By Jacques Gagné
La Charente Maritime a region also referred to in the past as Charente Inférieure was organized as a département after the French Revolution from the ancient regions of Rochefort, La Rochelle, Saintes.
La Rochelle was the main port of departure from which French Canadian pioneers departed.
The regions of Aunis and Saintonge were the homes of a great number of Protestant families.
The oldest Catholic parish register is dated 1556 in the Paroisse de Loulay
The oldest Protestant church register is dated 1561 in the regions of Aunis and Saintonge
The various types of acts one can find within this archive:
• Abjurés – Those who were forced to renounce Protestantism and were urged to convert to Catholicism
• Baptêmes – Baptisms in this region, both Catholic and Protestant
• Décès – Deaths, both Catholic and Protestant families
• Divorces – Divorces among Catholic and Protestant families
• Mariages – Catholic and Protestant marriages
• Naissances – Catholic and Protestant births
• Publications de marriages – Marriage postings of intent
• Sépultures – Catholic and Protestant deaths
• Tables décennales – ten-year period indices of marriages, births, deaths from 1793
• Tables décennales des décès – ten-year period indices of deaths from 1793
• Tables décennales des mariages – ten-year period indices of marriages from 1793
• Tables décennales des naissances – ten-year period indices of births from 1793
• Registres Protestants – Protestant church registers from 1561-1793 in the ancient regions of Aunis and Saintonge
• Registres paroissiaux – Catholic parish registers from 1556-1792
• Les Trois Collections de registres paroissiaux et d’état civil – The three main collections of parish registers and civil registers
• Collection du Greffe – From 1667, a second set of parish records (books of baptisms, marriages, deaths) were instituted and copied yearly by all Catholic parishes and said second parish books were sent for protestion to various repositories in France, namely to the local or regional courthouses – From 1736, the actual parish registers kept at the church and the Catholic church registers sent out to various court houses were rendered uniform in content with the exception of personal notes written by priests which were never reproduced in the courthouse version – A total of 16,119 registers are stored within said archives and most of the content has been digitized.
• Les Archives en ligne – Online archives – Major categories
• Inventaires et images en ligne – A descriptive of various fonds available online
• Registres paroissiaux et d’état civil – Parish registers and civil registers
• Registres du contrôle des actes – Bureaux de La Rochelle (1701-1791) et Royan (1702-1793) – Two major regions which are not part today of the Département de la Charente Maritime, but were unified into one region with Charente Maritime under the regimes of the Kings of France, prior to the French Revolution.
• Minutes de Notaires de Jonzac et ses environs (1673-1907) – The oldest notarial records digitized within the Département de la Charente-Maritime (Charente Inférieure)
• Plans Cadastraux – Maps and descriptive of various regions within the département
• Nouvelle France – Horizons nouveaux – Histoire d’une Terre Française en Amérique – The people who left the region of Charente Maritime and surrounding districts and settled into New France.
• Archives en ligne – Description des fonds – Online archives – Description of fonds within
• Registres paroissiaux, pastoraux et d’état civil – parish records & civil records digitized and posted online by communes (villages, towns, townships, cities) for a total of 4 million pages of actual digitized documents, The research vehicle within said archives in dealing with this type of searches is carried out by the name of the commune (village, town, township, city), by collection type de registre (various types of register), by type d’acte (various types of document) and by année (year of event)
• Recherche en ligne – The four search options within this category are labelled as follow;
• Collection Communale – It gives you a choice of 350 villages or towns or townships or cities to choose from
• Collection Greffe – The second copy of parish registers (books of marriages, baptisms, deaths) which were kept at various court houses and digitized during the 1990s into a database of 350 communes
• Collection hospitalière – A collection of parish registers dealing with baptisms and deaths of mostly children and carried out in various hospitals – As of today, these documents have not been released yet on line but are available for the time being at two municipal libraries.
• Collection Type de registre, état civil, hospitalier, paroissial, pastoral – Type of registers one can search from; civil registers, hospital records dealing with births and deaths, parish records, pastoral records, the latter a version of the parish records.
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