was obtained as follows: share of direct arrivals 12%/(3% + 5%), i.e., 60%; Share of indirect arrivals (3% + 5%)/(12% + 3% + 5%), i.e., 40%. 14 The result was obtained as follows: share of direct arrivals 25%/(25% + 13%), i.e., 66%; share of indirect arrivals 13%/(25% + 13%), i.e., 34%. 13


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Table 4 Place of birth of adolescent in-migrants Adolescents


25 years or older

Previous residence

All periods of arrival

Arrivals between 1785 and 1793

All periods of arrival

Paris Department of birth Departments bordering Paris Other departments Total Numbers

80% 12% 3% 5% 100% 64

63% 25% 0% 13% 100% 16

58% 31% 8% 4% 100% 26

(Table 4, columns 1 and 3). We find a proportion of 72% of direct arrivals for in-migrants over age 25 (compared to 28% for indirect arrivals), i.e., a figure slightly above the one obtained for those arriving as adolescents.15 The variable of age on arrival does not seem a discriminating factor. Finally, for those who ‘‘arrived directly’’ in Paris, it is interesting to note that on the whole, there is no difference between the ‘‘place of birth’’ and that given for the ‘‘previous residence.’’ The few cases observed do not reveal a migratory trend through life of moving from village to town to Paris. 5.3. The modalities of departure — alone or in groups When examining the in-migration of adolescents, it is difficult not to wonder about the practical conditions of the move. Were whole families moving? If so, were several members of the family moving at the same time with some members already based in Paris or were members of the same family moving one by one? Did in-migration lead to a rupture within the family, with an individual leaving alone and not reuniting with any other member of his family? In this section, we examine the sample of 102 persons resulting from the cross of the Normandy databases and that of the Parisian security card. Only this sample that includes adult migrants can reveal any combination of father–son or uncle–nephew. No group departures could be seen in the cases observed, whether for the departure of father and son or two brothers. It should be remembered, however, that the population surveyed in the security cards was exclusively masculine and therefore, we have no figures about the migration of mothers or sisters. In some cases, an adolescent went to stay with a member of his family. Thus, for example, Pierre Dumesnil, maker of inlaid wooden objects, was born in Vernon in 1752 and left for Paris in 1773 at the age of 21. His younger brother, Franc¸ois (born in 1768), who also made inlaid objects, joined him in 1783 at the age of 25. Another example was the painter Guillaume Andre´ Langevin, born in Cherbourg in 1759, who arrived in Paris in 15

The result was obtained as follows: share of direct arrivals 31%/(31% + 8% + 4%), i.e., 72%; share of indirect arrivals (8% + 4%)/(31% + 8% + 4%), i.e., 28%.

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1781. His younger brother, Germain Pierre Franc¸ois, born in 1763, joined him in 1788 and declared himself a portrait painter. They were neighbors in 1793, living, respectively, at 174 and 164 rue Saint-Jacques. Finally, Jean Franc¸ois Abraham Veron, born in Pont-L’Eveˆque in 1733, a drinks tradesman, arrived in 1762. He was joined 28 years later by his twin brother, Jacques Etienne, who was a porter. These men were not adolescents. In the introduction, we also cited the example of a haberdasher who took in his nephew, Charles Auguste Pellerin. These few examples seem to be exceptions to the majority who moved to Paris apparently alone. Several factors, however, cannot be analyzed here: first, the number of in-migrants who were housed by a family that had once been close neighbors or friends of the in-migrant’s family; second, and more importantly, in-migrants who were lodged with close or distant family members born in Paris. The information in the database created from Parisian security cards in 1793 does not supply, for example, the relationship of each individual.

6. Professional activity — rupture or continuity? The question here is to examine any professional change made by the in-migrant in his trade and whether any social improvement can be detected. What did younger members of large families seek when they left a small town for Paris? Indeed, did they already have a trade at all? No definitive answer can be found to these questions in this study. In addition to the size of the sample examined, there is a problem relating to the age at the time of declaration. We do not have a full understanding of the young in-migrant’s occupation when he arrived in Paris. In numerous cases, the adolescent’s adult occupation, but not his trade when he arrived in Paris, is indicated. Nevertheless, let us examine the information we have on in-migrants’ trades. First, they are exclusively urban trades, such as shopkeeper, trader, or employees. The complete list is provided in Appendix A. Among the most recent arrivals, those after 1790, were three shop assistants (ages 15 and 21), one journalist (22), one wigmaker (23), a solicitor’s clerk (19), a surgeon (22), a locksmith (22), and a grocer (22). The examination of the occupations of in-migrants’ fathers should help us see if the move to Paris was accompanied by a change in trade or if, on the contrary, there was continuity. It should be noted that information pertains to individuals at different times in their life cycle. Some were at the start of their careers, others approaching the end. We therefore analyzed the sectors and not occupational improvement or decline. Forty-one son–father pairs seem to have had the same trade. The fathers’ occupations were rarely ‘‘rural.’’ Migrants to Paris tended to come from towns (small- or medium-sized) and not from rural areas. In almost half the cases, continuity in trades can be seen: grocer/shop assistant, ironmonger/shop boy, tile-maker/painter, joiner/painter, saddle-maker/saddlemaker, milliner/milliner, etc. Still, there were also many changes: trader/solicitor’s clerk, wine-maker/haberdasher, innkeeper/grocer, and miller/tapestry-maker. In certain cases, changes appear to have resulted in downward mobility: publican/fair trader, innkeeper/


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cashier, draper/grocer’s boy. Conversely, we can see some social climbing: fisherman/health officer, day farm worker/nurse, and chair carrier/lawyer. We do not, however, wish to draw conclusions too hastily. The group being observed is very limited, and the variability of age at which the trade of the Parisian in-migrant was recorded does not allow us to deduce any occupational rupture, ascension, or decline. Finally, let us examine the degree of literacy. As in the case of the occupation, the degree of literacy of in-migrants was not measured upon their arrival as adolescents in Paris. Indeed, the age of their declaration for security cards did not necessarily correspond to, and sometimes varied greatly from, their age when they arrived in Paris. However, security cards show signed names in 83% of the cases. Figures obtained for a similar measure — the signature of future husbands at the time of marriage — exceed 80% from 1775 and reach 83% for the decade 1790–1799 in the region of Pont-L’Eveˆque (Renard, 2000, vol. 2, p. 181). For the region of Vernon, the figures are close to 74% for the period 1780–1789 and 80% for 1790–1799 (Bardet and Renard, ongoing research). Thus, the stay in Paris does not seem to have influenced the degree of literacy.

7. Conclusion The typical adolescent in-migrant seems to be an individual who was a younger member of a fairly large family. Often he was born in a small town, not a village. The agricultural world supplied few in-migrants. His decision to migrate was not likely to be impeded by his father’s refusal. Indeed, fathers of in-migrants were often dead when their sons left home. Similarly, data show that in-migrations tended to be isolated, and adolescents rarely joined a family member in the capital. Migration to Paris often seemed to lead to a rupture with the childhood region. The absence of information about members of the migrating family who were born in Paris, however, prevents confirmation that this was the result. Finally, in-migration to Paris was not always definitive because there were signs of return, at least temporary, to the childhood region in almost 10% of cases (see Table 5). These signs are records of the individual in civil deeds of his native Normandy region. The individual’s marriage, birth of children, or death show his return to the region, definitively or not. Let us examine the professional composition of our adolescent in-migrants. The trends are not the same as those observed for Caen where migration was, on the whole, rural, and only to a minor degree from small towns (Perrot, 1975, pp. 305–306). The in-migration of Table 5 Individuals who returned to their home region Pont l’Eveˆque Vernon Cherbourg Total

Signs of return

Definitive departure


0 6 1 7

9 41 7 57

9 47 8 64

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adolescent populations to Paris was a movement of people, probably with few qualifications, who mainly came from a town environment and served to increase the urban proletarian population. This is corroborated by the fact that the minority of fathers of in-migrants had land-related occupations: less than 25% of 41 fathers had rural trades, such as wine growers, woodcutters, or farm day laborers. More than ever, the town appeared as a place for pure acculturation. It was in the city that some rural dwellers made their start in life. It was also in the city that youngsters from small towns tried to make their way in life. The capital was the place where everything was possible, including decline.

Acknowledgments The authors would like to thank Luc Arrondel, Olivier Faron, and Vincent Gourdon for helpful comments.

Appendix A Comparison of occupations of in-migrants from Normandy with their fathers Father’s occupation

Occupation of in-migrant to Paris

Trader Clothes tailor Miner X X Milliner Woodcutter X Trader Grocer Wig-maker X X X X X Trader Innkeeper Trader X Innkeeper

Washer Embosser Butcher Baker Bourgeois Milliner Butcher Cartwright Solicitor’s clerk Shop boy Shop boy Post office worker Shop boy Shoe repairer Shoe repairer Household worker Employee Grocer Manufacturer of mathematical instruments Tile-maker Cashier


Master grocer Draper Ironmonger Chair carrier Day worker X Lawyer advisor Solicitor X Publican Wine grower X X Day worker X X Draper Fisherman Mason Clothes tailor Baker X Tiler Joiner Barrel-maker Wine grower Butcher Fisherman Mason Innkeeper Gardener Saddle-maker Shoe-maker Wine grower Wine grower Miller X X X Court clerk Mason Sailor Grinder

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Grocer’s boy Grocer’s boy Shop boy Lawyer Nurse Inspector Journalist Trader Trader Fair trader Haberdasher Haberdasher Tapestry trader Wine merchant Musician Negotiator Health officer Health officer Goldsmith Worker Cotton worker Portfolio worker Painter Painter Painter Painter Wig-maker Wig-maker Plumber Doorman Roaster Saddle-maker Locksmith Inlayer Inlayer Tapestry-maker Tapestry-maker Tapestry-maker Delicatessen work X X X X

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