French SIG - French Genealogy online (Judii - please note)
- Since we do not have an official mailing list for the French SIG I am
posting the news to the whole AFHS list in the hopes it will bring more
French folk out of hiding to join the SIG.
Also I would like Judii to post the following on the AFHS website under the
Geographic section on France - when she has time:
To find French acts (actes) of Baptism (Baptêmes), Marriage (Mariage) and
Burials (Sépultures) (or after 1789 modern French records of births,
marriages, deaths) online go to the following site:
Most are in French, though an English version is available for some of the
explanatory notes. However, with the above translations and a few others you
should be able to figure it out. There is a site at
http://www.systranlinks.com/systran/cgi where you can receive instant
translations from French to English and vice versa as well as other
languages. If this still does not help, email me at president@...
and I will answer brief questions.
The Geneactes site is a collection of databases compiled (and still in
progress). Some databases are currently small due to the amount of indexing
to date. These usually list all available acts. The larger databases show
the number of acts by date and surname range with search forms to find
particular ancestors. Some give links to where you can write or email for a
search or request further information. There are some census records as
This is not a comprehensive site for all French records as France does not
have one central place from which to request vital records. Each "mairie"
(town hall) is in charge of recording these acts (since 1789 and before that
churches were responsible for keeping vital records). Therefore, the
ancestor's exact place of origin must be known to obtain an official record.
Records for the last 100 years (varies by type of record) are kept in the
townhall and restricted to individual identified on record or next-of-kin in
case of death of individual.
Records older than 100 years are sent to the "département" for all towns
within its jurisdiction. Départements are somewhat equivalent to English
counties though in France there 83 such divisions. Each one has a city
designated as the "préfecture" (capital city) or "sous-préfecture" (if not
the capital of the département) where the records are stored.
The vital records prior to 1789 kept by parishes, dioceses and
archbishoprics were transferred to a département following the
reorganization of archives following the French Revolution. The new
divisions are not always equivalent to the old ones. Therefore, it is
important to know in what current jurisdiction the records for former
divisions are now found. Also the borders of the post-Revolution divisions
have not been static since 1789 causing even more confusion. These divisions
and where the records may now be found will be explained more fully in my
book "Finding Your Ancestors in France" to be published in late 2002.
Each département is also known by a number (e.g. Paris (Seine/Paris) is 75).
There is an index of the départements by number (only) for which indexing
has been contributed to the project. This index is found at
http://www.geneabank.org/cgi-bin/listdatabase.pl. Again my book will give
the list of names and corresponding numbers.
The bonus once a date and location of any one act is found, particularly for
those post-Revolution, it will be part of a complete "family record" for the
individual eliminating the need to find each vital record separately
(usually the records are found in the jurisdiction for the individual's
birthplace). Sending a letter with a self-addressed return envelope and two
international reply coupons will give you a package that includes the birth,
marriages, divorces and death for the particular individual. All for the
same price - $0!
Another useful site for French genealogy and other locales is GeneaNet at
http://www.geneanet.org/index.php3?lang=en (English version) where you can
search your ancestor's surname and narrow by location and year to see if
anyone else is searching for the same name. Then you are directed to either
the other searcher's webpage and/or email link.
If you want to join the French SIG to be put on an email list for further
updates or to ask questions of each other, please let me know.
Some news - not for publication on the AFHS site - is that my
French-Canadian "cousins" returned to Quebec. It is sad for us as we will
miss them but not sad for them as they are back in "their element" as they
put it. Culture-shock was too much though they loved the mountains! Good
news though for us as well as they promised to do some look-ups for me when
I cannot make it to Montreal or Quebec city to do so in person.
Xenia Stanford (president@...)
A.G.E. Ancestree Genealogical Enterprises
Enter Xenia as a search term at http://globalgazette.net/ to find my column
"Nos Racines Francaises"
Local book and magazine sales:
Phone: (403) 295-3490; Fax: (403) 274-0564