This Generational Tale narrates the epic journey of five women who left Quimperlé to join the island of Jersey between 1897 and 1924, based on the valuable archives of Jersey Heritage and with their Courtesy. Among them, two members of the LE DREN-COLLIEC family and three women from the PERENNOU lineage will intertwine their destinies. By clicking on each button below, access an explanatory family tree.

Monday, September 3, 1923

The bells of Sainte-Croix church had been ringing for nineteen hours for a few minutes on this third of September 1923. Luce COLLIEC, employed as a saleswoman, and Eugénie ALPHONSE, the family’s maid, are finishing their workday in front of Mr. Étienne GUYOMAR’s shop, their employer. The shop, « Au bon marché, » is conveniently located at 1 Place Carnot, in the lower part of Quimperlé.

Luce et Eugénie

– Eugénie: « Luce, are you heading straight to Le Combout? »
– Luce: « Yes, I plan to go through Rue de Quimper. I need to pick up the dress my mother entrusted to the LÉONARD Sisters. Angèle, the seamstress, finished her work this morning, and her sister Marie, an expert ironer, had to finalize hers. »
– Eugénie adds, « Speaking of Le Combout, it reminds me that a year ago today, we were there for the celebration organized by Mr. Harris in honor of his brother. »
-Luce exclaims, « Oh yes, you’re right. So many memories. »
– Eugénie: « That party was absolutely beautiful, Luce. Do you remember Mrs. Harris’s two adorable little girls, all cute in their traditional Breton costumes? And your sister Marie, taking such care to adjust Miss Isabelle’s headdress. It was a truly charming spectacle, wasn’t it? »

Luce: « Yes, a memorable day. Tomorrow, I’ll be slightly late; I’ve already informed Mr. Guyomar. I have a meeting at Place Hervo with Jeanne PERENNOU. »
– Eugénie: « Ah yes, is it still part of your plan to work in Jersey? »
– Luce: « Of course, you’re aware that I already have an aunt there. Since his wife’s death two years ago, Mr. Guyomar has decided to sell the business, as you know. He is sixty-five years old, and his son is now married and living in Paris. So, it would be more sensible for me to consider another job. »
– Eugénie: « Yes, you’re right. I should think about it too. I’m 35 years old, and I can’t imagine going back to the farm in Clohars, where I was born, though. »

Tuesday, September 4, 1923

– Luce: « Hello Jeanne, how are you? »
– Jeanne: « You know, Luce, since June, I turned fifteen, and my aunt Philomène always told me that when I turned fifteen, she would allow me to join her in Jersey. »
– Luce: « Yes, that’s why I wanted to talk to you. You know, my intention is also to join my aunt Marie Louise there. Since I think I might lose my job, I believe the time has come. Moreover, Aunt Marie Louise, my mother Julia’s sister, and her husband Joseph ROPARS, have reached their fifties, and managing the South Western Hotel has become challenging for them. Since the death of their only son, little Louis, at the age of six, they have no heir and wish to keep the hotel in the family. »
– Jeanne: « Now that we are getting our passports, everything will speed up. My sister Philomène arrives on the 19th with my other aunt Augustine, accompanied by her husband Jean BERTON, whom she married in Jersey in 1918. I am happy to see them again and finally meet my uncle and cousin Simone. »
– Luce: « It’s true that your aunt Philomène, your father’s half-sister, has been in Jersey for a long time already. She was a friend of my aunt Marie Louise, and they both left more than ten years ago. Philomène still hasn’t married? »
– Jeanne: « No, and now she’s 45, so I imagine she will end up an old maid. She’s an excellent cook and works for wealthy families. She wrote to me that she often sees Marie Louise because she lives in Brooksland, Trinity Hill, St Helier, not far from the South Western Hotel, which is located in Caledonia Place. »
– Luce: « Of course, Jeanne, consider for a moment this fascinating possibility: by choosing to leave after our aunts, we will become the only two families from Quimperlé to undertake this migration to Jersey. On one side, the LE DREN-COLLIEC concerning me, and on the other, the PERENNOU in your case, even if your aunt Philomène belongs to the LE MESTE lineage. It’s a unique prospect that will bind our family destinies in this new adventure. »

Luce Colliec
Jeanne Perennou
 
Fifteen years earlier!

On Sunday, August 23, 1896, Marie Louise had a rendezvous with Philomène LE MESTE at Lovignon Square. They particularly enjoyed meeting by the banks of the Éllé, comfortably settling on the steps of the washhouse. In recent weeks, their conversations revolved tirelessly around their ambitious life project: migrating to the island of Jersey. At 21, Marie Louise was full of energy, while Philomène, at 20, already demonstrated undeniable talent in the kitchen. Aware of their skills, they contemplated finding work in the service of bourgeois families, nurturing the hope of improving their living conditions.

In 1896, Marie Louise LE DREN resided on Saint-Yves Street in Quimperlé alongside her mother, Marie Yvonne ROUAT. Her father, a tanner, had passed away in 1890, leaving Marie Louise and her mother in a precarious financial situation, compelled to meet their needs as day laborers. During this period, her sister Julia joined her destiny with Charles COLLIEC. On the other hand, her brother, Louis Marie, had recently emigrated to the Paris region, where he married Marie Renée VIGOUROUX, a friend from Quimperlé known to Julia.

At that time, Marie Louise had already become the caring aunt of two children from Julia. Furthermore, a new addition was announced with the birth of Luce on August 15, 1896. Marie Louise had the honor of being chosen as the godmother of this little girl, a role she would take to heart with deep commitment.

Marie Louise will be the first to leave Quimperlé in 1897. The following year, she will marry Joseph ROPARS, born in Jersey, and quickly they will settle at the South Western Hotel, Caledonia Place, in St Helier, as the owners of the establishment. Philomène will join her in 1899.
The hotel belonged to H.W.G. BENNET in 1887.

1887

Sunday, May 3, 1925
The weather is splendid at the beginning of May 1925. Around noon, two middle-aged ladies are seated in the bar of the South Western Hotel, Caledonia Place in St. Helier (Jersey). Joseph ROPARS, the owner, has set up a large table and several chairs in the spacious room. At the moment, only two chairs are occupied: one by Marie Louise, the hotel owner, and the other by Philomène, her friend. Philomène arrived a few minutes ago, having traveled from St. Brelade where she works as a cook for Mrs. SUMNER at the Belle Vue villa. The place quickly comes to life with the arrival of young people.

South Western Hôtel

Present there is Luce COLLIEC, 29 years old, the niece of the owners, who recently joined Jersey, coming from Quimperlé. She warmly welcomes her friends, especially Louise Augustine PERENNOU, 35 years old, Philomène’s half-sister, who lives nearby at 19 Commercial Building. Louise is accompanied by her husband, Raymond BERTON, a talented butcher carrying an imposing crate filled with culinary delights that he has carefully crafted. Alongside them is also their seven-year-old daughter, Simone.

In addition to Louise, Jeanne PERENNOU, 17 years old, joins the gathering. She is the niece of Philomène and Louise. She has been granted a day off by her employer, Mr. PALLOT of 8 Mulcaster Street. The atmosphere is filled with joy and enthusiasm as this cheerful assembly gathers to share pleasant moments.

This is a special gathering: all five female protagonists share their roots in Quimperlé, in the Finistère region. Countless memories will emerge throughout the day, each one contributing their little anecdote about the charming « town of three rivers. »

Genealogical epilogue

Philomène LE MESTE. (1876-1961)
Born on July 1, 1876, in Le Lichern, Quimperlé (29), she emigrated to Jersey in 1899. She remained unmarried and, thanks to her cooking skills, consistently managed to find employment in the service of wealthy families. She spent her entire career as a cook working for several of these prominent families.

Philomène LE MESTE

In civil status, she is Marie Louise Philomène, the daughter of Jacques LE MESTE and Marguerite BREUTH. Upon her father’s death when she was only 5 years old, her mother married Henri Toussaint PERENNOU, bringing two half-brothers, René and Jean Marie, and a half-sister, Louise Augustine, into her life. René, the husband of Marie Mathurine GUERROUÉ, was « Mort pour la France » (Died for France) on September 18, 1918. Jean Marie (1884-1914), « Mort pour la France » in 1914, married Marie Louise LE BRAS: they had two daughters, Henriette (1910-1995) and Jeanne (1908-1992), who joined Louise Augustine in Jersey.

Among them, the MITCHELL family, settled at Broadlands villa in Grouville, where they served Mrs. Blanche Arnold Hameen NICOL, wife of William Edward MITCHELL. The MITCHELLs, originally from Ceylon, established their residence at Broadlands, as confirmed by Mr. MITCHELL’s will in 1937, seven years after they moved there. Philomène continued her devoted service to Major LE FEUVRE, an officer of the North Lancaster Regiment, first at Lyncroft, Midvale Road, and later at Les Niemes villa, St Peter. The latter position marked the end of her career. In 1937, Philomène took a well-deserved retirement and lived peacefully at 14 Halkett Street in St. Helier until her passing on August 28, 1961, at the age of 85.

Villa Broadlands - Grouville
Villa Les Niemes - St Peter
D/S/B1/2030, Courtesy of Jersey Heritage
D/S/A/24/1111, Courtesy of Jersey Heritage

Her younger sister, Louise Augustine PERENNOU, born in 1890 and 14 years her junior, nurtured the dream of joining her on the island of Jersey. She also possessed talents for working in the kitchens of the magnificent Jersey villas. In 1909, Philomène was in Quimperlé, and she would return to Jersey with her half-sister Louise Augustine. The latter would marry Jean Eugène Marie BERTON in 1917, a butcher originally from Bannegon in Cher. In 1918, the couple welcomed a little girl whom they named Simone.

Louise Augustine passed away on August 16, 1938, in St. Helier at the age of 47. She was buried at Mont à L’Abbé Cemetery. Widowed, Jean Eugène BERTON then married Germaine LE DANSEUR in 1953. He passed away on February 21, 1970, at the age of 77 and was laid to rest at Surville Cemetery.

D/S/B1/186, Courtesy of Jersey Heritage
DS/B1/185, Courtesy of Jersey Heritage
Jean Eugène Berton

Jeanne PERENNOU, the niece of Philomène and Louise Augustine, daughter of their brother Jean Marie, will also emigrate to Jersey. It was she who spoke so joyfully about it with Luce COLLIEC on Tuesday, September 4, 1923. She will become Mrs. Raymond DURAND on June 3, 1929, after working for five years in different families. She will have three children: Jeanne Louise (1930), Raymond Jean (1932), and Simone Georgette (1937). She passed away in 1992 in St. Helier at the age of 84.

DS/B/7/10, Courtesy of Jersey Heritage
D/S/A/4A3715, Courtesy of Jersey Heritage
D/S/A/4A3715, Courtesy of Jersey Heritage
 
Marie Louise LE DREN, born in 1875 in Quimperlé, emigrated to Jersey in 1897 and married Joseph ROPARS in St. Helier. They had a son, Louis, born in 1899, who unfortunately passed away in 1904 at the age of 6. Together with her husband, they were the owners of the South Western Hotel on Caledonia Place in St. Helier. Marie Louise later handed over the establishment to her niece and goddaughter, Luce COLLIEC.
Marie Louise et Joseph 1920

Joseph ROPARS, her spouse, passed away on January 28, 1943, at the age of 69. Marie Louise passed away on November 16, 1955, and she is buried in the Mont cemetery in L’Abbé, St. Helier. Her friend Philomène wept that day, reminiscing about the moments they shared on the steps of the Lovignon square washhouse in Quimperlé sixty years earlier when they dreamt together of emigrating.

Luce COLLIEC (August 15, 1896 – April 10, 1970)
She had joined her aunt Marie Louise ROPARS in 1924. Her sisters had accompanied her. They had left Le Combout in Quimperlé, where the family resided within the premises of the Kerisole Paper Mills. (see La fête au Combout). This moment of arrival in Jersey was immortalized on September 29, 1924, in front of the South Western Hotel.

1924: Joseph ROPARS, Marie and Yolande COLLIEC, Marie Louise ROPARS and young Charles, Yolande's son, a couple of friends, and Luce COLLIEC.
DS/B1/592, Courtesy of Jersey Heritage
Luce août 1925
Septembre 1926
Luce, Yolande et Charles, M.L. Ropars, Marie - 1924

Luce married Jack GIBAUT on March 28, 1939, in St. Helier. They owned the South Western Hotel for many years. After selling the establishment, they settled at the villa « Santa Lucia, » Bagatelle Road, St. Saviour, where Jack passed away on February 5, 1962, at the age of 57. Luce, who became a British citizen on April 4, 1936, died at Overdale Hospital on April 10, 1970, at the age of 73. She was the second-to-last of the « daughters of Quimperlé » who became Jersey residents. Jeanne PERENNOU then remembered their conversation in Quimperlé, Place Hervo, on Tuesday, September 3, 1923.

Luce - 1940
Jack - 1940
Luce - 1948
Ric, the mascot of South Western
Luce et Jack
South Western
The pianist played every day.

You can also find Luce COLLIEC by reading « La fête au Combout » and discovering The story of Mistigri. In doing so, you’ll come across Marie Mathurine GUERROUÉ (« Nénaine Thurine »), who was the wife of René PERENNOU, brother of Philomène LE MESTE and Louise Augustine PERENNOU-BERTON, and uncle to Jeanne PERENNOU-DURAND. These are the common coincidences that genealogy enthusiasts often encounter.

Sources 

  1.  Courtesy of Jersey Heritage : Jersey Heritage 
  2. Archives Ouest-Éclair
  3. Archive Union Agricole et Maritime
  4. Archives du Finistère
  5. Archives familiales