Documents needed for the search
For a birth, marriage or death, you must know the date and place of the deed to view the corresponding civil register record. Search techniques can be used to find deeds for which the exact date or place is unknown.
Where do I begin ?
A genealogical search can start with family memoirs, using family books, annotated and dated photographs and records of births, deaths and marriages. Family records were used to establish the beginning of the above family tree, with the following information :
- Pascal Daniel Thuillier born in 1893 in Morée, in Loir-et-Cher ;
- Gabrielle Laure Lault born in 1895 in Marolles-sur-Seine, Seine-et-Marne.
The use of archives was then necessary.
Search by date and place
What are the limits ?
Civil register documents (birth and marriage records) only become accessible to the public after 75 years. Some more recent documents can be obtained (e.g. by family members) from the civil registry services.
Birth, death and marriage records are kept in the department where the events took place and are ranked by municipality. It is therefore essential to know the department in which to make the search, and it is preferable to know the municipality also. In the specific case of ancestors living in hamlets or gaps, the parish or municipality in question can be identified using the reference work by M. Le Mee-Orsetti and R. Mee, Paroisses et communes de France, Paris, 1988 (available in the reading room, shelf mark 8o3919/A).
If the municipality is not known, a systematic consultation of the tables décennales (ten-year civil register tables) will be required.
Civil registration certificates in the departmental archives
What can be consulted ?
- Parish registers: chronologically record all deeds for baptisms, marriages, deaths or recognitions.
- Annual tables of the Ancien Régime: alphabetical lists drafted by the priest at the end of each year in the parish register, summarizing all individuals involved in the deeds drawn up during the year. At the end of the register, a summary table presents all births, all marriages and finally all deaths. Unfortunately, these tables were not set up systematically.
- Civil registers: chronologically record births, deaths and marriages.
- The tables décennales (ten-year tables) after 1792: lists by municipality summarizing, for a ten-year period, all births and baptisms (according to the historical period), then all marriages and finally all deaths or burials, with names arranged alphabetically within each category.
All these deeds are as distributed as follows :
- sub-series 6E :
- For the Ancien Régime: parish registers of baptisms, marriages, burials (French abbr. B.M.S) and some annual tables included in these records, ordered by parish ;
- From the Revolution onwards: civil registration of births, deaths and marriages (French abbr. NMD) from the collection of the Courts Administration Service, alphabetically ordered by municipality.
- sub-series 7E, for the revolutionary period and from 1800 : ten-year tables produced since 1792 by canton or arrondissement (and further sorted by municipality for numerical consultation).
- sub-series 8E: publications marriages (incomplete for the Ancien Régime), listed alphabetically by municipality.
- sub-series 9E: attached documents (sorted alphabetically by municipality).
Search the Departmental Archives
How do I search births, deaths and marriages ?
If the date of the deed and the parish or municipality where it took place are known, it is "sufficient" to consult the appropriate register, where the deeds have been entered chronologically.
If the exact year of the deed is not known, but the period is known, then the tables can be used.
To continue with the above example of a genealogical search, Gabrielle Lault is relatively easy to locate. She was born in 1895 in Marolles-sur-Seine. By querying the ten-year table of this municipality for the period 1893-1902 (shelf mark 7E261), the exact date of her birth was found.
To speed up consultation of the register itself, estimation of the location of the deed can be very useful. The birth of Gabrielle Lault was on 25 July, 1895, and is recorded in the Marolles-sur-Seine civil register at shelf mark 6E297 / 9, which is in the period 1888 to 1905. We can therefore assume that the deed will appear at the end of the first half of the register. The numerical query produces 371 views, and the deed in question is under the 158th.
Viewing the deed itself provides access to a range of information :
- birth certificate :
- place, date and sometimes time of birth
- name and surname of child
- name, surname, age, occupation and reisdence of father, mother
- name and surname of registrant (if not the father)
- name and surname of witnesses, sometimes their profession
- after 1922, date and place of birth of parents
- marriage certificate :
- name and surname of bride and groom
- date and place of birth
- occupation and address - name and surname, address, occupation of parents (sometimes date and place of birth and death)
- name and surname of witnesses
- sometimes, location and date of marriage ceremony
- death certificate :
- name and surname of the deceased, age, date and time of death, occupation
- name and surname of spouse if already deceased
- name, surname and details of registrant
- Margin notes : Post-Revolution, but not used after 1900 in court administration records. They may indicates :
- adoption or death in the margin of a birth certificate
- a divorce and the date of judgement in the margin of a marriage certificate
- marriage in the margin of a birth certificate (since 1897)
Gabrielle Lault's birth certificate provides the following information about her parents :
- father : Gabriel Georges Lault was 30 when his daughter was born on 25 July 1895
- mother : Elore Meninat, was 28 on the same date
To continue searching for information on these people, in the absence of a known date for acts involving them, a search could be made for their birth certificates, marriage certificate or their death certificates.
- Search for a birth certificate :
- the year of birth of each is known :
- Gabriel Lault was 30 in 1895, so he was born in 1865; Elore Meninat was 28 in 1895, so she was born in 1867. The exact date can then be searched for in the corresponding ten-year table and then the register can be consulted. Note that the age indicated in their daughter's certificate may only be approximate and a search should therefore not be limited to 1865 and 1867. The success condition of the search is of course that both were born in Marolles-sur-Seine. To extend the search to other municipalities, in the department or beyond, the ten-year tables of the forecast period should be consulted for all municipalities considered, which may be time consuming, tedious and fruitless.
- If the age of the parents had not been indicated in Gabrielle's birth certificate, the search would have been much the same: by subtracting 20 to 30 years from the child's date of birth and trying to find the birth of the parents in the ten-year tables for the period identified in that way. In this case, a marriage certificate search would be recommended as a priority.
Consulting the ten-year tables from 1863 to 1872 does not enable the desired birth certificates to be identified. There is another possibility: search the civil registers for the whole of the presumed year as an oversight in the ten-year table is possible. The annual registry table will be the first thing to consult.
Searching civil registers enabled Gabriel Lault to be found. He was born in the municipality of Marolles-sur-Seine in 1865, as shown in the annual registry table. It is not known why he is not mentioned in the ten-year table.
There is no trace of Elore, however, either in the table or in the corresponding register. It may be that she was not born in this municipality. External documents will be necessary to continue the search elsewhere.
- Search for a marriage certificate :
- given that children are often born shortly after the wedding, the latter can be searched for in the ten-year tables of the municipality in the years before the birth of Gabrielle.
- given that people often married between the age of 20 and 30, the decade 1885-1895 could be searched, because Gabrielle's father was 30 in 1895. These two research lines are valid only if the marriage took place in the same municipality as the Gabrielle’s birth. To extend the search to other municipalities. in the department or beyond, the ten-year tables of the envisaged period for all municipalities considered should be searched, which can be time-consuming, tedious and fruitless.
In the case of Gabriel Lault and Elore Meninat, consultation of the 1883-1892 ten-year table (7E234) proves successful: the marriage took place on 18 November, 1890.
Consultation of the deed itself (listed at registry shelf mark 6E297 / 9, for the period 1888 to 1905) enables the information to completed.
It explains the failure of the birth certificate search for Elore, who was born in a municipality in Loir-et-Cher, where the search can be resumed.
- Search for a death certificate :
- without any indication of date, the ten-year tables will need to be scrutinised page by page from the last attestation of life of the people considered.
- however, in the example shown, the search ends quickly: neither Gabriel Lault or Elore Meninat appear in the 1895 and 1902 ten-year tables and the following tables are no longer stored in the departmental archives.
- it will therefore be necessary to apply to the civil registry of the municipality to continue the search.
- their birth and marriage certificates might have included a date of death in a margin note, but this is not the case.
The search for Gabriel Lault, born in Seine-et-Marne, can continue in the same way: search for the marriage certificate, the birth and death certificates of his parents. It is also possible to consult the ten-year tables to try to find the birth of any siblings of Gabrielle.
Genealogy beyond births, deaths and marriages
Civil register analyses
Some civil registers have been analysed by Seine-et-Marne genealogy circles. Any gaps in searches can be verified by consulting the tables available in the reading room.
Dispensations from the bishop (Series G)
They help reconstruct a marriage certificate, if no mention of it has been found in the parish archives, or when the originals have been destroyed or lost.
Electoral rolls (sub-series 6M)
Consultation of electoral rolls can supplement information about an ancestor. It is also very helpful if the birthplace is unknown but the place of residence at a specified date is known. The search, which for a long time may involve only male ancestors, must take account of changes in voter status and eligibility conditions during the 18th and 19th centuries :
1789 : Every adult citizen is eligible; electoral rolls show the name, occupation, department of residence, arrondissement where taxes are paid.
1817 : Requirements: must be aged at least 30 and paying at least 300 francs in tax to be an elector. The information is identical to that of the rolls of 1789.
1848 : Direct universal suffrage was introduced in the constitution. Voting age: 25. Same information in the rolls.
1852 : Tables of voters now gave the date and place of birth of the person concerned.
1944 : The right to vote was granted to women.
1974 : Age of majority was lowered to 18.
Electoral records contain the swearing in and biographies of candidates and may be a valuable source about such people.
Population censuses (sub-series 10M)
Population censuses have existed since 1836 and are made public after a period of 50 years (so as not to jeopardize individual privacy).
These are lists of names that indicate the composition of the family by household: name, surname, profession or status of each member.
Censuses are brought together under the same shelf-mark for the same year and canton by canton. It is therefore necessary to know which canton the municipality is connected to and the year to be consulted, in order to request the relevant document.
Notarial archives (series E)
They include marriage contracts and inheritances (wills, probate inventories), transfers of ownership.
In the absence of an exact date, the search will start from the notarial directories of the place of residence to find traces of the desired surname.
The following can be consulted in the reading room: dictionary of notaries and notarial offices of Seine-et-Marne, developed by the Departmental Archives of Seine-et-Marne.
Other series held in the departmental archives may also contain additional information, both on genealogy itself and on the life situation, occupation, assets etc.
In the old series, a file can provide a reference to a family name, a title, a parish or a trade.
References to a royal office (series A) or family title (series E) may also be found. For example :
- a search on the name Guiart leads to a record for Guiart, Simon, an officer of the verderies of the Royal Forests, referring to a document marked A74 (certificate by which the verderies role was conferred on him)
- for Jacquart, there is a file for Jacquart (Anthony, Madeleine Nicolas), referring to the document at shelf mark E634 (division of assets between the heirs of the wife of Nicolas Jacquart)
Searches of the tax records, based on place of residence, provide insight to the economic and social categories of the individuals involved.
- Insinuation (equivalent to registration for the Old Regime): series C. For example, document C120 concerning Leclerc (Mary), widow of Nicolas Pichon: the minutes of the court administration records of the election of Melun, in which Marie Leclerc, mother of Jacques Pichon, asked to be removed from the role des tailles as she "had left her property to provide her son with the means to become a priest."
- For the modern and contemporary periods, the recording of notarial deeds gives extensive information on family property: Series Q from 1791, sub-series 4Q for mortgages from 1798. • Tax lists: sub-series 1Pp treasury and general accounting, 2pp list of direct taxes, 3PP indirect taxes.
- The land registers of the nineteenth century (sub-series 4P) provide information on when a property came into the possession of the family, how long it remained there, what changes it underwent (increases or decreases).
A search on the profession can also be conducted systematically.
- For the Ancien Régime: - documents about tradesmen's guilds are in series C. For example, series of documents about the seals of leather manufacturers (37C12) or tobacconists (28C22), trades regulations (16C14). Searches of corporations may also be conducted in series E and the supplement to E. These contain lists of the masters and specialists of different downs or receipts of finances in return for expert work obtained by artisans. - for members of the ecclesiastical orders: series G. - for the secular clergy: series H. Thus, the document at shelf mark H668 is a lease signed between the priory of Saint-Hilaire-lez-Etampes and the Royal Abbey of Villechasson-Champ-Benoît, and reveals that Angélique Blet was the prior of the abbey.
- For the revolutionary period, series L will provide some of the military schools and religious congregations.
- For the modern and contemporary period, administrative or public service personnel may be found: - in the archives of the prefecture (series M), including education and academic collections (1M), or requests for student midwives (7M) - in the military affairs archives (Series R): documents relating to military schools and recruitment (1R), the National Guard (4R), the police (5R), fire-fighters (6R), the navy and coastguards (7R) - in education archives (1T): information on education inspectors and teachers (appointments, transfers, inspections) - in series W: students of normal schools (future teachers).
- Private documents (correspondence, securities, transactions or others) can also contribute a lot to the survey. Series F and J can be approached through a file where the search is performed by surname.
Highly unusual family situations may also be documented by the use of other series :
- Legal problems :
- Ancien Régime: series B, claims and litigation. For example, the document marked B312 is from the minutes of the court administrative record of the Bailiwick of Bassevell and is a declaration of the pregnancy of a seduced and abandoned woman, followed by an investigation and conviction of the father.
- modern and contemporary period: Up series, court records, and Yp, prison registers. Note, records of court cases and prison registers are not immediately released; only judgements that are made public are immediately disclosed.
- See also document release period
- Single mothers, abandoned children: series X and Xp (assistance and social welfare), which may contain documents about assistance received, host institutions, etc.