No slackers on this project. Barely had we announced that the City Council of Paris had approved an agreement between FamilySearch and the Paris Archives than the project was accomplished. Really, we are rather impressed.
Recall that this concerns the roughly two million replaced parish and civil registrations (l'état civil reconstitué) of the more than eight million that were lost in the Paris Communards' incendiary rampage. (They did not only burn down the City Hall and numerous other buildings where power was centred, they placed dynamite in Notre Dame and nearly blew that up.) The period covered by these two million replacements is 1500 to 1860. (Though the fire was in 1871, register books from 1861 and later had not yet been transferred to the central registry but were still in the individual city halls of the arrondissements and so, were not burnt, except for some of the 12th arrondissement.)
The index cards have been available online for years but to see the full registrations, one had to go to the Paris Archives to view the microfilm. Now, that no longer is necessary.
Wonderfully, the digitized images are now also on the Paris Archives website and are so much easier to search than those on FamilySearch. Firstly, look up a person in the index cards, les fichiers. Note the date of the event. Then, go to the search page for events (currently only births are available) and enter the date. (recall that French dates are entered: dd/mm/yyyy). This will take you directly to the correct microfilm. You must scroll through, by date, then alphabetically by surname, to find the document(s) of the "reconstituted" birth registration.
With joy and abandon, Dear Readers, you may now completely ignore the procedure described below, unless you may be a martyr to some unimagined cause.
The presentation on FamilySearch is, to our mind, utterly baffling and with no explanation whatsoever, nor do they seem to be indexed on FamilySearch.(The negative aspect of a rushed job is a lack of planning and preparation.) Thus, one must follow exactly the procedure one had to use in the archives.
Step One: Search the index cards (fichiers alphabetiques). They are arranged first by type, e.g. baptism/birth, marriage, burial/death. Within the type, they are arranged alphabetically by surname. Within the surname, they are arranged chronologically. Thus for the birth of a Maron, you first choose births (naissances), then type in Maron and, in the results, start reading through the years. Once you have found the person you seek, note the full name and the date of birth. For example: Caroline Maron, born the 29th of September 1844.
- Use the website of the Paris Archives or FamilySearch to look at the index cards. (We really do suggest that you check both, for there are some old mistakes that seem never to have been corrected.)
Step Two: Look up the microfilm number in the catalogue. These are arranged by type (again, baptism/birth, marriage, burial/death being naissances, mariages, décès), then chronologically. Find the date span that includes yours, so, births of 29th September 1844 will be on microfilm number 5Mi 1/565. The microfilm catalogues are partially on the Paris Archives website and partially on that of FamilySearch:
Step Three: On FamilySearch, find the correct microfilm and start looking for your document. They are filmed chronologically, then by surname so, in our example, we read along to the 29th of September 1844 and then through the birth registrations arranged alphabetically by surname to Maron, Caroline. The links to the microfilm on FamilySearch are below, but now it gets annoying as some fool at FamilySearch decided to alter the system in the middle and give the titles of the rolls as dates rather than the Paris microfilm numbers (as any archivist or librarian will know, it is NOT a good idea to make partial changes to an established system) :
- Baptisms/Births from 1556 to 1859,
- Marriages from 1568 to 1859, microfilm rolls numbered 5Mi 1/2000 to /2340 (the last roll contains some corrections, so be sure to check it)
- Burials/Deaths from 1630 to 1859, microfilm rolls numbered 5Mi 1/1100 to /1576
- For all those which were not burnt but which were filmed, from 1736 to 1860 (the V6 series of microfilms):
No, it is not a breeze, but it certainly easier than booking a voyage to the Paris Archives, superb though they may be.
©2018 Anne Morddel