Haute-Savoie, France Genealogy

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Guide to Haute-Savoie, France ancestry, family history, and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, parish registers, and military records.

Haute-Savoie (English: Upper Savoy) is a department in the Rhône-Alpes region of France.
To the north of Haute-Savoie is the Swiss Canton of Geneva and Lake Geneva; to the east the Swiss Canton of Valais and Italy's Aosta Valley; to the west the French department of Ain (from which it is separated by the Rhône), and to the south the department of Savoie (from which it is divided by a line drawn across the plain of Albanais and the Bauges massif). The modern departments of Haute Savoie and Savoie comprise the "Pays de Savoie" (Savoy).


The modern departments of Savoie and Haute-Savoie were constituted on 12 June 1860 following the Treaty of Turin (24 March 1860) by which Savoy was ceded to France.[1]

The County of Savoy was part of the first Burgundian kingdom, then the kingdom of Arles and then the Holy Roman Empire. In 1416 the county was raised in status to the Duchy of Savoy comprising parts of modern France (Savoie, Haute-Savoie and the port of Nice), Switzerland (cantons of Geneva and Vaud), and Italy (Valle d'Aosta, Piedmont and part of Liguria).

In the 16th century, Savoy was an Italian state and, after 1713, part of the kingdom of Sardinia.

In 1792 France annexed Savoy; in 1815 its territory was returned to Sardinia; in 1860 it was ceded to France by the Treaty of Turin.

Record Loss

Census records for the arrondissements of Bonneville, Saint-Julien-en-Genevois et Thonon-les-Bains before 1886 were destroyed following a narrow reading of a ministerial circular of 12 August 1887 requiring the culling of lists of names more than 6 years old. [2]

Online Church Records and Civil Registration

The vast majority of your research will be in church records and civil registration. Fortunately, these records are available online from the archives of each department.

Finding Church Records and Civil Registration Online

Each Department of France has archives that provide digitized images of these records.
Here is the website for the Department Archives of Haute-Savoie, where you will find these records.
Department Archives of Haute-Savoie

  • Registres paroissiaux (parish registers)
  • Registres d'état civil (civil registration)
  • Censuses (Recensements)

See Using France Online Department Archives for step by step instructions on finding and reading these records.===How to Read the Records===

Learning to Read Enough French to Do Genealogy

  • It's easier than you think! You do not have to be fluent in French to use these records, as there is only a limited vocabulary used in them. By learning a few key phrases, you will be able to read them adequately. Here are some resources for learning to read French records.
French Genealogical Word List
French Handwriting.
  • There is a three-lesson course in reading French Records:
Reading French Handwritten Records Lesson 1: The French Alphabet,
Reading French Handwritten Records Lesson 2: Key Words and Phrases
Reading French Handwritten Records Lesson 3: Reading French Records


A number of issues of newspapers which circulated in Haute-Savoie have been digitised and are searchable online at Rhône-Alpes News and Memory, a collaborative site serving the Rhône-Alpes region.

Newspapers in the Haute-Savoie region:[3]

Periodical name place of publication published from until frequency comments
Alpes Annecy 1869 twice weekly
Croix de la Haute-Savoie Annecy 1891 weekly
L'Echo du Mont-Blanc Annecy 1848 1856 weekly on-line
L’Indicateur de la Savoie Annecy 1879 1914 weekly on-line
Industrie Hôtelière Annecy 1902 fortnightly
Industriel Savoisien Annecy 1853 weekly
Revue du Diocèse d'Annecy Annecy 1882 weekly
Progrès de la Haute-Savoie Annemasse 1898 weekly
Messager Agricole Bonneville 1897 weekly
Echo de Faucigny Cluses
L'Ange et l'Orphelin Douvaine monthly
Rochois La Roche-sur-Foron 1880 weekly
Journal du Commerce et de l'Agriculture Rumilly-Albanais 1870 weekly
Cultivateur Savoyard Saint-Julien-Genevois 1877 weekly
Echo du Léman Thonon
Messager Agricole et la Zone Franche Thonon weekly
Union Républicaine Thonon weekly

Archives and Libraries

Most records of genealogical interest are held locally and not by the central National Archives.

The Departmental Archives for Haute-Savoie Archives départementales de Haute-Savoie) are located at 37 bis avenue de la Plaine, 74000 Annecy.

Family History Centers

The nearest Centers are:

Société Savoisienne d’Histoire et d’Archéologie

The Savoisian Incorporated Association of History and Archaeology was formed in 1855 and incorporated in 1881. It publishes quarterly reference books, organizes conferences, seminars, public lectures, and study tours. It also maintains a large specialized library open to the public. It publishes a website (in French only).

Mailing Lists

The area of Haute-Savoie is covered by bilingual English-French mailing list for the Rhône-Alpes Region of France at Rootsweb.

A French language mailing list, GénéSavoie (généalogie en Savoie) serves those with a genealogical interest in Savoy covering both French departments of Haute-Savoie and Savoie.



  1. Marcel Dupuy, "Aperçu historique sur l'organisation territoriale des départements" ("Historical overview of the territorial organization of departments"), (1953) (Jan-Feb) 31 La Revue administrative, pp. 9-16 JStor accessed 1 Dec 2012.
  2. doc=accounts%2Fmnesys_cg74%2Fdatas%2Fir%2FArchives_modernes%2Frecensement%2FFRAD074_000000270%2Exml page_ref=71 unittitle=Recensements%20de%20la%20population%20de%20la%20Haute-Savoie& unitid=6%20M%20105-420 unitdate=1861-1936 Inventaire des recensements de la population de la Haute-Savoie, Departmental Archives of Haute-Savoie accessed 22 December 2012.
  3. L'Argus de la presse: Nomenclature des journaux, revues, périodiques français paraissant en France et en langue française à l'étranger, (1st ed. 1917, L'Argus, Paris), ISSN 20179618, Gallica, La Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF) accessed 31 December 2012.