Alpes-Maritimes, France Genealogy

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Guide to Alpes-Maritimes ancestry, family history and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, parish registers.



Alpes Maritimes is part of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region. It borders on the departments of Var and Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, and Italy to the east. A first French département of Alpes-Maritimes existed in the same area from 1793 to 1814. Its boundaries differed from those of the modern department, however. In 1793 Alpes-Maritimes included Monaco and San Remo, but not Grasse which was then part of the départment of Var. The département was subdivided into arrondissements and cantons and this was the situation in 1812. Its population in 1812 was 131,266, and its area was 322,674 hectares. The department was reconstituted in 1860 when the county of Nice was annexed by France. It included the county of Nice as well as the previously, at least nominally, independent towns of Menton and Roquebrune, and the arrondissement of Grasse in the department of Var. In 1860 Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour, one of the architects of Italian unity with the kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia, negotiated support for Napoleon III in exchange for Savoy and the County of Nice. The annexation was confirmed on 15 and 16 April 1860 by 30,712 male electors enrolled in the 89 communes of the County of Nice who, for the first time, had universal male suffrage by plebiscite. The "Yes" vote for reunification with France was 83.8% of registered voters and 99.2% of votes. However, the County of Nice did not include Tende and La Brigue which were incorporated into France in the Treaty of Paris in 1947. The Arrondissement of Puget-Théniers was removed for purposes of economy in 1926 and attached to Nice: the department has not since had two districts. In 1947, in accordance with the Treaty of Paris and as a referendum result favourable to their attachment to France, the communes of Tende and La Brigue which had been Italian since 1860, were attached to the department.

Localities (Communes)

Church Records and Civil Registration (Registres Paroissiaux et Etat civil) Online

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

See Using France Online Department Archives for step by step instructions on finding and reading these records.

Online Census Records

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

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

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 Alpes-Maritimes , find and click on "Places within France, Alpes-Maritimes," and choose your locality from the list.

Learning to Read Enough French to Do Genealogy

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.

There is a three-lesson course in reading handwriting in old French records:

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

Another resource is the French Records Extraction Manual, Full Manual. Much more is covered, but these first four lessons are especially useful.

Search Strategy

  • Search for the relative or ancestor you selected. When you find his birth record, search for the births of his brothers and sisters.
  • Next, search for the marriage of his parents. The marriage record will have information that will often help you find the birth records of the parents.
  • You can estimate the ages of the parents and search for their birth records.
  • 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.

Genealogical Societies and Help Groups

c/o Mme Évelyne SAIU
6, avenue du Prado
06400 CANNES

  • Centre Généalogique et Héraldique du Comté de Nice
24, bd Prince de Galles
0600 Nice

  • Cercle Généalogique de Nice et de la Provence Orientale
7, avenue de Fabron
06200 Nice