Dior Friday, Nov 30 2012 


Villa “Les Rhumbs” acquired by the Dior family in 1908, and is where Christian Dior grew up, the house was given the name because of a compass rose design on the floor of the house, as in “Rhumb line” the house borders one side of the cemetery. The grounds only were open when I was there, there is also a path with a viewing platform down to the beach below, the coastal path used to run along the coast but it was controversially closed not long ago and one has to make a detour along an inner road. From a letter sent in 1941 to the German Kommandant requesting clearance for supplies to Jersey I know my grandfather Jean-Louis Jouault had a house nearby “Villa L’hirondelle” on Chemin des Falaises, at the start of the 20th century he was in negociations with Lucien Dior and Emile Riotteau who were both involved in the commerce and local government regarding the provision of a boat link from Gorey, Jersey to Granville and a train link to Paris, this scheme would have needed improvement of facilities in all areas and never materialised. Jean Louis’s sister Madelaine 1880-1938 married Charles Riotteau (son of Emile) 1875-1954 who represneted France at shooting in the 1924 Olympics, their two daughters Noella and Nicolle became best friends and worked with Christian Dior . On looking at the Dior genealogy I find there were two marriages with Jouault’s so perhaps the families had always had some sort of knowledge of each other, although I have no trace of these Jouault’s on my tree. Back to cemetries what I had found a little strange and there may be a very valid reason for it is that the main Dior’s appear to have been buried across the town in the cemetery of St Paul.


Pictured is one of the Dior graves at St Paul’s, Lucien Dior senior and family are buried near here. This was a rather disappointing cemetery for any family connections as I could find any, although I found the odd surname I could not link them, so another trip will be spent looking for names such as Blin, Cardin, Dupont, Le Blanc, and Pichard.

For those looking for cemeteries, graves or wanting to record them the following site is worth using: Find a Grave


Granville – graveyards Tuesday, Nov 27 2012 

I left St Lo early hoping to catch a train at 7:00 am, which was a little confusing as it turned out to be a bus and there were several buses and mine was the last to arrive, the guard was helpful in all this. Not sure if the bus was the usual method or it is because of the works on the track around Follingy, that said I got the train from Granville direct to Paris no problem.

I booked into my hotel which was a little confusing as online it is Hotel Marmotte and it is actually a “Hotel Inn” “Resto Novo” and signposted as such, this is about 10-15 minute walk to the left roughly south and uphill from the station, not the best site if you want the town but I need the exercise. This was probably the smartest place I was to stay in if a little cramped but all I needed was a comfortable and quiet place to sleep and this was ideal it also had a supermarket nearby which I found on my last of two nights, finding somewhere to eat was not so easy as many places were closed for food in the evening unless you wanted a pizza or kebab and I had not gone to France to sample either! I ended up eating next to the casino which was okay, although I could have done with a slightly bigger portion.

I had visited the graveyard pictured above some years back and not came across anything of interest other than a Riotteau tomb that I had dismissed as being to grand to be a family connection, this was wrong as my cousin’s research shows the family coming from the mid south of France to Granville & St Pierre-Miquelon so there were very few Riotteau’s in Granville but very wealthy and my great aunt married Charles Riotteau, well nine graves down from the entrance I came across not one but two Jouault graves, not sure how I missed them on my previous visit, not long after I found another in the next aisle up which was for Le Maitre & Jouault with Thomas Edouard (I presume Le Maitre) 1880 – 1962. With this new information I asked the helpful graveyard warden for any information and he told me to go to the Mairie, in France the town hall is obliged to give you your family records,  on my entering the town hall I was immediately directed to the lady who oversees the graveyards and she was extremely helpful in looking up the ownership of the graves and any other details in the log book. She also gave me copies of the death certificates of Louis Jouault (even though I had given her the wrong year), that of Ernest Jouault 1849 – 1910 and his wife Isabel Fremin 1863-1920.

I also found some Auguste La Croix 1847 Jersey – 1890  whom I am distantly connected to, his parents and siblings settled in Brighton, Sussex, Auguste was making his living at St Pierre-Miquelon at the time of his death.

Pictured above is the cemetery the other side of town not far from where I was staying the name of which I did not note. as you can see the cemetries in France are well maintained, managed, and regularly visited. It is a shame that here the Parish of St Helier here in Jersey have let the upkeep and management of their cemetries decline.

Some French information on Notre Dame cemetery and those of note within: http://www.landrucimetieres.fr/spip/spip.php?article3656

Saint-Lô and the Archives de la Manche Monday, Nov 26 2012 

My first time in Saint-Lô which I found to be a pleasant and interesting place with a walled town that had suffered very badly from allied bombing during the D-Day advancement of Operation Cobra, 80% of the town had been demolished and some had proposed it be left as such as a reminder of war, the Cathedral lost a spire and had been sympathetically restored minus one spire. Now the town is a cluster of interesting shops serving the needs of the surrounding area and traffic to the main has been kept out of the centre although there was a confusing place where you were not sure if it was a pedestrian precint or a road. There was a large main square bordered by the town hall on one side and the usual collection of shops, a supermarket, and fast food outlets. Down below the walled town you have the train station, a hotel, and restaurants, tourism office, obligatory dirty public toilet, the town ring road, and the River Vire which had at times been made navigatable, but it would appear the lock etc were all in a state of disrepair from what I could see in the night time.

I ambled up to the archives which is situated on an exit road at the top of the town so it was not that far a walk for me, I registered at the desk and entered the large research area which has books and magazines on two sides covering most of the subjects a historian or genealogist would need, but few if any birth, deaths, and marriage indexes or records. I tackled the desk with my poor French mixed with English and was given assistance by their best English speaker, through the card index I did find my Great Grandfathers obituary (picture above) of Louis Jouault born in Jersey in 1841 and died in Granville 1900 this was in a booklet “Association anciens eleves Coutances 1902”  This was a wonderful find in that I was unaware he had gone to the college, gone to St Pierre-Miquelon a French territory where people from St Malo and Granville had made their fortune with the cod trade as Jersey people had with Newfoundland, this probably explains why his daughter married the son of Emile Riotteau who was from a Granville family that made their fortune in the area. I knew he had been a flag bearer in the Franco-Prussian war so it was good to have the mention and details of his call up. I still find it slightly bizarre that a Jersey born person was proudly flying the French flag all be it in a disastrous war.  The assistant who had at first thought the obituary would not give a great deal of info was a little interested herself and she spent some time trying to find his service record, she did find some Jouault’s but these were not connected, the records were interesting in that they gave some details of the person, service record, injuries, and details of their appearance. I wish I had actually spent more time and looked for possible other family connections, but this is now something for a return trip.

In the card index I saw mention of a Jeanne Jouault at first I had overlooked it as not being a connection, I decided to give it a look just in case, it was a rather odd record in it was an official record in Tome 67 “Department de la Manche” 1902,  this turned out to be Louis’s sister Jane E M Jouault 1828 – 1901 also Jersey born, last year my cousin showed me a small silver jug that had been presented to her by the “Liberty Club” for her services during the visit of Queen Victoria in 1846. The record noted her testament to give to the church of Notre Dame in Granville the sum of 2000 francs for the building of a stained glass window and for them to use as they wish and  prayers to be said for her family. In accordance with article 3 decret first February 1902.

I also looked through the collection the Granville association publications from the 1900’s and gleaned some family records mostly regarding Riotteau’s. There were several references to Jersey and noted the bits of interest, I also photographed some that were lengthy which were unfortunately on the lost pics card, a lesson learnt. I spent some time looing at some books of interest that I will go into detail in the future.

On my final day I paid a visit to the library which is next to what looked like an interesting gallery with a modern stained glass window that had a light from within that reflected on to the ususal modern monotone flat concrete wall that was adjacent to it. The library was not as good as I had hoped it had a good selection of the standard books, but the local section was I feel somewhat lacking but it is was still worth the browse and I did like the book on old Granville images that I had seen before and I must get a copy of  one day. Both the archive and library made me reflect on how good our services are in Jersey, although I would still like to see better weekend access for the archive here.

Graveyard tour – looking for lost souls Sunday, Nov 25 2012 

Just returned from a break in France sadly the card for my camera at the start of the trip died so some of the more interesting photos appear lost at present.

I attended a conference in La Hague which is on the Cotentin peninsula to the north east of Jersey,  I had made contacts here last year and was pleased to make a few more, and hopefully I will get there again next year.

I stayed two nights at the Hotel Chantereyne in Cherbourg which is not far from the town centre and next to the marina, which worked out well apart from the noise on saturday night when someone parked nearby and decided the whole area needed to hear their boom boom music, late night noise is something that many French hotels appear to attract. On the sunday I spent a few hours at La Cité de la Mer which currently has a Titanic exhibition, as you enter the building you see some relics and information on the “Battle of Cherbourg”   this was a major incident at the time which created a great deal of interest in Jersey not least beacuase the action was said to have been heard from the island. I then went onto the Titantic exhibition which was very well done and worth going to see if it is something of interest to you, then I browsed the aquarium and the displays on diving to the depths of the ocean. Finishing with a tour of the former nuclear submarine which has been dry docked.

I then caught the train to Saint-Lô with a visit to the Archives de la Manche this was my first visit to the town, I stayed near the centre at La Crémaillère a very pleasant and clean place but there was no matress as such and no plug for the sink, which are the sort of basics you expect in a place, on the two ights I stayed there I ate down by the river, both meals were okay are no more.

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