Thursday, March 29, 2007

French Digitized Records & Online Databases

Les Archives des Alpes-Maritimes (includes the city of Nice) - copies of the actes d'etat civil & ditized copies of old newspapers (la presse ancienne):

Cannes Archives Municipales - birth, marriage and death for over 100 years (etat civil):

Côtes d'Armor Archives Departementales - registres paroissiaux (parish registers) of Côtes d'Armor plus The Cadastre Ancien (land register):

Geneactes some civil records, mostly from 1700s & early 1800s:; in English:

Sarthe Archives Departementales - Parish & civil registers, and Le Cadastre index (land records):

Yvelines Archives Departementales - Actes etat civil (birth, marriage and death), recensements de population (census records) and parish registers (registres paroissiaux) for Yvelines and the ancient departement of Seine et Oise:

Nice guide to French Genealogy & Family History:

France GenWeb:

Academic French Studies links:

If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be. - Thomas Jefferson

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, July 06, 2006

French Emigration Indexes

From the Research Outline at
Many Germans either lived in Elsaß-Lothringen (Alsace-Lorraine) or passed through it to emigrate. The following sources help identify many of them.

Alsace Emigration Index. The Family History Library has compiled an index of persons who emigrated from or through Elsaß-Lothringen from 1817 to 1866. About half the names are from southern Germany. The alphabetical index gives the emigrant's name, age, occupation, place of origin, residence, destination, passport date, and source microfilm number. Not everyone who emigrated via Alsace is in this index. The index is easiest to find in the Author/Title Search of the Family History Library Catalog under Alsace Emigration Index.Look this term up in the glossary. It is also listed as:

France. Ministre de l'Intrieur. Registres des émigrés, 1817-1866 (Index of emigrants, 1817-1866). Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1977. (FHL films 1125002-7; computer number 403094.)

Annexation and Emigration in Alsace-Lorraine 1871-1872 and their influences on French and German Nationalism in the Region:

New France (later Quebec, Canada) (From Rootsweb Review) Two websites of ships that came to New France with sailors and passengers lists.
1497 - 1699:
1700 - 1763:

French in Argentina, Uruguay and Perú: consular registers:

Alsace Emigration Books. Cornelia Schrader-Muggenthaler used the Alsace Emigration Index, other emigration records, passenger lists, genealogies, genealogy periodicals, and newspaper articles to compile the following index:

Schrader-Muggenthaler, Cornelia. The Alsace Emigration Book. 2 vols. Apollo, Penn.: Closson Press, 1989-1991. (FHL book 944.38 W2s; computer number 549007.) This index has over 20,000 entries, mostly of 1817 to 1870 emigrants.

More books on the subject:

  • Burgert, Annette Kunselman. Eighteenth Century Emigrants from the Northern Alsace to America. Camden, Maine: Picton Press, 1992. (FHL book 974.8 B4pgp v. 26; computer number 684917.) This book is still for sale from the publisher, Picton Press, and as such are not available on microfilm or microfiche through the FHL lending system. It is also available directly from the author,at: AKB Publications, 691 Weavertown Road, Myerstown, PA 17067. *** Excellent book! ***

  • Alsatian Connections, by Doris Wesner. Covers 5 villages in Krumme Elsass (Hilly Alsace): Dehlingen, Diemeringen, Butten, Waldhambach, and Ratzwiller. Closson Press, 1995

  • Emigrants from France (Haut-Rhin Department) to America. Part 1 (1837-1844) and Part 2 (1845-1847) by Clifford Neal Smith. 84 pages. Republished 2004, ISBN 0806352329. Available from Genealogical Publishing Company.

  • Liste nominative des Haut-Rhinois ayant émigré en Amérique (1800-1870) by Dominique DREYER

The books may be available via Interlibrary Loan; ask your local librarian. Support your local author -- buy genealogy books! Read the entire Research Guide, too. :-)

Every now and then, go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer. - Leonardo da Vinci, 1452-1519

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Alsace (Ger. Elsass) is now two French departéments, Bas-Rhin [67] (Lower Rhine) & Haut-Rhin [68] (Upper Rhine). The Territory of Belfort [90] is sometimes also included. The Territory of Belfort was formerly part of Haut-Rhin. From 1789 (French Revolution) to 1871, the Departément of the Territory of Belfort didn't exist, because it was included in the department of Haut-Rhin. After the war in 1870-1871, all of Alsace was annexed by Germany except the region of Belfort, which became the "Territory of Belfort" (departément n° 90) in France. After World War I (1918), Alsace became part of France, but the Territory of Belfort remained a separate departément. So, if you have an ancestor who lived 1789-1871 in Haut-Rhin, check for records in the Territory of Belfort. In general, the Alsace was French 1648-1871, German 1871-1918, French 1918-1940, German 1940-1945, French since 1945.

A short timeline-table, called Alsace-Lorraine — an Enclave of Ethnic Germans in France:

Archives départementales Alsace - come chat with us!: or irc://

Maps of the Alsace:

The Alsace-Lorraine list:
   More Alsace lists:

Alsace Message Board:

Alsace & Emigration Links (CoolLinks):


The Süss Collection:

Alsace Topliste:
Stammtisch Alsace - Topliste Alsace Genealogy Forum:

You can use some of the general sites where you can search for surname distribution to pin down villages /communes for further study, if you are researching a relatively rare surname. Some of these sites for France are Notrefamille (1890), GeoPatronyme (1891-1915, 1916-1940, 1941-1965, & 1966-1990), and GeneaNet (European GEDCOMS). The French Telephone Directories: or will do the same thing for surnames existing today. For more on surnames, see:

How to use the Le Centre Départemental d'Histoire des Familles (CDHF) website:

Historical Maps of the Alsace (l'Atelier de Cartographie du Département d'histoire de l'Université de Haute, Alsace):
   Modern maps:

If you know the village name, but not where it is located, try - Bas-Rhin, Haut-Rhin, Territoire de Belfort. This site also works for the communes of Lorraine.

Alsace History Timeline:

1836 Census Surname list - Strasbourg (10,846 names): > List of Surnames.
   District of Wissembourg (6,750 names) & Bischwiller & Haguenau (47,843 names) are now also available.

Robert Behra has found an "Index of 2090 marriages (1694-1796), 290 baptisms (1694-1834) and 110 deaths (1694-1824) recorded in the registers of the Catholic parish of Our Lady of Mariastein, in Canton Solothurn, Switzerland, quite close to the border with southern Alsace. Mariastein was a well known place of Marian pilgrimage in this region, and an especially popular place to get married in the years 1792-1798, due to the French Revolution. About a third of the marriages in this index involved someone from southern Alsace. You can read a bit about Mariastein in English at (French and German also available). The original records from which this index was made are available on FHL microfilm no. 1632852. The index was done by Suzanne Allemann in 1991 as cahier 14 of ALEXSYS, the program for publishing systematic abstracts of marriage and other records organized by the Cercle Généalogique d'Alsace."

Communes of the Bas-Rhin département:
Communes of the Haut-Rhin département:
New home for The Communities of Alsace A-Z:

Jewish Alsace Community (in French):; Cercle de Généalogie Juive:

Communes in France:

$$$ Old French Postcards:

Alsace GenWeb (in English):

France Apprill & Serge Busiau's AlsaceGénéa: - in French, but buttons for Reverso translations

Some extracted parish records - Bas Rhin [67]:
Haut Rhin [68]:
More départements:

Up until 1871, the Territoire de Belfort, which today is part of the region known as Franche-Comté was in what today is the département du Haut-Rhin. The Lisa90 site: was put together by volunteers who are
systematically abstracting the church and civil records for the 101 communities in Belfort.

My Alsatians, the Baysingers of Alsace:

If you find the ship your immigrants took, and they departed from Le Havre, write to "Archives D'partementales de la Seine Maritime, Cours Clemenceau, 76036 Rouen Cedex, France" to request a copy of the passenger list of that particular ship. Of course, there are no guarantees that the passenger list exists.

French Emigration Indexes:

Travels in Alsace & Lorraine Articles Online:

Hint for using the FHL Catalog when there are LOTS of categories:

When you have exhausted the holdings of the LDS, read Robert Behra's post about Village Records. Another post about Military conscription records, shows you how to find the records, and use them to find a family at a particular time, in a particular place. More French military indexes - SGA - mémoire des hommes:
Bas Rhin soldiers of the Revolutionary Army, First Empire (Napoleon): - in French

Some Late Nineteenth Century Alsatian Folk Dress:

L'Alsace Spécifique (English page):
  Wonderful discussion of the geography, history, language and culture of the Alsace, by Eugéne Philipps.

Simultaneum in the Churches of the Alsace:

Interesting discussion of The Linguistic Tug-of-War between the French and German languages in the Alsace, based in history and linguistic analysis:

If you think your Alsatians may have come from Switzerland after the 30 Years War, and you have a relatively uncommon surname, check the microfiche Switzerland-Surnames at your local FHC, number 6053507. It will list the cantons where the surname can be found in Swiss records. Thanks to Margaret Miesterfeld on the Alsace-Lorraine list for this tip.

French History Timeline:

Huguenot Research:

Naming customs in Germany and France:

Lorraine links:

Book on French social history: The Ancien Régime, French Society, 1600-1750, by Pierre Gourbet, 1969. English translation Steve Cox, 1973, Harper Torchbooks, Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc., First Harper Torchbook Edition 1974. ISBN 0061318221.

The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak. - Hans Hofmann

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sunday, April 09, 2006


Lorraine GenWeb: (large page)

Modern France is divided into departéments (French administrative units, somewhat like US counties); Lorraine is Meurthe-et-Moselle [54], Meuse [55], Moselle [57] and Vosges [88]. Metz is the region’s capital. Moselle was joined to Alsace during 1871-1918 and called Elsass-Lothringen Reichsland (Alsace-Lorraine) by the German government. In 1940, Lorraine was conquered by the Germans. Lorraine reunited with France after the war, in 1945.

Communities of Lorraine A-Z:

Archives départmentales Lorraine
Villages in Lorraine (including ancient names):
Also, if you know the village name, try - Meurthe-et-Moselle, Meuse, Moselle and Vosges.

Union des Cercles Généalogiques Lorrains:

Cercle Genealogique de Moselle-Est (CGME):

Moselle GenWeb:

$$$ Marriages of Moselle: It looks like there are many more resources on, but I don't read French. Thanks to Richard Van Wasshnova on the A-L list for this link.

From Robert Behra:
The Family History Library has recently acquired the following book:

Les mariages juifs en Moselle (1792-1892) : relevés effectués dans les tables décennales de l'état civil par Jean-Louis Calbat (Paris : Cercle de Généalogie Juive, 2001)

The compiler looked at the ten-year indexes for all communities in the present-day département de la Moselle with the following exceptions:

* Metz
* the period 1792-1802 for almost all of the communities in the arrondissement of Château-Salins and some of the communities in the arrondissement of Thionville

This book includes about 4900 marriages of couples presumed to have been Jewish (probably based on their names). All were taken from the tables décennales [ten-year indexes], without looking at the actual marriage records. This means that some of the information in this book may well be in error, due to inaccuracies in the TD or difficulty in deciphering the handwriting in the TD. Also, bear in mind that Jews in France weren't required to adopt stable surnames until 1808, so some of the earliest entries may be found here under a surname other than that the family used after 1808.
Thanks so much to Robert for alerting the readers of the Alsace-Lorraine list about this resource, and for allowing me to reprint it here.

Aerial view of Moselle & Meurthe-et-Moselle communes, town officials, number of inhabitants, & some information on current activities in the towns:
   Put the name of the village in the 'Rechercher' box.

Eastern Moselle - Bitche area:

Book Viva America, by Marie-Jose Marchal. Emigrants from the département de la Moselle; FHL #1183690, item 18.


Recherche dans l'Etat-Civil du Bas-Rhin, de la Meuse et des Vosges by Françoise Huss-Gille:

History of Lorraine:,

Overview of dialects spoken in Moselle (pdf):
Dialect Map:

Digitized books from the Bibliothéque nationale de France:

* Dictionnaire topographique de l'ancien département de la Moselle : comprenant les noms de lieu anciens et modernes / réd. en 1868 par M. de Bouteiller,... ; publ. par ordre du ministre de l'Instruction publique ; et sous la dir. du Comité des travaux historiques:

* Dictionnaire topographique du département de la Meuse : comprenant le nom des lieu anciens et modernes / réd. sous les auspices de la Société philomatique de Verdun, par M. Félix Liénard,... ; publ. par ordre du ministre de l'Instruction publique ; et sous la dir. du Comité des travaux historiques:

* Historical journals dealing with northeastern France:
(bottom of the page, section France : Histoire régionale)

Annales de la Société d'émulation du département des Vosges
Annales de l'Est
Annales de l'Est et du Nord
Bulletin de la Société philomatique vosgienne
Jahr-buch der Gesellschaft für lothringische Geschichte und Altertumskunde
Journal de la Société d'émulation du département des Vosges
Mémoires de la Société d'archéologie et d'histoire de la Moselle
Mémoires de la Société philomatique de Verdun

These are presented as pdf files, so you will need to have the Adobe Acrobat reader to read them. Free download:
Thanks to Bob Behra for reporting this fine resource.

Besides the Alsace-Lorraine list, which covers both the Alsace and Lorraine, there is a list for the Lorraine alone:
and also a Message Board:
Also, in French only - Genealor:

You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don't try. - Beverly Sills

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Monday, February 20, 2006

European Research

For all European research, you must have a village name, or at least a small region with a few villages, because that is where all the records are kept! There are few to no departement, county or region-wide censuses or other general surveys such as our US Census records. The exception is the UK, which has searchable census for 1841-1901, and where records have been kept by the counties in England since 1837, in Scotland since 1851. So, you must do your American or Canadian research, before trying to "jump the pond" back to Europe. Recently, the 1836 Census of the Alsace has started to become available. To see if your surnames are found therein, search at:

Have you found the naturalization applications? Often the first and second application contain much more detail than the final certificate. How about obituaries, in particular those published in small local newspapers, church publications, or German or French newspapers? Many of the old newspapers are available on microfilm. For instance, see the holdings of the NYU: These microfilms will often be available by Inter-Library Loan. Talk to your librarian about local policies. ( and and

If there are county histories (AKA mug books) available, those can be useful also, although they cannot be relied upon as anything more than clues. Also look at transfer records at the church(es) they attended, church histories, any family Bibles that may still survive, and any old letters or cards that someone may have stored up in an attic somewhere.

Remember -- don't just research your direct-line ancestor. Look at all the relatives, friends and neighbors, co-workers and fellow church members, too. People tended to stick together with family, friends, and neighbors from the old country.

With a relatively common surname, unless you find a passenger record listing the village, you must do your American research very diligently. You have to have that village name! Here are some links that might help:


Rootsweb Guide to Tracing Family Trees:

World GenWeb Europe:
   France GenWeb: - In English

Expert Links: England Family History and Genealogy, nearly 400 important websites for English genealogy:

Genealogy in Western & Central Europe:

Genealogy in France - Civil Registers (les registres d'etat-civil):

The French Républican Calendar: and

French Telephone Directories: or

$$$ New French search engine - NOMINA:

German Genealogy:

Europe Genealogy Links (by country):

Tinney's Europe links: - English Genealogy Records: United Kingdom Census (England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland), English Vital Registrations, Free BMD, Parish Records, Church Records:

The National Archives in Kew (England):

Historical Directories (local & trade) England and Wales 1750-1919:

British Newspaper Collection:

Births 1855-1904, Marriages 1855-1929, Deaths 1855-1954, Census, Wills & Testaments

Genealogy Resources on the Internet (Gaunt & Fuller):

Ancestral Villages: (German-speaking countries):


Holocaust Global Registry:

Message Boards - Western Europe:
   Central Europe:
   Eastern Europe:
   British Isles:
   Scandanavian & Baltic States:

Proceedings of the Old Bailey London 1674-1834:
   100,621 trials, fully searchable

20th Century Archives of the London Gazette:
   Page has links to the Imperial War Museum, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Family Records Centre, Public Record Office, Federation of Family History Societies & The Times, making it a nice portal to English research

Very interesting concept for Scotland England, Wales, the Isle of Man and Channel Islands:
   You find a blood relative in the 1881 census, and enter the name as found. You are automatically matched with any other persons entering the same ancestral person -- your researcher cousins!

Victoria County Histories (England):

ShtetlSeeker (villages in Eastern Europe):
   Also see book: Where Once We Walked (WOWW) revised edition by Gary Mokotoff and Sallyann Amdur Sack with Alexander Sharon, published by Avotaynu. Inc., 2002 Gazetteer has many towns listed with both the old and new names and geographical coordinates.

Sacramento German Genealogical Society (Der Blumenbaum):

Dr. Don Watson's Hessen covers all of Germany:

Southern California Genealogical Library:

Central European Family History Assn.:

Federation of Eastern European Family History Assn.:

Queries to FANA (Familienkundliche Nachrichten): (I couldn't get the javascript to work)

Thanks to Maureen Schoenky on the Pfalz list for some of these links.

Eastern Slovakia (Východoslovenský) & Environs Genealogy Research Strategies:

Slovak/English online dictionary:

Czech, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Latin online translator:

Hungarian (and others) online dictionary:

Fils du Vent (nomad ancestors, such as gypsies, bohemiens, circus employees, peddlers - posts in English are OK):

Country Studies, general descriptive files, such as this one about Romania:


Austrian Newspapers, Slovakia's Cemetery Database Online:

World War Two Aerial Pictures Go Online:

Naming customs in Germany and France:

Huguenot Research:




   Language Map of France:

Do what you feel in your heart to be right - for you'll be criticized anyway. You'll be damned if you do, and damned if you don't. - Eleanor Roosevelt

Labels: , , , , , ,