By Jacques Gagné
• Oldest Parish Register within their fonds is dated 1519 in the Parish of Saint-Hilaire-de-Melle
• Registres paroissiaux
• Parish Registers in France began in 1539 (officially) with the recording of births and baptisms – Marriages and deaths were first recorded in 1579 – In 1792, Parish Registers in France were replaced by the Registres de l’état civil – Most Archives départementales will offer you Parish Registers from the beginning of church records kept within a particular archives and until 1792. For those who prefer to deal with parish registers after 1792 in comparison to civil registers from 1793 onwards, I will address this subject in a future research guide. For the Catholic Church of France did continue after 1792 the recording process of baptisms, marriages, deaths to this day.
• Registres de l’état civil
• Civil Registers in France began in 1792 or 1793 in most regions with the recording of births, marriages, deaths – Most Archives Départementales will offer you copies of actual documents from 1792 to 1902. Some are offering documents for a few years after 1902. Civil Registers in France are well preserved in most regions but the information contained is less descriptive in comparison to the older Parish Registers, at least in some regions of France.
• Tables décennales 1793-1892 – Indices of births, marriages, deaths by ten-year periods from 1792-1892. A practice which had its birth in the smaller archives communales (municipal libraries and city Halls), in order to facilitate the research of documents, local archivists began the process of recording the births, marriages, deaths of their residents into an index by ten-year periods – a practice still carried out today – Most archives départementales will not give you access to these indexes beyond 1892.
• Registres paroissiaux des Protestants – Protestant Church Registers are being offered by a number of Archives Départementales within their search engines, although few in numbers. I will address this issue at a later time period, for only about 300 pioneer families who came to Nouvelle France declared themselves as being Protestants.
• Cadastres Napoléonien 1808-1846 – Land Registers 1808-1846. Land registers indicating the ownership of 3,650 parcels of land within this département. A reporting system including drawn-up maps indicating who the owners were, measurements of lands. Searches can be conducted by either cantons (townships) or communes (villages, towns, cities)
• Recensements de la population 1836-1906 – Population indices from 1836-1906
¶ Similar in concept to North American Census
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