A Collier’s Visit to Caulieres, France

a reflection by Terri Collier

On a recent trip to France, mom Terri and daughter Nellie Collier traveled from Paris to Cauliéres, the village from which the Collier family got its name.  Based on the research gathered at the Collier Heritage Foundation and genealogical records handed down, a 2nd son of a Barony was appointed Magistrate over an abbey and the village it owned in the Somme region of France.  The village was named Cauliéres and having no land of his own, he took the name of the village, thus becoming Johanne Cauliéres (later Anglicized to Collier).

In addition to seeing the home of our ancestors, we hoped to visit the church where, according to records, a number of Collier ancestors served as priest in the 1300’s.  Despite my failed attempts at advanced contact with residents of this small village (209 people in 2006), we arrived in Cauliéres unannounced.  When Nellie asked if we had a plan, I said “Yes.  We’re going to walk around town until someone asks us why we’re here” — and that is precisely what happened!

This lovely lady was on her morning walk when we inquired if we could ask her a few questions about the village.  Thankfully she spoke English and was a very friendly and helpful tour guide.  We explained our connection to the village and ask if it would be possible to see inside the church.

She led us to her friend’s house, the literal keeper of the keys, who immediately demanded to know what we wanted to do in “her” church!  After a five minute discussion (which seemed a bit heated), our second guide joined our procession to the church.  More conversation and a generous donation to the church warmed up the keeper of the keys and we heard much about her church, which is only used for worship one Sunday a year and for weddings and funerals.

The stone portion of the church dates to the 1300’s and is a quaint, but beautiful tribute to the faith of the generations in this lovely village.  (Shown here with Nellie).

The inside of the church was simple, but well tended.  We were told that the original abbey was a ruin in a nearby field, with its remaining walls only a few inches tall.

Sometimes teaching your children to appreciate their heritage takes you on a wild goose chase.  There were plenty of eye-rolls and a few protests, but I promise you that one day, Nellie will tell her children about the day we went to the home of her ancestors!

Our visit was capped off by an introduction to the mayor, who was out riding his bike, and an inquiry from the police, seen here talking with the mayor.  They were wondering who these strangers were on a Monday morning walking around their small village!

All in all, it was a day well-spent!

When I asked our guides about the history of Cauliéres (which apparently means cabbage), the “key lady” graciously invited us into her home, where she shared these two clippings.  Could someone in Collier-land translate them?


Terri Stagner Collier, wife of Christopher Reid Collier

Nellie’s genealogy from the Barnesville, GA line:

Isaac Cuthbert Collier 1846 – 1908

Jena Cuthbert Collier 1866 – 1944

Durward Cuthbert Collier 1890 – 1979

Jena Cuthbert Collier II 1917 – 2003

Christopher Reid Collier 1958 – present

Nellie Catherine Collier 2000 – present


Here is another view of the Church using Google Earth Street View.

Click on this link to go Caulieres on Google Earth and zoom in on “D92” at the intersection of Rue d’en Haut and Rue de l’Eglise.

Church in Caulieres

Comments (5)

  • very nice!! thank you for sharing. wish I could read french so i could translate those articles.

    the church looks pretty good inside for one that is only used one Sunday a year and for weddings/funerals.

  • Angelyn Collier Dennis Spangenberg

    Terri. my French is not so good… so I googled: french english… typed in the French… which came up Norwegen at some point.. and german at another phrase… however… Google gave a reasonable translation…

  • Hi and thank you so much for sharing. Myhill Collier is my 3rd great grandfather. Myhill and Vines were brothers which you are very well aware . Will you have this on Ancestry?My Tree on Ancestry is The Collier Family Tree. Again,Thank You. Marsha Collier

  • A big “Thanks” to John Collier for the following translation of the two French documents.

    Translation to English of two documents
    Area 541 hectares, Altitude 184 meters, Population 177 inhabitants.
    “Cauliers”, in 1169. In the 12th century, the abbey of Selincourt founded in Caulières a courtyard known as “St-Nicolas-de-Caulières”, which became the village of Lamaronde. Owned a manor house. The land received the title of Viscount in the 18th century.
    In 1846, discovery in a black clay vase of many bronze medals of the late Roman Empire, near the “Flemish Road”. Gallo-Roman substructures. 18th century St. Mary Magdalene Church : 16th century choir, semicircular arched door, 18th century nave, bow shaped drip edge decorated with crests; Renaissance swimming pool with basket handle vaulting.
    Mademoiselle Valley. Wooded site. Fodder, cereals. Cattle, pigs. Patronal Feast: July 22; communal: next Sunday July 22.

    Did you know?
    Etymology, from “caulis” cabbage, and so “cauleria” – the place planted with cabbage, which gives “Caulières”.
    Lieutenant Spindler Street, named in honor of this soldier who fought in our town during the 1939-1945 war and who won the following citation:
    SPINDLER – Lieutenant – 49th B.C.A. (possibly: “Bataillons de Chasseurs Alpins)
    This spirited officer demonstrated selflessness and remarkable courage during the fighting of June 6, 1940, admired by everyone for his contempt for danger. He fell gloriously at the head of his section. This citation includes the award of the Croix de Guerre 1939-1945 with palm.
    Desforges Street, the Desforges family owned, until the revolution, the 7/8th of the lordship of Caulières. The last Mr. Desforges gave to the commune of Caulières the communal plot and the Frier to provide free parcels of land to needy workers.
    1895 – Camille BOETTE, Mayor of Caulières assembles his council to estimate the cost of clothing for the 25 firefighters of the Commune.
    1906 – 38 people work in three companies making brushes, and a small group of craftsmen are active there: a butcher, a coffee maker, two seamstresses, a shoemaker, a grocer, a novelty merchant, a coal merchant , a blacksmith, a carpenter, an ironer, a sawmill and a threshing machine.
    1930 – Arrival of electricity.

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