The Archives Municipales of Nantes
The Livret de Famille

Book Review - Retrouver un ancêtre marin - Finding a Sailor Ancestor

Ancetre marin


Oh, Dear Readers, if one of your French ancestors took to the high seas, buy this superb book. If you would like to find out how to research his or her career, whether in the French navy, merchant marine or fishing fleet, look no further, but buy this book. It runs to 112 pages, covers all of the major and some minor archives facilities, and explains surely every type of relevant documentation. There are over sixty chapter or section headings, so we cannot list them all here, but some of the more important or interesting are:

  • Institutions and Enterprises
    • The admiralties
    • The Marine ministry
    • Maritime companies
  • The Men
    • Entrance into the service lists 
    • Service contracts
    • Crew lists
    • Pensions
    • Disciplinary and penal records
  • Ships and naval campaigns
    • Printed sources
    • Eighteenth century crew lists
    • Ship construction
    • Reports and documentation
  • Death at Sea
    • Circumstance and Procedures
    • Certificates and lists of the dead
    • Cemeteries and monuments
  • Archives
    • Municipal
    • Departmental
    • National
    • Diplomatic
    • Foreign

What makes this book so very useful is the extraordinary and expert thoroughness:

  • photographs of documents
  • the inclusion of specific archives codes for many different categories and groups
  • transcriptions of sample documents
  • a clear delineation of types of documentation of the Ancien régime from those of the Revolution and afterward
  • helpful hints
  • lists that give so much clarity
  • charts explaining structure and procedures

We have been working on a research project concerning mariners in France for a number of years; we thought we had encountered and used every type of document relating to them, yet find that we have learned of many more from this little book. The book's jacket states that the author, Christian Duic, comes from a family of at least ten generations of mariners, all of whom he seems to have researched. His book about them, La Famille Le Duic, was published in 2003 to great acclaim. This book should receive just as much acclaim, we feel, for it generously shares a great deal of knowledge and will enable others to begin to research the French mariners in their own families.

Retrouver un ancêtre marin :

Marine de guerre, Marine marchande, Marine de pêche

by Christian Duic

published by: Editions Archives & Culture


We would like to be able to make a disclaimer as to this review, however, though we have made repeated and most persistent requests for free books from the publishers, they have refused, so we cannot. 

©2015 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy