“French Notarial Records: A Genealogical Goldmine”
Anne Morddel, CG
2 February–9 February 2019
Parish and civil registrations a just the beginning of genealogical research in France. Notarial records often provide much, much more information about a family. In some cases, such as with many Parisian families, notarial records may be the only available genealogical resource. They are also often the best resource for tracing foreigners resident in France.
Increasingly, notarial records are being put online. This course uses a case study of a single family’s notarial records to show how they can enhance and advance genealogical research.
Anne Morddel, CG, is a BCG-certified genealogist originally from Northern California, now based in France, and specializing in French genealogy. She is the author of The French Genealogy Blog, on which she has written over 650 posts solely on the subject of French genealogical research. Her book French Genealogy From Afar is the definitive book on the subject, and she has written many booklets which cover specific issues in French research. Her articles have appeared in BBC Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine, Genealogists’ Magazine, Napoleonic Scholarship, and others.
She holds a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science from the University of California at Berkeley and has spent her working life in the management of, and research in, libraries and archives. She is currently writing a biographical dictionary of American mariners who were prisoners of war in Napoleonic France.
Ms. Morddel is an accomplished speaker and has given talks and workshops at the Society of Genealogists in London, at the Royal Institute for Public Administration, at University College London, as well as for the governments of Bermuda and Uganda, and for private organisations in Great Britain, The Hague, and Japan.
Course Schedule (all times U. S. Eastern)
2 February 2019
- 11:00am: “History and Definitions”: The course begins with an explanation and history of notaires and notarial records with a discussion of their importance to French families. The six degrees of relationship, so important in French inheritance law, are explained. The case study family is introduced.
- 1:00pm: “The Probate Inventory or Inventaire Après Décès, and Wills or Testaments”: The structure and format of the probate inventory is explained and discussed. Examples from the case study are examined, showing how such documents not only reveal much about a life but can also provide much genealogical information.
9 February 2019
- 11:00am: “The Marriage Contract or Contrat de Mariage“: Marriage contracts have been common in French families for centuries. Why this is so is explained, as are the main types of contract. The structure and format are explained and examples examined. Because an entire family is usually involved, these contracts can be of enormous genealogical value and should never be ignored.
- 1:00pm: “How to Find Notarial Records Online and In Archives”: Finding notarial records is complicated. This session explains how they are stored, how the indices to them are structured, and how to find the record sought. The unique case of Parisian notarial archives is also explained.
Plus Session, 16 February 2019: “The Family Council and Guardianship Records”: These are more properly court records but which a notaire may oversee and which may be mentioned in other notarial records. Because so many family members were present at councils and their relationships detailed, these records are invaluable to the genealogist. They are briefly discussed and explained here.