Searching for French Family History Records

French map--shutterstock_98678141

Some people are overwhelmed by the thought of searching for their own French ancestors. However, doing French family history research may be easier than you realize, especially when you see all of the online resources that are available to the public.

More than a dozen Internet web sites and 6 quick and informative online courses found on the FamilySearch website provide all the information and resources you need to begin a productive journey of discovery. Many of the websites listed blow will provide you with digitized images of original birth, marriage and death records from villages and cities throughout France. They also provide information about citizens living in French colonies throughout the world.

All of the online courses are free, as are many of the websites shown below. Some of the sites will provide you with guided instructions on how to use the records found on their site. If you are interested in getting the original records shown on these sites, you will be guided where to write, how much they cost and other useful information you need to be aware of.

Time periods for many of these records range from the early 1600s to the early 1900s. In most cases, the handwriting is remarkably easy to read. Some of the early archivists took great pride in their penmanship; creating page after page of beautifully elegant handwriting.

By using the websites and courses listed below, almost anyone can search for their ancestors and enjoy success. Even better, you can do it from the comfort of your own home.

Internet Sites for Finding French Records and Family Trees – Links to many important genealogical websites, including the digitized record online. – You can search this database by name and town. – Find out where in France people were living with your surname. – Find patron submitted family pedigrees and trees. If the site comes up in English, change your browser settings to display in French. (search for France in Catalog) – Several Departments are online, including Paris – 22,000 male and female given names from Quebec – Search by name and Department, maps – Provides links to other genealogical sites. Lists Archive addresses and when open for research. (Very important when planning a visit) – This site links to the actual records online. – Useful for Huguenot Research – These maps were completed in 1783 and show even the smallest village in detail. – This site shows detailed maps of France and other European countries – Algerian records online

French Canadian Websites

Free Online Courses on Doing French Research

In this lesson you will learn how to locate the place of origin of your French ancestor, determine the right spelling of the name, and use dates correctly.  Video and Slides (20 minutes)

In this lesson you will learn about church records and civil records in France. Video and Slides (20 minutes)

This course guides you through basic French genealogical research. Interactive Slides

This lesson will help you recognize the letters used in French documents. This will eventually help you read, understand, and extract information from French genealogical records. Interactive Slides (25 minutes)

This lesson will help you key words and phrases that identify names, dates, family relationships, events, and locations in French records. Interactive Slides (25 minutes)

This lesson will help you become familiar with a variety of French genealogical record types and formats. You will learn how to locate and extract key information from these record types. Interactive Slides (30 minutes)

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