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Summer Reading - Contested Paternity

Requesting Paris Vital Records Online

Paris crest 72


Following on from the previous post, explaining how to request online copies of civil registrations which are too recent to appear on the websites of the Departmental Archives, we give here the procedure for the ever unique and non-conformist Paris.  Concerning civil registrations, Paris and other large cities need to be viewed as clusters of communes. They are divided into arrondissements, or boroughs, each of which has its own mairie, or town hall, where births, marriages and deaths are registered. 

Repeatedly, we are asked to help with research on someone "born somewhere in Paris". Without a street address which enables us to know the arrondissement, this means that we have to search the records of all twenty of the Paris arrondissements. In the past, this meant going to each mairie. Now, it means using an online request form twenty times. Here is how it works.

The central City Hall, or mairie de Paris, operates a website of services, among them the request form for civil registrations from any arrondissement, called the formulaire actes d'état civil. The starting page asks the type of registration requested (circled in red in our example below), e.g. birth, marriage, death, or recognition, and then the basic information about the person who is the subject of the registration.

Paris 1

Here, we chose a birth registration, acte de naissance. Click on "mairie d'arrondissement" to get a drop down menu of all twenty and choose one. Then, enter the date of the registration. Recall that French dates are written day-month-year. If you are uncertain of the date, click the box below entitled "sinon année" to get a drop down menu of date ranges. Choose one to be searched. Click on "étape suivante" to go to the next screen.

Paris 2

Enter the surname of the person. For a female, this must be her maiden name on all requests for, married or not, all women are normally registered under their birth names in all registrations. Choose a sex for the person, or even enter unknown, "non connu" and click on "étape suivante" to go to the next screen.

Paris 3

The next question to be answered is the type of copy requested. We recommend a copie intégrale, which will be a certified photocopy. The others are all extracts, or extraits, which give only the basic information in the registration. One may ask for multiple copies, but why? Note that, in the box at the bottom of the page, the law as to who may receive a copy is quoted. Only next of kin may have copies of registrations that are very recent. For registrations older than seventy-five years, others may have copies. Click on "étape suivante" to go to the next screen.

Paris 4

This screen allows you to give the surnames and forenames of the father and mother. Do not leave these blank or you will not be able to continue. Do not make up names, or you will be sent wrong information. If you do not know the names, put inconnu (unknown) in the boxes. Click on "étape suivante" to go to the next screen.

Paris 5

This is where you enter your own name and address. If from outside of France, give the country and state or province in the last two boxes. Click on "étape suivante" to go to the next screen. 

Paris 6

Here, only the starred entires are necessary. Giving the e-mail address, however, the adresse mèl, means that you will receive a response. The first starred box asks your relationship to the subject of the act and gives a list of various next of kin possibilities. The last option is "autre", or other. The second starred box's drop down menu gives a list of reasons possible for the request, including généalogie.  Click on "étape suivante" to go to the next screen.

The following screen (not shown here) gives a complete summary of all of the information you will have entered. Read it and click on "étape suivante" to go to the next screen. The penultimate screen offers the choice to edit, modifier, the information or to confirm, confirmer the request. The last screen gives a request number. Click OK to go back to the beginning to make another request.

If you gave your e-mail address, the response would be two e-mails from the mairie of the arrondissement, one to confirm that the request was received, and one to say if the search were successful or not. Were the registration to be found, it then would be sent by post to the address you gave.

Et voilà!

©2011 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy