France Genealogy

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France

Guide to France ancestry, family history, and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

Country Information

France is a country in Western Europe bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Monaco, Spain, and Andorra. The French Republic was established in 1792. The official language is French.[1]

Getting Started

Getting Started with France Research

Links to articles on getting started with France research.

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France Research Tools

Links to articles and websites that assist in French research.

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Finding Your Ancestors' Town in France

  • Genealogical records are organized by geographical locality. Civil registration (government birth, marriage, and death records) and church records (christenings/baptisms, marriages, and burials) were kept at the local level. To search these records, you must know the town where your ancestors lived.
  • If you do not know your ancestors' town, follow the advice in the Wiki article, France Finding Town of Origin to search a variety of records that might provide that information.


France Clickable Map

AinAisneAllierAlpes-de-Haute-ProvenceHautes-AlpesAlpes-MaritimesArdècheArdennesAriègeAubeAudeAveyronBouches-du-RhôneCalvadosCantalCharenteCharente-MaritimeCherCorrèzeCorse-du-SudHaute-CorseCôte d'OrCotes d'ArmorCreuseDordogneDoubsDrômeEureEure-et-LoirFinistèreGardHaute-GaronneGersGirondeHéraultIlle-et-VilaineIndreIndre-et-LoireIsèreJuraLandesLoir-et-CherLoireHaute-LoireLoire-AtlantiqueLoiretLotLot-et-GaronneLozèreMaine-et-LoireMancheMarneHaute-MarneMayenneMeurthe-et-MoselleMeuseMorbihanMoselleNièvreNordOiseOrnePas-de-CalaisPuy-de-DômePyrénées-AtlantiquesHautes-PyrénéesPyrénées-OrientalesBas-RhinHaut-RhinRhôneHaute-SaôneSaône-et-LoireSartheSavoieHaute-SavoieParisSeine-MaritimeSeine-et-MarneYvelinesDeux-SèvresSommeTarnTarn-et-GaronneVarVaucluseVendéeVienneHaute-VienneVosgesYonneTerritoire-de-BelfortEssonneHauts-de-SeineSeine-Saint-DenisVal-de-MarneVal-d’OiseMap-france-departments.png
About this image

Click on the specific department name either on the map above or the list below to access the FamilySearch wiki article for that department.

Jurisdictions

Departments

Today France is divided into 96 departments, plus 5 overseas departments. This number has changed over the years, in 1790 there were 83 and at the height of Napoleon's reign there were as many as 130. Records are kept on the town level, but one needs to know in which department the town is located.

Note: The numbers in parentheses following the department name correspond to the numbers on the map above. Territoire-de-Belfort does not have a number on the map; it is located immediately below Haut-Rhin (68). The (1) on the map corresponds to the Paris area shown on the left inset. The final five departments listed below are overseas not shown on map above; their FamilySearch wiki pages may be opened by clicking on the names.


Territories

Historic Provinces and their Capitols

French Oversees Territories

Many of the records of the French overseas territories are on-line at Les Archives nationales d’outre-mer, literally The Overseas National Archives.

More France Research Strategies

Research strategies give guidance on how to research or what records to search for first. Below are additional research strategy wiki articles for France.

Research Tutorials

Record Types and Beginning Dates

Record Type (English) Record Type (French) Records Begin
Civil registration Etat civil 1792
Church records Registres ecclésiastiques 1525
Census, population registers and tax lists Recensement, centième, denier, registres de la taille et autres registres d’impôts seigneuriaux et royaux 1590
Notarial records Registres notariaux 1300
Genealogical collections Collections généalogiques 1000
Passenger lists, emigration registers and passports Rôles des passagers, registres des émigrés, demandes des passeports pour l’étranger et l’intérieur 1686
Orphan and guardianship records Tutelles, curatelles, émancipations 1500
Naturalization and name change records Lettres de naturalisation et de changements de noms 1635
Feudal and allegiance records Fiefs, terriers, aveux, dénombrements, hommages, reconnaissances des tailles; registres de la justice seigneuriale 1000
Death memorials and cemetery inscriptions Obituaires, registres des cultes anniversaires des décès, et inscriptions mortuaires 1400
Military conscriptions, exemptions, deserters Registres de conscription, dossiers d’exemption, listes des déserteurs 1800
Burgess rolls and guild records Registres de bourgeoisie et corporations de métiers 1300
City directories Répertoires d’adresses 1700
Hospital records Registres des hôtels-Dieu et des hôpitaux 1700
French colonial records Registres d’engagement pour les colonies françaises 1634
Public officials and government employee records Dossiers personnels des fonctionnaires 1525
School records Registres de l’instruction publique, des universités, collèges, sociétés académiques 1300
Convent records Registres des monastères, couvents, abbayes, évêchés 1200

Online Resources

Research tools can include resources that assist in locating correct records to search and determining the correct locality to search in. Below are links and Wiki articles to research tools in France.

FamilySearch Resources

Below are FamilySearch resources that can assist you in researching your family.

References

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "France," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/France, accessed 23 March 2016.