THIS PROJECT IS NOW COMPLETE
Does your family have any French heritage? Would you like to trace your family’s French roots? Jersey Heritage is looking for Islanders who would like to do just that!
The search for Islanders whose descendants came over from France is part of preparations for a new exhibition called ‘People Make Jersey’, which will open at Jersey Museum & Art Gallery next year.
Visitors to the exhibition about immigration to Jersey will be encouraged to explore their family history. Jersey Heritage is looking for Islanders who think they might have French roots and would like to delve into their ancestry, and then share their story.
Lucy Layton, Jersey Heritage’s Outreach Curator, explained that about 10% of Islanders are descended from the French agricultural workers, who came to Jersey in large numbers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Around 2,000 of them settled in the Island permanently.
Jersey Archive contains hundreds of documents relating to these individuals, in particular the Aliens Registration cards from 1920. The cards include photographs and are often the only surviving images of these people.
Lucy said: “Could your family members be among those hundreds of people, whose image and details are captured in time on the Aliens Registration cards? If so, we’d love to hear from you. We have a wonderful resource at our fingertips and are ready and waiting to help you trace your family’s French roots. Not only will you find out your own personal heritage story, but you could then feature in in our new exhibition.”
Finding out about his French roots was exactly what Jersey Heritage’s Senior Archivist Stuart Nicolle did, and he discovered his great grandfather Joseph Marie Deffains’ Aliens Registration card in the archive collection, and then the identity cards for his Jersey-born grandparents John Rene Le Mains and Anna Rosa Le Mains.