Pyrénées-Orientales, France Genealogy

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Pyrénées-Orientales
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Guide to Pyrénées-Orientales ancestry, family history and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, parish registers.

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History

Pyrénées-Orientales is a department of southern France adjacent to the northern Spanish frontier and the Mediterranean Sea. It surrounds the tiny Spanish exclave of Llívia, and is adjacent to the departments of Ariège, Andorre, and Aude.

Prior to the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659, most of the present department was part of the former Principality of Catalonia. The modern department was created early during the French Revolution on 9 February 1790 under the name of Roussillon, which was also the name of the pre-Revolutionary province of Roussillon from which it was formed. Less than a month after its creation, the name was changed to Pyrénées-Orientales. Its borders nearly correspond to its parent province, but the department also includes Fenouillèdes, a small piece of territory that was formerly on the southern edge of Languedoc. (Wikipedia)

Localities (Communes)

Church Records and Civil Registration (Registres Paroissiaux et Etat Civil) Online

The vast majority of your research will be in church records and civil registration. For more information on these records and how to use them, read France Church Records and France Civil Registration. Fortunately, these records are available online from the archives of each department:’’’
Here is the website for the Department Archives of Pyrénées-Orientales, where you will find these records.

See Using France Online Department Archives for step by step instructions on finding and reading these records.

Online Census Records

Census records can support your search in civil and church records. They can help identify all family members. When families have similar names they help determine which children belong in each family. See France Census.

Online Local Databases and Extracted Records

Groups devoted to genealogy have also extracted and/or indexed records for specific localities, time periods, religious groups, etc. Since church records at the departmental archives are generally not indexed, you might find an index here that will speed up your searching.

Microfilm Records of the FamilySearch Library

The church and civil registration records have all been microfilmed. These microfilms may be ordered for viewing at Family History Centers located around the world. To find a microfilm: Click on Pyrénées-Orientales , find and click on "Places within France, Pyrénées-Orientales," and choose your locality from the list.

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.

There is a three-lesson course in reading handwriting in old French records:

These lessons focus on reading church record and civil registration records:

Another resource is the French Records Extraction Manual, with this linked Table of Contents. You will be able to practice on actual documents.

Search Strategy

  • Search for the relative or ancestor you selected. When you find his birth record, search for the births of his brothers and sisters.
  • Next, search for the marriage of his parents. The marriage record will have information that will often help you find the birth records of the parents.
  • You can estimate the ages of the parents and determine a birth year to search for their birth records.
  • Search the death registers for all known family members.
  • Repeat this process for both the father and the mother, starting with their birth records, then their siblings' births, then their parents' marriages, and so on.
  • If earlier generations (parents, grandparents, etc.) do not appear in the records, search neighboring parishes.


Genealogical Societies and Help Groups

Websites