22 March 2010

That Next Trip to France

So you've done your research tracing your American ancestors back to French Canada and now you realize that you need to go further back to France.

This past Sunday’s (March 21, 2010) French-Canadian Heritage Society of California’s (FCHSC) meeting at the Southern California Genealogical Society (SCGS) Library in Burbank, entitled “From Here to There – Researching in France” was not to be missed.

The lecture, prepared by Raymonde Motil and Elaine Boulay, contained details on some of the major historical events that occurred in France such as the Black Plague and reign of Napoleon. In addition, those in attendance learned that genealogists can take advantage of numerous civil and religious French records. “Civil records are found at the departmental and communal levels,” reported Motil. She went on to say that “In part due to Napoleon’s insistence on organization, communal records were collected at the departmental level in a standard format. Look for additional goodies at the communal level.” The positive message was that between civil and church records there at many sources available to cross-reference and produce well-sourced genealogies.

For some, attempts to plan a trip to France may be daunting due to high travel costs and a large amount of time off. The fantastic news is that 60 to 70% of the aforementioned records are held in the Family History Library on microfilm. Take advantage of the SCGS Library’s designation as a FamilySearch Center and order microfiche and microfilm for delivery directly to the SCGS Library.

Come to the SCGS Library on any Wednesday from 10am to 4pm to receive assistance with your French-Canadian research needs.

The French-Canadian Heritage Society of California is affiliated with the Southern California Genealogical Society. The primary purpose is to foster an interest in French-Canadian heritage by researching our French-Canadian ancestors as well as helping others research theirs, and by supporting and making available to the public one of the largest collections of French-Canadian genealogical material in the country.

(c) Heidi Ziegler, SCGS Board member

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