While on our junket to Montbéliard, we visited the offices of the genealogy volunteers association, Centre d'entraide généalogique de Franche-Comté. This is a quite large group with a number of specialised sections for the areas of:
- Paris (pertaining to Franc-comtois who went there)
We were so impressed that we paid our dues and joined immediately. The office is in the same building as Montbéliard's Municipal Archives and was, on the day of our visit, a busy little hive of enthusiasts and the genealogy ingenues they were helping. It was, as these places ever are, somewhat cramped. Two formica-topped tables that brought to our mind the school cafeteria in the mountain village of our youth, numerous laptops (which did not exist in our youth), and every wall lined with bookshelves that were chock-a-block with books on local history and genealogy and with the group's own publications.
The majority of these publications are booklets of relevés, or extracts, of the parish and civil registers of each village in the region. The extracting has been done by the group's members, on a volunteer basis, working ceaselessly since it was founded in the 1980s. This is the main activity of most of France's genealogy cercles and it is these extracts that appear on the Filae website, and on the websites of Bigenet and Généabank. CEGFC does not maintain the database of the extracts on its website (though it can be consulted in its offices) but most of its contents can be searched on both Bigenet and Généabank. Members received five hundred Généabank points annually as a part of the membership packet, which we find is, compared to other associations, very generous.
The assistance that we have received from the volunteers has been speedy and amazingly thorough. One or two questions brought a steady stream of e-mails of useful information and suggestions.
The website of the group continues to grow and be developed. We note that there are efforts to match details of known migrants with what can be found on Find-a-Grave, which is a rather interesting marriage. Other databases on the site include:
- A complete list of towns and villages for which extracts have been or are being done, showing progress
- Links to other genealogy associations
- Some census transcriptions
- Italian immigrants to the region
- Migrants out of the region (very tiny this is)
- Watchmakers and clockmakers (a local expertise)
As we ever do, if this association covers your area of research, we urge you to join and to take advantage of their wonderful energy and generosity.
©2017 Anne Morddel