The Four Jean Bodins on Staten Island
Many of the Bodines in America have come from four Jean/Jan/John Bodins who came to America in the latter part of the 1600's. (Jean is the French spelling for John; Jan is the Dutch spelling.) Despite much research, the facts involving these John Bodins are still subject to controversy. At this point, the research tends to point to a pair of Jean Bodins who came from near Medis, France and another pair of Jean Bodins from near Bethune in the former Southern Netherlands (now located in France).
Historical Background: Flanders
Jean Bodin II, from Bethune, and his father, possibly named Jean Bodin, also, may have come to America together. Before 1667, when King Louis XIV of France conquered that area, Bethune was actually a part of the Southern Netherlands, not France. (This was also called the Spanish Netherlands since Spain controlled the area at that time.) The Southern Netherlands overlapped an older political area that was known as Flanders. Flanders was the name of a medieval kingdom that was once more a patchwork of fortified city-states than a real country. It was comprised of part of the present-day French Department du Nord, the Belgian provinces of East and West Flanders, and the southern part of the Dutch province of Zeeland. This "kingdom" no longer exists today. The language the people of Flanders spoke was a dialect of French in Southern Flanders. These were the Walloons. The people in the Northern part of Flanders spoke a dialect of Dutch. They were called Flemings. Jean Bodin would have been born in Bethune when it was a part of the Southern Netherlands. It might be best to consider him a Walloon and not a Huguenot as has been reported. However, this depends on what one's definition of a Huguenot is. Some define Huguenots as French Protestants. Others define Huguenots as any Christians from any country in Europe who followed John Calvin's type of Protestantism. Therefore, the most practical term to use for Jean might be to call him a "Huguenot"; however, officially, he was really a Walloon. There is no official term for a Protestant Walloon. Walloons could have been Catholic or Protestant. The majority were Catholic. Protestant Walloons faced the same persecutions in the Catholic Southern Netherlands as the "Huguenots" faced in Catholic France. Many fugitives from Flanders fled to England where they set up churches. The Dutch speaking churches in England were comprised of Flemings. Many of the French speaking churches were made up of Walloons. There were Walloon churches in Norwich, Canterbury, Southampton, and London. The Walloon church in London is very famous. It was called the Threadneedle Street Church, but it most often referred to as the "French Church."
The Relationship between the Jean Bodins
The other set of Bodins came from Medis, France. Jean Bodin of Medis fled from Soubize, France in September of 1681 for England with his wife, Esther Bridon, and possibly two children (Hands, A.P. and Irene Scouloudi. French Protestant Refugees Relieved Through the Threadneedle Street Church, London, 1681-1687. Huguenot Society of London Quarto Series, v. 49, London, 1971). They, including a son named Jean, eventually settled on Staten Island. The controversy surrounding the early Jean Bodins still needs to be worked out to a satisfactory conclusion. These two families of Bodins were in the Staten Island, New York area at roughly the same time. They do not seem to have been related by blood, but from the evidence of the relationship between these two Jean's, it appears as though the Jean Bodin from Bethune, once widowed from his first wife (Maria Crocheron) may have later married Esther Bridon, the widow of the Jean Bodin from Medis. This might seem strange, but it could be true. Ronny Bodine has done a lot of research into this question. He says, "There is no direct evidence of the marriage (between the widower, Jean of Bethune, and Jean of Medis' widow, Esther Bridon), but it becomes clear when following the trail of ownership of the land that Jean of Medis purchased in 1701, coming into possession of the Bridon family (Jean of Medis' wife's family), then being devised through several wills and deeds to Esther and Jean Bodin of Bethune." (No new children would have come from this second marriage, though.) The children of these two families are the beginning of many of the Bodines in America. There are also some Bodines who came from Ulster County, New York. They may have come from Holland or Germany. The earliest documentation on these is from the 1750's. A connection to the Bodines from France has not been proven or disproven. There are also some Bodines that moved from Sweden to Minnesota in the mid 1800's. These may also have a French origin, but they would not be related to the Jean Bodin mentioned here. And there are some Bodines of Italian origin. The ancestor of these Bodines originally spelled his name differently, but eventually changed it to Bodine. There may be other Bodines of different origins as well.
Much of the earlier research into the Bodine family has made the claim that there was only one Jean Bodin who married both Maria Crocheron and Esther Bridon. However, this would have been impossible. The marriage of Jean Bodin and Maria Crocheron took place on January 11, 1680 on Staten Island. The other Jean, the one from Medis who married Esther Bridon, was naturalized with her in London, England on October 14, 1681 (Letters of Denization and Acts of Naturalization for Aliens in England and Ireland, 1603-1700. Huguenot Society of London, v. 19, London, 1911, pp. 128-129). That leaves less than two years between these marriages. The main problem with this timeline is that Nicholas Crocheron, the brother of Maria, made a bequest to "the children of John Bodine of his first wife, my nieces and nephews." The phrase "nieces and nephews" means at least four children. Jean and Maria surely did not have two sets of twins in two years. This would have been the only way to have four children in that short of a time span. Neither does it take into account the fact that Jean Bodin would have had to travel back to England to be married (which would have taken at least three months by ship). That leaves even less time for all this to happen. In addition, records from the Threadneedle Church in London, England appear to prove that the Jean Bodin of Medis fled France no earlier than September 13, 1681 (see info below on this).
As a point of interest, my wife and I visited Medis, France in early September of 1995. We paid a quick visit to the regional archives and looked through microfilm of the records of the Protestant churches of the area of Medis. The regional archives are located in La Rochelle. The address is Archives départementales, 17000 La Rochelle, 35 rue de vaux de Foletier. I believe there was a Bridon listed in the Protestant records in La Rochelle (p. 112?) with a baptismal date of 1640. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to see if this person was related to François Bridon. And we visited the Genealogical Circle of Saintonge. The Circle's address is Cercle Géneálogique de Saintonge, 17100 Saintes, 8 rue Mauny. This circle is very organized, helpful, and has a lot of information on computer. There are many Bodins in their databases. Nothing was found on Jean Bodin of Medis, but there could be something there.
Tom and Kathy Bodine sent me some information on a visit Kathy made to Medis in 2009. Go to the "Archives Room" at this site and look under "Research in France" for more on that. There is some very interesting information that might well have to do with this Jean Bodin.
Protestants Flee Persecution
Jean Bodin was a Huguenot who probably fled the Medis area with his family due to religious persecution by the Catholic government. Thousands of Protestants were put in prison or chained as galley slaves in the holds of ships. Many more were killed in massacres by the French government and populace. The Protestants themselves were not innocent of bloodletting, but by far they suffered the most. In Charles Baird's well-known book about Huguenot immigrants to America, he has this to say of the French Protestants killed during that time:
"...France was deluged in blood; and among the thousands who were butchered in cold blood, or in the frenzy of fanatical zeal, many of the noblest and purest of her sons perished" (Huguenot Immigrants to America, by Charles Baird, v. 1, p. 148). To avoid this "Inquisition," many Protestants fled to places where there was more religious freedom: Holland, England, and later, America.
Jean Bodin Comes to America
The first ships to America loaded with the Puritans (also called Pilgrims) were sailing around the early 1600's to America from England. From the early 1600's until 1664, the Dutch government was in the process of settling people in the New York area (called New Netherlands then), including Staten Island. The Dutch government had formed an organization called the West India Company for "the development of traffic with America, the humbling of Spain, the conversion of the Indians and colonization in general" (Corwin, p. 16). It was an armed commercial organization with almost limitless powers. It brought many Dutch, Walloon and Huguenot immigrants to the New World. In return for their services as colonists, the West India Company paid for their passage to America. However, the company eventually headed toward bankruptcy and ceased operations after the British took control of New Netherlands in 1664. It was then the British who continued bringing in new settlers, including Huguenots and Walloons. Jean Bodin must have heard of this land of opportunity called America and hoped to start a new life there with his family. They were on one of these ships that went to America in the late 1600's or early 1700's.
My thanks to Ronny Bodine for the well-researched information that follows. He is a descendant of this Jean Bodin:
Jean Bodin was born, it is said, in Medis, a village in the Canton of Saujon, District of Saintes, then located in the former French province of Saintonge, on May 9, 1645, based upon "a tradition universal in the family." This "traditional" statement is set forth by Mary Elisabeth Sinnott in her genealogical work, Annals of the Sinnott, Rogers, Coffin, Corlies, Reeves, Bodine and Allied Families (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Co., 1905), p. 154. She does not state how this tradition came about. The year 1645 was noted earlier in E. P. Bodine's History of the Branch of the Bodine Family Founded by Cornelius Bodine, (Buffalo, 1897), p. 6 and in Biographical, Genealogical and descriptive History of the First Congressional District of New Jersey (New York: Lewis Publishing Company, 1900), ii, p. 283. The date May 9, 1645 was repeated, subsequent to Sinnott's publication, in Genealogical and Memorial History of the State of New Jersey (Lee, Francis Bazely, New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1910), iv, p. 1368, all of whom cited no references. No original source for this claim has yet been found. The location of his birth, Medis, appears to have some basis in fact. Upon having fled France, the French authorities noted his escape as "Boudin, fugitif de Medit, Election de Saintes" (Archives Nationales, Paris, TT No. 259). Jean and Esther Bodin first removed to Soubize, a small village in the Canton of St. Agnant, District of Rochefort-sur-Mer. Accompanied by his wife, Esther, he fled his native country on Saturday, September 13, 1681, a date noted in the financial aid records of the Threadneedle Street Church in London. By order of Council July 28, 1681, King Charles II of England authorised the granting of free denizations to the "distressed Protestants" fleeing for safety to his realm. Denization was the process of granting a foreign resident a subject's rights--except the rights to inherit property or hold public office, and was generally granted only to adult males. The only requirement placed upon them as new subjects of the crown was in these terms:--"Provided they live and continue with their families (such as have any) in this our kingdom of England, or elsewhere within our dominions." Among the first free grants of Letters of Denization entered in S. P. Dom., Car. II (Special Patents, King Charles II), Entry Book 67, on October 14, 1681, were those to John Boudin and Ester, his wife, as well as Francis Bridon (spelled Bridan), junior, Suzannah, his wife, Francis Bridon, his son, and Elias Vallet, his servant, (Letters of Denization and Acts of Naturalization for Aliens in England and Ireland, 1603-1700, Huguenot Society of London, xix: London, 1911, p. 128-129). The date of their naturalization given by Sinnott in her Annals (p. 154) as being March 21, 1682, citing Agnew, ii, 45, comes from the subsequent entry in the British Patent Rolls bearing that date. Agnew was apparently unaware of the existance of the Entry Books. A document related to his information is the will of Suzannah Bridon, widow of Francis Bridon, Jr. See below (Abstracts of Wills Vol II 1708-1728, pages 304 & 305): Page 5.--In the name of God, Amen, November 10, 1724, I, SUSANAH BRIDON, of Staten Island, widow, being in good health, I leave to my well-beloved cousin John Bodin, all that certain messuage, or Point of land on Staten Island on the north side of the Fresh Kill in Charles Neck, between the land of said John Bodin and the land of Teunis Griggs, containing 10 acres, with all the salt meadow, house, barn, and other buildings, Also Å"175 which he oweth me. All this to him for life, and then it shall come into the hands of my well-beloved cousin Esther Bodin, wife of said John Bodin, for life, and then to their children. I leave to my niece Judith, wife of John Chadine Å"50, and a feather bed and bedstead, and a rug and blanket. I give to Judith Chadine, Elizabeth Tillon and Ann Tillon all my linen, brass and pewter vessels, and other household goods. I leave all the rest to John Tillon, Peter Tillon, Elizabeth Tillon, and Anne Tillon. I make my friend John Casson, executor (a John Casson was the husband of Esther Bodine, daughter of John and Esther Bodine). Witnesses, Daniel Low, Engelbart Van Sane, Abraham Cole. Proved, December 5, 1724. The arrival in America of Jean Bodin can be ascertained only by June 19, 1701, when Jean Bodin, as a resident of Middlesex County, in the Province of East Jersey, purchased an 80 acre tract of land on Staten Island, New York from Johannes and Neeltje Messereau. Middlesex County was situated just across Hudson Bay from Staten Island. Ronny Bodine said that this Jean Bodin (of Medis, France) purchased the land mentioned above in 1701 (Richmond Co. Deeds, B: 402). He died probably shortly before the probate of his will 24 March 1708 (NY County Wills, File No. 234). This land that John had acquired in 1701 came into possession of his brother-in-law Francis Bridon via an unrecorded transaction. On 8 May 1722 Francis Bridon sold 70 acres of this land to John Bodine (probably John of Bethune, France), but retained 10 acres for himself (Richmond Co. Deeds, C: 299-302). Francis Bridon died in Boston in 1723, as is evident from letters of administration issued to his widow, Susanna Bridon on 1 Aug 1723 (NY Wills, ix, 398). Francis' will of 16 Dec 1702 was proved in Boston on 22 Oct 1723 and named his widow as sole heiress (NY Wills, ix, 412). Thus Susanna Bridon was now in possession of the 10 acres. By her own will of 10 Nov 1724, proved 5 Dec 1724 (NY Wills, x, 5) she devised the 10 acres to John Bodine (probably John of Bethune) for life and upon his death to go to "my well beloved cousin Esther Bodine, wife of John Bodine, for life, then to their children." John Casson was appointed executor of the will, he being the son-in-law of Esther Bodine and her first husband. In 1737, John Bodine wanted to sell the full 80 acres to Joseph Bedell, but was precluded from doing so under the terms of Susannah Bridon's will which stipulated he had possession of the land only during his lifetime after which it went to his wife Esther, then to her children. To clear the way for the sale, the children had to give up their right, which they did, and finally on 7 March 1736/7 John and Hester Bodine sold the land to Joseph Bedell, with Esther's son, Francis Bodine (francois bodin), serving as witness (Richmond Co. Deeds D: 131-134). The short of it is this: An 80 acre tract was bought in 1701 by John Bodine I; it was sold to Francis Bridon; he sold 70 acres to John Bodine II keeping 10 acres for himself; these 10 acres went to his widow Susanna Bridon; she devised them to John Bodine II in her will; he was now in possession of all 80 acres; he obtained release from children and sold the land in 1736/7. On December 1, 1702, Jean Bodin, now 57 years old, if the date of his birth can be trusted, found reason to compose his last will and testament. This will was not available to early family historians as is evident by the preface to an article in the October 1949 (p. 216) issue of The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record entitled Three Early New York Wills. (The following transcription of that will is by Ronny Bodine and a little different from the published transcription.)
THE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF JOHN BODINE, 1702
In the name of god amen the first day of December in the year of our Lord god 1702 I John Bodine of Staten Island in the County of Richmond yeoman being very sick and weak of body but of perfect mind and memory thanks be to god hereof calling to mind the mortality of my body and knowing that it is appointed for all men to die do make and ordain this my Last will and testament that is to say prinsapally and first of all I give and Recommend my soul into the hand of god that gave it and for my body I Command it to the Earth to be buried in a Christianlike and desent manner at the discretion of my Executors nothing douting but at the generall resurrection I shall reseve the samee againe by the mighty power of god and as touching such worldly Estate as hath pleased god to bless me in this life I give devise and dispose of the same in the following manner and form. Impris - I make my well beloved wife Ester mistress and dame of all my hole Effects moveable and unmoveable whatsoever freely to be possessed and enjoyed during her widowhood without any cost or bond whatsoever and if she shall come to marry againe the Estate to fall to my Children and then to be divided amongst all my Children Excepting seven pounds which I give to my son John Bodine and one mare with the proviso that my son John doe Live with his mother to help bring up the rest of the Children, Also not to have no more than his Equall share with the rest of his brothers and sisters. Furthermore my will and desire is that if my wife shall marry again that I appoint Denis Rishe and fransis Bridon my administrators of my Estate so long that my Children Come of age and then to be Equally divided amongst my Children Excepting the seven pounds and a mare which have giving unto my son John with the proviso herein spesefied Restating and Confirming this and no other to be my Last will and Testament in witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this day and year above written.
Jean Bodin (SEAL)
Signed Sealed Published Pronounced and Delivered by the said John Bodine as his Last will and testament in the presence of us the subscribers viz: Desonrepos Jacob Cariot William Tillyer
New York March 24th 1707/8
Then appeared before me Edward Viscount Cornbury, Cap Gen & Gov in Chief & David Bourepos & made oath upon holy Evangelists of Almighty God & he did see the testator John Bodin sign seal publish & declare the within writing to be his Last will & Testament & at the time of his doing thereof he was of Sound & perfect mind & Memory to the Best of this Deposes & Knowlege and he ______ ______ ______ that he did see Jacob Cariot & William Tillyer the other two witnesses to the said Will Sign as witnesses in the presence of the Testator.
(New York County Wills, File No. 234) It would appear from the above probate that Jean Bodin, now better known as John Bodine, died shortly before March 24, 1708. His death likely occured shortly before January 3, 1708 when his will was noted in New York Calendar of Land Papers, iv (1704-1709), p. 81. A census taken of the inhabitants of Staten Island and usually assigned the date of 1706 seems, on the surface, to have overlooked Jean Bodine, yet recording his wife and three children: WOMEN.................BOYES.....................GIRLS hester bodine........Francies bodine...Jane bodine ...................................Jacob bodine (Stillwell, John E. Historical and Genealogical Miscellany: Data Relating to the Settlement and Settlers of New York and New Jersey, New York, 1903, i, 150-156)
End of information from Ronny Bodine.
says that Jean was the youngest child of Daniel and Marie Croise Bodin.
However, this is probably not correct. At least, it is not substantiated.
There is a 1943 update to the article A History of the Branch of the Bodine
Family Founded by Cornelius Bodine, by E.P. Bodine, published in 1897.
This update was written by George F. Bodine. He states, "Gulliamo Le Baudain
of Cambray, whose son Daniel Bodin, went to Medis, in the ancient province of
Saintonage, whose son, Daniel Bodin, born at Medis, went to London, England
and married there, July 30, 1637, and returned with his wife to Medis and dies
there. His son Jean Bodin, was born in 1645." This information is something to
think about, but again it has no documentation or evidence to back it up.
wife, Esther, was the daughter of Francois Bridon and Jeanne Susanne Bridon.
She was the executrix of her father's will. She made an inventory of his
estate on May 22, 1704 (NY Wills, Book 5/6, p. 385). They were all
naturalized in London on October 14, 1681 and must have stayed there a number
of years. (Besides the earlier reference, also see Agnew's French
Protestant Exiles, ii, p. 45; Frelinghuysen ?; and C. Baird, v. 2, p. 39.)
They then came to America around 1701. On June 19, 1701, he bought 80 acres of
land on the west side of Staten Island at Charles Neck in Richmond County
(Richmond Co. Deeds, B, p. 402). As mentioned before, this is the
earliest record that we have of this Jean Bodin. At the time, he was a
resident of Middlesex County, Province of East New Jersey. Robert Moore of
Lexington, Kentucky, says that the two Jean Bodin families can be
distinguished by how close one lived to the Poillons and the other to the
Bridons. The Jean Bodins from Bethune lived south of Fresh Kill near the
Poillons. The ones from Medis lived north of that area. Jean of Medis' cattle
mark was registered on December 1, 1702 (Richmond Co. Court Records ?;
Stillwell, v. 1, p. 30).
Note: There is a Jean Bodin mentioned in the "Livre
des Tésmoignage de l'Eglise de Threadneedle Street, London, ENG" (v. 21 of the
Quarto series of Huguenot Society of London publications, also on LDS film #
0962137). Here are two entries. There may be more information in the actual
book. I'm not sure if these are abstracts or not. I believe I may have seen
these entries in the Huguenot Society publications when I was in Paris.
Several Jean Bodin's were mentioned, but there was no way to tell which Jean
Bodin it was. A Suzanne Boudin is also mentioned.
BODIN, Jean.....T. Mr.
LORTIE.....5 Nov 1681
BODIN, Jean.....T. Harlem.....25 Oct 1702
Susanne: fem. de Mause TEBAN.....T. Canterbury.....23 Oct 1692
Esther, was listed as head of household in the 1706/1708 Census. This could
mean that Jean of Medis was dead by that time or that he had been overlooked
in the Census. Some people have put the real date of the 1706 Staten Island
Census at about 1708 based on the known birthdays of some people and their
ages as listed in that Census. Also check NY Wills 7, p. 312. His
entire will appeared in NYGBR, v. 80 (1949), p. 216. After the death of
Jean Bodin, Esther, his widow, probably married the Jean Bodin from Bethune.
He was a widower. Information on this relationship will hopefully be
forthcoming in the near future. She continued to live past March 7, 1736/1737.
A Bodine Branches article lists the following reference for Esther
having survived Jean: NY Wills, 6, p. 88; 7, p. 147.
For reference, here is a message from Ronny Bodine:
From: RBodine996 at aol.com
Sent: Friday, April 09, 2004
Subject: Re: Bodine paper - records searched
It has been many years since I did this. But I do recall reading through the Rye Registers page by page. They weren't indexed and the writing was legible as I recall. I became rather disappointed that I did not find the names during the time the family came to America.
You are correct of course in your statement that they remained a long while, accepting that Jean and Hester Bodin with their daughter are the same persons as our Bodine family.
Whatever other records I looked through I don't recall, but they would have been primaryily those published by the Huguenot Society of London.
Sorry I can't be more specific.
Ronny Bodine (descendant of Francis Bodine) has matched up with William Hubbard Bodine (descendant of Vincent Bodine). This would show that John and Esther's sons Francis and Vincent are related. Ronny has also matched up with Jerry Lee Bodine who descends from Vincent's grandson, James Bodine (1747).
Below is some important information from Tom Bodine. I have inserted some pictures below and some emails which give details of his wife Kathy Bodine's trip to Medis in 2009. Tom Bodine is the son of George Willis Bodine. I should say that all of this information is based purely on what the locals said there. I think we need to wait for more proof that this street or those fields actually have to do with the John Bodine (Jean Bodin) who fled France and ended up the ancestor to thousands of Bodines in America. The things Kathy found out and saw there are really interesting, but I always like to have actual proof, more than just what locals might say, to back up something so important as this information.
Here are some pictures from Kathy's trip. Kathy may have more to send later. If so, I will add those as I get them.
Here is a sign for the street. This must be up where the street begins. Literally it means "Street of the Field of the Bodins." The sign below it "La Botterie" is something that must be down that street. It's not part of the name of the street.
And here is the actual street in the picture below. It leads out into still open fields as can be seen in the bird's eye further below.
Below is the bird's eye view of this street. The image comes from National Geographic maps. If you are connected to the Internet, click here to see the actual map. I have circled on the map below where the street is. It seems to end in the those fields. I have also circled in red the name of the town of Medis on the map.
Here are some emails from Tom and Kathy.
From: Tom Bodine [tebodine at gmail.com]
Sent: Tuesday, December 01, 2009
Subject: Re: Bodine Street in Medis
My wife talked with the local police chief who seemed to be familiar with the Jean Bodine story. He even came up with the name of Jean's wife (Hester) before my wife had a chance to mention it. I'll get more details from my wife about what this guy seemed to know, but one thing he said was after Jean moved out, no more Bodins had lived in the town. He knew about Jean having been a miller and a farmer and said this reference to the Bodines' field (road name) referred to Jean's land. My wife also went to visit the town Hester Pridon came from (Port des Barques) and was given a book of records to look at from the 1600's but she couldn't read the old style handwriting and didn't find out anything. The material is there, however, if someone wants to go give it a try.
Attached are the photos of Bodine Street in Medis. One obviously is of the street sign. The other is looking down the Rue du Champ des Bodins.
From: realtat at hotmail.com
Sent: Sunday, November 29, 2009
Subject: FW: Hello from Tom's wife Kathy, who recently visited Medis
I went to Medis only vaguely interested in Bodine history, and left quite fascinated, since I seem to have hit pay dirt in terms of actual evidence. It was such a strange feeling to stand in the field that likely belonged to Jean Bodine. The past seems quite alive there and I only wish I had had more time and skill to decode the surviving book of births and deaths which I found in the mairie of the island of Oleron. (I don't know how to say mairie in English, but I guess it would be city government records office or something.) No Bodine was from there that I know of but I guessed that perhaps records from the Port des Barques (where Ester, Jean's wife was from) could be there. The island faces the mainland port where this ancestor (Ester) was apparently from, and the island's mairie might possibly have records from the port area, since Port des Barques seems even today to be little more than a port. I simply couldn't find the mairie there at the port, and nobody I talked to at the port seemed to be from there enough to know much about the port's birth records from the 17th century. It's a great oyster and mussel area, so if you like those, maybe you inherited that taste. Let me know if you want more detail from Medis or Port des Barques, but I don't have any names to add, no Bodines in the cemetery or current residents with the name.
Best wishes. Kathy B.
From: realtat at hotmail.com
Sent: Monday, November 30, 2009
Subject: RE: Hello from Tom's wife Kathy, who recently visited Medis
Hi again, I spent three days in the area around Médis (pronounced without the -s) and Port des Barques. Will send photos as soon as I locate my camera cable to connect to computer (lost on the trip). I can only report what people told me. Xavier Reignier, who works in the mairie, seemed quite competent and informed, having researched himself and written a report on the history of the village that contained Jean Bodin's information. Xavier seemed to be a village historian, although he didn't claim that title, just interest. According to what he told me (I speak French.), records of births and deaths were destroyed, some in World War II. The cemetery seemed to contain mostly people from the 20th century and according to Xavier's lists no Bodin or Boudin or any similar name is buried there. According to the police chief, with whom I also talked, there are no Bodins in the area (including similar spellings). He had a complete list of citizens living in the area and the closest name was Botton. Xavier was certain that this family had no connection to the Bodins.
Xavier told me that Jean Bodin and his second wife Ester Bridon (spelling uncertain) from le Port des Barques left with children from his first marriage and all other family members in the period before the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, when houses were being burned and people killed for holding Protestant services in their homes. He told me that Jean was not one of those who held services, but who left anyway. How Xavier knew this I can't say. His data on Bodin agreed with what came from you (?) except for the date of death. He belived it was in March of 1695. He told me that the Bodins were farmers and had a mill for flour that ran on wind. (moulin à vent) He told me that Jean Bodin was naturalized in London on 14 October 1681. He mentioned a book on this man written in 1904 by Miss Mary Sinnolt or Sennolt. Xavier told me about the street named "Champs des Bodins". Streets were named according to where they led to, or to whose property they led, for the small country lanes. I don't know what proof we have that the field here belonged to this Bodin. I didn't ask Xavier for proof. It appears that Xavier's family name Reigner is on a section not far from the Bodin area.
Médis is now a town of 2700 people, a suburb of Royan really. When were you there? Did you meet Xavier?
Incidentally, some of the notes I saw (possibly from you) mentioned the town of Soubise where the Bodins first went after leaving home. It says, "Soubise is so obscure it does not appear on any current atlas available to the author." Soubise is not small or obscure. It is thriving and easy to find, bigger than Médis or Port des Barques.
Xavier showed me the Catholic church from the 12th century and the Protestant temple from the 18th, which was built long after the conflicts between the French Catholics and the Protestants, and so has no connection to Bodin. He told me that about a third of the town is now Protestant.
On one set of notes I got from Tom (from you?) it says that Médis is located in the "District of Saintes". Xavier said that this is wrong and never was correct, even in the 17th century.
Two American women whose fathers' plane crashed near Médis in the Second World War recently visited the village and held a meeting with village officials and flew the American flag at the mairie. Just a note of interest perhaps.
I enjoyed this visit to Médis, even though I realize that the historical information may be shaky. It seemed credible to me. Something about the survival of tastes, like Tom's Dad's fishing on the sea and liking to stay near it and just details that seemed familiar or reminded me of his family.
Best wishes, Kathy
Here is something to note below concerning research:
From: miss missy [funmissy2003 at yahoo.com]
Sent: Thursday, August 26, 2010
Subject: genealology Bodin
I was looking for some huguenots in england and found your site. To help you, I did a quick search for Bodin or bodine in the Rotterdam (archives), the place where a lot of english huguenots went to for some reason. The name did not come up with any hits, so Rotterdam is out :-). Have you tried 'family search', a mormon site, and very good if you are stuck?
Good luck with finding answers.
Friendly greetings from Mariska Dumas, Zwolle, Netherlands
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