While we very much miss the lovely old Salle des Inventaires (Room of Finding Aids) that was in the Archives nationales in central Paris, no one can deny that it did have its drawbacks. The books lining the walls of the room listed all of the holdings of the archives, but there was no way to search them all and they certainly could not be accessed remotely and/or by the Internet. It is gone now, and all of the books have been shipped out to the new facility at Pierrefitte, which opened a couple of years ago, and are now in a room that may look good when photographed in an architecture magazine, but is gloomy, cavernous and depressing to enter.
Apparently, this cavern was never intended to be used by people and will probably be a coffee shop one day (which would be very nice, actually) because more and more of those finding aids are appearing online on the constantly improving page, Salle des Inventaires Virtuelle. We have touched on this resource here before, in relation to Parisian notarial records. It may be reached directly by the link just above, or from the main page of the website of the Archives nationales. The following screen shots show where to click to get to the site of the Salle des Inventaires Virtuelle:
This brings you to the main SIV page, where you want to click on the Conseils pour la recherche (Help with research) :
Which brings you, in the left-hand column, to a wonderful online genealogy manual concerning the resources of the National Archives of France:
Not all of the research suggestions are concerned with genealogy, but those that are are excellent and clear. Each question leads to an explanatory page. The Pour Commencer (to begin) section includes:
That is followed by a section on General genealogical and biographical research:
Then, there is advice on research by profession:
Should you wish to research in naturalization records:
Or among those awarded honours or medals:
Access to Parisian notarial records is explained:
There is advice on how to research a building or community:
Or a person in a religious community:
Modern history, with much on the two World Wars, is covered:
Should you wish to research an artist or architect:
Or a company that employed or was founded by your ancestor:
The oddly arranged numbering is a hold over from when each of these research guides was on paper. They were numbered and in a display at the information desk in the old Salle des Inventaires. Now, the entire collection, and much more, is available in one place online and all together, it forms a really rather superb manual to French genealogy.
Dust off that dictionary and plunge in!
©2015 Anne Morddel