Var, France Genealogy
Guide to Var Department ancestry, family history and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, parish registers, and military records.
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|Local Research Resources|
History[edit | edit source]
The department of Var was created at the time of the French Revolution, on 4 March 1790, from a portion of the former royal province of Provence. It takes its name from the river Var, which flowed along its eastern boundary, until the boundary was moved in 1860 with the creation of the new department of Alpes-Maritimes. Var is bordered by the departments of Alpes-Maritimes, Bouches-du-Rhône, and Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, and by the Mediterranean Sea on the south.
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:
- Alsace-Lorraine - Activity, Answer Key
- Alsace-Lorraine: Department Archive Records Online - Instruction
Fortunately, these records are available online from the archives of each department:
Here is the website for the Department Archives of Var, where you will find these records.
- FamilySearch Collections:
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.
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.
- FamilySearch Collections:
- Tout en Un (All in One) Online Databases Check for online databases and records in right column. Check back occasionally to see if new databases have become available.
- Filae, index and images, ($).
- Tout en Un (All in One) Local Databases Here you may find extracted/translated records, record indexes, and other helpful records such as cemetery, land, or military records.
- Geneanet Collaborative Indexes Search by locality (parish or commune).
- François Barby Dépouillements de plusieurs communes de Provence
- Contrats de mariages
- Geneprovence Histoire et Généalogie en Provence
Microfilm and Digital 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 Var , find and click on "Places within France, Var," 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:
- 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]
Family History Centers[edit | edit source]
- 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 Ancestry.com, MyHeritage.com, FindMyPast.com, and many CD based collections can be searched free of charge.
Websites[edit | edit source]
- Tout en Un Var
- GenWeb, Var Portal
- Cousins 83
- Geneanet Surname Search
- France Geneawiki Genealogical Sources includes instructional discussions of various records available.
- French Republican Calendar. This site will help you translate dates used by France from 24 October 1793 to 31 December 1805.
- There are parallel articles also available on the French Language Wiki. Because they are maintained by different authors, links may be added there that do not appear here. Generally, the articles translate automatically to English when accessed.
References[edit | edit source]
- Wikipedia contributors, "Var (department)," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Var_(department) (accessed July 13, 2020).