Researching in France

Jacques Gagne 2017

The research process of French Canadian and Acadian ancestors in France by North American family lineage researchers results in failures in too many cases because of the following reasons:

>> Family name - Wrong spelling - As a point in case my Gagné ancestors, Pierre and Louis Gagné who settled in Château-Richer, a few miles east of Quebec City in 1648 and 1654 were not Gagné in France but Gasnier - Same pronunciation, different spelling. But online family searches in France are conducted under the name Gasnier, not Gagné

>> Family lineages in New France - Wrong family lineages with wrong results as to was in fact one's true ancestor - Too many North American family lineage researchers rely on postings online on RootsWeb and similar online offerings.

>> COMMUNES - (Villages, towns, townships, cities) - The villages, towns, townships, cities from which an ancestor or ancestors originated from  is the ''primary key'' in order to determine precisely the true family lineage in France of ancestors of New France (Nouvelle France) and Acadia (Acadie)

Later we will address the 95 Archives départementales de France - In 90 or 92 of the regional archives one can research Catholic acts of baptisms from 1539 and from 1579 in regard to acts of marriages and deaths until 1796.

The latter date being when the Civil Registers of France were instituted at the French Revolution.

In rare cases, One can find an act of a parish register (church register) in France going back to 1303, but these are rare.

Prior to 1539 in regard to baptisms and 1579, marriages and deaths, one must refer to Notarial Acts (Actes notariés), the latter to the 14th and 15th centuries in certain regions of France (Paris and regions along the Mediterranean Sea), we will address notarial records at a later time period.

But first in order to properly begin a successful family lineage search or searches in France, one must know precisely who was one's ancestor with the proper spelling.

For years, my three favorite sources were:

>> Fichier Origine -

>> René Jetté - Dictonnaire généalogique des familles du Québec -

>> P.R.D.H. -  

In all three of the above, the place of origin of an ancestor, is the place and date of the baptism of the pioneer being researched and online searches conducted at 92 of the 95 Archives départementales of France are carried out by the names of COMMUNES (villages, towns, townships, cities)

A question being asked, why limit your search process to the 95 Archives départementales of France, simple in 92 of these Archives the online research process is FREE to all researchers in family lineage searches and all commercial online search engines in France obtain most of their information from said 95 Archives départementales.

For those who prefer to spend money without having the pleasure of being involved in a detailed and well structured family search, at a later time period, there will be downloads of the Top 6 or 7 Best Commercial Search Engines in family searches in France. is no longer a Top 10 Commercial Search Engine in France in family lineage searches.

In the near future, for the family lineage researchers who have not been able to find their ancestor on Fichier Origine or the René Jetté  book of Pioneer Families of Québec and on P.R.D.H., the process can be long, all by using Google and by entering within Google in the French language, search requests by first determining precisely what was in fact the true spelling of a family name in France.and from where in France a pioneer individual might have originated from.

I recently researched the family name of Josset, a Protestant family in France (Huguenot or Calvinist) who had emigrated to London, England in the early 17th century - The only information I had was that the family might have originated from the Paris region in in the late 16th and early 17th centuries and that the ancestor was most likely from a well connected family.

I found them in Paris, two brothers who were members of the Judicial District of Paris who served directly under King Henri IV of France (1589-1610), but said search had to be entered into Google Search in the French language.

Will address the individuals which are not listed on Fichier Origine, René Jetté, P.R.D.H. later.