Saturday, June 25, 2016

Paris, France Archives

I hope everyone is having a good weekend. I had planned on going to see our local airshow today but it was 93 degrees and so humid you started to sweat just walking outside. We decided that we didn't want to sit on the airfield in the sun and get roasted. So instead of that, I ended up picking the bananas in our back yard and made three loaves of banana fig bread.

Today I decided to mention the Paris, France archives. The archives can be found at  This archive has free access to their decennial tables for 1860-1974. There is also a reconstructed alphabetic file constructed from other vital records for the 16th century to 1859. The four centuries of vital records are not yet scanned so you only have the alphabetic index. They also have indexes to the military service records (1875-1921) and children's records (1742-1915). These records are great resources if your ancestors lived in Paris.

In order to search you will select the vital records link and then fill in the search boxes.

Vital Records Search page for the Paris Archives
The results page will give you a range of names and the number of pages that contain those names.

Results Page for the Vital Records Search
When you click on the eye with the number of pages you get the following display.

Results Display
If you look you will see Leon Levy's name. This is the person I was looking for. He was married 3 May 1921 in Paris. At the top of the page, in the title bar, you see the record type (marriages), date range (1913-1922), district (8e), and the name I was searching. The contrast, page number and magnifier controls are located to the right.

I was able to use the alphabetic index to find the marriage date for Leon Levy and then for his wife, Alice Marchessault, on another page. Of course I had to look up both the groom and the bride in the index to see if they had the same date for their marriage. Luckily they did.

Since this is an alphabetic index I noticed a few lines below Leon's name was Rene Levy, his brother. Now I have to find who he married in Paris on 19 November 1921.

One thing to be aware of, Paris is divided into 20 districts and the records are filed as such. If you know which district your ancestor lived in it is easy to search. However, if you don't know their district you will have to go through each file until you find them. Luckily Leon lived in district 8 so I only had to look through the first 8 sets of records. If he lived in district 20 I would have had a long day of searching.

Good luck and may all your ancestors help you in your searches.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany Archives

Welcome back everyone. Since I talked about the Alsace-Lorraine, France archives yesterday I figured I would jump across the Rhine and mention the Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany archives today. These archives have been a great help in researching my wife's ancestors. Her German line came from Ellmendingen in Karlsruhe.

The Baden-Wurttemberg archives can be found at As you view this page you will see the main search categories. Remember, if you can't read the German, either use the translate function in the Chrome browser or go to the bottom of the page were you will see a note that says View This Page In English. The search section is pretty helpful and is shown below.

Search area of the Baden-Wurttemberg Archives (English version).

Once you know which area of Baden-Wurttemberg your family originated from you can select the correct department and search from there. Since most of the images are not yet indexed you will have to search page by page within the town your ancestors came from. In order to select the town, just type it in the search box and see which records show up. Make sure you search under each category  on the page because you may get different results. Sometimes I like to search page by page because you never know what you will find. Many times I have run across familiar names when I was looking for one person in particular. In many of these records I have found at least one person from my file on each page I looked at.

Example of records found in the archive.
Good luck with these German records, and happy hunting.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Archives for Alsace-Lorraine, France (Bas-Rhin, Haut-Rhin and Moselle)

Hello again, I am now on a two blog post streak (yes, two is a streak for me). I will be focusing on some French archives in the next few posts. Did you know that France was divided into 83 departments during the French Revolution and that each of those departments have their own archives?!

Lately I have been helping someone research their ancestors in the Alsace-Lorraine region. The Alsace-Lorraine region was formed as part of the Germen Empire in 1871 and is located on the west bank of the Rhine River, directly across from Baden-Wurttemberg where my wife's ancestors are from. Because of their close proximity, many of the residents of this region spoke German dialects and many of their records were in German also. This area was transferred to France after WW I but re-annexed by Germany during WW II. Now it is again part of France and is referred to as Alsace-Moselle.

The area is divided into three main regions, Bas-Rhin, Haut-Rhin and Moselle. Each of these regions have their own archives. Many of these records go back into the 1700s and include parish and census records, as well as birth, marriage and death records.

Here is an example of the records that I have found in these archives:

Birth record for Rose Netter - 1832.

The Bas-Rhin archives can be found at
The Haut-Rhin archives are located at
The Moselle archives are at

Many of the records in these archives are not yet searchable so it does take some looking through the pages to find the ones you may be looking for. However, what I have found is that many of the record sets have their indexes included either at the front or the back of the records. So, to make it easier to search you may want to look at a few pages up front and then in the back to find where the index is located. These record sets include multiple years and the indexes are included with each year so you will still have to search the documents to find each year's index. One difficulty that I have found in these records is that all of the records are separated by town. So, just knowing that your ancestor was from Alsace-Lorraine may not be good enough. You will need to know which department to begin searching and then know which town they lived in to find their records. This made it extremely difficult because the family I was looking for began in Fegersheim and then moved to Strasbourg about 1880. All I was given by the person I am helping was that they were from Alsace-Lorraine. I was able to determine the towns based on US records, including immigration, naturalization and passport applications.

Good luck finding your Alsatian ancestors, whether they be German or French.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

WieWasWie - Dutch Archives - Signs Agreement with Ancestry

Hello everyone, I decided that I would get back to my blogging with a few short posts. I will be focusing my research in the online international archives for the next couple weeks. It is amazing what records you can find in these archives. Over the next few blog posts I hope to provide some short descriptions of the archives so fellow researchers will be able find them more easily.

One of the archives that I have used in the past is WieWasWie. This site is a searchable database of the Dutch records. They have over 110 million names indexed on their site. Their records include:

  • Population registers
  • Birth certificates
  • Marriage certificates
  • Death Certificates
  • Burial registers
  • Baptismal registers
  • Marriage registers
  • Sea voyages
  • and others.

  • In the past I have been able to find my people in the population registers from Amsterdam and just this morning a fellow researcher sent me the link to my 3rd great grandparents marriage in Amsterdam (9 November 1831). Below is a copy of this marriage record.

    Marriage record for Justus Weise and Anna Maria Margarethe Wilken (9 Nov 1831).

    Earlier this month, WieWasWie signed an agreement with This is a great development for those of us searching for Dutch ancestry. With this agreement, researchers will be able to search their records collection through Ancestry. Their blog post about this agreement can be found at