THE HEIRS OF THE OBLIVION
(Les enfants trouvés)
France, 18th Century.
At that time it started to be recorded the highest rate of abandoned children in the streets.
The Hôpital des Enfants, in Paris, receives 7,690 children on 1772.
As a national average the figure is about 40,000.
On the next century, that figure raised drammatically until reached 130,000 in 1833.
Every day there's an increase in the price of bread. To more increases of the cost of bread, more children's abandonment.
Foundlings exposed outdoors are around one or two week old.
85% of these babies do not survive more than 2 or 3 weeks after being found.
Around 1750 a new practice of baby hatches or foundling wheels is implemented. They are cylinders set upright in the outside wall of hospitals, like revolving doors. Used to deposit the children, preserving the parents' anonymity, they reduced the amount of children left in the streets.
Many of these children, who were attended by wetnurses and survived, might be our ancestors.
If they were not returned to their parents, they were sent to the military service or to populate the overseas colonies. The girls continued working as cooks, as cleaners or seamstresses at the hospices.
They are the "enfants trouvés".
Genealogy is not only a story about surnames and coats of arms.
It's a story about human beings.