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November 2010

The Archives Départementales of Tarn-et-Garonne

AD Tarn et Garonne


Recently, we had the opportunity to go on a junket to Montauban and to work in the Departmental Archives of  Tarn-et-Garonne.  Being one of the smallest of the French departments, Tarn-et-Garonne has not a lot of cash, and the department's archives are not wealthy. This does not mean, however, that they are in any way shabby. The workspace is small but clean, modern and comfortable. The archives cat -- a feisty calico we were warned not to stroke -- seems to do a good job keeping the rats and mice out of the collection. The parish and civil registrations are online at the excellent website of the Archives départementales, and that does not come cheap.

Where the money has not gone, and for which we shall ever be grateful, is to the scanning or filming of all the rest of the collection. It seems that almost nothing other than what is all ready online has been filmed. This does not mean that one cannot see the documents. Rather, it means that one has the sensual joy of handling the originals, many on vellum, with calf-skin covers. A Canadian diplomat we know visited Paris lately and told of early treaties in the archives of his country, of the governmental holiness one must have to be allowed access to them, the white gloves one must wear to handle them. Not so in the Tarn-et-Garonne archive, bless their cotton socks. They plunk down on a table a notaire's book (above) or land records drawn up for Louis XVI and let one have at it, fending off the cat as one goes. Absolute heaven!

The holdings here are of particular interest to researchers on Protestants. Montauban was one of the most Protestant of all cities in France. In 1560, its bishops and magistrates declared it a Protestant city. They evicted the monks of the town and tore down the cathedral. Within ten years, it was a Huguenot centre and formed a republic. Montauban headed the Huguenot Rebellion of 1621 and fought off a siege by Louis XIII for eighty-six days, surrendering only when it was learned that La Rochelle -- the leading Huguenot city -- had fallen. Protestant records are numerous in the archives, and the Protestant registers are online on the website.

A good source of basic information about the archives can be had on To use the departmental archives of Tarn-et-Garonne, the procedure is the same as at all others: it is free, but one must register and receive a user's card. Belongings must be put in one of the lockers provided. Pencil only at the tables. Digital photography (no flash) is permitted. One requests documents or registers by computer and they are brought to one's assigned place by the staff. There is a limit of ten requests per half day. Deliveries are every fifteen minutes except during lunch, which is from 12.00 to 14.00.

Just a few meters from the archives is a flash hotel with a spa. That was a bit too la-di-da for us, but it would be very convenient for any voyaging researchers.


Archives départementales de Tarn-et-Garonne

14 avenue du 10e Dragons

82000 Montauban

Tel: + 33 (0) 5 63 03 46 18

Open Mondays to Fridays 8.30-17.00 - Closed annually for the first two weeks of July.

. Read all our posts about Departmental Archives here.

©2010 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy


French Regiments - Old Names and New

Uniform 3-2 small

In researching an ancestor who served in the French Army both before and after the Revolution, it can be confusing, for from 1791, all regiments lost their traditional names and were assigned a number. C'est logique, is the watchword of modernity, and the poetry or logic of locality be damned. As Professor Paul Davies, the astronomer, once said, the language that any alien would understand is mathematics; in our ever-globalizing modern world, logic - for communication, if not for thought - comes close.

Being in the mood to type, we give here the list of those that changed  names, with the modern, post 1791, regiment numbers, showing their old, Ancien Régime, names beside them. 

French Infantry - Infanterie Française

1er Régiment d'Infanterie       -        Colonel Général

2e Régiment d'Infanterie        -        Picardie

3e Régiment d'Infanterie        -        Piémont

4e Régiment d'Infanterie        -        Provence

5e  Régiment d'Infanterie        -       Navarre

6e Régiment d'Infanterie        -        D'Armagnac

7e Régiment d'Infanterie        -        Champagne

8e Régiment d'Infanterie        -        Austrasie

9e Régiment d'Infanterie        -        Normandie

10e  Régiment d'Infanterie    -        Neustrie

11e Régiment d'Infanterie    -        De la Marine

12e Régiment d'Infanterie    -        D'Auxerrois

13e Régiment d'Infanterie    -        Bourbonnais

14e Régiment d'Infanterie    -        Forez

15e Régiment d'Infanterie    -        Béarn

16e Régiment d'Infanterie    -        D'Agenois

17e Régiment d'Infanterie    -        D'Auvergne

18e Régiment d'Infanterie    -        Royal Auvergne

19e Régiment d'Infanterie    -        Flandre

 20e Régiment d'Infanterie    -       Cambrésis

21e Régiment d'Infanterie    -        Guyenne

22e Régiment d'Infanterie    -        Viennois

23e Régiment d'Infanterie    -        Royal

24e Régiment d'Infanterie    -        Brie

25e Régiment d'Infanterie    -        Poitou

26e Régiment d'Infanterie    -        Bresse

27e Régiment d'Infanterie    -        Lyonnais

28e Régiment d'Infanterie    -        Du Maine

29e Régiment d'Infanterie    -        Dauphin

30e Régiment d'Infanterie    -        Du Perche

31e Régiment d'Infanterie    -        D'Aunis

32e Régiment d'Infanterie    -        Bassigny

33e Régiment d'Infanterie    -        Touraine

34e Régiment d'Infanterie    -        D'Angoulême

35e Régiment d'Infanterie    -        D'Aquitaine

36e Régiment d'Infanterie    -        D'Anjou

37e Régiment d'Infanterie    -        Maréchal de Tourenne

38e Régiment d'Infanterie    -        De Dauphiné

39e Régiment d'Infanterie    -        De L'Isle de France

40e Régiment d'Infanterie    -        De Soisonnais

41e Régiment d'Infanterie    -        De la Reine

42e Régiment d'Infanterie    -        Du Limousin

43e Régiment d'Infanterie    -        Royal Vaisseaux

44e Régiment d'Infanterie    -        D'Orléans

45e Régiment d'Infanterie    -        De La Couronne

46e Régiment d'Infanterie    -        De Bretagne

47e Régiment d'Infanterie    -        De Lorraine

48e Régiment d'Infanterie    -        D'Artois

49e Régiment d'Infanterie    -        De Vintimille

50e Régiment d'Infanterie    -        D'Hainaut

51e Régiment d'Infanterie    -        De La Sarre

52e Régiment d'Infanterie    -        De La Fère

53e Régiment d'Infanterie    -       D'Alsace (German)

54e Régiment d'Infanterie    -       Royal Rousillon

55e Régiment d'Infanterie    -       De Condé

56e Régiment d'Infanterie    -       De Bourbon

57e Régiment d'Infanterie    -       De Beauvaisis

58e Régiment d'Infanterie    -       De Rouergue

59e Régiment d'Infanterie    -       Bourgogne

60e Régiment d'Infanterie    -       Royal La Marine

61e Régiment d'Infanterie    -       De Vermandois

62e Régiment d'Infanterie    -       Salm-Salm (German)

63e Régiment d'Infanterie    -       Ernst (Swiss)

64e Régiment d'Infanterie    -       Salis-Samade (Swiss)

65e Régiment d'Infanterie    -       Sonnenberg (Swiss)

66e Régiment d'Infanterie    -       Castella (Swiss)

67e Régiment d'Infanterie    -       De Languedoc

68e Régiment d'Infanterie    -       De Beauce

69e Régiment d'Infanterie    -       Vigier (Swiss)

70e Régiment d'Infanterie    -       De Médoc

71e Régiment d'Infanterie    -       De Vivarais

72e Régiment d'Infanterie    -       De Vexin

73e Régiment d'Infanterie    -       Royal Comtois

74e Régiment d'Infanterie    -       De Beaujolais

75e Régiment d'Infanterie    -       De Monsieur

76e Régiment d'Infanterie    -       Chateauvieux (Swiss)

77e Régiment d'Infanterie    -       Lamarck (German)

78e Régiment d'Infanterie    -       De Ponthièvre

79e Régiment d'Infanterie    -       De Boulonnais

80e Régiment d'Infanterie    -       D'Angoumois

81e Régiment d'Infanterie    -       De Conti

82e Régiment d'Infanterie    -       De Saintonge

83e Régiment d'Infanterie    -       De Foix

84e Régiment d'Infanterie    -       De Rohan

85e Régiment d'Infanterie    -       Diesbach (Swiss)

86e Régiment d'Infanterie    -       Courten (Swiss)

87e Régiment d'Infanterie    -       Dillon (Irish)

88e Régiment d'Infanterie    -       Berwick (Irish)

89e Régiment d'Infanterie    -       Royal Suèdois (German)

90e Régiment d'Infanterie    -       De Chartres

91e Régiment d'Infanterie    -       De Barrois

92e Régiment d'Infanterie    -       Walsh (Irish)

93e Régiment d'Infanterie    -       D'Enghien

94e Régiment d'Infanterie    -       Royal Hesse Darmstadt (Bavarian/German)

95e Régiment d'Infanterie    -       Salis Grisons (Swiss)

96e Régiment d'Infanterie    -       Nassau (German)

97e Régiment d'Infanterie    -       Steiner (Swiss)

98e Régiment d'Infanterie    -       Bouillon (German)

99e Régiment d'Infanterie    -       Royal Deux Ponts (German)

100e Régiment d'Infanterie    -    Reinach (Swiss)

101e Régiment d'Infanterie    -    Royal Liégeois (Walloon)


French Cavalry - Cuirassiers

1er Régiment de Cavalerie        -    Colonel Général

2e Régiment de Cavalerie         -    Royal

3e Régiment de Cavalerie         -    Du Commissaire Général

4e Régiment de Cavalerie         -    La Reine

5e Régiment de Cavalerie         -    Royal Pologne (German)

6e Régiment de Cavalerie         -    Du Roi

7e Régiment de Cavalerie         -    Royal Etranger

8e Régiment de Cavalerie         -    Des Cuirassiers

9e Régiment de Cavalerie         -    D'Artois

10e Régiment de Cavalerie       -    Royal Chavatte

11e Régiment de Cavalerie     -    Royal Roussillon

12e Régiment de Cavalerie     -    Dauphin

13e Régiment de Cavalerie     -    D'Orléans

14e Régiment de Cavalerie     -    Royal Piémont

15e Régiment de Cavalerie     -    Royal Allemagne

16e Régiment de Cavalerie     -    Royal Lorraine

17e Régiment de Cavalerie     -    Royal Bourgogne

18e Régiment de Cavalerie     -    De Berry

19e Régiment de Cavalerie     -    Royal Normandie

20e Régiment de Cavalerie     -    Royal Champagne

21e Régiment de Cavalerie     -    Royal Picardie

22e Régiment de Cavalerie     -    Royal Navarre

23e Régiment de Cavalerie     -    Royal Guyenne



1er Régiment de carabiniers  -    Carabiniers de Monsieur


French Dragoons - Dragons

1er Régiment de Dragons        -    Royal

2e Régiment de Dragons        -    Condé

3e Régiment de Dragons        -   Bourbon

4e Régiment de Dragons        -   Conti

5e Régiment de Dragons        -   Colonel Général

6e Régiment de Dragons        -   La Reine

7e Régiment de Dragons        -   Dauphin

8e Régiment de Dragons        -   Penthièvre

9e Régiment de Dragons        -   Lorraine

10e Régiment de Dragons     -   Mestre de Camp Général

11e Régiment de Dragons     -   Angoulême

12e Régiment de Dragons     -   Artois

13e Régiment de Dragons     -   Monsieur

14e Régiment de Dragons     -   Chartres

15e Régiment de Dragons     -   Noailles

16e Régiment de Dragons     -   Orléans

17e Régiment de Dragons     -   Schomberg

18e Régiment de Dragons     -   Du Roi


French Light Cavalry - Chasseurs à Cheval

1er Régiment de Chasseurs   -    D'Alsace

2e Régiment de Chasseurs    -    Des Evêchés

3e Régiment de Chasseurs    -    De Flandres

4e Régiment de Chasseurs    -    De Franche Comté

5e Régiment de Chasseurs    -    Du Hainault

6e Régiment de Chasseurs    -    De Languedoc

7e Régiment de Chasseurs    -    De Picardie

8e Régiment de Chasseurs    -    De Guyenne

9e Régiment de Chasseurs    -    De Lorraine

10e Régiment de Chasseurs  -    De Bretagne

11e Régiment de Chasseurs  -    De Normandie

12e Régiment de Chasseurs  -    De Champagne


French Hussars - Hussards

1er Régiment de Hussards  -    Bercheny

2e  Régiment de Hussards  -    Chamborant

3e  Régiment de Hussards  -    Esterhazy

4e  Régiment de Hussards  -    Saxe

5e  Régiment de Hussards  -    Colonel Général

6e  Régiment de Hussards  -    Lauzun


French Artillery - Artillerie

1er Régiment d'Artillerie    -   La Fère

2e Régiment d'Artillerie    -    Metz

3e Régiment d'Artillerie    -    Besançon

4e Régiment d'Artillerie    -    Grenoble

5e Régiment d'Artillerie    -    Strasbourg

6e Régiment d'Artillerie    -    Auxonne

7e Régiment d'Artillerie    -    Toul


A nice page with the flags of the foreign regiments is on Guy Renaud's site.

Each regiment has its own page on the French Wikipedia


©2010 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy




BNPM - La Banque Numérique des Patrimoines Martiniquais

Martinique small

 Martinique is one of the overseas departments of France, fully a part of the country in the way that Hawaii is one of the United States. Originally populated by Carib people, from 1635 it was colonized by the French. Its immigrant population increased quickly, going from 700 in 1637 to 5000 by 1658, and was quite mixed, including :

  • French and European soldiers, sailors, plantation owners, administrators, etc.
  • Brazilian Jewish refugees
  • Some 60,000 African slaves

Documentation of some of this population has been the same as elsewhere in France, with parish registers recording baptisms, marriages and burials and, from 1792, civil registers recording births, marriages and deaths.  These are not yet available online, yet we hope that they will be so soon on the website of the Archives nationales d'outre-mer (ANOM). There was another, rather unique documentation.

In April, 1848, the evil institution of slavery was finally abolished in the French Empire. Thousands of people suddenly became full citizens. For many, there was no record, and the French bureaucrat cannot abide an unrecorded individual. Thus, a new type of registration, the actes d'individualité, was created in Martinique. Interestingly, this clerical novelty was initiated some two weeks before the violent uprising of the oppressed that forced the governor of the island to abolish slavery on the 22nd of May, before the pokey boat from France with the decree of abolition empire-wide arrived. It finally got there in June.

By which time the noting of what would eventually become about 51,000 actes d'individualtés was well under way. In each commune, the newly freed went to the town hall, or Mairie, to announce their existence and claim citizenship. If they did not have surnames, they chose one. If they did not know what to choose, the clerk gave one. There is much written about the at times preposterous names assigned and querying as to whether these were intentional and malicious on the part of the clerks, or an indication of their low intelligence.

In any case, The actes d'individualité have a fairly standard format, giving the name and age of the individual, the place of birth, names of parents, and registration number from the slaves register if they had been registered on it. The Archives Départementales de la Martinique have filmed and indexed all of these records and they are available to search (mixed into the section état civil) and view on the lovely, if quirky, website of La Banque Numérique des Patrimoines Martiniquais (The Digital Bank of Martinique Heritage), established by the Conseil général de la Martinique. For those tracing the genealogy of descendants of slaves of Martinique, this is an excellent resource.

©2010 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy

White Nights and Military Yearbooks

Etat Militaire


Grand cities, for all of their noise, crowding and pollution, offer at times grand moments of delight. Among such cities, Paris may top the list, with its crazy events of self-celebration such as importing sand and closing main roads to make a beach along the Seine every summer, an all night music party that happens to be mighty close to the ancient Midsummer Night (and which also takes place in many other cities in France), and the White Night, another all-nighter that turns the city into a collection of performance art shows. 

A bonus to living in such a city is the free shows of the rehearsals that go on for weeks before. Once, when walking the children home from school across the Champs de Mars, we got the full dress rehearsal of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony by the Vienna Philharmonic. Snack time came very late that afternoon. A couple of Fridays back, on leaving the Service Historique de la Defense (SHD) at the Château de Vincennes, we got the heart-stopping rehearsal for this year's White Night (Nuit Blanche): acrobats on wires dangling from the parapet, dancing and flying across the walls. 


The gasp, the pleasure of the moment was equal to that we had experienced an hour or so before in the library of the SHD, where we discovered a series of little books (see above) that list thousands of names of men in the French military for the past 250 years. 

The Etat Militaire de France (in the photo above) and later, the Annuaire Militaire de l'Empire and, still later, the Annuaire Militaire de la République Française are the successive incarnations of a military yearbook for the French Army. For each year the book gives a summary of the military administration, its laws and addresses and then, chapter by chapter, lists the names of people by rank, from the top down. As an example, the Annuaire for 1848 has the following chapters:

  • Etat-major général de l'armée, maréchaux , officiers généraux
  • Corps d'état-major
  • Intendance militaire
  • Etats-majors des divisions territoriales, des divisions et des brigades actives
  • Etats-majors des places
  • Gendarmerie, Voltigeurs corses et Sapeurs-Pompiers de la ville de Paris
  • Infanterie
  • Cavalerie
  • Corps de l'artillerie
  • Corps du génie
  • Troupes de l'administration
  • Service de santé
  • Services administratifs
  • Ecoles militaires
  • Service de recrutement et de la réserve
  • Remonte générale et vétérinaires
  • Justice militaire

There follow pages of names and, crucial to finding a person's records, regiment numbers. (Click on the image below to enlarge it.) Using these volumes, it is possible to follow a person's military career, and to get enough information to request from the archives at SHD, his entire military file.


Naturally, the library at SHD has the entire set. We have seen a number of volumes online at Gallica and at the Internet Archive. One could make an all-nighter of reading them.


©2010 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy