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Making sense of old handwriting

Record Types





Different Record Types

While conducting genealogical research on French documents, it will quickly become evident that there are various different kinds of archives that hold all manner of different document types. To the beginning researcher, the wide assortment of documents can be dizzying and confusing as each type of record is often formatted in a way that is particular to that document category; furthermore, they record different sorts of information.

Despite the initial perplexity that this may bring, researchers can quickly learn the different kinds of documents and the information they offer. This knowledge, in turn, can become a handy tool as it can aid the researcher in knowing where to begin their research and what sources will most likely yield the information they seek.

This page and those that follow provide an excellent introduction to what record types exist, why they were kept, the information found in each, where they are usually found, and examples.

Types of Records Found in the French Language

In French-speaking countries, there are several kinds of record types that can aid in genealogical research. These records are:

  • Church Records
  • Civil Records
  • Notarial Records

For further information regarding these kinds of records and their respective categories, use the navigation panel located above.

Image Credit:

  • Image: Catherine M. Wood, Old books, 1857-1939, Painting, Digital image, Wikimedia Commons ( : accessed 20 July 2023). This image is in the public domain.

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