French Roots Toolkit

By Maureen A. Taylor Premium
On the bookshelf

Ancestral Research in France: The Simple Guide to Tracing Your Family History Through French Records by Patrick Pontet (self-published, send 23 British pounds to 31 Collingwood Walk; Andover Hampshire SP10 1PU)

Beginning Franco American Genealogy by Rev. Dennis M. Boudreau (American French Genealogical Society)

A Genealogist’s Guide to Discovering Your Immigrant & Ethnic Ancestors by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack (Betterway Books)

Guide to Quebec Catholic Parishes and Published Parish Marriage Records by Jeanne Sauve White (Clearfield Co.)

Huguenot Genealogies: A Selected Primary List by Arthur Louis Finnell (Clearfield Co.), 16 volumes available on CD-ROM

Immigrants to America from France and Western Switzerland, 1859-1866 by Clifford Neal Smith (Westland Publications)

In Search of Your Canadian Roots, 3rd edition, by Angus Baxter (Genealogical Publishing Co.)

The New Orleans French, 1720-1733: A Collection of Marriage Records Relating to the First Colonists of the Louisiana Province by Winston De Ville (Genealogical Publishing Co., out of print)

Tracing Our French Roots by Miriam Sagan (John Muir Publications, out of print)


• American — Canadian Genealogical Society

Box 6478

Manchester, NH 03108 <>: Publishes American-Canadian Genealogist. Its site outlines membership criteria, research services, activities and library resources.

• American French Genealogical Society

Box 2113

Pawtucket, Rl 02861 (401) 765-6141

<>: Publishes Je Me Souviens newsletter, plus birth, marriage and baptism compilations. At the AFGS site, you’ll find contact information for all its members, descriptions of its library materials, explanation of French genealogy-related terms and more useful links.

• Acadian Cultural Society

Box 2304

Fitchburg, MA 01420 <>: Publishes Le Reveil Acadien. Highlights of its Web site are a brief history of the Acadians, a surname list and Acadian links.

• National Huguenot Society

9033 Lyndale Ave. S. #108 Bloomington, MN 55437 (952) 885-9776

<>: A list of documented Huguenot ancestors is on the site, along with other online resources and publications. Include a self-addressed, stamped envelope with any information requests.

• Bibliotheque Genealogique et d’Histoire Social

3 rue de Turbigo 75001 Paris, France + 33 (01)42335821 <>: Paris’ Genealogy and Social History Library exemplifies France’s meticulous record keeping. You can request copies of material from its family studies, microfilms, periodicals, civil and parish registers by writing to the library. (You may make up to three requests per letter; the fee is 20 French francs.) An English Web page is in the works, but you can easily search the site now to discover if the library has a name you’re looking for.

Find it on the Web

• Beginner’s Guide to Researching Your French Ancestry

<>7070oa.htm>: This article from walks you through the different kinds of French records you can use to fill in your French family tree.

• FamilySearch Research Helps

<>: Click on Search and Research Helps, then choose F under Search by Place to find these and other helpful online aids:

• France Research Outline: The Family History Library’s guide to French genealogy offers step-by-step instructions and research strategies and discusses every type of genealogical record, immigration, heraldry, language, names and more. It’s a great reference for anyone tracing French ancestry.

• French Genealogical Word List: Lists of French words and their translations are grouped by category. There’s also a short grammar primer on gender, spelling and accent marks.

• French Letter-Writing Guide: If you don’t parlez francais, don’t worry. Family-Search’s guide walks you through the process of addressing and formulating a request letter for French records.

• French Republican Calendar Research Outline: When was 12 Thermidor V? During its 18th-century revolution, France adopted a new calendar that was used in all government records. It marked time by the birth of the Republic and devised an entirely new set of months. This outline decodes the calendar and has tables for converting dates — in this case, July 30, 1797.

• Genea Guide

< english_frame.htm>: The English page of the GeneaGuide site has helpful articles on doing genealogical research in France, including tips on writing overseas. (Purchase postal coupons for return mail, type your letters for legibility, and be patient.)

• Roots Web’s Guide to Tracing Family Trees, Lesson 24

<>: RootsWeb’s primer gives you the lowdown on finding Canadian, French Canadian, French and Acadian roots. Besides practical advice, the lesson also provides links for each group.

• Bibliotheque Nationale de France

<>: Search the National Library of France’s holdings online.

• CimGenWeb Database

<>: All you need is a keyword to use this French-language database of cemetery inscriptions. Part of the France GenWeb project, the database entries list name, cemetery, dates of birth and death and anything else found on a headstone.

• Cyndi’s List: France

<>: More than 300 links for exploring your French ancestry.

• France Genealogy Links

<>: Many of the pages linked to here are in French, but if you can read the language (or have a good dictionary on hand), you’ll find a mix of genealogical data and historical background. Links include databases of pre-1900 marriage records, those guillotined in the French Revolution and French emigrants to Quebec; French medieval genealogy and royal lines.

• Franco-Gene

<>: Denis Beauregard’s site for Franco-American and Canadian genealogy provides Web pages and contacts for more than 1,000 names. It also offers mailing lists and message boards, links and professional researchers for various regions of the Francophone world.

• France GenWeb

<>: French genealogists maintain this site as part of the World GenWeb project. Find links to genealogical societies, research facilities and telephone directories.

• France Mailing Lists

< country-fra.html>: Mailing list links for special interest groups, overseas departments and 96 French districts.

• French Migration Resource Center

<>: Queries, links and resources about French migration and genealogy.

• Geneactes

<>: Search databases of French civil records by department; marriage records by keyword, name or place; and more than 92,000 soldiers who received the St-Helene’s medal by name.

• Index of Towns

<>: Robert Chenard’s compilation lists French town names alphabetically, followed by the department where they’re located today, the old province and distance from the closest major city.

• National Archives of Canada

<>: You can search some of the archives’ holdings for your French Canadian ancestors — including 1.2 million files created by agencies of the Canadian government — using ArchiviaNet, its collection of online databases. Search results provide descriptions of the documents and tell how to find them if you visit the archives.

• 755: The French and Indian War

<>: Genealogists will be most interested in the list of soldiers who fought in the war; the site also has a history of the conflict and a bibliography.

• Les Pages Jaunes

<>: Use the French Yellow Pages site to search both business and residential telephone directories.


<>: French news, culture and travel links.

• French Government Tourist Office

<>: Start planning your trip to la belle France here.

• Theriault Acadian Family

<>: Discusses Acadian history, migration and heritage. Don’t miss the library of traditional French and Acadian songs.

• Yahoo!

<>: French links; there’s also a Yahoo! France, in French <>.


<>: More than 50 French and French-English dictionaries online, including specialized references.

From the June 2001 issue of Family Tree Magazine