Jean Latourrette’s Birth in Osse, Bearn and an Analysis of the Staten Island Census in which the Latourrette Family Appears as “Turet”
Jean Latourrette’s birth in Osse, Bearn (now Osse-en-Aspe, France) has been assumed to have been in 1651. This date is based on John E. Stillwell’s “Census of Staten Island in the Year 1706” in which Jean’s age is given as 55. It should be noted that the surname Latourrette appears as “Turet” in the census, along with many other contemporary English interpretations of French surnames. However, the family reported in the census as “Turet,” with parent names of John (Jean Latourrette) and Mary (Marie Mercereau), matches what we know about their children born before the census was enumerated.(Two exceptions are noted below>)
It was recognized, even by Stillwell, that the date of the census was approximate. Two later studies, like Stillwell’s based on an analysis of a limited number of the individuals appearing in the census, suggest the enumeration was taken in 1708, 1709 or over several years.
A new analysis by Patricia Law Hatcher, the editor of the Record of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, looks at baptisms, probates and birthdates of a much larger number of individuals.* The conclusion is the census by Lambert Garrison, published by Stillwell in 1903, was taken over a period of a few weeks, not years. Moreover, it was taken in “late summer or early fall 1707, likely August or September 1707.”
*(See Hatcher, ”The Staten Island Census- A List Analysis,” NYG&B Record, October 2009, Volume 140, Number 5, pp. 261-271.)
If Jean’s age was accurately stated in August or September of 1707 as 55, it would mean he was born in Osse in late 1651 or early 1652.
Hatcher found the census contained more men age 20, 30, 40, 60 than there should have been, suggesting rounding occurred. On the other hand, she states no such imbalance appears for the ages 25, 35 etc, so perhaps Jean’s stated age of 55 is accurate. Nevertheless, it is possible he didn’t remember his exact age and 55 was an approximation.** Until the 20th century, we didn’t have repeated requests to verify birth dates and even the writer’s parents actually born in 1891 and 1898 thought it was a year later in each case until they had to verify the dates for retirement benefits.
** (This author analyzed the census where the ages for men are given as 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 and, in one case, 80. Of the 253 men where an age is given, 64 or 25 percent of them fall into this category. This is more than twice as many men one would expect to fall in this category if the births of these men were spread out evenly over the years prior to the census. So Hatcher’s point is well taken. Of the men stating their ages as 25, 35, 45, 55, 65 there are 32 cases or 13 percent of the total population. This is about 20 percent higher than what one would expect if their births occurred evenly over the years prior to the census.)
We do know that Jean was a second son and it has been estimated that his older brother Jacob was born in 1650. However, there are no records of births or baptisms remaining from Osse from this period as Protestant records were destroyed or are missing from the time of the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685.
Another tentative finding by Hatcher is of interest. It appears from a limited number of cases where births/baptisms are available, girls over 13 were classified as women. This is in contrast to boys who were not classified as men until they reached 16. Hatcher cites two examples but feels more information about births/baptisms is needed to confirm this conclusion.
The census analysis undertaken by Hatcher doesn’t include the French Protestants whose children were baptized at the Fresh Kills temple on Staten Island because these records are missing or were destroyed. But we do have the records for the Latourrette children baptized by Pastor Pierre Peiret at L’Eglise Francaise du St. Esprit in New York. In particular, we know that the first child of Jean and Marie was a daughter named Marie born on September 23, 1693 and baptized on December 6 following. Therefore, on September 23, 1707, the daughter Marie would be 14 so when the census was taken in August or September of 1707, Marie would be at least 13. On the Census under “Turet” we find two women named Mary (presumably the mother Marie and the daughter Marie) which appears to substantiate the classification of girls as women once they were past 13. On the first sheet of the census they are listed as # 23 Mary and # 24 Mary under the separate column of “women.”
Then, a complication arises because we find under “Turet” listed as entry #2 on the first sheet of the census another Mary designed as a “girl.” This entry is separate from the entries for the other two daughters of Jean and Marie Mercereau, Hester (Esther) and Susana (Susanna), who were born on Staten Island after 1700 and before the census, now taken to be in 1707. They are listed on the first sheet of the census under “girls” #13 and #12. In taking the names on the census, Lambert Garrison did not enumerated them by family units as is indicated by the following where the numbers indicate the place on the first sheet of separate columns of boys, girls, women and men. Interpretation: Under girls on the first sheet of the census you find a Mary Turet listed as # 2 and then down the list at #12 and #13 you find Susanna and Esther.
SurnameGiven NameAgeSheetNumber (#)Sex
The listing of Mary as #2 on the first sheet may be simply a mistake or some confusion by Garrison about the real Mary born in 1693 as to whether to treat her as a girl or woman. It appears Garrison may not have reconciled his separate lists of girls, boys, women and men. As John Dux noted in constructing an alphabetical index of the census in 1999, no longer available on geocities.com, “I can see no pattern for the order of names in the columns. The book by Mr. Stillwell shows no line up by family, but rather as lists of names. It is as almost as if Mr. Garrison put the names down as he saw them in the street, or remembered them.”
Listing two Johns (above as #27 and # 30) as boys in the family may have resulted from some confusion about John, the father, and John, the son.
As far as has been determined by genealogical research, the Turet (Latourrette) family at the time of the census consisted of Jean, the father, and Marie Mercereau, the mother, a daughter (at least 13) designated as a woman, three boys under 16 and two girls under 13. This is a total of 8 family members, rather than the 10 listed in Garrison’s census. The following lists the 8 family members at the time of the census as best we can determine. ***
Jean Latourrette, father, born in Osse, Bearn (Osse-en-Aspe, France) about 1651 or 1652, died at Fresh Kills, Staten Island, July 1726
Marie Mercereau, mother, born in Moise, Saintonge, France November 6, 1670, died at Fresh Kills, 1733
Marie Latourrette, daughter, born in New York City, September 23, 1693, baptized December 6, 1693, died between 1770-1794 in New York City or Staten Island
Jean Latourrette, son, born October 6, 1695 in New York City, baptized October 20, 1695, died April 1794 in Mariner’s Harbor, Staten Island
Pierre (Peter) Latourrette, son, born November 22, 1697 in New York City, baptized November 28, 1697, died before January 22, 1754 at Fresh Kills, Staten Island
David Latourrette, son, born December 28, 1699, likely at Fresh Kills, Staten Island, but baptized as was three prior children by Pastor Pierre Peiret from Osse, Bearn, at St. Esprit in New York City on January 7, 1700, died between February 23 and March 23, 1764, at a Plantation on Prince’s bay on Staten Island
Esther Latourrette, daughter, born between 1700-1704 at Fresh Kills, Staten Island, died before January 19, 1781 on Staten Island (probably baptized at Fresh Kills temple)
Susanna Latourrette, daughter, born between 1702-1704 at Fresh Kills, Staten Island, died before May 16, 1782 at Fresh Kills, Staten Island (probably baptized at Fresh Kills temple)
Children born after 1707 Census
Henry Latourrette, son, born 1708 at Fresh Kills, Staten Island, died between 1790 and December 30, 1794 at Fresh Kills(probably baptized at Fresh Kills temple) Some have assumed that he died at the original homestead, but, contrary to Lyman Latourette, it was sold before the Revolution and his house was just south of the site of the Fresh Kills temple and to the southwest of the original Homestead.
James Latourrette, son, born 1710 at Fresh Kills, Staten Island, died January 30, 1738 at Fresh Kills, Staten Island (probably baptized at the Fresh Kills temple)
*** (Information from various sources including original baptism records at St. Esprit and the genealogy research of Mr. Robert Hoadley Latourette. Appreciation to Mr. Hoadley Latourette for sharing his notes.)
CONCLUSION ON JEAN LATOURRETTE’S BIRTH IN OSSE, BEARN
Given the new date determined for the Staten Island Census as August-September of 1707, and the possibility that Jean’s stated age at the time was an approximation or the result of rounding, it would be appropriate to state his birth in Osse, Bearn as being around 1651-52, within perhaps a period of a year or two.