What do the French words and phrases in old documents mean?

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French words and phrases
in old documents

Many of the original documents which will be encountered when researching Jersey families are written in French. Here is a list of some of the words which will be found in these documents and their meanings


Acheter to buy
acteur plaintiff
acquereur purchaser
appartient belonging to
approuver to approve, agree
apres after
assermenter to swear in
aujourd'hui today
autre other


bail lease
bailleur lessor
baptême baptism
baptême en particulier private baptism
baptême à la maison baptism at home
bas low, sometimes lower
beau pere father-in-law, stepfather
beau fils son-in-law, stepson
beau frere brother-in-law
belle fille daughter-in-law, stepdaughter
belle mere mother-in-law, stepmother
belle soeur sister-in-law
beau parents parents of spouse
boisseaux bushels


carriere quarry
cession transfer
chacun each
chemin road, path
chose thing
coignoissance awareness
courtil field
curé living
curateur guardian


defunct deceased
demi half
deiers pennies
deffenseur defendant
delesse widow
douaire widow, in will being divided
douit fresh water ditch or stream


entier the whole
entre between
est east


femme wife
fermier farmer
fief area owned by a seigneur
forgeron blacksmith
fournivont produced
fraerie expenses
frere brother
fils son
fils puisne next born son
fille daughter
froment wheat


garantirent guaranteed
garenne rabbit warren
gardien guardian
grandmere grandmother
grand oncle grand uncle
grandpere grandfather
grand tant grand aunt
grange granary


haut high,higher
heritage inheritance
hers heirs


jeunesse youth
jouira will enjoy ownership of
jurer sur serment swear on oath


leurs theirs
les dits the said
livres pounds
locataire lessee


maison house
maree tide
marraine godmother
meneur minor
mercier habadasher
mesnage paddock
meubles chattels, furniture
minue, mynue contract


nord north


ouie de paroisse audience of the parish
ouest west


paiera will pay
parenté near relation, close family
paroisse parish
parrain godfather
par retrait theright of a family to buy back inherited land sold within 40 days
partage division of property in a will
partu divided
piocher pickaxe, mattock
poule hen
preciput principal son's share of a will
preneur buyer
pré(s) meadow(s)
proche near
procureur legal representative
puîné(e) younger, youngest


quartier quarter
quelque some
qui which


recevra will receive
relict widow
retour return
rente rent, regular payment


saisie seized
seigneur lord of the manor
selon according to
situé situated
soeur sister
soit that is
sou shilling


terrassier navvy
terre land, ground
tous all
tresor church funds
triezieme thirteenth
tuteur guardian


utérin(e) half - brother/sister


vendeur seller
vendre to sell
vendu sold
vente price
vergee land measure
veuf widower
veuve widow
vieillesse old age
vivier fish pond
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