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The Library of the Musée National de la Marine

Mus. Marine Bib

 This is the small and pretty library of the national maritime museum with the acoustics of the theatre at Epidaurus requiring the posting of stern "Silence!" signs everywhere. It is at the rear of the Musée national de la Marine at Trocadéro and is by  appointment only. Really, one will find little that is genealogical here. However, most French emigrants left by boat . When, in writing your genealogy, it comes time to tell about the ship and perhaps show a picture of it or its design, this is the place to come to find out more. It will also help with research on merchant ships, corsaires (or privateers), and battle ships. (Should your ancestor have gone to America with Lafayette on the Hermione, here is a very fun site about the project in La Rochelle to reconstruct her.)

The library is devoted exclusively to the subjects of maritime history and art and has on the subjects:


  • 25,000 books (including the only sources of direct genealogical value here: the many biographical dictionaries: of sailors, of officers, of marine artists)
  • 550 magazines or periodicals
  • 1327 research files
  • 187,000 photographs
  • manuscripts
  • ships' plans

Only about 2000 of these are on the shelves of the reading room for free access. The rest are kept in locked rooms which only the librarian may access, so be sure to have precise notes about the ship you are researching. The librarians are very helpful and will prepare on the spot a bibliography for you on your ship or research subject.

There is a rattly, clunky photocopier that defies the signs mentioned above. Photographs are not permitted, yet a service will take photos for you for a fee. The library is up two flights of stairs, one of which is very poorly lit. There is no lift/elevator. Entrance to the library is free. Lockers are provided. To book an appointment, ring or e-mail:


Musée national de la Marine

Service Recherche

17, place du Trocadéro

75116 Paris

tel: (+33) 01 53 65 81 69

e-mail: documentation@musee-marine.fr


©2010 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy