French Empire

First French Empire

The first French Empire dated from 1804-1814/1815 and the Netherlands was French territory at the time. On some deeds from that time you will come across a round stamp as shown enlarged above. In the edge is Emp. Fran. written that means Empire Francais. At the bottom left, in the woman’s chair, is chiseled ‘75 Ces‘, meaning a value of 75 centimes (from the Latin word centesimus), a French unit from which our word ‘cent’ comes from. That amount most likely had to be paid as tax in order to be registered.

The stamp, which was also used as a seal, also shows a seated female figure with an eagle and a Janus head. The Janus head was a popular symbol of the patriots and was used to indicate that something can have different, often opposing, properties. It is named after the Roman god Janus, who was sometimes depicted with two faces.

Part of the death certificate of one of our ancestors on which the French seal is printed.

Janus was the god of the beginning and of the end, or of the opening or closing of doors. One face looks to the past, the other to the future. It is not for nothing that the month of January is named after this god.

And how do I get this wisdom? I found it in a publication on the website of the historical society Ampt Epe. On page 15 of number 189 of this publication there is a nice introduction to the French domination of our country. And further on Wikipedia and Historiek.

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