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Friday, April 2, 2010

An Interview with Jérôme Blanc


It has been our pleasure recently to have had the opportunity to communicate with Jérôme Blanc, a professional genealogist who resides in Epinay sur seine, France. Monsieur Blanc is a Historian of economic and social history having received his postgraduate degree at the l’École des hautes études en sciences socials (EHESS). Having become impassioned by his studies in the economic, social and cultural life of his ancestors in the industrial Alsace between the eighteenth and the twentieth centuries, Monsieur Blanc began a journey in constructing the genealogy of his maternal family. In 1994 he published his first work: The Engel, a family of industrialists and philanthropists.

After attending a seminar given by Louis Bergeron he became aware of his taste for the economic, social and political aspects of history and embarked on his second work Frédéric Engel-Dollfus the biography of an industrialist in Alsace (Editions Christian, 2003) in the context of a Masters Degree in History and then with a special interest having been developed for the declination of the Alsatian Rhine model he wrote his third study "Les Monnier" – the story of the social ascent of Franche-Comté, Paris to Lorrainee.

In addition to the above works Monsieur Blanc has written many artilcles for French Genealogy publications. Some of these include: "Le Modèle mulhousien" an economic model of social and cultural development of capitalism with a human face (Bulletin de la Société belfortaine d’émulation n° 94, 2003), Les sources du travail au XIXe siècle (sources of labor in the nineteenth century) Généalogie magazine, avril 2007, Avez-vous un ancêtre saint-simonien?(Do you have a Saint-Simeon ancestor?) Votre Généalogie, août-septembre 2007, Souvenirs d'une jeune fille d'industriel alsacien (memories of a young girl from the industial Alaciennes) Votre Généalogie, avril-mai 2008 and Trucs et astuces (Tips and Tricks) Votre Généalogie, février-mars 2007 à juin-juillet 2008)

Since these extensive research projects have been written, Monsieur Blanc has been working as a professional genealogist transmitting his knowledge and passion for genealogy and in history to the search for his clients ancestry and to his continuing writings on the subject of genealogy.

Monsieur Blanc has been a member of Genealogy Freelancers since September, 2008 and has performed research for clients of our service who have sought their French roots. We are honored to call Jérôme Blanc our friend and a Specialist in the truest sense.

The following are answers to a few questions we have asked Monsieur Blanc.

Jérôme Blanc, personal communication with permission to publish, March 14, 2010

GF: When did you become interested in genealogy and why?
JB: About 15 years ago. My mother told me about my industrial ancestors in Alsace who were at the head of the firm DMC (Dollfus-Mieg et Cie ) during four generations.
GF: You have written several publications; what made you interested in these particular subjects?
JB: For the genealogical publications, I was interested to discover the life of my ancestors and for the historical publications, because I have discovered in myself a passion for industrial and economical history, political history (the social, economical and political theory of Saint-Simonisme etc.)
GF: In your professional role as a genealogist, what is your main concentration and why?
JB: Due to my background studies in economical and social history, my specialty was work in archives, but I am now on any ground (tout terrain in French) !!!
GF: What geographic locations do you cover in your research?
JB: I search in all of France and in French speaking countries.
GF: What areas have the most significant personal relevance to you?
JB: The areas are Alsace, Lorraine, Cévennes, Aisne etc.,because they are earth of my ancestors, and the others areas are the locations significant to my clients.
GF: What has been the most rewarding case that you have ever worked on and why?
JB: In the past, it was to construct the genealogy of my Alsacian ancestors because their history is so exciting : they participated in the French take off of the industries in France and in the first and second industrial revolutions.
Right now, I am actually searching in the archives to prove that the father of my clients ancestry goes back to Louis XV!!
GF: What is the most challenging aspect of genealogy research in France – Frustrations?
JB: It’s to perform research with the mixing of genealogy and history. No frustration, I do genealogy by passion.
GF: Do you have an opinion as to what records provide the most relevant and abundant information?
JB: All records provide relevant information, it depends what you are looking for.
GF: What is your advice for someone beginning his or her search of their French roots?
JB: Read French and get to know a little bit about French history and begin to establish the skeleton of his or her genealogy.
GF: When you research is there anything that you take with you – Anything that helps you to better achieve your goal?
JB: I always prepare for my research, but I can bring books with me, summaries in tables that I have prepared on the information, which will make it possible to locate particular information in every archive document.
GF: Do you have any future plans regarding your work in genealogy?
JB: At present just to satisfy my clients and find what they ask me to find

We thank you Monsieur Blanc for your time and for allowing our readers the privilege of having a glimpse into your world.