The Perrenoud family of La Sagne in the Neuchâtel mountains is one of many which descends from the early settlers of the region, "franc-habergeants" accorded increasing rights and freedom by their overlord, Jean d'Aaberg in the 13th century. There are actually several distinct families which share the same roots, although their names have evolved differently.
The name Perrenoud comes from a diminutive form of the forename Pierre ("Peter") meaning a rock or stone, from the Greek "petros".
Brothers Jehan and Jehannin Perrenodz are recorded at Les Glottes near La Sagne in 1463: they were also known as Perrenodz alias Contesse, possibly referring to their mother's name. The descendants of one of Jehannin's sons dropped the first part of the name and became known simply as Comtesse.
Among Jehan's children were two sons, both called Jean - not uncommon at a time when child mortality was high, and a family wished to perpetuate the father's name. To distinguish them, the older (or larger) of the two was known as Grand Jean, and his descendants adopted the surname Grandjean-Perrenoud-Comtesse, which is generally shortened to Grandjean today. As for the second Jean, it would be difficult to recognise his descendants as part of the Perrenoud family, because their surname evolved into Péter-Comtesse.
Another Perrenoud descendant living at La Sagne in the 16th century was nicknamed Grand Guillaume, and the descendants of this branch became known as Grandguillaume-Perrenoud. This surname is generally shortened to Perrenoud today.
Our Perrenoud families
Jean-Marc has four separate Perrenoud lines in his ancestry.
Jean-Marc's first Perrenoud line begins with David Perrenoud, whose son Jaques married Marie Sandoz (daughter of Joseph) in La Sagne on 3 December 1684. They had one known son: Jacob Perrenoud, who was christened in La Sagne on 26 February 1693 and married Marie Jaquet there on 27 September 1724.
Marie was a widow with five young children when she married Jacob and the couple had two more children together. Their younger child, Oliver Perrenoud, was christened in La Sagne on 20 March 1729 and married Marie-Madelaine Joly in Les Ponts-de-Martel on 25 November 1752. They had seven children, although two died in infancy. Marie-Madelaine died in Les Ponts-de-Martel in 1775 at the age of 44 and Olivier subsequently married Judith-Marguerite Berthoud.
Olivier and Marie-Madelaine's sixth child, Jean-Louis Perrenoud, was christened in Les Ponts-de-Martel on 20 April 1766. He migrated to the neighbouring valley of St-Imier in the canton of Bern, which is probably where he married Susanne-Henriette Nicolet. They had at least three children, including Gustave Perrenoud, who was born in Renan on 29 March 1799.
The family returned to the canton of Neuchâtel, and Gustave married Julie Vuille in Les Ponts-de-Martel on 6 August 1831. Julie was born in La Sagne on 30 October 1811, daughter of David-Louis Vuille and his distant cousin Marianne Vuille, and her Vuille ancestry can be seen here. Gustave and Julie had a large family of ten children, all born in La Sagne. Their third child, Elise-Augustine Perrenoud, was born on 9 March 1836, and married Gustave-Henri Huguenin-Virchaux in La Sagne on 28 October 1857.
Jehan Perrenodz alias Comtesse was a labourer at Les Glottes, born before 1443. One of his sons, Pierre Perrenod, married Agnès Vuille and is recorded as a smith at Marmoud in 1480. Pierre and Agnès had a son, Guillaume, born before 1510 and a grandson Andrey who owned land at Les Glottes in 1553.
In 1590, Andrey's son Moÿse Perrenod is recorded as a master armourer at Les Glottes, while Moÿse's son Daniel was a master gunsmith. Several members of this branch of the family were also in the same trade.
Our line passes via Daniel's son Syméon to his grandson Abraham and great-grandson Isaac Perrenoud, who married Anne-Marie Dubois at Les Ponts-de-Martel on 20 January 1674. Isaac was an elder in the village church and a member of the local judiciary. He and Anne-Marie had eight children, including Henri Perrenoud, who was baptised in Les Ponts-de-Martel on 29 April 1688 and married Madelaine Dumont there on 26 January 1706.
Henri and Madelaine's daughter Jeanne-Marie Perrenoud was baptised in Les Ponts-de-Martel on 19 July 1711, and married David Roulet there on 25 February 1728.
Jehan Perrenodz of La Sagne was born towards the end of the 15th century and among his children was one known as "Grand Guillaume" either because of his size, or because he had a younger brother with the same forename (not uncommon at a time of high child mortality, when parents wanted to be sure that a family name survived). Within a few generations, the surname of this branch became established as Grandguillaume-Perrenoud. Grand Guillaume died in the late 1550s.
One of his sons, also called Guillaume, was a labourer at Marmoud, near La Sagneand married Susanne Matile. They had six known children, including David Grandguillaume-Perrenoud who married Jeanne Perret. Among David and Jeanne's children was Jonas Grandguillaume Perrenoud, who lived at Marmoud, and died in 1687. His wife's name is unknown, but he had at least five children, including Abraham (or Abram), a labourer at Petit-Martel in the second half of the 17th century.
Abraham acquired a rather cumbersome nickname, which for a time was used as the family surname: "Grandguillaume-Perrenoud-dit-le-Corbe". There were extensive peat bogs along the valley of La Sagne and Les Ponts-de-Martel, and "corbe" is an old patois word for peat, so perhaps Abraham produced turf for burning. He and his wife Susanne had nine known children, including another Abraham, who was born in about 1684, and confirmed at Les Ponts-de-Martel in 1700, and Jonas (see below).
Abraham became an elder in the church at La Sagne and married Anne-Marie Robert in Les Ponts-de-Martel on 21 January 1714. Anne-Marie was cbaptised in Les Ponts-de-Martel on 26 September 1691 and was the daughter of Jacob Robert and Manne-Marie Matthey-Prévôt. Abraham and Anne-Marie had seven children, all christened in Les Ponts-de-Martel.
Abraham and Anne-Marie's youngest child, Marie-Esther Grandguillaume-Perrenoud, was baptised in Les Ponts-de-Martel on 15 April 1729 and married Claude Pethoud there on 14 October 1749. They had a daughter, Marguerite Pethoud, who was baptised in Les Ponts-de-Martel on 26 July 1750, but Claude had problems with the law, spending time in prison for theft, and by 1755 he had been "banished" from the principality of Neuchâtel. Marie-Esther had another daughter in 1755, also called Marie-Esther, who was declared illegitimate and given the surname Grandguillaume-Perrenoud in the baptismal register, as was a third daughter, Rose-Marguerite, in 1763.
Marguerite Pethoud had an illegitimate daughter, Charlotte Pethoud, born in Les Ponts-de-Martel on 3 April 1775. She later married Isaac-Henri Perrenoud, a widower with several children in Les Ponts-de-Martel on 18 January 1780 and had three more children with him. Charlotte is sometimes recorded with her stepfather's surname Perrenoud, but there is no clear indication that Isaac-Henri was her biological father. Charlotte married Victor-Aimé Vuille in La Sagne on 9 February 1805.
Jonas, son of Abraham Grandguillaume Perrenoud-dit-le-Corbe, was a labourer at Petit-Martel and married Susanne Jeanmairet in Les Ponts-de-Martel on 24 March 1702. They had six children, including Jean-Pierre Grandguillaume-Perrenoud, who was baptised in Les Ponts-de-Martel on 12 December 1706 and married Susanne-Marguerite Sandoz there on 7 September 1743.
Jean-Pierre and Susanne-Marguerite had six children, all baptised at Les Ponts-de-Martel. Their second child, Susanne-Esther Grandguillaume-Perrenoud, was baptised on 27 November 1746 and married Frédéric-Louis Vuille in Les Ponts-de-Martel on 10 October 1775.