Both Généalogie.com and Geneanet.org have been adding to their collections online at a feverish pace. It is quite a competition and all to the good for the French genealogist. Thousands of pages from the Archives nationales and from many of the Archives départementales have been added to one or the other company's website, usually with the help of genealogy associations, or cercles, who also are doing the collaborative indexing. We take our hat off to those heroic indexers, for if some of our Dear Readers have noted that it is difficult to index a nineteenth century census form in English, how much more so to decipher seventeenth century French that looks like this:
The problem with Généalogie.com's website is that they clearly have no way to unify all of the various indices, and the result is a terrific bore for researchers. To explain: a simple search, on the main "Recherches Généalogiques" page:
will go through a number of collections but not all. We were searching for a Jean Gascq who went to Saint Domingue (now Haiti) in the eighteenth century. He did not come up in the search. Yet, we knew that he had gone and that the wonderful association, Amitiés Généalogiques Bordelaises (AGB) had published a number of booklets of data extracted from the Archives départementales de la Gironde, including one on those people going to "The Islands" documented in the passenger ledgers and passport requests of 1713 to 1787. A massive undertaking, it contains nearly 18,000 names. For anyone researching French ancestors of Saint Domingue, the Embarquements 1713-1787 index, Passagers pour les isles de 1713 à 1787 is a most precious resource.
One used to be able to write to the AGB to ask them to look up a name and they would send a photocopy, later a screen print, of the details, which can be significant, as this small sample shows:
They no longer provide this service because they have allowed Généalogie.com to extract the information from their works and add them to their collections. However, can we find our Jean Gascq searching there? Not very easily, but here's how.
At the very bottom of the Recherches page, along with the very basic links to histories of French names, is a link to "Archives Historiques".
This brings a search page with a list of many more collections:
We put in our Jean Gascq, got some names, found our man and got this tidy result:
It really should not be so awkward, but now one must use the two searches, at least, on Généalogie.com. An extra thrill comes with using this information to go to the website of the Archives départementales de la Gironde. Click on the icon for the Amirauté de Guyenne to get the entire finding aid. Unlike with its searchable nineteenth century passports collection, the AD de la Gironde has not put a search facility with this collection. (Yet.) Thus, it is a bit of a hunt.
In the column on the right, keep clicking the plus sign (+) to open categories:
- Amirauté de Guyenne
- Attributions administratives
- Passeports et soumissions
The indexed data from the AGB via Généalogie.com says that Jean Gascq left on the 4th of March 1771 on the Artibonite. Clicking each of the categories under the heading of Passeports et soumissions gives lists of years. Under the first heading, Certificats d'identité et de catholicité, we tried 1771-1774. Clicking on that brought up digitized images of the original documents. On the third page, there was our man, Jean Gascq:
It would be very nice if Généalogie.com would offer a single search facility across ALL of its collections and then a link to the original image, but that is a researcher's dream.
©2014 Anne Morddel