Living in Paris has its beauties, especially architectural, and its woes, especially genealogical. As oft noted here, the rampage of the Paris Commune resulted in the burning of a number of important buildings, including the mairie. Researching Paris ancestors is thus quite tough. For long, many genealogists have been working to make it easier.
One website of great help is that of the Projet Famille Parisiennes. It is the work of dozens of dedicated contributors, who have indexed thousands of documents. While some of what they have is now available via the websites of the Archives départementales de Paris or of the Archives nationales, they also have been working on documentation that is not available elsewhere, and this is very interesting.
One section, Registres de Clôture d'inventaire apres décès du Châtelet de Paris, focuses on the inventories after death filed at the Châtelet de Paris, now a theatre complex, but once the courts and a major prison. Not only are these inventories being indexed; they are being scanned. Another section concentrates on guardianship documents filed at the Châtelet de Paris. Again, many of these have been scanned.
Projet Familles Parisiennes works extensively through GeneaWiki, where they list their work in greater detail, and Geneanet.org, which hosts the scanned images for them. Most useful, however, is their own search engine for surnames. If you are very lucky and they have worked on documents relating to your ancestor, the name will come up in the search, you will click on "Voir" and get an image of the original document. If you sign up to help with the indexing, you will be permitted access to even more scanned images.
©2011 Anne Morddel