Tutorial 7 - Networking and Navigating French Gen sites

It is highly recommend that you go through the tutorials on the different types of actes before you proceed here. You'll have more familiarity and understanding with french words, recognizing different types of records..

Visiting French Gen sites, can be overwhelming. The main thing to remember is the words and phrases to get you to where you need to be. In today's online world, there are translator programs that can translate whole pages. Given the complexities with French grammar, you'll get the 'gist' of what is written. It could be enough for you, but the safe bet is referring to the flash list of common words you'll find on these sites, and then memorizing them to make it easier to navigate

Let's Begin

When you visit an Archives Departementals site, the only thing, at this point, is to find the link that says 'archives en ligne --> then 'Les registres paroissiaux et d'état civil', --> then 'Etat civil' which will bring you to a page that describes what is available; Tables décennales (indexes of birth, marriage and death), Actes (the records), Recensements de population (census), Recrutement militaire (military enlistments. There will be fields to enter in dates, communes (towns, parishes, ancienne commune or parish) a list of towns icon either date debut and date fin, or période de __________ à ___________. You'll concentrate on 'commune' for now.. Not all departments offer those types of records. The archives of Loiret, at this time, only offers civil record. Not all Departments use the same viewer either. Most of the viewers will have icons to describe the type of action to take

Now, let's take a look at an online Archive of France. In this exercise, I'll use the department of Eure and Loire, and the commune of Pontguin

We'll go through step by step.

Archives Departementals d'Eure and Loire
This takes you to the online archives, click on "Archives en ligne". We'll only use "Les registres paroissiaux et d'état civil" for our exercise. Click on that link. You'll now be at the page "Etat Civil'. Here they explain what is available. Alphabetical indexes of actes (baptism, birth, marriage ect) for years 1802 to 1912. You'll see they use the French Republican Calender for 1802. More information on dates can be found here
Scroll down to the search engine:

We will only be using the commune field in this exercise. To the right is an icon that looks like a lined piece of paper. Click on that, it will bring up an alphabetical list of communes. In this case, let's click on the letter "P", scroll down to the commune of "Pontguin", click, and then click on the "valider' button. It will insert the name into the commune field. You can leave "periode' field blank, which the search results will include all the years and indexes or you can enter the starting year to the ending year. Let's put in 1880 to 1900, then click the 'Rechercher' button. It will bring up all the results. In this case 5, including the indexes. If you know the date, you can go straight to the records. If one doesn't know, then the index table is used.

That is where we'll start:

Clicking on a commune, will bring up the viewer. Look at the toolbar at the top. Each department places their toolbars in different places; top left, top left, middle bottom ect. Sometimes they're broken up, such as the image size adjust or contrast balance. Let's look at the icons at the top. You'll probably can guess most of the functions of them. The big "X" means 'exit'; the 'wrench' means 'utilities'; the first square enlarges the document; the second skrinks to the original size; the lock will set the image at whatever magnification you have, unlock it and the next page will be the default size. The circle with the line through will reset the image to it's original size. The option of 'fullscreen' is the 'arrow', and then, of course, you have the printing, and the email the image.

To the upper right, in the square box with the image displayed, is where you control the magnification. Once you get the right magnification, click on the "lock' button. Lower right is the number of images there are with arrows displaying previous and next. The 'double' arrows mean to the beginning of documents and the end of the documents respectfully. At the lower left side, the name of the town is displayed, with a drop down menu displaying the search results. The arrow means to the next search result.. Now, you're ready to search!

Navigating French Gen Groups

You've probably come across French genealogy groups at Rootsweb.com. There are many, easy to navigate through, but most of them have very little activity. This tutorial will focus on understanding, navigating and communicating with members at French Yahoo Groups

First of all, you need a Yahoo account. Once you've signed up for one, then click here.
  • On the front page enter enter the country, or province/department in the search field under "Trouver un groupe" (find a group). The search will bring up results, not all of them Genealogy. Pick the gen group. This will take you to home page, which will list a brief description, a table of activity for the years and months.
  • In the upper left corner, you'll see "Rejoindre ce Groupe" (join this group), click on that. It will take you to another page that lists 1. 'Vos informations de contact' (your contact info), you can see your email addy and profile name.
  • Next comes a box where you enter a small blurb to the moderator. I usually just write something like this:
    "Je suis un(e) americain (I am an American).
    Je n'ecris pas bien le français (I do not write French well).
    Je suis désolé(e)e (I am sorry) or just 'désolé(e) (sorry).
    Puis-je écire en anglais? (may I write in English?)
    So, it translate to: I am an American. I do not write French well. I am sorry, Can I write in English?.
  • Now, scroll down to 2. Envoi de messages. Delivery of messages. You can see whether you want them individually (Mail individuel) or have them bundled together and delivered once a day. (Envoi groupé). And of course at the very end check if you want them in rich text or plain. Enter in the spam protection code, then click "rejoindre' at the bottom.
  • That's it. You should receive an email welcoming you to the group, possibly asking to confirm the subscription. Now you're set to introduced yourself to the group, and request information on your ancestors.
  • You will use the same French introduction to address the group with a couple of additions:
    Bonjour à tous, or Bonjour à toutes & à tous!(Good day/Hello to all and to you) and "Merci de votre aide" (Thank you for your help).Then relate what you are looking for in English, give as much info as possible. Always, Always thank the people who help you, then close with your name
  • If there is someone in the group who is fluent in English, they will usually translate what you've said to the rest of the group. Usually members have indexes or have researched certain towns. Keep in mind, they might not be able to find anything..Still thank the group for their help, always, always/u> thank the group or person for help

  • We have now reached to the end of the Tutorials. I hope it has helped you in your research. Remember, with study, time, perservance to learn how to look for and read records and search in the French Genealogy world!