Found my Grandfather in French Military Records

I met a man through a cousin who met him on GeneaNet.  He is our distant cousin. He actively researches our family tree and is an excellent ally for all things genealogy in France. This weekend he informed me that France has put up a new military database, Registres de Recrutement Militaire.

The records give the name of man, his birth information, parentage, and residency. Then, there are sections for various details about his military service.

I put in some surnames and found a couple of relatives. I was intrigued by two who were in the US at the time that their records were written. This intrigued me. As family lore goes, my grandfather left France in 1907 so as to avoid military conscription. Could there be a record for him in this database?

It’s a little tricky searching. You have a field for name which is entered last name first without a comma. Then you can put in a year of conscription or service. I first entered Lassalle Jean and received way too many entries. I didn’t know what year my grandfather might have been conscripted. I started with 1907 as that was the year he left France. I didn’t find a match. I tried 1908 and then 1909. Bingo! I found him.

militaire lassalle jean crop

I wasn’t sure how to interpret the information in the service section.  The word “Insoumis” means absent or rebellious.  I asked my French cousin about this.  He believes that it means absent from service, but not always as part of a rebelli0n or for political reasons. In essence, my grandfather was a draft dodger.

Ironic, isn’t it?  He left France to avoid military service then 10 years later the United States got him anyway.

According to my cousin, the French military would continue to try to contact him.  They would stop if he became a US Citizen.  If he went back to France before he gained that citizenship, he could have been imprisoned.

This record has important information for my research.  Note that it gives his address in America.  Was he obligated to be on record or did his parents provide the address?  As to my research, my grandpa arrived in 1907 and then we lose him until he is drafted for World War I.  Though the information was on his immigration record, I could not make out the address or the name of the cousin he was going to stay with.  Now I have something to work with.  In fact, I did a little work in Oakland, California City Directories and came up with this.  I am not surprised to find that my grandfather was working and living at a French laundry.  There were many relatives from Ogeu les bains, France, his home village, who opened laundries in the San Francisco Bay Area.

oaklandcity dir 1907 leclerque ma grandpa lassalles cousin he stayed with crop

M.A. Leclerque is the cousin listed on his immigration papers.  This surname has not come up in conjunction with the Lassalle family tree.  I now have another mystery to solve.

I’m grateful for this record.  It proves Grandpa’s own story that he left to avoid military service.  It also gives me a new avenue to research as I try to piece together the story of his early years in America.


Book of Me, Prompt 15: The Snow

[This is prompt 15 of the series, Book of Me, Written by You..and yes, I am way behind]

I’ve lived in the same community all my life.  It’s in the San Francisco Bay Area where too cold in the Winter is 30 (at night) and too hot in the Summer is 90.  We aren’t called weather wimps for nothing.   We do get frost, but for it to snow here, hell would have to freeze over.

So, the first time I saw real snow was when I was 6 or 7 years old.  We took a trip “to the snow”.  In all honesty, I don’t even know where we went.  We just went “to the snow”.  LOL  It was probably somewhere in the Sierras.  We went with another family who we were good friends with.

This photo was taken from that trip.  That’s me and my Dad with my brother and the son from the other family in the background.

george melody at the snow ca 1973

What I remember is it was fun, but very cold, and that we were ill prepared for it.  I remember we put plastic bags around our feet inside our shoes and our feet still got drenched.  Heck, we didn’t even own the right jackets for snow.

We had snow ball fights, slid around on inner tubes, and made snow men.  The day came to an end and then we went home. I remember being more than ready for the warmth inside the car.

It did snow in my hometown once in the 50 years I have lived here.  It was 1974-1975.  We woke up to snow.  It was the biggest thrill for us kids.  We played in it as we waited for the bus to come.  We played in it at school before the bell rang.  Sadly, the school was not as impressed with the sight.  They made us go to class and when we returned at 10am recess, the snow had melted.  Thanks Principal Rice.

The only other times I’ve experienced snow was camping in the mountains.  Every year after that we went camping at the end of August.  Usually we went up to the Mt. Lassen area.  And, every year it snowed on us at least one day.  My strangest experience at Lassen was the year we hiked to Bumpass Hell. At the top, are the sulfur pots, hot and bubbling. But, half way up the mountain there was snow, which we gladly started a snow ball fight. It seemed incongruent. Because of these camping trips, snow wasn’t entirely foreign to me.

This is me in 1994 when I went up to Yosemite Valley for a couple days at the beginning of Spring.  It was beautiful with it’s blanket of snow–but cold.  I can remember getting out of the car and the icy vapor emanating from the ground.


Because we went to Yosemite in the off season, there were more chances to see wildlife.  I got this photo of a coyote foraging in the valley.


And this view of Half Dome…notice the little dusting of snow on the ledges.


I think I would be thrilled if it snowed here again.  But, for me, snow is too cold (notice how I keep saying that?  LOL)  It’s neat to visit for short periods but I’ll take my SF Bay Area Winter any day.


My Maternal Grandmother’s Family Tree

I decided to create a widget for my Mom’s mother’s side. This is kind of sad. I have only two photos. There are no known photos of my Mom’s maternal grandfather.

You can see that Harry Kenneth Jackson has left a whole in my tree. I’ve been working on his lines since 1990 and I haven’t moved one inch. I have been able to bring Margaret (Jackson) Jones lines back two generations since starting. Never in my wildest dreams did I think this side of the tree would be the one to give me the most trouble.