The family in France

  Family members in the first period in France

The history of Joseph, Cosme, Joseph and Norbert André, ancestors of Joseph Dominique, of which the last two held prominent positions in Hesdin between 1674 and 1820.

  Joseph and Cosme

The earliest known ancestor Joseph lived in Manosque, a small provincial town not too far away from Aix-en-Provence. Joseph was "Maitre Tailleur" (master tailor). He was married to Sperite Amarone. They were mentioned in the marriage settlement of his son Cosme, dated the 7th of November 1639. (This Joseph and his wife are not mentioned in the book about the Family, because at the time of writing this 'marriage settlement' was not yet found). Cosme was married to Catharina Roite. No further details are known about Joseph and his wife and from Cosme and his wife like birth, marriage and death data. Whether they have died and been buried in Manosque is also unknown. We do know that Cosme's profession was also "Maitre Tailleur" (master tailor).

There is a lot of uncertainty about his wife's family name "Roite". Various ways of writing appear in the church register : Roite for their first child Anna and their third child Isabeau, "Roet" for their second child Josephus, "Roytt" for their fourth child Louise and "Rouyte" for their fifth child Paul . When their son Josephus passed away 1717 in Hesdin the name of "Ronitto" is mentioned in the "Poortersakte" (death register) .

According to information received from the "Cercle Généalogique des Alpes-de-Hautes-Provence" in Manosque all of Cosme and Catharina's children were born in Manosque. In family documents before June 2002 Catharine appears only as Catharina Ronitto. This is also how she is mentioned on family trees and editions of the "Nederlands Patriciaat" . Different ways of writing a family name are however a well known phenomena in those days. A civil registration did not yet exist nor was there a clear way to keep records. In practice only churches had their own registers of birth and death. Not always were they maintained by well educated and literate clergymen. Archivists tried to the best of their capabilities write down what they were told by parents and family members. Often however did they change data as they felt good about it, supposing the information received was incorrect.


Josephus (1647-1717), eldest son of Cosme and Catharina arrived in 1680 from Manosque in Hesdin. He was then 33 years of age. Why he left Manosque is unknown. Also whether he intentionally went to Hesdin or arrived there coincidentally can not be explained by research. Joseph was Magistrate of Hesdin. In 1691 he is recorded in the "Registre des Audience"as "Comis a la reception des deniers communicipaux" . Joseph appears in the marriage register of Hesdin as "Josephus André Dictu (by the name of) laporte". Till now it is unclear what this addition refers to. We can only suppose it is to make it more pretty and distinguish it from others with the same family name André or that he has taken it from one of his ancestors. In any case Josephus is the first André where laporte appears albeit only once. In more than 60 other deeds and documents in Hesdin he is consistently recorded as "Josephus André". Josephus married to Catherine Normand. He dies in 1717 and Catherine in 1738.

Josephus and Catherine have nine children. The seventh child is named Norbert and was born on 22 September 1685. The other known children are: François (1675), Arnulphus (1682), Joseph Paulon Th. Carolus (1683) Marie Joseph (1684), Elisabeth (1688) and Anne Françoise (1691). The name Maria Catharina appears twice (1677 and 1679) . Most probably because the first daughter died as a baby.


Norbert (1685-1777), the seventh child of Josephus and Catharine, married Marie Françoise Plet. Norbert was steward of the crown-land of Hesdin and bailiff ( a high civil servant, which presided a.o. the court) of Beaurainville , a small town Northwest of Hesdin. His wife Marie Françoise was a daughter of Antoine Plet, whose profession was cabinet maker and mason as mentioned in his death certificate . Norbert and Marie had no less than 17 children: Antoine (1718), Marie Françoise (1719),Anne Joseph (1720), Norbert Antoine (1722), Marie Anne (1723), Marie Louise Thérese ( 1724), Joseph Dominique (1725), Charles François Xavier (1727), François Marie (1728) Marie Catharina Joseph (1729), Louis Arnould (1730), Antoine Célestine (1735), Marie Catharina Aldegonde (1736) and Adrien François (year of birth unknown). The large family lived in the rue de l'Enfer in Hesdin. The seventh child Joseph Dominique (1725-1811) becomes the later ancestor of the Dutch André de la Porte family.

  A prominent family in Hesdin

Hesdin in the Northwest of France was founded in 1554 by Charles V. In the sixteenth century the city played an important role in the wars between France and the Spanish Netherlands, which was part of the Spanish Kingdom. Several André 's held important positions in the city of Hesdin between 1674 and 1820. Consequently the family was highly respected and very prominent which is supported by the entombment of seventeen family members in the "Notre Dame" in Hesdin of which eight in the nave of the church. Entombment was a privilege given to only very few people. There are however no tombs or memorial plates to remember this. The following family members were entombed in the church.

The second generation
  • 1 Josephus (1647-1717)
  • 2 Catharine Normand (1649-1738), his spouse
The third generation
  • 3 François (1765-1720)
  • 4 M.Th. Couronné (1694-1733), his spouse
  • 5 Maria Catharina (1679-1759)
  • 6 Marie Françoise Plet (1694-1774), spouse of Norbert
    (1685-1777, in the nave of the church)
The fourth generation
  • 7 Antoine (1718-1718), in the nave )
  • 8 Marie Françoise (1719-1771, in the nave)
  • 9 Anna Joseph (1720-1723)
  • 10 Charles François Xavier (1727-1729)
  • 11 Marie Catharina Joseph (1729-1729)
  • 12 Marie Anna Rosalie (1731-1741)
  • 13 Marie Célestine ( 1735-1776, in the nave)
The fifth generation
  • 14 Henri Joseph Constant ( 1758-1758, in the nave)
  • 15 Marie Louis Norbert (1761-1762, in the nave)
  • 16 François Marie Frégoire (1762-1763, in the nave)
  • 17 François Marie Norbert (1764-1766), in the nave)
( illustration on the right; Cathedral in Hesdin from "album d'Croÿ" )

Patrick Warin, président de Composition du Conseil d'Administration du " Centre d'Etude Généalogique du Pays des 7 Vallées " in Hesdin writes to Peter (P.C.) André de la Porte (1933) on July 26th 2002 :

" Vous avez trouvez la bonne signification que je donnais par " belle famille ". Voyez un peu les professions ; greffier, avocat, bourgeois,procureur, argentier ( changeur pour le Roy), échevin, chirurgien, négotiant, officier de santé, directeur de la poste aux lettres, sergent. Tous les André's et autres sont inhumés dans l'église d'Hesdin. C'était un privilege réservé a quelques rares familles. Le dernier André qui a été inhumé dans l'église a été Antoine Célestin (décédé le 13 Janvier 1776); son père, Norbert décède le 8 Juillet 1777 ; il a été inhumé dans le Grand Cimetière ; entre ces deux dates, il est paru un arrêté qui interdisa les inhumanisations dans les églises. "




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