Finding the Castera Family of Lasseube, France

Finding the Castera Family of Lasseube, France

After several weeks of research, I have been able to find the parents of my previously known ancestors in Lasseube, France into the early 1700s…except one pair.  I was having a heck of a time finding the parents of Jean Caset dit Castera.  It annoyed the heck out of me.  Why couldn’t I find them?  The answer is simple:  I was looking for the wrong surname.

This Baptismal Record is Unreadable

I located Jean Caset dit Castera’s marriage to Jeanne Pimbou rather easily.  They were married in Lasseube in 1758.  I found that he had a brother who went by Bernard Lanot dit Castera.  Different surnames for siblings is common in this era.

This crappy baptismal record in 1763 is most likely for one of Bernard’s children. See for yourself. The record is a mess!

A very messy baptismal record
A very messy baptismal record

The father’s name on this record matched Bernard, but I couldn’t make out the mother’s name.  I was looking for Catherine Caicat and nothing in this mess looks like that!  The last name looks like Casteig to me. I searched for a marriage record in the same village with no luck.

It’s incredibly difficult to find records in this era that give relationships. It was disappointing that I couldn’t make out enough of this record to make a determination.

Reviewing My Work…I May Have Missed Something

It bothered me that I couldn’t read this record and so, naturally, I went back to look at it at least 5 times.  You know, just in case it got easier to read. Even still, I decided to take another look.  Maybe I was missing something.

On my third or fourth attempt at trying to read what was not there, I realized that there was another word after Casteig. It said d’abos…was this a nickname? A village? A quick trip to Google Maps showed that Abos is a village in the same region.

The village Abos is a clue
d’abos is a clue

What the heck, let’s try Abos for their marriage record. I’d already been spinning my wheels.  Might as well spin them some more.

Working backwards from the baptismal date, I found the record in 1762 and it is beautiful! Turns out the bride’s name is Marie de Caset.  That most certainly is not Catherine Caicat!  Looking back over my research, I realized that nowhere did it say Catherine was Bernard’s wife–on that they were aunt and uncle of the child being baptized.

The Missing Puzzle Piece

This record gave me both sets of parents’ names.  Bernard’s parents were Jean Lanot and Marguerite Castera.  You can see their names on the marriage record (click for a larger view).

Bernard's parents are my ancestors
Bernard’s parents are my ancestors

By reviewing my previous research, I confirmed my ancestors are Jean and Marguerite. There names appear a few times as godparents for their grandchildren and are clearly marked as grandparents.

The surname information is important. My ancestor was listed as Jean Caset dit Castera on his marriage record. He is also recorded in records as witness or godfather as Jean Lanot or Jean Lanot dit Castera. I overlooked all the Lanot entries because I did not know that this was the original surname.

I know what you’re thinking. Where the heck did Caset did Castera come in?   I’ve got no clue especially since it looks like the first mention in my line of Caset is through Bernard’s wife.   It’s difficult to know if he selected this name himself, or perhaps, the priest drank a little too much wine that day and got people mixed up.

In these early records where relationships are not always obvious you must research whole families. Also, it pays to go back and re-read documents from time to time.

I made two mistakes in the above research.  First, I missed the village of Abos on the baptismal record.  Second, I assumed the godmother and godfather (Bernard Lanot did Castera and  Catherine Caicat) were married because the records listed them as paternal uncle and aunt.  It turns out they were brother and sister.

It’s always a good feeling to fill in the blanks on my pedigree chart!  Now that I’ve worked backwards in Lasseube, I need to work forward.  I’m still searching for my elusive DNA link to the Lapuyade family.


  1. Registre Etats Civil. Canton of d’O’loron. Town of Lasseube. Birth record for Jean Lanot dit Castera. 1764. Page 69, #77, web image no. 1360, web page no. 1261.  (Entry is on the right hand side of page towards the middle.)
  2. Registre Etats Civil. Canton of d’O’loron. Town of Abos. Marriage record for Bernard de Lanot and Marie de Caset. 1762, web image no. 0728, web page no. 85.  (Entry is on the right hand side of the page at the bottom.)


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