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14 févr. 2018

Find your French ancestors #1 : How to find a birth certificate : the enigma of Thérèse LANGLES

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During your genealogical research, you have found a person who was born in France. The only information you have is a place and a year. How to find the birth certificate ?

We'll take an real example to learn about it.

On the familysearch website, I'm searching a person who lived in the United States and was born in Perpignan in France.

Thérèse Mathilde Langles Halbleib married George Eisenbaum in Manhattan on the 5th of May 1879. In the marriage certificate, the writer of the act wrote that Thérèse was born about 1845 in Perpignan, Pyrennes orientales France.

Step One : Find the place

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In the website wikipedia, we search the name Perpignan. we learn that this city is located in the department of Pyrénées-Orientales, with number 66.

On the website Geneawiki, at this link the first map named "Etat-civil" (who means civil status) define the department that have digitized their archives.

By clicking on the map, on the "66", we'll be redirect on the website of this departement :

Step Two : Find a exact date

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We click on the button "Accès aux recherches thématiques" and after on "Etat civil".

The list of the towns appears by alphabetic order. Click on the letter "p", then "PERPIGNAN (après 1793)" (Perpignan after 1793).

We'll get four choices :
- registres de naissance (birth registers)
- registres de mariage (marriage registers)
- registres de décès (death registers)
- Tables décennales (decennial tables)

We don't have the exact date so we have to search in the decennial tables. These tables list the birth, marriage and death records, in this order most of the time, in alphabetical order, over a period of ten years. The first table begins in 1793. For a birth in 1845, we'll therefore look for the decennial table from 1843 to 1852.

We click on "tables décennales" and then we write the date or the period, here 1845. Then we click on the button "rechercher" (research).

The website suggests a lot of answers. We click on the picture before the good dates : 1843-1852.
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The register will appears in a new window. The first page contains the name of the town and the period.

We can click on the >> arrow, the pages will turn ten by ten. We'll search with the two surnames of Mathilde : Langles and Halbleib

We can zoom the picture by clicking on the botton, on the first or second icon. In this viewer named Gaia, we can drag and drop to move the picture. We block the parameters of zoom by click on the blue padlock. We can close the tumbnail.

In these decennial tables, surnames are classified by alphabetical order and then by year. At the 100th view, there are the surnames which start by the letter M. The year was written on the left this time.

At the 84th page, we find the surnames which starts by "L" for the 1845 year. Writing is delicate to decipher, so we take our time. No Langles here. We kown that the date is rough. We would have two possibilities. Continue the research with the surnames "langles" before and after 1845 (5 years maximum), or search in 1845 with the second surname Halbleib. I suggest a third proposal. Indeed, we assume that the second name is that of his mother. In France, the new-born take the surname of the father. Maybe the surname "Halbleib" is the Therese's mother's surname.

Step Three : Find in another base

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We decide to search on the website which is the ancient website The website contains direct links to almost all acts of the 19th century in the archives website in France. Warning, sometimes the indexing isn't exact.

We search with the surname LANGLES at Perpignan. The result concerns a Therese dead in 1809. We search with the surnames Halbleib in France. In the results, we find Helene HALBLEIB whose parents are named HALBLEIB Henri and SANGLES Thérèse Mathilde. The document is a banns publishing which is located in Saint-Mandé in Val-de-Marne (94), a department near Paris, on the 16th of november 1902. The document is supplied by Geneaservice, a commercial website, which have many records from Paris and Marseille. We are going to find the original. The banns publishing are wrote in a banns publishing register, in the commune of the husband-to-be and the wife-ti-be, if they are different. Most of the time, the marriage record is in the commune of the wife-to-be. We're going to assume that the marriage took place in the same city of Saint-Mandé.

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Step Four : Find the original marriage act

To find the archives website, we make same process as Perpignan. Search in wikipedia the number of the department to get the direct link on the website geneawiki.

By hovering over the "recherches" tab, we choose the title "Archives en ligne" (online archives) and the words Etat civil (civil status)

There's three lines in the form : Commune (City), Type d'acte (kind of certificate) and Années (Years). Like on the previous website, we can define a year or a period. For the city, we click on the name Saint-Mandé in the drop-down list and for the year, we key 1902.

On the result's list, we choose "mariages" which is the record register.

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On another tab, we search the part of the marriage. This list contains the names of the husband and the spouse separatly. If not, the marriage are classified at the husband's name.

The new tab contains the mariages for 1901 and 1902.  At the latest pages, the register contains a annual table. In this table we search Robillard Henri Jules. At the view 167, we find it. A number before his name give us the number of the certificate, 122. We check by searching Helene HOLBLEIB at the 133th. We find this certificate on the 570th view. The surname of the spouse is HABLEIB again. It was a copy falt on the decennal table.

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 On the top of the 571th view, we can read that Hélène HALBLEIB was born in Recife in Brasil on the 5th of november 1870, from Henri HALBLEIB and Thérèse Mathilde SANGLES, who was dead on the 22th of june 1901 in Saint-Mandé. The grand-parents of Hélène would be Catherine Thérèse Marie Anne Sangles with unnamed father.

That isn't the informations we have first.

We're going to follow these elements.

Step Five : Find the death act of Therese

We'll search the death certificate of Mathilde SANGLES on this website. On the 116th wiew of the death register, we find the act of Thérèse Mathilde SANGLES widow EISENBAUM. In this act, the redactor wrote that Thérèse Mathilde was died at 55 and was born in Perpignan. She would be the daughter of Catherine Thérèse Marie Anne Sangles and of unnamed father.

The year of her birth would be 1846. 

Step Six : Going back to the beginning

We check at Perpignan's register. There are two Thérèse SANGLES on the decennial table. One was born on the 11th of august, the second on the 29th of september. We'll check for the both of dates. We search the birth register for the 1845 year. We click on the "précédent" button (previous) to find the four choices, and click on "regitres de naissances" by keying the year 1844 to include 1845  in the results. As the marriage register, at the end of the register are annual table. Unfortunately, these register don't. We have to search by our own. The date of the certification is at the start of the document, we check the date as one goes along. We're near of the certification wrote in september. This certification concerns a Therese Ernestine SANGLES. The mother's name is Antoinette SANGLES. She's not ours. At the 495th view, we find a note for Therese SANGLES. It's a mention to write beside the certification for a recognization. (We'll see these type of certification in another tutorial). At the next view, we find the certification at the name of Thérèse Mathilde SANGLES, from Thérèse SANGLES and of unnamed father. 

We can take a screenshot of this view for our familytree.

This certification don't give us information about a father. However, on familysearch, we've got a name of father, Etienne LANGLES.
You can comment and ask questions about this tutorial.

Good luck for your search. Have a good day.