Bite your tongue, Mr. Notary!

As a Francophone notary in Terrebonne, Quebec, François-Hyacinthe Séguin meticulously recorded the townspeople’s births, marriages and deaths in his journal. But Séguin also had a special flair for colourfully describing small details of everyday life:

“What is certain is that this nice old lady has been mad for several years, and that her inclination to run off to Pointe-aux-Trembles, from which she hails, required close attention to prevent her from doing so.” [translation]

The notary’s easy-to-read calligraphy and graceful style take us back to another era, even when he talks about something mundane like the weather:

“The day was remarkable, not only due to the impetuous wind that blew from the SSW from around 10 a.m. until around 6 p.m., but also because of foggy episodes that were so frequent that one barely disappeared before another formed.” [translation]

Séguin’s notes on politics and about his peers often include an irreverent touch. Want to know more about the political and social atmosphere of Terrebonne in the early 1800s? Transcribe, translate, describe and tag this fascinating journal in our new Co-Lab challenge. You can transcribe the journal in the original French, or translate it into English so even more people can enjoy it.

Is this your first challenge? We have a tutorial and instructions to help you.

Why not give it a try? Help us tell notary François-Hyacinthe Séguin’s whimsical stories. Ensure that what happens in Terrebonne doesn’t stay in Terrebonne! You can also learn more by reading our blog about him.

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