The following announcement was written by Ancestry.ca:
- Collection includes original images of records of King Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette and Robespierre
- Oldest victim was 92, youngest only 14
(Toronto, July 8, 2009) – In time for Bastille Day, Ancestry.ca, Canada’s leading family history website, today released a unique online collection of more than 13,000 names of individuals who were executed in connection with the French Revolution between 1792 and 1796.
Included in the French Deaths by Guillotine, 1792-1796 indexes are all the major characters of the Reign of Terror, including King Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette and, the “Terror” himself, Maximilien Robespierre.
They serve as a grim but historically significant reminder of the far reaching political and social effects that the French Revolution had on the world at the time, including right here in Canada.
On July 14, 1789 the people of Paris stormed the Bastille, the despised symbol of monarchical corruption, sparking revolution throughout the rest France. The new ideas propagated by the French Revolution caused increasing pressure on nations around the world for elected assemblies and increased democracy.
Taking note of this sweeping change, the British Parliament passed the Constitutional Act at the end of 1791. The Act divided Canada into two provinces: Upper Canada, with an English-speaking majority (present-day Ontario), and Lower Canada, with a French-speaking majority (present-day Quebec). This new regime, with its elected parliaments, was introduced in 1792 and was welcomed as representing "true liberty... all the way to Hudson Bay."
The indexes now on Ancestry.ca include the names of approximately one in three people who were executed during the bloodiest era of the French Revolution. While the vast majority of these executions were by way of the guillotine, the indexes also contains the names of some individuals who were killed by hanging, firing squad, and even by drowning.
Individual records include information such as date of death, occupation, and other interesting facts, including:
- Nicolas Jacques Pelletier was a French highwayman who had the dubious honour of being the first person executed by means of the guillotine, on April 25, 1792
- The oldest recorded are two 92-year-old women, Anne M Louise Parisot and Mary Anne Josephine Douay
- The youngest victim, A F Saint Marie, was just 14
- There is just one person recorded as being sentenced or executed on the anniversary of Bastille Day. Henriette Faurie, a nun, met her fate in Serignan on July 14, 1794
- 247 people were sentenced or executed in France on Christmas Day 1793
- In Paris, 136 people were sentenced or executed in one day - July 27, 1794
- Marie Antoinette was convicted of treason and executed by guillotine on October 16, 1793, nine months after her husband, King Louis XVI, the only king of France to ever be executed
Ancestry.ca Marketing Manager Karen Peterson comments: “This fascinating collection offers a unique insight into one of the very darkest periods in world history, the bleak legacy of which is still felt in many countries today. For those interested in French history, you might say this collection lets you have your cake and eat it too.”
The indexes were created from a book published by Louis-Marie Prudhomme, a journalist and newspaper publisher that lived during the French Revolution. They are now available and can be viewed on a 14-day free trial at http://landing.ancestrydev.ca/intl/fr/genealogie_guillotines.aspx.