About once a week, we receive an e-mail requesting that we help with a knotty problem - the search for someone's living relative in France. Sometimes, it is a suspected father who is being sought; sometimes, it is half-brothers or half-sisters, or sometimes, just anyone alive and in the same family. We are always very sorry to disappoint, but we do not do that. However, here are a few avenues that may be of help, some of which we have described before:
- Heredis-Online - the Heredis site (formerly Planète Généalogie) onto which many French people have uploaded their family trees. If you find your ancestor here, you may find that the person who put him or her up is a cousin. Other sites with family trees include: GeneaNet, and Généalogie.com.
- Famicity - This is interesting. It will not be much use to you without a relative's name, but afterward, it could lead to the discovery of and connection with many more. This is the first social website in France that is 100% confidential. NOTHING appears publicly or is marketed or shared without permission. This is one of the few social sites in the world that minors may use. It was started because the grandfather of one of the creators wanted to be able to communicate safely online with his grandchildren ... about genealogy. The site is bilingual, (English and French), and easy to use. It is possible to search on a surname, but you will see nothing of a person's page without their permission. (For all those who despise facebook, take note!) The best way to encounter possible relatives is to enter three or four generations of your French family tree. Then, set up (yet another!) profile page. Once you have found a possible relative and been accepted, this could connect you to all of your family. Again, you will probably have to find the first relative elsewhere and then connect here. As this site is quite new, you may need some patience until more have discovered and started using it.
- Start hunting through recent death notices with Dans nos Coeurs. This is a very straightforward site on which you can search by name, date and location to find the death notice of a person, which almost always will give the names of the family. Notices on this site are taken from some twenty newspapers covering about half of France, mostly the centre and the west. Check first to make sure it includes the region of your interest.
- You might also try ToujoursLa, a website of online memorials created by relatives. It is rather small, but you might get lucky.
- Check notices of family gatherings, called cousinades.
If all else fails, we suggest you contact a private investigator, for only a person with a specific licence may research living people in France.
©2013 Anne Morddel