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SOS Call From Alsace's Genealogists



The wonderful and wonderfully productive Centre Départemental d'Histoire des Familles, known by the acronym CDHF and about which we have written here and here, is under threat of immanent demise due -- as they would have it -- to foul play. The essence of the matter is that someone somewhere thought it would be useful  for the CDHF to be placed under the Departmental Archives of Haut-Rhin (itself under the General Council of Haut-Rhin). The CDHF is much opposed to this as it would then lose its standing as an association or club of volunteers and its collection would be moved to Colmar and housed in the Departmental Archives. 

They point out that the consequences of this absorption, as they term it, would be that:

  • Their library, which is a central source of all genealogical research in Haut-Rhin would no longer be easily accessible, as it currently is, but would be hidden in stacks behind a desk at the archives;
  • The place of welcome, chat and "convivial exchanges" about genealogy, e.g. the club house, would disappear;
  • The actual Association of the Friends of the CDHF would be dissolved, leaving its 1300 members of whom 50 are active volunteers, as "orphans";
  • The CDHF website would be shut down;
  • The CDHF newsletter -- which has more than 5000 subscribers -- and other publications of the CDHF would cease publication;
  • The research for others that the CDHF does would cease;
  • Conferences sponsored by the CDHF would be no more

We have always found the CDHF to be one of the largest, best organised and most helpful of all such associations in France and we really cannot understand this bureaucratic assault on it. Did they ask someone for too much money? Is there a rent dispute? Did someone at the Departmental Archives recognize what a cash cow genealogy is becoming and decide to make the CDHF profitably their own? We cannot say, but we do think it would be a pity as well as an alarming precedent (imagine if all these wonderful genealogy associations and the work they have done were taken over by the Departmental Archives!)

In any case, if you would like to help, there is an online petition to sign to Save the CDHF. It received 1660 signatures and is currently suspended during negotiations, but we ask you to keep checking and, should it open up again -- which would mean the negotiations failed -- please sign it.

Merci bien!

©2013 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy