Pyrénées-Atlantiques, France Genealogy

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

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History

The department was originally called Basses-Pyrénées when created on 4 March 1790 as one of the original 83 departments of France. It was created out of parts of "the former greater province of Guyenne and Gascony, as well as the Béarn-Navarre (still, at least nominally, Kingdom of Navarre), i.e. the Basques provinces of Basse-Navarre, Labourd, Bayonne (detached a few years before from Labourd), and Soule, and Béarn."[1] On 10 October 1969, Basses-Pyrénées was renamed Pyrénées-Atlantiques. It is bordered by the Landes, Hautes-Pyrénées, and Gers departments, and by the Bay of Biscay.

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-Atlantiques, 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

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 Basses-Pyrénées , find and click on "Places within France, Basses-Pyrénées," 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, Full Manual. Much more is covered, but these first four lessons are especially useful.

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 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

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyr%C3%A9n%C3%A9es-Atlantiques