Bevaix, Neuchâtel, Switzerland ... established in this village by pure coincidence ?
Having lived in Bevaix since 1990, what a surprise to discover at the beginning of my genealogy research (in 1993) that my great-great-grandfather Louis Alphonse Junod * had married in Bevaix on May 12, 1860, with a girl from the village: Victoire Justine born Mellier, daughter of David Henry Mellier (1813 - 1862) and Madeleine Uranie, also born Mellier.
Ethymology - Bevaix
First hypothesis, taken from the 1990 publication "Musée Neuchâtelois":
"Chuneberti mansus situs in villa Bevacensi, 998, in monasterio Bevacensi, 1005, ecclesia Sancti Stephani of Bevat, 1092, Bevaais, Bevais, 1228, Bevaz, 1258, 1260, Bevay, 1268, Bevex, Bevaix (later).
This name is difficult to analyze.
The oldest known citation, 998, tells us that the village existed before the donation of the priory of Bevaix. It is much older.
The toponymist Gatschet, quoted by Jaccard, proposed to go back to the old German bifahan "close" which would make it a synonym for closed. Old quotations, like modern forms, oppose such an interpretation.
Its origin probably goes back to the Gallo-Roman or perhaps even Gaulish. It would come from a man's name completed by a suffix.
However one is tempted to see there a name of the Latin family bibere "to drink" which would be explained by its presence, on the route of the Vy d'Etra, in a region rich in springs, so that it could be a water point on the old Roman road to quench the passengers and water their teams.
Two other hypotheses put forward: we first talk about a named Billius, who would have had his farm and his exploitation here in the Middle Ages, then that the original name of Bevaix would be Biviae, which means two paths, with an idea obviously of crossing paths and meetings.
Through my "Mellier" and "Ribaux" ancestors and further alliances, I have become a more or less distant cousin of certain lineages of several families from - or established in - Bevaix whose main ones are (for now):
Borioli of Lugano, TI & Bevaix, NE
Countess, La Sagne and Les Ponts-de-Martels, NE
Despland, Grandson, NE
Dubois, Buttes and Colombier, NE
Gygi, of Kappelen, BE and Bevaix, NE
Henry, of Cortaillod, NE
Löffel, Muntschemier, BE
Maeder, Ried bei Kerzers, FR
Mellier (earlier : Meiller), Bevaix, NE
Ribaux, of Bevaix, NE
Tinembart, of Bevaix, NE
So my research naturally extended to these families (and their allies) in this village where I settled ... by pure coincidence ?
To note the peculiarity which made that the surname MEILLER became MELLIER by decree of 1847. However, several MEILLER families emigrate before this date (for example in the USA) where we find them today under the old spelling MEILLER.
When to RIBAUX, here is the meaning given to this surname by MM. Esmangart and Eloi Johanneau found in the Oeuvres de Rabelais, Tome IV:
"Ceux qu'anciennement on nomma ribaux étoient proprement de jeunes gens robustes, qui gagnoient leur vie à charger et à décharger les denrées qu'on embarquoit ou qu'on débarquoit à la grève. Si autrefois on a aussi appellé ribaux ceux qui aident à remonter les bateaux, c'étoit à cause que cette manoeuvre se fait sur la rive des fleuves".
Link to the site of Claude Ribaux, dedicated to the Ribaux genealogy.
* Peddler, Vineyard Worker and Mechanic, Louis Alphonse Junod lived in Thielle (1841), Cortaillod, Bevaix and La Chaux de Fonds (since 1887). He had 15 children.
Some links on and in Bevaix (French)
Alice de Chambrier
Barque de Bevaix, animation de la phase de construction
Bevaix, site clunisien
Château de Bevaix
Dictionnaire Historique de la Suisse
La voie suisse de l'expo 64 (vidéeo TSR 1967)
Le site officiel de la commune
Pêcheurs de St-Aubin et Bevaix (vidéo TSR 1963)
Treytel - historique
Amicale des sapeurs-pompiers
AMJB - Maison des Jeunes de Bevaix
ASLB - Association des Sociétés locales de Bevaix
Centre de jeunesse "La Rouveraie"
CNB - Club nautique Bevaix
Fête villageoise "Miaou"
FSG - Gymnastique