Territoire-de-Belfort, France Genealogy

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Guide to Territoire-de-Belfort Department ancestry, family history and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, parish registers, and military records.

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History[edit | edit source]

The administrative district Territoire de Belfort was created under the terms of the 1871 Treaty of Frankfurt. The German Empire annexed almost all of Alsace, but the French were able to negotiate retention of the Territoire de Belfort which thereby was separated from the rest of Alsace (where it had been part of the department of Haut-Rhin). After retaining its unique status as a territoire for just over half a century, Belfort was officially recognized as France's 90th department in 1922. France had recovered Alsace three years earlier, but the decision was taken not to reintegrate Belfort into its former department.[1]

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 Territoire-de-Belfort, where you will find these records.

  1. Click on the link above and a white pop-up screen will appear.
  2. Check on J'accepte les conditions (I accept the conditions) and the Accueil (Home page) will appear.
  3. Click Recherche thématique (Thematic search) and that page will appear.
  4. Choose Rechercher dans l'état civil (Search in civil status) and you will have access to the civil 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]

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.

  1. Click on the link above and a white pop-up screen will appear.
  2. Check on J'accepte les conditions (I accept the conditions) and the Accueil (Home page) will appear.
  3. Click Recherche thématique (Thematic search) and that page will appear.
  4. Choose Rechercher dans les recensements (Search the censuses) and you will have access to the census records.

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 Territoire-de-Belfort , find and click on "Places within France, Belfort (Territoire)," 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, with this linked Table of Contents. You will be able to practice on actual documents.

FRENCH RECORDS EXTRACTION MANUAL

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

Chapter 6: NAME IDENTIFICATION

Chapter 7: GENDER

Chapter 8: DATES

Search Strategy[edit | edit source]

  • 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[edit | edit source]

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

Introduction to Family History Centers

  • Family History Centers (FHCs) are branches of FamilySearch and the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah (United States), located all over the world. Their goal is to provide resources to assist you in the research and study of your genealogy and family history by:
    • Giving personal one-on-one assistance to patrons
    • Providing access to genealogical records through the Internet or microfilm loan program
    • Offering free how-to classes (varies by location)
  • There is no cost to visit a Family History Center or FamilySearch Library. They are open to anyone with an interest in genealogical research. They are operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  • Partner sites such as Ancestry.com, MyHeritage.com, FindMyPast.com, and many CD based collections can be searched free of charge.

Finding a Family History Center

Websites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Territoire-de-Belfort," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Territoire-de-Belfort (accessed November 1, 2018).