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Schaffert To Saffert

hackmohr
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Can anyone share with me some historical insight into why a young Prussian soldier in 1795 would be in the French village of Badefols-Sur-Dordogne getting married to a local French woman? A long standing story on the Saffert side of my family is that the name was originally Schaffert, but it was changed to Saffert by a German soldier who "left Germany" and came to France, changing his name to Saffert to better blend in with the French population.

I have traced the family documents online back to my 4th great-grandfather Jean Louis Saufert and I beleive he is our German soldier. According to his mariage certificate from October 1795 in the Village of Badefols-Sur-Dordogne he was born around 1770, "natif de la ville de al? Bron(n)? en Prusse". He married Jeanne Blancher a local woman from Badefols. His occupation is "tenturie" which I see translated as a "dyer" (perhaps of cloth or paper?) His death certificate in 1808 from the nearby village of St. Couze says he is "natif de Francfore" (Frankfurt?).

From what I understand of French history it seems to me this would have been a very dangerous time for a Prussian soldier to be travelling through France, much less to decide that he would stay on in the country, marry and raise a family. Was he a prisoner of the First Coalition War, escaped from or released by the Republican army? Was he a deserter from the Prussian army? Did he wind up in Badefols seeking work as a tenturie in the nearby paper factories?

If anyone has some historical insight as to why Johann Ludwig Schaffert seized the oppurtunity to become a French citizen in the late 1700's I would greatly appreciate hearing from you. Thank you very much.

Mark Mohrmann
Coventry, Vt. E.-U.

orange38
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Good morning,
This story is only the particular life of one soldier.
The wedding in 1795, takes place 3 years after the invasion of France by Prussia in 1792, that was stopped at the battle of Valmy only 200 km at the east of Paris (20th September 1792). After that event, French troops launched a counter-offensive and went up to Frankfurt am Main (which was occupied from 22nd October to 2nd December 1792).
Reference : 1st coalition of Monarchist states against France. Prussia withdraw from this coalition at the "Traité de Bâle" on 5th April 1795. (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peace_of_Basel);
It should be interesting to check whether he had been a prisoner captured during these battles in 1792/1795 and held in a remote village, or a former soldier moving to France, after Prussia and France had settled peace.
After that a novel can be written "he met a girl, etc.." up to you ;)
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In 1792/1795, Frankfurt am Main was not in the kingdom of Prussia, although Frankfurt an der Oder was. (80 km east of Berlin).
You should then consider Frankfurt an der Oder in former Prussia
regards
orange38

hackmohr
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Hello orange38,

Thank you very much for your information. I have indeed entertained the thought that he was a prisoner of the French revolutionary forces. I assume that to investigate the possibility that he was held prisoner "in a remote village" I would need to consult the municipal archives of the village of Badefols?

I find that ascertaining his birthplace has been a bit of a problem. While his death certificate in 1808 states that he was a native of Frankfurt, this would have been information given to the clerk from his French-born wife Jeanne Blancher. The information in his mariage certificate in 1795 would have been given in his own words. He stated "al Bron" or "Bron" as his birthplace. Or at least this is what the native French-speaking clerk heard him say. And I wonder if possibly the clerk did not make any distinctions among the many territories of the Holy Roman Empire and simply wrote down that he was from "Prusse".

The closest "Bron" placename to Frankfurt would be the village of Bronn-Weikersheim about 130km to the southeast. This village is right on the edge of maps of the Principality of Anspach which was sold to King William II of Prussia in 1791. So possibly this was a village of Bronn in Prusse. Bronn-Weikersheim is also only 10 km from Bartenstein which was a recruiting base for the Hohenlohe Regiment which was organized in February 1792 and fought with Conde's Emigre army against the French forces all the way until the regiment was disbanded in January 1795. They were especially involved in fighting along the Rhine River south of Speyer. So perhaps he was a member of the Hohenlohe Regiment, but I have yet to find any documentation leading to this area.

I have not yet investigated Frankfurt an der Oder and the area around it. Thank you for that idea. It goes on my "to do" list.

Best wishes,
Mark

orange38
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Hello
On the wedding document, I read "ville de Broun en Prusse" at the eighth line, which is close to "Brunn" in german.
--->This could be "Stadt Brunn" (try the spelling with Google Translate)
A quick search and later use of Google maps, allowed finding only a small village north west of Berlin in Brandenburg .
Brunn 16845 Wusterhausen/Dosse, but far from Frankfurt an der Oder..
Maybe there are other "Brunn" villages , closer to Frankfurt an der Oder?
regards
Orange38

hackmohr
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Orange38,

Thank you very much for your suggestion that he may have been a prisoner of war. Further research finds that in the autumn or winter of 1794, 300 prisoners of war were transferred from Rochefort to the district of Belves ("La Petite Ville De Beaumont en Perigord Pendant la Periode Revolutionaire: Vol.1" by Leo Testut, University of Toronto, 1922, pg. 573). They were distributed and housed among the inhabitants of the various municipalities. It is possible that he was one of these prisoners.

Best regards,
Mark

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