Recovering Saint Louis Martin's Birth Certificate
Having read everything I could about Louis Martin's life for decades, I had never seen even a reference to the official record of his birth, the record we today call a "birth certificate" but which was then a handwritten entry in a book of records kept by the government office in Bordeaux.
Lai Ping Cogoluegnes Kong, a resident of France, got in touch with me through this Web site and offered to contribute to the apostolate of sharing the lives and spirituality of the Martin family. When I learned that she and her husband, Yves, planned a trip to Bordeaux, I invited her to research the circumstances of the birth and baptism of St. Louis Martin there. To learn more about this has been one of my dreams, and I was delighted to learn that Yves is accomplished in preserving the patrimony of France. I wrote to Father Didier Monget, the pastor of St. Eulalie's Church, where Louis received the complementary rites of baptism (more on all this in another article). Father Monget responded generously, and Lai Ping and Yves made a special trip to Bordeaux to meet him, to obtain answers to my many questions, and to photograph the places associated with Louis in Bordeaux.
One of my questions concerned Louis's mysterious birth certificate. Fr. Monget told Lai Ping and Yves that it was probably in the government archives, and they obtained a copy from the archives of the department of the Gironde, where Bordeaux is located! With fervent gratitude to them, I'm happy to publish this historic document together with a transcript in French and a translation in English.
The official handwritten record of Louis Martin's birth on August 22, 1823
Note that the surname of Louis's father, all the names of his mother, and the first name of Louis himself are underlined. How could the vice-mayor and the clerks have known that the baby boy, one day old, brought to them that afternoon to be registered was to become a canonized saint and the father of a saint?
View the registry online at the Archives of the City of Bordeaux.
How marvelous to discover that baby Louis was born at six o'clock in the morning; that he was delivered by midwife Marie Saffray, the wife of M. Roguee; and that she brought him to the deputy mayor the next day and signed the record of his birth in the presence of the deputy mayor and his clerks.
A typewritten transcript, in French, of St. Louis Martin's birth certificate
This article is part 2 of a series about Louis Martin's birth and baptism in Bordeaux. Continue to part 3, "The baptism of St. Louis Martin at St. Eulalie's Church in Bordeaux, October 28, 1823."