After our visit to the Departmental Archives of Bouches-du-Rhône, we continued our research in the Municipal Archives of Marseille, the Archives municipales de Marseille or the Archives de la ville de Marseille (both names are used). Unlike the Departmental Archives, this facility was completely empty. We were alone with the microfilm readers, the welcome desk attendant, and two large archivists, keen to serve their sole customer.
It is a pity if no one uses these archives, for, genealogically, they contain a great deal on local families. In addition to parish and civil registrations, there are:
- Probate records, some with case files
- Local almanachs and newspapers
- A good-sized library of books of detailed local history and biography
- Tax records
- Records concerning local Protestants or Huguenots
- Census returns
- Military enlistment lists
- Land records and maps
- Electoral lists
- Notarial records
- Private archives
- A number of identity cards, passports and family books (livrets de famille)
- Sworn statements by family members allowing minors to marry
Many of the above can also be found in the Departmental Archives, but the last is a wonderful find. It is a collection of statements (procès-verbaux) from family councils (assemblées de famille, conseils de famille) permitting the marriage of a minor. Each runs to three or four pages and each gives the names of numerous members of the family, their professions, addresses, spouses names and relationships within the family. They are post-Revolutionary and were required only for those under the age of twenty-five (the age of majority at the time) wanting to marry. If those criteria fit one of your ancestors, you could get very lucky.
Archives de Marseille
10, rue Clovis-Hugues
Tel: (+33) 4 91 55 33 75
N.B. Many, many families in Marseille have Italian roots. An excellent explanation of Italian immigration into France during the late nineteenth century can be found on the blog, GénéProvence, written by Jean Marie Desbois with enormous energy and diligence.
©2012 Anne Morddel