Researching and finding your French and Walloon (French Belgium) ancestors use to be a herculean feat . Where to start, where to look, how to make sense in what you are reading, and how to navigate through the complicated archival websites.
Today’s French Genealogy research has exploded with online search engines and information from numerous websites. With all that, you can still run into prickly brick walls
- You don’t know the language,
- You don’t know the town your ancestors came from
- Deciphering sloppy handwritten old records
- How to understand what you are seeing
- navigate through complicated French websites of birth, marriage and death records, censuses and military enlistments documents
Good news is, you can research more easily with the help of my step-by-step how to tutorials. How to navigate through difficult online French archival websites, military enlistments records, census records, and other documents of genealogical value.
And you can do it for free and cheaply.
In 1998, the free Rootsweb website was flourishing, Ancestry.com was in it’s infancy, FamilySearch launched, Geneanet was barely on it’s feet and FranceGenWeb was not in existance yet . France departmental archives were not online, as well as most of the French genealogy information. It was only available by writing to the towns and archives. You had to know exact names, towns and dates for your request to be fulfilled. Yes, it was a tedious nightmare.
Sadly, Rootsweb of free information is long gone, replaced by other costly searchable genealogy repository sites. Seemingly, overnight, genealogy became a quite profitable business. These sites do offer an abundance of French and Belgian genealogy information and documents, but with a hefty subscription price tag attached. Genealogy subscription websites are very helpful, I’ve used them, but the rising cost of membership fees for most of them, makes it unaffordable.
You can skip that investment by finding free genealogical records through Geneanet, a freemium and an ongoing collaborative genealogy website, that offers documents, family trees, and additional sources to find your ancestors. FamilySearch , which offers free browsable and searchable digital records of France and of Wallonia Belgium.
Today, France’s Department Digital Archives & Belgium’s parish & civil archives, FamilySearch.org, FranceGenweb and Gallica Digital Library are all available online for free. These will guide you to find starting points, indexes, documents, and other genealogical information so you can search and find your ancestors. Sounds overwhelming, sounds impossible, sounds time-consuming. My website, with numerous tutorials and genealogical resources, will help you overcome that. You’ll be able to research, to understand, discover, navigate and extract the vital genealogical information from parish, civil, military enlistments, census records and more. My mission is to help you succeed in your French and Belgian ancestry quest.