Rhône, France Genealogy
|France Research Topics|
|Local Research Resources|
Guide to Rhône ancestry, family history and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, parish registers.
- 1 History
- 2 Localities (Communes)
- 3 Church Records and Civil Registration (Registres Paroissiaux et Etat Civil) Online
- 4 Online Census Records
- 5 Online Local Databases and Extracted Records
- 6 Microfilm Records of the FamilySearch Library
- 7 Learning to Read Enough French to Do Genealogy
- 8 Search Strategy
- 9 Genealogical Societies and Help Groups
- 10 Websites
The Rhône department was created on August 12, 1793 when the former départment of Rhône-et-Loire was split into two departments: Rhône and Loire.
At the 1999 French census, the original Rhône department would have had only 1,071,288 inhabitants, which means that the population in the territories added in the last two centuries was 507,581 inhabitants in 1999.
In 2015 the Metropolis of Lyon was separated from the Rhône department. Lyon, although no longer part of the department, remains its administrative center.
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 Rhône, where you will find these records.
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.
- 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.
- 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).
- Société généalogique du Lyonnais et du Beaujolais
- CG de Vienne et de la vallée du Rhône
- Irigny (Rhône): BMS 1780 - 1790
- Les Chères
- Lyon protestant
- Marcilly d'Azergues
- Relevés notaires Rhône
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 Rhône , find and click on "Places within France, Rhône," 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:
- Reading French Handwritten Records Lesson 1: The French Alphabet,
- Reading French Handwritten Records Lesson 2: Key Words and Phrases
- Reading French Handwritten Records Lesson 3: Reading 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.
- Chapter 1: OLD FRENCH RECORDS
- Chapter 2: PARISH CHRISTENING AND CIVIL BIRTH ENTRIES
- Chapter 3: MARRIAGE ENTRIES
- Chapter 4: OTHER ENTRIES
- Chapter 5: FRENCH HANDWRITING AND SPELLING
- 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 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
- Tout en Un Rhône
- GenWeb, Rhône Portal
- Cousins 69
- 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.