Haute-Savoie, France Genealogy

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France Gotoarrow.png Haute-Savoie

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, and to the south the department of Savoie.

The modern departments of Haute Savoie and Savoie comprise the "Pays de Savoie" (Savoy).

News and Events

  • 2012 Rousseau Year
    2012 is the tercentenary of the birth of Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778), who lived in Savoie and Haute-Savoie. More at Savoie-biblio, la bibliothèque départementale de prêt de Savoie et Haute-Savoie (the Savoy Library).
  • Inventory of l'état civil
    The inventories of the holdings by the Departmental Archive of the état civil for all the communes of Annecy Arrondissement are now available online. However, not all registers of these communes have been digitized yet. The inventories for Saint-Julien-en-Genevois and Thonon-les-Bains will follow later this year. Explore these at Archives départementales.


The préfecture (administrative capital) is Annecy.

The Conseil Général de la Haute-Savoie is the central legislative and administrative body for the department. It is responsible for, among other services, the Archives départementales de la Haute-Savoie (the Departmental Archive of Upper 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.

Historic Province

Haute-Savoie formed part of the province of Savoy, part of the independent Duchy of Savoy rather than the Kingdom of France.

Boundary Changes

Record Loss


Modern Haute-Savoie is divided into four (4) arrondissements (administrative subdivisions):

  • Annecy
  • Bonneville
  • Saint-Julien-en-Genevois
  • Thonon-les-Bains

In turn, these are further divided into 34 cantons and then into 294 communes.

A number of communes are joined together in two administrative inter-communalities (French: communautés d'agglomération). They are Greater Annecy (French: Annécienne) and Annemasse - Les Voirons.

The ten largest communes (with their 2006 populations)[2] are:

  • Annecy (51 000)
  • Thonon-les-Bains (31 200)
  • Annemasse (28 600)
  • Annecy-le-Vieux (19 800)
  • Cluses (17 800)
  • Seynod (17 400)
  • Cran-Gevrier (16 800)
  • Sallanches (15 500)
  • Rumilly ( 12 800)
  • Gaillard (11 500)

Populated Places

Neighboring Departments

Haute-Savoie also borders Italy and Switzerland.





Civil Registration

Civil registration (état civil) of births, marriages, and deaths began in 1792 after annexation by France but was suspended from 1814 or 1815 when Savoy was returned to the Kingdom of Sardinia. Civil registration resumed in 1863.

Before civil registration and during its suspension, it is necessary to search the local parish registers (registres paroissiaux) of baptisms, marriages and burials. In 1910, care, custody and control of these registers were transferred to the Departmental Archives who also hold the état civil.

In the late 1970s these records were microfilmed by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. To find film numbers, search by place-name of the relevant parish or commune in the familysearch.org catalog.

These records are being progressively placed on-line by the Departmental Archives. Only the records of the communes of department of Annecy are online and these are scheduled for completion in late 2013. To see which communes are available see the inventory (in French) at Etat des inventaires de l'état civil.

See also: France Civil Registration- Vital Records; France Church Records.



Local Histories






Societies and Libraries

Family History Centers

The nearest Centers are:

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.

Web Sites


  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. Caroline Roux, Insee, La Lettre Résultats N°108 - February 2009 Haute-Savoie: un dynamisme démographique tiré par la proximité de Genève accessed 20 December 2012