If your French ancestors passed through what was from 1715 to 1810, the French possession of Isle de France and what is now Mauritius, it is now, after a fashion, possible to search the archives of that distant locale online. But oh! Dear Readers, prepare yourselves.
The National Archives of Mauritius are in the process of digitising and putting online their holdings. Their website announces that they currently have over half a million images online, which may be seen at no cost. Well, perhaps at no financial cost, but your patience will be sorely taxed.
- Firstly, the site is best used with Mozilla Firefox as the browser, though we have managed with Safari.
- Secondly, one must register. The registration is silly. One is not granted immediate access but must wait a day or two for an e-mail confirming that one has been accepted. It is all rather like joining a London club.
- Thirdly, whoever designed the database and search programme should be handed a revolver and told to do the honourable thing. The site seems to be a conversion of something meant for internal use and archives management, not for the general public to search the holdings.
In any case, the best way is to go to the page entitled "Home" and to click on "Search our database". One is taken to the search page of "Gargantua" and must log on, once permission is granted. Complex searches fail. We recommend that you simply put in the surname of your ancestor. Individual pages will come up, including actes d'état civil, notarial records and correspondence.
The holdings are quite rich, though accessing them is primitive. Our sympathies go to the National Archives of Mauritius and our hopes go to you, Dear Readers, to have a successful search for your ancestors.
©2013 Anne Morddel