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French Word List

This list contains French words with their English translations. The words included here are those you are likely to find in genealogical sources. If the word you are looking for is not on this list, please consult a French-English dictionary. (See the "Additional Resources" section below.)

The French language is a Romance language derived from Latin. Although English is a Germanic language, it has many words of Latin and French derivation. Thus, many French words are similar to words in English but often have different meanings.

French is spoken in France; Quebec and other areas of Canada; Luxembourg; southern Belgium; southwestern Switzerland; northern and central Africa; some islands in the Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean, and Caribbean Sea; southeast Asia; and other areas formerly colonized or influenced by the French.

Between about 1800 and 1812, French was also used in records of the Rhineland area of Germany, northern Belgium, and the Netherlands. In addition, French is found in some early records of Louisiana and a few other places in the United States. Since about 1680, the grammar, if not the spelling, of official written French has been fairly well standardized throughout the world, even though there are many different forms of spoken French.

Contents


Language Characteristics

French words for persons, places, and things (nouns) are classified as masculine or feminine. Generally, adjectives used to describe feminine words end with e.

"Le" (masculine form of "the") is used with masculine words. "La" (feminine form of "the") is used with feminine words. But "l’" is used with either if the word begins with a vowel. For example, the word "enfant" means "child" or "infant," either masculine or feminine. But "l’enfant est né" ("the child is born") is used with a male child, and "l’enfant est née" with a female child.

Variant Forms of Words
In French, as in English, the forms of some words will vary according to how they are used in a sentence. Who/whose/whom or marry/marries/married are examples of words in English with variant forms. This word list gives the standard form of each French word. As you read French records, you will need to be aware that some words vary with usage.

Plural forms of French words are usually created by adding -s or -x to the singular word. Thus "frère" becomes "frères," and "beau" becomes "beaux." The plural of "beau-frère" ("brother-in-law") is "beaux-frères" ("brothers-in-law").

In French there are five diacritical (accent) marks. These are placed over vowels or under the letter -c- to indicate a change in pronunciation. The following diacritical marks are used in French: à, â, é, è, ê, ë, î, ï, ô, ö, û, ù and ç. The -ç- is pronounced as an -s-. These diacritical marks do not affect alphabetical order.

Spelling
Spelling rules were not fixed in earlier centuries. In French the following spelling variations are common:

Variation Example

-bv- used for -v-: "février" spelled "febvrier"
-c- used for -ss-: "aussi" spelled "auci"
-ct- used for -t-: "faites" spelled "faictes"
-es- used for -é-: "témoins" spelled "tesmoins"
-i- used for -j-: "jour" spelled "iour"
-o- used for -ou-: "tournier" spelled "tornier"
-os- used for -ô-: "nôtre" spelled "nostre"
-sç- used for -s-: "savoir" spelled "sçavoir"
-t- used for -tt-: "cette" spelled "cete"
-y- used for -i-: "hier" spelled "hyer"
-y- used for -ill-: "filleul" spelled "fyeul"
-z- used for -s-: "baptisé" spelled "baptizé"

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Additional French Language Resources

This word list includes only words most commonly found in genealogical sources. For further help, consult a French-English dictionary. You can obtain a French-English dictionary at most public libraries and through many bookstores.

Several French-English dictionaries are available at the Family History Library. These are in the European collection. Their call numbers begin with 443.21.

The following dictionary is available on microfilm for use in Family History Centers:

A. Spiers. The Standard Pronouncing Dictionary of the French and English Languages. New York, NY, USA: Appleton, 1900. (Family History Library book 443.21 Sp44s, film 1181694 item 4.)

Additional dictionaries are listed in the Subject search of the Family History Library Catalog under FRENCH LANGUAGE—DICTIONARIES.

A helpful guide for reading genealogical records written in French is:

French Records Extraction. Salt Lake City, Utah, USA: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, n.d. (Family History Library fiche 6068523.) In addition to being a glossary of names and genealogical words, this guide includes examples of French documents and instructions in reading the handwriting.

Key Words

To find and use specific types of French records, you will need to know some key words in French. This section gives key genealogical terms in English and the French words with the same or similar meanings.

For example, in the first column you will find the English word marriage. In the second column you will find French words with meanings such as marry, marriage, wedding, wedlock, unite, legitimate, joined, and other words used in French records to indicate marriage.

English-French
banns=publications bans
baptism=baptême
birth=naissance, né, née
burial=sépulture, enterrement, enterré, inhumé, enseveli, funèbre
Catholic (Roman)=catholique romaine
child=enfant
christening=baptême
civil=registry registres de l’état civil, mairie, maison communale, hôtel de ville
death=décès, mort, expiré, inanimé, défunt
father=père

husband=mari, époux, marié
index=index, tables répertoire
Jewish=juif, juive, israélite, hébreu
marriage=mariage, alliance, unir, épouser
month=mois, mensuel
mother=mère
name, given=prénom, nom de baptême
name, surname=nom, nom de famille
parents=parents, père et mère
parish=paroisse, paroissiaux, paroissiale
Protestant=protestant, réformé, huguenot, R.P.R., luthérien, calviniste
town, village=ville, village, hameau, commune
wife=femme, épouse, mariée
year=an, année, annuel

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General Word List

This general word list includes words commonly seen in genealogical sources. Numbers, months, and days of the week are listed both here and in separate sections that follow this list. Words with the same spelling and meaning in English and French, such as "confirmation" or "date," are not included in this list.

In this list, optional versions of French words or variable endings are given in parentheses. A few phrases are listed under the key word, not necessarily the first word. Words in parentheses in the English column clarify the definition. Feminine or masculine meanings of French words are indicated by (f.) or (m.).

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A


à=at, to, in
a=has
abjurations=renunciations of Protestant faith
absolution=absolution, last rites
accoucher=give birth
accoucheuse=midwife
à=cet endroit in this place
acheter=to buy
acte de baptême=baptismal record
acte de décès=death record
acte de naissance=birth certificate, record
acte de sépulture=burial record
adjoint=du maire mayor’s assistant
adopté(e)=adopted
adultère=adulterer
affiché=posted (on door)
afficher les bans=post banns
âgé(e)=aged
ai (ay)=(I) have
aïeul=grandfather
aïeule=grandmother
aîné (l’aîné)=the older, senior
ainsi que=as well as
à jour=current
Algerie=Algeria
alité=bedridden
allemand(e)=German
Allemagne=Germany
alliance=marriage
alsacien(ne)=Alsatian
ami(e)=friend
an (année)=year
anabaptiste=Mennonite
anglais(e)=English
anniversaire=anniversary
annuaire=directory
annuel=annual, yearly
août=August
apparu=appeared
appelé(e)=named
apprenti=apprentice
approuvé=approved
après=after
après-midi=afternoon
arbre généalogique=family tree, pedigree
archives=archive
Archives du Royaume=state archives (Belgium)
Archives Nationales=state archives (France)
a reçu=has received
armoiries=coat of arms
arpent=acre
arpenteur=surveyor
arpète=errand boy, apprentice
arrière=great (as in great-grandparents)
arrondissement=district (administrative division of a French département)
attaque=seizure
au=at the, in the
aubergiste=innkeeper
aucun(e)=no, none
au=dessus over
aujourd’hui=today
au même endroit=at the same place
auparavant=former
aussi=also, as, since
autant=as much
autorisation=permission
autour=around
autre=other
avant=former, before
avant-hier=the day before yesterday
avec=with
avocat=attorney
avoir=to have
avons=(we) have
avril=April
ayant=having

Words starting with:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V
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B


ban (le)=the territory
bans=marriage banns, announcement(s)
baptême=baptism
baptême d’urgence=emergency baptism
baptisé=baptized
baptisé sous condition=conditionally baptized
Baptiste=Baptist
bas=low, lower
batisseur=builder
beau-fils=son-in-law, stepson
beau-frère=brother-in-law, stepbrother
beau-père=father-in-law, stepfather
bêcheur=field worker
belge=Belgian
belle-fille=daughter-in-law, stepdaughter
belle-mère=mother-in-law, stepmother
belle-sœur=sister-in-law, stepsister
berger=shepherd
bien=well
biens=goods, property
biographie=biography
blanc (blanche)=white
bon (bonne)=good
bonne=maid, female servant
boucher=butcher
boulanger=baker
bourgeois=citizen, member of the middle class
bourguignon=Burgundian
bouvier=herdsman, cowherd
brasseur=brewer
brassier=farmworker, laborer (old word)
Bretagne=Brittany
[oncle à la mode de Bretagne]=[first cousin of one’s parent]
briquetier=brick maker
bru=daughter-in-law
brumaire=See “Months”
bureau=office

Words starting with:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V
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C


cabaretier=barkeeper
canton=administrative division of an arrondissement (in France), province (in Switzerland), township (in French Canada)
carte=map
catholique romaine=Roman Catholic
ce, c’=it
ce, cet, cette=this, that
céans=here within
cejourd’hier=yesterday
cejourd’hui=today
célèbre=famous
célibataire=bachelor, unmarried, single
celle=this one, she
celle-ci=the latter (f.)
celle-là=the former (f.)
celui=this one, he
celui-ci=the latter (m.)
celui-là=the former (m.)
cent=hundred
centième=hundredth
certificat=certificate
ceux=those
charbonnier=charcoal burner
charcutier=pork merchant
charretier=cart or carriage man
charron=cartwright, wheelwright
chasseur=hunter
château=castle
châtelain=owner of a castle
chaudronnier=cooper, barrel maker
chez=at the home of
chirurgien=surgeon
ci-dessous=below here
ci-dessus=above here
cimetière=cemetery
cinq=five
cinquante=fifty
cinquantième=fiftieth
cinquième=fifth
citoyen(ne)=citizen
clergé=clergymen
colline=hill
communauté=community (of goods), religious community
commune=town, commune (smallest political division in France)
communion=communion
compagnon=journeyman, partner
comparu=appeared
comprend=includes
comte=count
concubine=concubine
congestion cérébrale=stroke
conjoint=spouse, assistant
connaissance=acquaintance
conseil d’état civil=civil registrar’s
conseiller=councilor
consentement=consent
contenu=content
contractant=the groom (in a marriage record)
contractante=the bride (in a marriage record)
contrat de mariage=marriage contract
contre=against
coqueluche=whooping cough
cordier=rope maker
cordonnier=shoemaker
côte=hill
couches=bed, marital bed
[morte en couches]=[died in childbirth]
coup de sang=paralytic stroke
cour=court
courant=current
cousin(e)=cousin
cousin(e) germain(e)=first cousin
couvreur=roofer
culte=religion
cultivateur=farmer, cultivator
curateur=guardian

curé=parish minister, pastor, priest, clergyman

Words starting with:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V
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D


d’=of
dame=lady
dans=in
de=of, from, out
décapité=decapitated
décédé=the deceased
décembre=December
décennal(e)=decennial
décennie=decade
décès=death, deaths
déclarant=informant
déclaré=declared, stated
décrépitude=old age
défunt(e)=deceased
dehors=outside
de la=of the, some
demain=tomorrow
demeurant=living at
demi=half
demi frère=stepbrother, half brother
demi soeur=stepsister, half sister
demoiselle=Miss (of well-to-do parents, may be a married woman)
département=department (French “county” since 1790)
depuis=since
derniers sacrements=last rites
des=of the, some
desdits=of the said (pl.)
dessous=lower, below
dessus=above
deux=two
deuxième=second
devant=in front of
devenir=to become
devoir=should
d’hier=yesterday’s
dictionnaire=dictionary
dictionnaire des communes=gazetteer
dimanche=Sunday
dîme=tithing
diocèse=diocese
dispense=exemption, dispensation
dit(e) (ditte)=said, also known as, aforementioned
divers(e)=various
divorcé(e)=divorced
dix=ten
dix-huit=eighteen
dix-huitième=eighteenth
dixième=tenth
dix-neuf=nineteen
dix-neuvième=nineteenth
dix-sept=seventeen
dix-septième=seventeenth
domaine=estate
domestique=servant girl, maid
domicile=home, residence, domicile
donné=given
donner=to give
dons=donations
dont=of whom, of which
double=duplicate record
douze=twelve
douzième=twelfth
droguiste=druggist
droit(e)=right
du=of the, some
duc=duke
duché=duchy
duchesse=duchess
durant=during

Words starting with:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V
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E

eaux-et-forêts=waters and forests, forestry service
ébéniste=cabinetmaker, furniture maker
échevin=alderman, municipal magistrate
école=school
écrire=to write
écrit=written, document
écrivain=scribe, writer
église=church
elle=she, her
elles=they, them (f.)
émigrant(e)=emigrant
émigré(e)=emigrant
empêchement=prevention
employé(e)=clerk
en=in
enceinte=pregnant
encore=again
endroit=place
enfant=baby, child
enfant exposé=foundling
enfant trouvé=foundling
enflement=swelling
ensemble=together
entend=intends, hears
enterré(e) buried
enterrement=burial, interment
entre=between, among
environ=about, approximately
épicier=grocer, spice merchant
épousailles=wedding
épouse=bride, wife
époux=bridegroom, husband
espagnol(e)=Spanish
est=is, east
et=and
étaient=were
était=was
étant (estant)=being
état=state
état=civil civil registration
été=been, summer
étranger/étrangère=foreign, foreigner, strange
être=to be
[un être]=[a being]
évéché=diocese
évêque=bishop
exécuté=performed
expédié(s)=sent
extérieur=outside
extrait=extract

Words starting with:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V
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F


fabricant de bas=maker of stockings
fabricant de savon=maker of soap
facteur=postman, mailman
facture=account, bill
faiblesse=weakness
fait(e)=made, done
famille=family, relative(s)
féminin(e)=female
femme=wife, woman
ferblantier=tin man, tinsmith
fermier=farmer
fête=holiday, feast
feu(e)=deceased, the late
feuille=folio, leaf, page
février=February
fiançailles=engagement
fiançé=betrothed, engaged, fiancé (m.)
fiançée=betrothed, engaged, fiancée (f.)
fiancer=to become engaged
fichier=card index
fièvre=fever
fileuse=spinster
fille=daughter, girl
fille de mauvaise vie=prostitute
fils=son
floréal=See “Months”
fonction=duty, occupation, function
[faisant les fonctions]=[doing the functions (occupation), serving as]
fonts=(baptismal) font
forestier=forester
forêt=forest
forgeron=smith
forteresse=fortress
frais=fee
français(e)=French
franc-tenancier=freeholder, yeoman
frère=brother
frère consanguin=brother by the same father but different mother
frère germain=brother by the same mother and father
frère utérin=brother by the same mother but different father
frimaire=See “Months”
fromager=cheese merchant or maker
frontière=border
fructidor=See “Months”
funèbre=funeral
furent=were
fut=was
futur, fiancé=the intended groom
future, fiancée=the intended bride

Words starting with:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V
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G


garçon=boy, unmarried young man
garde champêtre=field guard
garde=forestier forest guard
gardien=herdsman
gauche=left
gendarme=policeman
gendre=son-in-law
généalogique=genealogical
géomètre=surveyor
germinal=See “Months”
goutte=gout
grand(e)=large, great, tall
grandmère=grandmother
grandparents=grandparents
grandpère=grandfather
greffier=clerk of the court, registrar

Words starting with:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V
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H


habitant=residing
habitation=residence
habiter=to inhabit
haut=high, upper
hectare=acre
héraldique=heraldry
héritage=inheritance
heure=hour, time
hier=yesterday
histoire=story, history
hollandais(e)=Dutch
homme=man
homme de main=day worker
honnête=honest
horloger=clock merchant or maker
houilleur=coal miner
huguenot(te)=Huguenot
huissier=usher, doorman
huit=eight
huitante=eighty
huitantième=eightieth
huitième=eighth
hydropisie=dropsy, edema

Words starting with:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V
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I


icelle=this one (f.)
icelui=this one (m.)
ici=here
id. (Latin)=the same
identique=same, alike, similar
il=he
illégitime=illegitimate
immigrant(e)=immigrant
imposé=imposed, gave
impôts=taxation
inconnu(e)=unknown
inférieur(e)=lower
instituteur=schoolteacher (m.)
institutrice=schoolteacher (f.)
intérieur=inside
inventaire=après décès inventory after death
italien(ne)=Italiann

Words starting with:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V
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J


jamais=never
janvier=January
jardinier=gardener
je=I
jeudi=Thursday
jeune=young, the younger, junior
jeûne=fasting, fast day
jour=day
jour de baptême=day of baptism
jour d’hier, le=yesterday
journalier=day laborer, farmworker
jour=suivant the following day
juge=judge
Juif=Jewish, Jew
juillet=July
juin=June
Juive=Jewish, Jewess
jumeaux=twins (male, or male and female)
jumelles=twins (female)
juré=juryman

Words starting with:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V
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K


kilomètre=kilometer

Words starting with:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V
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L


l’=the (m. and f.)
la=the (f.)
là=there
laboureur=plowman, farmer (man with team and plow)
lac=lake
laisser=let, leave, allow
laquelle=which (f.)
le=the (m.)
lecture=reading
légal(e)=legal
légitime=legitimate
lendemain=following day
lequel=which (m.)
les=the (plural)
lesquels=which (plural)
leur=their, to them
lieu=place
livre=book
livret de famille=family register
loi=law
lui=him, to him
lundi=Monday
luxembourgeois(e)=Luxembourger

Words starting with:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V
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M


M.=sir, Mr.
maçon=mason, bricklayer
Madame=Mrs.
Mademoiselle=unmarried woman, Miss
magister=village schoolmaster
mai=May
maire=mayor
mairie=town hall
mais=but
maison=house
[maison communale]=[town hall]
maître=master
maître=d’école schoolteacher
majeur=of legal age, older
majorité=legal age, majority
maladie=disease, sickness
maraîcher=market gardener
marchand=merchant
marchant=trader, merchant
marché=market
mardi=Tuesday
maréchal ferrant=blacksmith
mari=husband
mariage=marriage, wedding
marié=groom, husband, married (m.)
mariée=bride, wife, married (f.)
marier (se marier)=to get married
mariés=the married ones
marin=sailor
marocain(e)=Moroccan
marraine=godmother
mars=March, Mars
masculin=male, masculine
matin=early (a.m.), morning
mégisseur=tanner
membre=member
même=the same, even
mendiant=beggar
menuisier=joiner, carpenter
mercredi=Wednesday
mère=mother
mériter=to be worthy
messe=Catholic mass
messidor=See “Months”
métayer=dairy keeper, cowherd, sharecropper
métier=trade, occupation, profession
métis, métisse=mixed blood
meunier=miller
midi=noon
mil=thousand
militaire=military
mille=thousand
millième=thousandth
mineur=under legal age, younger, minor
minorité=under legal age, minority
minuit=midnight
mis(e) en terre=buried
Mlle.=Mademoiselle, Miss
Mme.=Madame, Mrs.
moi=me
mois=month
Monsieur=sir, Mr.
montagne=hill, mountain
mort(e)=dead, death
mort=né stillborn
moulin=mill
mourant=dying
mourir=to die
moyen(ne)=middle, median, central
mulâtre=mulatto
muni des sacrements de l’Eglise=furnished with the (last) rites of the church

Words starting with:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V
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N


naissance=birth
naturel=illegitimate (not always true)
né(e)=born
née=maiden name
négociant=trader, businessman
neuf=nine
neuvième=ninth
neveu=nephew
ni=neither, nor
nièce=niece
nivôse=See “Months”
noble=nobleman
noblesse=nobility
noces=wedding
noir(e)=black
nom=name, surname
nom=de famille surname, last name
nommé(e)=named, alias
non=not
nonante=ninety
nonantième=ninetieth
nord=north
norman(de)=Norman
notaire=notary
notes=remarks
nôtre (nostre)=our
nous=we, us
nouveau, nouvelle=new
novembre=November
noyé(e)=drowned
nuit=night
numéro=number
nuptial(e)=bridal, pertaining to a wedding

Words starting with:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V
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O


obsèques=funeral, burial
octante=eighty
octantième=eightieth
octobre=October
oncle=uncle
ondoyé(e)=baptized provisionally
ont=(they) have
onze=eleven
onzième=eleventh
orphelin(e)=orphan
ou=or
où=where
ouest=west

Words starting with:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V

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P


Palatinat=Palatinate, Pfalz
par=by
pareil(le)=same, alike, similar
parent=parent, relative
paroisse=parish (office)
parrain=godfather
part=portion, part
[d’une part]=[on the one hand]
[et d’autre part]=[and on the other hand]
pas=not
pas encore=not yet
passé=past
pasteur=pastor
pâtissier=pastry maker
pâtre=herdsman
pauvre=indigent, poor
pays=land, country
paysan(ne)=small farmer, peasant
pêcheur=fisher
peintre=painter
penultième=day before the last
percer des dents=teething
père=father
petit=small, little
petite-fille=granddaughter
petite=noblesse gentry
petit-fils=grandson
petit propriétaire=yeoman
peuple=citizens
peut-être=maybe, perhaps
pharmacien=pharmacist
pièces=documents
pied terrier=land record
place=place
plus, en=besides, in addition to
plus=âgé(e) older, elder, oldest, eldest
plus=vieux older, elder, oldest, eldest
pluviôse=See “Months”
policier=policeman
pont=bridge
population=population
porte=door
portugais(e)=Portuguese
poser=place, put
pour=for
pourquoi=why
prairial=See “Months”
précédent(e)=previous, preceding
préfet=prefect (the head of a département in France)
premier, première=first
prénom=given (first) name
près=de next to
présenté=presented
prêtre=clergyman, priest
preuve=proof
principalité=principality
prochain(e)=following, next, nearest
proche=parent close relative
professeur=professor, teacher
propos de, à=about, concerning
propriétaire=owner, proprietor
protestant=Protestant
provincial(e)=provincial
prussien(ne)=Prussian
publié=published, announced
publier=publish

Words starting with:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V
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Q


quand=when
quarante=forty
quarantième=fortieth
quartier=district or neighborhood in a city
quatorze=fourteen
quatorzième=fourteenth
quatre=four
quatre-vingt-dix=ninety
quatre-vingt-dixième=ninetieth
quatre-vingt=eighty
quatre-vingtième=eightieth
quatrième=fourth
que (qu’)=what, which, that
qui=who, whom
quinze=fifteen
quinzième=fifteenth
quoi=what

Words starting with:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V
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R


recensement=census
recherche=research
reconnu=recognized, acknowledged
reçu(e)=received
réformé(e)=Reformed/Calvinist
régisseur=farm manager, steward
registre=register
registres d’état civil=registers of births, civil marriages, and deaths
registres paroissiaux=parish registers
reine=queen
religion=religion
religion prétendue réformé (R.P.R.)=Reformed Church, Huguenot
rentier(e)=retired person living from rents, landlord
répertoire=register, index
répertoire toponymique=gazetteer
République Française=French Republic
retraité=formerly employed, retired
revue=periodical
rien=nothing
rivière=stream, river
roi (roy)=king
rouge=red
rougeole=measles
royaume=kingdom
rue=street
russe=Russian

Words starting with:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V
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S


sa=his, her, its
sabotier=wooden-shoe maker
sacristain=sacristan, sexton
sage-femme=midwife
saignement=bleeding
sain=sane, healthy
saints sacrements (d'absolution)=last rites
samedi=Saturday
sans=without
sans vie=without life, lifeless
savoir=to know, namely
savonnier=soap merchant, soapmaker
saxon=Saxon
scarlatine=scarlet fever
sceau=seal
scieur=sawyer
Seigneur=the Lord
seize=sixteen
seizième=sixteenth
selon=according to
semaine=week
sénilité=old age
sept=seven
septante=seventy
septantième=seventieth
septembre=September
septième=seventh
sépulture=burial
seront=(they) will be
serrurier=locksmith
servante=maid, servant girl
ses=his, her, its
seul(e)=single, alone
seulement=only
sexe=sex
siècle=century
signature=signature
signé=signed
six=six
sixième=sixth
société=society
soeur=sister
soeur consanguine=sister by the same father but different mother
soeur germaine=sister by the same mother and father
soeur utérine=sister by the same mother but different father
soir=(soirée) evening
soixante=sixty
soixante-dix=seventy
soixante-dixième=seventieth
soixantième=sixtieth
soldat=soldier
son=his, her, its
sont=are
sous=under, low
soussigné=the undersigned
souvent=often
statut légal=status, condition
statut personnel=status, condition
sud=south
suisse=Swiss
suivant(e)=next, following, according to
supérieur(e)=upper
sur=on, above, upon, at
surlendemain=two days later
survivant=surviving
sus-dit=aforementioned
susnommé=aforementioned

Words starting with:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V
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T


table=index
tables décennales=ten-year indexes
tailleur=cloth maker, draper
tailleur de pierre=stonecutter
tailleur=d’habits tailor
tanneur=tanner
tant=as, so much
tante=aunt
tantôt=afternoon
tavernier=tavern owner
teinturier=dyer
témoin=witness
temps=time
tenir un enfant sur les fonts=to act as godfather or godmother to a child
terre=earth, land
terres=estate
testament=last will
thermidor=See “Months”
tisserand=weaver
tisserand de lin=linen weaver
tisseur=weaver
tome=volume
tonnelier=cooper
tôt=early (a.m.)
toujours=always
tournier=turner, woodworker
tous=all
tous=les deux both
toux=cough
travailleur=worker, laborer
travers, à=through, across
treize=thirteen
treizième=thirteenth
trente=thirty
trente-et-un=thirty-one
trente-et-unième=thirty-first
trentième=thirtieth
tribunal=court
trois=three
troisième=third
tuilier=tile maker
tumeurv=tumor
tuteur=guardian

Words starting with:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V
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U


un, une=a, an, one
unième=first
unis en mariage=united in marriage

Words starting with:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V
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V


valet=servant
vallée=valley
varie=various
variole=smallpox
veille=previous evening or day
vendémiaire=See “Months”
vendeur=seller, salesman
vendeuse=seller, saleslady
vendredi=Friday
ventôse=See “Months”
vérole=venereal disease, syphilis
vérole, petite=smallpox
verrier=glassmaker
vers=toward
vert=green
veuf=widowed, widower
veuve=widowed, widow
vie=life
vieillesse=old age
vierge=virgin, unmarried woman
vieux=(vielle) old
vieux=garçon bachelor
vigneron=grape grower
village=hamlet, village
ville=village or town, city
vingt=twenty
vingt-cinq=twenty-five
vingt-cinquième=twenty-fifth
vingt-deux=twenty-two
vingt-deuxième=twenty-second
vingt-et-un=twenty-one
vingt-et-unième=twenty-first
vingt-huit=twenty-eight
vingt-huitième=twenty-eighth
vingtième=twentieth
vingt-neuf=twenty-nine
vingt-neuvième=twenty-ninth
vingt-quatre=twenty-four
vingt-quatrième=twenty-fourth
vingt-sept=twenty-seven
vingt-septième=twenty-seventh
vingt-six=twenty-six
vingt-sixième=twenty-sixth
vingt-trois=twenty-three
vingt-troisième=twenty-third
vivant=living, lifetime
vivant, de son=during his (her) life
vivre=to live
voir=see
voisin(e)=neighbor
vouloir=to wish, to want

Words starting with:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V

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Numbers


In some genealogical sources, numbers are written out. This is especially true with dates. The following list gives the cardinal (1, 2, 3) and the ordinal (1st, 2nd, 3rd) versions of each number. Dates are usually written in ordinal form. Ordinal numbers are made by adding ième to the cardinal form of a number. If the number ends in an e, drop the e before adding ième.

From 60 to 99, the French count by twenties rather than by tens. Thus, 70 in French is sixty-ten, and 71 is sixty-eleven. The number 80 is four-twentie; 81 is four-twenties-one; 91 is four-twenties-eleven; and so on through 99, which is four-twenties-nineteen. In some areas, however, you will see the older style of 70 (septante), 80 (octante or huitante), and 90 (nonante).

Cardinal; Ordinal
1 un; 1st premier
2 deux; 2nd deuxième
3 trois; 3rd troisième
4 quatre; 4th quatrième
5 cinq; 5th cinquième
6 six; 6th sixième
7 sept; 7th septième
8 huit; 8th huitième
9 neuf; 9th neuvième
10 dix; 10th dixième
11 onze; 11th onzième
12 douze; 12th douzième
13 treize; 13th treizième
14 quatorze; 14th quatorzième
15 quinze; 15th quinzième
16 seize; 16th seizième
17 dix-sept; 17th dix-septième
18 dix-huit; 18th dix-huitième
19 dix-neuf; 19th dix-neuvième
20 vingt; 20th vingtième
21 vingt-et-un; 21st vingt-et-unième
22 vingt-deux; 22nd vingt-deuxième
23 vingt-trois; 23rd vingt-troisième
24 vingt-quatre; 24th vingt-quatrième
25 vingt-cinq; 25th vingt-cinquième
26 vingt-six; 26th vingt-sixième
27 vingt-sept; 27th vingt-septième
28 vingt-huit; 28th vingt-huitième
29 vingt-neuf; 29th vingt-neuvième
30 trente; 30th trentième
31 trente-et-un; 31st trente-et-unième
40 quarante; 40th quarantième
50 cinquante; 50th cinquantième
60 soixante; 60th soixantième
70 soixante-dix, septante; 70th soixante-dixième, septantième
71 soixante-onze, septante-un; 71st soixante-onzième, septante-et-unième
80 quatre-vingt(s), octante, huitante; 80th quatre-vingtième, octantième, huitantième
90 quatre-vingt-dix, nonante; 90th quatre-vingt-dixième, nonantième
99 quatre-vingt-dix-neuf, nonante-neuf; 99th quatre-vingt-dix-neuvième, nonante-neuvième
100 cent; 100th centième
1000 mil, mille; 1000th millième

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Dates and Time

In French records, dates are often written out. For example:

Le vingt-trois mars mil sept cent soixante dix-neuf [on the twenty-third day of March, in the year one thousand seven hundred sixty and nineteen (1779)]

To understand French dates, use the following lists as well as the preceding “Numbers” section.

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Months


English-French
January=janvier
February=février
March=mars
April=avril
May=mai
June=juin
July=juillet
August=août
September=septembre, 7bre
October=octobre, 8bre
November=novembre, 9bre
December=décembre, 10bre, Xbre

During the years 1792 to 1806, the French used a unique calendar that related to the founding of the French Republic. It included the following months:

vendémiaire brumaire frimaire
nivôse pluviôse ventôse
germinal floréal prairial
messidor thermidor fructidor

These month names cannot be translated because they do not correspond to the months we know as January to December. See the French Republican Calendar.

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Days of the Week


English-French
Sunday=dimanche
Monday=lundi
Tuesday=mardi
Wednesday=mercredi
Thursday=jeudi
Friday=vendredi
Saturday=samedi

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Times of the Day


In French birth and death records, the registrar often indicated the exact time of day when the birth or death occurred. This is usually written out.

French-English
à cinq heures=at 5 o’clock
au matin=in the morning
au soir=in the evening
après-demain=the day after tomorrow
après-midi=afternoon
avant-veille=two days before
avant-hier=day before yesterday
demain=tomorrow
du matin=in the morning, a.m.
du soir=in the evening, p.m.
heure=hour
hier=yesterday
hier soir=yesterday evening
hier au soir=yesterday evening
jour=day
lendemain=next day
matin=morning
midi=noon
minuit=midnight
nuit=night
soir=evening
surlendemain=two days later
veille=previous evening

France French Genealogical Word List France Paper publication: Second edition 1997. English approval: 4/97.

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  • This page was last modified on 24 June 2014, at 19:00.
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