<= Simon Wine Grower in Vany (Metz)

"Opte pour la France" in 1872 (1873)


The treaty of Francfort, 10th May 1871 finished the war between France and Germany. In 1872 descendants born in Elsace-Lorraine but living at that time outside this territory had to choose between the French and the german nationality before oct 1872. Persons living ouside Europe has to make their choice before 1873. There was no choice for people living in Elsace-Lorraine, unless they migrated to France.

- Most people living outside Elsace-lorraine choosed for France.

- Under people choosing for Germany we did n't find somebody of the Pincemaille family (see "Fichier" of the Chan)

- Some people living in Elsace-Lorraine choosed for France, but their choice was annulated, unless they leaved their region.

As a result of their choices we will find descendants in Paris, the Provence and Bretagne. We have at the moment knowledge of the following persons who choosed for France.  As for many people the first idea was to choose for France, with time practical considerations influenced  the final decision1:

It was further interesting to see that sometimes people let first choose their children for France, what could main they see it is as a definitve separation from their natal country they loved.

  • Some people in the civil services, unsure of their status and/or their pension choosed for France:

    • Dominique-François Pincemaille #4801, born in Metz, Moselle 57, Lorraine, France 11 Feb 1798, "receveur". He choosed for France in 1872, 74 years old in Saint Hilaire-des-Landes, Ile-et-Vilaine(35), Bretagne. He had married Jeanne Marchand in 1844 in  La Selle-en-Cogles, 35 Ile-et-Vilaine, Bret, Fra  and will die in 1874 in Saint Hilaire-des-Landes.

  • People who had their business outside of Elzas-Lorrain:

    •  Jean-François9 Pincemaille (#4727),born in Rupigny, 57, Lor, Fra 15 Sep 1832, "marchand de vins" in or around Paris since his mariage in 1859. 

    •  Louis-Dominique Pincemaille #4844 "Légion d'honneur de Napoleon", born in Chieulles, 57, Lor, Fra 18 Oct 1809, choosed for France in Besançon (25) in 1872, will live in  Nîmes(Provence). As a member of the French  " Légion d'Honneur"  his choice was logic. But beside that it is clear that his occupations were outside of Elzas Lorraine, when we see the birthplace of his children: Pauline (Albi, 81 Tarn), Auguste(1854, Grenoble, 38 Isère, RhAlp), the others in Saverne, 67 Bas-Rhin, Alsace, F, birthplace of his wife. We do n't know his occupation. Maybe, but we do n't know, his intention was to emigrate to Algery. An organisation was set up in Marseille for this purpose. 5000 migrants will do this and 100.000 ha of the best soil was reserved for this people.

    • Jean Eugène Pincemaille x1864 M. Marg. Perrin had children in Ancy-sur-Moselle between 1864 and 1872. He was "marchand de vin" in Paris, but the family migrated after 1872 and they asked a normal  naturalisation in 1882 in Paris.

  • Hubert Pincemaille (1743, Poixe -1804, Inglange) x Catherine Nospelt were migrated earlier for economical reasons to the region Inglange/ Basse-Hamme. Some of the descendants of his sons Pierre °1773 x Cath. Loudig, Michel ° 1785 x Marie Loudig and a second son named also Pierre °1790 x Cath Hillard migrated then further to Paris.

    • The  2 youngest children of Pierre Pinsmaille °1773 x Catherine Loudig: Jean °1826 and Marg. Cath °1827 migrated prob. after their mariage in the fifthies to Paris. They  choosed for France in 1872. Jean Pinsmail (#12910) ° 1826 Inglange x Adèle Noël was in the wine business in Paris. His sister Marg. Cath °1827 Inglange has married also a man of the Noël family.

    • Michel Pincemaille °1785 x Cath. Loudig: his son Michel died before 1872 and we find his grandson also named Michel °1852 back in Paris in 1872, where he choosed for France. His tutor was probably the above mentionned Jean  Pinsmail x Adèle Noël. Following the 1891 elections in Paris, he was a mechanic.  

    • Three sons and 2 daughthers of Pierre ° 1790 x Catherine Hillard migrated to Paris: Nicolas ° 1815, Marie ° 1816, Pierre ° 1820, Elisabeth °1821 and Jean ° 1827. All were born in Basse-hamme but lived in Paris. We have knowledge of Pinsmale Nicolas, Pinsmal Pierre, raffineur, Pinsmale Elisabeth, Pinsmal Jean, mason who  choosed naturally for the French nationality in 1872 in Paris.

    • We have further knowledge of Catherine Pinsmal ° 14 apr 1845 in Basse-Hamme x Langelier. But we could n't yet situate her in this branch in the region Inglange/ Basse-Hamme. The same problem we have with Catherine Hées ° 3 apr 1827 in Basse-Yutz and  x N Pinsmal, who asked  the 3 sept 1872 in Paris the French nationality.

  • Some people thought they could choose for France but stayed in Elzas-Lorrain. Their choice was annulated. (Environ 130.000 Alsaciens et Mosellans ont opté pour la nationalité Française mais en réalité env 50.000 ont réellement quitté leurs foyers et leur pays et moins de 3.000 ont opté pour la nationalité allemande.)

    • Adolphe Pincemaille #4775, born 24 Apr 1848, was following the oral family tradition a "Franctireur" during the 1870-1871 war with Germany. He choosed naturally for France (Nancy 24 jan 1872), but apparently he and his family stayed in the occupied territories, as he was attached to his natal country. His son Henri will serve as a soldier in the German army in WWI  and will be the first president of the association "Les Malgré Nous" founded in 1920 after World War I. 

  • In other cases it was not allways clear if they stayed in France or came back to their occupied village, some times a family splitted. We see this for some of the descendants of Pierre Pincemaille x Anne Razotte, who migrated to Paris 

    •  His son Charles Pincemaille (1798-1844) was ebenist in Paris, also one of his sisters x Pierre Marina migrated to Paris. It was then Marguerite Nisse the wife of his youngest brother Jean-Michel who moved with her thaughters to Paris after 1864. They choosed for France in 1872 in Paris, but her husband stayed in Metz and will also dy in 1876 in Metz.

    • Another of his thaughthers Catherine Pincemaille °1792 in Metz choosed for France with her husband in 1872 in Nancy. We do n't know if at their age (ca 80) they came back to the occupied territories or stayed in France

  • Some younger people choosed for France or Germany based on the possibility not to be included in one of the armies.

  • For some of then we do n't know the reason of their final decision.:

    • Jean-Pierre Pincemaille #4998, born in Metz, Moselle 57, Lorraine, France 14 Oct 1847, choosed for France in Pont à Mousson (54), will live in Paris?,

    • Marie-Louise Pincemaille (#4996), sister of J.P. Pincemaille #4998 and x N Mercenex,  born in Metz, Moselle 57, Lorraine, France 22 Dec 1842, will live in Paris.

    • Auguste Pincemaille #2404, born 10 Apr 1840, Charly x Barbe Georgin 1867, Saulxures-lès-Bulgnéville. They will have their  first child in 1867 in Metz, but they migrated in 1872 to Saulxures-lès-Bulgnéville, 88 Vosges, Lor, Fra, (where his wife lived when they married) where  he choosed for France and, where their second child was born in 1876.

    • Christine Pinsmail presumed thaughther of Jean Pinsemaille x Elisabeth Vintignier, was a widow from a certain Janin, when she choosed for France in Paris in 1872.

  • Some people fullfilled not in time the formalities to hold the French nationality. For this people a separate procedure of naturalisation  namely reintegration was set up. We find this documents of the "reintegration" in the national archives "sous-série BB11" together with the dossiers of naturalisation at the "Caran" (Centre d'accueil et de recherche des Archives nationales).

We will wellcome any supplementary information !


"Opte pour fa France" and the The treaty of Francfort

- There was no choice for people living in Elsace-Lorraine, unless they migrated to France -


For a good understanding of this item follows an extract of the text of Art. 2 of the treaty of Francfort, 10th May 1871:

"Les sujets Français originaires des territoires cédés, domiciliés actuellement sur ce territoire, qui entendront conserver la nationalité Française, joueront jusqu'au le 1er octobre 1872, et moyennent une déclaration préalable faite à l'autorité compétente, de la faculté de transporter leur domicile en France et de s'y fixer ...  auquel cas la qualité de citoyen Français leur sera maintenue. Ils seront libres de conserver leurs immeubles situés sur le territoire réuni à l'Allemagne   ...  Pour les individus originaires des territoires cédés, qui résident hors de l'Europe, le terme fixé ... pour l'option entre la nationalité Française et la nationalité allemande est étendu jusqu'au 1er octobre 1873." 



1. "Les optants d'Alsace-Lorraine à l'étranger" Angrand Sophie et alii, Ed Archives et Culture, Paris 2003.

2. CHAN   - Fichier en ligne des Alsaciens-Lorrains, ne résidant pas dans les territoires rattachés et ayant opté pour l'Allemagne (1872-1873)