I’m the son of Yvonne and Gerard. Yvonne is the daughter of Ange Massines and of Louise Genin. Ange was the son of Marie Therese. Louise was the daughter of Auguste Genin and of Justine Simonel. Gerard is the son of Louis Grandemange and of Marie Leval. Louis was the son of Joseph-Eugene.
I was born in France. Here is a precipitation map of France. When it is darker, it rains more.
I was born in Vosges where 2 meters of water and snow fell per year.
I grew up in Gerardmer:
From my window I could see a lake.
In Roussillon where Marie Therese and Ange were born 500 millimetres – four time less – fell per year.
"Circa 1660 Louis ancestors moved from Franche Comte to Vosges for two reasons.
Franche Comte means Free County, the county without taxes. It was true up to the time when France annexed it. My ancestors were probably happy to become French but less convinced by taxes. They identified a business opportunity.
Then Vosges belonged to Germany and the 30 years war was ending. Arguably the bloodiest European war up to WWII, it killed between 20 and 50% of the German population. Mechanically the price of the land fell down and my ancestors were able to buy a farm."
I was plain wrong though this is true that there were a resistance war when France annexed Franche Comte.
The Franche Comte was also a battlefield of the 30 years war. In 1634-1635 also came the bubonic plague. People moved away. The cleverest ones moved to Switzerland, some others to Italy and some others, including my ancestor, to Vosges.
Here I have to talk about a mail I received since I published this page.
The person (whose last name was Grandemange) wanted to know more about the Franche Comte origin. She had been told that at the origin of Grandemange were three brothers that were Austrian officers. I rejected this theory because it does not explain why they were named Grandemange.
"On my page I talk about what I heard. I interviewed my parents several times. I also relate what my grand parents told me. The oral tradition in the family (farmers in the same area probably since Louis XIV) said that ancestors came from Franche Comte. Regarding 30 years war horrors, my grand mother told me about the Swedish drink, the liquid manure, that Swedes (actually Germans deserters[the picture above explains how armies were dealing with them]) force farmers to drink to know where they hided their money.
It is almost certain that Demange was a first name in the 17th century and that Demange was coming from Domingo, Domingo coming from the fact that Franche Comte belonged then to Spain."
She sent me a genealogical study that tends to confirm my belief. However nothing is less certain than the fact that Demange Berlandier is my ancestor. I further found that Demange was a common first name not only in Franche Comte but also in Vosges.
I have only this picture of my great-grandfather, Joseph Eugene. It was on his death announcement. He died on October 6, 1923. He was 68.
Louis, my grand father came to school.
My father strongly believes that his father is the child with a cross. The picture was taken before 1900. Regardless their social class all children were going at the same school. The poorest wear smocks and wooden shoes. The one on the top right is disabled. The richest wears leather boots.
Louis was born in 1891, a very bad year. When he joined the army for military service in 1911 the government decided that citizens had to spend 3 years in the army. In August 1914, he was about to go back home. He had to wait up to 1919...
Louis married Marie.
It was raining. They took the picture below the doorway.
Marie Therese had 10 children. Ange was the eldest. Her husband died from Spanish flu.
The family lived close to the Spanish border. The two main jobs were smuggler and custom officer.
After WWI Ange chose the right side and was sent... to the German border where he met my grand mother, Louise Genin.
Here is a picture of Louise family. Her father, Auguste is on the left. Auguste brother, Emile is on the right. The man with the guitar is probably the son of Emile.
Then he moved to gendarmerie because gendarmes rode horses. His horse was called "Haut la main".
My mother was born... Wasn’t she lovely?
Her mother had a remarkable brother, Louis Genin. Born on April 19, 1904 from a custom officer he joined a regiment of tanks in 1924 and was a volunteer of a forgotten colonial war in Morocco, the war of Riff in 1925-1926. He was wounded in the head and evacuated by aircraft, which impressed a lot the family. Then he had different jobs. He may have worked for Bugatti. He joined again the army to go to Syria, then a French protectorate.
I don’t know precisely when this picture was taken. In the 30’s he followed Andre Malraux, a famous French writer and politician in the Spain war between 1936 and 1938. He was badly wounded during the June 1940 "retreat" (many French people died or were wounded then.)
In 1943 he joined the Resistance and participated to the battle of Viombois where maquis was decimated. He was famous for his strabismus, very visible on this picture: you could never know what or who he was looking.
My mother grew up and met my father.
Then she was living in a shack in Saint Die suburb. When I was a little boy my parents frequently talk about this paradise.
The landscape was nice and shacks had a good exposure (the place was called Vignanrie, which meant something like wine yard.)
My mother family couldn’t stay in Saint Die itself as you can see on this picture. Saint Die was burnt by German troops.
Saint Die self proclaimed the godmother of America because geographers from Saint Die first chose to call the new continent America and not Columbia. Saint Die maybe did so to get more money from the Marshal plan. Note that the money they get was wisely spent: at this place there are now one-way streets, traffic lights and shops.
Another picture of Saint Die. My mother took the Saint Die and shack pictures with a 6 x 9 folding camera.
They had two children, my brother and me:
©2001-2004 Alexis Grandemange.