Isère, France Genealogy

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



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. (Wikipedia)

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 Isère, 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

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 census records, Department Archives of Isère

  • Overview
  • Online Archives Page Scroll to "Recherches Thematiques Disponsibles" and select "RECENSEMENT DE POPULATION" to locate census records.

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

Writing for Records

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

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 tis article will help you:

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

  • 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 family members.
  • Then repeat the whole process for both the father and the mother.
  • If earlier generations are not in the record, search neighboring parishes.

Genealogical Societies and Help Groups

  • 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