Making the most of your ancestor's records, capturing all the details
France’s birth, marriage and death records have been standardized to a great extent after the Revolution in 1789 – in terms of minimum content and quality. Prior to that date, during the so-called Ancien Régime, the monarchy, records were maintained by the parish priest. The content and quality can vary greatly from one village to another.
After having found a record, transcribing it and extracting all the information from it is the most challenging step for all genealogists. The records are handwritten using writing techniques that evolved through time. Reading old French texts sometimes requires expert knowledge from palaeography.
Language and spelling of French also evolved between the 16th and 19th century. Finally, records from the French archives are not necessarily in French! In the East of France, in Alsace and Loraine , they are very likely to be in German with again various writings and spelling depending on the periods considered…