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The Napoleonic Wars 1792-1815

French soldier

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Re: French soldier

Postby Janice » June 5th, 2016, 3:44 am

Hi Kezza

I'm a descendant of PJF via PJF jnr (of his first wife, Elizabeth)

Its possible the spelling of the name is original - there were definately Fredericks in different parts of Belgium eg the following may well be a brother of PJF from Brussells:
Births and Christenings, 1000 Brussels between 1750 and 1813: 1 found
First Name François
Dated 9-4-1794
Parish St Gery
Number of the act -
(Francis was a popular family name in his descendants)

However there are many variants of Fredericks spelling in Belgium so it may equally have been anglicised:

I think to progress we will need to discover (probably via in UK) his actual birthplace. Its a shame neither of the marriage records have it. Maybe Findmypast will publish something one day.

Perhaps he defected to British prior to the battle of Waterloo? in the runup? Unfortunately without records to substantiate my experience is that word or mouth is often inaccurate - dare I say usually.
Keep on looking anyway...

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Re: French soldier

Postby Kezza » June 10th, 2016, 7:23 am

Hi Janice

Thanks for your post. I agree that Fredericks was PJ's surname, like you I have found many of them in Belgium. I'm hoping that one day the French may release army records online that might give more information on PJ's career and his birthplace.

Good hunting
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Re: French soldier

Postby Janice » December 12th, 2016, 10:13 am

Hi again Kezza
I've been doing a bit of reading and my theory is this, courtesy of Bernard Cornwell’s book “Waterloo”. Cornwell says of the British-Dutch army led by the Duke of Wellington (p 34):
“many of the Dutch regiments were from the French-speaking province of Belgium, and the Duke was very wary of those troops because so many of them were veterans of Napoleon’s armies. The French-speaking Belgians were unhappy that their land had been given to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and the Emperor knew of that dissatisfaction. Pamphlets were being smuggled across the French border and distributed amongst the Belgian troops in the Duke’s army. “To the brave soldiers”, the pamphlets read, “who have conquered under the French eagles, the Eagles which have led us so often to victory have reappeared! Their cry is always the same, glory and liberty!” The Duke doubted the reliability of those regiments and took the precaution of separating them, brigading them with battalions whose loyalties were unquestioned. Those loyal battalions were either British troops or the 6,000 men of the King’s German Legion (KGL)…”
We know from PJ Fredericks’ convict record he came from Antwerp (yes, he was a convict - although arriving in NSW as a free settler PJF was sentenced in Sydney to 10 years and transported to Van Diemen’s Land for stealing cattle). The Antwerp region was part of the Austrian Netherlands until 1794. On 1 October 1795 the former Austrian Netherlands were annexed by France under the French Directory. So the above is entirely plausible.
I think the best plan of attack would be to visit the Musee de l’Armee in Paris and see if PJF has a military record, that’s if the French created records for Dutch-Belgian conscripts... I understand they dont publish anything online.
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Re: French soldier

Postby Kezza » December 17th, 2016, 11:19 pm

Hi Janice
Sorry I haven't replied sooner but I'm very busy getting ready for family arriving tomorrow. I will reply in full sometime in January. In the meantime have a wonderful Christmas.
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