Oh, we have encountered the most heavenly of archives! The Service Historique de la Défense branch at Cherbourg has one of the richest of naval collections outside of the central facility at Vincennes, as can be seen in this list that they offered at their stand at the Congrès de généalogie this year and that we give here:
In addition to that fine list, we found:
- Innumerable crew lists from early nineteenth century merchant ships
- A census done in 1778 of Acadians who had arrived on the Anne-Sophie and who were still living in Cherbourg
- Passenger lists of colonists leaving Cherbourg for Saint-Domingue, Guadeloupe and Canada
- Many pages of correspondence about French-British prisoner exchanges during the Napoleonic Wars
We had arrived on a rainy and blustery day, but the archivists were welcoming and the archives warm. We were signed in and given a key to one of the many lockers available for one's belongings. Staff were exceptionally helpful with our research. Not only did they guide us to the correct finding aids for our research, they continued to hunt for our topics in the library catalogue and in their internal data base. They were able to locate documents and dossiers that we never would have found other wise - truly exceptional assistance!
We hope very much to be able to return. This place is a true goldmine.
Service historique de la Défense
57 rue de l'abbaye
50115 Cherbourg Octeville Cedex
©2017 Anne Morddel