A faire-part is an invitation to partake in, participate in, take part in, attend, etc. a wedding, baptism, funeral or other such event. They are obviously useful in genealogy for they name relatives, sometimes plenty. Not many survived across the whole of France, but some did -- more than one would expect, really -- and were collected. Some of these collections are grouped with posters (affiches) and notices (placards) that were put up announcing deaths and other events. We are not sure just how the original collectors went about their business, but we are grateful nevertheless.
Faire-part and placard collections generally cover the 19th and early 20th centuries, but at least one collection goes as far back as the 17th century. Within each collection, the organisation varies: some are chronological while others are alphabetical. They can be found in both the Archives nationales and many of the Archives départementales:
- in the Archives nationales the funds of the Minutier centrale (the files of the notaires) include in some files placards which cover such subjects as death and funeral announcements, and particularly estate sales
- also in the Archives nationales, there are collections - in the sub-series AD XXc 96-188 - that cover years from 1654 to 1900 and such subjects as deaths, first communions, births and marriages. These are not available for access, because of their fragility, and are in the process of being microfilmed. We just had the mini-thrill of being the first user of a microfilm roll of faire-parts. Clean! No ragged ends!
- In the many Departmental Archives, if there is a collection, it should be in the series J (odd-sized records).
- In the Paris Departmental Archives, however, the collection is in the sub-series V.7 E. It is quite substantial, consisting of over three hundred cartons and dating back to the 17th century.
- The Fédération Française de Généalogie has a collection much, but not all, of which has been scanned and may be accessed on GeneaNet. About 15,000 remain to be scanned; most are from the 20th century. It is not possible to search these either. One may ask the FFG representative, who sits in an office in the Archives nationales at CARAN on Wednesday afternoons only, if he will make a search in the collection, which is a part of their somewhat homeless library out in Pantin. He will bring the result the following Wednesday.
- Individual faire-parts can turn up anywhere. We found the one shown above in a file of a 19th century health service bureaucrat's papers.
IF you can access them, they are a very useful resource.
©2011 Anne Morddel