In 1998, French Genealogy Databases and resources, if any, were in it’s infancy. Obtaining French records was a hard road to take. You had to write to French and Belgian governments in towns, cities and department archives. It wasn’t a fast procedure either. You couldn’t just ask “Find all the Leroy” in this town or neighboring cities. You had to know precise names, dates, and towns in order for archivist to obtain records for you. Then, wait, wait and wait some more.
Now, we have Genealogy companies that you can enter in “Moreau” in France in the name field, and find yourself swimming in results by a single click. There are free and paid subscriptions sites to consult and it is growing.
*I do not have affiliate links here. Some databases I’ve added here are paid subscriptions sites. I recommend them because of my good experience with them, what they have to offer and whether they are worth the price or not.
Jump to These Online Databases:
- New! Paris Revolutionary Executions The Rathelot Collection of those who were brought before the French Revolutionary Tribunal and executed between March 1793 – September 1794.
New!La Commune de Paris -1871 Was a two month insurrection take over of Paris by French revolutionaries during the Franco-Prussian war. The insurrectionists were called Communards. At the end, the Revolutionaries were arrested and either sentenced to death or charges dismissed. These records give the names, names of parents, places of birth and residence, occupation and charges. Thank you to my cousin, Estelle Nadeau, who found this gem of a database!
Search to see if your ancestors were arrested:
Index of the names of prisoners. Information you could find is: their date and place of birth, age, the names of parents or spouses, crimes and place of court. Information is all in French.
- ProtestantsGenWeb Database of French Protestant vital ancestors. You can search either by surname or by commune/Department. The database also includes towns in Belgium and Quebec
- Jewish Genealogy Database A great resource for Birth, Marriage and Death records of French Jewish Ancestors. This was compiled by the hard work of Jean Carcassonne and brought to you by the Jewish Genealogy Association
- Archives of France Is a directory of every online archive department of France listed (Archives Departementales en ligne) The Archives of each department are free to use. Some let you download the record directly, others provide a permalink for citations.
- French INSEE Social Security Death Indexes 1970-2019 A searchable death record database for recent death registrations of French citizens.
is another volunteer indexing site from all around France and Belgium . The drawback is you have to become a paid member to one of these societies in order to access the databases and purchase points. But you can search by last names and towns. Also by marriage names. Here are the lists of the Participating Genealogy Associations. You’ll notice numbers in parentheses after each Society. The numbers represent the names of departments in France.
Geneanet Free and $
Geneanet is my favorite go to online databases. This easy to use and superb freemium website is bursting with collections of international family trees, surnames, people, and uploaded French records, indexes, libraries, pictures and more. And they are indexing records continually. It has a multi-parameter search engine that scours through their individual databases. I found a missing ancestor of mine who was in an American newspaper article. I found another who was a witness to a horrible crime in a French newspaper.. You don’t know what you’ll come up with!
Filae.com (France) – $ and Free
Once upon a time there was Genealogie.com and NotreFamille.com as other ways researching French genealogy.. Now the creator of those two sites has brought all of that into one big fast growing and simple to use site called Filae.com. What’s brilliant and wonderful about this site is it’s dedication in bringing their subscribers a growing online vital records and census images with their search results. You click on the image and it takes you right to the repository to the exact image. You can also download it from their website. What I couldn’t find on Geneanet, I have found on Filae.
A little difficult to navigate but they have the towns, type of record and dates very neatly laid out.
An ongoing project of encoding vital records for their searchable database of surnames for most of the towns in Wallonia and Brussels. This is where I found the bulk of my Belgian ancestors and records. The members are trustworthy and helpful, and I highly recommend them. There is a membership fee. Either use the contact form at the website (accès membres/contact), or contact for membership details. You can write to them in English
Family Search has come a long way since it’s humble beginnings over 10 years ago. Before, we had to pay to order microfilm from a LDS family history library in Salt Lake City, make a possible long trip to the local LDS library, and, depending upon the hours, try to cram as much time as possible to view the microfilm. Now, Belgian images of records are now available to *browse or search” for all provinces from the 1600s up until 1920.
Ongoing Indexing Projects of Geneanet -Free
Searchable Databases of the Communes in the Province of:
- Brabant Wallon
- Searchable Database of Wallonia towns at Ancestry.com
- Walloon Genealogy Google Groups -GenWalBru – Walloon and Brussels Genealogy. In French, but English is acceptable.
- Quebec GenWeb
- Archives of Canada
- Ontario Records
- Saskatchewan Records
- Quebec Records
- Catholic Church Registers
This is not the Drouin collection but the parish records at FamilySearch
- Quebec Index to Civil Copy of Church Records, 1642-1902
A searchable database of French Immigrants to Quebec up until 1865 containing places and dates of birth, marriage, and family members. Abundance of information and all for free!
Citizenship Registration Records
Montreal Circuit 1851-1945, use search function
Genealogie Quebec $
Largest database of Quebec and French Canadian Records. For $5 you can access the database for 24 hrs, download up to 75 images, have unlimited look ups, and access to all their tools!
Your Folks $
Your Folks has come a long way since their “point exchange system” service of Quebec marriages many years ago. Now they offer so much more including the documents and professional help. You can sign up for free and search. It’s still a voucher system and they do offer a lot services that I haven’t seen other subscription sites have. . Once you sign up for a free membership, you can then pick and pay for a voucher package that meets your needs.