Our good friend based in Geneva, the genealogist, Isabelle Haemmerle, who wrote here about the Archives d'Etat de Genève, the State Archives of Geneva, and about the International Museum of the Reformation, has sent us so kindly this on the Departmental Archives of Haute-Savoie:
How beautiful are our sun-bathed mountains surrounding Geneva on a lovely spring day. We have the feeling that a short 40 km drive through France to the Departmental Archives of Haute-Savoie in Annecy would be very pleasant for us and helpful to you, Dear Readers.
Bordered by Switzerland and Italy, Haute-Savoie (74) is one of the two departments with Savoie (73) which have been created after the attachment of the Savoie Duché to France in 1860 following the Turin treaty. Previously this territory was part of Maison de Savoie which ruled the Piemont-Sardaigne kingdom. King Victor Emmanuel II of Savoie gave it away to France in exchange of the support of the French emperor Napoleon III for the unification of Italy. The Savoie people were for the most in favor of the change seduced by the political and economical reforms of Napoleon III in France. From 1793 to 1814, the Savoie Duché had already been integrated with France following the Napoleanic wars and the first Empire in what is now called the first French period.
Due to this historical background, the Departmental Archives in Haute-Savoie are more recent than others in the rest of the country but offer various amazing resources such as their jewel : the Sardinian Maps (Mappes Sardes), a land register from 1728-1738.
The Archives facility is located at the entrance of the city not far from the Annecy-Nord highway exit in a very bright and modern building opened in 2000. Easy to find, and you can park for free in the private parking dedicated to visitors. For our dear friend Anne, it will be a 25 mn walk form the train station or the bus 4!
Orientated towards the magnificent Aravis mountains, the entrance gives way to the reception where you can have your visitor card issued in a few minutes with code bar. The clerk gives you a key for your locker and a little board with the same number for your seat at the tables. If you wish to take pictures, it will be proposed that you be placed closer to the high windows. Warning : before spending one day there, we would advise you to bring some snacks as the facility is not so close to shops. Drinks are for sale though.
When we first entered, we were impressed by the light and the space of the reading room. However it was very welcoming and we leisurely discovered the various displays. The Guide to the Archives of Haute-Savoie , R. Gabion, 1976 is a really useful tool and available on the spot. At the back of the room are a set of books with a focus on Genealogy in the region and on one shelf at the entrance a few guide booklets :
- Do research in the Archives of Enregistrement
- Do research in the land register (cadastre)
- Do research in the Hypothèques
- Do research on the web site
- Visualize pictures from a code
To order a document -- three are permitted at one time (from 9am-12:15pm and 1:30pm-4:05pm) -- we found it quite simple once we had been instructed by the pleasant archivist. We used an available computer, placed our newly issued card under the bar code scanner and entered the code. After 10 to 15 minutes, a small red light lit on our table and we could pick up our order one by one at the main counter. Disappointing is the lack of WIFI access if you bring your laptop as we did. But internet access is possible on computers at our disposal.
The archives of Haute-Savoie present special series due to a few historical originalities (equally found in departments of Savoie and Alpes-Maritimes) :
- Ancient archives : a significant amount of documents from the funds of the archives of Duché de Savoie were handed over in 1951 by the archives of State of Turin and formed the SA series (ecclesiastic funds, archives of Geneva comté (13th -14th) and Genevois apanage (15th-17th))
- Modern archives : as the region was again part of the Piemont-Sardaigne kingdom between 1815 and 1860, the relevant archives are compiled in a special fund called the Sardinian fund (FS series)
- Sardinian maps ( Mappes sardes) : jewel of the departmental Archives of Haute-Savoie, the famous maps represent one of the oldest cadastres of Europe as it goes back to the beginning of the 18th century when Sardinian cartography was much more advanced. Now on line -- a great job has been achieved -- it allows the searcher to find the properties of an owner in each village ( Cadastre > Utiliser le formulaire de recherche> Commune - make sure to choose the actual name and select the maps of the village you are searching), the status of the owner (bourgeois, communier, noble, forain, ecclesiastic etc.., ) which crop, etc... and you can visualize any plot on Google maps.
- Tabellion : the tabellion of Ancien regime is on line but not the Sardinian one. Some tabellions such as St Julien en Genevois's one is at the AEG ( Archives of State of Geneva) as the records were done in Carouge which is now in canton de Genève. So you may need to go to visit Geneva !
- On line : Etat Civil, Recensement, registres militaires, tabellion, cadastres, documents iconographiques
If you need some information about a native of Annecy in the 19th century, I would finally suggest that you have a look at the series 15 J which gathers a lot of resources about the Cotton Mill of Annecy, the main employer of the city at that time.
Departmental archives of Haute-Savoie
37bis, avenue de la Plaine
74 000 ANNECY email : firstname.lastname@example.org
tel : 04 50 33 20 80
fax : 04 50 66 70 49
Thank you, Isabelle!
Those who wish to contact Isabelle to know more about genealogy in Haute-Savoie and Geneva may do so by writing to her at: genhaemm (AT) gmail (DOT) com. She also is an expert on the history of the Cotton Mill at Annecy and on researching its employees.
©2015 Anne Morddel