Monday, January 2, 2012

Backward Glance - Isaac Marguerat

The discovering of Isaac Francois Marguerat has been an exciting one for me. His son, Eugene Marguerat, immigrated to America via Paris, France, in 1850. Eugene is my second great-grandfather. Many years ago, my aunt had some research done on the Marguerat family in Switzerland. That was when my quest for more on Isaac began. Recently, I have located biographical information written about Eugene that shed some light on Isaac's life. This has led me to more about Isaac and some of the events during his lifetime.

The Marguerat family is an ancient one. I received this history of the family through an internet acquaintance. 
Isaac was the son of Jean Jacob and Marie Judith Marguerat. Judith's maiden name was also Marguerat. Isaac was born on December 30, 1795, in Lutry in the Canton of Vaud in Switzerland. From civil and parish registers which have been filmed and made available for searching, I've identified at least five other children in the family. They are Jeanne Susanne, Jean Jaques Louys, Susanne Francoise, Frederic and an infant of unknown gender.

I don't know the specifics of the migration of his family, but Isaac was married on December 9, 1825, in Gimel, which is also in Vaud. He married Barbara Lisette Debonneville, the daughter of Jean David and Anette Lisette (Bauert) Debonneville. She was born in Gimel on June 29, 1806. Barbara and Isaac had at least four children. Louise Zora Wilhelmine, who died in infancy; Louise Claire Caroline; and a son. I've not yet determined with certainty his son's name, but I know he was a clergyman.

Isaac was the 'ministre suffragant' in Gimel from at least 1821 until 1829. He recorded all of the births, baptisms, marriages and deaths there. It is still thrilling for me to look at the records and realize that I am looking at Isaac's handwriting! Often, Isaac had performed the baptisms he recorded. Every record was handwritten and then signed by him.

As a 'minister of the Holy Gospel,' Isaac served in different places. It is recorded he served in Peney-le-Jurat from 1828-1831. In about 1835, he was in Morrens. It was said of him "homme au coeur debonnaire, savait unir beaucoup de couceur a une grand fidelite," or, that he was a man with a good-natured heart who knows how to combine a lot of heart with great faithfulness (translation courtesy Thomas Adams). He was also described as a mild and peaceable person.

His grandson, Eugene F. Marguerat, wrote of him "Isaac Marguerat was a clergyman & one of those who were prominent in the movement toward greater religious freedom which prevailed in Switzerland in 1845. He seems to have had the courage of his convictions for in that year he was one of those who resigned clerical positions in the state church to found the free church which has ever since increased & greatly prospered in the canton of Vaud as well as other parts of Switzerland." More can be read about Isaac's involvement in the religious reformation taking place at that time in Evangelical Christendom, as well as other books. 
Lausanne, Switzerland, ca. 1840
It appears that Isaac and his family were forced to live in Lausanne, Switzerland, after his resignation from the State Church. He seems to have suffered much persecution, but remained true to his personal convictions and was active in the forming of the Swiss Free Church. I am struck by his apparent strength and honor, and feel privileged to be one of his descendants. He died in 1858.

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