- National Society of the Daughters of the American


- National Society of the Daughters of the American
National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution
Société Nationale des Filles de la Révolution Américaine
Chapitre Rochambeau
Association affiliée à la NSDAR,
régie en France par la loi de 1901
30 JUNE 2013
I. Genealogy Publications
Many French family genealogies have been published. The three-volume directory by Colonel
Arnaud, Répertoire des généalogies françaises imprimées (Directory of printed French
genealogies), published in 1980, lists all the descendants and genealogies for at least three
generations published in books or journals indexed in the Bibliothèque Nationale (National
Library). The said "Colonel Arnaud" series includes 73,000 names representing
approximately 350,000 families (try at www.amazon.fr but this source is difficult to find).
Another source outlining these genealogies is the series of volumes by Gaston Saffroy,
Bibliographie généalogique, héraldique et nobiliaire de la France, des origines à nos jours imprimés et manuscrits (Bibliography of genealogy, heraldry and nobility of France from its
origins to today, printed and in manuscript). This can be found second-hand - a precious
source, but quite expensive.
During the years 1987-1988, two other books were published by the Archives Nationales de
France (National Archives of France) : the Guide des Recherches sur l’Histoire des Familles
(Guide to Research on Family History) and Les Familles Protestantes en France (Protestant
Families in France), both written by Gildas Bernard.
A final book, currently out print, is La Généalogie, Histoire et Pratique (Genealogy: History
and Methodology) by Joseph Valynseele, published by Larousse (try at www.amazon.fr).
Starting from each reference in the series by Colonel Arnaud, it is possible to find the
corresponding items in libraries or on those internet sites that offer review of scanned
documents, such as Gallica (http://Gallica.bnf.fr), Internet Archive (http://archive.org) or
Geneanet (for a paid subscription). "Google Books - (Advanced)" provides book excerpts
from key words, including surnames or family names.
II. Genealogy research via the internet
The Internet also allows access to many genealogical sites.
- The most commonly used website (with free access to all the information provided by its
membership) is http://www.geneanet.org (English available). It contains exceptionally rich
information on the majority of French families. Nearly one billion individuals are listed on
this site. But, as always, one must verify the data by finding the original documents.
- The website at http://www.geneabank.org (in French and English, via paid access) allows
you to search millions of surnames or family names on the databases of regional genealogical
societies, organizations, or associations. Searches can be undertaken for the entire of France,
or by specific regions, making use of the databank of over 71 million records collected.
- The Bigenet website at http://www.bigenet.fr (40 million records, via paid access) offers
similar resources, but based on parish registers and civil or marital status records. These
sources cover only about half of France’s departments.
- Lastly, traditional search engines, including www.ancestry.fr (via paid subscription),
provide access to rich genealogical data. Your research becomes all the easier if the
surname/family name being researched is rare and/or when a specific question is asked.
III. Genealogy research based on records (scanned or otherwise)
In France, the records of modern civil or marital status (starting from 1792 on) are not
reportable nor searchable until they are at least 100 years old, and then only by decade.
Therefore, for the periods of 1792-1902, and soon for the period of 1902-1912, the records
relating to civil/marital status have already been forwarded to the relevant departmental
archives. As a consequence, the "archives départementales" is where you should look first.
You will find in annex 1 a short description of the administrative structures in France and
their evolution since 1790.
The municipal civil/marital status records are very complete, except for the Paris region
(where the records were burned in 1871 during the Paris Commune, with prior records only
partially restored), and except for some other communities, victims of one, or the other, of the
two world wars, and of other disasters.
The baptismal, marriage and death records, run by Catholic parishes until 1792, have existed
since the mid-sixteenth century (in theory, since the Ordinance of Villers-Cotterets of 1539),
and they are very complete from the year 1640 onward. Most are written in French, but for
more ancient times, it is still common to find records written in Latin. These records are all
held in the Departmental Archives of each corresponding parish.
From 1792 onward, however, we can still find "acts of catholicity" because churches have
continued to maintain their records, mainly of baptisms and marriages, even if the state keeps
the official records. One should directly contact the respective parish for additional
In some regions of France, but quite rarely, some Protestant registries have been preserved.
Even fewer Jewish registries or records have been maintained. For these two religions, it is
best to research through specialized associations (such as www.huguenot.fr, www.huguenotsfrance.org, www.shpf.org for the Société de l’Historie du Protestantisme Française (Society
for the History of French Protestantism), www.refuge-huguenot.ish-lyon.cnrs.fr for le Refuge
huguenot, as well as the Cercle de Généalogie Juive (Circle of Jewish Genealogy) at
www.genealoj.org (in English or French).
Notarial Archives are available and researchable under the same 100-year conditions. Almost
all documents prior to 1792 and many subsequent documents (contracts, inventories, leases...)
have been turned over to the Departmental Archives (the "E" series).
A monumental project of document scanning has been undertaken in France for twenty years,
and almost all the France departments have scanned the totality of the parish registers or
marital status documents. They can be accessed online in a simplified way through a search
engine, by typing in the letters AD followed by the department name or number - for example
AD14 to access the departmental archives of Calvados, in Normandy.
The same holds true for the resources held by the Bibliothèque nationale (National Library,
the site Gallica as noted above) and the Archives nationales de France (National Archives of
France) at www.archivesnationales.culture.gouv.fr, including the Archives d’Outre-Mer
(Archives of Overseas Territories). Departmental archives offer many additional resources
other than marital status, such as old real estate registries, census data, military drafts or
conscriptions, legal proceedings, etc. Frequently they have been scanned, and all are relevant
documents that are useful for genealogy research.
For French ancestors who emigrated to French Canada, visit www.archivescanadafrance.org,
where many documents have been scanned and are available online.
IV. Volunteer genealogy
The French are becoming more and more interested in their genealogy. There are more than
150 "circles" or genealogical "centers" (affiliated with the Fédération Française de Généalogie
(French Genealogy Federation website at http://www.genefede.org). For the most part, they
publish newsletters where subscribers can ask questions and receive answers. These
organizations are national, regional or thematic in scope. A sample list is provided in annex 2.
Generally, one must become a paid subscriber in order to have access to their databases.
Numerous associations and blogs have also been created whose objectives are to reconstruct
both ascending or descending genealogies, from the patrilineal descendant line or otherwise,
and whether purely French or not. These are based entirely on volunteer efforts and on mutual
assistance. The research within these sites can be made only from the surname or family name
being sought, and thus it is not possible to establish an exhaustive list.
For non-French speakers, be sure to have on hand a good bilingual dictionary - many are even
available online - in order to pursue the most thorough searches possible within the French
Lastly, it is possible to make use of professional genealogists. However, as you can imagine,
these services are not free of charge.
sources : wikipedia, internet
French regions and departments
France, structured in provinces until the French Revolution at the end of the 18th century, is currently
organized in regions (régions) and departments (départements). Departments are numbered.
old provinces
new regions
List of departments by region
departments of France (excluding overseas territories)
with their numbers
Name of the region
Regional capital
Bas-Rhin (67)
Haut-Rhin (68)
Dordogne (24)
Gironde (33)
Landes (40)
Lot-et-Garonne (47)
Pyrénées-Atlantiques (64)
Allier (03)
Cantal (15)
Haute-Loire (43)
Puy-de-Dôme (63)
Côte-d'Or (21)
Nièvre (58)
Saône-et-Loire (71)
Yonne (89)
Name of the region
Regional capital
Côtes-d'Armor (22)
Finistère (29)
Ille-et-Vilaine (35)
Morbihan (56)
Cher (18)
Eure-et-Loir (28)
Indre (36)
Indre-et-Loire (37)
Loir-et-Cher (41)
Loiret (45)
Ardennes (08)
Aube (10)
Marne (51)
Haute-Marne (52)
Corse-du-Sud (2A)
Haute-Corse (2B)
Doubs (25)
Jura (39)
Haute-Saône (70)
Territoire de Belfort (90)
Guadeloupe (971)
Guyane (973)
Paris (75)
Essonne (91)
Hauts-de-Seine (92)
Seine-Saint-Denis (93)
Seine-et-Marne (77)
Val-de-Marne (94)
Val-d'Oise (95)
Yvelines (78)
Aude (11)
Gard (30)
Hérault (34)
Lozère (48)
Pyrénées-Orientales (66)
Corrèze (19)
Creuse (23)
Haute-Vienne (87)
Meurthe-et-Moselle (54)
Meuse (55)
Moselle (57)
Vosges (88)
Martinique (972)
Mayotte (976)
Ariège (09)
Aveyron (12)
Haute-Garonne (31)
Gers (32)
Lot (46)
Hautes-Pyrénées (65)
Tarn (81)
Tarn-et-Garonne (82)
Name of the region
Regional capital
Nord (59)
Pas-de-Calais (62)
Calvados (14)
Manche (50)
Orne (61)
Eure (27)
Seine-Maritime (76)
Pays de la Loire
Loire-Atlantique (44)
Maine-et-Loire (49)
Mayenne (53)
Sarthe (72)
Vendée (85)
Aisne (02)
Oise (60)
Somme (80)
Charente (16)
Charente-Maritime (17)
Deux-Sèvres (79)
Vienne (86)
Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
Alpes-de-Haute-Provence (04) Marseille
Hautes-Alpes (05)
Alpes-Maritimes (06)
Bouches-du-Rhône (13)
Var (83)
Vaucluse (84)
La Réunion
La Réunion (974)
Ain (01)
Ardèche (07)
Drôme (26)
Isère (38)
Loire (42)
Rhône (69)
Savoie (73)
Haute-Savoie (74)
Evolution of French departments
There are currently 101 departments in France, 96 departments in metropolitan France, and 5
overseas departments. These modern departments were created on March 4 , 1790, as a
replacement of the Ancien Regime provinces, and with a view to strengthening national unity. Almost
all of them are therefore named after rivers, mountains or coasts, rather than after the historical or
cultural territories of the Ancient Regime. Paris, for instance, is in the department of the Seine. The
number of departments, initially 83, had increased to 130 by 1809 with the territorial gains of
Napoleon. Following Napoleon’s defeats in 1814-1815, the Congress of Vienna returned France to its
pre-war borders, and the number of departments was reduced to 86. Throughout the subsequent
centuries, through wars and colonizations, France both gained and lost a number of departments,
finally resulting, in 2011, in the current 101 departments.
The department is an administrative division, one of the three levels of public government below the
national level. For what matters here, the Département has the responsibility of archives. It is therefore
important to know to which department you should turn for your genealogical records, knowing that the
names of the French departments have evolved over time and with changes in the limits of the French
You will find below a more detailed outline of the evolution of French departments.
Creation of the 83 French departments.
The department of Mayenne-et-Loire become Maine-et-Loire.
Annexation of Savoie, creating the department of Mont-Blanc.
Annexation of the county of Nice, creating the department of Alpes-Maritimes.
Annexation of Comtat Venaissin, creating the department of Vaucluse.
Annexation of Rauracienne Republic, creating the department of Mont-Terrible.
Division of Corsica (into Golo and Liamone) and of Rhône-et-Loire (into Rhône and Loire).
The departments of Gironde and Vendée become Bec-d'Ambès and Vengé.
Annexation of the Austrian Netherlands and the Principality of Liège: creation of the
departments of Dyle, Deux-Nèthes, Escaut, Forêts, Jemmapes, Lys, Ourthe, MeuseInférieure and Sambre-et- Meuse.
Departments of Bec-d'Ambès and Vengé revert to Gironde and Vendée.
Annexation of Cisrhénane Republic, thus creating the departments of Mont-Tonnerre,
Rhin-et-Moselle, Roer and Sarre.
Annexation of the Ionian Islands, creating the departments of Corcyre, Ithaque and MerÉgée (Aegean Sea).
The colony of Santo Domingo becomes several departments: South, West, North,
Samana and Inganne.
Annexation of the Republic of Geneva: creation of the department of Léman.
Incorporation of Mont-Terrible into Haut-Rhin.
Legal removal of the three French departments of Greece after their loss in 1799.
Annexation of the Subalpine Republic, creating the departments of Doire, Marengo, Pô,
Stésia, Stura and Tanaro.
Santo Domingo becomes independent.
Annexation of the Ligurian Republic, creating the departments of the Apennins, Gênes
(Genoa) and Montenotte.
Elimination of the department of Tanaro.
Annexation of the Kingdom of Etruria, creating the departments of the Méditerranée, of
Arno, Ombrone and Taro.
Creation of the Tarn-et-Garonne department.
Annexation of the Papal States: creation of the departments of Tibre and Trasimène.
Annexation of a portion of the Kingdom of Holland, creating the department of Bouchesdu-Rhin.
Annexation of the Rhodanian Republic, creating the department of Simplon.
The department of Tibre (Tiber) becomes the department of Rome.
Annexation of the Kingdom of Holland, creating the departments of Bouches-de-l'Escaut,
Bouches-de-la-Meuse, Bouches-de-l'Yssel, Ems-Occidental, Ems-Oriental, Frise, YsselSupérieur and Zuyderzée.
Annexation of a portion of the Confédération du Rhin, thus creating the departments of
Bouches-de-l’Elbe, Bouches-du-Weser, Ems-Supérieur and Lippe.
Merging of the departments Golo and Liamone into the department of Corsica.
Annexation of Catalonia, creating the French departments of Spain, with an incomplete status:
Bouches-de-l'Èbre, Montserrat, Sègre and Ter.
Reorganization of the departments of Spain, into Bouches-de-l'Èbre-Montserrat and SègreTer.
First abdication of Napoleon: France reverts back to its 1792 borders.
Second abdication of Napoleon and loss of Mont-Blanc.
The colony of Algeria is divided into the departments of Oran, Alger (Algiers) and Constantine.
Transfer by the Kingdom of Sardinia of the Savoie region and of the County of Nice, thus
creating the departments of Savoie, Haute-Savoie and Alpes-Maritimes.
Loss of the region of Alsace-Moselle, including Bas-Rhin, Haut-Rhin and Moselle.
Creation of Meurthe-et-Moselle and of the Territory of Belfort, out of parts of the
departments of Moselle, Meurthe and Haut-Rhin that remained French (the Territory of
Belfort is not, however, classified as a Department at this time).
Creation of a new department in French Sahara: the Territoires du Sud (Southern Territories).
Reinstatement of Alsace-Moselle and its three departments.
The Territory of Belfort now becomes a department.
De facto annexation of Alsace-Moselle into the German Reich.
The department of Charente-Inférieure becomes Charente-Maritime.
Reinstatement of the three departments of Alsace-Moselle.
Guadeloupe, Martinique, Guyane and Réunion become departments.
Creation of a new department in Algeria: Bône.
The department of Seine-Inférieure becomes Seine-Maritime.
Reorganization of Algeria and French Sahara.
14 departments are created instead of the existing 5: Alger (Algiers), Batna, Bône,
Constantine, Médéa, Mostaganem, Oran, Orléansville, Sétif, Tiaret, Tizi-Ouzou, Tlemcen,
Oasis and Saoura.Réorganisation de l'Algérie et du Sahara français.
The department of Loire-Inférieure becomes Loire-Atlantique.
Creation of three new departments in Algeria: Aumale, Bougie and Saïda.
Elimination of the Algerian departments of Aumale and Bougie.
Algeria becomes independent.
Reorganization of the Paris region:
removal of the departments of Seine and Seine-et-Oise,
creation of departments of Paris, Hauts-de-Seine, Seine-Saint-Denis, Val-de-Marne,
Yvelines, Essonne and the Val-d'Oise.
The department of Basses-Pyrénées becomes Pyrénées-Atlantiques.
The department of Basses-Alpes becomes Alpes-de-Haute-Provence.
Corsica is split into Haute-Corse and Corse-du-Sud.
Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon becomes a department.
The status of Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon changes from “overseas department” to that of
“overseas territory.”
The department of Côtes-du-Nord becomes Côtes-d'Armor.
Mayotte becomes a department.
The following lists of regional organizations or centers are of interest mainly for those families having a
strong regional presence in France.
Genealogical organizations, partners of GeneaBank (often online)
(within parenthesis: the France department number)
Allier-Généalogie (03)
Amis de Lespignan (34)
Ardennes Généalogie (08, Belgique)
Association Brevinoise de Généalogie (44)
Association Catalane de Généalogie (11, 66, Espagne)
Association de REcherches Généalogiques et Historiques d'Argenteuil (95)
Association de Recherches sur l'Histoire des FAmilles (ARHFA) (15, 46)
Association Généalogie Pour Tous (07, 35, 70, Argentine, Chili, Tunisie)
Association Généalogique de Brie-Comte-Robert (77)
Association Généalogique de Charente (16)
Association Généalogique de la Loire (07, 42, 43)
Association Généalogique des Alpes Maritimes (04, 06, 13, 56, 81, 90, Seychelles)
Association Généalogique des Bouches du Rhône (13, 2B)
Association Généalogique du Pays de Bray (60, 76)
Association Généalogique du Pays Grassois (AGPG06) (06)
Association Généalogique et Historique des Yvelines Nord (78)
Association Généalogique Vertavienne (44)
Association Parisienne de Généalogie Normande (50, 58, 75)
Association pour la Recherche et l'Entraide dans la Documentation et les Etudes Savoyardes
(AREDES) (73)
Atelier Généalogique de la MAL Tournan-en-Brie (77)
Bibliothèque Généalogique et d'Histoire Sociale (01, 13, 15, 21, 25, 31, 34, 49, 50, 72, 75, 89, 95)
Centre d'Entraide Généalogique de Franche-Comté (25, 39, 70, 90)
Centre Généalogique de l'Orne et du Perche (61)
Centre Généalogique de Savoie (73, 74)
Centre Généalogique des Côtes d'Armor (22)
Centre Généalogique du Dauphiné (05, 26, 38, 69, 73, Suisse)
Centre Généalogique du Finistère (29)
Centre Généalogique et Historique du Poher (22, 29, 56)
Centre Généalogique Savoyard Paris et Région Parisienne (73, 74)
Cercle de Généalogie en Uzège et Gard (30)
Cercle de Généalogie et d'histoire de la Seine-Saint-Denis (ex Cercle Généalogique de l'Est Parisien)
(93, 94, 75, 56)
Cercle de Recherches Généalogiques du Perche-Gouët (28, 41, 61, 72)
Cercle d'Entraide Généalogique des Alpes Maritimes et d'Ailleurs (06, 13, 26, 81, 83, Malte)
Cercle Généalogique 83 (06, 83)
Cercle Généalogique de l'Aunis (17)
Cercle Généalogique de Courbevoie (92)
Cercle Généalogique de l'Aveyron (12, 30, 48, 81, 84)
Cercle Généalogique de La Brie (77)
Cercle Généalogique de la Côte d'Or (10, 21, 58, 89)
Cercle Généalogique de Languedoc (09, 11, 12, 30, 31, 34, 81)
Cercle Généalogique de Maine et Perche (53, 61, 72)
Cercle Généalogique de Saintonge (17)
Cercle Généalogique de Vaucluse (84)
Cercle Généalogique de Versailles et des Yvelines (78)
Cercle Généalogique des Alpes de Haute Provence (04)
Cercle Généalogique des Postiers, Télécommunicants et Tiers associés (CGPTT) (02, 55)
Cercle Généalogique d'Ille et Vilaine (35)
Cercle Généalogique du Bassin d'Arcachon et du Pays de Buch (CGBAPB) (33)
Cércle Généalogique du CALvados (14)
Cercle Généalogique du Pays Cannois - 06 (06)
Cercle Généalogique du Pays de Fougères - 35 (35, 50)
Cercle Généalogique du Quercy (82)
Cercle Généalogique et Héraldique d'Auvergne et du Velay (15, 43, 63)
Cercle Généalogique et Historique de l'Est Vannetais (56)
Cercle Généalogique et Historique du Nivernais Morvan (03, 18, 21, 58, 71)
Cercle Généalogique Poitevin (86)
Cercle Généalogique Rouen et Seine Maritime (76)
Cercle Généalogique Vendéen (85)
Ceux du Roannais (42, 69, 71)
Chablais-Généalogie (74)
CousAin (01)
Entente Généalogique de l'Arrondissement Nord des Hauts de Seine (EGAN92) (56, 92)
Entraide Généalogique Bretagne Maine Normandie (EGBMN) (14, 53, 61)
Entraide Généalogique Cormeillaise (95)
Entraide Généalogique de Tarn & Garonne (82)
Entraide Généalogique du Midi Toulousain (EGMT) (09, 11, 12, 13, 25, 31, 32, 34, 39, 54, 60, 64, 65,
66, 70, 81, 82, 85)
Entraide Généalogique Herbignacaise (44, 56)
Foyer rural de Lattes (34)
Gâtinais Généalogique (45, 77)
GENDEP82 (82)
GénéaCorrèze (19)
Généalogie Aisne (02, Belgique)
Généalogie en Corrèze (Brive - Ussel) (15, 19, 23, 46, 63)
Généalogie et Histoire de la Caraïbe (Antilles)
Généalogie Valdoisienne (95)
Groupement Amical des Généalogistes-83 (04, 78, 83)
Histoire et Généalogie du Grand Fougeray (44)
La France Généalogique (75)
La Géniale Généalogie 71 (71)
Les Amis de Racines Ardéchoises (L.A.R.A.) (07)
Les Marmottes de Savoie (74)
Loiret Genealogique 45 (45)
Maurienne Genealogie (73)
Mémoire Vivante de Fégréac (35, 44, 56)
Narbonne Généalogie (11)
Saint Marin Généalogie (Saint Marin)
Section Généalogie de la Banque de France (89)
Société Généalogique du Lyonnais et du Beaujolais (69)
Genealogy organizations affiliated with Bigenet
AFDT : Au Fil Du Temps
AG : Allier Généalogie
AG13 : Association Généalogique des Bouches-du-Rhône
AGB : Amitiés Généalogiques Bordelaises
AGENA : Association Généalogique de l'Anjou
AGHA : Association Généalogique des Hautes-Alpes
AGP : Association Généalogique du Pas-de-Calais
AGPB : Association Généalogique du Pays de Bray
AIN-G : Ain-Généalogie
APGN : Association Parisienne de Généalogie Normande
BIBGEN : Bibliothèque Généalogique
CDR : Ceux du Roannais
CEGFC : Centre d'Entraide Généalogique de Franche-Comté
CGAHP : Cercle Généalogique des Alpes de Haute-Provence
CGAS : Cercle Généalogique d'Aunis et Saintonge
CGB : Cercle Généalogique de la Brie
CGBAPB : Cercle Généalogique du Bassin d'Arcachon et du Pays de Buch
CGBB : Cercle Généalogique de Boulogne-Billancourt
CGCB : Cercle Généalogique de Conflans et de la Batellerie
CGCO : Cercle Généalogique de Côte d'Or
CGDP : Cercle Généalogique de la Drôme Provençale
CGDT : Centre Généalogique de Touraine
CGE : Cercle Généalogique de l'Eure
CGEP : Cercle Généalogique de l'Est Parisien
CGH-B : Cercle Généalogique du Haut-Berry
CGHA : Cercle de Généalogie et d'Héraldique des Ardennes
CGHAV : Cercle Généalogique et Héraldique de l'Auvergne
CGHHML : Cercle Généalogique Historique et Héraldique de la Marche et du Limousin
CGIV : Cercle Généalogique d'Ille-et-Vilaine
CGLC : Cercle Généalogique de Loir-et-Cher
CGO : Centre Généalogique de l'Ouest
CGOP : Centre Généalogique de l'Orne et du Perche
CGP : Cercle Généalogique Poitevin
CGQ : Cercle Généalogique du Quercy
CGRSM : Cercle Généalogique Rouen-Seine-Maritime
CGSL : Cercle Généalogique de Saône-et-Loire
CGV : Cercle Généalogique de Vaucluse
CGVY : Cercle Généalogique de Versailles et des Yvelines
CHGP : Cercle d'Histoire et de Généalogie du Périgord
FDRFAG : Fédération Régionale de Familles d'Aquitaine et Gascogne
GENIWAL : Généalogie Informatique Wallonie
GUG : Généalogie en Uzège et Gard
HGL : Histoire et Généalogie Landaises
LCL-CASA : Cercle Généalogique du Crédit Lyonnais
LG : Loiret Généalogique
SGB-B : Société Généalogique du Bas-Berry
SGEL : Société Généalogique d'Eure-et-Loir
SGLB : Société Généalogique du Lyonnais et du Beaujolais
UCGL : Union des Cercles Généalogiques Lorrains
UGF : Union Généalogiste Francilienne