09/03/2018
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Researching French family history

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To complement Keith Hayward's article in the April 2018 issue of Family Tree, called 'Research French Records in 7 Steps', below is transcription of a civil birth registration from 1855 (just one example from Keith’s many decades of research). And below that is a translation of the birth – which gives an insight to the remarkable level of detail that can be found in such records for France.

The transcription of the birth registration

L’an mil huit cent cinquante cinq, le deux avril à huit heures du matin pardevant nous Pierre Francisse Bernier Maire et officier de l’état civil de la commune de Marchais, canton de Sissonne, arrondissement de Laon, département de l’Aisne a comparu Victor Elionie Nottelet âgé de quarante ans chapelier domicilié à Liesse lequel nous a présenté un enfant du sexe fémenin né à Marchais chez le Sieur Jean Louis Nicolas Nottelet âgé de soixante cinq ans manouvrier domicilié à Marchais, son père, hier à deux heures du matin, de lui déclarant et de Suzanne Seauders âgée de vingt six ans son épouse sans profession, domiciliés ensemble audit Liesse auquel enfant il a été donné les prenoms de Louise Séraphie. Le présent acte a été rédigé en présence de Jean Louis Nicolas Nottelet ci-dessus dénommé y de Jean Baptiste Philogène Nottelet âgé de cinquante six ans tisseur, tous deux domiciliés à Marchais, le premier aïeul paternel et le second son grand oncle paternel. Et ont les témoins et le comparant signé avec nous le présent acte après lecture faite.

The translation of the birth registration

The year one thousand eight hundred and fifty five, the second of April at eight o’clock in the morning before us Pierre Francisse Bernier Mayor and registrar of the town of Marchais, district of Sissonne, arrondissement de Laon, département de l’Aisne appeared Victor Elionie Nottelet aged forty years hatter resident at Liesse who reported to us a female child born at Marchais at the house of M Jean Louis Nicolas Nottelet aged sixty five years day-labourer resident at Marchais his father yesterday at two o’clock in the morning of him the notifier and of Suzanne Seauders aged twenty six years his wife of no occupation resident together at Liesse, which child has been given the forenames of Louise Séraphie. The present record has been drawn up in the presence of Jean Louis Nicolas Nottelet aforesaid and of Jean Baptiste Philogène Nottelet aged fifty six years weaver both resident at Marchais, the first the paternal grandfather, the second her paternal great uncle. And the witnesses and the appearer signed the present record with us after it had been read.

If you do have French ancestors, or are just curious to get sight of the records used by genealogists researching French ancestors, be sure to check out the collections on FamilySearch (where digitised copies of some original records are available). The images for this blog are all examples taken from FamilySearch. See also Keith Hayward’s article in the April 2018 issue of Family Tree for further useful details of sources to help your research.

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