A report on a trip to Parisot, France 7-12 February 2002

by Gordon Berry

Scott Perrizo and I seized an opportunity to check out houses and ancestors again in the Parisot area of France: a combination of cheap airfares, a need to visit Parisian grandchildren, and a lull in our various work deadlines, illusory or not, led to the 4-day visit.

A tremendous initial stroke of luck occurred when Scott found (via the internet) a house to stay at just below the Parisot village. The new owners will not move in till October, and hence were willing to sublet for our short stay - a nicely restored house in the golden stone of the area, complete with outdoor swimming pool, (too cold to use in February), and a short 2 minute walk to Parisot's fine bakery. The eastern part of the house with separate kitchen and three bedrooms may continue to be available for rental after October. We met in Paris, and left by rental car late on the Thursday morning. It was mostly freeway driving, since the autoroute from Paris is now complete to Cahors (about a 5 hour drive), leaving about one further hour to Parisot. A fine lunch stop on the way, and then a great dinner at the Castel restaurant in Parisot (see the picture of the plate of Foie Gras).

Friday morning we met Albert Dorigo. Albert is a real estate agent, but also has traced his ancestry back to Antoine Delpech who was born in Lacau in 1690. Our ancestor Jean Delpe(ch) dit Pariseau came from this same village, just 3 kilometers from Parisot - so he is certainly of the same family (see more below). Albert showed us a small restored house across the valley from Cornusson, but at 100,000 euros it appeared expensive. He also had 2 houses in Parisot for sale at $30 and $60 thousand euros - they need restoration work done. In the afternoon we went off to the Montauban archives for the county of Tarn and Garonne. Here we verified that the Parisot records are missing before 1725. Albert had probably used them to trace his ancestry back to Antoine Delpech. (I will check further) The earliest records in the neighborhood are for Cuzoul, beginning in 1697. We began looking through the two microfilmed records, but did not get far before closing time.

A bit of geography might help the reader: if one goes east from Parisot, about 2 km is the hamlet and village of Pechebernou; about 1 km further is the hamlet of Lacau, while 2 km further is the hamlet of Causseviel, and another 3 km is the village of Cuzoul. We believe that Jean Dalpee (Delpeche)'s father came from Lacau, and his mother, Marguerite Delmas (Delmat or Delnat) came from Causseviel. All three hamlets are very small, and probably only had a few families living in them in the 1600s. A book by Lombard on the history of Parisot and its surroundings gives details of the inhabitants of some of these hamlets, and will be very useful for our further research into the family.

Saturday and Sunday were days of relaxation to explore the beautiful surroundings of the Aveyron valley and uplands around Parisot. On Saturday, we explored east and then north to Loc Dieu, an ancient and restored abbey, then found two separate dolmens: the dolmens are made up of large flat vertical stones supporting a huge flat stone roof, probably constructed at least 6000 years ago either for shelter, grave or religious center, and undoubtedly used by some of our ancestors, presuming that there was some intermarriage with the successive waves of invaders - Visigoths, Franks, etc. On Sunday, we visited the flourishing St. Antonin morning market, then on to see another dolmen on our way to the mountain town of Cordes, one of the last strongholds of the Albigensian heretics. A quick trip into Albi, yielded a look at a most surprising and incredible cathedral: it was built in the late 1200s by a "grand inquisitor archbishop" who had cleared the area of the heretics, and built an enormous brick colossus as a cathedral/castle. The inside is just as remarkable - soaring pillars and walls are completely covered by intricate painted "trompe l'oeuil" designs; the western end is covered with a painting of the judgement day, the Heironymous Bosch-like designs of the descents into hell come from about 1500, and must have instilled much fear in the parishioners of that time and later. The carved stone choir screen led to still more intricately carved wood statuary and chapels.

Monday - back to work at the Montauban archives. This day turned out to be much more exciting and rewarding, as they located for us two books of land records "cadastres" from 1578, and from the 1600s. These records were clearly used by Lombard in his book mentioned above. After tagging for copying all pages containing the names of Delpech and Delmas, the bright lady in charge suggested that my digital camera could make better copies and not force us to bend/break the bindings of the two old books: so we now have about 80 pages computerized. (see figure 2). The elegant copper-plate script is beautiful to look at, but we need an expert in old French and or Occitan to translate and make sense of these records. Apparently Bill Hoffman is just the man to do it, and we are already making arrangements....

The Tuesday drive back to Paris was uneventful, except for a small collision with an enormous dump truck, plus a 6 course lunch in the hills just north of Limoge.

Perrizo Family History Project