Isère, France Genealogy

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Guide to Isère Department ancestry, family history and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, parish registers, and military records.

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History[edit | edit source]

Isère is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on March 4, 1790. It was created from part of the former province of Dauphiné. Its area has been reduced twice, in 1852 and again in 1967, on both occasions losing territory to the department of Rhône. In 1852 due to rapid urban development round the edge of Lyon, (Isère) 4 communes were transferred to Rhône. In 1967 the redrawing of local government borders led to the creation of the Urban Community of Lyon. At that time intercommunal groupings of this nature were not permitted to straddle departmental frontiers. Most recently, on 1 April 1971, Colombier-Saugnieu was lost to Rhône.[1]

Localities (Communes)[edit | edit source]

Church Records and Civil Registration (Registres Paroissiaux et Etat Civil) Online[edit | edit source]

The vast majority of your research will be in church records and civil registration. For more information on these records and how to use them, read France Church Records and France Civil Registration. Additional instructions and practice activities are available:

Fortunately, these records are available online from the archives of each department:
Here is the website for the Department Archives of Isère, where you will find these records.

  1. Click on the link above and the CONDITIONS DE RÉUTILISATION DES DONNÉES PUBLIQUES page will appear.
  2. Click J'ACCEPTE CES CONDITIONS to accept the conditions and a small pink pop-up box will appear on the next page.
  3. Select ETAT CIVIL and you will be allowed to access the civil registration records by commune search.

For a demonstration of navigating archives websites, watch the video, Using France Department Archives Online.

Online Census Records[edit | edit source]

Census records can support your search in civil and church records. They can help identify all family members. When families have similar names they help determine which children belong in each family. See France Census. Here is the website for the Department Archives of Isère, where you will find these records.

  1. Click on the link above and the CONDITIONS DE RÉUTILISATION DES DONNÉES PUBLIQUES page will appear.
  2. Click J'ACCEPTE CES CONDITIONS to accept the conditions and a small pink pop-up box will appear on the next page.
  3. Select RECENSEMENT DE POPULATION (Population Census) and you will be allowed to access the census records by commune search.

Online Local Databases and Extracted Records[edit | edit source]

Groups devoted to genealogy have also extracted and/or indexed records for specific localities, time periods, religious groups, etc. Since church records at the departmental archives are generally not indexed, you might find an index here that will speed up your searching.

Microfilm Records of the FamilySearch Library[edit | edit source]

The church and civil registration records have all been microfilmed. Currently, they are being digitized, and plans are to complete that project by 2020. Check back occasionally to see if your records have become available. In the meantime, some of them might be available at a Family History Center near you. To find a microfilm: Click on Isère , find and click on "Places within France, Isère," and choose your locality from the list.

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Online records tend to cover only the time before 100 years, due to privacy laws. You can write to civil registration offices and local churches who might honor requests for more recent records of close family members for the purpose of genealogy.

For a civil registration office, address your request to:

Monsieur l'officier de l'état-civil
Mairie de (Town)
(Postal code) (Town)

For a parish church:

Monsieur le Curé
(Church --see The Catholic Directory for church name and address)
(Town) (Postal Code) France

For other addresses and for help writing your request in French, use French Letter Writing Guide.

Learning to Read Enough French to Do Genealogy[edit | edit source]

It's easier than you think! You do not have to be fluent in French to use these records, as there is only a limited vocabulary used in them. By learning a few key phrases, you will be able to read them adequately. Here are some resources for learning to read French records.

During the reign of Napoleon, a different calendar was used. You will want to translate the dates written in these records back to normal Julian calendar dates. Charts in this article will help you:

Also, see:

  • Alsace-Lorraine: Converting French Republican Calendar Dates - Instruction

These lessons focus on reading church record and civil registration records:

Another resource is the French Records Extraction Manual. The full manual or individual lesson chapters are downloadable from this webpage. A number of helpful lessons are available here, but the first five lessons are especially useful.

  • Chapter 1: Old Records
  • Chapter 2: Christening, Marriage, and Other Entries
  • Chapter 3: Marriage
  • Chapter 4: Other Entries
  • Chapter 5: French Handwriting and Spelling

Before 1539, many church records are in Latin. In 1539 French was made the administrative language of France through the Ordinance of Villers-Cotterêts. As a result, there is only the occasional Latin word or phrase in church records after 1539.

Search Strategy[edit | edit source]

  • Begin with the death information of the focus ancestor and locate the death record.
  • Use the information on that death record to locate the ancestor's marriage record.
  • Use the information on that marriage record to locate the ancestor's birth record.
  • Once the birth record is found, search for the focus ancestor's siblings.
  • Next, search for the marriage of the focus ancestor's parents. The marriage record will have information that often helps locate the birth records of the parents.
  • Search the death registers for all known family members.
  • Repeat this process for both the father and the mother, starting with their birth records, then their siblings' births, then their parents' marriages, and so on.
  • If earlier generations (parents, grandparents, etc.) do not appear in the records, search neighboring parishes. It is possible they may have moved or boundaries changed.

Genealogical Societies and Help Groups[edit | edit source]

  • Centre Généalogique du Dauphiné
BP 311
38011 Grenoble Cedex 1
Telephone: 09 52 22 00 02

  • Centre généalogique de Vienne et de la Vallée du Rhône
Chemin des Aqueducs
38200 VIENNE

  • History and Patrimony of the Pays Voironnais (Association Histoire et Patrimoine du Pays Voironnais)
2 place de Stalingrad
38500 VOIRON

  • Racyenas, ceux d'ici, ceux d'ailleurs
Boite 67
Le Patio 97,
Galerie de l'Arlequin
38100 Grenoble
Phone: 06 60 02 07 20

  • Genealogy for All (Généalogie Pour Tous)
Mailing address:
Association Généalogie Pour Tous
9, allée des Balmes
38170 Seyssinet-Pariset

  • Centre d'Études Généalogiques Rhône-Alpes
Center Atoll
14, rue des Glairaux
38120 Saint-Égrève

  • Le Chemin à l'Envers
224 rue du Vieux Moulin
Phone:06 78 30 81 06

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

Introduction to Family History Centers

  • Family History Centers (FHCs) are branches of FamilySearch and the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah (United States), located all over the world. Their goal is to provide resources to assist you in the research and study of your genealogy and family history by:
    • Giving personal one-on-one assistance to patrons
    • Providing access to genealogical records through the Internet or microfilm loan program
    • Offering free how-to classes (varies by location)
  • There is no cost to visit a Family History Center or FamilySearch Library. They are open to anyone with an interest in genealogical research. They are operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  • Partner sites such as,,, and many CD based collections can be searched free of charge.

Finding a Family History Center

Websites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Isère," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia,ère (accessed October 30, 2018‎).