Haute-Savoie, France Genealogy

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France Gotoarrow.png Haute-Savoie

Haute-Savoie (English: Upper Savoy) is a department in the Rhône-Alpes region of France.

To the north of Haute-Savoie is the Swiss Canton of Geneva and Lake Geneva; to the east the Swiss Canton of Valais and Italy's Aosta Valley; to the west the French department of Ain (from which it is separated by the Rhône), and to the south the department of Savoie (from which it is divided by a line drawn across the plain of Albanais and the Bauges massif).

The modern departments of Haute Savoie and Savoie comprise the "Pays de Savoie" (Savoy).

News and Events

  • Inventory of l'état civil
    The inventories of the holdings by the Departmental Archive of the état civil for all the communes of Annecy Arrondissement are now available online. However, not all registers of these communes have been digitized yet. The inventories for Saint-Julien-en-Genevois and Thonon-les-Bains will follow later this year. Explore these at Archives départementales.


The préfecture (administrative capital) is Annecy.

The Conseil Général de la Haute-Savoie is the central legislative and administrative body for the department. It is responsible for, among other services, the Archives départementales de la Haute-Savoie (the Departmental Archive of Upper Savoy).


The modern departments of Savoie and Haute-Savoie were constituted on 12 June 1860 following the Treaty of Turin (24 March 1860) by which Savoy was ceded to France.[1]

The County of Savoy was part of the first Burgundian kingdom, then the kingdom of Arles and then the Holy Roman Empire. In 1416 the county was raised in status to the Duchy of Savoy comprising parts of modern France (Savoie, Haute-Savoie and the port of Nice), Switzerland (cantons of Geneva and Vaud), and Italy (Valle d'Aosta, Piedmont and part of Liguria).

In the 16th century, Savoy was an Italian state and, after 1713, part of the kingdom of Sardinia.

In 1792 France annexed Savoy; in 1815 its territory was returned to Sardinia; in 1860 it was ceded to France by the Treaty of Turin.

See also: Savoy.

Historic Province

Haute-Savoie formed part of the province of Savoy, the heartland of the independent Duchy of Savoy rather than the Kingdom of France. The modern department of Haute-Savoie more or less corresponds with the three historic Savoy provinces of Chablais, Faucigny and Genévois.[2][3]

Boundary Changes

Since its creation in 1860, there have been no boundary changes to the department of Haute-Savoie.

Record Loss

Census records for the arrondissements of Bonneville, Saint-Julien-en-Genevois et Thonon-les-Bains before 1886 were destroyed following a narrow reading of a ministerial circular of 12 August 1887 requiring the culling of lists of names more than 6 years old. [4]


Modern Haute-Savoie is divided into four (4) arrondissements (administrative subdivisions):

  • Annecy
  • Bonneville
  • Saint-Julien-en-Genevois
  • Thonon-les-Bains

In turn, these are further divided into 34 cantons and then into 294 communes.

A number of communes are joined together in two administrative inter-communalities (French: communautés d'agglomération). They are the Community of Greater Annecy and Annemasse - Les Voirons.

See also: France Haute-Savoie Communes

Populated Places

The ten largest communes (with their 2006 populations)[5] are:

  • Annecy (51 000)
  • Thonon-les-Bains (31 200)
  • Annemasse (28 600)
  • Annecy-le-Vieux (19 800)
  • Cluses (17 800)
  • Seynod (17 400)
  • Cran-Gevrier (16 800)
  • Sallanches (15 500)
  • Rumilly ( 12 800)
  • Gaillard (11 500)

Other significant places are Bonneville, Chamonix and St-Julien-en-Genevois.[5]

Neighboring Departments

Haute-Savoie also borders Italy and Switzerland.


Archives and Libraries

Most records of genealogical interest are held locally and not by the central National Archives.

The Departmental Archives for Haute-Savoie (Archives départementales de Haute-Savoie) are located at 37 bis avenue de la Plaine, 74000 Annecy.

See also: France Archives and Libraries.


See also: France Cemeteries; France Church Records.



Civil Registration

Civil registration (état civil) of births, marriages, and deaths began in 1792 after annexation by France but was suspended from 1814 or 1815 when Savoy was returned to the Kingdom of Sardinia. Civil registration resumed in 1863.

Before civil registration and during its suspension, it is necessary to search the local parish registers (registres paroissiaux) of baptisms, marriages and burials. In 1910, care, custody and control of these registers were transferred to the Departmental Archives who also hold the état civil.

In the late 1970s these records were microfilmed by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. To find film numbers, search by place-name of the relevant parish or commune in the familysearch.org catalog.

These records are being progressively placed on-line by the Departmental Archives. Only the records of the communes of department of Annecy are online and these are scheduled for completion in late 2013. To see which communes are available see the inventory (in French) at Etat des inventaires de l'état civil.

See also: France Civil Registration- Vital Records; France Church Records.



Local Histories




A number of issues of newspapers which circulated in Haute-Savoie have been digitised and are searchable online at Rhône-Alpes News and Memory, a collaborative site serving the Rhône-Alpes region.

Newspapers in the Haute-Savoie region:[6]

Periodical name place of publication published from until frequency comments
Alpes Annecy 1869 twice weekly
Croix de la Haute-Savoie Annecy 1891 weekly
L'Echo du Mont-Blanc Annecy 1848 1856 weekly on-line
L’Indicateur de la Savoie Annecy 1879 1914 weekly on-line
Industrie Hôtelière Annecy 1902 fortnightly
Industriel Savoisien Annecy 1853 weekly
Revue du Diocèse d'Annecy Annecy 1882 weekly
Progrès de la Haute-Savoie Annemasse 1898 weekly
Messager Agricole Bonneville 1897 weekly
Echo de Faucigny Cluses
L'Ange et l'Orphelin Douvaine monthly
Rochois La Roche-sur-Foron 1880 weekly
Journal du Commerce et de l'Agriculture Rumilly-Albanais 1870 weekly
Cultivateur Savoyard Saint-Julien-Genevois 1877 weekly
Echo du Léman Thonon
Messager Agricole et la Zone Franche Thonon weekly
Union Républicaine Thonon weekly



Societies and Libraries

Family History Centers

The nearest Centers are:

Société Savoisienne d’Histoire et d’Archéologie

The Savoisian Incorporated Association of History and Archaeology was formed in 1855 and incorporated in 1881. It publishes quarterly reference books, organizes conferences, seminars, public lectures, and study tours. It also maintains a large specialized library open to the public. It publishes a website (in French only).

Mailing Lists

The area of Haute-Savoie is covered by bilingual English-French mailing list for the Rhône-Alpes Region of France at Rootsweb.

A French language mailing list, GénéSavoie (généalogie en Savoie) serves those with a genealogical interest in Savoy covering both French departments of Haute-Savoie and Savoie.

Web Sites


  1. Marcel Dupuy, "Aperçu historique sur l'organisation territoriale des départements" ("Historical overview of the territorial organization of departments"), (1953) (Jan-Feb) 31 La Revue administrative, pp. 9-16 JStor accessed 1 Dec 2012.
  2. Luc Monnier "La savoie du nord et genève en 1814" (1977) 41 Revue européenne des sciences sociales pp. 64-80 JSTOR accessed 1 December 201
  3. Charles Biermann, "The Franco-Swiss Free Zones"', (1923) 13 (3) Geographical Review pp. 368-376, JSTOR accessed 30 November 2011.
  4. Inventaire des recensements de la population de la Haute-Savoie, Departmental Archives of Haute-Savoie accessed 22 December 2012.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Caroline Roux, Insee, La Lettre Résultats N°108, February 2009 Haute-Savoie: un dynamisme démographique tiré par la proximité de Genève accessed 20 December 2012.
  6. L'Argus de la presse: Nomenclature des journaux, revues, périodiques français paraissant en France et en langue française à l'étranger, (1st ed. 1917, L'Argus, Paris), ISSN 20179618, Gallica, La Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF) accessed 31 December 2012.