Friday, April 26, 2013

The French priest in my family tree

[This post was first published on 28 June 2012. The subject of the article is my maternal 12th great-grandfather Jean de Leouze.]

While updating my ancestry family tree recently (see The Union soldier in my family tree), I noticed a new surname Delosea relating to one of my Swiss lines that piqued my interest as it did not appear to be Swiss-German like all my other Swiss lines. I traced it back to a Huguenot immigrant, my 12th great-grandfather Jean de Leouze from Provence, southern France. This ancestral line of mine married into other lines of French origin for several generations (de Remigis, Perron, Cordier) before marrying into a Swiss-German line.

The de Leouze surname is also spelt de Leuze and Deleuze in France and de Losea and Delosea in Switzerland.

Jean de Leouze born c1490, the son of an écuyer (rider) Carl (Charles) de Leouze who died in Marseilles in 1548, was a canon at the Abbaye Saint-Césaire in Arles, Provence. He joined the Church Reformation and moved to Switzerland in 1523. His descendant Anna Maria de Losea, my 7th great grandmother, married into the Anneler family from Thun, Canton Bern, in 1707.

One of Jean de Leouze's descendants, Jean de Losea, was granted citizenship of Murten in Canton Fribourg on 20 July 1618. Below is an extract from Der Stadt Murten Chronik und Bürgerbuch (p335), with my English translation:

"De Losea oder de Leauzea.
(de Ilice.)

Das Wappen besteht in einem in die Quere getheilten Schilde, dessen oberer Theil blau, der untere Gold ist, auf welchem eine ausgerissene Steineiche zu sehen. Oben im blauen Felde befindet sich auf jeder Seite desselben eine fünfblättrige Rose; über dem Helme erheben sich zwey Büffelshörner."

[The coat of arms consists of a divided shield, with upper part blue, the lower is gold, on which an uprooted holm oak can be seen. Above on the blue field located on each side are identical five-petalled roses; two buffalo horns are raised above the top.]
"Johann, der Erste dieses Geschlechts in der Schweiz, war zuvor Canonicus in einem adelichen Stifte zu Arles in der Provence. Er trat zur reformierten Religion über und verehelichte sich mit einem Fräulein von Remigis, einer Nichte des Barons von Grignan. Im Jahr 1523 kam er nach Genf und bewarb sich um eine geistliche Anstellung. Sein Gattin reiste ihm bald, in Begleitung verschiedener, der reformirten Religion zugetaner, Personen nach Genf nach. Im Jahr 1536 kam er nach Lausanne, wo er also Lehrer angestellt wurde, und im Jahr 1562 erhielt er die Pfarrey zu Dompmartin."
[John, the first of the line in Switzerland, was previously a canon in a noble chapter at Arles in Provence. He crossed over to the reformed religion and married a Miss de Remigis, a niece of the Baron de Grignan. In the year 1523 he came to Geneva and applied for spiritual employment. His wife travelled to him soon, accompanied to Geneva by various persons associated with the reformed religion. In the year 1536 he came to Lausanne, where he was employed as a teacher, and in the year 1562 he received the parish Dommartin.]

Sources (in addition to other data sources noted on my family tree):
FamilySearch marriage record of Hans Rudolf Anneler and Anna Maria de Losea
Abraham de Losea in Thun, GAMEO
Der Stadt Murten Chronik und Bürgerbuch by Johann Friedrich Ludwig Engelhard (1828)

I look French, as you can see from this old mugshot of me (don't laugh!), and it's good to finally have a known French ancestor to attribute this to. I inherited my colouring from my Swiss-Irish maternal grandmother, believe it or not my German-Canadian Scouse father and my English maternal grandfather were fair with blue eyes.

I found an explanation of the meaning of the de Leouze (de Ilice) surname online in Infos Saint Martin No. 204 December 2009 (a pdf download of a monthly information magazine issued by La Ville de Saint-Martin-de-Crau in the Provence region), which I have translated into English below:

The de Leuze wood
industrial zone

This zone of activities extends over a tenement that was an agricultural domain. According to Provençal custom, the name of the owner is attached to his property.
The origin of the name is explained in "Les Meyran et leurs alliances" by Baron du Roure:
"Paulet GRILLO (brother of Opissin) legatee of 25 florins in the will of his aunt Jaumette Roux, wife of Guillaume de Leuze (8 March 1506) [de Ilice] merchant of Nîmes."
The word [ilice] comes from the Latin [ilex], yeuse (in French) which provides this contribution to Trésor de la Langue Française: "ilex: a sort of oak tree, yeuse (holm oak) in Provence, … borrowed from the Provençal euze, ancient Provençal elzer;... Osco-Umbrian form of the Latin ilex, ilicis in feminine, translated as yeuse."

Familienwappen Delosea
(von Bern, ehemals von Murten)
Quelle: Berner Wappenbuch, 1932

Le Trésor du Felibrige gives éuse, euise, elze, éue, éuve, eve, to designate the yeuse that is an evergreen oak. On the picture dated 1974, the wood in the neighbourhood of the farmstead was composed of pines, over an area of a half-hectare.
At the Arles media library, in the Véran collection, the de Leuze farmstead is mentioned for the first time in 1468. It belonged then to the Chapter of Arles. In 1803, it was the property of Louis Joseph Martin, merchant. It was measured at 210 setérées.

(Setérée = name of an agrarian measure equivalent to an area sowed with a setier of wheat. Setier = former measure of grain that contains about 156l.)]

Familienwappen Delosea
(von Bern, ehemals von Murten)
Quelle: Berner Wappenbuch, 1932
Quercus ilex (holm or holly oak) is a large evergreen oak native to the Mediterranean region. It is mentioned in the de Losea coat of arms description in the Murten Bürgerbuch dated 1828 and I found two Delosea coats of arms from the Bern heraldry book dated 1932 which incorporate the evergreen tree, the one pictured on the right here more elaborate than the one pictured above left, which could be the original French coat of arms based on further information about the de Leouze family detailed below.

Below are some images of old postcards from the La Crau area in Provence, which might give some indication of what my French ancestors looked like.

Les jeunes filles de la Crau
[Photographie: Collection personnelle de Jean Marie Desbois]

Saint-Martin de Crau (Mas-de-Gouin) - Le Chai [Image source: CPArama]

Nobleman Antoine de Leouze, an écuyer (rider), the brother of Jean de Leouze who moved to Switzerland in 1523, died in Marseilles in 1584 without a male heir. His surname and his arms were passed on by will to Gilles d'Alix, his nephew (actually a son of a first cousin), who also inherited from him among other things the property of St Jean du Brest. Gilles (born d'Alix) de Leouze, Sieur de St Jean, the son of a nobleman Laurent d'Alix, an écuyer (rider) who established himself in Marseilles in the fifteenth century, and Bellone d'Aguillon, was baptized in Marseilles on 10 January 1538 and married Marguerite de Pol on 30 April 1580.

There is an entry for the (d'Alix) de Leouze family in the Dictionnaire universel de la noblesse de France:

De Leouze, en Provence, famille ancienne, qui portait autrefois le nom d'Alix. Laurens Alix, vivait en 1550; il eut un fils appelé Giles Alix, lequel hérita d'Antoine de Leouze, son parent, par testament du 11 mai 1577, à la charge de porter son nom et ses armes. Il quitta le nom d'Alix, pour prendre celui de Leouze, qu'il transmit à ses descendants. D'argent, à un chêne arraché de sinople. (Armes parlantes: un chêne vert étant nommé éouze, en idiôme provençal.)"

[My translation: De Leouze, in Provence, ancient family, who formerly went by the name d’Alix. Laurens Alix, lived in 1550; he had a son called Giles Alix, who inherited from Antoine de Leouze, his relative, by will of 11 May 1577, dependent on the bearing of his name and his arms. He left the name d’Alix, to take the name de Leouze, which he passed on to his descendants. Silver, an uprooted oak tree of sinople (vert tincture, green). (Heraldry: an evergreen oak tree given the name éouze, in Provençal language.)]

Dictionnaire universel de la noblesse de France by Jean B. de Courcelles (1821), p431
Histoire héroique et universelle de la noblesse de Provence, Volume 3 (1786), p339
Un artifice contre l'extinction des familles? La substitution de nom et d'armes à Marseille (fin XIVe-fin XVe s.), Christian Maurel (1990)

"Harvest at La Crau, with Montmajour in the Background" by Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890)