France Genealogy Research – Part Two


There are many good online resources for guidance with France genealogy research. Just starting out can seem a bit overwhelming. You do not immediately need to know all areas of France or to be fluent in reading French, or even know the whole history of France. The sites listed should help to alleviate your stress. Remember, take your time as you research.

While there are plenty of things to think about—the history, wars and destruction, pestilences, natural disasters, social life in early times, traditions, invasions, religious persecutions—research can be difficult at times. But don’t let this stop you. Overall, it can be very fun and motivating to find what you’re looking for.

Enjoy the learning. Where did your French ancestors come from? Was it before or after the French Revolution? Learn about wars, governments, family movements, migrations, settlement patterns, military, and religious trends. These events can lead to the creation of records such as land and military documents that mention your family.

Look at the sites to get a feel for where you need to spend your time. Whether it is deciding on research sources or learning how to decipher the language, know that there is plenty of help available to you.         

France Genealogy Research                                                                                                                                            



  • Filae. com: This is a paid site where you can access French official records.
  • Geneanet. org: This is also a paid site. You can search the database by name and town for family trees.
  • Ancestry. com: This is a paid site that has many French records online.


FamilySearch & Facebook Groups– > Search > Research Wiki > France > Click on the tab Ask the Community > Click F for France > Here there are three different groups that you can join where you can share resources, offer training and tips and get answers from others:

  • France Genealogy Research (a FamilySearch public community)
  • Southern Europe Genealogy Research Community (a FamilySearch Facebook private group)
  • France and Mediterranean Genealogy (Facebook public group)



  • FamilySearch Learning Center (>Help>Learning Center>France>Lessons): Here you will find lessons/videos for France research.
  • FamilySearch This site is excellent. It covers getting started with France research, France research tools, record types, France background, local research resources, guides to reading German/French/Latin, research tutorials, as well as online resources. It also has a clickable map of France.
  • FranceGenWeb. This site has links to many important genealogical websites pertaining to France.
  • FamilySearch Step by step guide—Using France Online Department Archives.


While you do not have to be fluent in French, in order to read the documents you do need to be able to decipher some French to extract the genealogical information. And if you are doing research in Alsace, you may even need to read some German. Some French records have Latin, so you may need to be a bit familiar with it, also. Fortunately, the sites listed below are of great benefit and all are free.

  • FamilySearch Here you will find French, German, and Latin genealogical word lists and other information you will find useful for understanding the French language.
  • Oldenburgische Gesellschaft für Familienkunde. You can find old German family names here.
  • BYU Script Tutorial. This site covers a variety, language, documents, handwriting, etc.



  • Nominis. This site lists the names of Saints and gives definitions, origins of names, region of origin, etc.
  • Gé This site covers the surname distribution in France from 1891-1990. Check for the right spelling of the name.




  • FamilySearch Here there is a link to the French Records Extraction manual. There are also links for guides for reading French and German handwritten records.
  • Geneawiki. This site has genealogical abbreviations and symbols for a variety of things (months, titles, given names, etc.) found in French documents.
  • Centre National de Ressources Textuelles et Lexicales (CNRTL). Definitions of words. (In French)
  • Departmental Archives. Find the different departments through FranceGenWeb or FamilySearch Wiki (France). Once you get to the department, many of them have handwriting helps and/or courses and examples (search for paléographie).


  • Google
  • Wordreference.
  • Glosbe. com

Price Genealogy can help you discover your French ancestors. Please call us today at (801) 530-0920 for a free consultation.


Photo: Skyguy414 at English Wikipedia, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Have you ever done any France genealogy ancestry work?  What was your experience like?  Let us know in a comment below!