French Guiana, France Genealogy

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

French Guiana Wiki Topics
Flag of France.png
Beginning Research
Record Types
French Guiana Background
Local Research Resources

History[edit | edit source]

French Guiana is an overseas department and region of France on the northern Atlantic coast of South America bordered by Brazil and Suriname. The official language is French. Since December 2015 both the region and the department have been ruled by a single assembly within the framework of a new territorial collectivity, the French Guiana Territorial Collectivity.[1]

Getting Started[edit | edit source]

Getting Started with French Guiana Research

Links to articles on getting started with French Guiana research.

French Guiana Research Tools

Links to articles and websites that assist in French Guiana research.

Ask the
Community


French Guiana, France Map[edit | edit source]

Genealogy records are kept on the local level in French Guiana.

Guyane administrative.PNG

Jurisdictions[edit | edit source]

French Guiana is divided into 2 arrondissements, 19 cantons (not shown here), and 22 communes:

Arrondissement of
Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni

  1. Awala-Yalimapo
  2. Mana
  3. Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni
  4. Apatou
  5. Grand-Santi
  6. Papaïchton
  7. Saül
  8. Maripasoula

Arrondissement of Cayenne

  1. Camopi
  2. Saint-Georges, French Guiana|Saint-Georges
  3. Ouanary
  4. Régina
  5. Roura
  6. Saint-Élie
  7. Iracoubo
  8. Sinnamary
  9. Kourou
  10. Macouria
  11. Montsinéry-Tonnegrande
  12. Matoury
  13. Cayenne
  14. Remire-Montjoly

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 Overseas National Archives, where you will find these records.

For a demonstration of navigating archives websites, watch the video, Using France Department Archives Online.

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)

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.


These lessons focus on reading church record and civil registration records:


Another resource is the French Records Extraction Manual. The full manual or individual lesson chapters are downloadable from this webpage. A number of helpful lessons are available here, but the first five lessons are especially useful.

  • Chapter 1: Old Records
  • Chapter 2: Christening, Marriage, and Other Entries
  • Chapter 3: Marriage
  • Chapter 4: Other Entries
  • Chapter 5: French Handwriting and Spelling

Search Strategy[edit | edit source]

  • Begin with the death information of the focus ancestor and locate the death record.
  • Use the information on that death record to locate the ancestor's marriage record.
  • Use the information on that marriage record to locate the ancestor's birth record.
  • Once the birth record is found, search for the focus ancestor's siblings.
  • Next, search for the marriage of the focus ancestor's parents. The marriage record will have information that often helps locate the birth records of the parents.
  • 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. It is possible they may have moved or boundaries changed.

FamilySearch Resources[edit | edit source]

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

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "French Guiana," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Guiana (accessed July 15, 2020).