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Tutorial 4 -Examining Civil Birth Records

In this tutorial, you will need your notebook, pencil, and magnifying glass. Your study on baptism records should help you with understanding the next pages. You’ll understand why naissance (birth) records are different from baptism (baptême) ones. Examine samples of wording, phrasing, from several You will be introduced to and get acquainted with “dit/dite’ names. The birth flash list will be referred to. If you don’t have Microsoft Office, you can download this free fully functional Office program at WPS

In 1793, the French Revolution swept in and swept away the Catholic Church’s authority of recording documents, and installed the secular civil system as the official one. The French Revolution also introduced the confusing French Republican Calender. For more information refer back to my dates page. An easy to use calender converter is located here. Thankfully, that French Republican calender didn’t last too long, dissolving in 1805.

There’s not much difference between civil birth and church baptism ones besides possibly better handwriting. Data in civil records varies as well. Information such as, father and mother’s occupation, place of birth for each or residence, age of parents, names of other witnesses, their ages, occupations and relationship to the baby might all be included.

French Belgian records

As with France, Belgium went from Catholic Church records to Civil ones in 1793. Post 1810, data would be entered into a certificate, which will have areas to include date of recording, official person, town in which acte is being recorded, province, name of person who appears before the official to record the baby’s birth -usually the father (though other family members have done so), age of father, his occupation, place of residence, possible place of birth, mother’s name, her age, occupation, place of residence, possible place of birth, actual date of birth for baby, *sex and name of child, and names, ages of witnesses.

French Canadian Record

Unlike the European countries, French Canada kept the baptism form of recording of the actes, especially in fledgling towns. The Catholic and Protestant churches, were still the sources for all records. The information can be recorded in a template, or written out depending on what province or parish, it’s very concise and information provided is varied.

An example of baptism record from 1883 Ontario:

(They used Latin here)

(What are ‘dit’ names? Find out Here)

Le quinze Juin mil huit cent soixante trois – the fifteen of June 1863

baptisé – baptised

Joseph Elie Napoléon

né quatorze – born the 14th

légitime mariage de – legitimate marriage of

Napoléon Sauvé dit Laplante – Napoléon Sauvé know as Laplante

cultivateur – farmer

domicile en cette parroise – residence in/at this parish

(et de )Aurélie Tessier dit Lavgnie – Aurélie Tessier know as Lavgnie

Le parrain Emilién Sauvé dit Laplante – the godfather Emilé Sauvé know as Laplante

cultivateur -farmer

la marraine Zoé Denerts – the godmother Zoé Denerts


Extractable Information:
Date of Record – 15 June 1863,

event – a baptism,

Name of child : Joseph Elie Napoléon, born the 14th (June 1863)

Names of parents: Napoléon Sauvé dit Laplant and Aurélie Tessier dit Lavgnie

Occupation (of father) farmer

Godparents: Emilién Sauvé dit Laplante and Zoé Denerts

Emile’s occupation -farmer

Examining a Belgian Birth Record:

Breaking it down
– I’ll exclude the non extractable information

L’AN mil huit cent quatre vingt – The year 1880

le vingt huit, du mois de mars – the 28 of the month of March

de la commune de St. Mard – of the town of St Mard

canton de Virton, province of Luxembourg – canton of Virton, province of Luxembourg

est comparu Jules Nicole – has appeared (before the official) Jules Nicole

âgé de trente cinq ans, age of 35 years

tenanier/temanier/tessanier (?) some kind of laborer? ?

perésente une enfant du sexe féminin neé à St. Mard – presents an infant/child of the feminin sex, born at St Mard

le vingt six de (même) mois a trois heures du matin – the 26 of the same month

et de son epouse Vitaline Galichet – and his spouse Vitaline Galichet,

âgé de vingt huit ans, sans profession – age of 28 years, without a profession

domiciliee à St Mard – resides at St Mard

le prénom de Léonie Joséphine – name of Leonie Joséphine


Extractable information:
Date of Record: 23 March 1880

Father’s name: Jules Nicole age 35, profession of laborer,
Mother’s name: Vitaline Galichet, age 28, no profession,
both parents live in St Mard.
Child’s name: Leonie Josephine Nicole, a girl, born 26 March 1880,

*Is it François or Françoise? When in doubt of sex of child, look at these; né/le/un are masculine, neé/la/une feminine, in determinating the baby’s birth, sex and name

Let’s move to Tutorial 5- Marriage Records—>