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Haute-Vienne, France Genealogy

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

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History[edit | edit source]

The Romans built roads from Haute-Vienne to Brittany, Lyon and the Mediterranean but the city declined in the 3rd Century when barbarian invasions of the region took place. The department was created on 4 March 1790, during the French Revolution, the southern half being a subdivision of the Region of Limousin while the northern half was carved out of the county of Marche, as well as some parts of Angoumois and Poitou.
The region was much involved in the Hundred Years' War and at the Treaty of Brétigny in 1360, France granted England a large area of territory comprising much of Limousin. Limoges city rebelled and gave its allegiance to the French crown, and as a result it was sacked in 1370. Further land to the east and northeast was added during the nineteenth century.
Wikipedia

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 Haute-Vienne, where you will find these records.

See Using France Online Department Archives for step by step instructions on finding and reading these records. For a demonstration of navigating archives websites, watch the video, Using France Department Archives Online.

Online Census Records[edit | edit source]

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 Haute-Vienne , find and click on "Places within France, Haute-Vienne," 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)
France

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


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.

Some Catholic Church records will be written in Latin:

Search Strategy[edit | edit source]

  • Search for the relative or ancestor you selected. When you find his bi

rth 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 determine a birth year to 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[edit | edit source]

Websites[edit | edit source]