Proof Arguments

Identifying Parents for Joseph Miet in 18th Century France Through Godparent & Witness Analysis

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Rosières-sur-Mance church as seen on Google Maps.


The marriage and death records for Joseph Miet do not directly name his parents, but tracking and researching godparents and witnesses in the records for his life and the lives of his children illuminated the identity of his siblings and parents.


Joseph Miet and Jeanne Duffant were married 14 May 1727 in Rosières-sur-Mance, a small commune in the Haute-Saône department in northeastern France.1  Their marriage record is succinct and does not list the names of their parents.  It does state they were marrying with the consent of all of their parents, which indicates all four parents were living.  Among the signatories to the marriage are:

  • Joseph Myet — likely groom
  • N. Cocagne — connection currently unknown
  • Nicola Miet — likely relative of the groom, relationship unnamed in this record
  • Nicolas Rets — connection currently unknown
  • CL. Lucot. — Priest2
MIET, Joseph & Jeanne Duffant, 1727 Marriage crop
Marriage record of Joseph Miet & Jeanne Duffant, 14 May 1727 in Rosières-sur-Mance.  [See footnote 1]


Joseph and Jeanne were the parents of twelve children, four daughters and eight sons:

  • Anne Françoise Miet, 1729–1789 3
  • Jean Miet, 1731– 4
  • Nicolas Miet, 1732– 5
  • Claude Miet, 1735– 6
  • Jean Miet, 1736–1741 7
  • Jean François Miet, 1739–1739 8
  • Joseph Miet, 1740–1785 9
  • Françoise Miet, 1743–1743 10
  • Jean Miet, 1744–1744 11
  • Jean Baptiste Miet, 1746–1807 12
  • Jeanne Miet, 1748–1748 13
  • Gabriel Miet, 1751–1753 14


Of Joseph and Jeanne’s twelve children, three had a godparent with the surname of Miet:

  • Anne Françoise’s godfather was François Miet15
  • Nicolas’ godfather was Nicolas Miet16
  • Jeanne’s godmother was Jeanne Miet17

Both François and Nicolas Miet signed the baptism records for their respective godchildren.  Jeanne Miet was noted as illiterate in Jeanne’s baptism record.  The relationships between the godparents and children were not named in those baptismal records.

The parents of this large family left no additional clues about Joseph’s parentage in their death and burial records.  Joseph Miet died before his wife on 2 September 1774 in Rosières-sur-Mance and was buried the next day in neighboring Vernois-sur-Mance.  Attending his burial were his son Joseph Miet, his son-in-law Claude Vauthrin, and two individuals whose relationships are not named — Jean Claude Mordin and Simeon Dufand.  Joseph’s parents were not named in his death and burial record.18

Jeanne Duffant died thirteen years after her husband on 26 October 1787 in Rosières-sur-Mance and was buried the next day in the same place.  Attending her burial were her son-in-law Claude Vauthrin and her son Jean Baptiste Miet. She is listed as the widow of Joseph Miet in her death and burial record but her parents are not listed, nor are there any additional information items regarding her husband, Joseph.19

The three Miet godparents — François, Nicolas, and Jeanne — would prove to be the father and siblings of Joseph Miet.  Nicolas Miet and wife Jeanne Renet were the parents of at least three children, including Joseph, François, and Jeanne.



Establishing the Miet Sibling Relationships


François Miet was married twice, first to Margueritte Perney in 1729, who died ten years later, and second to Anne Cornaire in 1740.  The 1740 marriage record identifies “Joseph Myet” as a witness to the marriage and François’ brother.20

Three additional records support the sibling relationship between Joseph & François:

  • 22 February 1741, Jean Miet, son of Joseph Miet and Jeanne Duffant, died and was buried in Rosières-sur-Mance in the presence of “Joseph Miet son pere et de François Miet son oncle.”  In English, “Joseph Miet his father and of François Miet his uncle.”21
  • 2 March 1756, Claude Miet, son of François Miet and Anne Cornaire, was buried in Rosières-sur-Mance.  Witnessing his burial were, “françois Miet Son pere et Joseph Miet Son oncle.” In English, “François Miet his father and Joseph Miet his uncle.”22
  • 30 January 1759, “Claude Vautherin” and “françoisse Miet,” daughter of Joseph Miet and Jeanne Duffant, were married in Rosières-sur-Mance.  Among the witnesses to the marriage was “François Miet oncle de lepouse.” [sic] In English, “François Miet uncle of the bride.”23

These three records, in combination with François’ 1740 marriage record to Anne, clearly link Joseph and François as brothers.  One additional record supports this relationship and identifies Jeanne Miet as their sister.

“Jeanne Myet” married Jacque Garde 7 February 1741 in Vernois-sur-Mance.  Among the witnesses to the marriage were “françois myet son frere [additional writing lost in the spine of the book] Joseph Myet aussy son frere.”  [sic] In English, “François Myet her brother — Joseph Myet also her brother.”24  It is important to note that the signatures of Joseph and François on this record match the signatures of the Joseph and François Miet of Rosières-sur-Mance.



Establishing Nicolas Miet as the Father of François and Jeanne Miet


Three records help establish Nicolas Miet as the father of François and Jeanne Miet.  One of those records also names Jeanne Renet as the mother of François:

  • The 1729 marriage of François and Margueritte Perney states that François is the “fils de nicolas miet et de Jeanne Renet.”  In English, the “son of Nicolas Miet and of Jeanne Renet.”25
  • The 1740 marriage of François Miet to Anne Cornaire states that he was married, “en presençe de Nicolas myet pere du contractant.”  In English, “in the presence of Nicolas Myet the father of the groom.”26
  • Jeanne Miet’s 1741 marriage to Jacque Garde states that they were married, “en presence de . . . Nicolas Myet pere de la contractante.”  In English, “in the presence of . . . Nicolas Myet father of the bride.”27



Identifying the Wife of Nicolas Miet and the Mother of His Children


François Miet’s 1729 marriage record states his mother is Jeanne Renet.28  Jeanne’s name does not appear in the other marriage records nor in the death records for Nicolas’ two confirmed children François and Jeanne Miet.

Nicolas Miet’s own death and burial record helps provide a link between Nicolas and Jeanne Renet.  When Nicolas died 8 April 1758, his burial record describes him as the “voeuf de Jeanne Reinet.” [sic]  In English, “widower of Jeanne Reinet.”29

No marriage record for a Nicolas Miet or a Jeanne Renet is found in Rosières-sur-Mance between 1683 and 1729.30 In nearby Saint Marcel, a small commune 3 km from Rosières-sur-Mance, there is a marriage for a “Nicolaum Myet” and a “Joannam Renet” on 16 January 1702.31  This marriage was recorded in Latin.  The French translation of those names is Nicolas Myet and Jeanne Renet.

No baptisms were recorded for a Joseph Miet or a François Miet in Rosières-sur-Mance between 1683 and 1717 or in Saint Marcel between 1700 and 1717 for any parents.32

There was, however, a baptism recorded for Jeanne Miet, daughter of Nicolas Miet and Jeanne Renet, in Saint Marcel on 25 April 1717.33 This record is unique in that Jeanne’s father Nicolas signed the record.  A baptism record from this time period and place would typically only have the signatures of the godparents and the priest.34 This distinctive signature matches Nicolas’ signature from the other records he signed during his life, linking this Saint Marcel couple to Joseph Miet and François Miet of Rosières-sur-Mance.

Nicolas Miet Signature Study

Nicolas Miet and Jeanne Renet’s 1702 marriage predates the likely births of Joseph Miet and François Miet based on their ages at death.

Joseph died 2 September 1774 and was described as being, “agé denviron soixante six ans.”  In English, “aged about sixty-six years.”35  That gives Joseph an approximate birth year of 1708.

François died 27 April 1778 and was described as being, “agé de soixante neuf ans.”  In English, “aged sixty-nine years.”36  That gives François an approximate birth year of 1709.

Based on the marriage date of Nicolas and Jeanne, and the approximate birth years of Joseph and François, it is logical that Jeanne Renet is also the mother of Joseph and François.  Moving father from Rosières-sur-Mance and Saint Marcel, potential birth records are found in the commune of Amance, 24.6 km from Rosières-sur-Mance and 21.6 km from Saint Marcel. In Amance, there are also records for two potential daughters.  The timeline for possible family events in Amance is this:

  • 21 December 1704, death of Marie Myet, daughter of Nicolas Myet and Jeanne Rennet37
  • 1 May 1705, baptism of Jeanne Myet, daughter of Nicolas Myet and Jeanne Renet38
  • 15 December 1705, death of Jeanne Myet, daughter of Nicolas Myet and Jeanne Rennet39
  • 2 January 1707, baptism of Joseph Myet, son of Nicolas Myet and Jeanne Rennet40
  • 23 July 1709, baptism of Claude François Myet, son of Nicolas Myet and Jeanne Rennet41
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From Google Maps





The records for Joseph Miet’s marriage and death do not name his parents directly.  Carefully tracking and then fully researching each witness and godparent named in the records for Joseph’s life and the lives of his children identified his family.  Joseph is the older brother of François and Jeanne Miet, and the son of Nicolas Miet and Jeanne Renet. When records do not directly provide the answer we seek, we must carefully note every information item those records do contain so they can lead us to the records that when combined, provide an indirect answer to our research question.