The family we were researching in the departmental archives of Doubs turned out to have spread into the neighbouring department of Haute-Saône. The departmental archives of Haute-Saône have only maps and census records online so, once again, we needed to visit the archives to do the research. (Fortunately, we like very much to visit archives.) They are based in Vesoul, a rather small city in a land of rolling green hills and late-flowering apple trees. There is a quite luxurious bus from Besançon to Vesoul that takes forty-five minutes. This meant that we were able to alternate days between the archives of the two departments while staying at one local hotel. The archives in Vesoul are a twenty minute walk through the town centre, past the church, and up a hill to the residential neighbourhood.
As can be seen in the photo above, the archives are in a quite slick and modern facility, but this is not a wealthy department. Users must register, but no user's card is issued. There are only four microfilm readers and no printer. Staff are very helpful and certainly professional, yet apologetic for their limited means. Civil and parish registers have all been microfilmed and the microfilm is readily available for use. The original civil register books are also available for examination, and we found it easier to photograph these than the screens of the non-printing microfilm readers. There is no indexing system on a computer for patrons to use, but there are multiple copies of the index books to consult.
On finding the correct code for a register, one fills out a card in duplicate. The archivist puts one copy into a pocket on an intriguing board of about ten centimeters by thirty, covered in green velvet. These boards, each with one card, were collected by a quiet bespectacled gentleman, who then thundered a trolley at a mad dash, disappearing down a corridor. He returned with the same wild thundering a few minutes later with the requested books and boxes of files. In spite of the racket, this delivery system was the fastest of any in all the archives we have visited. It was also the most entertaining.
Archives départementales de la Haute-Saône
148 rue Miroudot-de-Saint-Ferjeux
telephone: (+ 33) 3 84 97 15 80
©2010 Anne Morddel